February 2013 Archives
Today is Friday, February 1st, 2013; Karen's Korner #2500|
Wow! This is my 2500th Karen's Korner, beginning the first of March in 2003! Thanks to those of you who have been with me since I started writing and editing 'korners'. Thanks to those of you who have been picked up along the way.
Sometimes people believe that they are the benefactors of receiving these weekday writings, either mine or by others. But it is me who God probably blesses the most! It keeps my focused on Him.........and you daily! Otherwise I would have a tendency to wander and get to something later or in a day or two....
To celebrate #2500, I would like to share something that I learned or was shared with me in early summer of 1977.
With the encouragement of family and friends, I had just begun to write some 'devotional-style' items, one of which was published in the international monthly publication THE UPPER ROOM a year earlier.
Again at my husband Jim's encouragement, I went to a writer's conference for a week in the Minneapolis area. The nearly one hundred of us would meet together several times daily. Later we would break up into smaller groups, depending on the styles of writing in which we were most interested: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays.....
I was in the non-fiction, short story classes led by a published writer in her mid-forties. I'd tell you her name if I could recall it for sure; she had just been through a serious bout with cancer and should not have survived. She was someone with whom you knew 'walked and talked with God'. They were on the same page!
As the week came closer to the end, she shared with the class her concern about America and the direction our country was heading. Because of her concerns, she had gone on a self-imposed retreat for several days to 'talk to God about her fears'.
God had revealed to her:
"No your country will NOT be healed.
But people will.
So get to work on people!"
Regardless of denomination or lack of one; of political affiliation or not, I doubt there are many of us in our country that don't have concerns about some of the directions of our nation: morally, spiritually, financially......
A pretty popular Bible verse that has been tossed around a lot in the last few months or years:
"If My people who are called by My name
will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin
and heal their land."
~ 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
Knowing what the Bible says and what my instructor said, I think I know how 'lands' are healed. We pray, asking God for His help. We believe what He says. And get to work on ''people'....only one; only today. And then we add more people to His Kingdom and His 'forever family'. Then those people do the same. And we don't worry so much our 'land', but about a person or two. All those extras add up to 'a lot' and maybe, just maybe, our 'land is healed'.
If not, people are!
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for the opportunity I have, and have had to 'talk' with lots of people each day through Karen's Korner. You have blessed me and them beyond measure. And Father God, help each one of us, just today, to reach out to one other person in our world as we reclaim our world for You. Go before us, so that we can travel with boldness and a clear vision of who You are and what You would have us to do. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Today is Monday, February 4th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2501|
This week's installment of Max Lucado:
Much of life is spent getting out of bed. Fixing lunches. Turning in assignments. Changing diapers. Paying bills. Routine. Regular. More struggle than strut.
You thought marriage was going to be a lifelong date? You thought having kids was going to be like baby-sitting? You thought the company who hired you wanted to hear all the ideas you had in college? Then you learned otherwise. The honeymoon ended.
But at the right time, God comes. In the right way, He appears. So don’t bail out. Don’t give up. He is too wise to forget you, too loving to hurt you. When you can’t see Him, trust Him.
So what does God do while we’re enduring the pain? Mark 6:46 says, “Jesus prayed.” He prayed for His disciples when they were in the storm. And when He heard their cries, He remained in prayer.
He’s praying a prayer right now that He Himself will answer at the right time.
“Jesus is able always to save those who come to God through him because he always lives, asking God to help them.” (Hebrews 7:24-25)
Today is Tuesday, February 5th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2502|
Taken from "God's Promises for the American Patriot"by Dr. Richard G. Lee and Jack Countryman; something that happened seventy years ago in February:
Faithful Until the End
"Shortly before 1 a.m. on February 2, 1943, the American transport ship 'Dorcester' was steaming through the icy North Atlantic, from Newfoundland toward an American base in Greenland, carrying 903 servicemen, merchant seamen, and civilian workers, when a German torpedo struck the starboard side.
"Through the pandemonium, four Army chaplains--George L. Fox, Methodist; Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Clark P. Poling, Dutch Reformed--brought hope to the men struggling to survive, even taking off their own life vests and giving them to four frightened young men.
"Then in the darkness, singing and shouting Biblical encouragement, the four chaplains linked arms and grasped the railing of the ship as it slipped into the ocean. William Bodnar said that, as he floated among dead comrades, 'Their voices.....were the only thing that kept me going.'
"Of the men aboard the 'Dorcester', 672 died, including the chaplains. Their heroic conduct offered a vision of greatness that stunned America."
"Greater love has no one than this,
than to lay down one's life for his friends."
~ John 15:13
"I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep."
~ John 10:11
Today is Wednesday, February 6th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2503|
"Where there is ignorance of God,
crime runs wild;
but what a wonderful thing
it is for a nation to know and keep His laws."
~ Proverbs 29:18 LB
"This proverb is written under a monarchy.
If the king was law-abiding, the people tended to follow suit.
In a democracy, the people themselves are the leaders.
When they turn to a standard higher than themselves and keep God's moral laws,
the nation becomes strong.
When everyone does whatever seems 'right in their own eyes' (Judges 17:6),
the nation becomes weak and can no longer effectively protect its citizens.
Don't be ashamed of your high moral standards---
they are making your country a better place."
Today is Thursday, February 7th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2504|
As the school year began, a new one-day-per-week Christian after school program began on Monday evenings. "Hiz Kidz" needed adult volunteers in varying roles including mentoring in small groups for some of the participants. My husband Jim and I accepted the opportunity. What a good way to reach out to elementary students in our community.
Jim has lived with coronary artery disease for more than 30 years. But the past few months, his health has declined with a loss of appetite and weight. He just hasn't felt very well. Doctors' office visits are becoming part of his weekly routine.
Several weeks ago neither of us could help with Hiz Kidz, because of one of those hospital visits. We let another leader or two know that we would not be in attendance. They covered for us and let the kids in a couple groups with which we share room space, know why we were missing. The half-dozen kids made get well cards for Jim and told us they had prayed for Jim.
On Monday evening, Jim was helping friends move to Ames and I attended Hiz Kidz. After working on our Bible verse for the day, I asked kids who they would like for us to pray. One girl said there was someone she knew who was moving to a care center. Rylee said, "Let's pray for my grandpa and for Jim."
She told me that she prayed for Jim every night.
I said to her, "Did you know that Jim is doing lots better? He has his appetite back and is gaining weight." She was happy to hear that.
We had decided to work with Hiz Kidz to help them; here they are helping us!
It says in the James 5:16 "The prayer of a righteous man has great power......"
.....and the prayers of young elementary students!
Today is Friday, February 8th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2505|
Something emailed to me awhile back by Shirley Choat:
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, "Rejoice!" Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. "
I received a letter from the mayor of Eisenach, Germany offering me a free ten-day trip to Germany. That was the city where Luther went to school in the shadow of the Wartburg Castle! They were celebrating a major anniversary and wanted me to experience their city first hand. Free!
I had my hand on the phone in a flash to call the 800 number and sign up when I saw the fine print: "...when you recruit and register 40 passengers to join you."
What a disappointment! There are a lot of ads offering something for nothing ...with certain expensive strings attached. We might well conclude that "nothing in life is truly free".
However, there is one thing that is free to all believers - God’s gracious love and our salvation. It wasn’t exactly free either. It came at a very high price which God paid "not with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of His own Son." We can’t pay for it no matter how hard we try. In fact, our attempt to do so is an insult to the One who gave Himself for us. So, what do you say when someone gives you a free gift - an eternal gift - THE eternal gift of Salvation?
Thank You, Jesus! Thank You! Those are the only words I have. But, Lord, let me speak those words freely through a life of thankful living, a life that says thank You in the way I follow Your example as a servant of my Loving Father in Heaven. Amen.
Today is Monday, February 11th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2506|
Something to start your day and week from Max Lucado:
It's Just Like Him
Why does a mother love her newborn child? Because the baby is hers? Even more so… because the baby is her! Her blood. Her flesh. Her hope. Her legacy. It doesn’t bother her that the baby gives nothing. She knows a newborn is helpless, weak. She knows babies don’t ask to come into this world. And God knows we didn’t either.
We are God’s idea. We are His. His face. His eyes. His hands. Look deeply into the face of every human being on earth, and you will see His likeness. Though some appear to be distant relatives, they are not. We are, incredibly, the body of Christ. And though we may not act like our Father, there is no greater truth than this: We are His. Unalterably. He loves us. Undyingly.
The Bible says, “not height nor depth, not any other created thing…nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.” (Romans 8:39)
I’d be a fool not to believe Him.
Today is Tuesday, February 12th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2507|
(No Karen's Korners for a week as we will be gone; they will resume on Thursday, February 21!)
Taken from the book "God's Promises for the American Patriot" by Dr. Richard G. Lee and Jack Countryman:
The Bible & American Presidents
"The first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention
is the Bible.
I speak as a man of the world......
and I say to you,
'Search the Scriptures.'"
~ John Quincy Adams, 6th president
"In regard for this Great Book,
I have this to say, it is the best gift God has given to man.
ALL THE GOOD THE SAVIOR GAVE TO THE WORLD
WAS COMMUNICATED THROUGH THIS BOOK."
~ Abraham Lincoln, 16th president
"We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation
without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic.
Where we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts,
we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity."
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president
"The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible
that it would be difficult to support them
if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."
~ Calvin Coolidge, 30th president
"If you take out of your statutes,
your constitution, your family life
ALL THAT IS TAKEN FROM THE SACRED BOOK,
WHAT WOULD THERE BE LEFT
TO BIND SOCIETY TOGETHER?"
~ Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president
"Inside the Bible's pages lie all the answers to all of the problems man has ever known....
The Bible can touch our hearts, order our minds,
and refresh our souls."
~ Ronald Reagan, 40th president
"The fundamental basis of this nation's laws was given to Moses on the Mount.
The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew;
from Isaiah and Saint Paul...
If we don't have a proper fundamental moral background,
we will finally end up with a totalitarian government
which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State!"
~ Harry S. Truman, 33rd president
Today is Thursday, February 21st, 2013; Karen's Korner #2508|
(Back after a week away!)
A dose of Max Lucado to get us started together again:
What are you looking for??
“I am the bread that gives life.”
“I am the resurrection and the life.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“I will come back and take you with me.”
Jesus, ever proclaiming– ever offering, but never forcing! It’s His voice. But, it’s our choice.
Near the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus said, “Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Martha, do you believe this?” (John 11:26)
The first time John hears Jesus speak, Jesus asks the question, “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38)
The honest questions. The thundering claims. The gentle touch. God will whisper. God will shout. God will touch and tug. God will take away our burdens; he’ll even take away our blessings. If there are a thousand steps between us and Him, he will take all but one. But he will leave the final one for us.
The choice is ours.
Today is Friday, February 22nd, 2013; Karen's Korner #2509|
It was fun to spend about a week with my sister Jill, recently retired from her work career and spending the month of February in Florida.
On Sunday, Jill suggested we attend a church we had been driving past for a few days earlier. "What about Chapel by the Sea?" she said.
Sounded fine to us.
It was a Presbyterian Church several miles north of the condo which she has leased near Fort Meyers. We guessed attendance to be in the 250 - 300 range. As we took our seats and started to leaf through the insets in the bulletin, there was a lengthy list of people for whom the congregation could pray in the week ahead.
One name jumped off the listing: Steve Sebby.
Could it be the Steve Sebby from our hometown of Clarion? Steve, owner/operator of our local hardware store, has been struggling for the past eight months following a motorcycle accident which has left him as a quadriplegic. Therapy continues to bring him back, as far as possible for him to be able to do what he can and wants.
Was it possible that someone from here, in a tiny of community of less than 3000, would be listed in a church we were attending last Sunday, more than 1500 miles away?
Since, several local residents have mentioned that it could be, as Steve's parents are wintering some place in mid-Florida.
I was going to check with the church to be sure.
We, like our new church friends in Florida, are to pray for Steve Sebby.
If there is more than one, we will let God sort out our intentions and for which one.
Father God, we thank You for sparing Steve's life last summer and for the doctors and medical care that has made such a difference in his recovery. Help him to look to You for his direction; protect him when any thoughts of discouragement might creep in. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Today is Saturday, February 23rd, 2013; Karen's Korner #2510|
(A Saturday 'korner' to make five in two weeks; two a week ago before we went on vacation and three this week. I package Karen Korners in 'boxes' of five!)
"Don't be selfish;
don't live to make a good impression on others.
thinking of others as better than yourself.
Don't just think about your own affairs;
but be interested in others, too,
and in what they are doing."
~ Philippians 2:3,4 LB
Immediately after Paul (writer of this book) calls for unity
among the believers (2:2),
he urges the Philippians to avoid selfishness.
The cure for selfishness is servanthood,
which is being like Christ (2:5).
Selfish ambitions destroy church unity
by pitting one Christian against another.
Showing genuine interest in others
is the only way to strive actively for unity among believers.
Today is Monday, February 25th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2511|
Today readers get a 'double dose' of Max Lucado. We used both of these in our Sunday School class yesterday. I thought you would enjoy them as well:
The Mind of Christ
The heart of Jesus was spiritual. Our hearts seem so far from His. He is pure We are greedy. He is peaceful; we are hassled. He is purposeful; we are distracted. How could we ever hope to have the hart of Jesus?
Ready for a surprise? You already do. You already have the heart of Christ. Would I kid you? One of the supreme promises of God is simply this: if you’ve given your life to Jesus, Jesus has given Himself to you.
The Apostle Paul explains it in 1 Corinthians 2:16: “Strange as it seems, we Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ.”
The same one who saved your soul longs to remake your heart. His plan is nothing short of a total transformation. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus. Perhaps in seeing Him, we will see what we can become!
You Are Tweakable
You aren't stuck with today's personality. You aren't condemned to 'grumpydom'. You're tweak-able, changeable. From whence come statements such as 'It's just my nature to worry; or "I'll always be pessimistic, I' must that way'. Or "I have a bad temper. I can't help the way I react." Who say?
Would we make similar statements about our bodies? “It’s just my nature to have a broken leg. I can’t do anything about it.” Of course not. If our bodies malfunction, we seek help. Shouldn’t we do the same with our hearts? Shouldn’t we seek aid for our sour attitudes? Can’t we request treatment for our selfish tirades? Of course we can. Jesus can change our hearts. He wants us to have a heart just like His. Can you imagine a better offer?
Today is Tuesday, February 26th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2512|
"Come, let's talk this over!
says the Lord;
no matter how deep the stain of your sins,
I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.
Even if you are stained as red as crimson,
I can make you white as snow!"
~ Isaiah 1:18 LB
A deep stain is virtually impossible to remove from clothing, and the stain of sin seems equally permanent. But God can remove the stain of sin from our lives just as he promised to do for the Israelites. We don't have to go through life permanently soiled. Through prayer we can be assured that Christ has forgiven our worst sins and removed our most indelible stains.
Today is Wednesday, February 27th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2513|
Something emailed to me awhile back by Shirley Choat:
Psalm 109:26 — "Help me, O Lord, my God! Save me according to your steadfast love. "
Matthew 14:28-29 — "Peter answered him, 'Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.' He said, 'Come.'"
I thank God for loving parents who taught me, by example, the love of my Father. I can never remember a time when I asked for help that they didn’t come through. Even when I created my own problems, they were there for me every time.
When I was five I smashed a bottle on the trash barrel, slicing my hand from my little finger almost to my wrist. Dad stopped the bleeding by holding a cloth over it, holding it and me, all the way to town, while Mom drove.
I have numerous others scars with stories to tell, most physical, some emotional, and all attended to by their loving care. There were numerous scoldings, but always a compassion which told me that no matter what, I was loved.
The only times I can remember when they didn’t come to help me were times when I didn’t bother to ask.
So it is with God. God and I have been friends for a long time. Like the parents He gave me, my Father has always answered my prayers. Sometimes He had to say "No." Looking back, I can thank God for those "Nos." The more often I look back on the answers to many of my prayers, the more amazed I am. Some of them seem as amazing as "walking on water"! Why not depend on the One who really can walk on water and really can help you do the same?
Amazing God, I need to meditate and reflect daily on the answers You have given to my prayers. When I honestly list all of the things I’ve prayed about, I am awed by Your generous responses. Keep my sights on You so that I am able to see Your answers clearly as I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today is Thursday, February 28th, 2013; Karen's Korner #2514|
Our church currently has an adult Bible Study Wednesday evenings; for eleven weeks participants are looking at the book of Philippians. There are four chapters so we are discussing about a dozen verses each week.
Looking ahead to next week's topic, the group will talk about the last hunk of chapter two. The subheading in my Bible says "Shine like lights in a dark world!"
I think most everyone would agree that our world is looking a little 'dark' in lots of spots. But since the Bible was written several thousand years ago, there must have always been a certain amount of darkness going on.........forever!
Here are what a couple of verses say:
"In everything you do,
stay away from complaining and arguing,
so that no one can speak a word of blame against you.
You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God
in a dark world full of people who are crooked and stubborn.
Shine out among them like beacon lights,
holding out to them the Word of Life."
~ Philippians 2:14-16a (LB)
Bible Commentary: Why are complaining and arguing so harmful? If all that people know about a church is that its members constantly argue, complain, and gossip, they get a false impression of the gospel. Belief in Christ should unite those who trust him. If our church is always complaining and arguing, it lacks the unifying power of Jesus Christ. Stop arguing with other Christians or complaining about conditions within the church and let the world see Christ.
Our lives should be characterized by purity, patience, and peacefulness, so that we will shine out 'like beacon lights'. A transformed life is an effective witness to the power of God's Word. Is your light shining brightly, or is it clouded by complaints and arguing? Be a clean, radiant light shining out for God.