March 2012 Archives
Today is Tuesday, March 6th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2267|
Back after parts of ten days away!
Front of our church bulletin for Sunday, February 26:
Greater Than All Our Sin
"Grace multiplied even more."
~ Romans 5:20
Grace, Grace, God's Grace.
Grace that will pardon and
Cleanse within; Grace, Grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Today is Wednesday, March 7th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2268|
"And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers
that are here today and gone tomorrow,
won't He more surely care for you,
O men of little faith."
~ Matthew 6:30 LB
As Karen's Korner readers know, Jim and I have been gone.
We traveled to the southeast United States for the past ten days. We were going to leave on Sunday after church and Sunday School, heading for New Orleans. Then we were going to follow the gulf coast to northern Florida, before turning for home.
We began to watch the weather forecasts on the Weather Channel. What would our trip look like, weatherwise?
It was going to be nice in Louisiana for a couple of more days; then it would begin to rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. The days we would be there.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday would be nice in New Orleans, the weather forecasters predicted. Just in time for us to move east.
Guess which direction the weather was going to more? East, and follow us for those next three or four days. That would mean a week of rainy weather!
But the sun was shining on Sunday and it was supposed to be nice on Monday. So I decided to not spoil what was coming, and enjoy the days as they came.
Guess what happened? No rain on Wednesday or Thursday in New Orleans. In fact, it was sunny and hot! We set temperature records for those dates, topping 83 degrees! (Our hot down there and your cold here in the midwest, helped to cause all of the tornadoes when the weather fronts collided.)
The nice days followed us on Thursday and Friday. We spent one rainy day on Saturday, when it really rained all day! Then we had nice weather on Sunday and Monday, concluding our trip home in the sunshine yesterday (Tuesday).
I sure was happy that I didn't spoil the days which were coming, thinking about what was ahead, based on forecasts.
I began to wonder how much of our lives (I know I do it!), thinking about what might be; what could be. And not enjoying the 'sunshine' which we have today!
And the 'rainy days' which do come along now and then, are do-able.......and, many times, don't last very long!
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for Your love and care, every day! Thank You that You enjoy blessing us as Your Children. We know, too, that You give us one day at a time, so that we can enjoy, and live through, both the sunshine and the rain! Bless us again today, God; we bless Your Holy Name. Amen.
Today is Thursday, March 8th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2269|
It's a easy to see why Max Lucado is a popular Christian writer; he has the ability to speak a language a reader can easily understand. From Max:
A Compassionate God
"He comforts us every time we
have trouble, so when others have trouble,
we can comfort them."
~ 2 Corinthians 1:4
My child’s feelings are hurt. I tell her she’s special.
My child is afraid. I won’t go to sleep until she is secure.
I’m not a hero .… I’m a parent. When a child hurts, a parent does what comes naturally. He helps.…
Why don’t I let my Father do for me what I am more than willing to do for my own children?
Being a father is teaching me that when I am criticized, injured, or afraid, there is a Father who is ready to comfort me. There is a Father who will hold me until I’m better, help me until I can live with the hurt, and who won’t go to sleep when I’m afraid of waking up and seeing the dark.
Today is Friday, March 9th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2270|
Something emailed to me yesterday by my cousin Glenys. It is a pass along, just in time for Lent. Most people think of this time as an opportunity to 'give up something". Here is a good idea of something to give up:
Eliminating Negative Thinking
“Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found."
- Psalm 10:15
Written By Jim Coleman
Years ago, my friend and beloved pastor, Dr. Robert H. Schuller, created a wonderful acrostic for the word LENT…"Let’s Eliminate Negative Thinking".
Yes, Dr. Schuller founded the positive movement known the world over as “Possibility Thinking.” He positively saw negative thinking as a wicked evil. He espoused frequently that “nothing is impossible” (Matthew 19:26), saying many, many times, “When faced with a seemingly impossible obstacle or situation…to resolve it by ‘possibilitizing’…by saying to yourself, ‘It might be possible IF…and, it might be possible WHEN…’” Dr. Schuller spent his entire career as a pastor, a speaker, and a motivator to millions of persons around the world, always encouraging them to eliminate negative thinking…until it no longer even enters into your daily thought process.
Is it possible to “break the arm” of negative thinking in your mind to such an extent that you can “find none” anymore? I do not know. But, I do know this: I have nothing (but negative thinking) to lose by trying!
* * *
Prayer: Lord God…I am wonderfully made. And, I want to believe this - that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Guide me to become more of a positive thinker…to Your greater glory. Amen.
* * *
Today is Monday, March 12th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2271|
The middle of January, fourteen Wright County residents traveled to Haiti as part of a Medical Mission team. They were gone for one week and worked together under the umbrella of three Catholic Churches from our county.
Among other activities, the troupe conducted six medical clinics, where they treated more than 1,000 people.
I had the privilege of interviewing a portion of the team for a human interest story, published in a local daily newspaper, the Fort Dodge Messenger.
A couple of the comments stood out for me from the story which told me a lot about the Haitian people.
One of the three physicians who traveled together was Dr. Mike Whitters. He said one lady with AIDS was brought to them in a wheel barrow. "She was so sick," he said. "They knew we are Americans, but we can't always help. We did had the opportunity to pray over her, asking God for His care and her peace."
And how much did the Haitian people appreciate what was being done for them?
Since the team from Wright County was in Haiti for one week, they had the opportunity to attend a Catholic mass on Sunday morning. Local nurse Monica Staudt said, "The people brought to us a black goat and two chickens as a gift, to pay for what we had done for them." She said the animals were left for use by their Catholic school, but was much appreciated by the short-term mission team.
The next time you hear someone tell 'what others in the world think about Americans', remember a couple of Haitian people who brought their loved one to a handful of Wright County medical professionals. These people believed that the 'Americans can do anything!'
Remember, too, that Haiti is one of the two poorest countries in the world, yet they felt moved to 'thank these Americans' for what the medical team had done for them by sharing several of their only assets with those who had come to help them! Their generosity was truly amazing! Sharing the little bit of their only worldly possessions with those who were doing for them which they could not do for themselves!
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for generous people in our world. Both people from America willing to share their time and talents with people much less fortunate. And people from Haiti who were willing to show their appreciation and thanks. Both examples of how You want us to live. In the Name of Your Son Jesus, Amen.
Today is Tuesday, March 13th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2272|
We sometimes read in the Bible about people who worshipped 'idols': things made out of wood or stone. We ask ourselves, "Do we worship such things?" Maybe nothing like that comes to mind. Here is an 'idol check' listed in my Life Application Bible:
Isaiah tells us,
"What fools they are who manufacture idols for their gods.
Their hopes remain unanswered" (Isaiah 44:9)
We think of idols as statues of wood or stone,
but in reality an idol is anything natural
that is given sacred value and power.
If your answer to any of the following questions
is anything to any of the following questions
is anything or anyone other than God,
you may need to check out who or what you are
* Who created me?
* Whom do I ultimately trust?
* Whom do I look to for ultimate truth?
* Who do I look to for security and happiness?
* Who is in charge of my future?
Today is Wednesday, March 14th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2273|
Something forward to me by a school friend Cindy Schubert; an emailed devotional:
*"All things work for the good..."*
by Bill Cotton
"We know that all things work together for the good for those who love God.."
Well now! Are we that confident? Paul was sitting in prison waiting to die when he spoke these words. These are not easy words for me to say. I am more inclined to ask: "Why do the innocent suffer? Why do the beautiful weep? What is God's way with us humans?"
I know something about suffering. I watched my spouse over a period of eight hellish years slowly lose her mind--she simply went away--became nothing. As hard as I tried, I could not put a pretty face on such evil, and out of all of that I still have questions.
But, life goes on. We might say that Paul had an unshakable faith because as one untimely born, he met the risen Christ. (See First Corinthians 15).
For me, I met someone who taught me to think about life in a different way. First, I was reminded that we are continually thinking. We think something like 90,000 thoughts in a 24 hour day. (I didn't count them). And we cannot remember the last three or four thoughts that we had.
But, we make up our thoughts. And we decide they are real. But they are simply thoughts. If we made them up, we can also rid ourselves of them. And we do not have to act on every thought that we have. So I decided that life is good despite the bad stuff.
I know. It's just a thought. But I choose to live in the present rather than in the past. (The past is where our thoughts remain.).
And do you know what? Life really is good. I even chose to believe that we are each one, safe in the arms of Jesus,
and nothing in this world or the next can change that - not life or death; things present or things past; neither heights or depths; nor anything in all creation can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And this is the thought that keeps my soul alive.
How about you?
Today is Thursday, March 15th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2274|
Several unrelated thoughts for the day:
'Quotable Quotes' from the April 'Reader's Digest':
'Do your little bit of good where you are';
it is those little bits of good
that overwhelms the world.'
~ Desmond Tutu
"I swear that ten minutes talking with my dog
makes me feel better
than forty-five with my therapist."
~ Author Richard Yanney
Two things we saw while on vacation in the southern United States:
At the bottom of some of the Kentucky license plates:
IN GOD WE TRUST
Now and then across Louisiana, most near New Orleans,
we would see pink background billboards
and huge letters (no radio station call letters; no reference to a sponsoring group);
GOD BLESS LOUISIANA
Have you noticed the harder we try to put God in a box
in our world,
He has a way of not staying there?!!
"Are you so ignorant?
Are you so deaf to the words of God -
the words he gave before the world began?
Have you never heard nor understood?
It is God who sits above the circle of the earth."
~ Isaiah 40:21, 22a
In my notes in the margin of my Bible, heard from someone in a Bible study one time:
"This part of the Bible was written before anyone believed the world was round;
they believed the world was flat!"
Today is Friday, March 16th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2275|
A couple more great thoughts from Max Lucado:
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
God cares for you! So much so, he’s got the hairs on your head numbered.
Why did he grow weary in Samaria (John 4:6), disturbed in Nazareth (Mark 6:6), and angry in the Temple (John 2:15)? Why was he sleepy in the boat on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:38), sad at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35), and hungry in the wilderness (Matt. 4:2)?
Why? Why did he endure all these feelings? Because he knew you would feel them too.
He knew you would be weary, disturbed, and angry. He knew you’d be sleepy, grief-stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul … pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst—a thirst for truth. And the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is—he understands.
And because he understands, you can come to him.
Doubt—An Unwanted Visitor
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
~~ Hebrews 10:23
Doubt. He’s a lousy neighbor. An unwanted visitor. An obnoxious guest. And he’ll pester you. He’ll irritate you. He’ll criticize your judgment.
His aim is not to convince you, but to confuse you. He doesn’t offer solutions. Doubt only raises questions.
Had any visit from this fellow lately? If you find yourself going to church in order to be saved and not because you’re saved, then you’ve been listening to him.
If you find yourself doubting that God could forgive you again for that, you’ve been sold some snake oil.
If you’re more cynical about Christians than sincere about Christ, then guess who came to dinner?
I suggest you put a lock on your gate. I suggest you post a “Do not enter” sign on your door! Say no to doubt.
Today is Monday, March 19th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2276|
Something written and forwarded to me several years ago by Shirley Choat (in part). Good thoughts during Lent season and as we head to spring:
"This is the day the LORD hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24
Every farmer and gardener knows from personal experience what happens when you plant a single seed in the ground. The seed gives life to a new plant, which, in turn, produces many more seeds. But in order to give life to the plant, the seed itself first has to die. And so it was with our Savior. His death was the necessary prerequisite for life; eternal life.
Following the analogy of the seed, Jesus knew that His death would bring about a rich harvest, not only among His fellow countrymen, but also among the Gentiles.
By God's grace, we too, are privileged to be a part of that spiritual harvest of souls. We, too, have been called by the Holy Spirit as servants of Christ who want to follow our Savior through this life and into eternal life. In order to do so, Jesus reminds us that we need to give Him first place in our hearts and lives. Since Jesus willingly died for us, we now willingly live our lives for Him. "To hate one's life in this world" doesn't mean that we are to despise the many blessings God has given us in this world.
But we do need to keep things in their proper perspective. If we want to follow Jesus, then nothing in this world should be allowed to hold first place in our hearts. There is no possibility of a loyalty divided between Jesus and anyone or anything else. If we are to follow Him into eternal life, then we must be totally committed to Him in this life.
Everyone who trusts in Christ and follows Him in this life will be honored by His heavenly Father with the gift of eternal life. We must be so committed to our Savior that we determine to live for Christ and die to self.
I'll go where You want me to go, dear LORD,
Over mountain, plain or sea;
I'll say what You want me to say, dear LORD,
I'll be what You want me to be.
PRAY - Almighty and eternal God, because it was Your will that Your Son should bear the pains of the cross for us and thus remove from us the power of the adversary, help us so to remember and give thanks for our LORD'S passion that we may receive remission of sins and redemption from everlasting death; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our LORD, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Today is Tuesday, March 20th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2277|
A number of years ago I wrote my favorite Bible verses on some index cards; hadn't looked at them for quite awhile until a couple of days ago.
Here are a few Psalms verses for you to enjoy; they are either praises to God or comfort to you and me:
"Happy are those who do not follow
the example of evil men,
who reject the advice of sinners,
or scoff at the things of God."
~ Psalm 1:1
"But of the joys of those who put
their trust in Him!"
~ Psalm 2:12B
"For salvation comes from God.
What joys He gives to all His people."
~ Psalm 3:8B
"Heart, body, and soul are
filled with joy!"
~ Psalm 16:9
"Now it is in Your strength
I can scale any wall,
attack any troop."
~ Psalm 18:29
"Lord, I am overflowing with your blessings,
just as you promised."
~ Psalm 19:65
"In your day of trouble,
may the Lord be with you!"
~ Psalm 20:1
Today is Wednesday, March 21st, 2012; Karen's Korner #2278|
"He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills."
~ Psalm 147:8 NIV
What a nice winter we had to live through here in Iowa! Very little snow. Not much to shovel. Drive in. Slip and slide on when we walk.
And as we head into and arrive at spring, we have had record-breaking high temperatures for this time of year here and across the United States.
But with the lack of snow comes the concerns about maybe not enough water and moisture in our soils as we move into the growing season.
And then came the last few days. Here comes some much needed spring rains! Some of it came often. Some of it came fast. But water our parched earth it did!
As I saw it come. Walked in it. I can't help but thank God for once again taking care of our daily needs!
Do we deserve His generous watering? No, like everything else He gives to us. We don't deserve much or anything of what He gives. But the blessings keep on coming from His wonderful and caring hand.
Do we have to worry about our future? And what is coming tomorrow? No, because He has always taken care of us in the past....today and tomorrow are no different. Will we need more water and rain before our crops are harvest? Yes, we will. But God will take of those needs as well.
Dear God in Heaven, we collectively thank You for taking such good care of us. Thank You for both the sunshine and the rain. Thank You that You know what we need and bless us so much. We have more blessings than we can count! We bless Your Holy Name. Amen.
Today is Thursday, March 22nd, 2012; Karen's Korner #2279|
"Who has done such mighty deeds,
directing the affairs of generations of mankind
as they march by?
It is I,
the First and Last;
I alone am he."
~ Isaiah 41:4
Bible Commentary: "Each generation gets caught up in its own problems, but God's plan embraces all generations. When your great-grandparents lived, God worked personally in the lives of the people. When your great-grandchildren live, God will still work personally in the lives of his people. He is the only One who sees as clearly a hundred years from now as he saw a hundred years ago. When you are concerned about the future, talk with God, who knows the generations of the future as well as he knows the generations of the past."
Today is Friday, March 23rd, 2012; Karen's Korner #2280|
This week was spring break for our daughter Jamie's two school-aged children.
Lots of opportunities to cross things off their 'to do' list.
On Sunday, eight-year-old Luke packed his bag to spend a couple of days with his Grandma and Grandpa Champion. They have a several acre wooded area plus a ravine. All waiting for a young boy to spend some of his time.
Molly decided to ride along. It was time for her to spend some 'dad-daughter' bonding time. The six-year-old and dad went to the movie "The Lorax" before returning home.
Not to be outdone four-year-old Noah said to his mom, "Mom, I want to spend some time with you. Sitting on the couch and cuddling. Watching a cartoon. Because I love you so much!"
Guess where Noah and Jamie spent the next hour plus?
When was the last time you said to God, "Can I spend some time with You? I need to sit on Your lap and cuddle for a little while. Because I love You so much?"
And if Jamie couldn't deny Noah's humble little request, I doubt Our Heavenly Father who loves us more, than Jamie as an earthly mother, would turn us down either.
So just for a few minutes today: cuddle up!
Today is Monday, March 26th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2281|
Our family learned some good news on Saturday morning.
I called Jim's cousin's daughter and son-in-law in North Carolina. We had watched one of the NCAA basketball games with them last year when we traveled to that part of the United States, so I wanted to check out the North Carolina teams with Barb and Tom Zeiko's spin on the basketball tournament.
I also wanted to learn how Barb's health was coming. A number of months ago she was diagnosed with acute leukemia...bad one!
After a little bit of 'basketball talk', I learned that Barb was in the hospital.
"But we have some good news and she's getting better!" said Tom.
Several weeks ago, doctors had told her a bone marrow transplant would offer her a second chance to good health. So a match was sought. "There are ten points for someone to be a perfect match," said Tom, "and Tom (Clark, Barb's brother) was a match at all ten points!" Brother Tom traveled from his home in Michigan and gave his sister, her much needed 'not diseased' bone marrow.
"What she is going through right now is the side effects of the procedure," said Tom. "They had to kill off Barb's bone cells, for her to get the new, good ones. Because of that she was told to expect some problems with her immune system. Which happened. Now she is getting better. Right on schedule!"
Great news! A need! A match! Now a chance for a restored life!
Their story makes me think of all of us: we have 'acute leukemia's; . death is imminent. But! Jesus has the blood cells we need! He is our perfect match! He wants to 'kill our bad cells' and give us His eternal, live giving 'good cells'. We need the procedure. Do we say 'yes'?
We know in the physical world, we would always say 'yes', but what about the spiritual world? Just as important, maybe more so. This one lasts forever!
Dear Jesus, thank You for the gift You have given to the Clark and Zeiko families. Thank You for the promise of the gift You present to each of us. Thank You for giving us life and life eternal. We accept Your life blood, as a 'cure' for our 'diseases'. We want Your Life, a Life that last forever. Thank You. Amen.
Today is Tuesday, March 27th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2282|
"Listen to me,
all you people.....
The Lord says,
'Don't be afraid!
Don't be paralyzed.....
For the battle is not yours, but God's!'"
~2 Chronicles 20:15 (LB, in part)
Written as the enemy bore down on Judah,
God spoke, "Don't be afraid. The battle is not yours, but God's."
We may not fight an enemy army,
but every day we battle temptation,
and 'wicked spirits in the spirit world (Ephesians 6:12)
who want us to rebel against God.
We must remember that, as believers,
we have God's Spirit in us.
If we ask God's help when we face struggles,
God will fight for us!
How do we let God fight for us?
1) By realizing the fight is not ours, but God's;
2) By recognizing human limitations and allowing
God's strength and power to work through our fears and weaknesses;
3) By making sure our battle is for God and not our selfish desires;
4) By asking God for help in our daily battles.
Today is Wednesday, March 28th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2283|
A couple of thoughts from author Max Lucado:
Jesus Came to Serve
Don’t focus so much on what you love to do that you neglect what needs to be done. A 3:00 AM diaper change fits in very few sweet spots! Visiting your sick neighbor might not come naturally to you. Still, the sick need to be encouraged, garages need sweeping, and diapers need changing.
The world needs servants. People like Jesus, who “did not come to be served, but to serve.” Jesus chose remote Nazareth over center-stage Jerusalem, his dad’s carpentry shop over a marble-columned palace, and three decades of anonymity over a life of popularity. Jesus selected prayer over sleep, the wilderness over the Jordan.
I’d have gone with angels. I’d have built my apostle team out of Gabriel and Michael. Not Jesus. He picked people! When they feared the storm, he stilled it. When they had no food for the multitude, he provided it.
Jesus came to serve! So should we.
No Normal Friday
“The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself.” John 10:11, The Message
God is on a cross. The creator of the universe is being executed.
Spit and blood are caked to his cheeks, and his lips are cracked and swollen.
Thorns rip his scalp. His lungs scream with pain. His legs knot with cramps . . .
And there is no one to save him, for he is sacrificing himself.
It is no normal six hours . . . it is no normal Friday.
Today is Thursday, March 29th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2284|
This information was taken from teacher notes, "THE STORY" which our church is currently studying.
It is not fact, nor Biblical but it could shed some light on how we happen to dye Easter eggs. Might be fun to retell the 'legend' to children or grandchildren as you color Easter eggs together and as we tie the event back to Jesus:
"Legend has it that the coloring of Easter eggs
originated from Mary of Magdala
who presumably brought eggs with the other women
at the tomb of Christ.
When she saw the Lord,
the eggs in her basket turned bright red.
Thus, the true meaning of dyeing eggs
is to show the miraculous transformation
of the whole world by the
resurrection of Christ."
Today is Friday, March 30th, 2012; Karen's Korner #2285|
As we look ahead to Easter week with Palm Sunday coming this Sunday, Karen's Korner today is taken from a one-week booklet published by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and written by Billy Graham. The booklet is titled "Victory" and features eight daily writings, taking in Palm Sunday to Easter. Each of the writings for the eight days tell readers to read several verses from the chapter of I Corinthians 15 (you might want to read that chapter some time during Easter week). Today's is verses 1 - 10.
This writing is Palm Sunday's entry:
"When I picture Jesus Christ dying on the cross, I see the free gift of God's grace in Christ reconciling to Himself all those who believe and repent. Grace occurs when something we don't deserve is given to us freely. It is the free gift of God to needy men and women. Paul said, 'God made him (Christ) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God' (I Corinthians 5:21). When Christ bore our sin on the cross, He created a value of grace and righteousness that changes the lives of men and women, and it still works today!
"The truth 'that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures' (I Corinthians 15:3), and that truth alone, has relevance to mankind today. That is because there is saving power in Christ's cross to transform any life and to change the world.
"How has the gift of God's grace changed your life?
Will you share your story this week
so that someone you know can be made
alive in Christ?"