September 2007 Archives
Today is Monday, September 3rd, 2007; Karen's Korner #1141|
A couple of unrelated short thoughts for a busy Labor Day holiday:
Jesus reminds us to invest in true profit
by giving God first place in our lives.
Heaven's treasures won't ever
Decay, decline, deteriorate, nor decompse.
Heaven has no city dump.
The Law is Perfect.
Man is Not.
What We Could Not.
The cross reveals man's sin at its worst and God's love at its best.
Today is Tuesday, September 4th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1142|
Our sermon on Sunday had the Bible reference of Matthew, chapter 5. In my Life Application Living Bible there was a chart titled "Six Ways (topics) to Think Like Christ":.
** Murder (verses 21, 22); It's not enough to avoid killing. We must also avoid anger and hatred.
** Sacrifices (verses 23-26); It's not enough to offer sacrifices regularly. We must also have right relationships with God and others.
** Adultery (verses 27-30); It's not enough to avoid adultery. We must also keep our hearts from lusting and be faithful.
** Divorce (verses 31, 32); It's not enough to be legally married. We must also live out our marriage commitments.
** Vows (verses 33-37); It's not enough to make a vow . We must also avoid casual and irresponsible commitments to God.
** Revenge (verses 38-46); It's not enough to seek justice for ourselves. We must also show mercy and love to others.
'We are, more often than not, guilty of avoiding the extreme sins while regularly committing the types of sins with which Jesus was the most concerned. In this six examples, our real struggle with sin is exposed. Jesus pointed out what kind of lives would be required of his followers. Are we living as Jesus taught?'
And more often than not, I have learned that if God gives us a list 'to do' or 'not to do', He also gives us His strength, power, and love to do the listing! He knows that we can't but He can. It gives each individual very little to brag about!
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You that You have things which You would like for each of us to add to our 'to do' list. But thank You that it is through Your strength, power, might, and grace that You give us the ability to do it. Help us, because on our own we are pretty helpless and hopeless. Thank You, Father God. Amen.
Today is Wednesday, September 5th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1143|
I had heard from several people that Margaret Cramer, fellow Poland traveler, had written her thoughts on our short term mission trip in multi-page letter to family and friends. I asked her for a copy, with the idea that I would share some of her thinking in a Karen's Korner.
Margaret tells of some of the sights and sounds, with colorful descriptions. She closes her remarks, "Would I go again. I believe so." She wrote her belief that the missionary dollars in the Poland ministry were nvested extremely well.
"Talk about being stretched in our faith," Margaret said. "Talk about seeing miracles happening. Talk about not doing this in our own strength. Talk about God being manifested. What a trip! I hope that what I have seen and what I will do will not be wasted. What a work of God. I am so glad that I was privileged to see it with my own eyes. What a difference it makes to have a first hand experience. It reminds me that I can not be a second hand Christian. It only works when we know Christ first hand - personally."
We are not alone. Many who do ministries and mission trips share similar experiences. When we see it or do it, we need to share it with others! No matter how brief the trip or experience; no matter what we do for His Kingdom and Glory!
Today is Thursday, September 6th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1144|
We cut down a red maple tree in front of our house on Tuesday. Jim and I don't like to cut down trees, but this one we had no choice.
About 12 years ago, we had our county extension director look at it. His diagnosis was that there was problems with the 'insides' of the tree. Insects were beginning to damage the towering maple, causing it to have some internal hollowing. "But why cut it down now," he said, "just let it grow. Take it down when more serious problems develop."
This was the year. It began to lose it leaves a few weeks ago and the cutting revealed not as much dead wood as I had anticipated, but an oval shape that was black from one side to the other! The tree could no longer get its much needed food from the root system. Tiny bugs had done their damage to this huge, huge living plant!
Made me think about what happens to us. It might not be something big that causes us bodily damage - physically, emotionally, or spiritually Might be something little, or a bunch of little things that eat on us from the inside.
One difference between us and our tree: God can 'cure' the damage that is gnawing at our insides: the Bible calls it sin (doing something we shouldn't or not doing something we should). We can be repaired and regrow into the kind of person He designed us to be. No need to saw us down; just an opportunity to regrow and rejuvenate!!
Dear God, thank You that we can confess our shortcomings to you, tell you every detail. When we do that, you don't condemn us. You restore us. Thank Your for that kind of love and care. Point out to us ways that we are short of Your standards, so that we can be renewed today. In the Name of Your Son, Jesus, who made the process possible. Amen.
Today is Friday, September 7th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1145|
Something written and emailed to me by my friend, Chris Lousias, more than a year ago:
Service You Can Count On
I was driving south on Highway 69 and I came upon a billboard that said “Service You Can Count On.” There was a picture of an orange-yellow sunset and in the foreground there was what I perceived as an empty cross. As I got closer to the billboard, I discovered it wasn’t a cross at all; it was a picture of a power pole that was in the shape of a cross. The billboard was advertising for a power company.
I wonder if whoever made the board knew that someone would think of the ad as a confirmation of what Jesus did for us on His cross, really and truly, is service we can count on!
The business of Jesus redeeming us was advertised about 700 years before the grand opening of the life of Jesus.
"Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope. (NIV)"
Once that cross was emptied of His dead, bloodied and battered body, three days later, Jesus stepped out of that grave alive and well. His walking out of that grave was testimony to the Father’s acceptance that Jesus did what He came to this earth to do. Our justification was secured by his obedience to the death, and because of that He was raised from the dead.
His resurrection is a proof that he made a full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted satisfactorily and his blood stands as a ransom for sinners. It is also a pledge and a non-refundable earnest of the resurrection of all believers. Romans 4:25 says “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (NIV).” Romans 8:11 states “It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's! (The Message)”
So, step up to the Counter and declare yourself to His Service, because His Service comes with an Eternal Lifetime Guarantee!
Praise You Jesus for being obedient to the Father so that we may live through You. Thank You for giving us an eternal lifetime guarantee as nothing else on this earth can live up to those standards. I pray this and honor You Jesus, Amen.
Today is Monday, September 10th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1146|
Taken from the book "i am not, but i know I AM" by Louie Giglio:
"God is more massive than our wildest imagination, bigger than the biggest words we have to describe Him. And He's doing good today--sustaining galaxies, holding every star in place, stewarding the seemingly chaotic events of earth to His conclusion within His great story.
"God is constant. He blinks and a lifetime comes and goes. To Him one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. All of human history could be written on His fingernail, with plenty of room left over for more.
"And God is doing well today, thank you. He has no dilemmas. No quandaries. No counselors. No shortages. No rivals. No fears. No cracks. No worries. He is self-existent, self-contained, self-perpetuated, self-powered, and self-aware. In other words, He's God and He knows it.
HE IS TIMELESS. AGELESS. CHANGELESS. ALWAYS.
"After an eternity of being God, He shows no signs of wear and tear. He has no needs. His accounts are in the black. He's the owner, not to mention Creator, of all the world's wealth and treasure. He made the gold and silver, and the trees we print our paper money on. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and all the hills the cows are standing on. He holds the patent on the skies above--not to mention the earth, the seas and their depths below, the breeze, the colors of the sunset and every flowering thing. They all are His invention. His design. His idea.
"God does whatever He wants. His purposes are a sure thing. There's no stopping Him. No containing Him. No refuting Him. No cutting Him off at the pass. No short-circuiting His agenda. God is in control. He sends forth lightning from His storehouse. He breathes out the wind, waters the earth, raises up rulers, directs the course of nations, births life, ordains death, and in the midst of it all, still has time to be intimately acquainted with the everyday affairs of everyone on the planet.
"God knows everything about everything and everyone. His eyes race back and forth across the cosmos faster than we can scan the words on this page. There is not a bird flying through the air or perched on a branch that escapes His field of vision. He could start with Adam and name every man, woman, and child who has ever lived, describing every detail about each one. To Him, pitch darkness and midday are one and the same. Nothing is hidden from Him. He wrestles with no mysteries. He doesn't need to wait for a polygraph machine to decipher the truth. He sees clearly, and comprehends all He sees. He's never known what it is to have a teacher, a role model, an advisor, a therapist, a loan officer, an adjuster, a doctor, or a mother.
"God's rule and reign are unrivaled in history and eternity. He sits on an everlasting throne. His Kingdom has no end. Little gods abound, but He alone made the heavens and the earth. God has never feared a power struggle or a hostile takeover. He doesn't have to watch His back. He has no equal. No peer. No competition.
"It makes perfect sense that His name should be I AM.
"And even more sense that my name is I am NOT."
Today is Tuesday, September 11th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1147|
I received this devotional email this morning from Shirley Choat. Because of its timeliness, I decided what I had planned to email could hold another day!
From Shirley (in part):
"September 11, 2001, is a date that will be long remembered as a day of unimaginable horror when terrorists struck at the heart of the whole world. People from more than 80 nations were killed in an unprecedented attack aimed at the United States of America.
"The immediate reaction of millions of eyewitnesses to this tragic event was to call on God for deliverance. Many calls were made to 911 that day. Which brings us to a favorite portion of Scripture. Someone has called it our "air-raid shelter." Many times our crisis requires divine assistance. When that happens, we can call a different kind of 9-1-1 in Psalm 91:1 - 'For He orders His angels to protect you whever you go.' There we find the help and protection of our Almighty God. This verse reminds us that God is our "shelter" and that we can rest in His shadow.
"So let us raise our voices together in prayer today for our nation, that God will guard and keep us and make all things work together for our good, according to His promises of Psalm 91.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - "God has not promised to keep us from life's storms, but to keep us through them."
Today is Wednesday, September 12th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1148|
The second Sunday we were in Poland we were sitting in the small congregation's worship service. Zaba, wife of John Crozier and part of the missionary family we went to visit, sat down beside me when their twelve youth group members were in front of us telling of their recent mission trip to Warsaw.
"See that younger girl off to the right?" Zaba said.
"Remember a few years ago when your 'What's for Supper?' (weekly meals at our church in Clarion) gave us some money to send some kids to camp? That girl is one of those who your money sponsored," continued Zaba. "She got involved with our youth group and our church. See the boy back sitting on the pool table (the church has one main room which has multi-uses)? That's her brother. Her older sister is on a mission trip right now. Her whole family is involved with our church and ministry now. Just because of your one scholarhip gift!"
The What's for Supper? gang got to get together to eat and shared any leftover monies with some worthy causes. We didn't do that much extra but, it impacted one girl and one family for Jesus and His Kingdom, nearly half way round the world!.
Same thing is true with so many things that each of us do all the time. Those tiny thing might not seem like much to me or to you, but like the little boy with two fishes and five loaves of bread, given to Jesus. In His hands, it multiplied.....
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!
Today is Thursday, September 13th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1149|
Another exerpt from the book "i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio:
"And in the days to come, when you're questioning, needing, searching, wondering, asking, and struggling, you will find His sufficiency at the end of every desperate prayer. When you cry out all the things that you are not, you'll know His answer is, "I AM."
"For every cry, there is one answer:
I need help.
I need hope.
Who could possibly be samrt enough to figure this out?
What's the latest thing?
What's the hippest thing?
I need a fresh start.
I need a bigger story.
My vision is bigger than my resources.
Nothing's real anymore.
Who can I trust?
I'm not sure who's on my team
Nobody's listening to me
I don't have a prayer.
My marriage is sinking and I don't know where to turn.
I can't hold on.
My kids deserve more.
I'm pouring into other, who's pouring into me?
If we fail, who will get the job done?
I'm not sure why I'm here.
I've given all I can give and it's still not enough.
I need a drink.
I need a fix.
I need a lover.
Somebody just hold me.
"And what does this great I AM say of Himself? He says to you and me: 'I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am Savior. I am Jesus--the solution, the restorer, the builder, the answer, the Wise One, the Coming One, the Mighty One. I am the Lord and there is no other. I am God and there is none besides Me. I am the First and the Last. I am Alpha and Omega. I am the Beginning and the End. I am the Lord, that is My name, and I will not give My glory to another, or any of My praise to idols. I AM THAT I AM, and that is My name--My memorial name to every single generation'."
Today is Friday, September 14th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1150|
Joel and Victoria Osteen's devotional today in the Karen's Korner talks about being patient -- something that seems to need to be learned:
"The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him, to those who seek for him."
"Even when you are busy, you can choose to be patient. Nobody really likes to wait around for something to happen, especially if it's something they really want to see come to pass. But God says that people who trust in Him need to wait on Him. Waiting is hard, but here's the good part. Waiting on God is not like waiting on anyone else in your life because God never fails to keep His Word! If you're asking God for something right now or hoping that He will fulfill your dreams; just keep praying and holding on. Don't give up on God; remember, He isn't on the same timetable as you, but He will answer faithfully. Let me encourage you to be patient on a daily basis."
God, please continue to give me patience to wait on You—and thank You for the assurance that You will never fail to keep Your Word. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Today is Monday, September 17th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1151|
We went to the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa on Saturday. One of the things that Jim and I did was attend the chuckwagon races at the afternoon grandstand. There were eight chuckwagons, each with four horses, a driver, and three outriders.
The object of the race is to 'load up the chuckwagon after a meal and race to the next meal site', simulating the days when the west was young.
Four wagons at a time, race to see who can get to the finish line first. There are rules for the race with penalties applied for violations: the wagon beginning before the start signal is assessed two seconds; each outrider missing a barrel is assessed two seconds for each violation; a wagon knocking over a barrel at the beginning of the race adds five seconds, and so on.
Two heats were run, with the first two in each heat qualifying for the championship in the final event of the afternoon. Back onto the track came the preliminary winners: Orange team B; Gray team B; White team W; and Red team M. All the participants started the race tossing things into their chuckwagons, jumping on to their horses, manuvering around a couple of start barrels and then running for the finish line.
The first to cross the line was white team W!
Did that mean that they won?
After the individual judges rendered their violation decisions, the white team W was third!! The gray team was #1 and the orange team came in second!!
Made me think about our lives. Are we sometimes in such a hurry that we run fast and hard, trying to make it to the finish line quickly. But maybe we are picking up penalty points along the way and really aren't 'as far ahead' as we would think we are.
We need to run our race with God as our Guide. He tells us "that many who are first now will be last then, and some who are last now will be first then." (Matthew 19:30) He promises us sure victory when we keep our eyes on Him!!
God, thank You for Your Leadership in each of our lives. Guide us just for today! Help us to keep our eyes on You, as You guide us to the finish line and the victory You have in mind for each of us. Amen.
Today is Tuesday, September 18th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1152|
And a final couple of paragraphs from 'i am not but i know I AM' by Louie Giglio.
The writer is telling about John the Baptist, who had a huge following and ministry prior to Jesus. John knew who he was and he knew who HE is:
"There's someting pretty powerful about knowing who you are -- and knowing who you're not. Because John knew his name was I am not, he was free from --
** the seduction of fame;
** the tyranny of comparison;
** the delusional current of self-deception;
** the never-ending scramble to the top the heap;
** a massively swollen head.
"And he was free from the ultimate rip-off----holding onto the starring role in a tiny story that was quickly vanishing from view."
Today is Wednesday, September 19th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1153|
Do you ever have a moment when God seems just extra-special? Are you ever in a study or class when something just clicks inside your mind and you say to yourself, "Wow!"? Ever have a Bible verse which you read all by itself and you want to shout, "Hooray!" ?
Here is a Bible verse that did that for me as I was studying for a Bible class I am in:
"I want you to realize
that God has been made rich
because we who are Christ's
have been given to Him!"
~ Ephesians 1:18 (Living Bible)
Isn't that something? God is richer because of us! Because we belong to Him! Because, as Christians, we have given our lives to Christ and He, in turn, gives us to God. And God.......well, He is richer!
If that doesn't jump start your day!! God is richer because of you!!
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for loving us so completely. We know that left to ourselves we are no prize. Thank You that you didn't leave us alone, undirectional, and afraid. Thank You that You make us new every day and that You love being our Father, our God, our inheritance. Thank You that we are part of Your forever family. In Jesus' Name who delivers us into Your hands. Amen.
Today is Thursday, September 20th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1154|
Last week a Karen's Korner told about Clarion's What's for Supper? and some small proceeds impacting a family, nearly on the other side of the world in Poland.
Here is another story of impacting lives from Clarion, a community which is the size of a pin point or a fleck on a map.
Amy Barron Smolinski, a 1997 Clarion-Goldfield High School graduate, has written a letter to the editor which appears in our local paper today. She is married to a rehabilitation physician. The couple have one-year-old twins and are living near Washington D.C. Her husband works at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, treating soldiers who have been wounded in the war.
It was a week ago Monday when Amy happened to be in the rehab clinic with their sons following a meeting of the hospital auxiliary's volunteers. She happened to walk by a wounded patient coming out of the clinic. This is such a common sight that she hardly even noticed, but "What did stop me dead in my tracks was the t-shirt one man was wearing," Amy penned. It was bright white, obviously brand new, and emblazoned across the front was CGHS and on the back of the shirt was printed 'Clarion-Goldfield High School Cowboys', complete with a game schedule.
That was enough to have Amy turn around and ask the wounded man about the shirt and how he happened to be wearing it! "He lifted his good arm to show me that the shirt had been modified with velcro to make it easier to take on and off with one hand," Amy said. The young man had no connections with Clarion, but it was immediately apparent to Amy that the shirt had been donated by someone or some group from Clarion.
Amy finished her letter by writing, "I can't tell you how it warmed my heart to see, from hundreds of miles away, a little piece of the generosity and goodwill of my hometown. To whomever donated that shirt, and to everyone who's done anything to help the wounded soldiers, I say to you, as a former Clarionite and a soldier's wife, thank you and God bless."
What I do, what you do, and what we do impacts people's lives in ways that we can only imagine. In our hands and from our eyes, it sometimes doesn't appear to be too much. But in God's hands, it can change the world!
Today is Friday, September 21st, 2007; Karen's Korner #1155|
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses, And all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!
Most of our childhood books show Humpty as an egg which breaks into hundreds of pieces with his fall. Pretty hard to put all the pieces back together once they are on the ground. And an egg especially! Who can clean up the insides of the egg once it is spilled!!
Can't be put back into its original form!!
Who among us hasn't had a great fall off the wall of life? Sometimes our lives are so broken that neither we, nor the 'king's horses or king's men', nor anyone else with whom we come in contact can 'put as back together again'.
But we know Who can! Jesus restores us, remakes us, and puts us together into a better form than maybe we have ever been before! Matthew 15:30-31 says: "A vast crowd brought Jesus their lame, blind, maimed, and those who couldn't speak, and many others, and laid them before Him, and He healed them all!"
We all know of times in our lives when our physical bodies or those of a loved one wasn't miraculously healed like what Matthew described, but we can always count on His spiritual healing and Him "putting our spirits back together again". And our bodies? If they aren't healed in this lifetime, they are promised to be better than new in the next one!!
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for so many, many healings that have happened in the lives of each one of us. Thank You for putting us back together again, when we place our lives into Your hands. Thank You for the miracle of 'better', 'new', 'restored. In Your Name, Amen.
(There will be no Karen's Korners this coming week; look for your next edition on Monday, October 1)