February 2008 Archives
Today is Friday, February 1st, 2008; Karen's Korner #1240|
Yesterday Lois Lesher forwarded this pass-along email to me.
I recalled that I had received the same email in August of 2000 from Jodie Harker, along with a note of blessing from her to me. It had to have meant a lot; nearly eight years later, I still have it!
May the words bless you, as it did me. If you think of someone who you believe is a 'woman of strength', forward it to her with a personal note. Chances are pretty good, she won't see herself in that light!
Strong Woman vs. a Woman of Strength
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape...
but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape...
A strong woman isn't afraid of anything...
but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear..
A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her...
but a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone...
A strong woman walks sure-footedly...
but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls...
A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face...
but a woman of strength wears grace...
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey...
but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she
will become strong...
Today is Monday, February 4th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1241|
Yesterday was our daughter Jamie's due date; looking forward to their third! No baby as of yet; we will keep you posted! When the day final arrives, it will be his transition from living in the womb to living in our world.
He doesn't transition in just one day; it has been going on for days, weeks, and months; maybe the whole nine months. Getting ready for his arrival into their home and our lives!
Sort of like us; we are transitioning! Moving through this life and on to the next one! Next time I see a familiar face and can't bring a name up, I have to remember, "Oh, yeah, I am tranisitioning!"
Or some part of our bodies don't work quite as well as our younger days; part of each of our transition processes to a new life with new bodies...
It happened in our church family a week ago. Elva Weir was a faithful church-goer; bringing as many great-grandchildren with her as wanted to come. She celebrated her 90th birthday with family and friends at our local senior citizens' center on Saturday afternoon and died in the night on Sunday.
The transition process for her was complete.
Our minister Tim Platt used this familiar Bible verse at her funeral service on Friday afternoon: Jesus said in John 14:2 & 3: "There are many homes where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with me where I am....."
Elva's home was ready; she transitioned to her new forever life and forever home!
Today is Tuesday, February 5th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1242|
This is our grandson's birthday; happy #4 Luke!
Taken from our perpetual flip calendar which I have on our stove; for today's date:
"I say to you,
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be children of your Father in heaven;
for he make his sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous."
~~ Matthew 5:44-45
Today when I look into the eyes of others,
let me see with Your eyes
starting with the first person I meet.
Today is Wednesday, February 6th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1243|
In mid-December, Clarion graduate John Meyer, who lives and teaches in the Des Moines area and is currently serving one year in Kosovo with his National Guard unit, contacted his mom about getting some books, paper, colors, and coloring books for the children there.
Kathy contacted the M & Ms, an ecumenical group of gals here, about collecting his list of items. The group and the Clarion community began collecting and dropping things off at the Clarion Library. In mid-January, we shipped off eight flat rate boxes to John and some of his Guard bodies.
Yesterday I received this note from him, telling us of their outreach. It deserves a bigger readership, as John, in particular, and our soldiers, in general, represent all of us to the rest of the world:
Dear Karen and Marys and Marthas (M & Ms):
I would like to thank you for all the books and school supplies you have sent and helped to send. They are a great help for the young people over here. Kosovo is a very poor area and they have a very weak economy, so it is hard for the schools to get the funding they need.
A few weeks ago my squad went up in the mountains along the Kosovo-Serbian border to visit a small village. Only two families were left. Everyone else had fled the village. The two families literally had nothing. They slept on the floor, had no furniture, no electricity, little food, and the children had no toys. A couple weeks later we took them blankets, some clothers, hygiene supplies, food, and toys for the children. You shuld have seen the smiles on the children's faces and the parents wouldn't stop thanking us. I know we didn't change their lives forever but hopefully we provided some joy and comfort. My hope is WE (The United States soldiers) are a light to the people (Albanian or Serbian) who live in Kosovo.
Jesus said, "That which you do unto the least of my children that you do unto me."
Thank you again for your help!
SSG John F. Meyer
Today is Thursday, February 7th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1244|
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!
Have you ever thought that we are sort of like Humpty Dumpty? We sit on the wall doing everything our own way! God gives us His directions on keeping us from falling. But we tend to choose our own directions.
The Ten Commandments
- You shall have no other Gods but me.
- You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
- You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
- Respect your father and mother.
- You must not kill.
- You must not commit adultery.
- You must not steal.
- You must not give false evidence against your neighbour.
- You must not be envious of your neighbor's goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor.
After we have fallen and our lives are a broken mess, we begin to look around to our family, our friends, our community, our pastor, our church, our doctors, our psychologists, our government to put us back together again!
We believe that all these people can help us to sit back atop that wall. Their love, their money, their comfort, their counseling, their support, their medical prescriptions, their appointments, their programs can help us, but they only go so far. They are only 'King's horses and King's men!'
God is the only One Who can truly put us Humpty Dumptys together again. We need to acknowledge Him, His directions, His best plans, His love! He can take all of the pieces of our Humpty eggs and put them back together again!
He turns us rotten eggs into beautiful new eggs! Something that not only He loves and cares for, but something we have never been in the past without Him in our lives! We can begin to enjoy the new Humptys we have become and are becoming! All because of Him!
Today is Friday, February 8th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1245|
A daily devotional email from Joel and Victoria Osteen, which I have 'saved' from several months ago:
A Brand New Thing
“For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun” ~ Isaiah 43:19
Can you see the "brand new thing" God is doing in your life? Sometimes we can see the hand of God moving, and sometimes the storms of life cloud can our vision. No matter where you are in life today, focus on this truth that God is working on your behalf behind the scenes! You can trust Him because He has always been faithful, and He always will be. His plan for you today is blessing. His plan is to give you a future and a hope. His plan is to do a new thing in your life. The bible says that it pleases God when we seek Him and His will. Ask the Lord to show His plan for you today. Ask Him to show you His favor and blessing. As you let go of the thoughts of the past and open your heart to what God is doing today, you will step forward in victory and take hold of the "brand new thing" God has in store for you!
Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness and work in me, even when I don't see it. Thank you for doing a brand new thing in me today. I open my heart and trust you. I ask you to show me your plan today and keep me close to you. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Today is Monday, February 11th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1246|
He's here! Luke and Molly have a new brother! Noah Michael was born late on Friday night, weighing in at 9# 2 oz and measuring 21 inches long. Tim and Jamie are his beeming parents. Jim and I get to boast as grandparents.
Looking at Noah and how perfectly made he is, it reminds me again why I believe that abortion isn't a very good idea!
"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body,
and knit them together in my mother's womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
It is amazing to think about.
Your workmanship is marvelous--
and how well I know it.
You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion!
You saw me before I was born
and scheduled each day of my life
before I began to breathe.
Every day was recorded in your Book!
~~ Psalms 139:13 - 16
Bible Commentary: God's character goes into the creation of every person. When you feel worthless or even begin to hate yourself, remember that God's Spirit is ready and willing to work within you to make your character all God meant it to be. God thinks of you constatnly. We should have as much respect for ourselves, as our Maker has for us.
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You God, for a perfectly formed Noah and for the plans You have for him and his future. And for the plans You have for each one of us. Thank You that we are each wonderfully complex. Who can help but praise You for our numerous, numerous blessings. In the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Today is Tuesday, February 12th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1247|
A few years ago "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books were all the rage; probably still are but at a different level.
I have dusted one off my book shelf which has this written inside the front cover: "To Mom, Merry Christmas 1995, Love Ed & Merry":
A couple of short exerpts from Chapter 4 titled 'On Learning':
Learning is finding out
what you already know.
Doing is demonstrating
that you know it.
Teaching is reminding
others that they know it
just as well as you.
You are all learners,
~ Richard Bach
The Magic of Believing
I'm not old enought to play baseball or football.
I'm not eight yet.
My mom told me when you start baseball,
you aren't going to be able to run that fast
because you had an operation.
I told Mom I wouldn't need to run that fast.
When I play baseball,
I'll just hit them out of the park.
Then I'll be able to walk.
~~ Edward J. McGrath, Jr.
'An Exceptional View of Life'
Today is Wednesday, February 13th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1248|
Praise the Lord,
all nations everywhere.
all the peoples of the earth.
For He loves us very dearly,
and His truth endures.
Praise the Lord!
~ Psalms Chapter 117
Have you ever said, "I can't think of anything God has done for me. How can I praise him?" This psalm gives two reasons for praising God: "He loves us very much" and "His truth endures". If He did nothing else for us our whole lives, He would still be worthy of our highest praise.
Do you think that it is an accident that Psalms 117 is the shortest chapter in the entire Bible and that it is also the exact center??
As we celebrate Valentine's Day tomorrow, let's take a moment to reflect on how much we are loved by God.....and return that love to Him by what we tell Him and what we say and do with, and for, others.
Today is Thursday, February 14th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1249|
Happy Valentine's Day. A daily devotional from Shirley Choat, Valentine's Day - 2007!
A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another; as I have loved you. ~~ John 13:34
Someone has said that love is an action, not a passion. This is borne out of Christian experience. For instance, we may say we love our wife, or husband, our sweetheart, or our neighbor, but if that love is indeed real, our actions will demonstrate it.
I remember reading in one of C. S. Lewis books, "Do not waste your time bothering whether you love your neighbor; act as if your did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."
Christian friends, loving is doing. Jesus demonstrated that when He died for us. Is there someone to whom you should show love today?
O I want to serve like Jesus-
Willingly He came from heaven above;
On the earth He lived for others,
Spent His life in kindly deeds of love.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - He who loves much, does much.
Today is Friday, February 15th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1250|
Theology according our 4-year-old grandson, Luke, as he was going to sleep night before last (both he and his sister are staying with us a couple of nights while mom, dad, and new baby brother begin adjusting to their new lives at home together):
"Grandma, do you know that God loves everyone? Even little boys like me?"
"Yes, I know."
"...and that He takes care of everyone?"
".....and if we die, He still loves us. And takes care of us?"
A little pause, before he continues:
"That's a good thing!"
Today is Monday, February 18th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1251|
Last fall my friend Chris Lousias taught our Sunday School class, telling how there were seven different ways that Jesus gave His life blood for us and the way each of them covered our various sins. This is the 'Reader's Digest' version, still longer than most Karen's Korners. It will give you something to think about this Easter season.
The Seven Ways Jesus Bled for Us
1. Jesus sweat great drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane.
Luke 22:44: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
In the garden of Eden, Eve was accosted by the serpent, satan, and she was duped into eating of the forbidden fruit.
Jesus then sweat blood in the garden of Gethsemane and in doing so, He undid what Adam had done in the Garden of Eden.
In Gethsemane, Jesus Won Back Our Willpower.
2. Jesus endured beatings to His face, beard ripped (Internal Bleeding)
The Sufferer stands firm in the brutal and degrading insults that are heaped upon him. He maintains meekness and a lack of rebellion through it all. He voluntarily offered his body to His persecutors in a deliberate act of obedience and submission to His Father’s will.
Jesus' Bruises Won Our Deliverance from Inner Hurts and Iniquities
3. Jesus shed His blood at the whipping post.
John 19:1: “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.”
Although He heals physical ailments, His greater work is healing souls, giving salvation from sin. He took on Himself all the sins and spiritual anguish caused by sin .
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Those who believe in Him have inner peace rather than anguish or grief and are healed spiritually.
Phiippians 2:8 “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.”
The Stripes on Jesus' Back Won Back Our Health and our Spiritual Healing
4. Crown of Thorns
Genesis 3:18: “To Adam he said, ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field.‘”
Mark 15:17: ”They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.”
With the crown, the soldiers unwittingly pictured God’s curse on sinful humanity being thrust on Jesus. The thorns on his head are mindful of the curse of thorns cause by human sin. He became guilty for our rebellion, our wicked hearts, our wicked ways, our words and wicked thoughts.
Jesus' Crown of Thorns Won Back Our Prosperity.
5. Nails in hands and 6. Feet
Psalm 22:16: “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet..”
Every wicked deed committed by the hands of man was laid on Jesus on Calvary! Murder, rape, molestation, theft and every other deed done by wicked hands were laid on Christ. Those Holy hands were wounded for every wicked deed man has ever committed! The blood shed from the hands was done so that our hands would be cleansed so they would prosper in everything we touch.
Jesus' Pierced Hands Won Back Dominion over the Things We Touch
The feet of man have taken him away from God and into sin. The feet of man have taken him into drugs, immorality, abortion, robbery and worldliness. Every step of man in rebellion to God was laid on Jesus on Calvary! The feet were nailed so we can walk the paths of righteousness and cannot stray off the path to the left or the right. This blood is also significant to the word that we are given every place we put the sole of our feet, so again prosperity. It was shed so we can gain favor wherever you go.
Jesus' Pierced Feet Won Back Dominion over the Places We Walk
7. The piercing of His side.
John 19:34: “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”
When He took His last breath, it was finished, complete, all sins, burdens, curses, iniquities, all bondage was destroyed of every kind. Jesus is referred to by His blood and as the living water as well. Both blood and water came from His side. This pouring out of both washes us clean inside and out. This mixture poured forth after death in Christ when pierced, but it is His blood that gives us life, and life more abundantly.
John 7:38: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
Jesus' Pierced Heart Won Back Our Joy
2 Corinthians 5:21: "For He (God the Father) had made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, (Jesus) who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
Today is Tuesday, February 19th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1252|
A favorite by Joel and Victoria Osteen from last summer:
“May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful” - Psalm 68:3 .
'You should live by a simple life motto: “I'm a Christian, so I choose to be happy!” That's right, as a believer you are blessed by Christ, who watches over you every single moment. Happiness and joy are a choice - one that should be easy for a Christian to make. If choosing happiness is hard for you, try this starting tomorrow morning with an attitude of gratitude. Give thanks to God as soon as you get out of bed, before you even leave your bedroom, because God’s praise should always be on your lips. Everything else in life is just stuff, but your happiness is based on the fact that God has given you life and spiritual blessings. Be glad before the Lord and choose to be happy each day, and it will become a wonderful habit!'
God, I know You want me to live a life of constant joy and happiness. Thank You for giving me life, love, and blessings to enjoy, so that I may see just how awesome You are. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Today is Wednesday, February 20th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1253|
Psalm 127, author Solomon, is five verses in length. The theme: 'Life without God is senseless.'
The first two verses:
"Unless the Lord builds a house, the builders' work is useless. Unless the Lord protects a city, sentries do no good. It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, fearing you will starve to death; for God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest."
Commentary: Families establish homes and sentries guard a city, but both of these activities are futile unless God is with them. A family without God can never experience the spiritual bond God brings to relationships. A city without God will crumble from evil and corruption on the inside. Don't make the mistake of leaving God out of your life---if you do, it will be be lived in vain. Make God your highest priority and let Him do the building.
God is not against human effort. Hard work honors God. But working to the exclusion of rest or neglecting family may be a cover-up for an inability to trust God to provide for our needs. We all need adequate rest and times of spiritual refreshment. On the other hand, this verse is not an excuse to be lazy. Be careful to maintain a balance: work had while trusting God, and also rest while trusting Him.
Today is Thursday, February 21st, 2008; Karen's Korner #1254|
A couple of paragraphs from a writing by Michelle Wallace Campanelli in "A Taste of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul III".
As a teen Michelle only wanted to be popular and have the coolest friends. Imagine her delight when the cutest guy in her high school asked her out. But what followed was his comments about Michelle 'being too fat'. To be accepted by him and others, she started wierd diets which ultimately led to her bulimic behavior. A confession to her mom led to Michelle being institutionalized to correct wrong habits and, basically save her life!
Nothing worked! Not the doctors. Not the counseling sessions. Not the food, nor the medications nor treatments. In a final attempt, a nurse came into Michelle's room with this new plan: after each meal, the nurse suggested that she stand in front of the mirror for one hour and repeat either aloud or to herself these words: "Yes, I am perfect because God made me."
At first, Michelle thought the nurse was nuts, but what could it hurt? Slowly, those words, accompanied by all the other treatments, helped Michelle get well.
"I began feeding myself and choosing to be full--literally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. My self-esteem strengthened as I ate, repeated those words, and learned to love myself. By gulping down food, I became the vessel God had created me to be. I was special regardless of what others thought. And, I saw that old boyfriend for what he really was: shallow, close-minded, inconsiderate, and not even worthy of my love in the first place.
"It had taken months in the hospital with nurses and counseling to learn a lessson I'll never forget. Being popular is just an illusion. If you love yourself you are in the 'in' crowd. You are an individual gift from God to the world. It's comforting to know joy comes from being who I am instead of trying to become somebody else's perfect model.
"My first day back to school, my ex-boyfriend actually came up to me and asked me out again. 'Wow, you look great. You're so thin! You want to go to the football game on Friday?'
"'No,' I answered, without regret. 'I'd rather date someone who loves my heart.'
"Me! Accepting me suddenly became a daily celebration of life. I love me! Those three words sound so simple, but living them, believing them makes living so tantalizingly delicious!"
Today is Friday, February 22nd, 2008; Karen's Korner #1255|
A last year's Lenten writing by Shirley Choat:
"I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be children of your Father in heaven;
for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous."
~ Matthew 5:44,45
Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive, as we had during World War II. To mention the subject may be greeted with howls of anger. I wonder how we'd feel about forgiving the Gestapo if we were a Pole or a Jew?
Christianity tells me that I must not deny my religion even to save myself from death by torture, I wonder very much what I should do when it came to that point. I am not trying to tell you what I could do which would be precious little; I am telling you what Christianity is. I did not invent it. And there, right in the middle of it, I find "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." There is no slightest suggestion that we are offered forgiveness on any other terms. It is made perfectly clear that if we do not forgive we shall not be forgiven. There are no two ways about it. C. S. Lewis
God bids us love our enemies,
As hard as that may be;
The battle He will fight for us
And give the victory.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - In overcoming an enemy, nothing is more effective than the weapon of love.
Today is Monday, February 25th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1256|
A couple of sayings from Barbara Johnson's "Every Time I Get My Act Together The Curtain Comes Down!" flip calendar. Barbara is known for her writings and thoughts in Christian books; sometimes thought provoking and sometimes humorous. At one time she was the best-selling Christian writer of all time:
** A bore is a fellow who persists in talking about himself
when you want to talk about yourself.
** Only some of us learn by other people's mistakes,
the rest of us have to be the other people.
** Truth does not depend on a consensus of opinion.
** One nice thing about growing older is that you and your children
eventually wind up on the same side of the generation gap.
** A good listener is not only popular everywhere,
but after awhile he knows something.
** I love you more than yesterday.
Yesterday you really got on my nerves.
** Your may not know all the answers,
but you probably won't be asked all the questions either.
** Quote in a church bulletin:
The Lord loveth a cheerful giver. He also accepth from a grouch.
** Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty.
They merely move it from their faces to their hearts.
** You are a child of God -- call home!
Today is Tuesday, February 26th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1257|
A comment I heard on a news show and an interview with Dr. Phil. He said the marriage and divorce rate of couples in America today, there is one new divorce for every two new marriages; for a ratio of 1:2.
According to himl, if a couple prays together, that ratio of marriage to divorce goes to 1 in 10,000!
Wow! I haven't checked his comments out, but wow! That isn't just a significant increase, that is overwhelming....
So does praying change God? Change me? Change my spouse? Change situations?
I'd say the answer to those questions is an overwhelming, booming, "YES!"
The Bible says, "...always keep on praying..." in I Thessalonians 5:17.
What does that mean?
Several comments from my Bible commentary (in part): "We can't spend all of our time on our knees or with our hands folded, but it is possible to have a prayerful attitude all the time....when we pray, we will begin to see people in a new perspective....."
God knew, didn't He?
Looks like praying won't hurt; just might help....any situation, every situation!
Today is Wednesday, February 27th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1258|
At one time, I received a daily email from Jeff White, a pastor from I think Wisconsin, until he got too busy with a growing congregation to continue writing and emailing them.
Here is an Eastertime one that I saved:
When Jesus was raised from the dead
it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end.
Romans 6:5–6 msg
You Gotta Love it! “It was the signal of the end of death-as-the-end.”
God says you’ve won! Jesus rose and that signals the end of fear of sickness; that signals the end of fear of tribulation; that signals the end of fear of DEATH. Why, there is no more death, just a time of change.
Because we know he was raised, we can now believe the rest of the story of Jesus.
Today is Thursday, February 28th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1259|
Poems forwarded to me by Dorothy Riekens, complete with color and graphics (which don't always forward well, so I edited that part out!).
For someone(s), who need a note like this today!
A Friend Of Mine
A friend of mine dropped by, dear God
For just a friendly chat
We sipped a cup of coffee
And we talked of this and that
Our visit was not planned at all
But as she passed my way
My friend just stopped to say hello
And pass the time of day.
You know how much I'm grateful God
For kind and thoughtful friends
It's folks like these that bring my life
Its richest dividends
Because they bring a friendly word
They share a smile or two
And skies that had a tinge of gray
Become a brighter blue.
A Real Friend
A real friend is one who will continue to talk
to you over the back fence even though
she's missing her favorite television program
The bricks of friendship are made of laughter...
But the mortar is made of tears.
Today is Friday, February 29th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1260|
(Happy Leap Year Day!)
"Faith Prints", a book written in part by Steve Swanson and thirteen youth who won the right to be published with Swanson, is a youth devotional for every day of the year.
Each week features one passage from the Bible, Swanson writes one of the day's thoughts. The youth, write the balance of the week. Week 6 features the book of Jonah; Sunday's is written by Swanson, about the topic of suicide. All of our lives have been touched by it: in our families, our communities; and/or when we hear/see such acts on television which include not only the person committing suicide but sometimes taking along several/numerous others with him/her. We are touched, and we don't like it:
"Jonah tried to run away from a problem. He got on a boat and took off. Like almost everyone who runs away, Jonah took the trouble along with him and caused trouble for those around him.
"The ultimate running away is suicide. It has becoma a national epidemic among teenagers. Suicide may seem a lonely and isolated solution to a bunch of lonely and isolated problems--but just talk with family and friends of a suicide victim, even years later, and watch the anguish and guilt that are still oozing out.
"Maybe that's why the Bible comes down so hard on self-destruction, because it's so cruel to others and because it denies the central truth of the Bible: that God loves me and that he gave his Son for me.
"How could I ever consider my life hopeless when Jesus was nailed to the cross to give me hope? How could I ever consider my life friendless when God sent Jesus to be my own personal and special friend?
"So, when life begins to be depressing or hopeless, don't pull a Jonah and run away. Run, rather, into the waiting arms of Jesus. Strangely enough, you will find those arms belong not just to Jesus himself, but to one of his other friends, like a classmate, your pastor, a counselor, your family doctor, your mom or dad.
"Don't run away. In this life we Christians help each other. When your turn comes to need help, run for it, not away from it."