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July 2021 Archives

Printable Issue 4479  Today is Thursday, July 1st, 2021; Karen's Korner #4479

The Collage of Humanity

 
"The reason God loves you is that he has chosen to love you. Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, but God will love you. These are his words: “I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved” (Romans 9:25 THE MESSAGE).

"Let this love happen in your life, and prepare yourself for a new day. As God has his way with you, he will not let you live with your old hatred and prejudices. You’ll begin to see people in a different way. The neighbor down the street? He’s not a person who forgets to mow his lawn; he’s made in the image of God. God loves a diverse creation, and God’s love finds beauty in the collage of humanity. Life will become less a chore and more a stroll through God’s art gallery. This is how happiness happens."

 

By Max Lucado

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Printable Issue 4480  Today is Friday, July 2nd, 2021; Karen's Korner #4480
Happy Independence Day weekend!

Sharing "America the Beautiful" written has a poem by Katharine Lee Bates in the 1890's as a poem and later set to music a decade or so later.

 
          Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,
          For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
 
Oh, beautiful for pilgrim feet,
          Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.
 
Oh, beautiful for heroes proved
          In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.
 
           Oh, beautiful for patriot dream
           That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

****
Printable Issue 4481  Today is Monday, July 5th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4481
Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend with family and friends; fun things to do! 


As we embark on a new week, this is today's (July 5) entry by Sarah Young and her "Jesus Calling:  Enjoying Peace In His Presence":

"Draw near to Me with a thankful heart, aware that your cup is overflowing with blessings. Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our Love-relationship. Nothing can separate you from My loving Presence! That is the basis of your security. Whenever you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that your security rests in Me alone, and I am totally trustworthy.

"You will never be in control of your life circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control. Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know Me in greater depth, and breadth. I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways. I am always doing something new within My beloved ones. Be on the lookout for all that I have prepared for you."


~ Taken from Romans 8:38-39; Psalm 56:3-4; Isaiah 43:19

***
Printable Issue 4482  Today is Tuesday, July 6th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4482
At our last Wednesday morning's ecumenical Bible study, the group looked at Psalm 91.

Among other things, we talked about 'praying back the Bible'; taking a few verses and turning them into a prayer.

Here is an example of a couple of verses:

"This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap, and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don't need to be afraid of the dark any more, nor fear the dangers of the day, nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning." (verses 2 - 6 LAB)

Together now, we will change a few pronouns and make them into a prayer for today:

"This I declare that You alone are our refuge, our place of safety; You are our God, and we are trusting You. For You rescue us from every trap, and protect us from the fatal plague. You will shield us with Your wings! They will shelter us. Your faithful promises are our armor. Now we don't need to be afraid of the dark any more, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning."

Amen.

***
Printable Issue 4483  Today is Wednesday, July 7th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4483

Taken from National Day of Prayer (Thursday, May 5), the theme was "Lord, Pour Out Your LOVE, LIFE, AND LIBERTY". With the Bible verse, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Seven specific areas, today's is #7, the last one:



EDUCATION

"Pray the Spirit of the Lord would fill every campus and that every educator and student would:

.... learn to do good     (Isaiah 1:17.

.... be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.    (Colossians 1:9).

.... be taught that God's hands made and fashioned them and given understanding, that they may learn and discern what is holy and what is profane, and follow the Lord's commandments so that they know His love and liberty.    (Psalm 119:73)."

****
Printable Issue 4484  Today is Thursday, July 8th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4484

Last verse of the familiar 23rd Psalm; verse 6  (King James version):


"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

*
Bible Commentary:  "In Middle Eastern culture, hosts were expected to protect their guests at all cost. God offers the protection of a host even when we stand in the midst of enemies. In the final scene of this psalm, we see that believers will dwell with God. God, the perfect Shepherd and Host, promises to guide and protect us through life to bring us into his home forever."

***
Printable Issue 4485  Today is Friday, July 9th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4485
Several comments by Mother Teresa, taken from her "Heart of Joy".

If she could find joy working in India with homeless and terminally ill, so can we. She kept her focus on Jesus. So should we. We need to ask Him for His help to do that:

"We have been created to live in peace. Jesus became man to bring that good news to the poor. Being God, he became like us in every way except sin. And he proclaimed clearly that he had come to bring good news."

*
""Let us pray for one another. Let us pray that we may accomplish our life's mission, which is to be holy. Let us pray that we will be the love and kindness of God in today's world."

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"This is a sign of the joy of loving God:  sharing that love with others."

*
"Bring Jesus wherever you go."

****
Printable Issue 4486  Today is Monday, July 12th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4486
Fear. We all experience it.

Either things happening to us today:  waiting for the medical report or hoping our money will cover our bills.

If we don't have something happening to us today, we dream stuff up. How will I handle the aging process? Will my children or grandchildren make good choices? What is happening to my world or our world?

Jesus disciples were out on their boat when the wind and waves came up. Jesus saw what they were up against and started to walk on the water toward them. They thought He must be a ghost.

"But He spoke to them at once, 'It's all right,' he said. "It is I! Don't be afraid.'" (Mark 6:50)

The Bible commentary on this verse says, "The disciples were afraid, but Jesus' presence calmed their fears. We all experience fear. Do we try to deal with it ourselves, or do we let Jesus deal with it? In times of fear and uncertainty, it is calming to know that Christ is always with us. To recognize his presence is the antidote to fear."

***
Printable Issue 4487  Today is Tuesday, July 13th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4487

Today's inspirational thought written by Max Lucado:


My God is Sovereign
 
"Many years ago I spent a week visiting the interior of Brazil with a longtime missionary pilot. Wilbur and Orville had a sturdier aircraft. I could not get comfortable. I kept thinking the plane was going to crash in the jungle, and I’d be gobbled up by piranhas. I kept shifting around, looking down, and gripping my seat—as if that would help.

"Finally, the pilot had enough of my squirming. He looked over at me and shouted over the airplane noise, “We won’t face anything that I can’t handle. You might as well trust me to fly the plane.”
Is God saying the same to you? Examine the truths which sustain your belief in God. Make sure one of them is etched with the words: 'My God is sovereign!'

"Then, be anxious for nothing."

***
Printable Issue 4488  Today is Wednesday, July 14th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4488

A Vessel of Beauty


“Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.”

 Jeremiah 18:6, NIV
 
“The old clay pot was cracked, shattered, and broken. So the man took it to the Potter, Who broke it down even further, moistening the clay with water, making it soft and pliable before He put it on His wheel. Then He began to remake it into a vessel pleasing to Himself. He firmly applied pressure on some areas, touched lightly on other areas, added more clay to a specific spot that needed filling, and removed clay that hindered and marred the shape He had in mind. As He turned the wheel, His loving, gentle hands never left the clay as He molded and made it after His will.

“Finally, the Potter was finished. He took what had once been a broken clay pot off the wheel, but now it was unrecognizable. It had been transformed into a vessel of beauty. The Potter put it in His showcase that others might see the revelation of His glory in the work that He does.

“God is the Potter. You are His clay. How pliable are you to the soft, firm pressure of His touch?”

~ By Anne Graham Lotz

***
 


Printable Issue 4489  Today is Thursday, July 15th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4489
As a Bible reader, I pick a book of the Bible. Finish it and start another book. Right now I am reading the book of Mark; hadn't read it for a long time.

I had forgotten how 'action packed' it is with stories about Jesus.

Here are a couple of verses which I read several days ago:

"The people standing around there (Lake Gennesaret) recognized Jesus at once, and ran throughout the whole area to spread the news of his arrival, and began carrying sick folks to him on mats and stretchers. Wherever he went---in villages and cities, and out on the farms---they laid the sick in the market plazas and streets, and begged him to let them at least touch the fringes of his clothes, and as many as touched him were healed."~(Mark 6:53-56).

The Bible commentary on the last verse says," Jewish men wore ankle-length robes called tunics. Over the tunic they wore a waist-length vest called a tallith. Four tassels were sewed to the four lower corners of the fringe of his tallith. People may not have realized that it was faith in Jesus, not magical power, that healed them."


Printable Issue 4490  Today is Friday, July 16th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4490
We don't have to look very far to see 'wicked'. People in Cuba fighting for their freedom. Government leaders who abuse the people who they lead. Evil might even be as close as our next door neighbors.

Here is what the Bible says about 'the wicked':


"Never envy the wicked! Soon they fade away like grass and disappear.

"Trust in the Lord instead. Be kind and good to others; then you will live safely here in the land and prosper, feeding in safety.
"

~ Psalm 37:1-3 LAB

*

Bible Commentary:  "We should never envy the wicked, even though some may be extremely popular or excessively rich. No matter how much they have, it will fade and vanish, like grass that withers and dies. Those who follow God live in a different manner than the wicked, and in the end, have far greater treasures in heaven. What the unbeliever gets lasts a lifetime, if he/she is lucky. What we get from following God lasts forever."

***
Printable Issue 4491  Today is Monday, July 19th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4491

At our church's worship services, we have been spending a number of weeks walking through the book of James.

I have a tendency to write in my Bible's margins, dates and some of the things which might be happening to me at varying times.

We are getting to the end of the book of James, the subheading is 'faithful prayer'. A portion of verse 16, chapter 5 says, "The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results."

Marked in the margin says, "Hiz Kidz praying for Jim's health to be restored - February 2013."

Jim and i were helping with Hiz Kidz, a weekly ecumenical group, ages 6 - 12. Jim had missed several weeks as he had been in the hospital.

They had the faith to believe, if they prayed, God would make Jim well again. No doubts about it. Jim had struggled with heart trouble for more than 35 years. But amazingly, he was better and got to return to helping with the Hiz Kidz gang we were assigned to work with.

And he lived another year and eight months.

We were supposed to be teaching them. Instead we were learning from them about absolute faith and trust in God.

Father God in Heaven, help me to have the faith of little children. I want to pray earnestly and believe, even when I don't see results yet. Childlike faith is wonderful. Thank You for allowing me to see it. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Printable Issue 4492  Today is Tuesday, July 20th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4492
"The Way of the Father", a recent book written by recording artist Michael W. Smith, recounts his memories of his own dad.

Dad was a loving Christian man who was Michael's mentor and role model. Always encouraging, even when his Little League team lost 15 of 16 games. Never criticizing Michael's poor choices as a young adult.

The subtitle of the book is "Lessons From My Dad; Truths About God". Michael knows that not all of us had a dad like his. But he also knows that we all have a loving, accepting Heavenly Father.

He wants us to know both better.

"is it too simple to suggest (page 136) that if we all did one random act of kindness every day in Jesus's name, we could make a massive difference in the world?

"What if we could all accept our identity in Christ, that we are His beloved?

"What if we stopped tying to earn grace that we have already been given?

"He already calls us His own, so the focus is not to be on what we can do, but what He has done."
Printable Issue 4493  Today is Wednesday, July 21st, 2021; Karen's Korner #4493
JOY!

My dictionary says joy is, "A very happy feeling; great pleasure; delight."

But what happens if joy is more than a feeling? What happens if joy is something that God packs into us when we become His Child? On the same level as love? Eternal life? And all the rest?

Checking in on biblegateway.com it says 'joy' is mentioned 242 times in the Bible!

We possess joy whether we feel like it. Act like it. Or not. We don't need to pursue joy!


"Heart, body, and soul are filled with joy."
~ Psalm 16:9

*
"For the joy of the Lord is your (my/our) strength."
~ Nehemiah 8:10


"But oh the joys of those who put their trust in Him!
~ Psalm 2:12b

*
All kinds of 'fruits of the spirit
including
'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.."
~ Galatians 5:22 & 23

**
Thank You, God, for Your JOY in each of us today,
whether we feel like it. Act like it.
Or not!
Amen.
Printable Issue 4494  Today is Wednesday, July 21st, 2021; Karen's Korner #4494
Rejoice in the Lord’s Mercy

By Max Lucado
 
“Guilt sucks the life out of our souls. Grace restores it.

“No one had more reason to feel the burden of guilt than did the apostle Paul. He had orchestrated the deaths of Christians—an ancient version of a terrorist. Yet, Paul gave his guilt to Jesus. Period. He surrendered it to Jesus. As a result he could write, ‘I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us’ (Philippians 3:13-14 TLB).

“What would the apostle say to the guilt-ridden? Simply this: ‘Rejoice in the Lord’s mercy. Trust in his ability to forgive. Cast yourself upon the grace of Christ and Christ alone!’”
 
****
Printable Issue 4495  Today is Thursday, July 22nd, 2021; Karen's Korner #4495
Several 'Side Notes', the vertical sayings in the margins of OUR IOWA magazine; the June/July issue. Some are words of wisdom. Others offer a chuckle. 

Enjoy and have a nice weekend.

Friendship is the best ship to have come in.

*
Open your arms to change,
but don't give up your values.


*
"Never let your head hang down.
Never give up,
find another way.
And don't pray when it rains
if you don't pray when the sun shines."
~ Sachel Paige


*
The best way to appear more attractive?
Wear a big smile.


*
The power of love can never be measured,
but it can forever by treasured.


*
Illusion....
that there will be more time tomorrow.


*
The less your respond to rude, critical, argumentative people,
the more peaceful your life will become.


*
The best thing you can give someone
is a chance.


*
How much did the pirate pay to get his
ears pierced?
A buccaneer.


*****
Printable Issue 4496  Today is Monday, July 26th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4496
The theme for Psalm 42:  "A thirst for God. When you feel lonely or depressed, meditate on God's kindness and love."

"Take courage, my soul!
Do you remember those times (but how could you ever forget them!) when you led a great procession to the Temple on festival days, singing with joy, praising the Lord?
Why then be downcast?
Why be discouraged and sad?
Hope in God!
I shall yet praise Him again.
Yes, I shall again praise Him for His help."

~ Psalm 42:4 & 5 LAB

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Bible Commentary:  "Depression is one of the most common emotional ailments. One antidote for depression is to meditate on the record of God's goodness to His people. This will take our minds off the present situation and give hope that it will improve. It focuses our thoughts on God's ability to help us, rather than our inability to help ourselves. When we feel depressed, we need to take advantage of this psalm's anti-depressant. We need to read the Bible's accounts of God's goodness and meditate on them."

***
Printable Issue 4497  Today is Tuesday, July 27th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4497
Entrust it to God
By Max Lucado
 
“If anyone had a reason to be anxious it was the apostle Paul. Envision an old man as he gazes out the window of a Roman prison. Half-blind, squinting just to read. Awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. His future is as gloomy as his jail cell.

“Yet to read his words, you’d think he’d just arrived at a Jamaican beach hotel. His letter to the Philippians bears not a word of fear or complaint. Not one! Instead, he lifts his thanks to God and calls on his readers to do the same. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!’ (Philippians 4:4)

“Paul’s challenge is a decision deeply rooted in the confidence that God exists, that he is in control, and that he is good. Rejoice in the Lord—always! You can’t run the world, but you can entrust it to God.”

****

Printable Issue 4498  Today is Wednesday, July 28th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4498
 
Today is July 28, 2021.

It was 22 years ago today that our younger daughter Merry was killed in a car/semi truck accident.

So how does a mom get through a tragic loss of a loved one like this?

One day at a time. With God's help!


"This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"
~ Psalm 118:24 LAB

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"O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good 
and His lovingkindness continues forever!"
~ Psalm 136:1 LAB  

*
Merry was a pass-around email sender. I deleted many of them; too many to save. And there would be more coming the next day.

But I didn't know there wasn't going to be that many 'next days'. Only nine of them I hadn't deleted.

I am sharing one with you today. As a long-time Karen's Korner reader, have you seen or read it before? Probably!
 
 " THE LITTLE GIRL IN THE PARK "
 
"There was this little girl one day sitting in the park. Everyone passed and never stopped to see why she looked so sad.  Dressed in a worn pink dress, bare foot and dirty, the girl just  sat and watched the people go by. She never tried to speak, she never said a word.
 
"Many people passed, but never did one person stop. Just so  happens  the next day I decided to go back to the park, in  curiosity, to see if the little girl would still be there. Right in the very spot as she was yesterday she sat perched on high, with the saddest look in her eyes.
 
"Today I was to make my own move and walk over to the little girl. For as we all know, a park full of strange people is not a  place for young children to play alone.
 
"As I got closer I could see the back of the little girl's dress was obscenely shaped. I figured that was a reason the people just passed by and made no effort to help. Having deformities  was a low blow to our society and "heaven help you" if you make  a step toward assisting someone who is different.
 
 "As I got even closer the little girl slightly lowered her eyes to  avoid my intent stare. As I approached her, I could see the obscene shape of her back more clearly. It was grotesquely shaped in a humped over form.
 
 "I smiled to let her know it was ok, I was there to help, to  talk. I sat down beside her and opened with a simple 'Hello'.
 
"The little girl acted shocked and stammered a 'Hi' after a long stare into my eyes. I smiled and she shyly smiled back. We talked till darkness fell and the park was completely empty. Everyone was gone and we at once were alone.
 
"I asked the girl why she was so sad. The little girl looked at  me and with a sad face said, 'Because I'm different.' I  immediately said, 'That you are'" and smiled.

"The little girl acted even sadder, she said, 'I know.'
 
 "'Little girl.' I said, 'You remind me of an angel, sweet and  innocent.'
 
"She looked at me and smiled, slowly she got to her feet and  said, 'Really?"'
 
 "Yes ma'am, you're like a little guardian angel sent to watch over all those people walking by.'

"She shook her head yes and smiled, with that she spread her wings and said, 'I'm your guardian angel, with a twinkle in her eye.
 
 "I was speechless...sure I was seeing things.  She said, 'For  once you thought of someone other than yourself. My job here is done.' 

"I jumped to my feet and said,  'Wait, so why did no one  stop to help an angel?'
 
"She looked at me and smiled, 'You're the only one that could see me. You believe, it's in your heart..' And she was gone. With that my life changed dramatically.
 
 "So, when you think you're all you have, remember, your angel is  always watching over you. Like the story says, we all need someone. Every one of your friends is an angel in their own way."
***
Printable Issue 4500  Today is Friday, July 30th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4500
"That man is a fool who says to himself,
'There is no God!'
Anyone who talks like that
is warped and evil
and cannot really be
a good person at all."


~ Psalm 14:1 LAB


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Bible Commentary:  "A fool is not someone who is stupid or uneducated, but a person who rejects God. By rejecting God, the fool rejects the one who made the moral and spiritual laws that make life just and good. A fool is indeed 'warped and evil' because to deny God's evidence allows wickedness to prevail. The wise, however, not only believe there is a God, but also strive to please him. To believe there is a God but refuse to please him is also foolish. Choose not to be either."
***