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March 2016 Archives

Printable Issue 3257  Today is Tuesday, March 1st, 2016; Karen's Korner #3257

Words like 'bullying', 'racism', 'diversity', 'sexism' are heard often in our world today.

Decades ago, one young black man impacted his world and ours with or without bantering those terms around.

Iowans are proud to have had George Washington Carver (1864 - 1943) study some at both Iowa State University and Simpson College.

Here is an entry in Dr. Richard G. Lee's "In God We Still Trust":


"George Washington Carver was a fabulous chemist of international fame in the field of agriculture. Much of his fame was based on his research and promotion of alternative crops to soil-depleting cotton, such as the peanut, soybean, pecan, and sweet potato. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops as both a source of their own food as well as a source of other products to improve their quality of life.

"In 1921, Carver spoke in favor of a peanut tariff before the Ways and Means Committee of the United States House of Representatives. At the time, it was unusual for a black person to be called as an expert. He also detailed the potential uses of the peanut and other new crops to improve the economy of the South. At the end of his address, the Chairman of the Committee asked:

"'Dr. Carver, how did you learn all of these things?'

"Carver answered, 'From an old book.'

"'What book?'

"Carver replied, 'The Bible.'

"The Senator inquired, 'Does the Bible tell about peanuts?'

"'No, sir,' Dr. Carver replied, 'but it tells about the God who made the peanut. I asked Him to show me what to do with the peanut, and He did.'"

***

Printable Issue 3258  Today is Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016; Karen's Korner #3258

The Act of Prayer

By Shauna Niequist

"Prayer helps me. When I pray, something freaked-out and dazed inside me finds a place to lay down and rest.

"When I pray, I don't feel so alone in the universe. I feel like there is a web, a finely spun net, holding it all together, keeping it spinning. I feel powerless, and prayer reminds me that I may be powerless, but there is power, and the one who holds the power is good.

"Prayer reminds me that the universe is not powerless against evil and loss. I imagine a huge choir, hundreds of voices, and they're singing something unquestionably, remarkably beautiful, and if you look at each person, you can see their intensity, their attention to detail and precision, their extreme focus on sounds and phrases. And you can see their love for music and their passion to sing. You could never pick out an individual voice, out of those several hundred, but that's not the point. They are not singing to be heard individually. They are singing for the act itself, for the love of music and tone and melody. That's one of the reasons I pray, for the act itself.

"Pray for a few minute, joining your voice with the voices of Christians all over the world who pray with great passion and expectancy."

***

Printable Issue 3259  Today is Thursday, March 3rd, 2016; Karen's Korner #3259

Something today from Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence". It's her March 3 entry; written as if Jesus is talking directly to us:


"I love you for who you are; not for what you do. Many voices vie for control of your mind, especially when you sit in silence. You must learn to discern what is My voice and what is not. Ask My Spirit to give you this discernment. Many of My children run around in circles, trying to obey the various voices directing their lives. This results in fragmented, frustrating patterns of living. Do not fall into this trap. Walk closely with Me each moment, listening for My directives and enjoying My Companionship. Refuse to let other voices tie you up in knots. My sheep know My voice and follow Me wherever I lead."


~ taken from Ephesians 4:1 - 6; John 10:4

***


Printable Issue 3260  Today is Friday, March 4th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3260

A writing by Corrie ten Boom taken from "Each New Day", a daily devotional:

Happy Endings

"A pastor once told me, 'I do not like to rea 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' return, 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."

***

Printable Issue 3261  Today is Monday, March 7th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3261

It was fun watching the Iowa girls' state basketball championship games on television Saturday night. Of special interest to me was the 3A finals between Pocahontas and Nevada. Pocahontas won the game! Jim's sister and families live in their school district. So Jim and I have watched some of these girls play basketball from their middle school days.

The team's 'star' is Elle Reffridge, who is currently a junior and on track to be the highest scorer in the history of Iowa girls' five-on-five basketball. The ironic part is that she is 5' 4" tall, in an increasing world of 6' opponents. Elle was all smiles when the team hoisted their state championship trophy above their heads and she was too short to reach it!

I wonder if anyone ever told her she was 'too short' to play the game with all those taller opponents; some as much as 10 inches taller? Obviously if she was told that she didn't believe them. Depending on which broadcaster, I listened to - she takes 300 or 700 shots per day to practice and plays the game all year round throughout the Midwest! She is dedicated and has become the best.

How about us? Do we ever listen to voices that say we are 'too short'? 'Too old'? 'Too young?' 'Not talented enough?' 'Live in the wrong place?' 'Can't make that big a difference anyway?'

The Bible says, "we are fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).

What is that we can do, in spite of the fact we might be too short..........like Elle?

Printable Issue 3262  Today is Tuesday, March 8th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3262

A handful of verses from the book of Psalms:


"But the Lord is still in His holy temple; He still rules from heaven. He closely watches everything that happens here on earth."

~ Psalm 11: 4

*

"He reached down from heaven and took me and drew me out of my great trials. He rescued me from deep waters."

~ Psalm 18:16

*

"But I will rejoice in the Lord. He shall rescue me!"

~ Psalm 35:9

*

'"Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should!

~ Psalm 90:12

***

Printable Issue 3263  Today is Wednesday, March 9th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3263

A Greater Miracle

"Lazarus is dead, and for your sake, I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."

~ John 11:14 & 15 NIV

"Jesus was glad Lazarus had died without Him?! What does that mean? We know it doesn't mean He enjoyed knowing that Lazarus had died or that He enjoyed thinking about the family's grief and despair.

"Jesus was teaching His disciples - and you and me - a life lesson. And what a life lesson it is! The lesson is this:  There is a greater miracle than physical healing! It's the miracle of the Resurrection! Be encouraged.


"Even if your prayer

* is not answered;

* and your loved one is not healed;

* and your marriage is not reconciled;

* and your financial problems are not solved;

* and your child is not found -

* there is hope!


"Jesus was glad because He knew God would be glorified to a far greater extent by the death and resurrection of Lazarus than He would have been by Lazarus' healing and recovery from sickness.

"Would you rejoice with Jesus for the greater miracle that IS coming to you?"


~ By Anne Graham Lotz

***



Printable Issue 3264  Today is Thursday, March 10th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3264

Some churches celebrate communion weekly; others not as often.

On Sunday, Kevin Ofstethun gave a communion meditation prior to our church members being offered communion. Several of the thoughts I had not heard before. I asked him to share what he read to us; don't know the writer:


"'Take eat, this is my body, which is given for you.' We've heard these words many times. But did you know those words were commonly used in Jesus' day as part of a wedding ceremony? Say what?

"The man in this ceremony was saying to the woman, 'Eat this bread. It represents how I pledge my body and my life to you. My solemn promise to you is that I will protect you, defend you, and provide for you. I give my body to you.'

"The disciples, having heard these words at weddings many times, were no doubt puzzled when the Master used them with no bride or groom or wedding party in sight.

"They were not puzzled after Jesus left them, though. Just before He ascended in a cloud to heaven, He promised something else, with the words, 'I am with you always. Even to the end of the world.'

"Jesus Christ is our 'husband', He's our provider, our protector, our shield, our shelter. This bread we eat is His promise to us, His covenant guarantee. Bu this bread, He says, 'I do.'

"As we take the bread today (or next time!), I'd like for each person to say these words, 'I do'.

***

Printable Issue 3265  Today is Friday, March 11th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3265

Today is Nancy Reagan's funeral. It might be a good day to recall something that former President Ronald Reagan wrote one time and was published in "In God We Still Trust" by Dr. Richard G. Lee:


The Cornerstone of American Society

"The family has always been the cornerstone of American society. Our families nurture, preserve, and pass on to each succeeding generation the values we share and cherish, values that are the foundation for our freedoms. In the family, we learn our first lessons of God and man, love and discipline, rights and responsibilities, human dignity and human frailty.

"Our families give us daily examples of these lessons being put into practice. In raising and instructing our children, in providing personal and compassionate care for the elderly, in maintaining the spiritual strength of religious commitment among our people---in these and other ways, America's families make immeasurable contributions to America's well-being.

"Today more than ever, it is essential that these contributions not be taken for granted and that each of us remember that the strength of our families is vital to the strength of our nation."

FAMILY VALUES

".....husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well."

~ I Timothy 3:12

**

Printable Issue 3266  Today is Monday, March 14th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3266

For four Sundays, our Sunday School class studied together the book of Philippians - finishing a week ago Sunday. There are many great Bible verses in those four short chapters. As class teacher, I typed out a dozen possible verses for class members to attempt memorizing one, over the week ahead.

Our class consist of adults whose ages span over a number of decades.

So yesterday I asked if anyone had attempted the memory work.

The first one in was Herb who just turned 96 in January. He admitted that it was difficult for him to remember, as he started his recitation:

"And every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

~ Philippians 2:11

I praise God for Herb's faithfulness and his example to the rest of us!


Here are a couple more verses from Philippians which I would like to challenge you, as a reader to consider memorizing one in the near future:


"Whatever happens, dear friends, be glad in the Lord."

~ Philippians 3:1

*

"Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice."

~ Philippians 4:4

*

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

~ Philippians 4:13

***




Printable Issue 3267  Today is Tuesday, March 15th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3267

The Savior Next Door

By Max Lucado

"in the aftermath of 9/11, a group of religious leaders was invited to come to Washington and pray with President Bush. The group was well frocked and well know. You might wonder if I felt out of place.  The only time I wear a robe is when I step out of the shower. When it came my turn to meet George W. Bush, I added, 'And Mr. President, I was raised in Andrews, Texas, a half-hour drive from your hometown.' He smiled that lopsided smile and let his accent drawl ever so slightly. 'Why, I know your town. I've walked those streets. I've even played your golf course.'

"It was nice to know the president knew my home. How much nicer to know the same about God! Yes, he rules the universe. Yes, he has walked your streets. He's still the next door Savior. Jesus---the One above all powers! Jesus---the One who knows your home? You bet He is!

***

Printable Issue 3268  Today is Wednesday, March 16th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3268

Physical and Spiritual Needs

"Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment."

~ Hebrews 9:27 NIV

By Anne Graham Lotz

"My grandfather was a medical missionary to China for twenty-five years. He established a three-hundred-bed hospital where he treated just about every type of illness and injury that could be named. Many of his Chinese patients were cured of diseases and saved from death by his skilled ministrations. But in time, every single one of these people who went through his hospital died!

"If all my grandfather had accomplished was to meet the physical needs of these people, his efforts would have been hopelessly futile. But my grandfather was wise. He knew that 'man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment', and so all of his ambulatory patients were required to attend chapel every day in the hospital where they were given a Bible lesson and presented the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who were unable to leave their beds were visited personally by someone who would share Christ with them. Hundreds and even thousands, of Chinese men and women received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior at the Love-and-Mercy Hospital in Tsingkiangpu. And so many of my grandfather's patients who eventually died--still live.

"As you care for others, make sure you give priority to their spiritual needs."

***




Printable Issue 3269  Today is Thursday, March 17th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3269

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!


"Jehovah is constantly thinking about us and He will surely bless us."

~ Psalm 115:12 LAB

*

Bible Commentary: "Jehovah is constantly thinking about us" says the Psalm writer. What a fantastic truth! There are many times when we feel isolated, alone, and abandoned, even by God. In reality, He sees, understands, and is thinking about us. When depressed by problems or struggling with self-worth, be encouraged that God keeps you in His thoughts. If He thinks about you, surely His help is near."

***


Printable Issue 3270  Today is Friday, March 18th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3270

Our oldest sister Jan worked for a number of years for a plumbing and heating business in the town where she lives. She and the owner/manager were the office team.

When she'd make a mistake, she'd emotionally and verbally lament the error. Her boss would encourage her by saying, "Jan, we do lots of things right. We do most things right. We hardly do anything wrong. Let's correct the mistake and learn from it! Everything will be okay!"

Does that happen to us? Especially as Christians? We read. We study. We pray. We ask for God's help. But perfection isn't possible. Do we beat ourselves up because we should have known better? Done better?

But God's Word is full of encouragement. Tells us of His Love. Of His forgiveness. Of His understanding. Of His promises. Of the plans He has for each of us; today and for forever.

Today is a good day to celebrate Him!

Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for being such a loving and caring Father. Help us to focus on You and not so much on us! You are the great I AM. We can trust You as we walk together through this life and on into eternity! In Jesus' Name. Amen.



Printable Issue 3271  Today is Monday, March 21st, 2016; Karen's Korner #3271

Happy Spring!

Leaving the Past Behind

~ By Max Lucado

"Remember the story of the prodigal son? He squandered his inheritance on wild living and bad choices. He lost every penny. His trail dead-ended in a pigpen. One day he was so hungry he leaned over the pig trough, took a sniff, and drooled. He was just about to dig in when something within him awoke. Wait a second. What am I doing wallowing in the mud? Then he made a decision that changed his life forever. 'I will arise and go to my father."

"You can do that. You can't undo all the damage you've done. But you can arise and go to your Father. Even the apostle Paul had to make this choice. He said, 'I leave the past behind and with hand outstretched to whatever lies ahead, I go straight for the goal.' (Philippians 3:13-14).

Landing in a pigpen stinks. But staying there.........is just plain stupid!

Printable Issue 3272  Today is Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016; Karen's Korner #3272

Turning on the television this morning, once again we hear of terror attacks on people attempting to travel in Belgium.

It happens too often!

I am including two inspirational thoughts written by Corrie ten Boom in her "Each New Day" book. Evil people doing evil things are nothing new! The ten Boom family were imprisoned in a camp for aiding Jews to avoid the Nazi regime. Corrie's dad and sister died there.

But not Corrie! After her release, she could not be stopped from telling others about God's love and protection her entire life, including while in the camp:

You're Surrounded!

"I stood in the Moscow customs office, my suitcase full of Russian Bibles I was smuggling into the country. I saw how the officers ransacked every suitcase, and I was afraid.

"I said, 'Lord, you have said in the Bible that you watch over your Word to perform it. The Bibles in my suitcase are your Word, Lord. Watch over the Bibles.'

"At that moment I saw light beings around my suitcase. They must have been angels. It is the only time I have seen angels. I can't describe them, for the moment I saw them, they disappeared. But so did my fears!

"Are (angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"

~ Hebrews 1:14 RSV

"Thank you, Lord, that those who are with us are more in number and stronger than those who are against us. Hallelujah!"

***

He Will See You through Even Customs!

"When I was there in Moscow, my suitcase was the last to receive the attention of the Russian customs officer. 'Is this your suitcase, lady?' he asked.

"'Yes.'

"'It is a heavy one!'

"'Yes.'

"He looked around. 'Wait. I am done with my work. I can help you carry it to the Intourist car.' He picked up the heavy suitcase and carried it to the car for me, never looking inside, How I rejoiced!

"He has said, 'I will never fail you nor forsake you.' Hence we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?'

~ Hebrews 13:5-6 RSV

"Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to refuse to allow myself to be controlled by a difficult situation. I know that even the hairs on my head are numbered."

***


Printable Issue 3273  Today is Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016; Karen's Korner #3273

Every week day, I receive something written by Max Lucado. Sometimes I save them to re-read or keep for a Karen's Korner in the future.

This one is this morning's; too good not to re-send today!

Calvary

"Come with me to the hill of Calvary. Watch as the soldiers shove the carpenter to the ground and stretch his arms against the beams. Jesus turns his face toward the nail just as the soldier lifts the hammer to strike it!

"Couldn't Jesus have stopped him? With a flex of bicep, a clench of the fist, he could have resisted. But the moment isn't aborted. Why? Why didn't Jesus resist? As the soldier pressed him arm, Jesus saw a nail---yes. The soldier's hand---yes.

"But he saw something else. A long list of our lusts and lies and greedy moments and prodigal years. A list of sins. He knew the price of those sins was death. He knew the source of those sins was you. And he couldn't bear the thought of eternity without you. He chose the nails!

***

Printable Issue 3274  Today is Thursday, March 24th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3274

It's closer to Easter today! One thing we can miss in the midst of the daily news:  How much God loves us! Any time! All the time!

This is today's thought by Sarah Young and her "Jesus Calling:  Enjoying Peace in His Presence"; written as if Jesus is talking directly to me and you:

"This is s a time in your life when you must learn to let go of loved ones, of possessions, of control. In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My Presence, where you are complete. Take time to bask in the Light of My Love. As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually open ups, releasing your prized possession into My care.

"You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of My continual Presence. The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes. I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you."

~ Taken from Psalm 89;15; Hebrews 13:8; Isaiah 41:13

**


Printable Issue 3275  Today is Friday, March 25th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3275

Today's Karen's Korner was written by John Crozier, a Clarion-Goldfield High School graduate and currently serving as a missionary in Poland with his wife Zaba and their family. This is something he wrote and emailed to family and friends yesterday.

So an Easter note from halfway around the world from John:


"Jesus and His disciples once walked into a restaurant after a long day of ministering to the crowds that followed and asked for a table to seat 26. A little surprised at their request, the server looked at the dusty men, took a quick head count, and said, 'But there are only 13 of you. Why do you want a table for so many?'

"Jesus looked at the server and said, 'We like to sit on only one side of the table.'

"It's probably fair to say we've all got a few preconceived ideas about the disciples and the carpenter from Galilee. Could it be that Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper speaks to our imagination more than the stories of the Gospels themselves?

"We're not alone. Jesus spent much of His last week with the disciples helping them adjust preconceived notions of the Messiah and the kingdom He embodied---one they thought characterized by power and authority in the face of a very real and present occupier. Otherwise known as Rome.

"But the Easter story speaks of a very different King. A King we just might miss if we spend time alongside the disciples looking for a political, top-down, power hungry man of God.

"Instead, Jesus' Easter message went something like this:

"For whoever want to save his life will lost it......"

"If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last...."

"Whoever wants to become great among you must be servant........"  Mark 8 - 10

"Could it be that His Kingdom was seen best in the dependent, joyful, innocent, and altogether faithful glance of the child He held up as an example of what it means to belong in the encroaching spiritual Kingdom of God? A time when the small and often unnoticed turn power on it's head in the name of Jesus. I really believe that Easter and Christianity most surely belong to that child and to those words of inversion which so easily fall on uninterested ears in a world focused on authority, moral rightness, and 'holding onto the upper hand'.

"That first Easter in Jerusalem was the beginning of an upside-down, back-to-front, paradoxical, and often misunderstood message of the Messiah.

"We hope that unsettling message brings you joy, hope, and forgiveness as you celebrate Easter over the next few days. We hope you take a few moments to go back to the words and movements of that first Easter captured in the Gospels -- a story that adjusted and continues to work on preconceived notions of what Easter is all about."

****

 


Printable Issue 3276  Today is Monday, March 28th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3276

Easter is over and Christ has risen from the dead! He is alive!

He died and lives again so we, too, may live again.

We had no choice about our physical birth. And we can only contribute a bit to our physical death by doing some things that might help us to live longer, healthier lives. Bottom line we are all going to die.

Then there is our spiritual life. This time we get to choose. Do we choose our second birth; our spiritual birth?

What we choose effects our second death?

If we choose Jesus, we receive life! If we ignore the invitation, we choose death!

If we are 'born twice', we die only once. If we are 'born once', we die twice - once physically and once spiritually.

"For God so loved __________(fill in your name) so much that He gave His only Son

so that if  _____(she/he) believes in Him _________(she/he) shall not perish but have eternal life." ~ John 3:16.

And then John goes on to say:

"God did not send His Son into the world to condemn ________ (again your name),

but to save __________(him/her).  ~ verse 17.

Like always, Jesus' rising from the dead was to show us the way; His way!

We are next!

Because of Jesus death on the cross, we have the option of being born twice and dying only once! And then joining Him in the resurrection story,

His and ours!

Rejoice! It is Easter!


Printable Issue 3277  Today is Tuesday, March 29th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3277

Once again we are saddened by the loss of life of law enforcement people. Two Des Moines police officers were killed in an accident where another car was going the wrong way on the interstate near Des Moines.

And too often we hear of officers in other states whose lives are taken foolishly for no reason

Below is a policeman's prayer, taken from "In God We Still Trust" written by Dr. Richard G. Lee (it is written as male gender; it wouldn't be difficult to change it to female as well. One of the Des Moines officers killed was a woman). If you have someone you know or in your life and you'd like to share it, go for it:


A Policeman's Prayer

When I start my tour of duty, God,

Wherever crime may be,

As I walk the darkened streets alone,

Let me be close to Thee.


Please give me understanding

With both young and old.

Let me listen with attention

Until their story's told.


Let me never make a judgment

In a rash or callous way,

But let me hold my patience.......

Let each man have his say.


Lord, if some dark and dreary night,

I must give my life,

Lord, with your everlasting love

protect my children and my wife.


~ Author unknown

***

Printable Issue 3278  Today is Wednesday, March 30th, 2016; Karen's Korner #3278

Something penned by Anne Graham Lotz:

The Narthex to Eternity

"Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."

~ John 17:3 NIV

*

"Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Westminster Abbey in London. It is a grand cathedral where many of the kings and dignitaries of England are buried, and where the kings and queens receive their coronation. The narthex is small, dark, and cramped - just a brief space to pass through between the outside door and the door leading into the cathedral itself. I can't imagine anyone visiting the abbey and being satisfied to stay in the narthex. I also can't imagine anyone who would make an enormous effort to stay there with no thought to passing through to the glory of what lies beyond.

"Your life and mine here on earth is like the narthex to a grand cathedral. Our lives are simply an area to pass through on our way to the glory of eternal life that lies beyond the door of death. Physical death for a believer is simply a transition into real life. And it's God's purpose that you and I live forever - with Him!

***

Printable Issue 3279  Today is Thursday, March 31st, 2016; Karen's Korner #3279

"Fear not, I am with you.

Do not be dismayed.

I am your God.

I will strengthen you; I will help you.

I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."

~ Isaiah 41:10 LAB

*

Bible Commentary on this verse:  "Now all believers are God's chosen people and all share the responsibility of representing him to the world. God will one day bring all his faithful people together. We need not fear because 1) God's presence is with us ('I am with you.'). 2) God has established a relationship with us ('I am your God').and 3) God's assurance of strength, help, and victory over sin and death is certain."

***