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June 2008 Archives

Printable Issue 1326  Today is Monday, June 2nd, 2008; Karen's Korner #1326
A portion of Shirley Choat's daily devotional email from yesterday:
                            This is the day the LORD hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
~~ Psalm 118:24
   A story is told of a painter, who was searching for a man to serve as a model for a painting. Late in the day he came upon a unshaven, ragged beggar. Here was the man he wanted. He gave him a sum of money and told him to report to him the next day.
  When the beggar appeared he was a different man, clean, shaven, and neatly dressed. As a result he lost the privilege of being a model for the painting. The artist wanted the beggar just as he was.
  The analogy may be imperfect. Yet it does illustrate a basic truth of the Christian Gospel. Our LORD wants us to come to Him just as we are, not as we think we should be. To the Pharisees of His day Jesus said: "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
  One of the most beautiful inviations recorded in the gospels are the well-known words of Christ: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. Did you notice to whom His invitation is addressed? All who are morally perfect? Paragons of piety?, the socially elite?, church councilmen? pastors, and etc ?
  NO! "All ye that labor and are heavy laden." The offer of divine pardon, divine peace, and eternal rest in the mansions of His Father is made to those who are laboring under the burden of sin and are weighed down by the numberless and annonymous crosses of life.
  "Come to Me," He says to the spiritually hungry,  thirsty,  weary, and  impoverished," and I will give you rest"-- the rest of full and free forgiveness, of sonship in His Father's family.
Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
"O God, from whom all good proceeds, grant to us Your humble servants, that by Your holy inspiration, we may think the things that are right, and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Printable Issue 1327  Today is Wednesday, June 4th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1327
From Joel and Victoria Osteen:
Set Your Hope

“Set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace that is coming to you when Jesus Christ is revealed”

(I Peter 1:13).

Is your hope set on God’s divine favor in your life today? One translation of this verse says, “Look forward to more and more of God’s favor.” That’s God’s dream—to pour out His goodness and grace upon you. He wants to help you get ahead in this life. He wants to lead you to the right job. He wants to lead you to the right relationship. But here’s the key: we have to be on the lookout for more of God’s favor. That tells me that we can’t get stagnant. Don’t ever think that you can’t rise any higher. God wants to do more than you can even ask or think. It says in Ephesians, He wants to show us the immeasurable, limitless, surpassing greatness of His free favor. In other words, God wants to go far and above what we’re used to! He wants to show you favor in unusual and extraordinary ways. Set your hopes higher today. Increase your expectations of what God will do in your life. As you open your heart and mind to His unlimited favor, you will experience the abundance He has in store for you!

Father, thank You for your increase in every area of my life today. I choose to set my hope in You knowing that You want to do more in my life than I can ever imagine. Teach me to be a vessel used by You today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

(Sorry for no Karen's Korner yesterday, I spent 3 days in Des Moines helping our daughter with kids!)

Printable Issue 1328  Today is Thursday, June 5th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1328
As readers of Karen's Korner, you already know that I really didn't want to have our daughter Jamie be sick and I didn't want our family to have to endure any additional sick people. Doesn't matter, this is what we have!
As always, it is good to have God in my (our) life (lives) to help make sense out of what I (we) think is no sense.
A help for me, once again came from the Bible study which I am currently in, written and presented by Anne Graham Lotz. As I have already confessed, it is about Revelation, a book of the Bible which tends to confuse me. Anne is helping me to understand more.
Last week's lesson was from Revelation 19 and I will paraphrase and use some snippets.
John, the writer of Revelation, was allowed by God to see into the future and what he saw was Jesus 'on a white horse' with 'eyes like blazing fire' and 'the armies of heaven following him, riding on whte horses'.
A couple of verses from my Bible commentary, telling about those few sentences: "Jesus appears this time not as a Lamb, but as a warrior on a white horse, symbolizing victory. Jesus came first as a Lamb to be a sacrifice for sin, but He will return to execute judgement. His first coming brought forgiveness; His second will bring judgement."
This spoke volumes to me! Not only don't I like what is and has happened to our family, neither does Jesus. He doesn't like what is happening to Tim and Jamie's 11-year-old niece who has been in chemotherapy for more than a year; nor does He like having Lynn in a wheelchair having to live in the care center nearly all of her adult life. He will declare victory for those who have had to endure abuse, unjust government leaders in foreign countries, and the lengthy list continues. What is on your list of unfair or unnecessary things termed 'evil'?
Continuing from the commentary: "The battle lines have now been drawn between God and evil, and the world is waiting for the King to ride onto the field."
Who are the armies in heaven, following on more white horses?
I believe it is us!!
Are we part of God's heavenly army on the victory side of the war? Or we on the side of evil?
The decision is always up to us! Victory isn't behind us! It is inside of us! It is with us! It is ahead of us!
Praise be to God!
Printable Issue 1329  Today is Friday, June 6th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1329
A writing emailed to me by Gretta Bauman:
There are two days in every week about which we should not worry. Two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
One of these days is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone!!
The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise, whether in splendor or behind a mask of clouds. But it will rise. Until it does we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.
This leaves only one day: today.
Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is when you and I add the burdens of two awful eternities - yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down.
It is not necessarily the experience of today that disturbs one's peace of mind. It is often time the bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore live one day at a time.
Reminding you that while we should remember the past and plan and anticipate the future, it is critical that we don’t get paralyzed by either. By focusing on making the best of the present, we can actually make the past a sweeter learning experience, and make tomorrow’s hopes and dreams closer to reality.
Father God, help us to enjoy just today!!
Printable Issue 1330  Today is Saturday, June 7th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1330
Beginning the first of January, Clarion has had weekly community prayer times. They are hosted at different locations, at various times and days of the week. While the prayer times have never had more than nine people at any one, we have had maybe three dozen different people join the community sessions at least one time.
God is faithful; being at each one!
At Wednesday's noon prayer time, Sonja mentioned, "This morning when I woke up, God, I heard the birds singing in our backyard. I knew that it was going to be a good day."
This morning when I woke up, I heard the birds singing. Not the same birds, but their same tunes and I thought of God and Sonja's words of a couple of days before.
The birds aren't concerned about the spring weather and too wet fields or any farm ponds. They don't seem to notice any changes in their lives, community, or world governments. They just sing!
Maybe they know something that sometimes I forget:  God is in charge! The sun is shining! It's going to be a great day!
Psalm 100
 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness;
       come before him with joyful songs.

 Know that the LORD is God.
       It is he who made us, and we are his; 
       we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
       and his courts with praise;
       give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
       his faithfulness continues through all generations.


(Normally, no Saturday Karen's Korner, but I missed Tuesday while I was in Des Moines. I like to send five Karen's Korners per week to help with my numbering processes; thus the Saturday edition!)

Printable Issue 1331  Today is Monday, June 9th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1331
In light of too much rain and flooding in our area; higher gas and food prices than we like; and sometimes personal devastations such as job loss, tighter budgets, health issues, confusing thoughts:  a prayer:
Dear Father God in Heaven,
Thank You for
all of the love and care that You have given to each one of us in the past.
Forgive us for times when we have taken all of our many blessings for granted.
Thank You that You tell us that You have everything under control;
even when it feels like, and sometimes looks like, everything is out of control and out of place.
Help us to never stop believing in You and trusting You.
When it appears that chaos reigns, help us to remember You.
You ask us to 'trust You in our times of trouble because You will rescue us' (Psalm 50:15).
Help us to do that:   trust and believe.
Thank You that You love us, all of the time;
care for us, all of the time;
have a complete plan for our lives, all of the time;
and that we are not people without a future and a hope.
Help us to
'always be thankful,
always be filled with joy,
and always keep on praying'
(I Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Because of a glorious past,
we can believe in an even better future!
Might be on this earth,
but it is guaranteed on the New Earth which follows.
You tell us that
'Because You are Our Shepherd,
we have everything we need.'
And that 'You make us lie down in green pastures
and lead us beside quiet waters.' (Psalm 23:1 & 2)
Thank You that You are that kind of Shepherd,
that kind of Leader.
Help us to follow;
help us to keep our eyes on You
and not on any problem that might flood into our lives.
We trust You.
We focus on You.
We love You.
In Jesus Name who performed and still performs
our rescue, our salvation, our saving grace,
Printable Issue 1332  Today is Tuesday, June 10th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1332
Several short thoughts or sayings:
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have
a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"

— Erma Bombeck, journalist
"Reading the Bible without reflecting on it is like eating without chewing."
-- Shirley Choat's grandfather
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

— Winston Churchill

Life isn't about how to survive the storm,
but how to dance in the rain.
-- from a pass around email
From Ann Garton, a Karen's Korner reader:
Ann tells that a minister at her church's annual conference asked what is our response to,
 'How are you today?'
Do we answer 'Fine or Okay.'
He says when he is asked that question he answers, 'I feel blessed.' 
Ann says from now on she's going to start answering 'I feel blessed.'
"What a wake-up call," says Ann.
Printable Issue 1333  Today is Wednesday, June 11th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1333
A daily devotional from Joel and Victoria Osteen. It talks about my being freed from condemnation, which makes me feel great and think great thoughts. Sometimes I need to be reminded that so are all of my Christian brothers and sisters; they aren't condemned either:

Free from Condemnation

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  ~ Romans 8:1

When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are free from condemnation! Is there something that you feel guilty about? If you have repented, the Bible says He takes your sin and throws it as far as the east is from the west. He casts your sins into the sea of forgetfulness. God actually chooses to forget your sins! That means your sins are completely removed. In fact, they aren’t even yours anymore. Don’t let the enemy dig up your past or try to make you feel guilty for something that happened a long time ago, or even yesterday. The enemy is called the “accuser of the brethren”, and he works overtime to bring you down with false accusations. Be confident that God doesn’t remember your past. You are free from condemnation through the blood of Jesus Christ. The next time the enemy brings up your past, declare that you are free from condemnation in Jesus’ Name!

Heavenly Father, thank You for setting me free in Jesus! Thank You for forgiveness. Thank You washing me clean and making me new today. I receive your grace and mercy so that I can be a vessel used by You today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 1334  Today is Thursday, June 12th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1334
An email forwarded to me by Karen Slife:
Our 14-year-old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her tht I thought we could, so she dictated these words:
Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her. You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith.
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. Thar afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thougth He had.
Yesterday there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed. 'To Meredith,' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven.

Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.

Printable Issue 1335  Today is Friday, June 13th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1335

The History of Flag Day

Though the origin of Flag Day dates back to the late 19th century, its inspiration takes us further back to 1777. On June 14th of that year, in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress passed a resolution specifying that the flag carry 13 stripes and 13 stars. The colors would represent hardiness and valor (red), purity and innocence (white), and vigilance, perseverance and justice (blue).

The concept of a specific day to annually recognize the American Flag came 108 years later. In 1885, a Fredonia, Wisconsin schoolteacher, B.J. Cigrand, arranged for the students in his school district to observe the resolution on June 14th as "Flag Birthday". In 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned similar festivities for his school students. In 1893, Philadelphia became the first city to celebrate Flag Day, and in the following year, New York was the first state to observe June 14th. After decades of expanding community observances, President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day on May 30, 1916.

Still many communities did not celebrate Flag Day. It wasn't until 1949, when President Harry Truman signed into an Act of Congress that National Flag Day be observed every June 14th. The Unites States Flag Code, as adopted by Congress, states "The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing".

This is why we should give the flag our full respect.

Let's do something to celebrate Flag Day on June 14, tomorrow.

Printable Issue 1336  Today is Monday, June 16th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1336
In 2 Chronicles 15, the first few verses, King Asa is is talking to his people. What he said, is true for us today as well (in part):
"The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you look for him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time.....the people haven't worshipped the true God, and have not had a true priest to teach them. They have lived without God's laws. But whenever they have turned again to the Lord God of Israel in their distress, and searched for him, he has helped them. In their times of rebellion against God there was not peace. Problems troubled the nation on every hand. Crime was on the increase everywhere. There were external wars, and internal fighting of city against city, for God was plaguing them with all sorts of trouble. But......keep up the good work and don't get discouraged, for you will be rewarded."
"If you are facing battles you feel you can't possibly win, don't give up. The secret to victory is first recognizing the futility of unaided human effort and then trusting God to save. His power works best through those who recognize their limitations. It is those who think they can do it all who are in the greatest danger."
Printable Issue 1337  Today is Tuesday, June 17th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1337
Yesterday I was in Des Moines with Jamie and family.
Thanks to everyone who was concerned about her and her recovery from her illness and hospitalization. She continues to get better and better, so we are grateful!
Jamie and her three children brought me back to Clarion; they will stay with us several days before going back home.
Last night when I was helping Luke and Molly go to bed, I said a night time prayer with them:  "Thank You, God, for Luke and Molly and Noah. Thank You for Mom; and thank You for making her get better and better. Thank You God for Dad and for Grandmas and Grandpas. Bless everyone as we sleep tonight. Amen." 
Molly, who will be three in August, said her own prayer:  "Dear God, thank You for a lovely day today. Amen."
A 'lovely day' for playing at the library with her bigger brother and grandma while her baby brother had a check up at the doctor's office with mom; for making a cake at grandma's and helping to water flowers! Her day also included a couple of 'time outs' sitting in a dinig room chair for some problems playing with Luke and several 'tear times' when things didn't go they way of Molly's choosing.
But 'thanks for a lovely day' was Molly's comment and recollection of the day's events.
What about our day today? What is it like? What will it be like?
Let's start it with a prayer of anticipation:  "Thank You, God. for a lovely day!" And then let's enjoy it, no matter what comes our way......
Printable Issue 1338  Today is Wednesday, June 18th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1338

This email article is taken from Focus on the Family's Action update called Citizen Link. It talks about the social implications of legalizing gay marraiges, in part. I am sure that readers of Karen's Korner are all over the place on how we collectively think, feel, or believe about the issue.

One thing that I think is really wrong:  none of us should be forced to all believe the same. I might disagree with how you think on a matter, but the government should not punish me or you for our differences.

Same-Sex 'Marriages' Erode Religious Freedom

by Jennifer Mesko, managing editor

As same-sex couples line up to get "married" in California, religious groups across the nation are preparing for more of their rights to be trampled.

"What most trusting Americans fail to grasp is the correlation between the advancement of the homosexual agenda and the gradual erosion of our religious liberty," said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action.

"California's judicially imposed social experiment in marriage has hastened the demise of religious freedom across the U.S."
Elaine Huguenin, a Christian photographer in New Mexico, has already seen her First Amendment rights set aside, in favor of gay "rights."

Earlier this year, the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found Huguenin guilty of discrimination and fined her company more than $6,600 after she refused to photograph a same-sex "commitment ceremony."

Jordan Lorence, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, is representing Huguenin and her husband, Jon. He said businesses and charities should not be forced to endorse something they don't believe.

"It's compelled speech," Lorence told NPR. "You're using the arm of the government (to) punish people for disagreeing with you."

Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress, told NPR the outlook is grim for religious groups.

After Massachusetts legalized gay "marriage," a Boston Catholic charity dropped its adoption services, rather than violate its beliefs by placing children with same-sex couples.

In New Jersey, the arrival of civil unions led almost immediately to a church losing part of its tax-exempt status for refusing to allow a lesbian "commitment ceremony" to take place on church property.

"If the ultimate result of gay 'marriage' and other items on the homosexual agenda is that pastors and believers can be prosecuted and silenced," Hausknecht said, "then we have truly lost the religious freedoms that this country was founded upon."

Printable Issue 1339  Today is Thursday, June 19th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1339
From the Poem Lady:
Where there is love the heart is light
Where there is love the day is bright
Where there is love there is a song
To help when things are going wrong

Where there is love there is a smile
To make all things seem more worthwhile
Where there is love there's quiet peace
A tranquil place where turmoils cease

Love changes darkness into light
And makes the heart take "wingless flight"--
Oh, blest are they who walk in love
They also walk with God above.
Love and prayers,
Printable Issue 1340  Today is Friday, June 20th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1340
I used to get a number of unwanted and unnecessary emails every day.
But I don't any more!
The computer company which provides my email service installed a 'SPAM lab'. I get one mail from them every day which gives me the opportunity to look through the list to see if I would like to retrieve any of them. Doesn't seem like there is ever anything in the list that I need or want. The number runs between 55 and 75!
I didn't install it; they simply provide the service. And I appreciate it!
Sort of like our relationship with Jesus. There are lots of things out there that are hurled our way each day. Some of them land in our lap, but I wonder if many or most things never come into our lives. Most of the stuff we don't want and can't use are held at bay. Jesus protects us!
We are protected because we ask for His protection. We are cared for because He is the Great Shepherd. We are loved because He chooses to love us. I don't know how and I don't why.
All I can say is, "Thank You!"
Dear Father in Heaven, forgive me when I whine about some current circumstance, when all you ever do is protect me and care for me. I praise You for that kind of love and protection. You always have my best interest at heart and I can walk in confidence and victory, knowing that You are close beside me, guarding and guiding my every step. Today is the day; let's walk on together! In Jesus Name, Amen.
Printable Issue 1341  Today is Monday, June 23rd, 2008; Karen's Korner #1341
Sometimes what we see and what we think, doesn't match reality. Here is an email passed along by Dorothy Riekens, which could be stored in the "jumping to conclusions" category:
Watch Your Mouth
'Some people!' snorted a man standing behind me in the long line at the grocery store. 
'You would think the manager would pay attention and open another line,'  said a woman.
I looked to the front of the line to see what the hold up was and saw a well dressed, young woman, trying to get the machine to accept her credit card. No matter how many times she swiped it, the machine kept rejecting it.
'It's one of them welfare card things. Those people need to get a job like everyone else,' said the man standing behind me. The young woman turned around to see who had made the comment.
'It was me,' he said, pointing to himself.
The young lady's face began to change expression. Almost in tears, she dropped the welfare card onto the counter and quickly walked out of the store. Everyone in the checkout line watched as she began running to her car. Never looking back, she got in and drove away.
After developing cancer in 1977 and having had to use food stamps; I had learned never to judge anyone, without knowing the circumstances of their lives. This turned out to be the case today.
Several minutes later a young man walked into the store. He went up to the cashier and asked if she had seen the woman. After describing her, the cashier told him that she had run out of the store, got into her car, and drove away.
'Why would she do that?' asked the man. Everyone in the line looked around at the fellow who had made the statement. 
'I made a stupid comment about the welfare card she was using.  Something I shouldn't have said. I'm sorry,'  said the man.
'Well, that's bad, real bad, in fact.  Her brother was killed in Afghanistan two years ago. He had three young children and she has taken on that responsibility. She's twenty years old, single, and now has three children
 to support,' he said in a very firm voice.
'I'm really truly sorry. I didn't know,' he replied, shaking both his hands about.
The young man asked, 'Are these paid for?' pointing to the shopping cart full of groceries. 'It wouldn't take her card,' the clerk told him.
'Do you know where she lives?' asked the man who had made the comment.
'Yes, she goes to our church.'
'Excuse me,' he said as he made his way to the front of the line. He pulled out his wallet, took out his credit card and told the cashier, 'Please use my card. PLEASE!' The clerk took his credit card and began to ring up the young woman's groceries.
Hold on,' said the gentleman. He walked back to his shopping cart and began loading his own groceries onto the belt to be included. 'Come on people. We got three kids to help raise!' he told everyone in line.
Everyone began to place their groceries onto the fast moving belt A few customers began bagging the food and placing it into separate carts. 'Go back and get two big turkeys,' yelled a  woman, as she looked at the man.
'NO,' yelled the man. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks. The entire store became quiet for several seconds. 'Four turkeys,' yelled the man. Everyone began laughing and went back to work. When all was said and done, the man paid a total of $1,646.57 for the groceries. He then walked over to the side pulled out his check book, and began writing a check using the bags of dog food piled near the front of the store for a writing surface. He turned around and handed the check to the young man. 'She will need a freezer and a few other things as well,' he told the man.
The young man looked at the check and said, 'This is really very generous of you.'
'No,' said the man. 'Her brother was the generous one.'
Everyone in the store had been observing the odd commotion and began to clap.

I drove home that day feeling very American; thanks to a soldier and his sister, each willing to do whatever needed to be done.

  'This is the day the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.'   Psalm 118:24 

Printable Issue 1342  Today is Tuesday, June 24th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1342
This is a note from Val and Loren Neubauer, a couple who we have met when we drive around our old (classic?) cars on Motor Ioway. Even if you are not from Iowa, you know of the flood devastation. The Neubauers live in Cedar Rapdis, which was hard, hard hit. I heard yesterday that their refuse would fill two football fields, sixty feet deep!
Val is responding to yesterday's Karen's Korner about giving food to someone in need at the grocery store:
This "feel good" story reminds me of everything that is going on now in Cedar Rapids.  With this flood that has destroyed our downtown and left 6000 people homeless, people are pulling together. Everyone can do something even if it is just praying-which may account for the beautiful dry weather the Lord has blessed us with this past week. 
Sometime this week or next our church will begin hosting volunteer teams of Presbyterians from all over the country.  We expect to have 50-70 volunteers a week well into fall.  As our pastor remarked from the pulpit on Sunday, "I sent Loren to a meeting in Iowa City.  Little did he know he would end up with a full time job."
So presently we are busy getting organized to be long term hosts. 
And a couple of short thoughts to cap off the day:
Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear
- Mark Twain
Life is like a game of tennis, you can't win without serving well.
- Shirley Choat
Printable Issue 1343  Today is Wednesday, June 25th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1343
Margaret Cramer shared a couple of paragraphs from a book she had just finished reading. It followed a recent church sermon and a conversation I had had with her. I hope that the words can make some sense to you, as a reader, and touches the hearts of at least a handful of people who read what she shared from the book
According to Margaret, the book is written by Michael English and is titled 'the prodigal son comes home'. "It is a sad and glad story at the same time," she said."If you do not know who Michael English is, he was a pinnacle Christian music artist, at the top of the trade and fell hard. These are the last four paragraphs of the book:"

"My relationship with God has changed too. The God I thought I knew as a child and, really, for most of my adult life was a lot like Daddy used to be: stern, ready to blame and punish.  I didn't learn much at all about grace and mercy. I grew up thinking that if you were in a backslidden state, you were going to hell.  And when I was a raging addict, short of killing somebody, I could have slid no farther back. I had no hope.

"But from what I've seen over the past few years, I've had to reconsider. It's now hard for me to believe that a God who loves me so much, who has poured out His healing mercies into my life, would have rejected me at my
lowest point.  Isaiah writes that God sees the end from the beginning. That means He knew I also thirsted for righteousness, longed for it, reached for it, but could not find it within myself to grab hold of it. He knew I would
come running back to Him and that He would greet me with rings and feasts. How then could the same God have sent me to hell had a car hit me while I was on a drug buy?

"That is something I still wrestle with, and I know there are whole camps of preachers who are way smarter than me dug in like armies on each side of this debate.  As a recently reformed semiprofessional sinner, I'm not going
to pretend to make some profound statement here on a centuries-old debate. But I will say that my own experience with a patient and loving God has me thinking hard about it. At the very least, I know this:  we always have hope.

"It''s not like I got hold of some good theology somewhere and now I understand everything. It's more like I'm at that place where a lot of new Christians are - seeking and hungry. I can't stand to lie in bed anymore. I know it's going to be good. And when I lay my head on the pillow again each night, I can rest well in Him, knowing that finally, after all my wandering; my heart is back at home."
Printable Issue 1344  Today is Thursday, June 26th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1344
(I will skip sending a karen's Korner tomorrow, as I am on a short-term mission trip; I will email a Karen's Korner late on Saturday night or Sunday to make my '5 per week' goal!)
(plus commentary)
"Our Father in heaven,
we honor your holy name.
God is not only majestic and holy, but also personal and loving.
This is a statement of praise and commitment to honor God's holy name.
We can honor God's name by being careful to use it respectfully.
We ask that your kingdom will come now.
This is a reference to God's spiritual reign in believers' hearts.
It will be complete when all evil is destroyed and the new heaven and earth are established.
May your will be done here on earth,
just as it is in heaven.
We are not resigning ourselves to fate,
but praying that God's perfect will be accomplished in this world as well as in the next.
Give us our food again today, as usual,
We are acknowledging that God is our Sustainer and Provider,
as opposed to the misconception that we provide for our needs ourselves.
We are also showing that we trust God daily to provide what he knows we need.
and forgive us our sins,
just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
Don't bring us not in to temptation,
but deliver us from the Evil One.
Jesus is not implying that God leads us into temptation.
He is simply asking for deliverance from Satan and his deceit.
All Christians struggle with temptation.
Sometimes it is so subtle that we don't even realize what is happening to us.
God has promised that he won't allow us to be tempted beyond our endurance.
Ask God to help you recognize temptation and to be strong enough to overcome it
and choose God's way.
~ Matthew 6:9 - 13
Life Application Bible
Printable Issue 1345  Today is Sunday, June 29th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1345

(Later on Sunday to complete five for the week.!)

A daily devotional by Joel and Victoria Osteen from September 2007:

The Land of Hope

“I’ve pitched my tent in the Land of Hope” ~ Acts 2:26, Message

Where have you pitched your tent today? What are you expecting to happen in your life? What kind of attitude do you have? If you’re focused on what’s wrong, or what’s not working, it’s time to dig up your tent stakes! It’s time to pack up your belongings and move out of the land of discouragement. Move out of the “Not-going-to-happen” sub-division. Move out of “Can’t-do-it-ville.” It’s time to leave “Self-pity Estates.” Get out of those areas and move into the land of hope, faith, and expectation. Maybe you don’t quite know how to get there, but now’s the time to start looking for that new place. Open your heart to the Lord and ask Him to direct your thoughts and expectations. The Bible says that those who hope in the Lord will never be put to shame. You can trust God to order your steps. You can trust Him to move you from the land of disappointment to the land of hope today!

Heavenly Father, thank You for ordering and directing my steps. Thank You for taking me to the land of hope! I release all my past hurts and disappointments to You today and ask that You fill me with Your faith and expectancy for a bright future! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Printable Issue 1346  Today is Monday, June 30th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1346
Nothing like the Bible to give people a pep-talk for the day!
From Ephesian 2:1 - 10 (Living Bible, in part):
"Once you were under God's curse, doomed forever for your sins. You went along with the crowd and were just like all the others, full of sin......obeying Satan.......We started out bad, being born with evil natures, and were under God's anger just like everyone else.
"But God is so rich in mercy; he loved us so much that even though we were spiritually dead and doomed by our sins, he gave us back our lives again when he raised Christ from the dead--only by his undeserved favor have we ever been saved--and lifted us up from the grave into glory along with Christ, where we sit with him in the heavenly realms--all because of what Christ Jesus did. And now God can always point to us as examples of how very, very rich his kindness is, as shown in all he has done for us through Jesus Christ.
"Because of his kindness you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it. It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others."