Karen's Korner - Daily Inspirational Stories by Karen Weld
Browse my Site
Home
Archives
Karen's Guestbook
Search my Site



Karen's Links
Luke (Grandson)
Molly Granddaughter
Noah (Grandson)
Homeless meal ticket

Email


to Karens Korner

rss RSS Feed
Subscribing to Karens Korner will give you a new issue in your Email box almost every day
Powered by Mandriva

Powered by Apache

Powered by MySQL

Powered by PHP

I'm Karen

December 2008 Archives

Printable Issue 1456  Today is Monday, December 1st, 2008; Karen's Korner #1456
This is the third of three parts of gifts to give any time of the year. You won't have to stand in line to pay for them or participate in BLACK FRIDAY shopping. Read them all and select a couple which you can do in the next day or week:
 
101 gifts to give for Christmas or all year long:
 
Read something uplifting to someone.
Do what you value and value what you do.
If you see litter on the sidewalk, pick it up instad of walking over it.
Be genuine.
Walk tall.
Never miss an opportunity to be affectionate to your loved ones.
Invite a loved one to snuggle and lie on the grass on a summer's night while you look at the stars.
Look for something beautiful in one person every day.
Take someone on a surprise outing.
Ask a friend for help, even when you don't need it.
 
Be quiet in a library.
Help someone change a tire.
Tell a bedtime story to a little one or ask the little one to tell you a story.
Share your vitamin C.
Give a blanket to a homeless person.
Mail someone a poem.
Leave your letter carrier a little gift.
Point out the beauty and wonder of nature to those you love.
Allow someone a mistake.
Allow yourself several mistakes.
 
Take someone to the circus.
Use just one parking space.
Consdier a different point of view.
Let your partner win at golf.
Forgive an old grudge.
Talk with a lonely child.
Laugh at an old joke.
Take the kids to the park.
Be the 'eyes and ears' for your friends.
Buy the wine your partner likes.
 
Let go of the urge to be critical of someone.
 
~~ Hanoch and Meladee McCarty
Excerpted from Acts of Kindness
 
***
Printable Issue 1457  Today is Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008; Karen's Korner #1457
The paragraphs below are taken from "What in the World is Going On?" by Dr. David Jeremiah (pp 91,92). This is telling about the Bible versus the Koran (Qu'ran), the holy book for Muslim believers:
 
 
"The God of the Bible and the Allah of the Qu'ran are nothing alike. The differences are vast and allow no possibility of synthesis. The God of the Bible is knowable. According to the Qu'ran, Allah is so exalted that he cannot be known. The God of the Bible is a personal being with intellect, emotion, and will. Muslim theology tells us Allah is not to be understood as a person. The God of the Bible is a spirit. To Muslims, such a thought is blasphemous and demeaning to Allah. The god of the Bible is one God in three persons. The Qu'ran denies the Trinity and views it as a major heresy. The God of the Bible is a God of love. Allah does not have emotional feelings toward man. The God of the Bible is a God of grace. According to the Qu'ran, there is no savior or intercessor. Clearly the God of the Bible and Allah are not at all the same and should never be equated.with one another."
 
"The Bible is a masterpiece of cohesion, depth, literate quality, and consistency. God inspired more than 40 men over a period of 1,400 years to write the God-breathed words that carry His unified message from Genesis to Revelation. The Qu'ran, on the other hand, is a self-contradicting book supposedly given by the the angel Gabriel to Mohammad. Since Mohammad could neither read nor write, the sayings were translated and collected from the memoires of those who had heard him."
 
 
Another difference between the Christian faith and follwers of Mohammad? Fifty-five countries are Muslims in their belief; with more than 1 billion followers. Unlike the tolerance and diversity of beliefs in the Untied States, these countries do not tolerate other faiths; some/many torture those with other beliefs. Sometimes killing those who do not follow the teachings of the Qu'ran and the Muslim faith.
 
Printable Issue 1458  Today is Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008; Karen's Korner #1458
Today's Korner is written by Rick Warren of "Purpose Driven Life" fame; forwarded to me by Kim Lee. If you don't read or do any other part, grab the last sentence:
 
How to Balance Your Schedule

So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:15-17 (NLT)

***

We all have the same amount of time – 168 hours a week. The only question is, “How am I investing it?” We want to learn to invest it wisely so that we won’t be like the man in Isaiah 49:4, who said, “I have used up my strength but have accomplished nothing” (GNT).

Ephesians 5:15-17 offers three steps to understanding how to manage your time better:

1. Analyze my lifestyle. “So pay close attention to how you live. Don’t live like ignorant people, but like wise people” (Ephesians 5:15 GNT). Be aware of time robbers. Don’t say, “I wonder where all my time went!” Carefully evaluate your schedule and seriously consider how you live.

In order to save time, you must first know how you lose it. Sit down and make a time log: “How did I spend last week?” Or, over the next seven days, keep a record of how you spend your hours. Where does your time go? Just by keeping a record, you’ll use your time better.

2. Utilize the present. “Make the most of every chance you get” (Ephesians 5:16 MSG). The best time to manage your time is right now – not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. Now!

Proverbs 27:1 says, “Never boast about tomorrow. You don’t know what will happen between now and then” (GNT).

How do you make the most of the present?

· Do it now. If you had a bank account and I were to tell you that every morning someone was going to put in $86,400 into that bank account – that you could spend it any way you wanted to, but at the end of that day, whatever money you hadn’t spent from the account would be lost – do you think you’d try to spend it? Or do you think you’d let it go to waste? Guess what? You have 86,400 seconds every day! Utilize the present by doing it now.

· Eliminate time wasters. “I may do anything, but everything is not useful . . . [or] constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23 PH). The apostle Paul is saying that many things in life are not necessarily wrong, but they’re also not necessary. You’ve got to eliminate the time wasters. It’s amazing how creative we get when we have a job to do that we don’t want to do.

3. Prioritize what’s important. “Don’t act thoughtlessly but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Ephesians 5:17 NLT). When you talk about time management, you’ve got to do what God wants you to do. You have just enough time to do God’s will. If you do not have enough time right now, it means one of several things is going on:

· You’re doing something God never intended for you to do.

· You’re not doing what God intended you to do.

· You’re doing the right thing in the wrong way.

God would not give you a purpose in life and then not give you the time to do it. So if you don’t have enough time to do everything you need to do, it means God didn’t expect you to do it all.

***

Printable Issue 1459  Today is Thursday, December 4th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1459
Each year the Holmes Christmas Club swings into action near the holiday season. First comes the annual auction, held the Monday before Thanksgiving. Donated items come from individuals, families, organizations, and businesses. Baked goodies, handmade items, somethings from an inventory, and gift certificates are auctioned.
 
With the funds, more than 1,000 fruit baskets are made up and delivered to residents across Wright County to add to our area Christmas spirit . Then throughout the year worthy causes and individuals are helped with the balance of the monies. The auction raised more than $19,000 this year.
 
Every school year Clarion-Goldfield & Dows Senior English students are required, as part of their class work, to complete one community project and report on it. A senior girl decided to make a handstitched, tied quilt and contribute it to the Holmes auction.
 
When the quilt was hoisted for sale, the auctioneer made mention of the girl and her project. As the bidding progressed, you could see the look of wonder on her face as the numbers went higher.
 
"Sold!" said the auctioneer. The bid:  $400.
 
The man who purchased it, told the auctioneer and his helpers to give the quilt back to its maker. As Delaney picked up the blanket and walked back to her seat clutching the returned item, I saw the look of amazement on her face, as if to say, "What just happened here?"
 
It made me think of God and His asking us to surrender our lives to Him. When we give ourselves to Him, He may 'return it to us intact and have another $400 to return to some other worthy cause'.
 
He wants to know if we trust Him and believe Him; our job is to give ourselves to Him, get out of the way and watch in amazement what He does next with our lives and what we have given to Him.
 
Thank You, Father God, for the plans You have for each one of us. Help us to generously give of ourselves so that You can use our gifts to reach out to others. Amen.
 
Printable Issue 1460  Today is Friday, December 5th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1460
This is a Joel and Victoria Osteen email daily devotional from a number of months ago. It isn't exactly a Christmas season thought, but it is one that hits home when we read the local to world news of late:
 
 

Press Through

 

“Keep on asking and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7 AMP).

 

In Mark, chapter five, there was a woman who had been sick for twelve years. The doctors gave her no hope. But she heard that Jesus was coming through her town. Something deep on the inside said to her, “This is your season. This is your time to get well.” In the natural, when she saw all the people around Him, she thought, “I’ll never get to Him. It’s so crowded and I’m weak. I just don’t think I can do this.” She almost missed her season. But instead of dwelling on those negative thoughts, she started reminding herself, “If I can just get to Jesus, I will be whole.” She made the choice to turn her thoughts in the right direction. She kept pressing her way through the crowd until she got just close enough to Jesus to reach out and touch the edge of His robe. Instantly, she was made whole. Jesus said to her, in Mark 5:34, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” Notice it’s our faith that activates God’s power. What have you been believing God for? Don’t give up! Press through! Keep praying! Keep asking! Keep seeking! God is faithful! As you press through, He’ll meet your faith with His miraculous power, and you’ll step forward in the victory He has planned for you!

 

Heavenly Father, I come to You today with an open and humble heart. I ask You to fill me with Your strength, peace, and joy so that I can press through to victory today. Show me the good plan You have for me and fill me with Your spirit of faith. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1461  Today is Monday, December 8th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1461
My mom received a book from a friend for her 90th birthday, titled "Let's Roll!" written by Lisa Beamer. Her husband, Todd, was one of heroes who helped bring down the hijacked airplane into a field in Pennsylvania, rather than the terrorist destination of some building in Washington D.C.
 
In one of the final chapters of the book, Lisa had these comments which she spoke at that year's national prayer breakfast (in part):
 
"Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
- Isaiah 40:30 -31
 
"I told the group about seeing a hawk soaring above the crash site (when she and some relatives of those who lost their lives in the plane crash wen to visit it for the first time) in Pennsylvania, and how God's peace had swept over me with the promise that for those who trust in him, he would renew their strength. 'The peace that came even at that place in my life was because of my hope in the Lord. The difference between those who stumble and those who run is only the action of hoping in the Lord.'"
 
Beamer told the story of two men who built new houses - one on the rock and one on the sand. When the storm came, the house on the sand fell with a great crash. "The two houses were constructed of similar materials," she said, "and weathered similar storms, but the difference in the outcomes was based on the foundations, the core."
 
"If you live long enough, you're bound to encounter some rough storms. No one is immune to tragedy in this life. The house is the same, the storm is the same, but what makes the difference is the foundation. Todd's foundation was securely built on his relationship with Jesus Christ. When everything in his life was shaken, his foundation remained sound. The question each of us must answer, sooner or later, is this:  How secure is the foundation on which I'm bulding my life?"
 
 
Good words from Lisa for any of us facing storms in our lives this Christmas season.
 
 
 
Printable Issue 1462  Today is Tuesday, December 9th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1462
A couple of days ago I was going to spot-clean a couple carpets. Since I had on socks, I had two choices:  take them off and clean the carpets barefoot; or put on my tennis shoes.
 
I decided to put on my shoes. Our dog, Sparky, started to jump around and bark. My putting on shoes means only one thing to him:  we were going to take a walk. Wow, what fun!
 
As I watched him, I thought, "He thinks he knows, but his thoughts are limited to what he knows. More limited than mine!"
 
I am a lot like Sparky, in comparison to God. I sometimes get excited (or disappointed) by what I think I know. But my thoughts just aren't His. So much more limited; I just don't have the 'gray matter' that He has.
 
 
Dear Jesus, thank You for the plans You and Your Father had, and have, for everyone and everything. Thank You that my plans are not Your plans; Your ways aren't ours. People waited for Your coming to earth. They thought You would come as a King and as a Ruler; instead You came as a baby in a manager. But it didn't make Your arrival any less significant. People thought You would set up a Kingdom here on earth; instead You gave Your life for every person who ever lived. You tell us that You are coming back again; people try to ignore Your words. Thank You that our puny thoughts don't change any of Your thoughts and deeds. And that the way You think and feel about us hasn't changed. Thank You that we can be part of Your Kingdom today and every day. Thank You that we can always be excited about You because when 'You put on Your walking shoes', we know something good is going to happen, even if we sometimes are confused about what that all means. Thank You for Christmas and Easter and all the days in between. Amen.
Printable Issue 1463  Today is Wednesday, December 10th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1463
A Christmas email daily devotional from Rick Warren; a good one:
 
Christmas:  God is with You

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” Matthew 1:23 (NLT)

***

Have you ever been to a baby dedication where the child’s full name is announced to everyone, and the baby has three or four different names from first name to last name? Sometimes there may five or six names in the middle!

The baby Jesus was like that; God gave him several names to tell us about the character of Christ and the purpose of his life. One of Jesus’ names is “Emmanuel.” It means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23 NASB). He’s with you always and forever; he will never leave you, and he will never abandon you (Hebrews 13:5).

You may have been abandoned in life by your parents, or your spouse, or your children, or your friends. Because of that abandonment, you approach this Christmas season in pain and full of heartache. But, the Bible says God will never abandon you.

Everyone else may abandon you, but God will never abandon you. You may not feel God’s presence in your life right now, but that is no indication that God is not there. He is with you – even now and unto the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

Would you be surprised to hear that God hates loneliness?

He not only hates loneliness, he understands what it means to be lonely. The Bible records that when God created man, he said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18 LB).

Loneliness is not an issue unique to you or unique to people who are single. There are many married people who are painfully, desperately lonely. You feel lonely because God created you to need people in your life – but, regardless of how many friends you have – your loneliness will still remain until you are intimately connected to God.

The good news is this: Because of the birth of Jesus, you now know that God is with you, and you never have to face another day alone. God being near removes your fear. You don’t have to worry; you don’t have to sweat it; you don’t have to be anxious about what’s going to happen.

You may not feel like God is with you; in fact, some days, you may not even feel like he’s on the planet! But his presence in your life has nothing to do with your feelings.

Through the birth of Jesus, God says, “I’m going to give you hope.” If you’re lonely this Christmas, let Jesus fill the void in your heart.

***

Printable Issue 1464  Today is Thursday, December 11th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1464
A couple of Bible verses and thoughts from my flip-calendar from two days in December.
 
First today's, December 11:
 
"Do not withhold good from
those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it."
~~ PROVERBS 3:27
 
We can feign inability to help;
and no one will know,
except ourselves---and our Maker.
 
**
And second for December 24:
 
"For to us a child is born; to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called
'Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.'"
~~  ISAIAH 9:6
 
As the pine tree is evergreen, it reminds us that Your love is everlasting.
 
***
Printable Issue 1465  Today is Friday, December 12th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1465
This is taken from "Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul", about the Christmas season. The short story talks about pneumonia and World War II; pneumonia was a killer-disease prior to the development of life-saving antibiotics in the mid- 1940s:
 
What Goes Around Comes Around
 
    Eve Gordon had difficult duty on Christmas Eve, 1940. She was a special-duty nurse at a London hospital, and she had been assigned to care for a desperately ill German student from a nearby college. The young man had contracted pneumonia and was in critical condition. Staff physicians held out little hope for his survival. The student, aware of his perilous circumstances, pleaded with the nuse to keep him awake, saying, "If I go to sleep, I'll never wake up."
 
    Throughout the long hours of the night, Gordon kept her patient from drifting off into sleep. With painstaking detail she told him the biblical Christmas story---the journey to Bethlehem, the birth in a stable, the adoration of the shepherds, the visit of the Magi, the flight into Egypt. When she exhausted the story, she sang to him every Christmas carol she could recall from memory. And whenever her patient seemed on the verge of falling asleep, she gently shook him back to consciousness.
 
    The dawn of that Christmas monring found the student still alive and able to celebrate the day. The crisis passed, and the young man gradually improved and was released from the hospital.
 
    Several years passed, Britian and much of the rest of the world were engulfed in World War II. Gordon, now a medical doctor, had been conscripted into the service of her country. Because she was fluent in Norwegian and a skilled skier, she was placed undercover in Nazi-occupied Norway.
 
    One morning German occupation troops arrested her along with scores of Norwegian civilians. Someone had tipped off the Germans that one of that group was a British secret agent. Knowing that her true identity and mission would be discovered, Gordon prayed that death would come quickly and that she would not be subjected to torture.
   
    Gordon was brutally shoved into a small room, where she faced her interrogator, a Nazi soldier. The man reached for his side arm. My prayer was answered, she thought. Then their eyes met, and there was surprise at the mutual recognition. The German student and the Engligh nurse were face to face again. Replacing his gun in its holster, the soldier pointed to the back door and said: "Go, I give you back your Christmas."
 
    ~~ Victor Parachin 
Printable Issue 1466  Today is Monday, December 15th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1466
About a month ago, I learned about a Christmas card program called "Holiday for Heroes". Organizers were seeking one million Christmas cards which will be distributed to soldiers, veterans, and service man and woman who are recovering from their wounds.
 
Through the Marys and Marthas, an ecumenical Christian group in our community, we spread the word, "get us some cards and we will see that they get mailed". The word went out to individuals, church groups, civic clubs, school groups. Our collection deadline was last week.
 
Our largest group contributor was our local elementary school. Many classes had taken on the challenge and used it as part of their learning day: we had letters from second graders written on their lined paper as they learn how to correctly write letters, there were Christmas cards made out of folded construction paper as part of their art classes, we had cards in sealed envelopes with wishes tightly wrapped inside.
 
All totaled from all sources we were able to mail 310 Christmas cards from the Clarion area to unknown military people and their families in one postal flat-rate box for the amazing amont of $8.90!
 
How do you go about getting and distributing one million Christams cards?
 
One card at a time!
 
Or in our case, a box full of 310 cards containing heartful Christmas wishes, thanking veterans and soldiers for their service to each one of us!!
Printable Issue 1467  Today is Tuesday, December 16th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1467
(Another 30 Holiday for Heroes cards will be sent today from Girl Scouts in our area!)
 
Some Christmas thoughts from Shirley Choat:
 
"Why did God choose to have the message of Jesus' birth come first to the shepherds of all people? Why not the mayor of Bethlehem, the town council, the village rabbi, or maybe a prominent businessman? Why shepherds?
 
"Was it because the others were too busy or preoccupied to listen? Was it because others had turned their backs and purposely ignored the gift that God was giving? Was the stable setting too humble for the more refined folks to visit? Or was it just to let us know that everyone is welcome?
 
"In lighting the Shepherds' Candle on the Advent wreath, we can see that the candle glows brightly enough to assure us there is none too poor, too lowly, too dirty, too humble, too despised to be excluded from God's cicles of light."
 
"Your little ones, dear LORD, are we
And come Your lowly bed to see;
Enlighten every soul and mind,
That we the way to You may find."
 
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - "God's unsearchable ways deserve our unbounded praise."
 
 
 
 
Printable Issue 1468  Today is Wednesday, December 17th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1468
For the past 65 years, two ornaments have hung on either my mom and dad's Christmas tree or ours. The year my parents were married, they bought the multi-colored ornaments and placed them on their tree in 1943. They used the assorted ornaments for many, many years.
 
A few years ago, mom asked if we would like a ornament or two from the 'collection', as she began to downsize what had been their long-standing tradition. Jim and I took two. They are the most valued of all of the ornaments we own!
 
When I put them away each year, I gently wrap them in some paper towels and store them inside of a Pringle's potato chip can which doubles as a Christmas candle. My sister Amy crocheted the candle a number of years ago and stretched the yarn decoration over the chip can.
 
This year our tree was up for several weeks when I remembered my favorite ornaments weren't on our 2008 Christmas tree. "Where are those two ornaments?" I thought. Recalling my storage idea, I retrieve the two beauties out of their protected environment.
 
Made me think of God and the plan which He has for each of our lives. We are very valuable to Him, made in His image. But He never intended for us to be packed away in a storage container. He wants us out hanging on the tree of life, for all the world to see the beauty that He has given to each one of us. He wants us to share what He has given to us with others to witness and enjoy.
 
Are we more vulnerable out on the tree than wrapped in tissue? Yes, but like my two fragile baubbles which have been hanging around households for more than half a century, we will be protected, loved, and enjoyed by others in our world!
 
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You that we are so wonderfully made in Your image. Thank You that You have a job for each of us to do. Help each one of us to brighten the world which You have chosen for  us. Help us not to desire a protected life; one we believe to be fragile. Help us to hop off the shelf and into a more vulnerable environment to seek, serve, and save others for Your Kingdom. In the Name of Your Son Jesus, Amen.
Printable Issue 1469  Today is Thursday, December 18th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1469
A Christmas email daily devotional from Rick Warren; via Kim Lee. I don't subscribe to his inspiring thoughts but I am thinking about. They are short, sweet, and generally hit home.
 
If you'd like to receive them (even if you don't have the time to read every one; there is always the delete button!), here is the subscribing address:  dailydevotionals@purposedrivenlife.com .
 
Christmas: God Changes Us
by Rick Warren

"I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? "  ~ Romans 7:24 (MSG)

 ***

Have you figured out yet that a lot of times you are your own worst enemy? It’s your own reactions, your own fears, your own inadequacies that cause you to act in foolish ways. I know that’s true for me.

I need to be saved from myself because there are things I don’t like about me – things I wish I had done differently, things I’d like to change. But I can’t change them, not on my own power. I need an outside power source.

You may be saying, “I can change.” I hate to say this, but you can’t. In January, you’re going to make a list of New Year’s resolutions. And, by the end of January, that list will be in the dumpster. Why? Because you can’t change on your own; you need God’s power. You need a Savior, someone who can make the changes you can’t make yourself.

Let me make an important point here: God never wastes energy. He doesn’t waste effort on things that are unnecessary. In other words, if you didn’t need a Savior, he wouldn’t have sent one. The very fact that God sent a Savior means you need one.

The truth is, if you are honest about it, sometimes you feel like your life is out of control. That’s a pretty common feeling. Welcome to the human race!

The apostle Paul felt that way 2,000 years ago. Paul says this in the Bible: “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does” (Romans 7:24-25 MSG). That’s the answer!

Let me be honest with you. You may be looking for salvation in the wrong places, that’s why you’re frustrated. You’re looking for that one thing that’s going to give you fulfillment and meaning and peace in life.

Some of us think that if we could just get married, or if we could just get a certain job, or a promotion, or attain a certain level of wealth, or have a baby – or if our babies would grow up and graduate! – things would be great.

You’re looking in the wrong places.

A lot of people are looking for salvation in a self-help book. Or they’re looking for it in therapy or in a fad or diet. Or they’re looking for it in a vacation, “If I could just escape to Tahiti, everything would be great.” The problem is that if you go to Tahiti, you’re taking you with you!

The answer is not in a place. It’s not in a program or a pill. The answer is a person: Jesus Christ. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life is never going to make sense

Printable Issue 1470  Today is Friday, December 19th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1470
Several sentences exerpted from an internet writing titled "The Full Story":
 
"The angel Gabriel said to Mary: 'Peace be with you! God has blessed you and is pleased with you.' Mary was very surprised by this and wondered what the angel meant. The angel said to her 'Don't be afraid, God has been very kind to you. You will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to a baby boy and you will call him Jesus. He will be God's own Son and his kingdom will never end.'
 
"Then an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: 'Don't be afraid to have Mary as your wife.' The angel explained that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of his Son and told Joseph that the baby would be named Jesus which means 'Saviour' because he would save people
 
"In the hills and fields outside Bethlehem, shepherds looked after their sheep through the long night. As the new day began, suddenly an angel appeared before them and the glory of God shone around them. The shepherds were very, very scared, but the angel said, 'Don't be afraid. I have good news for you and everyone. Today in Bethlehem a Saviour has been born for you. You will find the baby lying in a manger.'."
 
***
Why were Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds told by an angel, "Don't be afraid". Was it because what was going to happen or what was happening was so out of the ordinary it would be frightening otherwise?
 
Is that the message of the Christmas story not only at Christmas time but for all of us all year through? Does a Saviour come into our midst no matter the time, place, or dilemma and say, "Don't be afraid. I am here and I will take care of you." Regardless of how the situation appears?
 
Fear paralyzes us; faith helps us move on and move ahead!
 
***
 
Printable Issue 1471  Today is Monday, December 22nd, 2008; Karen's Korner #1471
A few daily quotes for Christmas week from my Inspirational Thoughts flip calendar which is perched in my kitchen:
 
"For unto us a child is born; to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name will be called
'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'"
 
~ Isaiah 9:6
 
"As the pine tree is evergreen, it reminds us that
Your love is everlasting."
 
**
 
"No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls."
 
~ Job 28:18
 
"It seems impossible that I would ever question your wisdom, God.
And yet I often do. At every turn I see a better way;
with every crisis I seek my own solutions.
But in those memories, remind me:
You are still at work in my life."
 
**
 
"Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes,
and birds of the air have nests;
but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
 
~ Matthew 8:20
 
"It's comforting to know, Jesus,
that you never made financial security a test of success."
 
**
 
"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and will be repaid in full."
 
~  Proverbs 19:17
 
"As I outstretch my hand with help, Lord,
let me not regret the inconvenience--
knowing that nothing has ever stopped You from upholding me."
 
****
Printable Issue 1472  Today is Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008; Karen's Korner #1472
A Rick Warren email daily devotional for Christmas; it's a good one:
 
Christmas: God Loves Us

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NLT)

***

God loves you so much that he sent Jesus on a mission of love with a message of love. Christmas is a yearly reminder that God loves you. The Bible says God is love. It doesn’t say God has love; it says God is love. Love is his nature – God is love.

And God created the entire universe; he created this planet; he created the human race; then, he created you because he loves you.

It could be said the reason you’re alive is because God created you as an object of his love. God made you so he could love you and so that you could love him. God’s love for you is the reason your heart’s beating right now; it’s the reason you’re breathing.

God’s good news is that he loves you on your good days as much as he loves you on your bad days. He loves you when you can feel his love, and he loves you when you can’t seem to feel his love. He loves you regardless of whether or not you think you deserve his love.

There is nothing you can do that will make God stop loving you. You could try, but you simply can’t do it – because his love for you is based upon his character and not on anything you do or say or feel.

God loves you so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus, into this world – “so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NLT).

When the baby Jesus grows into a man, he will stretch his arms out as wide as the cross, saying, “I love you this much! I love you so much it hurts. I love you so much I’ll die for you so that I won’t have to live without you.”

God’s love surpasses all human knowledge, and it is difficult for any of us to grasp the width and length and height and depth of God’s love for each one of us (Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV).

Printable Issue 1473  Today is Wednesday, December 24th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1473
"That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village,
guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly an angel appeared among them,
and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord.
They were badly frightened, but the angel assured them.
 
'Don't be afraid!' he said,
'I bring you the most joyful news ever announced,
and it is for everyone!
The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--
has been born tonight in Bethlehem.
How will you recognize him?
You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger!'
 
'Glory to God in the highest heaven,' they sang,
'and peace on earth for all those pleasing him.'"
 
~~ Luke 2:8 - 14
 
**
Bible Commentary:  "Some of the Jews were waiting for the Messiah to deliver them from Roman rule; others hoped he would deliver them from physical ailmentsl But Jesus, while healing their illnesses and establishing a spiritual kingdom, delivered them from sin. He outstripped all their expectations. People often set their own agenda for Jesus, and thus expect too little from him. His work is more far-reaching than anyone could imagine. He has paid the price for sin and opened the way to God. He offers us more than superficial political or physical changes--he offers us new hearts which will be ours for eternity."
 
THOUGHT:  Jesus came to give us LIGHT in the darkness; LOVE unconditionally; and LIFE which would last forever!
Printable Issue 1474  Today is Thursday, December 25th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1474
Merry Christmas!

O Holy Night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Till he appeared
And the soul felt it's worth
The thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices

For yonder brinks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine

O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night, o night divine
 
****
Printable Issue 1475  Today is Friday, December 26th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1475
From Pastor Rick Warren; from me for the day after Christmas:
 

Christmas Is a Time of Salvation
by Rick Warren

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

 ~~ Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)

***

Today in the town of David (that’s Bethlehem) a Savior (there’s the salvation part) has been born to you (for you – a savior for YOU); he is Christ the Lord.

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, “He was saved” or “She was saved,” but maybe you’ve wondered what that really means?

Let me give you a simple illustration. When my oldest child, Amy, was still young enough to be strapped into a car seat, she was with me as we were driving on a very, very hot day. She finally hung her head out the window, and being a three-and-a-half-year-old unable to get herself out of the car seat, she said, “Please, God! Get me out of this!”

Amy needed a savior! She couldn’t get out of her predicament by herself; she needed someone else to set her free. She needed someone to rescue her, to deliver her, to release her.

Maybe you’ve hit a point in your life when you felt the same way? Or, maybe you feel that way today? You simply want to hang your head out the window, and plead, “Oh, God. Get me out of this! Hello, God, I need your help here … please!”

What you’re hoping for is a savior. You’re hoping someone will somehow save you. The good news is that your hope is no longer an empty dream. God is actively engaged in a plan to save you. He is a God of hope, and it is a hope that will not disappoint.

God’s plan for your salvation is three-dimensional: You’re saved from something; you’re saved for something; and you’re saved by something.

Printable Issue 1476  Today is Monday, December 29th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1476
My good friend Chris Lousias wrote today's Karen's Korner. Chris has an uncanny ability for research and linking Biblical past facts with the present and the future. If we truly believed more of the promises of the Bible, the world (our world) would be such a different place:
 
The Likeness of God

 

Today’s Scripture Meditation:  Genesis 1:27:  "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

 

In the Old Testament Lexical Aids, the word for image in this passage is Selem.  Selem does not signify an exact duplicate, but only the shadow of a thing, representing the original in an imprecise manner and lacking the essential characteristics of the original.  It signifies a spiritual, intellectual and moral likeness.

 

If you’ve ever thought you weren’t respected, if you’ve ever thought you were worthless or useless or just not important, take a look at this scripture again. 

 

God thought so highly of you, He created you to be just like Him.  Not physically as God (the Father) does not have a human form, but we share in God’s nature.  We have the ability to share His character of love, forgiveness, being kind, being faithful, having truth, wisdom, holiness and (insert your own knowledge of God’s character _________).

 

Knowing we are made in God’s image should be enough for us to understand our own self-worth.  When we put ourselves down or when we put someone else down, we are criticizing what God has made.  Human worth is not based on this world’s idea of worth, but on God’s idea of worth…and that is a very high standard.  Hold your head high because you stand in good company.

 

Today’s prayer:  Praise God now for His likeness in you.  Ask Him how you can lift someone up today with a kind word or action.

 

Intercessory prayer for:  Pray today for orphans who may not have a sense of who they are.

 

Worship song for the day:  Rebecca St. James – Mirror

 

"Let the words of my mouth please you dear God

May the thoughts of my heart be as Yours

Cause all that I desire is to be here with You forever

Lord I pray- I pray that You

Take me- Make me beautiful to You

Create me – so I mirror You

Take me – Make me an image of You

Lord I want to mirror You"

 

~~

Printable Issue 1477  Today is Tuesday, December 30th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1477
A slumping economy in the United States and the world, is it good or is it bad?
 
At a family Christmas celebration, my sister Jan said, "It probably isn't altogether bad. We don't tend to learn much in the good times."
 
Another sister, Jill, told about her 22 year-old daughter who has been employed a year plus at a known corporation in Minneapolis. Earlier this year, Colleen would comment about her first job after college 'being boring'. Maybe she should look for something else; maybe her entry level pay could be higher.
 
In the past few months, the 23 employees in the department in which she works each had to reapply for their positions, as they were going to be doing some cutbacks. Colleen was one of the eight employees selected to retain their jobs. A modest raise is coming to the remaining employees after the first of year.
 
Now Colleen tells her parents often, "I am really lucky to have a job, aren't I?" Some of her friends aren't as fortunate.
 
Jill continued to tell us that Colleen wanted a different car; the one she has currently has about 50,000 miles. "She only had four car payments left," Jill said. "Dave and I tried to convince her that maybe a new set of tires would be a good alternative. Maybe in a few months she wouldn't have a job either."
 
After about three attempts to tell their young-adult daughter their thinking, they thought better of mentioning it again.
 
A week or so ago, Colleen came home from work with a 'good idea': "Maybe I should just get tires for my car," she told them. "Then I won't have to worry about car payments. My car is pretty nice."
 
Lots of learning going on here durng these 'bad times' in our economy. Colleen will never be quite like she was prior to learning that good times can turn into bad times. And in bad times, you can be happy, thankful, and content. The choice, like always, is up to each of us!!
 
PRAYER:  Thank you, Father God, that all of us, like Colleen, have much to learn. Thank you that life is a good teacher. Thank you that you take care of every detail of our liives; part of it we will like and part of it we won't. But we can rest assured that you will always be there to walk beside us, show us the way, carry us when we don't think we can continue on, and not leave us nor forsake us. Thank you that you have our future with you under your control. In the name of your Son who came to reclaim us. Amen.
Printable Issue 1478  Today is Wednesday, December 31st, 2008; Karen's Korner #1478
Taken from the book "23 Minutes in Hell", one man's story about what he saw, heard, and felt in his short experience in hell; by Bill Wiese. His description is very vivid and wants no one to make the choice to go there. His torment was great; filled with fear, pain, and a lack of hope. And the worst was he sensed no way to escape!
 
After his experience, he has devoted years of his life learning more what the Bible has to say and telling people to do what is necessry to escape what he learned in that 23 minutes. He embraces what it says in the Biblr more fully:
 
 
"There are more than 300 prophecies in the Old Testament in regard to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. No other book has been written foretelling the future with such accuracy. Professor Wilber Smith, DD, who taught at Fuller Theoplogical Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, said, 'Not in the entire gamut of Greek and Latin literature....can we find any real specific prophecy of a great historic event to come in the distant future, nor any prophecy of a Savior to arise in the human race...neither can the founders of any cult in this country rightly identify any ancient text specifically foretelling their future.' The Bible 'is the only volume ever produced by man, or a group of men, in which is to be found a large body of prophecies relating to individual nations, to Israel, to all the peoples of the earth, to certain cities, and to the coming of One who was to be the Messiah.'"
 
***
 
At first I thought this might be a wierd Karen's Korner to end the 'old' year. Who wants to think about the ravages of hell? Don't we want to dwell on something more positive?
 
If we are Christians and have accepted Jesus and His promises to us, we have only the prospects of heaven ahead of us.
 
But what about those who do not know of Him or have not accepted Christ into their lives? Their future is the black and horrible darkness of hell, which is detailed in many parts of the Bible.
 
Revelation 20:15 - "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life,
he was thrown into the lake of fire."
 
What can you or I do to help to introduce them to the 'Light and a Heavenly Future in 2009'?
 
 
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for all of the blessings which You have given to each of us in 2008. Help us not to take one of them for granted. Thank You for the future which you have charted for us in the upcoming year. God, show us what each of us can do to introduce others to You in 2009. Help me to want to be inconveniencied as I reach out a new person (new people) for Your Kingdom. Help me to want what You want me to do; not what I want to do. We praise You for what You are going to do through each one of us in 2009! In the name of Your Son Jesus who made a future and a hope possible. Amen.