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April 2009 Archives

Printable Issue 1538  Today is Wednesday, April 1st, 2009; Karen's Korner #1538
A recent Joel and Victoria Osteen daily devotional email:
 
He Holds You in His Hand
 
Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you…I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand…”  (Isaiah 41:10, AMP)

Is there something in your life that feels beyond your control? If you’re tempted to get discouraged, remember, as a believer, God is holding you in the palm of His hand. There is nothing too difficult, nothing too impossible, nothing beyond His ability. When God holds you in His hand, you are safe. You are cared for. In His hand, there is victory. In His hand, there is strength. In His hand, there is provision. In His hand is everything you need.    

No matter what you may be going through today, you can trust that God is for you. Instead of getting down and depressed over your circumstances, look up and get a vision of God turning that situation around. Get a vision of His favor, promotion, and increase in your life. As you stand in faith, you’ll see those supernatural breaks that will launch you further ahead than you ever thought possible! Remember, He holds you in His victorious right hand!

Father in heaven, thank You for helping me and holding me in Your victorious right hand. I choose to trust You even when things don’t make sense, even when things seem beyond my control. I release my cares to You knowing that You work all things together for my good. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1539  Today is Thursday, April 2nd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1539
If you like short thoughts you see on wall hangings and desk sayings, you'd be like me.
 
Here are a few I saw in a shop which I was in recently:
 
* Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap.....
but by the seeds you plant
 
* A good friend doubles the joy
 and divides the pain
 
* Learn from yesterday;
 Live for today;
Hope for tomorrow
 
* Learn something new;
then teach someone
 
* Happy people don't necessarily have everything......
They just make the most of everything they have
 
* A peaceful heart is the greatest gift
 we could give ourselves
 
* Faith is daring the soul
 to go beyond what the eye can see
 
* PRAYER is less about changing the world.....
and more about changing ourselves
 
***
Printable Issue 1540  Today is Friday, April 3rd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1540
Lyrics from a song sung  at the closing of this week's Lenten lunch services at the Church of Nazarene here in Clarion.
 
Written in 1901 by Frank Groeff; just as relevant one hundred plus years later:
 
Does Jesus Care?
 
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth and song,
As the burdens press,
And the cares distress;
And the way grows weary and long?
 
REFRAIN:  O yes, He cares;
I know He cares!
His heart is touched with my grief,
When the days are weary,
The long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
 
Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades
Into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?
 
REFRAIN:
 
Does Jesus care when I've tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief
 I find no relief,
Tho' my tears flow all the night long?
 
REFRAIN:
 
Does Jesus care when I've said good-bye
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches
Till it nearly breaks?
Is it aught to Him?
Does He see?
 
REFRAIN:  O yes, He cares;
I know He cares!
His heart is touched with my grief,
When the days are weary,
The long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
 
***
Printable Issue 1541  Today is Monday, April 6th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1541
It is the day after Palm Sunday; here are a few Easter week facts forwarded to me yesterday by Shirley Choat. Some I am sure you know; others you might find interesting:
 
 
Palm Sunday:
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter Day. It is to commemorate Jesus' last journey
to Jerusalem, when people cut palm branches to spread on his path as he rode to the city.
Many other traditions are associated with Palm Sunday. In some parts of England it used
to be called Fig Sunday because people ate fig pies or puddings on that day. In Wales it
is called Sul y Blodau, Flowering Sunday. In Greece people like to eat fish on Palm Sunday. In some German towns people decorate poles with streamers and branches of pussy willow. Christians in Lebanon like to wear new clothes on Palm Sunday. In Italy it is regarded as a day of making up quarrels.
 
Holy Thursday:
Holy Thursday is also referred to as Maundy Thursday. In Europe the
Christian monarchs used to wash the feet of poor people on the
Thursday before Easter in memory of Jesus's Act.
 
Also on this day Jesus ate and drank with his followers. This meal
became known as the Last Supper, because Jesus died soon after.
 
Good Friday:
Good Friday is the commemoration of the Trial and Crucifixion of
Jesus. In some countries the bells are tolled while in other
countries they are silenced until Sunday. A custom also is the
eating of Hot Cross Buns. Many superstitions go with hot cross buns
such as they are a charm against evil and are kept indefinitely.
 
Holy Saturday:
Holy Saturday is part of the period mourning which begins on Good
Friday. For Christians in countries such as Bulgaria, Greece and
Poland, Holy Saturday is a day of cooking, ready for the feasting
the following day to celebrate the Resurrection.
 
Easter Day:
Easter day is the Commemoration of the Resurrection of Jesus, with its promise of eternal
life. A symbol of the Resurrection is the egg out of which a bird hatches.
 
It is an ancient tradition in Britain to climb the nearest hill to
see the sunrise. In America services are held outdoors at dawn in
such places as the Hollywood Bowl. On this day it is also tradition
to wear new clothes which has been carried on to the modern "Easter Parade".
 
There is always a Feast with various foods in different countries
such as hot cross buns in Australia; simnel cake in Britain; pacoca
in Brazil; Easter cakes in Finland and Italy; turkey or chicken in
Lebanon; and pasenbrood in the Netherlands.
 
Ascension:
Ascension is the fortieth day from Easter Day. It was on this day
that Jesus ascended into Heaven. Ascension Day falls on a Thursday. The Paschal candle
which was lit on Easter Day to mark the resurrection is put out to mark Jesus' departure
from Earth.
 
***
Printable Issue 1542  Today is Tuesday, April 7th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1542
When I walk up and down the country roads near our home, our dog Sparky enjoys the walk with me.
If Sparky sees a bird, squirrel, or rabbit, he ALWAYS chases after them. He NEVER catches them.
 
No matter; he continues the chase. He ALWAYS believes he can catch them!
 
What a matter of faith and hope!! He NEVER gives up....
 
Dear Father in Heaven, help me to be more like Sparky. Help me to run with wreckless abandon and joy as I chase after the known and the unkown. Help me to always believe the best. Help to believe that there is only good things out there waiting for me; things that I can catch and touch.....if I but chase after them. Remind me that faith is always believing; some things will turn out like I envision. Some things won't:  some will be better than I could ever have imagined; others will never be. I choose life! I choose happiness! I choose Your Love, Your Joy, Your Hope! Regardless of how that package might appear when it is delivered to me. In the Name of Your Son Jesus Who showed us what path to travel and what direction to look. Amen.
Printable Issue 1543  Today is Wednesday, April 8th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1543
Recently our congregation's minister assigned some of us in leadership positions to each read a book. Mine is titled "Love Talk" by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott.
 
While the book is about learning to speak one another's language in a marriage relationship, the story below gives any reader something to think about:
 
"There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to a holy man and asked, 'What magical incantations do yo have to bring my son back to life?' Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, 'Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.'
 
The woman set off at once in search of that magical mustard seed. She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said, 'I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me.' They told her, 'You've certainly come to the wrong place,' and began to describe all the tragic things that had recently befallen them. The woman said to herself, 'Who is better able to help these poor unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?' She stayed to comfort them, then went on in her search for a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hovels and palaces, she found one report after another of sadness and misfortune. Ultimately, the woman became so involved in ministering to other people's grief that she forgot about her quest for the mgical mustand seed, never realizing it had in fact driven the sorrow out of her life."
 
The authors continued with their thought, "Once you make the choice to rise about your self-pity, once you give up on a magical cure for your conditions, you will find youself with an entirely new outlook on life and love."
 
In any relationship, "you will see that it is not only about getting your own needs met, but about meeting the needs".....of another person.......mate, friend, child, parent.....you fill in the blank.
Printable Issue 1544  Today is Thursday, April 9th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1544
 
A handful of thoughts by Robert Schuller from his mini-book "Possibility Thinking":
 
Believe that for every problem,
God will provide a solution.
~
What appears to be the end of the road
may just be a bend in the road.....
so don't slam on the brakes!
~
Don't trust the clouds...
trust the sunshine!
~
Through faith,
weak times
become
peak times.
~
God is present with you,
in spite of what the
circumstances might appear to say.
~
Hope is not the absence of suffering;
it is the living presence of love.
~
Your life is in the care
and keeping of God,
who keeps watch over His own.
~
Printable Issue 1545  Today is Friday, April 10th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1545
It's GOOD FRIDAY! Something written and forwarded to me by Shirley Choat:
 
  When Jesus had received the vinegar,
He said, "It Is Finished"
~ John 19:30
 
  Never in the history of man have words held deeper meaning than these words of our Savior. They were not spoken as a sigh of relief, as if to say: "At last it is all over with." NO. They were spoken in a loud voice, as if to say: "It is achieved; it is accomplished!"
 
  These words changed everything. Now the forces of evil who defied God, corrupted man, scattered seeds of sorrow in the world will meet their doom. Now man can hope, pray, and live again. He had done everything necessary to save us for all time and eternity.
 
  The world has been redeemed. Now the heavens can vibrate with the song of redemption.
Now the Hallelujah Chorus can begin.
     Yes, it is finished! When our Savior won the fight against Satan, sin, and hell, He won a victory for all time, for all nations. Now the door to hell has been blocked.
Until the end of time the doors of heaven will stand open for all to enter.
 
     Will you stand with me one more before that Cross, 
in that deep darkness when God hid His face,
and blackness enveloped the earth,
 hear Him cry with a strength of voice
 that made the earth to quake,
 the rocks to rend
and the graves to open?
IT IS FINISHED!
 
Can you say with me,
YES, thank God,
it is FINISHED FOR ME?
 
Lifted up was He to die
It is finished, was His cry
Now in heaven exalted high,
Hallelujah, What a Savior!
 
~~
Printable Issue 1546  Today is Monday, April 13th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1546
I don't normally get devotional emails from Shirley Choat on Sunday, but I got an EASTER MESSAGE from her yesterday:
 
"Early on the first day of the week, while it was dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.....They have taken the LORD out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put Him." ~John 20
 
  There is a special beauty about today.This is day about life. Today Christian churches throughout the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is an event that stirs our hearts, but the empty tomb caught the early followers of the LORD off guard. While it was still dark Mary Magdalene went to tomb with her embalming spices. She noticed that the stone had been rolled away and rushed back to give Peter and John the news; "They have taken the LORD out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put Him."
 
  'Mary,' we feel like shouting, 'you looked at the empty grave but didn't see its message. Instead of seeing the LORD raised by God's love and rejoicing in the eternal life He offers you, in your fear, saw only death.'
 
  Let's not repeat Mary's mistake, she ran from the empty tomb, we want to run to it daily as we need the answers that the tomb shouts out to us: "He is not here, He is risen, He's alive.  Yes 'Death is defeated!' it shouts out to us.
 
  There are two doors to our graves, one marked "entrance" by sin's wage and the other marked "exit" by the Savior's resurrection. When our day comes, that empty Easter tomb reinforces the Savior's promise, "Because I live, you also will live." John 14:19 
 
Christ is the life,
the empty tomb proclaims His conquering arm;
and those who put their trust in Him.
not death nor hell shall harm.
 
 Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Gladness fills the world today;
From the tomb that could not hold Him,
see the stone is rolled away.
 
 PRAY - O risen LORD, accept my praise for Your victory over death. Cheer me each day with the news that You are my Savior and that through faith in You, I am a child of God. Amen. 
 
CHRIST IS RISEN, HE IS RISEN INDEED. AMEN.
Printable Issue 1547  Today is Tuesday, April 14th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1547
Look at the three 'tests' below; can you see what you are asked to see?
 
At first I thought it was a joke and every number or letter was the same. On further examination, the 'O', '6', and 'N' were there.
 
Can you find the C?
 
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
 

Once you've found the C..........
 
Find the 6!

9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999699999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999
 

Once you've found the 6...
 
 
Find the N!
 
MMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMNMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMM
 
**
 
It reminds me of the Bible verse, as Jesus teaches His followers about worry in Matthew 7:7 -"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
 
Sometimes we have to ask; sometimes we have to take a second look; sometimes as we look harder we will find; and then the doors to finding the right answer will be opened to us.
 
Today might be a good day to ask God and then take a harder, second look at some 'big' or 'small' thing in our life!
Printable Issue 1548  Today is Wednesday, April 15th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1548
A devotional by Joel and Victoria Osteen sent last September:
 

He Will Deliver You

“Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor and glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

Are you facing trouble in any area of your life today? God is standing ready to deliver you. He promises in His Word that He is near to all those who call upon His name. No matter what you may be going through, have confidence knowing that God is working behind the scenes on your behalf. He promises to deliver you!

Notice that this verse tells us that our part is to honor and glorify Him. You don’t have to wait until everything is perfect to give Him praise. You can give Him honor and glory right now. You can thank Him for all He’s done in your life so far, and what He will do in your future. Call on Him today and focus on having an attitude of faith and expectancy. Speak His Word and declare His promises over your life, knowing that He promises to deliver you. Trust in Him because He will take you places you’ve never dreamed. As you praise Him, He’ll take you higher and higher into the life of victory He has in store for you!

Father in heaven, today I call upon Your Name. I call upon You as my Salvation and my Deliverer. I trust that You are working on my behalf and choose to give You all the honor and glory. In Jesus’ Name.

Printable Issue 1549  Today is Thursday, April 16th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1549
Some thoughts today; just oozing with love for us from God! What a deal!!
 
"But people are counted as righteous,
not because of their work,
but because of their faith in God
who forgives sinners."
~~ Romans 4:5 NLT

Bible Commentary:  "Some people when they learn that we are saved through faith, start to worry, 'Do I have enough faith?' they wonder, 'is my faith strong enough to save me?' These people miss the point. It is Jesus Christ who saves us, not our feelings or actions, and He is strong enough to save us no matter how weak our faith is. Jesus offers us salvation as a gift, because He loves us, not because we have earned it through our powerful faith. What, then, is the role of faith? Faith is believing and trusting in Jesus Christ, reaching out to accept His wonderful gift of salvation. Faith is effective whether it is great or small; timid or bold.......because God loves us."

Printable Issue 1551  Today is Monday, April 20th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1551
A short thought written by Max Lucado, an easy-to-read Christian writer:
 
Do You Have a Hole in Your Heart?
 
Perhaps the wound is old. A parent abused you. A teacher slighted you.....
 
And you are angry.
 
Or perhaps the wound is fresh. The friend who owes you money just drove by in a new car. The boss who hired you with promises of promotions has fogotten how to pronounce your name. Your circle of friends escaped on a weekend getaway, and you weren't invited....
 
And you are hurt.
 
Part of you is broken, and the other part is bitter. Part of you  wants to cry, and part of you wants to fight. The tears you cry are hot because they come from your heart, and there is a fire blazing in your heart. It's the fire of anger. It's blazing. It's consuming. Its flames leap up under a steaming pot of revenge.
 
And you are left with a decision. "Do I put the fire out or heat it up? Do I get over it or get even? Do I release it or resent it? Do I let my hurts heal, or do I let hurt turn into hate?"....
 
Resentment is the deliberate decision to nurse the offense until it becomes a black, furry, growling grudge......
 
Unfaithfulness is wrong. Revenge is bad. But the worst part of all is that, without forgiveness, bitterness is all that is left.
 
~ From his "Applause of Heaven" book
Printable Issue 1552  Today is Tuesday, April 21st, 2009; Karen's Korner #1552
A pass-along email from Kim Lee, written by Pastor Rick Warren. It talks about 'real servants', which most, if not all, Karen's Korner readers are. Thanks for all you do for others!
 
Servants Make Themselves Available
 
"No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life,
so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:4 NASB

Real servants make themselves available to serve. Servants don't fill up their time with other pursuits that could limit their availability. They want to be ready to jump into service when called on.

Much like a soldier, a servant must always be standing by for duty: If you only serve when it's convenient for you, you're not a real servant. Real servants do what's needed, even when it's inconvenient.

Are you available to God anytime? Can he mess up your plans without you becoming resentful? As a servant, you don't get to pick and choose when or where you will serve.

Being a servant means giving up the right to control your schedule and allowing God to interrupt it whenever he needs to.

If you will remind yourself at the start of every day that you are God's servant, interruptions won't frustrate you as much, because your agenda will be whatever God wants to bring into your life. Servants see interruptions as divine appointments for ministry and are happy for the opportunity to practice serving.

Printable Issue 1553  Today is Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1553
On Monday evening, I met our church van as six others from our congregation rode together over to our church camp's monthly fellowship. As one of seven passengers, our minister's nine-year-old son lowered the average age of those riding together by a decade.
 
The guest speaker for the evening was the college president of a Bible college located in Minnesota. At the end of his presentation, he asked for questions from the group. They ranged from the college's goals; to direction for the future and costs of attending the school for the year.
 
Ben, who is currently a third grader, raised his hand and inquired, "What is your favorite Bible verse?'
 
Without pausing to think, the college president told Ben, "Revelation 21:1-5." And he began to recite it from memory:
 
 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'

 "He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'"

As the college president began to answer Ben's question, he was no longer talking with the fifty plus people who were assembled, he was talking to only the curious elementary student. He continued, "I repeat that verse every day. I love thinking about the future that is ahead for us." He went on to tell Ben that he had recently visited a hospital and saw a young boy with a scar on his leg because he was fighting cancer, but in the coming world there would be no cancer or any other illnesses. That he didn't like death, in that new world there would be no death. (The college professor didn't know that young Ben had just lost one of his grandmas unexpectedly a few months ago).

"Always remember that God's words are trustworthy and true," the college professor told his young listener. "What is your favorite Bible verse?"

Also without missing a beat, Ben replied, "John 3:16".

Ben didn't recite it, but here it is:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Later as I had time to reflect on the exchange, I couldn't help but think, "Both the president and the young man were talking about the same thing.........God's love! Past, present, and future."

Can it get any better than that?

Printable Issue 1554  Today is Thursday, April 23rd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1554
A pass-along email which I received earlier this week from Sherri O'Brien. I had never seen it before; enjoy. If you also enjoy it, pass it along to another friend or two:
 
 
What is a friend?  What does a friend do?  Are you a good friend?  In our busy world, we often take our friends for granted.  Take time to 'just hang out' with your friends.  Jesus did.  He and His friends fished, ate together, took walks, and visited.  Call or write a friend today. 
 
A FRIEND:
(A)ccepts you as you are
(B)elieves in 'you'
(C)alls you just to say 'HI'!
(D)oesn't give up on you


(E)nvisions the whole of you (even the unfinished parts)
(F)orgives your mistakes
(G)ives unconditionally
(H)elps you
(I)nvites you over


(J)ust 'be' with you
(K)eeps you close at heart
(L)oves you for who you are
(M)akes a difference in your life


(N)ever Judges
(O)ffers support
(P)icks you up
(Q)uiets your fears
(R)aises your spirits


(S)ays nice things about you
(T)ells you the truth when you need to hear it
(U)nderstands you
(V)alues you


(W)alks beside you
(X)-plains things you don't understand
(Y)ells when you won't listen and
(Z)aps you back to reality
 
***
Printable Issue 1555  Today is Friday, April 24th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1555
From Joel and Victoria Osteen:
 

Choose the Voice of Faith

"If only you carefully listen to the voice of the Lord your God…" (Deuteronomy 15:5, AMP).

All through the day there are two voices that compete for our attention–the voice of faith and the voice of defeat. You'll hear a voice saying, "You'll never rise any higher. You don't have what it takes. You've reached your limit." But if you listen carefully, you'll hear another voice saying, "You are well able. You can do all things through Christ. Your best days are still up ahead." You are the one who gets to choose which voice comes to life by speaking it out of your own mouth. The moment you verbalize that thought, you give it the right to come to pass. When you speak faith, you're in agreement with God. When you speak defeat, you're in agreement with the enemy. God–talk brings God on the scene. Enemy–talk brings the enemy on the scene.

Why don't you get in agreement with God today? That negative voice may be louder, but you can override it. You can take away all of its power by simply choosing the voice of faith. Choose to declare favor, blessing, and increase over your life so that you can walk in the victory the Lord has in store for you.
 

Heavenly Father, today and everyday, I choose the voice of faith and victory. I declare that today I am rising up higher in You, that I can do all things because You give me strength. I bless and honor You in everything I do. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1556  Today is Monday, April 27th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1556
 
Portions of Isaiah chapter 5: beginning with verse 8; our God of Love also hasn't put up with our chosen bad behaviors indefinitely throughout history:
 
You Who Call Evil Good and Good Evil
 
"Doom to you who buy up all the houses
and grab all the land for yourselves---
Evicting the old owners,
posting no trespassing signs.
Taking over the country,
leaving everyone homeless and landless.
I overhead God-of-the-Angel-Armies say,
'Those mighty houses will end up empty.
Those extravagant estates will be deserted.....
 
"Doom to you who use lies to sell evil,
who haul sin to market by the truckload.
Who say, 'What's God waiting for?
Let him get a move on so we can see it.
Whatever The Holy of Israel has cooked up,
we'd like to check it out.'
 
"Doom to you who call evil good
and good evil.
Who put darkness in place of light
and light in place of darkness,
Who substitute bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
 
Doom to you who think you're so smart,
who hold such a high-opinion of yourselves...
You line your pockets with bribes from the guilty
while you violate the rights of the innocent.
 
"But they won't get by with it. As fire eats stubble
and dry grass goes up in smoke.
Their souls will atrophy
their achievements crumble into dust.
Because they said no to the revelation
of God-of-the Armies,
Would have nothing to do with The Holy of Israel.
 
That's why God flared out in anger against his people,
reached out and knocked them down.....
The mountains trembled
as their dead bodies piled up in the streets.
But even after that, he was still angry,
his fist raised ready to hit them again.
He raises a flag, signaling a distant nation,
whistles for people at the ends of the earth.
And here they come---
on the run!...
 
Their arrows are sharp
bows strung....
They growl and seize their prey;
dragging them off--rescue for that one!
They'll roar and roar and roar on that Day;
like the roar of ocean billows.
Look as long and hard as you like at that land,
you'll see nothing but darkness and trouble.
Every light in the sky
will be blocked out by the clouds.
 
Bible Commentary:  "God condemns six sins:  exploiting others; being drunk; blaspheming; confusing moral standards; being conceited; and perverting justice. Because of these sins, God punished Israel with destruction by Assyria. A similar fate was awaiting Judah if they didn't turn from their sins.
 
"Ironically, our pleasures - if they do not have God's blessing - may eventually destroy us. Leaving God out of our lives allows sin to come into them. God wants us to enjoy life, but to avoid those activities that could lead us away from him. Turning away from God exposes us to judgment.
 
"The nation's heroes, the great and honored men, would suffer the same humiliation as the common people. Why? Because they lived by their own values rather than God's. Many of today's heroes in TV, movies, and books are idolized because of their ability to live as they please. Are your heroes those who obey God or those who defy the world in order to serve God?
 
"When people do not carefully observe the distinction between right and wrong, destruction soon follows. It is easy for people to say, 'No one can decide for anyone else what is really right or wrong.' They may think getting drunk can't hurt them, extramaritial sin isn't really wrong, or money doesn't really control them. But when we make excuses for our actions, we break down the distinction between right and wrong. If we do not take God's Word, the Bible, as our standard, soon all of lifes' moral choices appear fuzzy. Without God, we are headed for a breakdown and much suffering."
Printable Issue 1557  Today is Tuesday, April 28th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1557
On Sunday night, I caught the last few minutes of a town hall meeting with Dave Ramsey on the FOX BUSINESS network, as he was taking questions from the audience. Ramsey is financial guy, famous in part for his video series titled FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY which advocates getting out of, and staying out of debt; using credit cards sparingly, if at all. His ideas were being promoted well before last fall's financial meltdown. Most of the video series is promoted and used in church settings.
 
At the conclusion of his presentation, Ramsey gave three tips which contribute to our happiness:  no matter if you have a job or not; no matter if things are going the way you would like or not:
 
1) Get up! Take action! Do something! Sure times are tough, but the best chance for success is:  YOU!! You can't wait for anyone else to fix your life....not the government, not the lawsuit, not the lottery! Activity will help you overcome, achieve, arrive at your desired destination. It is an ATTITUDE! We struggle without HOPE; give HOPE a chance!!
 
2) Do NOT participate in LOSER TALK! Look for "non-loser' people. Be careful what you read and listen to; be careful not to be around loser people, help them yes, but don't  emulate them or hang out extended periods of time with them!
 
3) Learn to GIVE again! Find someone with needs and meet them! Americans are the most giving people in the world. If you normally give, give extra.......and it might not be money! Give your time to something in an area about which you care the most. If we all band together and give.....people, churches, organizations........we could outgive the government........our hope comes not from Washington D.C. nor our state houses.. We need to get our eyes off ourselves, find some way to give, so we get our hope back. Our hope and our help come from Jesus, who bought it with His nail-scarred hands. No matter what happens to us, we have hope, we have help, and we have a great future. Our job is to pass it along.
Printable Issue 1558  Today is Wednesday, April 29th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1558
From Max Lucado's book "The Applause of Heaven":
 
You Are One-of-a-Kind
 
"In my closet hangs a sweater that I seldom wear. It is too small. The sleeves are too short, the shoulders too tight. Some of the buttons are missing, and the thread is frazzled...Logic says I should clear out the space and get rid of the sweater.
 
"That's what logic says.
 
"But love won't let me.
 
"Something unique about that sweater makes me keep it. What is unusual about it?....
 
"It's the creation of a devoted mother expressing her love, replaced. Each strand was chosen with care. Each thread was selected with affection.
 
"And though the sweater has lost all of its use, it has lost none of its value. It is valuable not because of its function, but because of its maker.
 
"That must have been what the Psalm writer had in mind when he wrote, 'you knit me together in my mother's womb.'
 
"Think on those words. You were knitted together. You weren't an accident. You weren't mass-produced. You aren't an assembly-line product.
 
"You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the earth by the Master Craftsman.....
 
"In a society that has little room for second fiddles, that's the good news......... In a system that ranks the value of a human by the figures of his salary or the shape of her legs.....let me tell you something: Jesus' plan is a reason for joy!"
Printable Issue 1559  Today is Thursday, April 30th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1559
Yesterday's Karen's Korner by Max Lucado prompted this emailed response from a Karen's Korner reader. This pass-along is also by Lucado, taken from "His Name is Jesus":
 

He Did It Just For You

When God entered time and became a man, he who was boundless became bound. Imprisoned in flesh. Restricted by weary-prone muscles and eyelids. For more than three decades, his once limitless reach would be limited to the stretch of an arm, his speed checked to the pace of human feet.

I wonder, was he ever tempted to reclaim his boundlessness? In the middle of a long trip, did he ever consider transporting himself to the next city? When the rain chilled his bones, was he tempted to change the weather? When the heat parched his lips, did he give thought to popping over to the Caribbean for some refreshment?

If ever he entertained such thoughts, he never gave in to them. Not once. Stop and think about this. Not once did Christ use his supernatural powers for personal comfort. With one word he could've transformed the hard earth into a soft bed, but he didn't. With a wave of his hand, he could've boomeranged the spit of his accusers back into their faces, but he didn't. With an arch of his brow, he could've paralyzed the hand of the soldier as he braided the crown of thorns. But he didn't.

Want to know the coolest thing about the coming?

Not that he, in an instant, went from needing nothing to needing air, food, a tub of hot water and salts for his tired feet, and, more than anything, needing somebody--anybody--who was more concerned about where he would spend eternity than where he would spend Friday's paycheck.

Not that he kept his cool while the dozen best friends he ever had felt the heat and got out of the kitchen. Or that he gave no command to the angels who begged, "Just give the nod, Lord. One word and these demons will be deviled eggs."

Not that he refused to defend himself when blamed for every sin since Adam. Or that he stood silent as a million guilty verdicts echoed in the tribunal of heaven and the giver of light was left in the chill of a sinner's night.

Not even that after three days in a dark hole he stepped into the Easter sunrise with a smile and a swagger and a question for lowly Lucifer--"Is that your best punch?"

That was cool, incredibly cool.

But want to know the coolest thing about the One who gave up the crown of heaven for a crown of thorns?

He did it for you. Just for you.