December 2010 Archives
Today is Wednesday, December 1st, 2010; Karen's Korner #1958|
"See how very much our heavenly Father loves us,
for He allows us to be called His Children --
think of it --
and we really are!!
But since most people don't know God,
naturally they don't know that we are His Children.
Yes, dear friends, we are already God's Children,
and we can't even imagine what it is going to be like later on.
But we do know this,
that when He comes we will be like Him,
as a result of seeing Him as He really is.
~ I John 3:1 & 2 (LB)
Bible Commentary: As believers, our self-worth is based on the fact that God loves us and calls us his children. We are his children now, just sometime in the distant future. Knowing that we are his children encourages us to live as Jesus did.
The Christian life is a process of becoming more and more Christlike. This process will not be complete until we see him face to face, but knowing that it is our ultimate goal should motivate us to live more and more like Christ each day.
Today is Thursday, December 2nd, 2010; Karen's Korner #1959|
THE BLESSING OF SHARING
Only what we give away
Enriches us from day to day,
For not in getting but in giving
Is found the lasting joy of living,
For no one ever had a part
In sharing treasures of the heart
Who did not feel the impact of
The magic mystery of God's love.
Love alone can make us kind
And give us joy and peace of mind,
So live with joy unselfishly
And you'll be blessed abundantly.
~ Helen Steiner Rice
Today is Friday, December 3rd, 2010; Karen's Korner #1960|
A Christmas inspirational thought from Joel and Victoria Osteen:
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NKJ).
"Do you need wisdom or direction in your life today? The scripture tells us that Jesus is our Counselor. And He’s not just any kind of Counselor, He’s our wonderful Counselor! When something is wonderful, it is unusually good, marvelous or astonishing. God is a marvelous, astonishing Counselor—the very best you could ever have! When you seek Him and follow His commands, He’ll work in your life in ways you never thought possible. He’ll give you the best advice. He’ll give you the best guidance. In fact, He’ll take you places that you never dreamed.
"Remember, God is a rewarder of the people who seek after Him, so seek Him as your Counselor. Let Him show You the good plan He has for you. Let Him direct and guide your path. As you trust and seek Him, He’ll bless and prosper you and lead you in the abundant life He has prepared for you."
"Father in heaven, You are my Wonderful Counselor! I submit my ways to You knowing that You have a good plan for me and that You will direct my paths. Thank You for Your wisdom in every area of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen."
Today is Monday, December 6th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1961|
The other day as I was brushing my teeth, I thought, "About everything I do these days is to 'save' something!"
I brush and floss my teeth to save my teeth; now I have to use a water pick to save my gums.
While I am pretty healthy for my age (which turns the page to Medicare next year), my doctor told me several years ago to take an aspirin a day (to save my heart). Another year I was told to take some calcium (to save my bones). One time my instruction was to take Centrum Silver to save......who knows....everything else?
Exercise and eat right to save my body. And what about my mind? Better do something to try to save it!
The news tells us to work to save water, save trees. Recycle our junk to save the environment. Save the animals, save the soil, save the air, save the planet......And the list goes on.
But the real truth?
No matter what you and I do, all these things, ultimately won't be saved!
Will I continue to do my part to impact those things? Sure, because it will prolong how long I am well and the evironment is healthy.
The Bible tells us that 'those things will pass away'...even you and me!
But He has a plan to save us, not only for now but for forever. The same spirit that saved Jesus will save and restore us, if we but ask to be included in that forever plan. Coming is a new heaven and a new earth. New bodies, better than the ones we have ever had.
Hang on the best is yet to come!
Revelation 21:1-5 (NIV)
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
5 He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new! Then he said, Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.
Today is Tuesday, December 7th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1962|
Each copy of the OUR IOWA magazine has 'side notes', short thoughts and quotes, typed vertically in the margin of some pages. Here are a handful from the recent holiday issue:
* If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
* "We dare not disregard the lessons of experience."
~ Abraham Lincoln
* It doesn't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* I don't care how poor a man is; if he has a family he's rich.
* Act is if what you do makes a difference. It does.
* "Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,
and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
~ Norman Vincent Peale
* Life, love and laughter---what priceless gifts to give our children.
Today is Wednesday, December 8th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1963|
Today's korner was forwarded to me by Judy Watne in mid-September, from something she receives daily titled "Girlfriends in God" (it will work for the guys too!).
It's Christmas and 'Love came down at Christmas':
Do You Love Being Loved?
by Gwen Smith
"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).
Every once in a while one of my children surprises me with unexpected sweetness. Like most children, my kids are sweet on a regular basis, but I'm talking about a special, take-my-breath-away sweetness that creates a time capsule moment for my mommy heart, a moment that I'll remember forever.
I had one of those special conversations recently with my nine year-old son, Hunter. It was bedtime. Teeth were brushed. Jammies were on. Prayers had been prayed. The smell of Pantene lingered from his freshly showered head as I brushed a stray hair from his eye. That's when he initiated "project: unexpected sweetness" with an innocent question: "Mommy, do you know what I love?"
"What do you love, Hunter?" I asked quietly.
"I love being loved," he said. "Yep. I really love being loved."
As I lay beside him in the dark room I could scarcely process the vast paradox of his statement. It was the simplest of thoughts, delightfully honest, yet one of the most profound and insightful statements I've ever heard come from his heart.
When he spoke those four little words, "I love being loved," he communicated several things to me:
- He knew he was loved.
- His love tank was being re-filled as I tucked him in.
- His greatest need is love.
Like Hunter, our greatest need is also to be loved. To feel safe, adored, and content in love.
I don't know where this devotion finds you this morning, but I sense God nudging me to tell you that He loves you. Completely. Perfectly. Eternally. (Yes, I'm talking to you!) He knows your name. He knows your heart. He knows your circumstances and He hears your prayers. He loves you and desires for you to rest in His love.
God's love is not based on performance or beauty. It's not based on position or abilities. Many times, we mistakenly think that if we could just do this or that better - that God would love us more or that if we just hadn't done this or that - God would love us more. The truth is this: God will never love you more or less...no matter what. His love is complete and you are the object of His heart. Savor the special sweetness of God's love for you today. Linger on thoughts of His affection for you.
The Bible tells us "...that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
No matter what you've believed in the past, choose by faith to believe that you are valued, priceless, and adored by God. "Take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:18-19, MSG).
When you embrace the deep love of Christ as a personal reality, you gain traction for powerful, meaningful living that begins with forgiveness and continues on in truth and grace. Go in His love today. Be assured of it. Share it. Be changed by it and let it flow through you to others.
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:16-21).
Today is Thursday, December 9th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1964|
Since it is Christmas and the gift giving season, it is a good time to remember what kind of gift God has given to us. Because He gave us His Son, we have the gift of His Love and His Life. What a deal; it is ours for the taking:
"And what is it that God has said?
That He has given us eternal life,
and that this life is in His Son.
So whoever has God's Son has life,
whoever does not have His Son,
does not have life.
I have written this to you
who believe in the Son of God
so that you may know you have eternal life.
~ I John 5:11 - 13 LB
Bible Commentary: Whoever believes in God's Son has eternal life. He is all you need. You don't need to wait because eternal life begins today. You don't need to work for it, because it is already yours. You don't need to worry, because you have been given eternal life by God himself, and it is guaranteed.
Some people hope they will be given eternal life. John says we can know we have it. Our certainty is based on God's promise that He has given us eternal life through His Son. This is the true whether you feel close to God or distant from Him. Eternal life is not based on feelings, but on facts. You can know you have eternal life if you believe God's truth. If you lack assurance as to whether you are a Christian, ask yourself if you have honestly committed your life to Him as your Savior and Lord. If so, you know by faith that you are indeed a Child of God.
Today is Friday, December 10th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1965|
Written by Sue Monk Kidd and taken from a daily devotional book, something printed for December 12:
"For a man's heart determines his speech."
~ Matthew 12:34
"Last year my husband and I attended a staff Christmas party at the college where Sandy works. There was to be a gift exchange, but Sandy insisted we didn't need to bring anything.
"'We're not giving the kind of gift you're thinking of,' he said. 'You'll see.'
"My curiosity was aroused when after dinner, one by one the employees rose to give their gifts. And indeed they were not anything that could be wrapped up. It cost nothing, yet it was priceless. For ech one gave a verbal gift--co-workers looked at one another and out flowed the gifts. One said, 'You have been such a help to me, taking the time to listen to my problems.' Another spoke of the encouragement the other had given him during a difficult time There were exchanges of gratitude, admiration, thanks, and praise. There were even tears shared that drew the group closer together.
"And I could not help bu think that this kinds of gift-giving was closer to the spirit of love and sharing than hurried purchases we sometimes make in stores. A heart-to-heart, face-to-face gift of words.
"So this year, in addition to the kind of presents which usually crowd beneath our tree, we plan to draw names among our family members so we can each prepare a special gift for one another--gifts of the heart."
"This Christmas help me to bestow on someonteI love the gift
that is deep within my heart,
Today is Monday, December 13th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1966|
Yesterday's writing (December 12) from Rick Renner's "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" (in part) as Renner defines a couple of words:
Love Without Hypocrisy
"Agape (Greek word describing the highest, finest, and most noble kind of love in the New Testament) occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, or appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the veiwer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation.
"The best example of agape is found in the New Testament's John 3:16 - 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.'
"The human race was so precious to God and He loved man so deeply that His heart was stirred to reach out and do something to save him. God's love drove Him to action. Agape loves so profoundly that it knows no limits to boundaries in how far, wide, high, and deep it will go to show that love to its recipient.
"That is why Paul wrote in Romans 12:9, 'Don't just pretend that you love others; really love them.'
Renner then expands that verse by saying, "If you are going to say you love someone, then make sure you really love them. Don't give an impression that isn't true. Don't say one thing and then do another. Your love should be without hypocrisy so don't be phony when it comes to be the subject of love."
"Have you ever been two-faced with people who thought you were their friend? Did you say one thing to them but later talk behind their backs? Did you do exactly the same thing that someone else is doing to you right now?
"Make sure you forgive those who have wronged you. Let it go, and do your best to overlook their inconsistencies.Let God deal with them."
Prayer for Today: "Lord, I ask You to please forgive me for the times I've been an unfaithful friend. I know there have been times in my life when I gossiped and talked about people who were supposed to be my close friends. And I didn't stop there. Rather than confess what I did and ask for forgiveness, I tried to cover it up by acting like I hadn't done anything wrong. I am so sorry for what I have done. Please forgive me for lying. Please forgive me for being a phony in my relationships. I don't ever want to do this again, so I ask You to help me walk in truthfulness, integrity, and in genuine agape love. I pray this in Jesus' name."
My Confession for Today: "I confess that I walk in the agape love of God. I am a sincere, truthful, and dedicated friend. When I say that I love, I genuinely love. I don't talk behind people's backs. I don't gossip. I don't betray the friends God has brought into my life. If I do accidentally say something that is out of order, I quickly go to my friend to confess it and to ask for forgiveness. This truthfulness causes my friends to trust me and to know that I am truly a friend indeed. I declare this by faith in Jesus' name!"
Today is Tuesday, December 14th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1967|
There are about a dozen middle and high school students from our church who are participating in Bible Bowl. Twice a week they get together and study an assigned portion of the Bible; then once a month the teams go to Fort Dodge for a competition. This year they are taking a look at the book of Genesis.
If they can spend that much time studying the first book of the Bible, I decided I could at least read a chapter or two daily.
Here is a portion which I read yesterday:
"So the serpent came to the woman,
'Really?' he asked.
'None of the fruit in the garden? God says you mustn't eat any of it?'
"'Of course we may eat it,' the woman told him.
'It's only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden
that we are not to eat.
God says we mustn't eat it or even touch it,
or we will die.'
"'That's a lie!' the serpent hissed.
'You'll not die! God knows very well that the instant you eat it
you will become like him, for your eyes will be opened---
you will be able to distinguish from evil!'
"The woman was convinced. How lovely and fresh looking it was!
And it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit
and gave some to her husband, and he ate it too."
~Genesis 3:1-6 LB
Satan hasn't changed over the course of time; he still plants all kinds of negative thoughts into people's minds, daily if he gets the chance. Sometimes the Christmas season can leave us vulnerable. A boxed listing of possibilities in my Application Bible says:
Doubt.....makes you question God's Word and his goodness
Discouragement.....makes you look at your problems rather than at God
Diversion.....makes the wrong things seem attractive
so that you will want them more than the right things
Defeat.....Makes you feel like a failure, so you don't even try
Delay.....makes you put off doing something so it never gets done
Dear Father in Heaven, we confess that it isn't just Eve and Adam who were tempted in the Garden of Eden. We are tempted to look at our problems and at our lot in life. Help us to remember to look at You who has the solution to everything which might come our way. You are positive; You are power; You are love; You have everything under control. Help us to believe that and follow You; otherwise we get lost, confused, and discouraged. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Today is Wednesday, December 15th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1968|
Early yesterday morning I received an email from our neighbor Sue telling that her sixteen-year-old niece had died of cancer. She had kept a number of us informed of Jenna's progress with her disease and asked, at times, to pray for her. Jenna had a bout with cancer when she was eight; but living cancer-free for a number of years.
I never met Jenna, but I could envision a bouncy teenager with an infectious smile. Because she was on our prayer lists, I felt a sense of loss in learning that she had died. Too young.....
Why would I feel loss of someone I had never met?
God connected us because of prayer; because of love; because of His Spirit.
Because of being invited to pray, I was somehow able to share a portion of the what their family was going through and feeling. They wouldn't have to 'go it alone'; I was able to be part of their 'forever team'.
We need to be reminded when we have successes and joys to share them. More of us can be added to that joy and multiply their good news.
And when we have needs or losses? They need to be shared so the burdens can be subtracted and divided. No one has to carry them alone.
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for Jenna's too brief life. Thank You for her family and friends; for allowing so many of us to be connected to all of them. Hold them in the palm of Your hand in the days and weeks ahead. Thank You that we can be part of Your plan; we don't exist just for a handful of years but for forever. Amen.
Today is Thursday, December 16th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1969|
A Joel and Victoria Osteen devotional thought:
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder…”
(Isaiah 9:6a NKJ).
"When Jesus came to the earth in human form, He brought with Him everything you need to be empowered to live a life of victory. He came as a little baby, but He represented all authority in heaven and earth. When you choose to serve Him, you are no longer a part of the kingdom of the world; you become a part of His kingdom, and you have access to all of His resources. You have access to His peace, power, authority, provision, joy and strength. He brought all of this to us. Unto us victory is given. Unto us peace is given. Unto us provision is given. Unto us hope and healing are given. Unto us eternal life is given!
"Whatever you need today, remember, when Jesus came into the world, He made a way for every one of your needs to be met spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Take hold of His promises by faith, knowing that He has good plans for you today!"
"Father in heaven, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, so that I could be free to live an abundant life in You. Fill me with the revelation of Your love and all that You have for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen."
Today is Friday, December 17th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1970|
Do you believe in 'every day miracles'? Just little things that might happen to you 'by coincidence'?
Something happened to me yesterday that might qualify.
Last year Jim bought some ice cleats that he put over his boots at times when it was icy. They helped him from slipping and falling. It was a longer winter in Iowa in 2009; lots of months of snow and ice.
A couple of times in the past month, he would ask me, "You haven't seen my cleats, have you?"
I half-way looked in some boxes and bags in our main floor closet, with some winter wear in the basement, through some boxes in our store room. I knew they were some place but where? They'd probably turn up next July, I thought.
Oh, well, I could buy a pair of them today when I was in Clarion. I could use as another Christmas gift for Jim.
More than once yesterday afternoon, the thought kept coming to me to look in our closet, above my hanging clothes in a couple of plastic containers in our bedroom.
Last night, I decided I would take a quick look before my shopping trip. Grabbing a chair, I climbed upt for a look-see .....and there they were!
I'd like to tell you that I could remember putting them there. Not true; nor that I was searching, high and low. I didn't. Just one more feeble attempt before investing in pair #2.
Was it God's little message to me?
Maybe! That's what I choose to believe.
He takes care of the big things in our lives.....and the little-not-so-important things! He likes to take care of us; all of us and everything that comes our way!
I don't very often include a web site in a Karen's Korner; this might even be the first time.
This Your Tube video was forwarded to me by 1980s Clarion grad, Jim Bossard, who now lives in Mason City:
Today is Monday, December 20th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1971|
Everyone Needs Someone
Everybody everywhere, no matter what his station,
Has moments of deep loneliness and quiet desperation,
For this lost and lonely feeling is inherent in mankind,
It is just the spirit speaking as God tries again to find
As opening in the wall man builds against God's touch,
For he feels so sufficient that he doesn't need God much.
So he vanely goes on struggling to find some explanation
For these distributing, lonely moods of inner isolation,
But the answer keeps eluding him, for in his finite mind,
He does not even recognize that he will never find
The reason for life's emptiness unless he learns to share
The problems and burdens that surround him everywhere;
But when his eyes are opened and he really looks at others,
He begins to see not strangers but people who are brothers.
So open up your hardened hearts and let God enter in;
He only wants to help you a new life to begin,
And every day's a good day to lose yourself in others,
And anytime's a good time to see mankind as brothers,
And this can only happen when your realize it's true
That everyone needs someone and that someone is you.
~ Helen Steiner Rice
Today is Tuesday, December 21st, 2010; Karen's Korner #1972|
"...and Sarah laughed silently to herself."
~ Genesis 18:12
Why did Sarah laugh?
God had just promised her that she was going to have a baby. And she was 90 years old.
Pretty hard not to laugh. Pretty hard to believe that kind of news!
Bible Commentary (on a verse or so after that): "Is there anything too hard for God?" This question reveals much about God. Make it a habit to insert your specific needs into this question, "Is this day in my life too hard for God?" "Is this habit I'm trying to break too hard for God?" "Is the communication problem I'm having too hard for God?" Asking the question in this way reminds you that God is personally involved in your life and offers his power to help you.
Today is Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010; Karen's Korner #1973|
Today's PRAYER and CONFESSION from Sparkling Gems by Rick Renner:
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
"Lord, I thank You for loving me so much
that You would leave Your realm of majestic glory
to come dwell among men.
If it had not been for Your great love
that compelled You to come and redeem me,
today I would still be lost in sin.
Because You loved me so much,
You were willing to come to this earth and purchase my salvation.
You were born as a baby in Bethlehem,
yet You always existed,
and You came here with a definite plan to save me
from an eternity separated from You.
Thank You so much for coming, Lord.
Thank You for loving me enough to temporarily shed Your glory
and become a man so You could pay for my sin
and save me to the uttermost!
I pray this in Jesus' name!"
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
"I confess that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh!
Before He was ever born as a baby in Bethlehem,
Jesus always existed,
for He is God Almighty.
His birth in Bethlehem proves how vast His love is for me.
He so desired to have me as His child that
He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
And because He dressed Himself in flesh and lived as a man
for thirty-three years,
He understands everything I face
and every temptation that comes my way.
Oh, how wonderful it is to know that Jesus loves me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus' name!"
Today is Thursday, December 23rd, 2010; Karen's Korner #1974|
"That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village;
guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly an angel appeared among them,
and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord.
They were badly frightened,
but the angel reassured them.
"'Don't be afraid!' he said.
'I bring you the most joyful news ever announced,
and it is for everyone!
The Savior---yes, the Messiah, the Lord---
has been born tonight in Bethlehem!
How will you recognize him?
You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket,
lying in a manger!'"
~ Luke 2:8 - 12 LB
Bible Commentary: "The greatest event in history had just happened! The Messiah was born! For ages the Jews had waited for this, and when it finally happened, the announcement came to humble shepherds. The good news about Jesus is that he comes to all, including the plain and the ordinary. He comes to anyone with a heart humble enough to accept him. Whoever you are, whatever you do, you can have Jesus in your life. Don't think you need extraordinary qualifications---he accepts you as you are."
Today is Friday, December 24th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1975|
In Christ, Who Was Born at
Christmas, All Men May Live Again
Let us all remember when our faith is running low,
Christ is more than just a figure wrapped in an ethereal glow....
For He came and dwelled among us and He knows our every need,
And loves and understands us and forgives each sinful deed.
He was crucified and buried and rose again in glory,
And promises of salvation makes the wondrous Christmas story
An abiding reassurance that the little Christ Child's birth
Was the beautiful beginning of God's plan for peace on earh.
~ Helen Steiner Rice
Today is Monday, December 27th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1976|
Christmas is over for another year, but let's don't leave Jesus in Bethlehem's manger. Let's continue to praise His birth, like the angels, and go see for ourselves, like the shepherds:
"When the great army of angels had returned again to heaven,
the shepherds said to each other,
'Come on! Let's go to Bethlehem!
Let's see this wonderful thing that has happened,
which the Lord has told us about.
"They ran to the village and found their way to Mary and Joseph.
And there was the baby,
lying in the manger.
The shepherds told everyone what had happened
and what the angel had said to them about this child.
All who heard the shepherds' story expressed astonishment,
but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart
and often thought about them.
"Then the shepherds went back again to their fields and flocks,
praising God for the visit of the angels,
and because they had seen the child,
just as the angels had told them."
~ Luke 2:15 - 20 LB
Today is Tuesday, December 28th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1977|
Our local church supports our hometown son John Crozier (who was a member of our congregation) and his family as missionaries in Poland. This is his/their Christmas letter to us (and you):
And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Zechariah answered the angel, „How can I be sure of this? Luke 1.18
If we can make our way past the blow-up Santas, sparkling lights, and frustrated shoppers looking for the perfect present, we might come face to face with the oddity of Christmas, namely God encroaching the line that divides the here and now from eternity. And once we find ourselves gazing at the tiny baby in Bethlehem, many find themselves asking Zechariah’s question;
"How can I be sure of this?”
How can I be sure of God’s promise of salvation? How can forgiveness be found amongst the cows, hay, and dirt of a manger? Like Zechariah, we have a tendency to doubt the spiritual reality hidden behind the glitter and noise of yet another Christmas season.
We are not alone in our doubt. Didn’t the shepherds deal with the same question en route to Bethlehem? They had no guarantee, no cell phones to call ahead and check on the validity of the angel’s message. And yet they went. Believing the unbelievable. Hoping for the impossible.
We pray that you will join the shepherds this Christmas, as together we journey to Bethlehem, brushing past the presents, long lines, and endless strings of lights, so that we might find ourselves at Jesus’ side, along with all those throughout history who have asked the same question;
"How can I be sure of this?”
Zechariah’s question was only answered much later with the birth of a son. Uncertainty and doubt were his companions up until the moment God’s promise came true. The shepherds, as well, traveled on without guarantee, doubting and hoping the message of Christmas right up until their tired feet found the Messiah.
This Christmas, we hope and pray you and your family will know the truth that turns doubt and uncertainty into the praise and worship heard around the manger so long ago. Praise not based on empty promises and wishful thinking but on the simple fact that, as recorded by Luke, the events of that first Christmas, as hard as they are to believe. . .”were just as they had been told”.
With heartfelt gratitude and hope this Christmas,
John and Zaba, along with Dawid, Tomek, and Zosia
(their children who are better known as David, Thomas, and Sophie in the English language)
Today is Wednesday, December 29th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1978|
From "Girlfriends in God" and forwarded to me by Judy Watne recently:
A Fresh Brewed Faith
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV).
"Every morning I walk straight to the coffee pot and push the ON button. I'm a total coffee girl. I like a piping-hot, extra dark roast with half and half, and I struggle to function without my first cup of coffee. I crave that first sip and relish the warmth of the mug in my hands. I jokingly call it my 'warm, happy friend'. My mornings just wouldn't be the same without coffee!
"We should have the same attitude about our faith. We should wake up each morning bursting at the seams to be with God. To be in His presence. To listen for His still small voice. To savor Him. A faith that is brewed fresh daily strengthens us, renews us, and enables us to mount up with wings like eagles. To experience the power of God in our lives. To run and not grow weary. To walk and not faint.
"This energizing, percolated faith is readily available to all who ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-8). How can you experience this power in your life? By getting alone with God, reading the Bible, and listening for His voice each day. 'So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.' (Romans 10:17, ESV).
"Like a morning with no coffee, there are times when we are sluggish in our faith. There are times we need a shot of God-caffeine in our day. A spiritual espresso. What can we do at these times? Are there things in the Scriptures that tell us how can we strengthen and jump-start our faith? Absolutely!
"One practical way to build your faith is by remembrance. When David was just a shepherd boy, he had courage to face a giant partly because he remembered the previous victories the Lord allowed him to experience. He approached King Saul with great confidence, saying: 'The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine' (1 Samuel 17:36, NIV). His past victories fueled his faith. Ours do the same. We can face our giants with equal confidence when we pause to remember how God has worked in our past.
"Corrie Ten Boom said, 'Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.'
"What has God brought you through in the past? Think on these things, and choose to trust Him to bring you through all you will face today and tomorrow. When you trust God with a fresh brewed faith, He will be your Strength, your Sustainer, and your Hiding Place so you can run and not grow weary - walk and not be faint. Fill up your faith cup right now."
Dear God, You have brought me through so many challenging times. Please give me a fresh shot of faith that equips me to live today in Your strength. Help me to trust you, and keep me from leaning on my own understanding.
In Jesus' Name,
Today is Thursday, December 30th, 2010; Karen's Korner #1979|
Something written and forwarded to me to Shirley Choat at the end of December last year:
"... be an example for others in your love, your faith; and your clean thoughts." 1 Timothy 4:12
After reading this ask yourself, "Are people seeing how I live and how I deal with family and others?"
If you live with criticism, you learn to condemn.
If you live with hostility, you learn to fight.
If you live with fear, you learn to be apprehensive.
If you live with pity, you learn to feel sorry for yourself.
If you live with jealousy, you learn to feel guilty.
If you live with encouragement, you learn to be self-confident.
If you live with tolerance, you learn to be patient.
If you live with praise, you learn to be appreciative.
If you live with acceptance, you learn to love.
If you live with approval, you learn to like yourself.
If you live with recognition, you learn to have a goal.
If you live with fairness, you learn what justice is.
If you live with honesty, you learn what truth is.
If you live with sincerity, you learn to have faith in yourself and those around you.
If you live with love, you learn that the world is a wonderful place to live in.
Find any deficiencies in your life? I did in mine. Let's ask God to produce in us the fruit of the Spirit that is lacking, for as we live, others learn. Will my conduct show the Spirit of the living God???
My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done,
Leave countless marks for good or ill ere sets the evening sun;
This is the wish I always make, the prayer I always pray:
LORD, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - Our greatest gift to others is a good example.
Today is Friday, December 31st, 2010; Karen's Korner #1980|
"That year Isaac's crops were tremendous--
one hundred times the grain he sowed.
For Jehovah blessed him.
He was soon a man of great wealth,
and became richer and richer.
He had large flocks of sheep and goats,
great herds of cattle,
and many servants.
And the Philistines became jealous of him.
So they filed up his wells with earth---
all those dug by the servants of his father Abraham.
And King Abimelech asked Isaac to leave the country.
'Go somewhere else,' he said,
'for you have become too rich and powerful for us.'"
Bible Commentary: "God kept his promise to bless Isaac. The neighboring Philistines grew jealous because everything Isaac did seemed to go right. So they plugged his wells and tried to get rid of him. Jealousy is a dividing force strong enough to tear apart the mightiest of nations and the closest of friends. It forces you to separate yourself from what you were longing for in the first place. When you find yourself becoming jealous of others try thanking God for their good fortunes."
As we move to 2011, I thank God for each of you as faithful readers of Karen's Korners; and for your positive support of what I share and for what you send to me to share with others. Blessings to all of you as we head into the new year.