Today is Monday, May 21st, 2018; Karen's Korner #3802|
Our long-time friends Ken and Mari Bernhardt lived lives like most of us; with its normal ups and downs. That was until the tail end of January, maybe the first of February.
Within days of each other, Ken had a cerebral brain hemorrhage and Mari was diagnosed with lung cancer, which took her life, two months later. Ken continues to recover from his illness. Their children have been phenomenal in their attention and care during the three-plus months.
Below is something which I wrote and shared with several family members. I include it today for Karen's Korner readers, with their permission:
On Saint Patrick's Day, I knew that all three of Mari and Ken's kids were busy that day, a well-deserved break after being such attentive kids to both Mari and Ken. Knowing that Mari had given up driving, I volunteered to take her to see Ken in our local hospital that afternoon, if she wanted. She said yes....
We spent nearly two hours at the hospital. Upon returning home and Mari beginning her climb out of my van, she turned to say, 'I have studied the Bible for years. But now I don't know if I am good enough to go to heaven?'
I replied, 'None of us are good enough. We only have to accept Jesus' invitation to take us there'. She continued her climb out of my vehicle.
On Thursday, I was scheduled to take a turn, driving Mari to her radiation treatment in Ames. While I had prayed with her family/friends as we might eat a meal together at our home, I had never 'prayed with Mari'. I decided if God gave me the opportunity, that would change on Thursday.
Wednesday evening, the local Methodist church hosted a simulcast of Lee Strobel, who is most known for his "Case for Christ" writing. He was introducing his new book, "Case for Miracles", as he looked around the world to find true miracles. Do they still exist today? He found that they do! In the question and answer session, Strobel was asked, "While we know there are miracles, what do you say to people who prayed for miracles but didn't get them?" Strobel's response, "Always pray for a miracle. Believe a miracle. Know that the miracle may be for this life or the one that is coming."
When I went to pick up Mari the next morning, I was recounting that story to her. When we got to the car, I asked her if I could pray with/for her. She said, "Yes". So we prayed for a miracle. God knew and knows that is what we want/wanted. Can't recall what else I might have said.
We had a really good time together. Talking as we drove. Eating a quick lunch after her treatment. On our trip home, I told her about a book that I love and have given to people to read who are struggling with life-threating illnesses by Dr. David Jeremiah (it is more a picture book/travel guide) titled "Discovering Paradise - Heaven - Your True Home". I gave her a copy to take with her......
The next morning as I was between sleep and waking up, it seemed like God said to my mind, "Tell Mari she has a miracle. The miracle is her. Because she belongs to Me!" I was so excited that I texted her (looking back it was sent at 4:30 a.m.!)
In a couple of hours, I got this text from Mari (which I will keep in my phone until I am old!). "We did have a good time and it ended to be a beautiful day! We got a lot of good talking in! Thanks for the miracle.....it's me! (smiley face emoji!)."
And the book? I had some remorse of giving it to someone so sick. How would she ever read it?
Several days after her funeral (Mari died on April 6), their daughter Rhonda made sure I got it back (Mari's orders!). Could she read the book? No! But she asked other people to read it to her. Even when she was very, very sick, she'd rouse to say, "Isn't that beautiful?"
Today is Monday, May 21st, 2018; Karen's Korner #3801|
Today I am going to a funeral of a friend's mom. She just turned 96 on Friday and had a really 'good go'!
But it doesn't make any difference, there is a sense of loss by her family. She will be missed by them and her friends. Even though we know that it is coming, we would like to have them for more time.
We are built with the desire to never die, but to live forever. God gave us that desire! Because He wants that for us too.
As I heard a speaker say several days ago, we will 'all live forever someplace'. God invites us to spend it with Him; with new bodies which last forever; in a beautiful existence in Paradise.
Not choose his offer? Each will also have bodies which will last forever but these will be 'thrown into the Lake of Fire' (Revelation 20:14). These bodies will also last forever and never burn up.
Doesn't sound like anything in which I want to participate!
But God allows us to choose!!
One more funeral story. Another friend wanted me to listen to a You Tube funeral sermon of her California friend, a gal who spent much of her life serving others.
Several main points by her pastor Steve Chappell, which can be good for us as well:
"The definition of 'responsibility':
To God's Ability."
"Part of each day should be spent
helping someone else."
"We are blessed.....
to be a blessing to someone else."
Today is Saturday, May 19th, 2018; Karen's Korner #3800|
Oops! I forgot to send out Karen's Korner yesterday. Planting starter plants began my day; then I was gone for most of the day. Mid-morning I remembered. And I have to have '5 per week' thus a Saturday one.
Good thing. I liked what Sarah Young penned in her "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence" for today:
"I want you to know how safe and secure you are in My Presence. That is a fact, totally independent of your feelings. You are on your way to heaven; nothing can prevent you from reaching that destination. There you will see Me face to Face, and your Joy will be off the charts by any earthly standards. Even now, you are never separated from Me, though you must see Me through eyes of faith. I will walk with you till the end of time, and onward into eternity.
"Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings. When you forget I am with you, you may experience loneliness or fear. It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings. Practice the discipline of walking consciously with Me through each day."
~ Taken from I Corinthians 13:12; Psalm 29:11
Today is Thursday, May 17th, 2018; Karen's Korner #3799|
A couple of spring storms ago, our neighbors had a huge branch knocked off of their big, old maple tree which stands stately in their front yard.
As I have been walking passed it for the last number of days, it made me think about Jesus words of branches being 'attached to the vine'. My mind sometimes slips to smaller vines with leaves. But as I view this tree, I see a large tree trunk and big branches.
I don't know of any tree where the branches are larger than the trunk. Even large branches have to be attached to an even larger tree trunk to stay alive and viable.
Jesus says, "Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can't do a thing." (John 15:5 LAB)
To produce anything of value, we need to stay connected to the 'Tree of Life'.
Today is Wednesday, May 16th, 2018; Karen's Korner #3798|
Fifth installment of "The Gospel Alphabet" by Samaritan's Purse. Four letters: Q, R, S, and T:
"Quicken me according to Thy Word"
~ Psalm 119:154b KJV
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."
~ Psalm 27:7a
"Seek, and you will find."
~ Matthew 7:7b
"The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."
~ I John 1:7b
Today is Tuesday, May 15th, 2018; Karen's Korner #3797|
"What a wonderful God we have----He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the source of every mercy, and the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us
in our hardships and trials.
And why does He do this?
So, that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement,
we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us."
~ 2 Corinthians 1:3 & 4 LAB
Bible Commentary: "Many think that when God comforts us, our hardships should go away. But if that were always so, people would turn to God only to be relieved of pain and not out of love for Him. We must understand that comfort can also means receiving strength, encouragement, and hope to deal with our hardships. The more we suffer, the more comfort God gives us. If we are feeling overwhelmed, we need to allow God to comfort us as He can. We need to remember that every trial we endure will later become an opportunity to minster to other people suffering similar hardships."
Today is Monday, May 14th, 2018; Karen's Korner #3796|
God Knows You and Me
"He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust."
~ Psalm 103:14 NIV
"God will never expect more than the Holy Spirit will do in and through me if I allow Him the freedom.
"What a blessed relief to be reminded that God knows me. In fact, He knows me so well He understands that apart from Him I can do nothing.
"I don't have to prove myself to God.
"I don't have to worry about disappointing God.
"I don't have to earn His respect.
"I don't have to deserve His blessings.
"I don't have to work hard to be accepted.
"I don't have to produce a quota.
I don't have to be successful.
He created me in the first place. 'He knows how (I) am formed, he remembers that (I) am dust.' I am just a little dust person infused with the very breath of God."
~ By Anne Graham Lotz; taken from today's email devotional
Today is Friday, May 11th, 2018; Karen's Korner #3795|
Yesterday's Max Lucado into my email box:
Be Kind To Yourself
"Kindness at home. Kindness in public. Kindness in church and kindness with our enemies. Pretty well covers the gamut, don't you think? Almost. Someone else needs your kindness. Who could that be? Well, it's YOU! Since God is so kind to us, can't we be a little kinder to ourselves?
"'Oh, but you don't know me, Max. You don't know my faults and my thoughts. You don't know the gripes I grumble and the complaints I mumble.' No, I don't, but He does. He knows everything about you, yet He doesn't hold back His kindness to you. Has He, knowing all your secrets, retracted one promise or reclaimed one gift? He forgives your faults, calls you His ambassador, His follower, even His child. In God's book, you are a good thing. Be kind to yourself. God thinks you are worth His kindness. And He's a good judge of character.
Today is Thursday, May 10th, 2018; Karen's Korner #3794|
Fourth installment of "The Gospel Alphabet" with Bible verses starting with a letter of the alphabet. Four of them: M,N,O,P !
"My grace is sufficient for you."
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9b
"Now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation."
~ 2 Corinthians 6:2b
"Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your Law."
~ Psalm 119:18
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
~ John 14:27
Today is Wednesday, May 9th, 2018; Karen's Korner #3793|
I received this fun email yesterday from a friend, reminding me that I am not as young as I used to be (and neither are any of you!). Something written by an unknown author. As we grow older, we need to do all that we are able to do, if our health permits:
"I have always dreaded old age. I cannot imagine anything worse than being old. How awful it must be to have nothing to do all day long but stare at the walls or watch TV. So last week, when the mayor suggested we all celebrate Senior Citizen Week by cheering up a senior citizen. I determined to do just that. I would call on my new neighbor, an elderly retired gentleman, recently widowed, who, I presumed, had moved in with his married daughter because he was too old to take care of himself. I baked a batch of brownies and without bothering to call (some old people cannot hear the phone), I went off to brighten this old guy's day. When I rang the doorbell, this 'old guy' came to the door dressed in tennis shorts and a polo shirt, looking abut as ancient and decrepit as Donny Osmond.
"'I'm sorry I can't invite you in,' he said when I introduced myself, 'but I'm due at the Racquet Club at two. I'm playing in the semifinals today.'
"'Oh, that's all right,' I said. 'I baked you some brownies........'
"'Great!' he interrupted, snatching the box. 'Just what I need for bridge club tomorrow! Thanks so much!'
"'and just thought we'd visit a while, but that's okay, I'll just trot across the street and call on Granny Grady....'
"'Don't bother,' he said, "Gran's not home. I know, I just called to remind her of our date to go dancing tonight. She may be at the beauty shop. She mentioned at breakfast that she had an appointment for a tint job.'
"I called my Mother's cousin (age 83), she was in the hospital.....working in the gift shop.
"I called my aunt (age 74); she was on vacation in China.
"I called my husband's uncle (age 79). I forgot, he was on his honeymoon.
"I still dread old age, now more than ever. I just don't think I'm up to it........."