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March 2017 Archives

Printable Issue 3508  Today is Wednesday, March 1st, 2017; Karen's Korner #3508

A couple more reflections on our time in Guatemala last week.

Along with working mainly at Casa Angelina, which is an orphanage and school for more than 100 kids, we also toured and worked a bit at one of the dumps near Guatemala City.

Many families live and work at the dump, gleaning garbage in this massive pile; looking for castoffs which could be worn, eaten, used, or sold. A ministry there works to enhance several meals a week, helps to give the children educations in spite of their surroundings......among other things.

One thing I couldn't help but notice:  the absence of flies!

Arriving home late on Saturday night, I could have probably slept standing up in a corner!

I woke up on Sunday morning after a few hours of sleep........what woke me up on a chilly February morning?  Three flies buzzing around me!

My takeaway:  God protects people. Even those who live in the dump!

*

When we were in Guatemala, we heard of the weather forecast in our areas back home. Nice weather most of the week but with forecasts of 'bad weather' at the weekend when we would be trying to get into our areas airports.

So question marks remained of cancelled flights or lay overs.

We arrived early at the Guatemala City airport and boarded the plane. The pilot came on the loud speaker to tell us that we would be delayed and needed to disembark, as there would be a delay. Too much volcanic ash in the air to be safe to fly. We were delayed for four or five hours before it was safe to fly.

My takeaway:  It doesn't do much good to worry. We might have been concerned about weather, arrivals and flying. But we didn't even think about volcanic ash. If we worried, we worried wrong!

God, thank You for teaching us, taking care of us, all of us! No matter where we live nor where we go. Lead us, guide us, and help us to care for one another.......as You show us! In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 3509  Today is Thursday, March 2nd, 2017; Karen's Korner #3509

Welcome to the Lenten season! Easter is coming!

Something written by Max Lucado.

His writing reminds me a story my mom used to tell about one of her five brothers. According to mom, her little brother was two or three years old when he decided to run away from home. Her mom told him that would be okay but she would have to take his clothes because they all belonged to her. But she would loan him a towel. She wisely wrapped the lad in the towel and put him out on the porch; went back into the house and closed the door.

Mom said, "He stood there on the porch for a number of minutes. And then began to cry. He wanted to come back home!"


A God Who Never Leaves

"When I was seven, I ran away from home. I'd had enough of my father's rules---I could make it on my own, thank you very much! I didn't go far. At the end of the alley, I remembered I was hungry, so I went back home.

"Did my dad know of my insurrection? Fathers usually do. Was I still his son? Apparently so. If you'd asked my father, 'Mr. Lucado, your son says he has no need of a father. Do you still consider him your son?' What do you think my dad would have said. I don't have to guess at his answer. His commitment to me was greater than my commitment to him. So is God's! I can count on him to be in my corner no matter how I perform. You can too!"

**



Printable Issue 3510  Today is Friday, March 3rd, 2017; Karen's Korner #3510

Here is a good God story from Guatemala.

A few years ago the 'team' was headed for Casa Angelina. They had secured enough money to build a home on the grounds of the orphanage/school for another home. The building was to house 15-16 orphans.

Chad, one of the team leaders, had called ahead to tell them to 'get ready' as he had a group of 'strong, willing Mid-westerners' ready to work. A day or so later, the guy in charge of the building project in Guatemala called back to see if there would be a plumber on the team coming their direction. "When we build here, we always put the plumbing in the footings and the concrete slab," he said.

Chad was disappointed to tell him that, no they didn't have a plumber on their U.S. team. "But I am going to pray for a plumber," he said.

Chad and his wife Jodie were making other arrangements for what team members might be doing in their week-plus stay in Guatemala. They were eating breakfast at their motel, as they readied to begin work when they first arrived in Guatemala. The couple looked across the room and saw a man eating alone. They decided to ask him to dine with them.

The conversation started off casually, "Where are you from?" The man - Matthew - said, "I am from Springfield, Illinois."

"Oh, are you part of the medical mission team from there?" asked Chad. "Do you know Dr. so and so?"

No, he didn't know him.

"What brought you to Guatemala? What do you do?" asked the American couple.

"I am a plumber and God brought me here," he said.

Unbeknown to Chad's wife and that he'd been praying for a plumber, he jumped up from his chair and said for all in the eating establishment to hear, "PRAISE GOD!"

A free spirit, Matthew had been to Guatemala before. But ten days prior to traveling, he had trouble sleeping, sensing that God wanted him to go to Guatemala.

His retort to God was "I don't have any money."

God's response back in his thinking, "You are strong. And I am God!"

Matthew let the matter drop until he got the mail the next day. There was a check for $600 for work he had done in the past and for which he was sure he would never get paid. Just for kicks and giggles, he decided to call the travel agency. "What would it cost for a plane ticket to Guatemala?"

"$598!" was the reply. Matthew booked the ticket and bought a container of milk with the leftover funds.

He found a place to stay and food to eat, without having any funds.

Long story short, he served as the plumber for the house the Midwest team wanted to build that week.

Chad said to his wife, "Watch that guy until we are done building. I think he must be an angel and he might disappear on us!"

Printable Issue 3511  Today is Monday, March 6th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3511

A Bible verse as we ready ourselves for Easter coming:


"But the fact of the matter is that it is best for you that I go away, for if I don't, the Comforter won't come. If I do, he will---for I will send him to you."

~ Jesus speaking to his disciples, John 16:7 LAB

*

Bible Commentary: "Unless Jesus did what He came to do, there would be no gospel. If He did not die, He could not remove our sins. If He did not die, He could not rise again and defeat death. If He did not go back to the Father, the Holy Spirit would not come. Christ's presence on earth was limited to one place at a time. His leaving meant He could be present to the whole world through the Holy Spirit."

****


Printable Issue 3512  Today is Tuesday, March 7th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3512

Another Guatemala installment:

People watching or listening to the news may some time have a false impression that Christianity and churches are dead, dying, or at least having very little impact any longer.

My observations aren't very large but this is what I witnessed.

As we were getting ready to fly home, we arrived at the Guatemala City airport very early in the morning. Some of our team of 42 were wearing various t-shirts from the orphanage/school where we had served for a week plus.

As we were standing in a food line waiting to purchase an Egg McMuffin, behind us were several people wearing 'Carpenters for Christ' t-shirts. The 't' in both 'carpenters and 'Christ' had a big cross intersecting both words. We learned that their team had just completed building a church locally and had dedicated it the day before.

I saw a couple of other colors and kinds of matching shirts of two teams who were in the country doing 'mission work' of one kind or another. Now they were flying home like we were.

We arrived home late on Saturday night.

A 'Catholic cluster' of three churches in our small county periodically sponsors an ecumenical medical mission team to Haiti. They were going to be arriving back home after a week away on Tuesday.

Who knows how many teams had traveled or were traveling to places around the world? That week? Any week?

My conclusion:  God is alive and well on planet earth!

"For salvation comes from God. What joys He gives to ALL His people."

~ Psalm 3:8 LAB

***

Printable Issue 3513  Today is Wednesday, March 8th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3513

CONFESS AND BELIEVE

"Can we know we are truly saved? The Bible says, 'If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved' (Romans 10:9). Confess and believe......and you will have salvation.

"Catch what the verse does not say:  live perfectly, be nice to everyone, don't mess up, always smile---and you will be saved! Can't do it. Impossible. Just confess and believe. Salvation will follow. It's so easy...yet so hard.

"God wants us to know we are saved, for saved people are dangerous people, willing to face off with the world, unafraid of the consequences since we know that, whatever happens, we will have eternal life. 'Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus' (Romans 8:1 NIV). Watch out, world!"

~ By Max Lucado

***

Printable Issue 3514  Today is Thursday, March 9th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3514

Our church has ongoing Bible studies for gals but right now we are between study series. Women sign up for the number of weeks as their schedules allow.

So our minister's wife, Kara, invited anyone who wanted to come to watch the movie "Moms' Night Out". About a dozen of us attended.

It was a crazy movie. This is my review without taking notes for accuracy.

The main character mom with three kids; always wanted to be a mother. But was totally stressed out. If the kids made her breakfast in bed, all she saw was the messy kitchen and the potential for salmonella from the counters. Colored drawings on the walls. Being called out of the mega-church worship for something one of the children might be doing in the nursery.

It called for a night out. Along with her long-time friend (who was just learning from pregnancy tests another one might be on the way) and the pastor's wife (who was starting to have issues with her teenage daughter), the threesome embarked.

Then the craziness began. Dressed up for a night on the town and relaxing at an upscale restaurant, ended in disaster over reservation problems. What happens next was a listing that made 'motherhood' look like a picnic in the park. Bowling instead.  A lost baby, who was supposed to be sat by the biological dad, but instead was passed from one 'friend' to another, taking the baby through a tattoo parlor. A cop chase. Kid-sitting dads having troubles with their kids. And a portion of their tribe in jail. You get the idea.

As our main mom was sitting in the waiting area of the police station with Bones, the owner of the tattoo parlor, Bones (played by Trace Adkins) made the most incredible comments of the movie:  "As a kid, I was brought up in the church. But I walked away from the faith. You guys are the most uptight bunch. Why don't you just be you? And let God do the rest!"

Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for being You. Thank You for making each of us into incredible people, fashioned in your image. Forgive us for any times when we try to take too much control of our lives and the life you have intended for us. Thank You that we can rest in the fact that 'you will do the rest'!. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


Printable Issue 3515  Today is Friday, March 10th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3515

Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling:  Enjoying Peace in His Presence" writing are always good. Here is today's:


"You are mine for all time---and beyond time, into eternity. No power can deny you your inheritance in heaven. I want you to realize how utterly secure you are! Even if you falter as you journey through life, I will never let go of your hand.

"Knowing that your future is absolutely assured can free you to live abundantly today. I have prepared this day for you with the most tender concern and attention to detail. Instead of approaching the day as a blank page that you need to fill up, try living it in a responsive mode:  being on the lookout for all that I am doing. This sounds easy but it requires a deep level of trust, based on the knowledge that My way is perfect."

~ written as if Jesus is talking directly to us

***

Printable Issue 3516  Today is Monday, March 13th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3516
One night when we were in Guatemala our leader hand us each a 'You are' card.
 
Here was mine but it could be yours:

YOU ARE KIND....

"You are a breath of fresh air to everyone that meets you. The kindness you show to those you love is appreciated beyond what words can express. Know that even when you think no one notices........they do! You have shown kindness to strangers that has given them strength to make it through another day. Your smile to those that feel forgotten and ignored gives strength. God has used your spirit to alter the course of peoples lives and turn generations of their families from a path of destruction to a path of peace. Know in all you do God sees and he is pleased!"

~ taken from www.therevolutionpaper.com

John 14:1:  Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me."
Printable Issue 3517  Today is Tuesday, March 21st, 2017; Karen's Korner #3517

First my apologies for multiple Karen's Korners one day last week. I was in Florida visiting my sister and her friend. I was thinking I could keep sending daily 'korners' from there. Since I was using a different computer, I had an operator error (ME!), so I decided not to email any more until I got home.

So now I am back!

Here is one more Guatemala thought; probably the last one from my mission trip there recently.


When we arrived in Guatemala City, a retired school bus came to pick us up at the airport. There were 40-plus of us traveling together so our luggage was tossed on top of the bus which had rails to hold all of it in place.

The same bus picked us up the morning we were leaving to come home. But one of our drivers said he would put all of our luggage on the flat bed of his truck. He would cover it with a tarp and bungee cord it down.

We were going to the airport mid to late afternoon on Friday. All of us were warned of a lot of traffic and congestion. Instead of taking an hour and a half, it took us about three hours. We were stopped often, boxed in many times, as we waited.

As I looked out the bus windows, I was so surprised to see our truck and luggage near as all the time, regardless of the congestion. The driver, another guy riding with him, and one of our 'team' sitting between them in the front seat were always in front of us, beside us, or behind us. "This is so surprising," I thought.

When we got to our hotel and sat down in smaller groups to eat, I mentioned to Kevin (guy in the center of their truck), how surprised I was at their always close proximity.

He said, "My dear, they were serving the bus as our bodyguards!"

Seems that local residents know that sometimes 'not-so-nice' residents see 'gringos' on a bus, sandwiched in traffic and unable to move. They board the vehicle and either go through luggage or frisk vulnerable passengers.

"Hmm," I thought. "I didn't know I was in danger nor that I needed protection. But they knew something that I/we didn't." I always felt safe.

Makes me think of God. How often are we need of protection? And His 'always love and care' so that we can 'feel' safe and be able to walk through life unafraid. We can't make it without His help!

Let's walk!!

"For He orders His angels to protect you wherever you go. They will steady you with their hands to keep you from stumbling against the rocks on the trail. You can safely meet a lion or step on poisonous snakes, yes, even trample them beneath your feet."

~ Psalm 91:12 & 13 LAB

***

Printable Issue 3518  Today is Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017; Karen's Korner #3518

Yesterday my good friend Judy Ahrends passed away.

She was more than a friend. Her husband, Kim, and my husband, Jim, were first cousins. While both of our families lived in Clarion, we saw each other only a handful of times each year. Whenever we had a family reunion (always at our farmstead as the Ahrends family moved here in 1902!), Kim & Judy and family would be here.

In 2012, Judy was diagnosed with breast cancer. And in January 2014, she learned that she had Stage 4 breast cancer and would never be cancer free. At our July family reunion that same year, she was recounting her medical news to family members in attendance.

I loved her openness about what was happening to her. So she and I began "Tuesdays with Judy" shortly after. I'd stop at their family business and we'd go for coffee (really cold soft drinks!) and chat. Usually about an hour.

Judy would talk about her childhood, her family from birth until the present day. She'd tell about meeting Kim and their marriage and work together. She'd tell about her cancer and her future...in this life and in the next. We would just talk. Before she'd jump out of my vehicle and go back to work, we'd say a short prayer and she'd give me a hug.

Early on in our 'talks', I gave her a favorite 'travel book' of mine. It's a short story "Discover Paradise:  A Guidebook to Heaven, Your True Home" by Dr. David Jeremiah. He tells about what we can expect when we arrive in heaven: 

The book describes a very different existence to the one we have here:  Jerusalem, a large (HUGE!) city; pearly gates; streets of gold; no boredom; no diseases; no illness; no death; perfect love; seeing Jesus face-to-face. The first Bible verse quoted in the book says:

"You will show me the path of life.

In Your presence is fullness of joy.

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

~ Psalm 16:11

She showed me how to live; didn't stop working in all that time until the last few months. And how to die; knowing what the future holds for all of us.

The last couple of days were especially hard ones.

But she escaped this life yesterday.

Appropriately it was another "Tuesday with Judy".

Praise God!!


Printable Issue 3519  Today is Thursday, March 23rd, 2017; Karen's Korner #3519

Working With God

"It's a wonderful day indeed when we stop working for God and begin working with God! For years I viewed God as a compassionate CEO and my role as his loyal sales representative. He had his office and I had my territory. I could contact him whenever I wished. He encouraged me, rallied behind me, and supported me, but he didn't go with me. At least I didn't think, he did.

Then I read 2 Corinthians 6:1 that says, 'We are God's fellow-workers.' Fellow workers? Co-laborers? God and I work together? Rather than report to God, we work with God. Rather than check in with him and then leave, we check in with him and then follow. We are always in the presence of God. There is never a non-sacred moment! His presence never diminishes. Our awareness of his presence may falter, but the reality of his presence never changes!

~ By Max Lucado

***


Printable Issue 3520  Today is Friday, March 24th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3520

It's early for this part of the Easter story. But it is Easter season and time to reflect and remember the good news:

GUARDS ARE POSTED AT THE TOMB

"The next day---at the close of the first day of the Passover ceremonies---the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate, and told him, 'Sire, that liar once said, 'After three days I will come back to life again.' So we request an order from you sealing the tomb until the third day, to prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he came back to life! If that happens we'll be worse off than we were at first.

"'Use your own Temple police,' Pilate told them. 'They can guard it safely enough.

"So they sealed the stone and posted guards to protect it from intrusion."

~ Mark 27:62 - 66 LAB

*

Bible Commentary: "The religious leaders took Jesus' resurrection claims more seriously than the disciples did. The disciples don't remember Jesus' teaching about his resurrection, but the religious leaders did. Because of his claims, they were almost as afraid of Jesus after his death as when he was alive. They tried to take every precaution that his body would remain in the tomb.

"Because the tomb was hewn out of rock in the side of a hill, there was only one entrance. The tomb was sealed by stringing a cord across the stone that was rolled over the entrance. The cord was sealed at each end with clay. But the religious leaders took a further precaution, asking the guards be placed at the tomb's entrance. With such precautions, the only way the tomb could be empty would be for Jesus to rise from the dead. The Pharisees failed to understand that no rock, seal, guard, or army could prevent the Son of God from rising again."

****


Printable Issue 3521  Today is Monday, March 27th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3521

From Anne Graham Lotz:

SET FREE!

"You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."

~ Romans 6:18 NIV

"With blood flowing from His wounds and streaming down His face from the thorns in His brow, Jesus stood before Pilate. As part of the Passover celebration, it was PIlate's custom to release any prisoner the crowd chose. It just so happened that 'at that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So.....Pilate asked them, 'Which one do you want me to release to you:  Barabbas, or Jesus Who is called Christ?' (Matthew 27:16- 17 NIV)

"The rulers shouted back, 'No, not him! Give us Barabbas!' (John 18:40 NIV). Barabbas! Barabbas was a thief and a murderer and a rabble-rouser! The religious leaders of Israel were demanding that Barabbas be set free and Jesus be crucified. And so Barabbas became the first person to be set free by the death of Jesus.

"Jesus died, not just in the place of Barabbas, but in your place and mine. Because He died, I am free! Free from my sin and its penalty."

***


Printable Issue 3522  Today is Tuesday, March 28th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3522

Last week an ecumenical group of gals hosted its monthly "House of Grace", an evening of worship and praise for women.

Several gals standing ahead of me, raised their hands in praise as they sang. I am not much of a 'hand raiser', but watching them I thought of the difference between people raising their hands when asked by police officers or being held at gunpoint by an intruder.

Both groups of people raise their hands. The difference:  my Christian friends 'surrender' by choice and not by force.

It tells in the book of Acts of 'believers meeting together constantly and sharing everything with each other, selling their possessions and dividing with those in need (Acts 2:44 & 45), and 'everyone was sharing' (Acts 4:32).

My Bible Commentary tells 'The early church was able to share possessions and property as a result of the unity brought by the Holy Spirit working in and through believers' lives. This is different from communism because 1) it was voluntary sharing; 2) it didn't involve all private property, but only as much as was needed; 3) it was not a membership requirement in order to be part of the church. The spiritual unity and generosity of these early believers attracted others to them. This organizational structure is not a biblical command, but it offers vital principles for us to follow."

The difference between raising hands in worship or sharing of our owned goods or accepting to follow Jesus as Christian?

It is never required; always voluntary! We are given the choices!!

Printable Issue 3523  Today is Wednesday, March 29th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3523

SUPERNATURAL LOVE

"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

~ I Corinthians 13:13

"We hear it said, 'You can be whatever you want to be.' That advice should have these two words added: 'within reason'. Try as they might, some people will never become Olympic athletes, astronauts, concert violinists, or Arctic explorers. They may be too old or too young, lack the necessary ability, or have started too late in life. No amount of desire or willpower can overcome some obstacles in life.

"The same is true when it comes to manifesting love of a supernatural quality. It is not part of man's natural constitution to love selflessly, sacrificially, or unconditionally. That doesn't mean it never happens in the natural world. It simply mean it is contrary, in the long run, to man's self-centered motivation. We cannot naturally love like God, be we can supernaturally love like God. Paul writes that, by the indwelling Spirit of God, we can manifest God-like love: 'The fruit of the Spirit is love.......' (Galatians 5:22). If God is love, and God indwells us by His Spirit, we can love as He loves.

"Ask God to empower you with His Spirit daily to display the love of God to everyone you meet."

"It is no use to anybody for a tree to bud and blossom if the blossom does not develop into fruit."

~ Martin Luther

~ written by Dr. David Jeremiah

***


Printable Issue 3524  Today is Thursday, March 30th, 2017; Karen's Korner #3524

Yesterday was Al (short of Alphine) Bennett's funeral. She was 87 and fought a lengthy battle with cancer.

On the back of the funeral brochure was this poem by Henry Van Dyke:

"I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says:  'There, she is gone!'

"Gone where?'

"Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.

"Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!' There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:  'Here she comes!'

"And that is dying......."

*

Al and her husband Ron are the parents of six children. Two of their children died when they were several years old. As the couple's daughters said yesterday after the funeral, "Enough of our being selfish. Now it is time for mom to spend with David and Cathy!"

Printable Issue 3525  Today is Friday, March 31st, 2017; Karen's Korner #3525

A couple of Bible verses as we get closer to Easter:


"Then the High Priest stood up before the Court and asked Jesus, 'Do you refuse to answer this charge? What do you have to say for yourself?'

"To this Jesus made no reply.

"Then the High Priest asked him, 'Are you the Messiah, the Son of God?'

"Jesus said, 'I am, and you will see me sitting at the right hand of God, and returning to earth in the clouds of heaven.'

"Then the High Priest tore at his clothes and said, 'What more do we need? Why wait for witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?' And the vote for the death sentence was unanimous."

~ Mark 14:60 - 64 LAB

*

Bible Commentary:  "To the first question, Jesus made no reply because the evidence itself was confusing and erroneous. Not answering was wiser than trying to clarify the fabricated accusations. But if Jesus had refused to answer the second question, it could have been taken as a denial of his mission. Instead, his answer predicted a powerful role-reversal. Sitting at the right hand of God meant he would come to judge them and they would be answering his questions."

****