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February 2006 Archives

Printable Issue 728  Today is Wednesday, February 1st, 2006; Karen's Korner #728
We are back from several weeks as part of an agricultural tour of four Hawaiin Islands. What a trip! I will share severl things with you in the next few weeks!
 
Dear Father in Heaven,
 
Thank you for allowing me to see the sights and sounds of other areas of our world. Thank you for the sunrise which I was allowed to witness the last morning on the island Kauai. Not wanting to miss the majesty of your hand, I began to walk around the hotel grounds while it was still dark and I could see the light begin to unfold below the oceanfront horizon.
 
As I walked, more people began milling around waiting for the grand view. And the production grew brighter. Eventually, some of us became impatient. How long was it going to take before the sun actually poked its face up so we could see it? We began to talk among ourselves, as we recalled our trip of the last few days.
 
I spent a solemn few minutes as I reflected on how many things I want You to do for me and with me. Not necessarily in Your time; instead in mine. But here You are, always on time! Always predictable, we can set our watches by Your faithfulness!!
 
At 7:09 a.m., the sun and its brilliance and glory, came up and blessed all of us! And our day! Like You always do!!
 
Thank You for your blessings and Your faithfulness to each one of us.
 
Amen.
Printable Issue 729  Today is Thursday, February 2nd, 2006; Karen's Korner #729
I don't know if you recall or not, but shortly before Jim and I vacationed for a couple of weeks, I wrote about God's care of us when Jim had bypass surgery in 1976 (See www.karens-korner.com under Archives, January 2006; Karen's Korner #715.)
 
Some Karen's Korners encourage readers to respond with their life experiences.
 
The writing below is from Donna Dunlap:
 
Lloyd had triple by-pass surgery in 1975 at the age of 44; and like you, we wondered many things.  His surgery was done at the V.A. Hospital in the Twin Cities; the surgeon was from the University of Minnesota.    I was fortunate to find a room in a home just a few blocks from the hospital, in which to stay. 
 
The night before Lloyd's surgery, I was reading from Psalms.  Psalm 4:8 is the one that brought such comfort to my heart.  "I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, for You, LORD, only make me dwell in safety."    
 
An even bigger joy came the next morning, when I walked over to the hospital to see Lloyd before he was taken to surgery.  A doctor who came to the room told me that they had even had to wake Lloyd up that morning; which he said was SO unusual; as usually people are so tense and worried that they are anxiously awake.    How good the LORD was and is!!    I remember how we had talked a lot about the surgery in the days prior to it; and Lloyd had said he really wasn't worried, because either way, he'd be a winner - either his health would be improved or he'd be home with the LORD.
 
That surgery lasted him 25 years; he had quadruple by-pass done in Sioux Falls in June of 2000.  
 
Now the health problems are Parkinson's and what is believed to be the beginning of Alzheimers; but we still are trusting the LORD for each day and are grateful for the medical help from medications and the wisdom He gives to doctors.  I pray for continued health for me, that I can be the caregiver I need and want to be.
Printable Issue 730  Today is Friday, February 3rd, 2006; Karen's Korner #730
Whenever we travel, I take along  a handful of devotional booklets which I have written, to give to others. Going to Hawaii was no exception!
 
As many as I have given away, one would think that by now it would be easy for me. It isn't; it always takes me awhile to get comfortable. Until I get started!
 
I don't know if it is because I don't know the people who I give them too well or if I feel that I am pushing myself. No matter. Most of them went to some of the 80 people traveling with us on our tour group. Once booklets like mine are in their hands, the discussion on churches, being a Christian, faith begins!! People love to share their faith and experiences.......
 
One lady, who was traveling alone, was a retired college professor who taught nursing. Now she is writing a textbook on remaining healthy throughout the stages of life. She told about trying to teach prospective nurses about the role faith plays in remaining and returning to good health; and how she had to fight to be allowed that type of instruction. But she got the right, because she said, "It plays a role in health." Her new textbook is going to include chapters on the role spiritual and culture issues play in maintaining good health.
 
One guy got a copy of a book and could see my style of writing. At least three times, he would call me over: when we were looking at the aftermath of a volcano eruption, the sun rising, and the waves splashing on to the shore. He would say, "Here is a devotional. Don't you see it?" No, I didn't see it! And he would describe what he was seeing and thinking. They will probably be devotionals in the future!
 
A gal from northwestern Iowa, who wrote part-time for the local newspaper, shared about a story she had written about a small church in a neighboring town. The church was down to seven or eight families when their pastor left. They were faced with the prospect of closing the church's door. They decided, they would 'do-it themselves'! That was a handful of years ago and the church is thriving with over 100 members. While they employ a retired pastor to preach a little over 60% of the time on Sunday mornings, they still don't have a minister. They have decided that each one of them is the minister to their church family, to their community, and to others!!
 
The Sunday we were on the island of Hawaii, we were in the famous town of Kona, where the Iron Man Triatholon is held annually in October. We decided to attend the oldest church on the island. It was a Congregational Church, started by missionaries to Hawaii in 1820. I had three of my most recent devotional booklets with me, intending to share them with a couple of church members after the worship service. As we waited for the service to begin, seated on some benches outside of the church, a homeless man came by. All of his belongs were in a grocery cart which were being pulled by four full-grown dogs. He talked with several of us who were seated there, before he mosied on down the street. I did give three of my booklets to church people as I had planned. But later, I thought, "Why didn't I offer him a copy?"
 
And I thought of Jesus and how He was always concerned about the "least of these". I would have felt bad about the missed opportunity, until God's gentle nudge:  "we are all the least of these........"
Printable Issue 731  Today is Monday, February 6th, 2006; Karen's Korner #731
This is an email forwarded to me by Jeanne Russell:
 
  Strong Vs Strength

A strong person works out every day to keep their
body in shape...
a person of strength kneels in prayer to keep their
soul in shape.

A strong person isn't afraid of anything...
a person of strength shows courage in the midst of
their fear.

A strong person won't let anyone get the best of
them...
a person of strength gives the best of themselves to
everyone.

A strong person makes mistakes and avoids the same in
the future...
a person of strength realizes life's mistakes can also
be life's blessings and capitalizes on them.

A strong person walks sure-footedly...
a person of strength knows God will catch them when
they fall.

A strong person wears the look of confidence on their
face...
a person of strength wears grace.

A strong person has faith that they are strong enough
for the journey...
a person of strength has faith that it is in the
journey that they will become strong.


~Author Unknown~

Printable Issue 732  Today is Tuesday, February 7th, 2006; Karen's Korner #732
This is a second time I have used a poem written by a 13-year-old girl, whose proud grandma lives in Greene, Iowa, and shared this with me. Hope that you enjoy it:
 
 
The world itself is changing
I feel all hope is gone
but then through my sorrow
I hear a quiet song

A song of reassurance
of unknown steadfast love
a song God sings to us
from heaven up above

It told me to look around
And told me I would see
signs of grace and beauty
that God created for me

He took me to the mountain top
and to the ocean floor
Then I started to sob
for I could take no more

I fell to my knees in reverence
and lifted my hands in awe
I praised God's holy name
for once again I saw

God's unfailing love
is with me all the time
Everything good on earth, in heaven
Will one day all be mine

All I have to do
Is follow him in the way
I think I'll start right now
And I got on my knees to pray


Love,
 Abigail Swartz
Printable Issue 733  Today is Wednesday, February 8th, 2006; Karen's Korner #733
I am sharing a pass-along email from Lavonne Isenberger. Lavonne is currently living in senior housing in Clarion and typed that she prays this prayer every day and that it helps keep her thoughts on the positive side of life. And I might add to the prayer, "...and, God, this is what I want to do. I am going to need your help to get it done .....":
 
A PRAYER FOR A GOOD DAY

Dear Lord,

Just for today I will be happy,
I am going to need your help.
I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me.
I will replace them with happy thoughts.

Just for today I will make a big effort
to  be agreeable.
I will be cheerful, Lord, I will not be crabby.
I will lift my face in a smile instead of a frown

I will remember fondly the warmth
of hugging another.
I will hug someone today.
I will even hug my dog or my cat.

Today, Lord, I will do something good
for someone else.
I will not count the cost.
I will not ask the price.

Dear Lord, thanks for listening to my grand plans.
Above all, just give me a smile,
And a helping hand to get through my day.

Amen.


Printable Issue 734  Today is Thursday, February 9th, 2006; Karen's Korner #734
A daily devotional from Jeff White from about a month ago:

 

The Lord will always lead you.

Isaiah 58:11

 

    Have you ever felt left out, let down, or ignored?  We all have.  Itís a human trait to both feel that way, or to be the reason that someone else feels that way.

    Our Lord is not human and doesnít share our traits.  He will always be there.  Better yet, he will always be leading the way.  Not following, not pushing......Leading.

Printable Issue 735  Today is Friday, February 10th, 2006; Karen's Korner #735
Each week our church has several prayer times. Many times I attend the Wednesday later afternoon one at Sandy's home. Generally, there is a handful of gals who attend.
 
Last Wednesday, Chris who is newer to the group prayed, among other things, "....God, help me to take you more and more for granted......."
 
At first that sounded strange to me, we don't like to hear those words, "He/she takes me too much for granted."
 
But my next thought was that I loved it!! Wouldn't it be great if we had so many times we had trusted God, believed in everything He tells us..........we would take God for granted?!! We would know beyond a reasonable doubt that He would do what He says He will do!
 
I have a confession to make:  that doesn't always happen to me. God has been good to me and to our family. We have lots of memories of answers to prayers with health issues, money matters, relationships, extra dimensions of spiritual gifts (i.e. His peace, His grace, His kindness). But the next time a crisis develops in my life, chances are the extra thought rattling through my mind might be, "But maybe not this time!"
 
No, like Chris. I want to learn to take God for granted. I want to always remember that, "Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything (not just somethings, sometimes) I need." (Psalms 23:1). I can, "Cast all my anxieties on Him, because He cares for me." (I Peter 5:7). And a whole bunch of other stuff...
 
Heavenly Father, help me to take You for granted, just for today. I want to remember all the things that You have done for me in the past. Those memories will help me to know that You will take care of me and things in my life today and in my future. I'm going to like taking You for granted. Amen.
Printable Issue 736  Today is Monday, February 13th, 2006; Karen's Korner #736
This is something fun from Joanne Schleck:
 

What Equals 100%?  

What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

          Ever  wonder about those people who say they are giving more than
          100%?

          We have all  been in situations where someone wants you to give over
          100%. How about achieving 101%?   What equals 100% in life?

          Here's a li ttle mathematical formula that might help you answer these
          questions:

            If:
            A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R ST U V W X  Y Z

            Is represented as:
            1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19  20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

            Then:

            H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K
            8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 =  98%

            and

            K-N-O-W-L-E-! D-G-E
            11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 =  96%

            But,  A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
            1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

            AND,  look how far the love of God will take  you

            L-O-V-E-O-F-G-O-D

            12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 =  101%

            Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:

            While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get
            you there, it's the Love of God that will put you over the top.

Printable Issue 737  Today is Tuesday, February 14th, 2006; Karen's Korner #737

A Happy Valentines Day to you!!
 
I received this email last year right around Valentine's Day from Lois Lesher. Since that time, I have received it several more times and seen it in print. For you, in case you haven't seen this one.
 
I hope that it forwards to you in a way that you can read it well:


JOHN 3:16  "God's VALENTINE"

This is amazing and indeed it IS the greatest Valentine of all time!!!
And another fine example of how "all things work together" for God!
 
        "For God so lo V ed the world,
               That He g A ve
                    His on L y
                   Begott E n
                         So N
                              T hat whosever
                 Believeth I n Him
                    Should N ot perish,
                 But have E verlasting life."
 
                                         ~~   John 3:16
Printable Issue 738  Today is Wednesday, February 15th, 2006; Karen's Korner #738
When we first returned from Hawaii, I mentioned in a Karen's Korner that after I had given several handfuls of one of my devotional booklets away, I had help thinking of future writings.
 
Tim from Abilene, Kansas would say, "Karen, here is a devotional. Don't you see it?", as we would tour various places or see various sights.
 
I would look and not see a thing. But after he would describe something, I would see or sense it too.
 
Here is something Tim showed me:
 
We were standing on some various slabs and tunnels left over from a volcano eruption.
 
Tim said, "This reminds of what happens in our lives. Sometimes things bother us or sometimes we have problems with addictions or relationships and it keeps boiling up inside of us. Eventually we reach a boiling point, and the 'lava' spews out of us and runs down the sides. What we say or do might bring destruction to ourselves and to others. It might appear to us and to other people in our world that all is destroyed by our behavior."
 
Then he lead me over to a tiny fern, beginning to grow out of the rubble. "This," he said, "is what God can do in our lives, if we allow Him. He takes all the devastation and destruction and allows the regrowth to begin. What happens in our lives isn't destroyed for always. It can be repaired. God wants to show us in nature what is possible."
 
Thanks, Tim, for showing me what I would have missed without your help!
 
God is good; all of the time! Even in times when we see only devastation.
 
II Corinthians 1:3,4 -- "What a wonderful God we have--He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials."
Printable Issue 739  Today is Thursday, February 16th, 2006; Karen's Korner #739
About a month ago, a friend shared a "Praying for Our Children" calendar. It is a generic monthly calendar with days 1 - 31. I liked it because so many times we whisper a prayer for a child's relationship at school or for help in winning the big game.
 
But what about the longer-lasting characteristics for the young people in our world? Here are a couple of examples:
 
For the 16th day of the month, it says: 
 
PEACE LOVING
"Father God, help my children make every effort to do what leads to peace."
Romans 14:19
 
~~
 
For yesterday, the 15th, it says:
 
GENEROSITY
"Lord, I pray my children would be rich in good deeds, generous, and willing to share."
I Timothy 6:18
 
~~
 
Tomorrow's, the 17th:
 
JOY
"Heavenly Father, grant that my children would be filled be filled with joy given by the Holy Spirit."
I Thessalonians 1:6
 
~~
 
Other days have words like intergrity, kindness, hope, patience, and gratitude. If you would like a copy, email me and I will forward you an attachment copy. It is quite printable on a regular sheet of typing paper.
 
If you don't have children at home, they can still use your prayers. What about grandchildren? Or some other child/person in your life?
Printable Issue 740  Today is Friday, February 17th, 2006; Karen's Korner #740

The fun part about Karen's Korners is the sharing. I share; you share!

This is something that Becky Ahrendsen emailed shortly after we got home from Hawaii, from a youth program, I think. In light of sporting seasons being so active right now and individuals and teams being in tournament play, it is a good one to share:

"Our devotions last night were so appropriate for my kids in sports.  Psalm 47:7-11:

 7 - Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
       make music to our God on the harp.

 8 - He covers the sky with clouds;
       he supplies the earth with rain
       and makes grass grow on the hills.

 9 - He provides food for the cattle
       and for the young ravens when they call.

 10 - His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
       nor his delight in the legs of a man;

 11 - The LORD delights in those who fear him,
       who put their hope in his unfailing love.

And the devotion talked about striving to achieve is only part of the success of any endeavor.  God gives strength and ability to do work.  Our talents are truly from God and worth many songs of praise."

Thanks, Becky!

Printable Issue 741  Today is Monday, February 20th, 2006; Karen's Korner #741
A couple of quotes and a short story to begin the week:
 
** "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."
    -- Anne Bradstreet
 
** Many children in America today have more parents; than parents have children."
    -- Quote from a speaker on the Church Channel
 
** Peace is seeing a sunset and knowing who to thank for it!"
    -- unknown
 
-- "I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe."
    -- Abraham Lincoln
 
 
Generous Giving
 
The story is told of a farmer who was known for his generous giving, and whose friends could not understand how he could gove so much and yet remain so prosperous.
 
One day a friend said, "We can't understand it. You give far more than any of the rest of us, and yet you always seem to have more to give."
 
"That's easy to explain," the farmer said. "I keep shoveling into God's bin, and God keeps shoveling back into mine, and God has the bigger shovel."
    

Printable Issue 742  Today is Tuesday, February 21st, 2006; Karen's Korner #742
This is a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" which I received via email nearly a year ago. I liked the story, but it is pretty lengthy for a Karen's Korner. Read it if you have the time; you will enjoy it. Save it until later or delete it, if you don't:
 

Donna and Claudia
By Carol Gallivan

     Donna is my sister, and I always thought of her as beautiful.  Our father called her his princess.  When Donna entered high school, with her long blond hair and incredible blue eyes, she caught the attention of the boys.  There were the usual crushes and school dances, phone calls and giggles, and hours of combing and brushing her hair to make it glow.  She had eye shadow to match the perfect blue of her eyes.  Our parents were protective of us, and my father in particular kept close watch over the boys she dated.
     One Saturday in April, three weeks before Donna's sixteenth birthday, a boy called and asked her to go to an amusement park.  It was in the next state, about twenty miles away.  They would be going with four other friends.  Our parents' first answer was a firm no, but Donna eventually wore them down.  On her way out the door, they told her to be home by eleven, no later.
     It was a great night!  The roller coasters were fast, the games were fun and the food was good.  Time flew by.  Finally one of them realized it was already 10:45 p.m.  Being young and slightly afraid of our father, the boy who was driving decided he could make it home in fifteen minutes.  It never occurred to any of them to call and ask if they could be late.
     Speeding down the highway, the driver noticed the exit too late.  He tried to make it anyway.  The car ripped out nine metal guardrails and flipped over three times before it came to a stop on its roof.  Someone pulled Donna from the car, and she crawled over to check on her friends.  There was blood everywhere.  As she pulled her hair back from her eyes so she could see better, her hand slipped underneath her scalp.
     The blood was coming from her.  Practically the entire top of Donna's head had been cut off, held on by just a few inches of scalp.
     When the police cruiser arrived to rush Donna to a nearby hospital, an officer sat with her, holding her scalp in place.  Donna asked him if she was going to die.  He told her he didn't know.
     At home, I was watching television when a creepy feeling went through me, and I thought about Donna.  A few minutes went by, and the telephone rang.  Mom answered it.  She made a groaning noise and fell to the floor, calling for my father.  They rushed out the door, telling my sister Teri and me that Donna had been in a car accident, and that they had to go to the hospital to get her.  Teri and I stayed up for hours waiting for them.  We changed the sheets on Donna's bed and waited.  Somewhere around four o'clock in the morning, we pulled the sofa bed out and fell asleep together.
     Mom and Dad were not prepared for what they saw at the hospital.  The doctors had to wait until our parents arrived to stitch up Donna's head.  They didn't expect her to survive the night.
     At 7:00 a.m., my parents returned home.  Teri was still sleeping.  Mom went straight to her bedroom and Dad went into the kitchen and sat at the table.  He had a white plastic garbage bag between his legs and was opening it up when I sat down at the table with him.  I asked him how Donna was and he told me that the doctors didn't think she was going to make it.  As I struggled to think about that, he started pulling her clothes out of the bag.  They were soaked with blood and blond hair.
     Some of the hair had Donna's scalp attached to it.  Every piece of clothing she had worn that night was soaked with blood.  I can't remember thinking anything.  All I did was stare at the clothes.  When Teri woke up, I showed them to her.  I'm sure it was an awful thing to do, but I was in such shock that it was all I could think of.
     At the hospital later that morning, Teri and I had to wait outside for a long time before we could see Donna.  It was an old hospital and it smelled old, and Teri and I were afraid of it.  Finally we were allowed in to see our sister.  Her head was wrapped in white gauze that was stained with blood.  Her face was swollen, which I couldn't understand because she had lost so much blood.  I thought she would look smaller.  She reached up and touched my long brown hair and started to cry.
     The next day, I called a neighbor who was a hairdresser and asked her to cut my hair.  It's a funny thing - I loved my long brown hair and it curled just right, but I never, ever missed it or wanted it back.  All I wanted was for Donna to come home and sleep in the clean sheets that Teri and I had put on her bed.
     Donna was in the hospital for two weeks.  Many of her friends went to see her, especially Claudia, who was there a lot.  Mom and Dad never liked Claudia - maybe because she seemed "fast," maybe because she spoke her mind; I don't really know.  They just didn't like her being around.
     Donna came home with the entire top half of her head shaved.  She had hundreds of stitches, some of which came across her forehead and between her left eye and eyebrow.  For a while she wore a gauze cap.  Eventually she had our hairdresser neighbor cut the rest of her hair.  It had been so soaked and matted with blood that she couldn't get it out.  The hairdresser was such a kind person.  She found Donna a human hair wig that perfectly matched her hair.
     Donna celebrated her sixteenth birthday and went back to school.  I don't know where rotten people come from, and I don't know why they exist, but they do.  There was a very loud-mouthed, self-centered girl in some of Donna's classes who took great pleasure in tormenting my sister.  She would sit behind her and pull slightly on Donna's wig.  She'd say very quietly, "Hey, Wiggy, let's see your scars."  Then she'd laugh.
     Donna never said anything to anybody about her tormentor until the day she finally told Claudia.  Claudia was in most of Donna's classes, and from then on kept a close eye on my sister.  Whenever that girl got close to Donna, Claudia would try and be there.  There was something about Claudia that was intimidating, even to the worst kids in school.  No one messed with her.  Unfortunately, though, Claudia wasn't always around, and the teasing and name-calling continued.
     One Friday night, Claudia called and asked Donna to come spend the night at her house.  My parents didn't want Donna to go - not just because they didn't like Claudia, but because they had become so protective of Donna.  In the end, they knew they had to let her go, even though they probably spent the whole night worrying.
     Claudia had something special waiting for my sister.  She knew how awful Donna felt about her hair, so Claudia had shaved off her own beautiful long brown hair.  The next day, she took Donna wig shopping for identical blond and brown wigs.  When they went to school that Monday, Claudia was ready for the teasers.  In a vocabulary not allowed inside school walls, she set them straight so that anyone ready to tease my sister knew they would have to mess with Claudia.  It didn't take long for the message to get through.
     Donna and Claudia wore their wigs for over a year, until they felt their hair had grown out enough to take them off.  Only when Donna was ready did they go to school without them.  By then, she had developed a stronger self-confidence and acceptance.
     My sister graduated from high school.  She is married and has two great kids.  Twenty-eight years later, she is still friends with Claudia.
Printable Issue 743  Today is Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006; Karen's Korner #743
A Jeff White devotional from about a month ago. Hope you like it:
 

I will ask the Father, and he will
give you another Helper to be with you
foreveróthe Spirit of truth.

John 14:16Ė17

 

I am king of my domain.  I am totally self-sufficient.  I make a good living.  I, I, I, I, ...We have all thought this way in the past.  You may not have verbalized it, but youíve thought it. 

The reality is that we need help.  We can not carry the burden of this life without Godís help.  We need to remember that and turn to him.  NO, not when things go wrong, before they go wrong.  We need to turn first to God and to ourselves second.

Printable Issue 744  Today is Thursday, February 23rd, 2006; Karen's Korner #744
A couple of verses from Proverbs plus commentary on them. The heading on the chapter says, "Wisdom is extremely valuable."
 
Proverbs 3:4,5:
 
"If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don't ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success."
 
Commentary:
 
"When we have an important decision to make, we sometimes feel that we can't trust anyone--not even God. But God knows what is best for us. He is a better judge of what we want than even we are! We must trust him completely in every choice we make. This does not mean we cannot study the options and make intelligent decisions, or that we should have no confidence in our ability. It means, however, that we must not be wise in our own eyes. We should always be willing to listen to and be corrected by others. Bring your decisions to God in prayer; use the Bible as your guide; and then do what is right."
Printable Issue 745  Today is Friday, February 24th, 2006; Karen's Korner #745
Written by my friend Chris Lousias:
 

A Promise We Can Trust In.

 

Psalm 9:10
"Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."

 

I walk to work.  I leave before seven a.m. while it is still dark.  Across the street from me lives one of the local sheriffs.  Today as I left, he was also leaving.  I could only see his silhouette because his back was to the porch light.

 

The picture he portrayed was one of the Wild West with both arms out to the side and his hands relaxed, spread open and ready to draw his weapon on the count of three.  I realized that he was probably taught to be constantly on guard.  He doesnít know who I am and for all he knew I could have posed a threat.  In his job, he has been predisposed to not trusting anyone.

 

As each of us grows in our relationship with Christ, we learn to become predisposed to trusting in Him.  Through Godís Word, we are constantly told that His promises are true and all we need to do is come to Him. 

 

When I first came to Christ, I was leery.  Throughout my life, I had constantly been humiliated, demeaned and disappointed by the people who were supposed to encourage me.  It is easy to see how my trust in people became guarded and distant.  Naturally, this distrust doesnít dissolve easily. 

 

I have come to know that once you accept Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit that dwells in you, melts the ice and dismantles the concrete wall of your heart.  The closer you come in your relationship with God, the more He wraps His love around you.  When you cry out to God, He is there for you.  I have experienced this time and again.  Because I believe in His Word and because He has never left me in my time of need I have now become accustomed to going to Him and finding the relief He has promised.  I have been taught and trained to trust again.  He has promised me eternal life and He has not given me any reason to doubt that.

 

2 Peter 3:13
"But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."

 

Yahweh, You are the LORD of righteousness and Your Word is true.  I pray that all those who come to You will experience the joy of Your love and comfort.  I pray that those who are hurting and have been deceived by the evils of this world find the peace You offer through Your Son.  Father, Comforter, and Protector we praise You and honor You for all You have done for us.  In You Sonís name we pray, Amen.
Printable Issue 746  Today is Monday, February 27th, 2006; Karen's Korner #746
A couple of Bible verses and a commentary on them, for whenever we are faced with something we don't like or that might cause us to be afraid. I find that fear can come my way, when I am faced with change, usually a change that I don't think I'll like:
 
Psalms 56:9 Ė11 -- 

"The very day I call for help, the tide of battle turns. My enemies flee!  This one thing I know:  God is for me!! I am trusting God -- oh, praise his promises! I am not afraid of anything mere man can do to me! Yes, praise his promises. I will surely do what I have promised, Lord, and thank you for your help. For you have saved me from death and my feet from slipping, so that I can walk before the Lord in the land of the living."

 

Commentary: 

 

"Fear can cause physical problems and paralyze us from action. What could be more fearful than being surrounded by an enemy who is pressing in from all sides! Faced with this situation, David suggested several antidotes for fear:  (1) remember that God is with you; (2) trust him, and (3) praise him for fulfilling his promises. When faced with persecution, insecurity, or insurmountable odds, use these to overcome your fear

Printable Issue 747  Today is Tuesday, February 28th, 2006; Karen's Korner #747
Today is Mardi Gras, translated "fat Tuesday" in French. It is celebrated in some cities and by some people, but we hear of it most often in New Orleans.
 
Because Jim has a cousin who lives in New Orleans and because we visited there in 1990, we brought beads, cups, coins, and recipes home with us from that trip with a charge, "Why don't you have a Mardi Gras party at your house?" 
 
Which we did and do and have since then. Tonight is the night at the Weld's home! Each year we invite different groups of people in to eat the four-course meal, which I cook. Jim and I feast with ten other people. Once you are invited and attend, you can't come again! This is party #17!!
 
Whatever you know about Mardi Gras, did you know it started as a Christian tradition??
 
It goes back to a more primitive time when people celebrated the coming of spring and new life. The season begins on the Twelfth Night of Christmas or January 6th, known as Epiphany. Christians observe  Epiphany as the day the Three Wise Men found the infant Jesus and it is celebrated as a holy day.
 
Mardi Gras, celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, tends to be a Catholic custom. The celebration arose from the custom of parading a fat ox through the streets of Paris. French colonists introduced Mardi Gras into America in 1766. The custom became popular in New Orleans and spread throughout the southern states. When Alexis Romanoff of Russian royalty visited Mardi Gras in 1872, the celebration took they royal colors of gold, green, and purple which signifies justice, faith, and power respectively.
 
Like any holiday or tradition, whether Mardi Gras is a time for fellowship and celebration or selfish and self-centeredness, it is up to each of us and how we reflect on it.