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December 2015 Archives

Printable Issue 3197  Today is Tuesday, December 1st, 2015; Karen's Korner #3197
Recently I attended a daylong women's conference. At our plates for lunch, we each had a card from the "YOUR ARE..." campaign. A box of 25 cards was available for purchase. I bought a box and am sharing the writings a couple at a time with our Sunday School class each week.

Here is a card which I am sharing with Karen's Korner readers today:

You Are...

VALUABLE

"You are incredibly valuable to the Lord's plans for a nation. He has poured into you aspirations to improve the lives of those you see. You have a compassionate heart and a creative spirit that can make bad things good and good things great. Do not underestimate your abilities....what you think is insignificant is extremely significant to your purpose. Those things that you enjoy are those things you are to pursue. Keep your eyes focused on what's right and turn from the nay-sayers who want to discourage you. God has a purpose and a plan for you that is SPECTACULAR!!!"

Luke 12:7 -  "But even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."

***

Printable Issue 3198  Today is Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015; Karen's Korner #3198
Today's Psalm words talks about us as 'role models' or others 'looking up' to us. Are we church or community leaders, teachers, mothers/fathers or grandmothers/grandfathers? Chances are then, that someone is looking up at us. Two things:  we don't ask to be role models or to be 'put on a pedestal' by anyone. Second, we know the truth about us:  we don't always say and do the right things:


"O God, you know so well how stupid I am, and you know all my sins.
O Lord God of the armies of heaven, don't let me be a stumbling block to those who trust you.
O God of Israel, don't let them be confused."

~ Psalm 69:5 - 7 LAB

*
Bible Commentary:  "Although we want to do God's will, we still make mistakes. But, like David (writer), we should pray that our foolish mistakes will not cause others to stumble. We too need to ask God to protect others who look up to us from being harmed by our mistakes and sins. Are you genuinely concerned about those who may copy your lifestyle?"

*

PRAYER:  "Help us, Father, as we interact with people in our worlds. Forgive us. Lead us. Guide us. Help us to show others that we are loved by You and so are they! In Jesus' Name. Amen.

***




Printable Issue 3199  Today is Thursday, December 3rd, 2015; Karen's Korner #3199
I receive daily inspirational thoughts from Max Lucado, weekdays. I like them all but I especially liked yesterday's. And in light of a world that is tending to 'run off the rails', it seems good; really good!



God Is For YOU!

"God IS for you! In fact, the Bible says, 'God will rejoice over you!' Turn to the sidelines and hear God cheering your run. Look past the finish line; that's God applauding your steps. Listen for him in the bleachers, shouting your name. Are you too tired to continue? He'll carry you. Are you to discouraged to fight? He's picking you up. God is for you!

"In Isaiah 49:15, God ask, 'Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?' Can you imagine a mother feeding her infant and later asking, 'What was that baby's name?' No. Can a mother forget? No way! And neither can God!

**
Printable Issue 3200  Today is Friday, December 4th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3200
In light of the mass killings in California, we have more and more thoughts swirling around!

The headlines in one newspaper said, "God can't fix this!"  The paper mocked people who stated verbally or through media to PRAY.

Something is definitely wrong......

In some places and ways, that statement might be true. God has been 'uninvited' into our government entities and agencies; schools; and into some of our laws. And God obliges and doesn't go where He isn't wanted.

But hang on:  "God CAN fix this!"  In fact, some of this has been predicted hundred and several thousand years ago. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, and the last chapter has lots to say about what is coming. John wrote:

"The time of fulfillment is near. And when that time comes, all doing wrong will do it more and more; the vile will become more vile; good men will be better; those who are holy will continue on in greater holiness."
~ Revelation 22:10 - 11

Then comes one of the final sentences in the Bible:

"Yes, I am coming soon! Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!"
~ Revelation 22:20

And the Bible commentary "We don't know the day or the hour, but Jesus is coming soon and at a time when no one will expect Him. This is good news to those who trust Him, but a terrible message for those who have rejected Him and stand under judgment. Soon means at any moment, and we must be ready. In a world of problems, persecution, evil, and immorality, Christ calls us to endure in our faith. Our efforts to better our world are important, but their results cannot compare with the transformation Jesus will bring about when He returns. He alone controls human history, forgives us, and will re-create the earth and bring lasting peace....."

Hang on, the best is yet to come!!






Printable Issue 3201  Today is Monday, December 7th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3201
Saturday afternoon was our church's annual trek to Mason City to ring bells for Salvation Army. Our team included eighteen people who manned six doors working in half hour shifts for two hours. We have done it before; some more than once. For others it was a  first time.

I have told our family's Salvation Army story before. One of the team members wanted to hear it one more time:

When Jim was stationed in New Jersey as part of his military service with the Army in the early 1960s, he and some of his buddies spent some time in New York City when they were on a short leave. As he was ready to return to base, he found that someone had stolen his billfold. Leaving him with no identification and no money.

Where to turn? What to do? He chose to go to the Salvation Army for help. One of the people there walked him to the bus depot to purchase a bus ticket back to New Jersey and handed him $3 (remember it was more than fifty years ago) to buy food on the way back to base.

As he was ready to board the bus, he asked the person how he would repay them for their help. "Any time you see one of red kettles in the future, think of us!" the Salvation Army person told Jim.

I saw Jim return the favor many times over the years of our married life.

Jim always appreciated how they handled his request. Not giving him money; instead buying his bus ticket. "They didn't know me," he'd say. "How did they know for sure if the story I told them was the truth?"

Christmas is such a good time to help others, especially the ones which may have helped us!

Printable Issue 3202  Today is Tuesday, December 8th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3202
Sunday was our first worship service of the Christmas season, after volunteers had help to decorate, the previous Sunday late afternoon.

Wow! How pretty!! Christmas tree, a dozen poinsettias, Christmas banners hanging from near the ceiling, and the manger complete with old wooden barn boards making up the backdrop.

What? Peeking over the wooden backboards, was a metal stepladder; leftover from the decorating work. Spoiling the effect, at my first glance!

Then I had a second thought:  "Maybe it is a great addition! All of us seated in the sanctuary are 'under construction'. While we have a great church family.....'under construction'. But a place where love lives!

The Bible says, "Unless the Lord builds a house, the builder's work is useless."

His building projects include us and churches like ours......and others!

Praise God!



Printable Issue 3203  Today is Wednesday, December 9th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3203
Something from Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling:  Enjoying Peace in His Presence". Hers are daily writings; they are all good. This is yesterday's:


"Your needs and my riches are a perfect fit. I never meant for you to be self-sufficient. Instead, I designed you to need Me not only for daily bread but also for fulfillment of deep yearnings. I carefully crafted your longings and feelings of incompleteness, to point you to Me. Therefore, do not try to bury or deny these feelings. Beware also of trying to pacify these longings with lesser gods:  people, possessions, and power.

"Come to Me in all your neediness, with defenses down and with desire to be blessed. As you spend time in My Presence, your deepest longings are fulfilled. Rejoice in your neediness, which enables you to find intimate completion in Me."

~ Based on Philippians 4:19; Colossians 2:2 -3

***



Printable Issue 3204  Today is Thursday, December 10th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3204
Maybe it is because I am creeping closer to turning 70, or because I am seeing more and more parents' and friends' health fade, I am becoming more and more aware that our time here on earth is fleeting.

And it is true for everyone, regardless of our ages:


"Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are;
help us to spend them as we should."
~ Psalm 90:12 LAB

Bible Commentary:  "It is easy to forget how short life really is. Realizing that life is short helps us to use the little time we have more wisely. It help us concentrate on using our lives for eternal good, not just for the pleasure of the moment. Take time to number your days by asking, 'What do I want to see happen in my life before I die? What small step could I take toward that purpose today?'"

**
Printable Issue 3205  Today is Friday, December 11th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3205
One more entry from the set of 25 cards I purchased at a recent women's conference and the "YOU ARE......." campaign and how God thinks about us and sees us, put together by Dawn Mahoney.


You are.....

FORGIVEN

"You have been forgiven! The Lord forgives you and so do those that love you. No longer do you need to walk from a place of insecurity. You have been washed clean and can begin new today. You have an inner strength that has allowed you to come through trials and be triumphant. Your future holds immense promise and victory. The Lord loves you immensely! He beams at the mention of your name. There is a specialness about you that is a gift to others. It is time to embrace the call upon your life!!! It is time to leave past hurts and hang-ups behind you and move forward into your destiny!!! You have been created to change the lives of many people...start today!

James 1:4:  "And let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing."

***

Printable Issue 3206  Today is Monday, December 14th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3206
As we move closer to Christmas Day, it is a time for family and friends. Sometimes it is a joyous time; others times not. Depends on relationships. Closeness. Sometimes it is quantities.......big families, small families, no families.

Here is a piece forwarded to me/us last week from our Australian daughter and her family. We 'adopted' Karen as a summer Lions Club exchange student when she traveled to stay with us in the early 1990s. We kept her and she kept us.

Hope the writing is as meaningful to you as it is to me:


"Family isn't always blood.

It's people in your life who want you in theirs;

the ones who accept you for who you are.

The ones who would do anything to see you smile

and who love you no matter what."

***


Printable Issue 3207  Today is Tuesday, December 15th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3207
Something written by Richard DeHaan of "Our Daily Bread" fame from "Our Savior is Born", a 28-day Christmas pamphlet. It's a cute one!


"A woman hurriedly purchased 50 Christmas cards without looking at the message inside. She quickly signed and addressed all but one and then dropped them in a mailbox. Just imagine her dismay when later she glanced inside the one unmailed card and read these words:

"This card is just to say
A little gift is on the way."

"No doubt there were 49 people wondering what happened to their presents.

"How different was God's promise to us! Many years before the Savior was born, the Lord, spoke through the prophet Isaiah, saying, 'The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us')' (Isaiah 7:14). And in verse 6 of chapter 9 we read, 'For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.' Did God keep His word? Indeed He did! Galatians 4:4 says, 'But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman.'

"As we commemorate the birth of Christ, let's thank God that He meant what He said. He not only promised, but He also gave, 'Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!' (2 Corinthians 9:15)."

JESUS HIMSELF IS THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS GIFT EVER GIVEN.

****

Printable Issue 3208  Today is Wednesday, December 16th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3208
Something written and published by Corrie Ten Boom in "Each New Day:  365 Reflections to Strengthen Your Faith". If you recall (or if you never knew), Corrie was held in a Nazi concentration camp for her family's work in Holland, helping Jews to escape from their potential captors:


LOOK UP

"Once, while we were on roll call, a cruel guard kept us standing for a long, long time. Suddenly a skylark began to sing in the sky and all the prisoners looked up to listen to that bird's song. As I looked at the bird I saw the sky, and I thought of Psalm 103:11. O love of God, how deep and great; far deeper than man's deepest hate. God sent that  skylark daily for three weeks, exactly during roll call, to turn our eyes away from the cruelty of men to the ocean of his love.

"For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear (stand in awe of)him."

~ Psalm 103:11 KJV

"Thank you, Lord, that you are always willing to turn our eyes in the right direction unto you."

****

Printable Issue 3209  Today is Thursday, December 17th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3209
(No Karen's Korner tomorrow as I will be away from my computer. Look for one on Saturday instead this week.)

Another entry from the set of 25 cards I purchased at a recent women's conference and the  "YOU ARE......" campaign and how God thinks about us and sees us, put together by Dawn Mahoney.

You Are...

AWESOME

"When the Lord speaks of you to the angels, He speaks of His perfection in you. He marvels at each detail that has made you who you are. Each trial has given you more strength and each victory has humbled your heart. He is proud of who you are and is excited for the talents He has given you to encourage a future of spreading hope."

Psalm 16:8: (KJV)  "I have set the Lord Always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."

***

Printable Issue 3210  Today is Sunday, December 20th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3210
(I said Saturday; this one is Sunday to make a 'set of five for the week'; beginning again on Monday!

Happy Endings

"A pastor once told me, 'I do not like to read a book in which sad things happen. When I must read it, I turn to the last page. When I see that they lived happily ever after, then I can read the whole book because it has a good ending.'

"We must read the Bible in the same way. We tremble when we see what is going to happen before Jesus returns, but if you are afraid, read the last page. There you will see that Jesus has promised to come, and we will see him face to face.

"Behold, I make all things new."
~ Revelation 21:5 RSV

"Lord, thank you that you have told us so much about the future that we know the best is yet to be."

~ Written by Corrie ten Boom

***

Printable Issue 3211  Today is Monday, December 21st, 2015; Karen's Korner #3211

"Sing, accompanied by drums;
pluck the sweet lyre and harp.
Sound the trumpet!
Come to the joyous celebrations at full moon,
new moon and all the other holidays.
For God has given us these times of joy;
they are scheduled in the laws of Israel."

~ Psalm 81:2 - 4 LAB

*
Bible Commentary:  "Israel's holidays reminded the nation of God's great miracles. It was a time of rejoicing and a time to renew one's strength for life's daily struggles. At Christmas, do our thoughts revolve around presents for the most part? Is Easter only a warm anticipation of spring; and Thanksgiving only a good meal? Remember the spiritual origins of these special days, and use them as opportunities to worship God for his goodness to us, our families, and our nation."

***
Printable Issue 3212  Today is Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015; Karen's Korner #3212
(Sorry for delay and Karen's Korners; computer was in the 'technology hospital' for a couple of days!)

A couple of short sayings on the sidebars of the current issue of OUR IOWA magazine:


"Christmas Day is the festival of optimism."
~ Helen Keller

*

"One thing you can't recycle is wasted time."

*

"Prayer pushes light and hope into the dark corners of your life."


"If you want to find joy, you must first find thankfulness."

*

"When you wish someone joy,
you wish them peace, love, prosperity, and happiness."
~ Maya Angelou

*

"The trouble with opportunity is it only knocks.
Temptation kicks the door in."

*

"The future is full of doubt,
indeed, but fuller still is hope."

*





Printable Issue 3213  Today is Thursday, December 24th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3213

God Sent a Savior
 
"Every Christmas I read this reminder that came in the mail several years ago.

"If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator.
"If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
"If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
"But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior!

"Christmas cards---these punctuated promises! Phrases filled with the reason we do it all anyway. He became us, so we could become like Him. Angels still sing and the star still beckons. Isaiah 9:6 proclaims, 'God has given a son to us. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Prince of Peace. Ahh......the wonder of it all is that He loves each one of us like there was only one of us to love!

~ By Max Lucado

***
Printable Issue 3214  Today is Friday, December 25th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3214

Merry Christmas!

A couple of 'takeaways' from last night's Christmas Eve service at our local church.


Like many of your services, it was one filled with lots of music...some featured individuals; others were congregational singing. There were several readers of verses from Luke and Matthew.

Then came communion served by a half dozen men, much as a varied combination of volunteers each Sunday might. As they returned the communion dishes, they grabbed the offering plates. The minister gently reminded them to smiles that there is no offering taken at Christmas Eve services.

How appropriate. Christmas is heaven sharing its greatest gift:  Jesus, the baby born for each of us. He only asks that we accept it!

"God so loved the world so much that He gave His Only Son......." (John 3:16)

*

The service ended with everyone in attendance circling the outside perimeter of the sanctuary holding the candles each had received when they entered the service. As we listened to the Mannheim Steamroller instrumental version of "Silent Night", each of us lighted our candle from that of our neighbor. Smaller children were given a battery-operated small candle.

As our lights glowed in the now dark facility, a four-year-old girl did more than hold up her candle. She began to walk around the entire circle.........sharing her light with all who she passed...........her little face all aglow as she looked up at each of us.

She was doing what our minister told us a few minutes later:  to share His Light with others!

"Let us walk in the Light of the Lord."  (Isaiah 2:5)

***




Printable Issue 3215  Today is Saturday, December 26th, 2015; Karen's Korner #3215

(Please note an extra Karen's Korner today, Saturday, to make up for a 'missing one' earlier this week when my computer was in repair mode. Also note that I will be away from my computer for a few days. The next Karen's Korner will be sent on Tuesday, January 5. Keep celebrating Christmas and Happy New Year!)


He Will Be Looking For You

"If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

~ John 14:3

*

"On the day when Jesus returns, everyone will be looking at Him. But have you ever considered where He will be looking? He will be looking for you! He has told us, '......I will come back and take you to be with me.....' His eyes will be searching the crowds of upturned faces, looking for you! While others mourn because His coming brings their judgment, you and I who have been redeemed by His blood will be rejoicing because His coming fulfills all our hopes and dreams!

"Praise God for the deity of Jesus Christ! Praise God for the humanity of Jesus Christ! And praise God for the eternity of Jesus Christ!!"

~ By Anne Graham Lotz

***