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March 2008 Archives

Printable Issue 1261  Today is Monday, March 3rd, 2008; Karen's Korner #1261
A couple of sentences spoken by Jesus in his last days on earth; for us to hear as we are in the Easter season:
Matthew 23:37 - 39 (LB): "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets, and stones all those God sends to her! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me. And now your house is left to you, desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you are ready to welcome the one sent to you from God."
Bible Commentary:  "Jesus wanted to gather his people together as a hen protects her chicks under her wings, but they wouldn't let him. Jesus also wants to protect us if we will come to him. Many times we hurt and don't know where to turn. We reject Christ's help because we don't think he can give us what we need. But who knows our needs better than our Creator? Those who turn to Jesus will find the helps and comforts as no one else can."
Printable Issue 1262  Today is Tuesday, March 4th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1262
A daily email devotional from Joel and Victoria Osteen, sent in June last year:
“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” -- Proverbs 3:5-6 (TLB).

"We all face tough times that challenge everything we believe. And we often have the hardest time seeing God's hand when we're in difficult situations - because we just don't understand what He is doing. But the exhilarating thing is that God uses tough times to show us His favor and blessing. It may not feel comfortable at first, but seek God's face all the more when you're struggling. When you ask Him, He will give you everything you could possibly ever need to make it through the trying times. And He will give you special eyes to see Him through all of your hardships. Your human understanding will fall short, so just give God full control and watch the blessings flow."

God, give me the eyes to see Your face in the midst of my troubles. Thank You for never leaving me and for giving me what I need to persevere through my roughest days. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1263  Today is Wednesday, March 5th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1263
Comment I heard from a television teaching by Bayless Conley:
"Even God can't move a parked car.
If we are moving,
even if it is the wrong way,
God can help us make a U-turn!"
Father God, be with us today. Help us as we make decisions;
be with us, as we do all kinds of things!
Help us not to be parked cars.
Direct us.
Help us to listen to You,
so that if we are on the right road, we will know it.
And if we aren't, show us the new direction You have in mind for us.
Guide us as we make a U-turn!
Thank You for just today,
In Jesus Name,
Printable Issue 1264  Today is Thursday, March 6th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1264
An email forward yesterday from Dorothy Riekens:
"When they were discouraged, I smiled and that encouraged them, and lightened their spirits."
~~ Job 29:24
Life is a mixture of sunshine and rain,
Laughter and pleasure,
teardrops and pain,
All days can't be bright, but it's certainly true,
There was never a cloud the sun didn't shine through--
So just keep on smiling whatever betides,
Secure in the knowledge God is always beside.
A prayer for you:
A smile can brighten not only my day but the day of those around me. 
Encourage me to share my smile more often. 
Printable Issue 1265  Today is Friday, March 7th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1265
An exerpt from the book*Unwrapping Christmas" by Lori Copeland. I know, it is the wrong season! Before some chapters, Copeland explains a portion of an Advent tradition and what it means.
In part, here is her explanation prior to chapter 6: "The first lighted Advent chandle is traditionally the candle of Expectation or Hope (or in some traditions, Prophecy). This draws attention to the coming of the Messiah. As God's people were abused by power-hungry kings, led astray by self-contered prophets, and lulled into apathy by halfhearted religious leaders, there arose a longing among some for God to raise up a king who would show them how to be God's people. They yearned for a return of God's dynamic presence in their midst."
They yearned for a dynamic presence in their midst.
And they got it in the man of Jesus!
As we prepare now for His death and resurrection at Easter, we are like those people. We long, not only for a dynamic presence in  the midst of our community and our church, but also in our lives.
If we are Christians and have accepted Jesus, we have that dynamic presence within in us called the Holy Spirit.
Through that Power, God expects us to BE that dynamic presence in our midst!
A second exerpt from the same book, just prior to chapter 13: "The Advent candles' light is a symbol for the season. The light reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world, which comes into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life, and hope. It also reminds us that we are called to be the light of God's grace to others."
Dear Father God, thank You for giving us Jesus and for leaving behind His Spirit for each of us as Your followers. Thank You for being light in our dark, dark world. Help me to realize who I am and that I posses Your Light. Help me to be the dynamic presence for myseff and for others. We need and want Your Light. In the name of Your Son who made Your plan a reality, Amen.
Printable Issue 1266  Today is Monday, March 10th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1266
Deuteronomy 8:19 & 20:  "But if you forget about the Lord your God and worship other gods instead, and follow evil ways, you shall certainly perish, just as the Lord has caused other nations in the past to perish. That will be your fate, too, if you don't obey the Lord, your God."
Commentary:  "In times of plenty, it is easy to take credit for your prosperity and begin to feel that your own hard work and cleverness have made you rich. It is easier yet to get so busy collecting and managing your wealth that you soon find God has been pushed right out of your life. But it is God who blesses us with abundance and it is God who asks us to manage it for him. Don't forget God in your abundance, or you will eventually lose all you have. Remember that the most valuable things in life -- your relationship with God and eternal life -- are free!"
Printable Issue 1267  Today is Tuesday, March 11th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1267
People who know me, know that I live most of my life in jeans. Blue ones and black ones. As they get more worn, I don't mind my blue ones becoming more faded and comfortable. But the black ones, I like to be black.
I am sure I have heard more than once that to keep them as 'unfaded' as possible, things need to be washed inside out. Saves on the color. I bought a new pair of black jeans last week and washed them yesterday. I decided to wash the new pair inside out.
Then I came to my half-used-up pair. No sense of turning those around, I thought.
Then I had this God-thought, "Am I doing that with my life? Or the lives of others, who like me, are at least half-used up?"
It seemed like everything Jesus said was 'inside out'.
"..........if you are poor, be happy......for the Kingdom of God is yours....
........if you are hungry, be happy......you will be satisfied......
....... if you weep, be happy......the time is coming when you will laugh with joy....
........ if others hate and exclude you and smeer your name becaus you are Mine, be happy....
........rejoice....leap for joy!.....
.......for you have a great reward in heaven......"
(~ Luke 6:20 - 23)
And Jesus said a lot of other 'inside out' and 'upside down' things, trying to teach each of us so many things to help us be and do and think and know and believe........no matter how old we are or are not!
Not only did I turn my new black jeans inside out, I pulled the legs of my old jeans around too. They, like me, may have a lot of mileage left in them! I need to do my part to see that they are preserved!!
Printable Issue 1268  Today is Wednesday, March 12th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1268
Our local ministerial association is putting on a series of Lenten luncheons on Wednesdays as we prepare for the Easter season. Each week a minister for a different church talks briefly on a chapter or two from "3:16", a book written by Max Lucado.
Here are a couple of exerpts from "The 3:16 Promise", taken from the well-known Bible verse John 3:16::
He loves.
He gave.
We believe.
We live.
Jesus declares, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me."
(John 14:6)
All roads lead to heaven, right?
But can they?
Is it accurate?
Can all approaches to God be correct?
Islam says Jesus was not crucified.
Christians say he was.
Both can't be right.
Judaism refuses the claim of Christ as the Messiah.
Christians accept it
Someone's making a mistake.
Buddhists look toward Nirvana, acheived from no less than 547 reincarnations.
Christians believe in one life, one death, and an eternity of enjoying God.
Doesn't one view exclude the other?
Humanists do not acknowledge a creator of life.
Jesus claims to be the source of life.
One of these speaks folly.
Spiritists read your palms.
Christians read the Bible.
Hindus perceive a plural and impersonal God.
Christ-followers believe "there is one God". (I Corinthians 8:4)
Somebody is wrong.
And, most supremely, every non-Christian religion says, "You can save you."
Jesus said, "My death on the cross saves you."
How can all religions lead to God when they are so different?
We don't tolerate such illogic in other matters.
We don't pretend that all roads lead to London, or all ships sail to Australia.
Imagine your response to a travel agent who claims they do.
You know better.
Different flights have different destinations.
That's not a thick-headed conclusion, but an honest one.
Every flight does not go to Rome.Every path does not lead to God.
Jesus blazed a stand-alone trail void of self-salvation.
He cleared a one-of-a-kind passageway uncluttered by human effort.
Christ came, not for the strong, but for the weak;
not for the righteous, but for the sinner.
We enter his way upon confession of our need,
not completion of our deeds.
He offers a unique-to-him invitation in which he works and we trust;
he dies and we live.
he invites and we believe.
Printable Issue 1269  Today is Thursday, March 13th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1269
Great thoughts from Joel and Victoria Osteen today:

Keep the Joy

“I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”  ~~ John 16:22 (NIV).

Your life is probably so fast paced that it seems to be swirling around you at times. In the midst of a hectic schedule, there are plenty of opportunities to lose your joy. But you don't have to let any circumstance rob you of the joy that is rightfully yours in Christ. Once you decide to follow God and listen to Him, alone, nothing can take away that joy that is within you. And when your heart is set on joy, no one can wrestle it away from you unless you allow it. Your enemy is roaming around like a lion - waiting to devour, destroy and rob you of joy (1 Peter 5:8). But he can't steal what Jesus has given to you in the first place. Today's verse is a promise from Jesus, Himself - so hold on to the joy that He has put in your heart!

God, thank You for giving me unspeakable joy in my life. Help me today to hold on to what You have given me and not allow anyone or anything to take it away. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1270  Today is Friday, March 14th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1270
A poem by POEM LADY Teresa:
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
 I hope in thy words. 
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate upon thy promise. 
~ Psalm 119:147, 148
I meet God in the moring
And go with Him through the day,
Then in the stillness of the night
Before sleep comes I pray.

That God will just take over
All the problems i couldn't solve
And in the peacefulness of sleep
My cares will all dissolve,

So when I open my eyes
To greet another day
I'll find myself renewed in strength
And there''ll open up a way

To what seemed impossible
For me to solve alone
And once again I'll be assured
I am never on my own.
Loving Savior, renew my strength. 
Stay with me and guide me through this day. 
Enable me to welcome You into my life each and every moring
and then when evening comes,
accept my gratitude for having shared those hours with me. 
Love and prayers,
Printable Issue 1271  Today is Monday, March 17th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1271
On Saturday night, Jim and I had the opportunity to attend an event at the Des Moines Civic Center . Great fun, great group; attending with nearly 2,800 other people.
When we returned to our car in a nearby parking ramp, we experienced a line-up of vehicles all attempting to get out at about the same time. We were able to back out of our spot to welcome a sea of tail lights and idling motors. How long was this going to take? Was the wait going to spoil the joyous experiences of a few minutes before?
As we waited, our attention was directed through the line-up and toward a noised-in vehicle at a parking space maybe fifty feet away. The doors on the passenger side of both the front and back seats were opened. The radio volume was turned up. Two couples were enjoying themselves, each couple dancing in the empty parking space next to them!
A tune would end and they would applaud. Wait for the next song. Many vehicles would honk their approval. Windows were rolled down and positive comments were made. Some applause would be heard. And the performance would repeat itself. For maybe twenty minutes this went on before the backed up traffic began to move from our fourth-floor level.
It made me think about our lives. Sometimes things move along......on schedule.......just like we like. Sometimes we get into a log jam. We can't make what we want, happen. Things are out of our control. What do we do?
Maybe it is an opportunity to grab a spouse or a neighbor..........turn up the tunes of some 'radio' of our lives and just dance. If we can't find a dance partner or that isn't of our choosing, we can enjoy those who are dancing. Applaud them. Or honk our car horns.
Peace, joy, and contentment!
We can't always control what happens to us. But we can certainly control how we respond to what happens!
Praise the Lord!
Praise him for his mighty works.
Praise him with trumpet and lute and harp.
Praise him with drums and dancing....
Let everything alive give praises to the Lord!
~~ Psalms 150 (in part)
Printable Issue 1272  Today is Tuesday, March 18th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1272
Written by Max Lucado from "And the Angels Were Silent":

"The final prayer of Jesus was about you. His final pain was for you. His final passion was for you. Before he went to the cross, Jesus went to the garden. And when he spoke with his Father, you were in his prayers.......

"And God couldn't turn his back on you. He couldn't because he saw you, and one look at you was all it took to convince him. Right there in the middle of a world which isn't fair. He saw you betrayed by those you love. He saw you with a body which gets sick and a heart which grows weak....

"On the eve of the cross, Jesus made his decision. He would rather go to hell for you than go to heaven without you
Printable Issue 1273  Today is Wednesday, March 19th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1273
The most famous verse in the Bible has to be John 3:16: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Sometimes we read on to the next verse, #17: "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it."

How often do we hang around long enough to read #18? "There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him to save them. But those who don't trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God."

My Bible commentary on verse 18 says, "As people try to save themselves from their fears, they may trust in themselves, their good work, or their money and possessions. But only God can save us from the one thing we really need to fear---eternal condemnation. We trust in God by recognizing the insufficency of our own efforts to find salvation and by asking him to do his work in us."

Easter! A time when Jesus gave.

Our job? Believe and receive!

Jesus is pleased to come to us

as the truth to be told

and the life to be lived,

as the light to be lighted

and the love to be loved,

as the joy to be given

and the peace to be spread.


Printable Issue 1274  Today is Thursday, March 20th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1274
It is Easter week and the operation nears completion.

The patients need new organs. An organ donor has been found!

I am an organ donor. Should something happen to me, between family members and the doctors, they will decide if I have any salvageable organs which could be harvested and given to another person.

Jesus chose to be an organ donor for all of humankind! Unlike me, He even had the choice of continuing the dying process. He could have chosen otherwise. He could have gotten out of it! Heaven and all its resources could have rescued Him. But everyone chose otherwise! They knew the state of those needing to be rescued!

Imagine the joy of families and individuals when they learn that a heart, lung, kidney, or eyes have been found? Would any of them say, "No, thanks! I don't want it!" Every friend and family member, not to mention the person receiving the new life-saving organ, would be thrilled with the good news!

Spiriually speaking, we, like others needing physical organs, are in need of new hearts. Jesus said, "You can have mine!" Organ donation nearly always involves death. So that was what was set. He died so that we might live!

Today is Maunday Thursday; tomorrow is Good Friday; and then comes Easter! Are we ready for it? Are we ready to receive the heart transplant? Are we ready to be more than just revived? But restored to even greater things with "Hearts by Jesus"?

Jesus told us, "I am leaving you with a gift...peace of mind and heart! And the peace (new heart!) I give you isn't fragile like the world gives (your old heart!), so don't be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27)

Romans 4:16 says, "So God's blessings are given to us by faith, as a free gift......"

Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

I used to be on life supporters, waiting for a heart transplant. When I received Jesus into my life, I was given His heart. One that doesn't stop beating. One that will carry me through into eternity! One that is better than the old one I used to have.

Free gift for me.

Expensive from the Gift Giver!
Printable Issue 1275  Today is Friday, March 21st, 2008; Karen's Korner #1275
Yesterday at our church's Ladies Aid, Jane Clemsen read a couple of short thoughts from a several books by Max Lucado.
This is one of her readings, taken from "The Gift for All People"; the chapter is titled, "At Any Cost":
"God on a cross. The ultimate act of creative compassion.
"The Creator being sacrificed for the creation. God convincing man once and for all that he would give anything, pay any price to save his children. He could have given up. He could have turned his back. He could have walked away from the wretched mess the world became, but he didn't.
"God didn't give up.
"When people from his own hometown tried to push him over a cliff, he didn't give up.
"When his brothers ridiculed him, he didn't give up.
"When he was accused of blaspheming God by people who didn't fear God, he didn't give up.
"When Peter worshiped him at the supper and cursed him at the fire, he didn't give up.
"When people spat in his face, he didn't spit back. When the bystanders slapped him, he didn't slap them. When a whip ripped his sides, he didn't slap them. When a whip ripped his sides, he didn't turn and command the awaiting angels to stuff that whip down that soldier's throat.

"And when human hands fastened the divine hands to a cross with spikes, it wasn't the soldiers who held the hands of Jesus steady. It was God who held them steady. Those same hands that formed the oceans and built the mountains. Those same hands that designed the dawn and crafted each cloud. Those same hands that blueprinted one incrdible plan for you and me.
"Take a stroll out to the hill. Out to Calvary. Out to the cross where, with holy blood, the hand that placed you on the planet wrote the promise, 'God would give up his only Son before he'd give up on you.'"
Printable Issue 1276  Today is Monday, March 24th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1276
Among a few dozen computer spam messages, I received two similar emails yesterday.
One was from Jacob and Jaynie Michael, missionaries to Mozambique, Africa who our church supports on a monthly basis. They are in the United States for a few months before they return to their work in Africa. In the subject box, it said, "Good News". The message?
He has risen!
Another message was from Bob and Sandy Stephenson who live in Clarion. Their message?
He is risen!
So what does that message mean for us today, the day after Easter?
He still is risen! And because he rose from the dead, we have the same hope!!
"But the fact is that Christ did actually rise from the dead,
and has become the first of millions who will come back to life again some day."
~~ I Corinthians 15:20
Have you made your reservation to be part of the millions??
Printable Issue 1277  Today is Tuesday, March 25th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1277
O servants of Jehovah,
praise his name.
Blessed is his name forever and forever.
Praise him from sunrise to sunset!
For he is high above the nations;
his glory is far greater than the heavens.
Who can be compared with God enthroned on high?
Far below him are the heavens and the earth;
he stoops to look,
and lifts the poor from the dirt,
and the hungry from the garbage dump,
and sets them among princes!
He gives children to the childless wife,
so that she becomes a happy mother.
Praise the Lord.
~~ Psalms 113
Commentary:  In God's eyes, a person's value has no relationship to his or her wealth or position on the social ladder. Many people who have excelled in God's work began in poverty or humble beginnings. God supercedes the social orders of the world, often choosing his future leaders and ambassadors from among the social outcasts. Do you treat the unwanted in society as though they have value? Demonstrate by your actions that all people are valuable and useful in God's eyes.
A number of years ago, I wrote in the margin of my Bible, "God gives us what we don't have!"
Printable Issue 1278  Today is Wednesday, March 26th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1278
A couple more saying from Barbara Johnson's "Every Time I Get My Act Together The Curtain Comes Down!" flip calendar:
** In my Father's house are many mansions.......and I hope yours is next to mine!
** Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God.
** Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.
** The blue of heaven is bigger than the clouds.
** God calls us to be faithfull; He did not promise we would be successful.
** If you're headed the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.
** If it's free, it's advice; if you pay for it, it's counseling; if you can use either one, it's a miracle!
** When someone says, "Life is hard." Ask them, "Compared to what?"
** Live is not a matter of holding good cards. It's playing a poor hand well.
** Your final exit will be your greatest entrance.
** When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always be worse. And when they are, we find hope in that things are so bad they have to get better.
** Spring is God's way of saying, "One more time!"
** Dear God, I have a problem:  it's me. Dear Child, I have the answer...it's Me."
Printable Issue 1279  Today is Thursday, March 27th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1279
An exerpt from Max Lucado's book "The Gift for All People" from the chapter titled "Faith Blessed, Faith Beheld" (in part):
"And Jesus was teaching them God's message.
Four people came, carrying a paralyzed man.
Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd,
they dug a hole in the roof right above where he was speaking.
When they got through, they lowered the mat with the paralyzed man on it.
When Jesus saw the faith of these people,
he said to the paralyzed man,
"Young man, your sins are forgiven."
~~ Mark 2:3 - 5
"They want Jesus to give the man a new body so he can walk. Jesus gives grace so the man can live.
"Remarkable. Sometimes God is so touched by what he sees that he gives us what we need and not simply that for which we ask.
"By the way, Jesus hasn't changed since the day a stretcher was lowered into his presence on the cords of hope.
"What happened then still happens today. When we take a step of faith, God sees. The same face that beamed at the paralytic beams at the alcoholic refusing the bottle. The same eyes that danced at the friends dance at the mom and dad who will do whatever it takes to get their child to Jesus. And the same lips that spoke to the man in Capernaum speak to the man in Detroit, to the woman in Belfast, to the child in Moscow...to any person anywhere who dares to come into the presence of God and ask for help.
"And though we can't hear it here, the angels can hear him there. All of heaven must pause as another burst of love declares the only words that really matters:  'Your sins are forgiven.'"
Printable Issue 1280  Today is Friday, March 28th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1280

A Karen's Korner by Joel and Victoria Osteen:


The Apple of His Eye

“Keep me as the apple of your eye…” (Psalm 17:8).

"God cherishes and values you so much today. You are the apple of His eye; the center of His world! In this day and age, people are considered to be important for so many different reasons—titles, position, possessions, where you go, what you drive. But God’s value system is very different from the value system of the world. If you’ve ever thought that God has too many other important things on His plate to be concerned with you and your life, know this today—you are God’s number one priority. And there’s nothing you can do to be more important or less important. God values you today simply because He made you, and your value will never change. You are significant. Your life is significant. The things that concern you, concern God. He carefully watches over every detail of your life, and there is nothing too big or too small for His attention. Take your concerns and cares to the Father today. He loves to hear you call upon Him, and He is waiting to show Himself strong on your behalf. Because you are important to Him, He is ready to bless and empower you to live in victory all the days of your life."

Father in heaven, thank You for loving me today. Thank You for making me the apple of Your eye. I open my heart to You today and cast every care on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Printable Issue 1281  Today is Monday, March 31st, 2008; Karen's Korner #1281
It is always fun when some Karen's Korner reader responds to one of the daily thoughts.
Last week Wilma Gamblin, who pastored with her husband for a number of years at the Nazarene Church in Clarion, emailed a response from the Barbara Johnson sayings I sent in a Karen's Korner last week. The one that caught Wilma's eye was "Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God."
"Just wanted to share a little chorus the Lord gave me the summer of 1990, right after finding out my mother had breast cancer," she wrote. "I had just returned home. For the first time in my life, I realized I would not always have my parents and grieved that day for the loss that was coming. I sat down to the piano. Looked up and read a similar saying, which was attached to a bell that someone had given to me a few years before."
Here are the words, minus the music:
JOY is not the absence of suffering,
but JOY is the presence of the LORD.
And the JOY of the LORD is my strength.
Yes, the JOY of the LORD is my strength.
Jesus, fill me with JOY, fill me with JOY,
"It was a great blessing to me and has been as Lee (husband) and I have sung it many times since then," Wilma continued. "My Dad went to be with the Lord on March 6, 1998 and my Mother a year and one week later on March 13, 1999. They loved the springtime and it was so fitting they both went HOME at that time to be forever with the Lord. God is so good! I am so glad Jesus came and that HE sent the COMFORTER, too! He cares, He comforts! Blessed be the name of the LORD!"