August 2008 Archives
Today is Friday, August 1st, 2008; Karen's Korner #1370|
My oldest sister, Jan, and her husband, Fred, accompanied Jim and I for a three-day, two-night outing to Chicago last weekend. Among other things, we spent some time enjoying the sights, sounds, and odors of the Chicago Botanic Gardens. It is nearly 400 acres of interest and beauty.
While taking a guided tram ride tour, we learned that before the gardens humble beginnings in the middle 1960s, it had been talked about and worked on for more than sixty years before it became a reality! During the depression and the war, the group lost everything and had to start again.
I am not sure I would have been a part of a group for that long a time period! I probably would have convinced myself, "This thing will never work!" And I would have moved on to something else.
I am sure glad that God doesn't do that to me nor any of His Children; He never gives up on us! Praise God!!
This is something that our daughter, Jamie, emailed to us earlier this week; it has sort of the same kind of theme:
The Fern and the Bamboo....
One day I decided to quit....
I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality....
I wanted to quit my life.
I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
"God", I said, "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?
His answer surprised me...
"Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"
"Yes", I replied.
"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good
care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew
from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the ground. Yet nothing
came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
In the second year, the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful.
And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo".
He said. "In the third year, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed.
But I would not quit.
In the fourth year, again there was nothing from the bamboo seed.
But I would not quit.
"Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth.
Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant.
But just six months later,
the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years
growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to
survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not
He said to me. "Did you know, my child, that all this time
you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots. I would
not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you. Don't compare
yourself to others."
He said. "The bamboo had a different purpose
than the fern, yet, they both make the forest beautiful."
"Your time will come," God said to me. "You will rise high!"
"How high should I rise?" I asked.
"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return.
"As high as it can?" I questioned.
"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can."
I left the forest and brought back this story.
I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on
Never regret a day in your life.
Good days give you Happiness.
Bad days give you Experiences.
Both are essential to life.
Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrows keep you Human,
Failures keep you Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only God keeps You Going
Today is Monday, August 4th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1371|
This is an email forwarded to me by Jim's sister, Melvene; pretty long for a Karen's Korner. Read and enjoy it. Save it, if you don't have time right now. Or if it doesn't fit your schedule, delete:
Tony Snow's Testimony
Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, Snow joined the Bush Administration in April 2006 as press secretary. Unfortunately, on March 23, 2007, Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced the cancer had recurred, with tumors
found in his abdomen, leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 30, but resigned, "for economic reasons," to pursue "other interests."
Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, in my case, cancer. Those of us with potentially fatal diseases -- and there are millions in America today -- find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence "What It All Means," Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.
The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the "why" questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.
I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.
But despite this, or because of it, God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.
Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.
To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life, and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many non believing hearts -- an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly -- no matter how their days may be numbered.
Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease, smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance; and comprehension -- and yet don't. By His love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.
You Have Been Called.
Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one holds your hand at the side."It's cancer," the healer announces.
The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa."Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler." But another voice whispers: "You have been called." Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter, and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our "normal time."
There's another kind of response, although usually short-lived, an inexplicable shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tiny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions.
The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes, shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.
There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.
Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the cross, he took on the
cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf.
We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others. Sickness gets us part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two peoples' worries and fears.
Learning How to Live.
Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God's arms, not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of love.
I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy, someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. "I'm going to try to beat [this cancer]," he told me several months before he died. "But if I don't, I'll see you on the other side."
His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity, filled with life and love we cannot comprehend, and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.
Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?
When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it. It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up, to speak of us!
This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.
What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believe, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in the hollow of God's hand."
Today is Tuesday, August 5th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1372|
Like a lot of things in life; there is theory and reading books from the 'how to' section; then there is practical application:
THE BEST WAY TO PRAY
A priest, a minister, and a guru sat discussing the best positions for prayer, while a telephoe repairman worked nearby.
"Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray," the priest said.
"No," said the minister. "I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven."
"You're both wrong," the guru said. "The most effective prayer position is lying down on the florr."
The repairman couldn't contain himself any longer. "Hey, fellas,' he interrupted. 'The best prayin' I ever did was when I was hangin' upside down from a telephone pole."
Today is Wednesday, August 6th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1373|
When I got up this morning and looked out our east upstairs window, I couldn't believe the colors of the sunrise! How can you describe such beauty!
There were yellows, golds, pinks, and reds, as the sun was trying to peak out of several whispy clouds of various shades of blues. I had to go outside to take a better look.
It reminded me of something a number of years ago, that 'Grandpa Archerd' said once at an Easter sunrise service which was set that year in our local football stadium. Leslie Archerd was an attorney in our county for more than 70 years, a Sunday School teacher for probably as many years, and well-respected by nearly everyone he met. So well thought of my husband, Jim's middle name is Leslie. The Welds were only clients, not friends nor relatives.
That special Easter morning, Grandpa Archerd had been asked to give the Easter message, in spite of his advancing years into his early nineties. He had agreed. I can't remember what he said that morning, but only his first statement, as we viewed the beautiful morning together, "If the sunrise is this beautiful this side of heaven, I can't wait to see what it looks like from the other side!"
"This is the day which the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24 (RVS)
Today is Thursday, August 7th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1374|
A good daily devotional by Joel and Victoria Osteen which I received about a year ago:
Be a Prisoner of Hope
If you will be a prisoner of hope, God will restore back to you double everything that was stolen. (Zechariah 9:12)
"Are you in an emotional prison today? You may not have thought about it that way, but if you are holding unforgiveness or bitterness towards someone who has wronged youówhether it was five, ten, or thirty years agoóthat is an emotional prison. The Word of God promises that if youíll step out of that prison and become a prisoner of hope, God will restore back to you double for your trouble! That means if someone does you wrong, instead of getting negative and bitter, your attitude should be, ''They justt did me a favor. They just qualified me for double.' That attitude will make you a prisoner of hope. When youíre a prisoner of hope, you simply canít stop hoping. You are locked in! Lock into that attitude of victory that says, 'I will not be defeated. It may look impossible, but I know God can do the impossible. They may have treated me wrong, but Iím not worried. I know God is my Vindicator. It may be taking a long time, but in due season I know I will reap if I just donít give up.' Stand in that place of hope knowing that you will come out with twice the peace, twice the joy, and twice the victory today!"
Gracious, Heavenly Father, today I choose to release those who have wronged me. I know You are my Vindicator. You are my Redeemer. Today I choose to be a prisoner of hope. Teach me to see others the way You see them today. In Jesusí Name. Amen
Today is Friday, August 8th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1375|
A few items from the small book titled "a lifetime of GIRLFRIENDS" (but it could be GUYFRIENDS as well!):
"Friends treat us with love and kindness.....
They are God's way of giving us hugs."
"He fills my life with good things!"
~ Psalm 103:25 TLB
"You know a part of you is still a child
when you give into the temptation to walking
through a mud puddle instead of around it."
"Don't you see that children are God's best gift?'
~ Psalm 127:3 THE MESSAGE
"To have the mind of a child is to clear away all worries--
and make sufficient room for ideas,
curiosity, and dreams."
FIVE REASONS CHILDHOOD IS SO MUCH FUN
* You get to laugh out loud without thinking about how it sounds or looks;
* You get to see everything in the world with amazement and curiosity;
* You get to go through the day without looking at the clock;
* You get to ask a million questions and still feel smart;
* You get to believe that your life revolves around your friends---and when you get to see them again.
"The Lord watches over the lives of the innocent.
Their reward will last forever."
~ Psalm 37:18 ICB
Today is Monday, August 11th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1376|
The Iowa State Fair began last Thursday. The fair and WHO radio tried something different to kick off the event. Together they were going to attempt attracting people to set a Guinness Book of World Records: most people in one place eating a corn dog.
To achieve the goal, they were allowing people through the fair gates from 5 - 8:30 a.m. free. Participants were supposed to head for the grandstand to get their free corn dog, ready for the chomp in unison just before the end of the Van and Bonnie show, near 9 o'clock.
Hmmm, Jim and I had never helped to set a world record. We decided to join the mob scene!
Left home about 5:30. Not as bad a traffic jam as we anticipated. Got our numbers. Headed for our seats.
They gave us our instructions. Fifteen of the fair food booths were under one ownership. They had been making corn dogs for three hours and then putting them in warming ovens. The 100 queen contestants, the FFA ushers, and a handful of ushers were going to begin the distribution of the more than 8,000 corn dogs. We were to help by passing them down our rows and hanging on to them until the word GO!
The orderly distribution then began. My row began to be overlooked. The higher rows got corn dogs. The lower rows got corn dogs. Not many minutes left when a crown and banner clad queen contestant and her FFA friend, toting a roaster pan made it toward us.
One by one we handed the corn dogs down the row, but it appeared the pan didn't hold enough to feed the 25 of us. The couple on my left held on to a corn dog for each of them before they again began the pass, as did the guy to my left. Would I get a corn dog?
I wanted to do what the others had done, but then I thought about 'putting others first'. If I gave away one of passing morsels I might not get to do what I had set out to do: eat a corn dog!
My five second struggle gave way when I recalled that 'if I took care of others, God would take care of me!' So down the row went the last couple of corn dogs before the pan was empty. There were probably six or eight of us who didn't get one. Oh, well, who needs a corn dog for breakfast anyway! Corn dogs aren't my favorite fair food!
There sat others surrounding me hanging on to their 'breakfast food', waiting for the word; when the last of about six pans were carried up our grandstand stadium rows! The frantic teams began to fill in. One pan was going to finish off our row and the one right behind us!
Not only did I get a corn dog; mine was hotter than the ones I had been passing a few minutes before!!
Once again I was reminded that God takes care of His Children, lots of ways every day!
Dear God, thank You for the inner dialogue that You give to all of us as Your Children. Thank You for the way You take care of all of us so many ways every day that we don't even recognize. Thank You that when we do the right thing and take care of others, You do Your thng and take care of us. Help me to do that 'right thing' the next time I have the opportunity. I know that I will need Your help.
In the name of Your Son who taught us the way. Amen.
Today is Tuesday, August 12th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1377|
A couple of thoughts/sayings by others:
"Spread love everywhere you go:
First of all in your own house....
let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
Be the living expression of God's kindness;
kindness in your face,
kindness in your eyes,
kindness in your smile,
kindness in your warm greeting."
~ Mother Theresa
"We cannot live only for ourselves.
A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men!"
-- Herman Melville
"I was cleaning out the pockets of my six-year-old's winter coat, when I found a pair of mittens in each pocket. Thinking that one pair must not be enough to keep her hands warm, I asked her why she was carrying two pairs of mittens in her coat. She replied, 'I've been doing that for a long time, Mom. You see, some of the kids come to school without mittems, and if I carry another pair, I can share with them and then their hands won't get cold.'"
~ Joyce Andresen
TAKEN FROM 'A 4th Course of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL
"No one has any right to come into this world
and go out of it
without leaving something behind."
~ George Washington Carver
Today is Wednesday, August 13th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1378|
From my Bible Commentary, it tells about praise and its positive affects. It doesn't mention about praises only when things go our way or we 'like' what is happening to us. Maybe praise is the antidote for fear, worry, concern, and negative thoughts or emotions.
The last five psalms (146 - 150) overflow with praise. Each begins with 'hallelujah' or 'praise the Lord'. They show us where, why, and how to praise God. What does praise do:
* Praise takes our minds off our problems and shortcomings, and focuses them on God;
* Prasie takes us from individual meditation to corporate worship;
* Praise causes us to consider and appreciate God's character;
* Praise takes our perspective from the earthly to the heavenly.
Praise the Lord!
Yes, really praise him!
I will praise him as long as I live,
yes, even with my dying breath.
Don't look to men for help;
their greatest leaders fail;
for every man must die.
His breathing stops, life ends,
and in a moment all he planned for himself is ended.
But happy is the man who has the God of Jacob as his helper,
whose hope is in the Lord his God---
the God who made both earth and heaven,
the seas and everything in them.
He is God who keeps every promise,
and gives justice to the poor and oppressed,
and food to the hungry.
He frees the prisoners, and opens the eyes of the blind;
he lifts the burdens from those bent down beneath their loads.
For the Lord loves good men.
He protects the immigrants,
and cares for the orphans and widows.
But he turns topsy-turvy the plans of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever.
O Jerusalem, your God is King in every generation!
Praise the Lord!
~~ Psalm 146 (Living Bible)
Today is Thursday, August 14th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1379|
Something emailed to me by Joanne Schleck (in part); I am unsure of the author:
A Story About Chickens
Randy was spending the summer on the farm with his Grandfather. One day, he and his Grandfather went into the chicken coop, and Randy scattered a handful of grain over the floor. The chickens scrambled madly for it,
but one chicken was having trouble. Every time it tried to eat, it was pecked by the others.
Randy saw a red spot on the chicken's neck. "Look, Grandpa!" he exclaimed, "That chicken is hurt!"
Just then a big rooster jabbed the sore on the neck of the chicken, making it even larger. Grandpa picked up the chicken and carried the squawking bird out of the pen. "Come on, old girl. We'll put you in a separate place until your neck heals," he said.
Randy watched as Grandpa rubbed medicine into the sore. "Why do the other chickens peck this one?" he asked. "Well, Randy, I can't tell you exactly why," answered Grandpa, "but this is the way chickens act. They
always pick on those who are different from the rest, and on those who are hurt."
"That seems stupid," said Randy. "Right you are, Randy," said Grandpa, "but do you know that people often do the same thing?"
"They do?" asked Randy, surprised, "How?"
"When others have skin that is a different color, or perhaps their eyes or noses look a little different, some people make fun of them," explained Grandpa.
Randy immediately thought of a boy named Darrin. Some of the other boys teased Darrin about his bright, red-orange hair. Randy was glad now that he had not joined in the teasing---but felt bad that he had not tried to
stop it either. "It's too bad when people act like chickens," continued Grandpa.
Randy looked up at his Grandfather with admiration. "Grandpa," he said, "what the chickens were doing to this one was cruel. I'm proud of you for helping her!"
We are reminded not to act like those chickens. Genesis 1:26-27 says God created humans in his own "image" and "likeness." So respect people no matter how they look. Refuse to show favoritism or prejudice because of someone's physical characteristics. And to help stop wrongful actions from continuing, do what you can to promote positive attitudes between different racial groups. That's good citizenship, and good theology.
"Honor one another above yourselves." ~ Romans 12:10
Today is Friday, August 15th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1380|
This was emailed to me from my cousin Glenys Schlomer, but was forwarded to her from another Glenys, who lives in Tacoma, Washington. It makes my 'chomping a corn dog at the state fair' story, pale by comparison. But it takes all of us doing 'what Jesus would do' to collectively make a difference in our world:
True Story written by Beverly Brass, published in a magazine called "Renewed & Ready", as told to her by a Denny Kukich of Wood Dale, Illinois.
I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. "I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap," I thought. I fly frequently, and I always look for an opportunity to share Jesus with someone. I wondered who it might be this time because there were empty seats all around me. Not much of a chance to talk to anyone. Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. "This is more like it! OK, Lord, which one will it be? Who needs to hear about you?" I decided to start a conversation.
Where are you headed?" I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. "Chicago--to Great Lakes Base. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Iraq." After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached Chicago, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time. As I reached for my wallet, I overheard the soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. "No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to Chicago." His friend agreed.
I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I was hungry, but could not bring myself to eat in front of them. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. "Take a lunch to all those soldiers."
She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. "My son was a soldier in Iraq. It's almost like you are doing it for him." Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated.
Overwhelmed by her emotional response, I returned to my seat. She asked, "Which do you like best--beef or chicken?" "Chicken," I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. "This is your thanks."
Now I felt guilty--I had dinner and the soldiers had only a sack lunch. After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. "I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this." He handed me twenty- five dollars. Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, an said, "I want to shake your hand.'
Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, "I was a soldier and I was a pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot." I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers. Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.
When we landed in Chicago, I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars! Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. "It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You." Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.
As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little.
Today is Monday, August 18th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1381|
National Day of Prayer is held annually the first part of May. Chris Lousias did a lot of the organizational work for the prayer time held in Clarion this year.
She shared a prayer with the locals who attended. I am not sure she wrote it herself, got it from the National headquarters, or adapted it from something prepared by the national group. It could have been any one of the three, knowing Chris. At any rate, it is a good one and as applicable today as it was three or four months ago:
"Almighty God, we thank You and praise You for Your unending mercy and grace poured out upon our nation. You have delivered us in times of war, reunited us after conflicts among ourselves, and filled our lives with such abundance. Your blessings overflow our borders.
"Yet still, we take You for granted. We come before You now, in desperate need of Your forgiveness. We confess that the liberty You so graciously gave us has become a license for us to do as we please. Our culture mocks You; our highest courts are esteeemed above Your Word. We've traded genuine sprituality for temporary pleasure, true virtue for hollow celebrity. We teach our children self-indulgence yet stand mystified at the blood on their hands. We lust after material things, yet wonder why our souls are empty.
"Revive us, Lord, Your presence is our only hope. Impart to us Your passion for good over evil. As we humble ourselves and seek Your face, forgive us O God, and heal us. Make us one, that America would be the land You envisioned from the beginning....a beacon of hope lifted to the world, a people free to serve You and one another in genuine love.
"In the name of the God of Abrahm, Isaad, and Jacob---in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen."
Today is Tuesday, August 19th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1382|
It's Up to You
One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer,
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true.
One life can make a difference,
You see, it's up to you!
- Author Unknown
Today is Wednesday, August 20th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1383|
"Contentment" written by Suzanne Benner and gotten to my computer via Kim Lee:
by Suzanne Benner
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I
have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether
living in plenty or in want" (Philippians 4:12).
In the past, I've often wondered: Well, what is it? What is the secret of
being content in any and every situation? It seems like Paul makes a bold
statement, but then leaves us hanging.
This time as I read it, though, God brought to mind all the things that Paul
had just said in his letter to the Philippians. Rather than starting with
contentment and failing to explain the secret, I think Paul begins with the
attitudes and actions that culminate in us finding contentment.
In the preceding verses Paul gives us three important instructions:
1. Rejoice always
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice"
Contentment comes when we praise God. When we focus our attention on our
Great and Awesome God, our hearts find satisfaction in Him.
2. Don't worry
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and
petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"
Worrying denies the power of God. It demonstrates a lack of trust in His
power and goodness. Conversely, when we thank God for what we have, ask Him
and trust Him to provide what we need, contentment follows.
3. Guard your thoughts
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything
is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
Our thoughts are the biggest barrier to our contentment. When we spend our
time thinking about false or deceptive ideas that the world promotes; or
meditating on the evil and injustice that surrounds us; or pondering the
shortcomings of our husbands, children or friends we move further and
further from contentment.
Instead, Christ calls us to think about the truth, that God loves us, has
forgiven us, has provided a place for us in heaven; to ponder the good; to
consider beauty; and to meditate on lovely, pure and noble things.
Heavenly Father, I want to learn the secret of being content in any and
every situation. Help me to rejoice always, not to worry and to think on
Today is Thursday, August 21st, 2008; Karen's Korner #1384|
Maybe you don't think you have as much time, talent, wisdom, wealth, or beauty as the next person. Maybe your response would be "I can't, because.........."! Congratulations, you are exactly for who God looks:
"Notice among yourselves, dear brothers,
that few of you who follow Christ have
big names or power or wealth.
Instead, God has deliberately chosen to use
ideas the world considers foolish
and of little worth in order to shame
those people considered by the world
as wise and great.
He has chosen a plan despised by the world,
counted as nothing at all,
and used it to bring down to nothing those
the world considers great,
so that no one anywhere can ever brag in the presence of God.
For it is from God alone that you have your life,
through Christ Jesus.
He showed us God's plan of salvation,
he was the one who made us acceptable to God;
he made us pure and holy and gave himself to purchase our salvation.
As it says in the Scriptures,
"If anyone is going to boast,
let him boast only of what the Lord has done."
-- I Corinthians 1: 26 - 31 (Living Bible)
Today is Friday, August 22nd, 2008; Karen's Korner #1385|
From the Poem Lady (aka Teresa):
NO FAVOR DO I SEEK TODAY
Blessed be the Lord! for he has heard the voice of my supplications.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts;
so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.
Psalm 28: 6, 7
I come not to ask, to plead or implore You
I just come to tell You how much I adore You
For to kneel in Your Presence makes me feel blest!
ForI know that You know all my needs best.
And it fills me with joy just to linger with You.
As my soul You replenish and my heart You renew
For prayer is much more than just asking for things---
It's the peace and contentment that quietness brings...
So thank You again for Your mercy and love
And making me heir to Your Kingdom above!
Today is Monday, August 25th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1386|
Next Sunday the church where we belong gets a new minister. For the past several months, we have had a handful of guest pastors or presenters.
Several Sundays we had Jim Allard who is a retired pastor and now a Hospice chaplin. He spoke to our congregation for a final time yesterday.
I don't know the title of his sermon, but as a former pastor, Jim had some thoughts on what we should expect of a minister, of ourselves, and of our church family.
He said there are three essential truths or functions of the church (whether you are getting a new minister or not!):
* believe - we come together to believe the truths of the Bible (John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Do we believe what Jesus did? Do we believe what He gave us?
* belong - we come to church to love and be loved - by God, by others - one another. We care about other people; we are all part of one body;
* become - we come, to become. We are new creatures in Jesus Christ. We come to begin and continue the process of becoming what Jesus wants us to be, to become the minds and hands of Christ. We come to become our better selves! (Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! - 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Not only to we come to church to see others and for them to see us, but also to see Christ, to see Christ who lives in us - and to see the Christ who lives in others!
As Christians, we not only have a message to give the world, we also represent that message to the world in the way that we live. We represent Him by what we say, what we do, and who we are.
There was more -- more words, more Bible verses, more comments, but that was the focus. I'm glad I didn't miss yesterday; our congregation has a new minister coming. New opportunities, new vision, new responsibilites, new help, new hope! It's not about him. It's about us! It's about me!!
Today is Tuesday, August 26th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1387|
As we come into the fall season, no one knows about 'harvesting' and 'reaping' like farmers and those of us who live near farms!
But we also know that we have to do 'sowing' to get to the 'reaping'; the days' short thought from Joel and Victoria Osteen:
Seasons of Sowing
"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.Ē (Psalm 126:5).
"The Scripture talks about seasons of sowing and reaping in your life. In Psalms, it talks about sowing in tears and reaping in joy. That verse is saying that the sowing seasons are usually the most difficult. Itís hard to keep a good attitude when all your friends are being blessed, but youíre not. You may feel like they donít work as hard as you do. You may feel like they donít give like you do or donít deserve the blessing. Thatís a time of testing. Itís hard to go through disappointments and stay positive and hopeful. These are seasons of sowing. If youíll do the right thing even when itís hardówhen you sow in tearsóyou will always reap in joy! Iím asking you to have a new attitude toward what God has placed in your heart. It may be taking a long time, but God still has a plan to bring it to pass. Donít give up. Your time is coming. Itís never too late! God is saying, 'This is your season. Keep your faith stirred up.' Keep sowing because in due season, you will reap the bountiful harvest with a song of joy in your heart!"
Heavenly Father, thank You for another day to serve You and sow into the lives of those around me. I ask for Your strength today to do Your will and keep a good attitude. Help me recognize my season of sowing so that I can be ready in the time of harvest. I love You and bless Your holy name today. In Jesusí Name. Amen.
Today is Wednesday, August 27th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1388|
His disciple John came to Jesus and said,
"Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons.
And we told him not to.
After all, he isn't in our group."
But Jesus said,
"You shouldn't have done that!
For anyone who is not against you is for you."
~~ Luke 9:49,50
Commentary: The disciples were jealous. Nine of them together were unable to cast out a single demon, but when they saw a man who was not one of their group casting out demons, they told him to stop.
Our pride is hurt when someone else succeeds where we have failed but Jesus says there is no room for such jealousy in the spiritual warfare of His Kingdom. We do the same thing as the disciples today when we refuse to participate in worthy causes because:
1) they are not affiliated with our denomination;
2) they do not involve the kind of people with whom we feel most comfortable;
3) they don't do things the way we are used to;
4) our efforts won't receive enough recognition.
Correct theology is important, but it should never be an excuse to avoid helping those in need.
Today is Thursday, August 28th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1389|
I have recently been added to Mark Young's (a former pastor) weekly email which he sends to his congregation. This is a portion of what Mark wrote and sent out yesterday:
Not long ago, I subscribed to Consumer Reports. I like to keep up on services and products which are reliable. Audrey will tell you that before we purchase a major item, I've done my research. Been on the internet to make sure I'm getting a good deal and a reliable product for my money. Reliability is very important to me.
One of my greatest joys of being God's child is understanding there is no one more reliable than our God. The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8 - 10, "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead. He had delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us."
Did you catch Paul's description of God? Don't you just love it? I can rely on God who raises the dead. I don't know of any other person or being who can raise the dead, do you?
You can count on God.
Today is Friday, August 29th, 2008; Karen's Korner #1390|
There are a few Bible verses which float around church circles; top of the minds of people who have learned a handful of Bible verses:
"This is the day that the Lord has made,
we will rejoice and be glad in it."
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
"Cast all of your cares on Him for He cares for you."
Or among others
"Where two or more are gathered in His name, He is in their midst."
That is the one I would like to focus on today.
Jesus in our midst when we worship together. Pray together. Work together.
I see Jesus when nine of us went to Cedar Rapids last Saturday to contribute a handful of hours to help restore Gloria's (a widow with extensive health problems) home. We were able to bring her Jesus with our efforts, buying her dinner (and the rest of our group) with mission funds from our church, and with a wonderful table grace at Arby's for lunch offered to all of us by Chris.
I see Jesus when we stopped at the Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapis with a congregation who has opened its doors indefinitely to short-timers like us and to groups of people like those from Pennsylvania who spent this week working in their town. Leaders in the church offer their time and organizational skill. Members offer their building for a place to stay, eat, and hang out, for as much time as is needed.
I see Jesus as our local congregation scurries around to get our church building and membership ready to welcome a new minister and his family tomorrow.
I see Jesus when people invest their lives in others one-on-one or in small groups, as they love others.
I see Jesus when readers of Karen's Korner, send me a reading which means something to them; and I have the opportunity to send it on to those on my daily email list.
I see Jesus, if I only take a second look!
Thank You, Jesus, for opening my eyes. Make me even more aware. AMEN.