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January 2015 Archives

Printable Issue 2974  Today is Thursday, January 1st, 2015; Karen's Korner #2974

Happy New Year!

 Something written by Henry & Richard Blackaby; I don't know the writers, but I like what they say to start 2015:

"Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth...

I  will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

~ Isaiah 43:19

*

"God uses events in our lives to shape us, to teach us, to grow us --- and some of the key events are those sparked by sin (our own or those sinning against us), by our missteps, by our confusion. Memories of the past, therefore, can too easily feel like shackles holding us to failures, regrets, ignorance, foolishness, and sin.

"However, God doesn't want us bound to our past.

"When God saves us from the death we deserve for our sin, He frees us from the guilt and shame of our former life as well. He gives us a fresh beginning. He frees us to receive every good thing He wants to give us.

"If your past feels like a wilderness, know that God wants to make a road through it, perhaps to help you navigate the difficult years and salvage the good. If your past feels like a desert land of death, know that God will make rivers of redemption flow as He brings beauty out of ashes.

"Embrace the fresh beginning God wants to give you."

***



Printable Issue 2975  Today is Friday, January 2nd, 2015; Karen's Korner #2975

Taken from January's Decision magazine, published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA, in part):


"The movie adaptation of the bestselling book 'Unbroken' ends prior to the Louis Zamprini's conversion to Christ and only hints at his later faith. Directed by Angeline Jolie, 'Unbroken' opened in theatres Christmas Day after a long-awaited run-up.

"Zamperini won fame in the 1936 Olympics as a track athlete. During World War II, he and another airman survived a plane crash at sea and then 47 days in a raft. Zamperini then spent more than two tortuous years as a Japanese war prisoner.

"Angry and tormented after the war, Zamperini numbed himself with alcohol until the day of his conversion in 1949 at a Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles. He spent the rest of his life inspiring Christian hope in young people and others.

"Days before Zamperini's death last summer, Jolie pulled out her laptop and showed him a rough-cut version of the movie from his hospital bed. Jolie and Zamperini had forged a friendship in the months leading up to the filming, causing Jolie to choke back tears as she recalled his grandfatherly way during a later interview with 'Variety' magazine."

*

An inset in the article says, "BGEA has produced a new program, 'Louis Samperini:  Captured by Grace', which tells of Zamperini's conversion to Christ. Go to billygraham.tv to watch online. Or receive a DVD copy for a donation to BGEA through February 1, while supplies last:  billygraham.org/unbroken."

***


Printable Issue 2976  Today is Monday, January 5th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2976

I didn't go to either Sunday School or church yesterday. Due to the weather, Sunday School was cancelled and church was held but with this admonition:  'use caution'. It was still blowing and drifting here at our farm home. I wasn't sure if I could get out nor if I should, so I stayed home.

While that isn't the norm for me, I found it ironic that I read this simple Bible verse this morning, with a Bible commentary reminder for any of us:

"When Jesus came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home,

he went as usual to the synagogue on Saturday....."

~ Luke 4:18

*

Bible Commentary:  "Jesus went to the synagogue 'as usual'. Even though he was the perfect Son of God, and his local synagogue left much to be desired, he attended services every week. His example makes most excuses for not attending church sound weak and self-serving. Make regular worship a part of your (my) life."

***


Printable Issue 2977  Today is Tuesday, January 6th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2977

I'm not good enough!

The first thing I said a number of minutes after we learned Merry had been killed, "Did she ever know how much I loved her?" As I had time to mull that farther, I knew that she could not have know because I didn't!

A couple of months after Jim's death, I was plagued with thoughts of all the ways that I could have been a better wife...........more or less of a number of things.

Finds out that I am 'normal' in the grieving process. In a booklet by Kenneth C. Haugk titled "A Time to Grieve", seems my question of Merry knowing how much I loved her was on the 'list' of questions rattling through people's heads.

And the thought of being and doing better was addressed by Haugk as well:  ".......you're human---not a saint or superhero.....your loved one was also a regular human who struggled with the same kind of limits and weaknesses......you acted as best you could at that given point in time...."

Because of those two lost relationships, I know there is another one coming:  "Do I love God like I could or should?" I want to do a better job but again........I am neither a saint nor a superhero.

Here is something that I received via email yesterday from Max Lucado titled "We're Not Good Enough":

"Simply put -- we are not good enough to go heaven. So what can we do? We could start doing good deeds. Perhaps if we do enough good deeds, they'll offset our bad deeds. The question then becomes how many good deeds? If I spend one year being greedy, how many years should I be generous?

"No one knows the answer to that question. A rule sheet can't be found. A code has not been discovered. Why? Because God doesn't operate this way. God has been so kind to us. We have no way of balancing the scales. All we can do is ask for mercy. And God, because of his kindness, gives it.

"God turned over our sins to His Son. Jesus Christ died for us. He did what we could not do so that we might become what we dare not dream-----citizens of heaven!"

*

Dear Father God in Heaven, thank You so much for loving us and caring for us. We know we don't deserve it but appreciate all you have done and do for us each day. Know that we love You.....even if it isn't good enough. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Printable Issue 2978  Today is Wednesday, January 7th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2978

A couple of tidbits of 'wisdom' form Mother Teresa:

"God is always there.

He never leaves our prayers unanswered."

*

"Today more than ever, we need to pray

for the light to know the will of God,

for the love to accept the will of God,

for the way to do the will of God."

*

"Where God is, there is love;

and where there is love,

there always is an openness to serve."

*

"You who have received so much love share it with others.

Love others the way that God has loved you,

with tenderness."

*

"As Christians, we have been created for great things.

We have been created to be holy

since we have been created in the image of God."

****

Printable Issue 2979  Today is Thursday, January 8th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2979

"'I am giving you the choice today between God's blessing or God's curse!

There will be blessing if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I am giving you today,

and a curse if you refuse them and worship the gods of these other nations.'"

~ Deuteronomy 11:26 - 28 LAB

*

Bible Commentary:  "It is amazing that God offered the Israelites a choice between blessings and curses. It is even more amazing that most of them actually chose the curses through their disobedience. We have the same fundamental choice today. We can live for ourselves or live in service to God. To choose our own way is to travel on a dead-end road, but to choose God is to receive eternal life."

***


Printable Issue 2980  Today is Friday, January 9th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2980

The last several years I have received a small calendar from our 'Australian  foreign exchange daughter Karen and her family for Christmas'. They included notes of plans they had for the year; places where they were traveling, penned in.

This year because they are living and working in the United Kingdom, I got a different one titled, "The Irish Get Up and Go Diary 2015". Along with entry possibilities, it is filled with quotes and cute graphics.

Here are a couple of quotes from January:

"With every rising of the sun,

think of your life as just begun."

~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

*

"Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued,

is always just beyond your grasp,

but which, if you will sit down quietly,

may alight upon you."

~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

*

"If you don't like the road you're walking,

start paving another one."

~ Dolly Parton

*

"When the world says, 'Give up,"

Hope whispers, "Try one more time."

*

(With a cute horse & rider graphic):

"You can lead humans to knowledge

but you cannot make them think."


****




Printable Issue 2981  Today is Monday, January 12th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2981

Today is Danny Schnell's birthday, aka as 'Dan the Can Man'. He's a real 'special' guy in our community, retrieving recyclable bottles and cans in our Clarion area, day in and day out! In his school days, he attended 'special' classes. It's a birthday milestone, but he doesn't want people to know the number!

He faithfully attends our church worship services. Doesn't make any difference whether the songs we sing are on the screen at the front of the church or in the hymnal, Dan doesn't read them. But he sings, sometimes pretty loud. Obviously not the right words, but I'd bet God enjoys it! Because we are told:

"Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs..."

~ Psalms 100:1 (in part)

Some of us with more ability, could take a cue from Danny, and sing with more gusto....even if we aren't gifted singers!

*

Because of Dan's can collection, to celebrate yesterday, we were invited to bring some bottles and cans to church with us. Bagged and ready for Dan to receive 'cans and bottles' as gifts to add to his recycle 'business'.

When I visited a friend in Des Moines nearly two weeks ago, she gave me two big bags of cans to get to Dan. We tossed them in the back end of my pick up. They were stored in heavy-duty garbage bags.

Even though they were heavy and closed with loops at the top of both, the wind pressure on my commute home was too great. They blew up like sails on a sail boat, eventually a couple dozen cans peeked out the top of their secured container. I don't think any bounced out down the highway, but the lightweight cans were vulnerable.

When I got to our farm home and viewed the loose cans, I couldn't help but think about how much an empty pop resembled me and my life....pretty vulnerable to the winds of life. When I am 'bagged together' with a family or church community, I am protected. But there were/are still exposed 'holes'!

As I tied some packing cord around the top, I was reminded that it is Christ who "ties' us all together. I am still a bouncy, empty can. But I/we are protected, loved, cared for and can safely 'ride' down the road of life!

"For He will shield you with His wings!

They will shelter you."

~ Psalms 100:4

***


Printable Issue 2982  Today is Tuesday, January 13th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2982

Sowing the seed of God's message and where it lands:

"The hard path where some seed fell represents the hard hearts of those who hear the words of God, but then the devil comes and steals the words away and prevents people from believing and being saved.

"The stony ground represents those who enjoy listening to sermons, but somehow the message never really gets through to them and doesn't take root and grow. They know the message is true, and sort of believe for awhile; but when the hot winds of persecution blow they lose interest.

"The seed among the thorns represents those who listen and believe God's words, but whose faith afterwards is choked out by worry and riches and the responsibilities and pleasures of life. And so they are never able to help anyone else believe the Good News.

"But the good soil represents honest, good-hearted people. They listen to God's words and cling to them and steadily spread them to others who also soon believe."

~ Luke 8:11 - 15 LAB

*

*Bible Commentary:  "Hard-rock people, like the religious leaders, refused to believe God's message. Stony-ground people, like the crowds who followed Jesus, trusted God, but never got around to doing anything about it. Thistle-patch people, overcome by materialism, left no room in their lives for God. Good-soil people, by contrast to all the other groups, followed no matter what the cost. Which type of soil am I/are you?"

***

Printable Issue 2983  Today is Wednesday, January 14th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2983

A daily writing from my flip calendar written by Sarah Young titled "JESUS CALLING:  Enjoying Peace in His Presence". Young's writings are taken from various Bible verses and written as if Jesus is talking to each reader, from January 13:

"Try to view each day as an adventure, carefully planned out by your Guide. Instead of staring into the day that is ahead of you, attempting to program it according to your will, be attentive to Me and to all I have prepared for you. Thank Me for this day of life, recognizing that it is a precious, unrepeatable gift. Trust that I am with you each moment, whether you sense My Presence or hot. A thankful, trusting attitude helps you to see events in your life from My perspective.

"A life lived close to Me will never be dull or predictable. Expect each day to contain surprises! Resist your tendency to search for the easiest route through the day. Be willing to follow wherever I lead. No matter how steep or treacherous the path before you, the safest place to be is by My side."

Psalm 118:24; Peter 2:21

***

Printable Issue 2984  Today is Thursday, January 15th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2984

I get a couple of daily email devotionals from known writers; got one yesterday and one this morning, both using the same Bible verse.

Lots of verses in the Bible; amazing that both writers picked the same one!

When Bad Things Happen!

"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

~ Romans 8:28 NIV

"Why does God let bad things happen to good people? to innocent people? to children? to me?

"Sometimes His ways seem so hard to understand!

"In Romans 8:28, Paul wrote to reassure believers who lived in a city dominated by Nero, a madman with absolute power. He wrote encouragingly. 'We know that all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.'

"Phrased another way, Paul was reminding the children of God they can be confident that......


* all things work together for good;

* brokenness leads to blessing;

* death lead to life;

* and suffering leads to glory!


So when bad things happen, just trust Him!"


~ Anne Graham Lotz

***




Printable Issue 2985  Today is Friday, January 16th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2985

I always like it when Karen's Korner readers respond to something which I have sent.

Yesterday's was written by Anne Graham Lotz titled "When Bad Things Happen". (If you ever want to look back to any/all Karen's Korners - www.karens-korner.com . The latest 20 are listed on the front page; all others are listed under 'archives'.)

Florine Swanson emailed something she had received yesterday from "Minute Meditations", a quick read:


"We know that we aren't always going to be happy.

Sadness, even tragedy, is going to cross our paths more than once.

But if we strive to be joyful on a daily basis,

we seem to develop reserves upon which we can draw."


**


Printable Issue 2986  Today is Monday, January 19th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2986

Three short thoughts to begin our week:

My sister Jan tells the story of working with another volunteer in Mason City as they work to fill 'backpacks' with food items for needy kids' weekend eating.

"The gal across from me was a single mom with two daughters, ages 19 and 16," Jan said. "Her sixteen-year-old attends a before-school Christian group." Her Christmas list included the typical 'wants' of kids her age, but sandwiched in the middle was a request for a new Bible (Scriptures).

Mom's remark, "We must be doing something right!"

When we question today's youth or the direction some things are going in our culture, remember a sixteen-year-old and her group in Mason City!

*

I take four over-the-counter pills daily, which are supposed to be good for me as I turn the pages of time. Two of the pills are larger ones. Several weeks ago I choked on them as I was gulped a glass of water.

"Break them in two," was the advice of several friends.

That's what I now do. One is easier to break than the other. One is "scored" (indented mark); the other is not. The scored one is the most 'breakable'.

That pill makes me think of our lives:  we need to pay attention where 'the weaknesses' are, so we aren't as 'breakable' when 'harder times come'.

*

Our church sermon yesterday was telling about the importance of Bible reading, attending church, study groups, prayer.

Many times when I do/have felt badly about myself, it seems that God reminds me how much I am LOVED (and there are dozens of Bible verses which tell me that about me and others!) Now and then when I would 'whine' to God about Jim (or someone else in my life), He would gently remind me "that I wasn't so hot myself" (Don't know if there are Bible verses to support that or not). But I would know that it is true!

Living the Christian life remains one of balance:  not thinking too lowly of ourselves; nor overly inflated!

Thank You God for that balance. We can't achieve it on our own!

***

Printable Issue 2987  Today is Tuesday, January 20th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2987

"As Jesus was teaching, the rabbi of the local synagogue came and worshipped him, 'My little daughter has just died,' he said, 'but you can bring her back to life again if you will only come and touch her.'

"When Jesus arrived at the rabbi's home and saw the noisy crowds and heard the funeral music, he said, ' Get them out, for the little girl isn't dead; she is only sleeping!' Then how they all scoffed and sneered at him!

"When the crowd was finally outside, Jesus went in where the little girl was lying and took her by the hand, and she jumped up and was all right again! The report of this wonderful miracle swept the entire countryside."

~ Matthew 9:18, 23 - 26 LAB

*

Bible Commentary:  "The local synagogue rabbi didn't come to Jesus until his daughter was dead---it was too late for anyone else to help. But Jesus simply went to the girl and raised her! In our lives, Christ can make a difference when it seems too late for anyone else to help. He can bring healing to broken marriages, release from addicting habits, and forgiveness and change to scarred lives. If our situation looks hopeless, remember that Christ can do the impossible."

***


Printable Issue 2988  Today is Wednesday, January 21st, 2015; Karen's Korner #2988

ONE LIFE

By Ann Graham Lotz

"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

~ Romans 10:9 NKJV

*

"Today, in a world where the role models are entertainers, athletes, and politicians; many of whom lack morals, integrity and even common decency...in a world where no one seems to stand for anything unless it is to stand for selfish, self-serving rights.....in a world where anything is compromised if it impedes success....in a world where pleasure takes priority over principles...in a world where we care more about public opinion than about what God thinks......in a world where character no longer seems to count....

"In such a world, the testimony of one life lived for Christ is powerful! One life cleansed through faith in the blood of Jesus. One life that confesses, 'Jesus is Lord'. One life that has the courage to stand for godly convictions in the midst of moral compromise. One life that tells the truth. One life that lives the truth. One life that lifts high the Light!

"You can be that one life!"

I can be that one life!

***


Printable Issue 2989  Today is Thursday, January 22nd, 2015; Karen's Korner #2989

A pretty familiar couple of verses in the Bible about the 'good Samaritan':

"Jesus illustration:

'A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road.

"'By chance a Jewish priest came along and when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Jewish Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on.

"'But a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night. The next day he handed the innkeeper two twenty-dollar bills, and told him to take care of the man. 'If his bill runs higher than that,' he said. 'I'll pay the difference the next time I am here.'"

~ Luke 10:30 - 35 LAB

*

Bible Commentary:  "From Jesus' parable we learn three principles about loving our neighbor:  1) lack of love is often easy to justify; 2) our neighbor is anyone of any race or creed or social background, who is in need; 3) love means acting to meet the need. There is no good rationale for refusing to help.

"The story pictures the love Jesus has for us. Like the traveler, we have been wounded and left to die, and we can do nothing to save ourselves. But Jesus came along and took us to a place of healing. Our salvation is His doing, not our own."

***


Printable Issue 2990  Today is Friday, January 23rd, 2015; Karen's Korner #2990

Something from Max Lucado to take us into the weekend:

The Anger of God

"Do not confuse the wrath of God with the wrath of man. The two have little in common. We get ticked off because we've been overlooked, neglected, or cheated. It's the anger of man. God does not get angry because He doesn't get his way. He gets angry because disobedience always results in self-destruction.

"What kind of father sits by and watches his child hurt himself? What kind of God would do the same? Do we think he giggles at adultery? Or snickers at murder? Does he shake his head and say, 'Humans will be humans?' God is rightfully angry. Our sins are an affront to his holiness. Habakkuk 1:13 says, his eyes are 'too good to look at evil, he cannot stand to see those who do wrong.' God is angry at the evil that ruins his children. He cannot be indifferent that his creation is destroyed and his holy will trodden underfoot."

***

Printable Issue 2991  Today is Monday, January 26th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2991

I challenge each Karen's Korner reader to copy the Bible verse and commentary below. Give it to a young person in your life (also good for everyone!). Time to share:


"And He knows the number of hairs on your head!

Never fear, you are far more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows."

~ Luke 12:7 LAB

*

Bible Commentary:  "Our true value is God's estimate of our worth, not our peers. Other people evaluate and categorize us according to how we perform, what we achieve, and how we look. But God's love gives us the real basis of our worth-----we belong to Him."

*****


Printable Issue 2992  Today is Tuesday, January 27th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2992

Yesterday was the day that everything backed up, but maybe the sewer!

We all have them. I had wondered how it might be without Jim to help me act and think; decide.

I got to my computer. Couldn't send or receive any messages; I couldn't even get my email box to open which suspended any contact lists to find phone numbers and mailing addresses!

Went down into the basement to begin washing some clothes. There was some dry brine on the floor near the water softener. Now what!

But then I remembered that God and I had decided this was going to be a good day ("This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24).

No time to be frazzled. Time to rejoice and watch as things began to play out.

Call the company which supplies my computer service. No one answered; left a message.

Where did we buy our water softener and when? I couldn't remember. I called a friend (couldn't email, it wasn't working); she gave me a couple of possibilities. I called two places; one of them was where we had purchased it a number of years ago. They'd send out a repair person to find out what to do.

An hour after I reported about my computer, I could get on-line but my email still didn't work.

After another hour, I got a call. The service tech was able to get my computer back up and running.

I had had to wait and watch and work! But there was nothing to spoil my 'joy' because 'the Lord' had made my day!

Same Lord that wants to make my day today...........and yours!

Time to 'rejoice and be glad in it'!

Printable Issue 2993  Today is Wednesday, January 28th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2993

Several of the 'side bar' sayings from the February/March edition of the OUR IOWA magazine:


"May you never miss a rainbow because you are looking down."

*

"When tillage begins, other arts follow.

The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization."

~ Daniel Webster

*

"I doesn't take strength to hold a grudge.

It takes strength to let go of one."

*

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

*

"A man of courage is always full of faith."

*

"Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble."

*

"If you take care of the moments,

the years will take care of themselves."

*

"To be old and wise,

you first have to be young and stupid."

****

Printable Issue 2994  Today is Thursday, January 29th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2994

Something from Max......Max Lucado:


Be Honest........Honest to God

"Prayer really is simple. Resist the urge to complicate it. Don't take pride in well-crafted prayers. Don't apologize for incoherent prayers. No games. No cover-ups. Just be honest---honest to God.

"Climb into His lap. Tell everything that's on your heart. Or tell Him nothing at all. Just lift your heart to heaven and declare, 'Father......Daddy.' Stress. Fear. Guilt. Grief. Demands on all sides. And all we can summon is a plaintive, 'Oh, Father.' If so, that's enough. Your heavenly Father will wrap you in His arms!"

***

Printable Issue 2995  Today is Friday, January 30th, 2015; Karen's Korner #2995

As most Karen's Korner readers know, I consider myself a 'Bible reader', not a 'Bible scholar'. I am getting ready to read the book of first Kings; the first half of the book tells a lot about Solomon. The introduction explains the 'megathemes' of the writing:


"Solomon's wisdom, power, and achievements brought honor to the Israelite nation and to God. All the kings of Israel and Judah were told to obey God and to govern according to his laws. But their tendency to abandon God's Word and to worship other gods led them to change the religion and government to meet their personal desires. This neglect of God's Law led them to their downfall."

*

Included in the explanation is the importance:

"WIsdom, power, and achievement do not ultimately come from any human source; they are from God. No matter what we lead or govern, we can't do well when we ignore God's guidelines. Whether or not we are leaders, effectiveness depends upon listening and obeying God's Word."

*

The Bible has stood the test of time. Our job is to believe it and follow it. If we do not, it contributes to our individual and collective downfall.