March 2009 Archives
Today is Monday, March 9th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1521|
Glad to be back after a few days away.
Enjoy this Joel and Victoria Osteen; from one of last week's daily devotionals:
He Will Harden You to Difficulty
"Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice" (Isaiah 41:10).
It's easy to look around at what's happening in the earth today and be tempted to feel afraid or dismayed. Circumstances may seem overwhelming. Maybe your business is struggling, maybe you lost your job, maybe you're struggling in a relationship or concerned about the economy. During times like these, it's important to remember that God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. In fact, not only is He with us, He has promised to strengthen us and harden us to difficulties. That means, when tough times come, they just bounce right off of you. You don't allow your circumstances to steal your peace and joy. You have the attitude that says, "This may be a big problem, but my God is bigger!"
Keep in mind that the enemy isn't after your checkbook; he's ultimately after your peace and joy. He knows that if he can get your joy then he can get your strength. But when you stay connected to the Father through prayer and studying the Word and declare His promises over your life, you'll be hardened to difficulties and stay safe in the palm of God's hand!
Father in heaven, thank You for Your precious promises. I renounce fear today and choose to trust that You have a plan of victory in store for me. Thank You for filling me with Your peace and joy and staying close to me all the days of my life. In Jesus' Name. Amen .
Today is Tuesday, March 10th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1522|
We had an absolutely wonderful time on our trip away for parts of eleven days. There were no troubles, wonderful sights, good people we met in our tour group, and a great trip guide.
We only had one delay and that was flying back into Chicago. There was a trip monitor where we could watch where we were at any time, our flying heights and the miles to our desired destination - Chicago.
As I watched the monitor for a couple of minutes, I saw that the speed stayed relatively the same, the height of 16,000 miles was the same, and the distance to the airport of 45 miles was the same for maybe five minutes. I said to Jim, "We must be circling the airport."
Then the pilot came on the announcement system to inform all of us that was what we indeed were doing. "There are rains and changing winds in the Chicago area," he said. "We will need to circle the airport for another twenty minutes or so for the system to pass."
As passengers looking out of the windows, we didn't see rains or storms. We only had an easy flight with no turbulence and sunshine. We could only see the white, fluffy clouds below us.
When we flipped on the television on Monday morning, we saw what the 'rains and changing winds' had done. There were towers tipped over, roofs ripped off, and buildings damaged in Illinois, as well as several other states. No wonder they didn't want us landing!
Made me think of God and how He operates. Sometimes we are right in the middle of some of our lives' storms. Trees are being uprooted, buildings are being destroyed, winds are changing directions, and the rains are torrential.
But above the clouds is only calm and sunshine.
God wants us to look up and to walk up into that place of peace, calm, love, and light. We may not be able to change the ground clutter but we can enjoy the Presence of His grace and goodness above whatever storm in which we may be involved.
Our calm may not be physical nor financial. But it can always be emotional and spiritual. He is in control. Look for the Sunshine and Peace. Look for God's face and hand. Thank Him that He, like our pilot and air traffic controllers, is in control. Everything will be okay and, in spite of delays, there will be a safe landing.
Praise be to God!
Today is Wednesday, March 11th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1523|
A good day to praise God and thank Him for all He does for each of us everyday:
THE MESSAGE translation
1-3 Hallelujah! You who serve God, praise God!
Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—
now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
keep lifting all your praises to God!
4-9 God is higher than anything and anyone,
outshining everything you can see in the skies.
Who can compare with God, our God,
so majestically enthroned,
Surveying his magnificent
heavens and earth?
He picks up the poor from out of the dirt,
rescues the wretched who've been thrown out with the trash,
Seats them among the honored guests,
a place of honor among the brightest and best.
He gives childless couples a family,
gives them joy as the parents of children.
Today is Thursday, March 12th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1524|
While we were traveling, I took along several books to read. One was a book given to us by author Roy Reiman titled "I Could Write a Book.....". It tells of his life story of starting more than a dozen magazines including Farm Wife News; Country; Taste of Home, and Quick Cooking. His most recent lauch was OUR IOWA magazine for which I do a bit of reporting and writing as Wright County's Hawk-eye reporter.
Slipped in the margins of each page are some or Roy's collection of one-line thoughts.
Here are a handful of my favorites:
* Many people would like to move mountains, but few are willing to practice on small hills.
* "In the midst of difficulty lies incredible opportunity." ~ Albert Einstein
* If you want to stay out of debt, act your wage.
* If you want to feel rich, count all of the things money can't buy.
* Before you score, you must have a goal.
* One kind word can warm a whole month.
* The manner of giving is often worth more than the gift.
Today is Friday, March 13th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1525|
There was bad winter driving weather last Sunday in our area. With the inclimate weather came several accidents. One was particularly bad, about a dozen miles from where we live. It included one car sliding and another hitting it. Two adults in one vehicle were killed. There were two adults and three children in the other one. A day or so ago the 19-month-old girl died of her injuries.
Briar's organs were harvested and a number of people are being helped by what happened.
I couldn't help but think: one family, and our area in general, is grieving the loss, and another several families are probably celebrating 'their good news'.
But there is more good news, in spite of the bad: Briar has been transported back to God and her heavenly home! Jesus cleared the path. He knew that there would always be untimely tragedies and illnesses, so He came to this world to die for it and its people. He couldn't stand the loss nor death nor separation!
There are no tragedies in His Royal Kingdom; only blessings, hope, help, and 'see you laters'.
I may understand more than most as ten years later, our daughter Merry's eyes still see! AndI know where she is spending eternity.
And me? I have my reservation. Now all I am doing is encouraging others to join me in my travel plans. Won't join me/us?? It promises to be a trip of a lifetime.....for all of eternity!
Today is Monday, March 16th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1526|
Last night was our final lesson in a course called ALPHA. It is a basic class taking a second look at the Christian faith with such topics as "Christianity: Boring, Untrue, Irrelevant?"; "How Does God Guide Us?"; or "How Can I Make the Most of the Rest of My Life?"
One of the discussion topics last night was talking about Jesus telling us to "GO" and share what it is He has done for us and what He has in store for others. Our ALPHA leader asked us, "If you had a friend who was dying of thirst, wouldn't you offer him/her a drink of water?"
We have opportunities to offer others a drink of 'spiritual water'.
In our small group discussion, we talked about our reservations of 'not knowing enough'; 'not having as many Christian experiences as others'. Probably all valid.
It made me think of the time I was in high school. I would watch the 'in' crowd of self-assured athletes, cheerleaders, homecoming-court types and wonder, "Why aren't they reaching back or down to help those of us who aren't? If I was in that group that is what I would do?'
As I matured, I learned a couple of things I didn't know at that time: "Just because you are in the 'popular' group, it didn't mean he/she/they had it all together. They were just as afraid or questioning as the rest of us."
And second, I learned: "To get it all together, I had to begin reaching out to others. THAT is how I get it all together. I hadn't ARRIVED when I started. Lots I didn't know; lots I wasn't sure about. I just began."
Fast forward to today and our reaching out to others.
I might not know as much as my friend. The minister might be miles ahead of me in his/her knowledge of the Bible. I just need to start and reach out to another/others with His Love. If someone asks me something I don't know, I can tell that other person, "I don't know. I'll do what I can to find out. Or "Hey, let's ask a/our minister."
I still don't have it all together; life has a lot to teach me yet.
But today is a good day for me (or for you ) to tell others how much God loves them and wants to take care of them!
Today is Tuesday, March 17th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1527|
Happy St. Patrick's Day.
Since this is a day we celebrate, we just as well be reminded who? what? or why?
I took this story of St. Patrick off the internet and used it in a Karen's Korner two years ago; his story has stayed the same, as he died more than 1500 years ago. As you read through it, you will probably notice that he was about sixty when his 'real' ministry began.
Good news for us who are 'about sixty'! God might have some things in for us to do yet.........if we allow Him:
Saint Parick, born Maewyn Succat near the end of the fourth century, took on the Patrick name when he became a priest later in his life. Succat was kidnapped from his native land of Britian by a band of pirates at the age of sixteen. He was sold into slavery in Ireland where he worked as a shepherd. He turned to religion for solace. After six long years, he escaped to the northern coast of Gaul.
It was while he was in Gaul that he became "Patrick", as he studied for twelve years in a monestery there. He believed his calling was to convert pagans of Ireland to Christianity. St. Palladius was appointed to go to Ireland first, but transferred to Scotland two years later, opening the door for Patrick. He was about sixty years old when he arrived in Ireland. With the help of his winning personality, he began to win converts. He used the shamrock, a three-leafed clover, to help explain the concept of the Trinity: father, son, and holy spirit.
Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries and setting up schools and churches to aid in converting the Irish country to Christianity. Patrick's mission in Ireland lasted thirty years. In a population of 300,000 in Ireland at the time, St. Patrick personally baptized more than 120,000 people! He retired to County Down and died on March 17, 461 AD, the day they began celebrating both his life and his death.
Today is Wednesday, March 18th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1528|
Yesterday's email message from Joel and Victoria Osteen; I thought it was a good one:
No One Can Take it from You
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27, NLT).
Did you know that nothing on earth can take away your peace and joy? That’s because it didn’t come from this world, it came from God Almighty. In fact, the only time we can ever lose our peace is when we choose to let go of it and give it away. The next time you’re tempted to get upset and frustrated ask yourself, “Is this worth giving my peace and power away?” Maybe someone was rude to you on the phone, or a co-worker left you out of a meeting, is it worth your peace?
Life is too short to live upset and offended. If you allow your circumstances to control you, there will always be some reason to get discouraged. “Well, Joel. It’s the economy.” “It’s the stock market. That’s why I’m so down.” No, quit giving away your power! God is still on the throne. The economy in heaven is doing just fine, and as long as you’re connected to Him, everything is going to be alright! Decide today to hold on to the gift of peace that God has given you so you can move forward in the victory He has in store for you!
Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your gift of peace. I choose to hold onto my peace and release anything that would hold me back from the blessings You have in store. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Today is Thursday, March 19th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1529|
A daily devotional written by Rick Warren of "Purpose Drive Life" fame; forwarded to me by Kim Lee:
"Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God's Spirit."
~~ 1 Corinthians 2:14 (TEV)
You can't earn your spiritual gifts or deserve them - that's why they are called gifts! They're an expression of God's grace to you: "Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us" (Ephesians 4:7 CEV).
Nor do you get to choose which gifts you'd like to have. Paul explains that God determines that, "It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have" (1 Corinthians 12:11 NLT).
Because God loves variety, and he wants us to be special, there's no one single gift given to everyone, and no individual receives all the gifts. If you had them all, you'd have no need of anyone else, and that would defeat one of God's purposes - to teach us to depend on each other.
Your spiritual gifts were not given for your own benefit but for the benefit of others, just as other people were given gifts for your benefit. The Bible says, "A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church" (1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT). When we use our gifts together, we all benefit. If others don't use their gifts, you get cheated, but if you don't use your gifts, they get cheated. This is why God wants us to discover and develop our spiritual gifts.
Whenever we forget these basic truths about gifts, it always causes trouble in the church. Two common problems are "gift-envy" and "gift-projection."
- Gift-envy occurs when we compare our gifts to others, feel dissatisfied with what God gave us, and become resentful or jealous of how God uses others.
- Gift-projection happens when you expect everyone else to have your gifts, do what you're called to do, and feel as passionate about it as you do. The Bible says, "There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving" (1 Corinthians 12:5 NLT).
Sometimes spiritual gifts are overemphasized to the neglect of the other factors that God uses to shape you for service. So keep in mind, your gifts reveal one part of God's will for your ministry, but not all of it.
Today is Friday, March 20th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1530|
"Once when Jesus' mother and brothers came to see Him,
they couldn't get into the house where He was teaching, because of the crowds.
When Jesus heard they were standing outside and wanted to see Him,
"My mother and my brothers are those who hear the message of God and obey it."
~~ Luke 8:19 - 21
Bible Commentary: Jesus' true relatives are those who hear and obey His words. Hearing without obeying is not enough. As Jesus loved His mother, so He loves each of us. He offers us an intimate relationship with Him. Jesus was saying those who belong to God's family by spiritual birth are closer to Him than those related to Him by natural birth.
If you or I were related to Bill Gates, part of what we would probably expect is to be welcome to a portion of his vast fortune.
Congratulations, we are part of God's family, and He is richer by far. He wants us to take part in His spiritual wealth: the kind that can't be touched by inflation, deflation; floods, illness, nor even death.
Today is a good day to enjoy His riches and Kingdom: peace, joy, love, kindness, goodness, grace and mercy.........no matter what else might be happening in your life!
Today is Monday, March 23rd, 2009; Karen's Korner #1531|
This short article is taken from the "Stories of Hope" - March/April 2009 newsletter, published by Hope Ministries in Des Moines. Hope takes care of lots needs and needy in the Des Moines area. The article is titled: "A Sacrifice for the Children":
"The homeless men in our Bethel Mission men's emergency shelter often come to us with literally nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Yet at our nightly chapel services, they make a point of contributing whatever they can when the plate is passed. Proceeds from the offerings help send children from Hope Family Center to camp each summer. The men tell us it's their way of givng back for the safety, shelter, nourishment, and compassion they've found at Hope Ministries. We are blessed by their sacrifice."
The photo accompanying the story shows hands handing a plate with a couple of dollar bills and some lose change. Not necessarily a lot, but passing the plate lots of days can add up to many dollars.
Some of us are having a harder time in this economy; all of us have probably lost something or lots of somethings. If we were used to giving hundreds, maybe now we are limited to dollars. If we were used to giving dollars, we might be limited to loose change.
No matter; God knows He understands. But the law of giving remains. We need to give something to maintain the purpose for our lives.
When we have more, we give more. When we have less, we give less. But our caring remains!
"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." ~~ II Corinthians 9:7
Today is Tuesday, March 24th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1532|
The Bible book of Proverbs, written mainly by King Solomon who was thought to be one of the wisest men who ever lived, is sometimes known as the 'book of wisdom'.
A Bible translation which I have says, in part, as an introduction to Proverbs: "In the Bible, heaven is not the primary concern, to which earth is a tagalong afterthought. 'On earth as it is in heaven' is Jesus' prayer. Wisdom is the biblical term for this on-earth-as-it-is-heaven everyday living. Wisdom is the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find ourselves."
There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs; a subdivision (chapter 25 - 31) is titled "Wisdom for Leaders". If you are a parent, a Sunday School teacher, a leader of a small group of youth or adults, you would fit the category!
Here are just a handful from that part:
* "Be patient and you will finally win, for a soft tongue can break hard bones." (25:15)
* "A man without self-control is as defenseless
as a city with broken-down walls." (25:28)
* "Jealousy is more dangerous and cruel than anger." (27:4)
* "When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily;
but with honest, sensible leaders there is stability." (28:2)
* "Blessed is the man who reveres God,
but the man who doesn't care is headed for serious trouble." (28:14)
* "If you give to the poor,
your needs will be supplied!
But a curse upon those who close their eyes to poverty." (28:27)
* "Discipline your son and he will give you happiness and peace of mind." (29:17)
* "Every word of God proves true.
He defends all who come to him for protection." (30:5)
Today is Wednesday, March 25th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1533|
Something forward to me a few months ago by Jim's cousin and husband, the Greenes, who live in Florida. I shortened it just a bit for easier reading:
Handling Daily Frustrations
Recently, I had a conversation with a customer service agent. I use the words "customer service" very loosely. There was not a lot of concern over me being a faithful customer nor any expressions of service. Let's just say, I wasn't feeling the love. I remained calm, but it seriously took everything in me to do so.
I know the lady on the other end of the phone was just following procedure, but I wasn't getting anywhere with a very simple request. It made no sense. It wasn't right. And it certainly did nothing to make me fond of this particular company.
Later on, I started thinking about the woman on the other end of the line. After my call, she probably moved on to the next frustrated customer. And then the next. And then the next. Suddenly, I felt so sorry for her. I decided it wasn't her desire to not be able to help me. She was truly just following the orders of the higher-ups at her company.
I imagined her packing up her things at the end of another long day and heading home. A home where she is having to face her own daily aggravations and frustrations. That's when it hit me. While on the phone, I never pictured her as a person really. To me, she was just a voice on the other end of the phone that was causing me extreme frustration.
How might my reaction have been different if I'd stopped to think about her as a woman just like me? ...What might it be like to be her, to live her life, and to have to go to her job everyday?
I decided God was trying to get my attention to be more aware of those around me, those that He loves dearly. Those that I, sadly, sometimes don't even see. In Luke 8:15 Jesus reminds us, "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." I want Jesus' message to fall on a heart that is humble and fertile enough to:
Receive God's word...
Retain God's instruction, and...
Reflect God's character in both my action and reactions.
When I stop to think about this I am challenged. Whether I am talking with a frustrating customer service representative that I don't know or interacting with those I know and love, I must work towards being a woman who displays godly character. Just like Luke 8:15 encourages, whether I'm having a frustrating conversation or a friendly one, may God's messages of truth have such an impact on me that my heart remains noble and good.
Dear Lord, It is easy to honor You with my carefully thought through actions but, sometimes much harder with my reactions. Even when I'm caught off guard, may Your love and patience be the spillover from my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Today is Thursday, March 26th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1534|
A handful of short thoughts:
"Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but
do not let them master you. Let them teach you
patience, sweetness, insight. When we do the best
we can, we never know what miracle is wrought
in our life, or in the life of another."
~~ from a book by Helen Keller
"Be patient and kind with all whom you meet.
Most people are doing about the best that they can."
~~ Author unknown
"I don't think there is anyone who needs
God's help and grace as much as I do.
Sometimes I feel so helpless and weak.
I think that is why God uses me.
Because I cannot depend on my own strength,
I rely on Him twenty-four hours a day."
~~ Mother Teresa
Disappointments are inevitable;
Misery is optional.
~~ Author unknown
"Friends come and friends go,
but a true friend sticks by you like family."
~~ Proverbs 18:24 (The Message)
Today is Friday, March 27th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1535|
Depending on the Bible translation, most people know one of the most popular verses in the Bible - John 3:16:
"For God so loved the world that He
gave His only Son that
whoever believes on Him shall not perish
but have eternal life."
But listen to this translation in The Message Bible, plus a few more verses following:
"This is how much God loved the world:
He gave his Son, his one and only Son.
And this is why:
so that no one need be destroyed,
by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son,
merely to point an accusing finger,
telling the world how bad it was.
He came to help, to put the world right again.
Anyone who trusts in Him is acquitted;
anyone who refuses to trust Him
has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it.
Because of that person's failure to believe in the
one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to Him.
This is the crisis we're in:
God-light streamed into the world,
but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness.
They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God.
Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil,
addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it,
fearing a painful exposure.
But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes
God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is."
~~ John 3:16-21
Today is Monday, March 30th, 2009; Karen's Korner #1536|
As the downturned economy continues, financial numbers continue to decline and some higher unemployment numbers are more than just numbers. Some job losses are turning into 'real people'. People in my world. People who I know and care about.
Some of the 'things' that the Welds own, I know are worth less than they were a few months or a year ago. But at this point, Jim and I relatively untouched. Our income has stayed steady.
More than once I have heard myself say (or at least think), "We aren't part of the problem nor are we part of the solution!"
While we haven't experienced many day-to-day financial reverses, neither do we have enough money 'to fix someone who has lost a job". Nor can we 'pay the bills' for someone who has had a lengthy hospital stay and not enough health care coverage.
And then God reminds me: I can pray for those with needs of any kind!
While the problem may not be camping on the Welds doorstep today, I am part of the solution with my willingness to pray for others!
God, help me to seize that opportunity. Help me to provide more than lip service to thinking and saying that I will pray for others. Help me to really do it. Help me to believe! Help me to see! Amen.
Guide us working,
and guard us sleeping;
That awake we may watch with Christ,
and asleep we may rest in peace.
~~ email from Sandy Stephenson,
via her sister
Today is Tuesday, March 31st, 2009; Karen's Korner #1537|
It's a good day to be 'full of joy' (and have a good laugh or at least a smile!). I have selected a few of the comments made by grandchildren, which Deb (Mechem) Lange forwarded to me last week from Colorado:
She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter as she'd done many times before.. After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!"
A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"
My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo while I asked, "No, how are we alike?" "You're both old," he replied.
A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We
learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting," she said, "how do you make babies?" "It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and 'es'."
"Give me a sentence about a public servant," said a teacher. The small boy wrote:"The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked. "Sure," said the young boy confidently. "It means carrying a child."
A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started
discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds back," said one child. "No," said another, "He's just for good luck." A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants..."