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September 2014 Archives

Printable Issue 2891  Today is Monday, September 1st, 2014; Karen's Korner #2891

My sister gave me a clipping from one of those magazine inserts in newspaper, with this thought, "I think this one would make a good Karen's Korner.

So here it is as we celebrate Labor Day; in part:

DRIFTING TOWARD HOPE

Written by Vinh Chung

More than 30 years ago, Chung and his family were refugees seeking a better life in the U.S. But it wasn't until he returned to Vietnam that he understood what it means to be an American.

He and his family, along with 83 other refugees lay 'half-dead' in a fishing boat after fleeing their native country. On the sixth day at sea, a miracle happened for all of them as a World Vision aid ship plucked them out of their boat. They were taken to Singapore, and then to a Lutheran Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas to meet their sponsoring family.

According to Chung, "we arrived with nothing, unable to speak a word of English. My father went to work in a fiber-glass factory earning $90 a week to support our family of 10." The family's time was divided between school, work and church. Together, he and his siblings hold six doctorates and five master's degrees from such schools as Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, University of Pennsylvania, and NYU.

It was while Chung was in medical school in 2002 that he returned for the first time to visit relatives who still reside there. He was shocked by the poverty. He writes, "In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said, 'When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. (12:48).' I used to wonder who Jesus meant, because I sure didn't think it was my family. The way I saw it, we had been give nothing, entrusted with nothing."

It was while Chung was in Vietnam that he finally understood. He (his family) was plucked out of the South China Sea; he was granted asylum in a nation where education is available to everyone, with prosperity attainable for anyone. "While I worked hard to get to where I am today," he wrote, "the humbling truth was possible because of a blessing I did nothing to deserve. And that blessing is something I must pass on, in any way I can."

He concluded, "My story is true for all of us, whether you arrived in this country by boat or by birth:  Much has been give to us------and much is required. That, I believe, is what it means to be an American."

****** 

Printable Issue 2892  Today is Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014; Karen's Korner #2892

First day after Labor Day; first day of the new school year for some students. At any rate, beginning of a new school year for school children everywhere.

And we stay Jesus' children all during this life:


JESUS BLESSES LITTLE CHILDREN

"Once when some mothers were bringing their children to Jesus to bless them, the disciples shooed them away, telling them not to bother him.

"But when Jesus saw what was happening he was very displeased with his disciples, and said to them, 'Let the children come to me, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as they. Don't send them away! I tell you as seriously as I know how that anyone who refuses to come to God as a little child will never be allowed into his Kingdom.;

"Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them."

*

Bible Commentary:  "Jesus was criticized for spending too much time with the wrong people---children, sinners, tax collectors. Some including the disciples thought Jesus should be spending more time with important leaders and the devout, because this was the way to improve his position and avoid criticism. But Jesus didn't need to improve his position. He was God and he wanted to speak to those who needed him more."

***


Printable Issue 2893  Today is Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014; Karen's Korner #2893

Do we ever get weary of things that are happening in in our daily lives? Broken relationships? Not enough money? Neighbors against neighbors? Ever at odds with governments, local and farther away? If that is all good in our personal lives, chances are pretty good we don't like some of the headlines in the world news.

Here is today's Anne Graham Lotz daily inspirational thought email, as she talks about what is coming in the future for followers of Jesus Christ and what is coming in the future for believers:


STREETS OF GOLD

"The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass."

~ Revelation 21:21 NIV

"The street of our heavenly home are not only made of pure gold but, amazingly and almost incomprehensively, they are also described as being as transparent as glass. Surely gold that is polished until it looks like transparent glass would function as a mirror.

"The Bible tell us that when we get to Heaven all of our sins and flaws will fall away, and we will be like Jesus. With our unique personalities and characteristics, every single one of us is going to perfectly reflect the character of Christ. And as we walk on streets that reflect like mirrors, every step we take and every move we make is going to bring glory to Him.

***





Printable Issue 2894  Today is Thursday, September 4th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2894

One single sentence, a short verse from Proverbs; it is talking about 'unjust' leaders. We don't have to watch the news very long to know that there are some 'not-so-nice' leaders around the world. But the Bible commentary isn't talking just about leaders of countries, it also talks about us who lead -- someone, anyone:

"The unjust tyrant will reap disaster and his reign of terror shall end."

~ Proverbs 22:8 LAB

*

Bible Commentary:  "Sometimes God intervenes and directly destroys tyrants. More often, he uses other rulers to overthrow them or their oppressed people to rebel against them. This proverb is a message of hope to people who must live and work under unjust authoritarian leaders. It is also a warning to those who enjoy ruling with an iron hand. If you are in a position of authority at church, work, or home, remember what happens to tyrants. Leadership through kindness is more effective and longer lasting than leadership by force."

***


Printable Issue 2895  Today is Friday, September 5th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2895

A dose of Max Lucado for the morning, as we wander into the weekend:

GOD GIVES HOPE

"My grandmother canned her own peach preserves and stored them in an underground cellar. It was a deep hole with wooden steps and a musty smell. As a youngster, I'd climb in, close the door and see how long I could last in the darkness. Not even a slit of light entered that underground hole. I'd sit listening to my breath and heartbeats, until I couldn't take it anymore. Then I would race up the stairs and throw open the door! Light would avalanche into the cellar. What a change! Moments before I couldn't see anything--then, all of a sudden I could see everything!

"Just as light poured into the cellar, God's hope pours into your world. Upon the sick, He shines the ray of healing. To the confused, He offers the light of Scripture. God gives hope! Your cup overflows with joy---with grace. Shouldn't your heart overflow with gratitude?"

***



Printable Issue 2896  Today is Monday, September 8th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2896

Something from Max Lucado to begin the week:


"My dad repaired oil-field engines for a living and rebuilt car engines for fun. Dad loved machines. But God game him a mechanical moron...a son who couldn't differentiate between a differential and a brake disc. My dad tried to teach me. I tried to learn Honestly, I did.

"Machine anesthetized me. But books fascinated me. What does a mechanic do with a son who loves books? He gives him a library card. Buys him a few volumes for Christmas. Places a lamp by his bed so he can read at night. Pays tuition so his son can study college literature in high school. My dad did that.

"You know what he didn't do? Never one did he say, 'Why can't you be a mechanic like your dad and granddad?' The greatest gift you can give your children is not your riches, but revealing to them their own!"

***

Printable Issue 2897  Today is Tuesday, September 9th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2897

Our Sunday's church sermon looked at the words 'consequences'. One of the definitions I found:  "result or effect of an action or condition".

Seems like we relate consequences to a bad behavior.

The sermon related the 'consequences of seeking God' (we heard Bible verses which went with each, but I didn't jot down all of them!):

SEEKING GOD:

1) Leads to Life (Romans 2);

2) Leads to Forgiveness (II Chronicles 7:14);

3) Leads to Blessings;

4) Leads to Provision (Psalm 34);

5) Leads to Understanding;

6) Leads to Rejoicing (Psalms 40).

We know that 'not seeking God' leads to consequences too; but we didn't look at those on Sunday!

Dear Father God, thank You for Your words and Your promises. Help us as we seek You and look to know you better and better. You have the answers to all of life's problems and celebrations. Thank You for Your many gifts of love and life. Lead and guide us today and every day. In Jesus' Name. Amen.



Printable Issue 2898  Today is Wednesday, September 10th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2898

Something from the book Deuteronomy with Moses speaking:

"'When the Lord your god has brought you into the land he promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and when he has given you great cities full of good things---cities you didn't build, wells you didn't dig, and vineyards and olive trees you didn't plant---and when you have eaten until you can hold no more, then beware lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the land of slavery.

"'When you are full, don't forget to be reverent to him and to serve him and to use his name alone to endorse your promises.'"

~ Deuteronomy 6: 10 - 13

*

Bible Commentary: "Moses warned the people not to forget God when they entered the Promised Land and became prosperous. Prosperity more than poverty, can dull our spiritual vision, because it tends to focus our thoughts on 'more and better' rather than on 'here and now'. Rather than being content with what we have or what God has done, we wish for what might have been or desire what we could have. We then become driven by our need to have more of everything except God. The same thing can happen in the church. Once it becomes successful in terms of numbers, programs, and buildings. It can easily become less sensitive to its need for God. This leads it to concentrate on self-preservation rather than thankfulness and service to God."

***

Printable Issue 2899  Today is Thursday, September 11th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2899

Today is September 11 and who can't recall what happened in 2011. We continue to pray for our world and it safety today and every day.

Here is something for today from Sarah Young and her 365 day of devotional thoughts titled:  "Jesus Calling:  Enjoying Peace in His Presence":


"REJOICE IN ME ALWAYS! No matter what is going on, you can rejoice in your Love-relationship with Me. This is the secret of being content in all circumstances. So many people dream of the day when they will finally be happy:  when they are out of debt, when their children are out of trouble, when they have more leisure time, and so on. While they daydream, their moments are trickling into the ground like precious balm spilling wastefully from overturned bottles.

"Fantasizing about future happiness will never bring fulfillment, because fantasy is unreality. Even though I am invisible, I am far more Real than the world you see around you. My reality is eternal and unchanging. Bring your moments to Me, and I will fill them with vibrant Joy.

"Now is the time to rejoice in My Presence!"

***

Printable Issue 2900  Today is Friday, September 12th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2900

As we move away from the 'memory' (a memory we'd like to erase) of 9/11 and what happened on U.S. soil thirteen years ago, here is what Anne Graham Lotz emailed yesterday to her daily readers:


God's Primary Purpose

"I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

~ Psalm 23:4 NIV

"Trusting God to accomplish His primary purpose through our pain was eloquently expressed by the widow of Todd Beamer. Todd was a passenger on the fateful United Flight 93 when it was hijacked by suicide bombers on September 11, 2001. He and other passengers overpowered the hijackers, thwarting their use of the plane as a flying missile apparently aimed at the very heart of Washington, D.C. But the passengers were unable to prevent the plane from a nosedive crash into a vacant field in Pennsylvania, so September 11, 2001, was the date of Todd Beamer's entrance into heaven.

"Lisa Beamer gave us a snapshot of her faith that is being developed through suffering when she told an interviewer, 'God says, 'I knew on September 10, and I could have stopped it, but I have a plan for greater good than you can ever imagine.' I don't know God's plan, and, honestly, right now I don't like it very much. But I trust that He is true to His promise in Romans 8:28.'

"Thank you, Lisa, for trusting God when you don't understand why!"

***



Printable Issue 2901  Today is Monday, September 15th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2901

One Bible verse from Joshua, talking about 'facing life's challenges'. He was being asked to lead a million people into the Promised Land, taking the reins from Moses who had died.

This is for anyone who is facing a challenge(s) of any kind:

"No one will be able to oppose you as long as you live, for I will be with you just as I was with Moses. I will not abandon you or fail to help you."

~ Joshua 1:5 LAB

*

Bible Commentary:  "Joshua's new job consisted of leading more than a million people into a strange new land and conquering it. What a challenge---even for a man of Joshua's caliber! Every new job is a challenge. Without God it can be frightening. With God it can be a great adventure. Just as God assured Joshua he would be with him, he is with us as we face our new challenges. We may not conquer nations, but every day we face tough situations, difficult people, and temptations. However, God promises that he will never abandon us or fail to help us, regardless of how we feel. By asking God to direct us, as Joshua did, we too can conquer many of life's challenges.

***


Printable Issue 2902  Today is Tuesday, September 16th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2902

Something today from Sarah Young and her "Jesus Calling:  Experiencing Peace in His Presence". She takes her thoughts from three Bible verses:  Isaiah 6:3; I Corinthians 5:17: 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Written as if Jesus is talking with us for today:


"I AM CALLING YOU to a life of thankfulness. I want all your moments to be punctuated with thanksgiving. The basis for your gratitude is My sovereignty. I am the Creator and Controller of the universe. Heaven and earth are filled with My glorious Presence.

"When you criticize or complain, you are acting as if you think YOU could run the world better than I do. From your limited human perspective, it may look as if I'm mismanaging things. But you don't know what I know or see what I see. If I pulled back the curtain to allow you to view heavenly realms, you would understand much more. However, I have designed you to live by faith and not by sight. I lovingly shield you from knowing the future or seeing into the spirit world. Acknowledge My sovereignty by giving thanks in all circumstances.

**

(After I read this today and typed it up, I realized that I had turned over my flip calendar. This is really taken from April 16. Wrong date for September 16; just as relevant!)

Printable Issue 2903  Today is Wednesday, September 17th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2903

I was raised on farm with my parents and four sisters. While we lived in the 'age of tractors', my dad liked the big draft horses. For most of my elementary school years, we owned teams:  Dolly & Bell, then Bonnie & Baldy.

What comes to mind is Bonnie & Baldy. Bonnie, a mare, was the smaller of the twosome and a sorrel. Her larger and stronger counterpart, Baldy, a male, had a lighter coloring. My dad didn't use them much for farming, he'd haul manure into the fields when it was too snow covered for tractors in the spring. Summer time, he'd hitch up the pair for the horse-drawn mower to groom road ditches.

While Baldy was the bigger, when it came time to do something which required the two to really "pull', he'd lean in and then back up. Stronger but not the most effective one. Bonnie, on the other hand, really pulled hard when asked, and she wouldn't quit. Needless to say, because the two didn't always pull together, they didn't always get a lot accomplished.

How often are we asked to 'pull together' on things? Our family? Our local group? Our favorite sporting team? Our school or church? Our various levels of government? Or (you name it)?

Together we can do amazing things! But it takes a 'team' pulling together to get the most accomplished.

Father God, harness us together as we work as 'teams' in various capacities of our lives. Help us to 'pull together' as we work to strengthen our personal lives and Your Kingdom here on earth. We ask that 'Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven." Show us, lead us; just for today. We need You to be the 'driver' of our lives; we ask for Your Power. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 2904  Today is Thursday, September 18th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2904

A couple of thoughts taken from "I Saw The Lord:  A Wake Up Call For Your Heart" by Anne Graham Lotz:


The Title of Chapter Six is:  "JUST SAY YES!"

*

Her introductory thought:

"Reject low living, sight walking, small planning, casual praying, and limited giving---

God has chosen YOU for greatness."

*

The Bible verse she used:

"Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom shall I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go?

"And I said, 'Lord, I'll go! Send me.'"

~ Isaiah 6:8

*

Bible Commentary on this verse:  "The more clearly Isaiah saw God, the more aware he became of his own powerlessness and inadequacy both in terms of moral purity and capability to deliver God's message on his own. The more we know God, the more we will see how impossible it is to do anything of lasting value without Him."

***

Printable Issue 2905  Today is Friday, September 19th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2905

A 'Max Lucado' to take us into the weekend:

HE WILL GIVE YOU REST

"When my daughters were young, I didn't want them to be afraid of the deep end of the pool, so with each I played Shamu, the whale. My daughter would be the trainer. She would pinch her nose, and put her arm around my neck, then down we'd go. Deep, deep, deep until we could touch the bottom of the pool. Then we'd explode, breaking the surface. After several plunges, they realized they had nothing to fear. Why? Because I was with them.

"And when God calls us into the deep valley of death, dare we think He'd abandon us in that moment? Would a father force his child to swim the deep alone? Would God require his child to journey to eternity alone? Absolutely not! He is with you ! In Exodus 33:14 God said to Moses, 'My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest!'"

***

Printable Issue 2906  Today is Monday, September 22nd, 2014; Karen's Korner #2906

"When Jesus arrived In Capernaum, a Roman army captain came and pled with him to come to his house and heal his servant boy who was in bed paralyzed and racked with pain.

"'Yes,' Jesus said, 'I will come and heal him.'"

*

Bible Commentary:  "The Roman army captain could have let many obstacles stand between him and Jesus---pride, doubt, money, language, distance, time, self-sufficiency, power, race. But he didn't. If he did not let these barriers block off his approach to Jesus; we don't need to either."

**

Thank you, Jesus, that You are approachable and care for each one of us. Not because we are worthy, but because You are who You are---loving and caring. We need You to help us, lead us, guide us, show us the way. You are the great I AM. Amen.


Printable Issue 2907  Today is Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014; Karen's Korner #2907

This is today's Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham's daughter) daily inspirational thought. I liked it because of some of the health issues in our family and the international issues swirling around us:

Trees of Righteousness

"That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."

~ Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

*

"When I was growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, every Sunday afternoon, weather permitting, my parents, my sibling, and I would go hiking. Inevitably, our climbs would take us to the ridge where the trees were so enormous we could all hold hands and still not be able to encircle the trunks. When I asked my mother why the trees were so much larger on the ridge than anywhere else, she replied that it was because the winds were the strongest and the storms were the fiercest on the ridge. With nothing to shelter the trees from the full brunt of nature's wrath, they either broke and fell, or they became incredibly strong and resilient.

"God plants you and me in our faith as tender saplings then grows us up into 'trees of righteousness,' using the elements of adversity to make us strong. And He leads us to endure, not just somehow, but triumphantly as choose to praise Him, regardless of the storms swirling within us or the winds howling outside of us."

***




Printable Issue 2908  Today is Wednesday, September 24th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2908

Yesterday's "Jesus Calling:  Enjoying Peace in His Presence" by Sarah Young; written as if Jesus is talking with us and taken from several Bible verses:

"Walk with Me in the freedom of forgiveness. The path we follow together is sometimes steep and slippery. If you carry a burden of guilt on your back, you are more likely to stumble and fall. At your request, I will remove the heavy load from you and bury it at the foot of the cross. When I unburden you, you are undeniably free!

"Stand up straight and tall in My Presence, so that no one can place more burdens on your back. Look into My Face and feel the warmth of My Love-Light shining upon you. It is this unconditional Love that frees you both from your fears and your sins. Spend time basking in the Light of My Presence. As you come to know Me more and more intimately, you grow increasingly free."

*

Psalm 68:19; I John 1:7 - 9; I John 4:18

***

Printable Issue 2909  Today is Thursday, September 25th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2909

Sometimes it is good to go back to the basics of becoming part of God's family. For our first Sunday School class this season, I did I word search for 'God's Love'.

I was shocked to see how few verses came up looking at those two words together. Lots on 'love', but not so much on 'God's Love'. Then it started to dawn in me:  the whole book from start to finish is about His Love.

No wonder it has stood the test of time! Here is a Bible verse, THE Bible verse, which about everyone knows or has heard:


"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. He did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it."

~ John 3:16,17 LAB

*

Bible Commentary:  "The entire gospel comes to focus in this verse. True love is not static or self-centered:  it reaches out and draws others in. God sets the pattern of true love here, the basis for all love relationships---If you love someone dearly, you are willing to give freely to the point of self-sacrifice. God paid dearly with the life of his Son, the highest price he could pay. Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the price for our sins, and then offered us the new life he bought for us. When we share the gospel with others, our love must be like his---willingly giving up our own comfort and security so that others might join us in receiving God's love.

**

Last week's lesson was on POWER:  the Bible is book of power----from start to finish!

It's a pretty good book!


 

Printable Issue 2910  Today is Friday, September 26th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2910

Many times life is more difficult than we can handle on our own. We need extra POWER; God is the only one who can give us more of what we need.

So many verses in the Bible tell us of His Power, and how He shares that power with us, as His Children.

Here's one:

"Do you not know? Have you not heard?

"The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

"He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases power of the weak.

"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 faint."

~ Isaiah 40:28 - 31

*

Bible Commentary:  "Even the strongest people get tired at times, but God's power and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to help and listen. His strength is our source of strength. When you feel all of life crushing you and you cannot go another step, remember that you can call upon God to renew your strength.

We all need regular times to listen to God. Waiting on the Lord is expecting his promised strength to help us rise above life's distractions and difficulties. Listening to God helps us to be prepared for when he speaks to us, to be patient when he asks us to wait, and to expect him to fulfill the promises found in his Word."

***






Printable Issue 2911  Today is Monday, September 29th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2911

This is a good one by Anne Graham Lotz; putting into perspective 'wordly' values vs. 'heavenly' ones. We highly value gold as a commodity worthy of our investing. In heaven, it's road material:

HEAVENLY ASPHALT

"The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass."

~ Revelation 21:21 NIV

"If the apostle John hasn't already conveyed to us that My Father's House is spectacular, his description of the street surely does. But I wonder if there is a subtle message to us contained in his description- a message that my wise mother, with her characteristic humor, pointed out to me when she dryly exclaimed that you can tell what God thinks of gold because He paves the street of heaven with it! Gold is really just heavenly asphalt!! In other words, there are many things down here on earth that we give a top priority to, which in eternity will be inconsequential and insignificant.

"It's sobering to contemplate how much time, effort, sacrifice, compromise, and attention we give to acquiring and increasing our supply of something that is totally insignificant in eternity. What are your priorities? As you live them out, will they have eternal value and significance?:"

**

Printable Issue 2912  Today is Tuesday, September 30th, 2014; Karen's Korner #2912

This is one more day 'that the Lord has made' and 'we will rejoice and be glad in it' (Psalm 118:24). Every day is a day to rejoice, regardless what anyone is doing or going through.

Our family continues to struggle with Jim's health issues. But we have reason to celebrate! One of those was Saturday when we celebrated our 45th anniversary! With his heart troubles over the years, that number could have been much smaller.

A huge surprise for 'our day' was when our 'Australian daughter' Karen, with the help of our daughter Jamie, made her way from United Kingdom where her husband is working for a year, to Clarion! What a blessing she was and is to our family. She stayed with us as a Lions Club exchange student while still in high school, 23 years ago. And we have stayed in contact ever since.

Life and love can be wonderful, despite of some circumstances!

**

A couple of Proverbs to set the stage of the day:

"The common bond of rebels is their guilt. The common bond of godly people is good will."

~ Proverbs 14:9

*

"The backslider gets bored with himself; the godly man's life is exciting."

~ Proverbs 14:14

*
"The Lord is watching everywhere and keeps his eye on both the evil and the good."

~ Proverbs 15:3

***