karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

How do you change your world? One word at a time, one heart at a time

A Tomb with a View

I love word plays, and will use them any chance I get because it makes a person think more deeply on the idea presented.  Hence the title of today’s humble blog.  Actually, I was given permission to use anything this certain preacher says, any time, something that doesn’t come by very often in life, and I intend to take full advantage of their generosity.  Which led to the borrowed title.  For talking about a borrowed tomb.  One that didn’t stay occupied long.  Seems kind of a waste of a good tomb, but then again, what do I know?

They must agree with Carol Kacmarcik, a dear friend and sista in Christ, who says  – “here’s my copyright rule – copy it and share it.”  So I’m sharing the love.  Since it’s Easter, or Resurrection Sunday as some prefer to call it, I will tell you several things in my life collided lately to create what I can only describe as ‘the perfect storm.’

Being a very devoted lover of the One Who put the stars in place with His fingers and chose to put breath in my body when I was literally born dead, I pretty much celebrate Easter year round.  It drove my kids nuts, poor babies, but I believe wholeheartedly in resurrection of dead things.  Perhaps it takes one to know one.

Ok.  The perfect storm.  It started with one more boss one more time offering a variation of, “thanks but no thanks,” as in goodbye.  Which was kind of a blow because I was giving all I had to give and there was a huge learning curve.  I had one more opportunity to make a choice, to be hurt or trust God that He had something else in store  That’s become my default over the years – do I trust Him, or not?  Circumstances in my life may change but for some reason the choices don’t seem to.

This led to a lot more time on my hands.  Which led to a lot more writing, and a lot more reading.  Even a lot more praying.  Especially for this nation.  I realised when the angel broke the seal on our Saviour’s tomb, he did so much more than roll a stone away.   Now I have a question for you this Easter season, the same one posed to me last week.  Ready?  Here it is: How do you view the tomb?  As horrific death?  Or glorious life?  My honest answer to them was ‘both’.  But being the glass-half-full kind of gal that I am, I’d rather think on the good side than the bad.  I realised there are many folk out there in church all their lives who never get to know the real Jesus,  He’s into relationship, not religion.

That’s what the whole ‘Abba’ thing is about.  Loosely translated it means Daddy.  Not some austere Englishman saying, “Faaahhhhther,, if Thou wilt,” using perfect King James language, dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s.  God is a God of hearts and that blesses me so much.  When I’m misunderstood, when I’m let go for no apparent reason, when friends wig out on me, He sees my heart.  When I’m confused or doubting or even joyful to  be alive, He sees.

Like another friend said today when I asked what I could pray for her, “I’m in transition.”  I might well be too.  But I know it’s good.  ‘Cos God is good.  So anything He allows has to eventually work itself out for my good, because He promised it in Romans 8.28 and He never lies.

I encourage you today to give yourself completely to the only true God this universe has ever seen, and see what He’ll do with you.  It might not be easy, or even smooth sailing, but it’ll be good.  I promise.

Kari, the choice-maker

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

And Then Came Jesus

Today I started thinking of all those who have influenced my life in a profound way.

In honour of my good friend Kenny Raynor, I would like to give you my take on something he gave me permission to copy many years back.  He was one of the people that was most what I like to call, “Jesus with skin on”.  Kind, patient, always willing to help.

Here’s the Karified version of his creation:

The Ten Commitments

Thou shalt have goals

Thou shalt never give up

Thou shalt not procrastinate

Thou shalt not be negative

Thou shalt have an action plan

Thou shalt be teachable

Thou shalt be available

Thou shalt know thy stuff

Thou shalt improve thyself daily

Thou shalt never belittle

What are yours?  What core values rule your life?  Really.  I want to know.

Kari, the absolutely-committed

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

Deluded and Deceived

We’ve probably all heard the argument that a thinking rational person doesn’t need a “crutch” to help them handle life, as in Jesus.  That individual possibly went on to make what they considered a valid case for such belief.  But here’s the thing: a deluded soul never knows they’re deluded.  They think they’re sane.  Which is why satan is so very successful at it.  (No, that’s not a typo.  On principle I refuse to capitalize his name.)

In his article, ‘We can save atheism from the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris’, Jeff Sparrow states, and I quote, “You don’t have to be a believer to see that religion genuinely offers something to its adherents (often when nothing else is available)  [excuse me?  We have a smorgasbord old current options to choose from in today’s  ‘enlightened’ society! KG]  and that what it provides is neither inconsequential nor silly.  By contrast, the New Atheists engage with religion purely as a set of ideas, a kind of cosmic rulebook… But what happens then? You’re left with no explanation for their devotion other than a susceptibility to fraud. To borrow Dawkins’ title, if God is nothing but an intellectual delusion then the billions of believers are, well, deluded; a collection of feeble saps in need of enlightenment from their intellectual superiors… If belief in God stems from intellectual inadequacy, then all believers are feebleminded – and the most devout are the most feebleminded of all. All religions are bad but some religions – especially those in the Middle East, by sheer coincidence! – are worse than others.”

I disagree with him on multiple fronts. One thing in particular I don’t get about his argument is that in order to be a “freethinker” you must be atheist.  To me this is circular reasoning totally unsupported by fact.  I know many God-fearing devout believers who are the farthest thing from feeble-minded.  I’ve met weirdos and fanatics on both sides of the fence.  What I want to know is, do you know Jesus?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/30/we-can-save-atheism-from-the-new-atheists

Kari, the undeluded-undeceived totally-in-love-with-Jesus girl

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

One Little Word

OK, I’m finally ready to stand up and be counted.  But I’ll make it short and sweet, I promise.  Just like me.

Ecclesiastes 3 verse 7 says there’s a time to speak and a time to be silent, and I’m tired of being silent.  He’s the president. Period.  Whether we like him personally or not, whether we agree with his choices two decades ago or not, he’s the leader of the country and we’d better get behind him or we’ll have a fractured nation and we’ll pay a high price for that.

The one little word i have is actually two, depending on which way you swang during the election.  I talked to many, many people around that time, from all cultures, all races, all walks of life, and all economic strata.  For some reason I was exposed to a whole lot of people in my home town I’d never met before, and I did an experiment.  I came to a conclusion I’ve been thinking through and am ready to share.  I hope you still love me when you’re done reading.

If you fell into the category of couldn’t decide/didn’t vote, then my one word is apathy. Please don’t complain about the state of a nation you didn’t try to change.

If you fell into the alternate camp, who I hear about every single day, what my husband calls “the Snowflakes”, folk just plain don’t like it, I have a different word for you; democracy.

As a Christian my life often doesn’t go the way I planned, and many times doesn’t go the way I’d like, but I don’t go round telling everyone it’s not my life.  It is what it is. That’s the thing with democracy – everyone gets to vote.  And sometimes they’re happy with the result and sometimes they’re not.  Just like life.  I don’t have to like something to respect it, and I certainly don’t doubt what I don’t understand.  If I believe God is in charge of my world then I believe He is in charge of every little thing.  People who look for the bad in anything will find it, but they’ll live a very unhappy life.  I’d rather look for the good.  A wise woman once told me, “every place you see “good” in the Bible, take out one oh.”  I got it immediately.  I decided that day to be the kind of person who looked for the GOD in everything, not the bad.  Same size word, totally different meaning.

So for those folks out there still stewing about the results and telling us he’s not your president I have news for you: yes he is.  But there’s something you can do about it.  In about 4 years.  I just have one request.  Give the guy a chance.  He may be stirring up a lot of hornets nests but let’s wait till the dust settles and see what happens.  He may surprise you yet.  I have faith that God is still in charge of this nation and that He still moves through its leaders.  And I’m looking for the good.  And the God.  You?

Kari, the finally vocal

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

Building A Fence

Anyone who knows me knows I love one-liners and tend to collect them.  It’s an odd habit I admit, but it’s also been a source of growth to me as a Christian.  Words tend to stick with me, and teach me more than whole sermons could.  Like, “Consider the source, ” whose original source, ironically, is unknown but accredited to multiple famous people.   Take today, for instance.

It’s amazing what you can learn in life by accident if you’re not careful.  In one morning I discovered that Buddha took credit for God’s words, Confucius took credit for God’s words, and I also saw Steven Furtick’s take on the spirit of offence.  God does nothing by accident; I’d like to share with you the reasoning behind that belief.

First, the one-liners.  Then, the lesson.

Buddha said, “What we think, we become.”  God said, in Proverbs 23 verse 7, As a man thinks in his heart, so IS he (emphasis mine).  And God was here first so I figure He originated it.

Confucius said, You cannot open a book without learning something.  God told Joshua very clearly, “this book of the Law” should never leave our mouth or our mind (Joshua 1 verse 8).  With good reason.  David realized reading changes folk, and wrote all about it in Psalm 119 verse 11.  But action has to come into play too.  As Christians we don’t just read, we read with purpose.  Steven Covey encourages us to begin with the end in mind, and there’s a lot of wisdom there.  After all, you can learn anything from anyone if you’re teachable.

Now for the lesson.  By this point in my day I was highly ticked off that people who didn’t even acknowledge the Creator would not only quote Him but take the credit.  I had the opportunity to walk out what I’d learned just hours before; seeing Steven build a fence from wooden planks with each ‘offence’ ran briefly through my mind.  After all, as he quite rightly pointed out, “Offence is an event; offended is a decision.”  Ouch.  Guilty as charged.  When we choose offence, it does indeed build a fence.  Every time.  Not only between us and the other person but also between us and God.  I’ve heard this so many times but it took a visual for it to finally sink in.  I think I might be Missouri personified – the show-me state.  Once you give me a picture I rarely forget the lesson.

So then my random redhead brain started thinking I find I’m with Aristotle – “Those that know do, and those that understand teach”: how does Steven know the spiritual principles he teaches in such depth…?  Duh!

Long story short?  I decided to forgive Buddha for stealing God’s words.  To forgive Confucius for stealing God’s words.  To thank God for Mr. Covey, for reminding me where my mind should focus.  And I really, really, really appreciate Steven for breaking it down for the slightly more hard-headed among us.  Lesson learned.  Hopefully permanently.

Your thoughts?  K

Will Power

MD, aka mi darlin’, aka my dearest darling man, just loves Facebook and will visit multiple times a day.  Me, not so much.  Usually once or twice a month is my preference.  With all the political unrest and race violence happening right now that’s pretty much my max.  His explosive reactions tell me what’s going on anyway, so I’m usually up to speed.

In a world gone mad I’ve been finding it a challenge lately to reconcile God’s goodness with His justice, which He promises will always win out.  I’m also an avid reader and have learned many spiritual lessons from, of all things, fiction.  Take a for instance:

“I’d like a featherbed world…where a guy couldn’t land a blow on someone smaller than himself, where no one ever got to touch me without my consent.  That’s the world I would have created. But God decided to create a world where free will was more important than no one ever getting hurt.  There must be something stunninglupy beautiful and remarkable about free will only God can truly grasp… God sees something in free will and choice that is worth tolerating the horrifying blackness that would appear if evil was chosen rather than good.  I find that utterly remarkable.”  – author Dee Henderson, from the book Taken.

I don’t know about you but to me this reads like the evening news.  It also explains a lot in my world.  Like the fact that this morning I saw a video of a guy in a mask kicking an old homeless guy who was just pushing his cart along the street for no apparent reason.  Which makes me wonder three things.  Who was videoing it, how did they know to capture the incident, what and why did it happen?

I’ve never understood senseless acts of violence and I probably never will, but one thing I do know.  In the immortal words of S M Lockridge, “it’s not a skin thing, it’s a sin thing.”  It’s getting easy to see why most of the world will be deceived when the anti-Christ comes on the scene, which Daniel 9 verses 26 and 27 speak of, and why ‘many’ will do anything to obtain a false sense of security.  But at what cost?

Dear reader, your soul is your most precious possession and if you’ve never made Jesus Lord of your life I urge you to do it today.  The day is coming when giving up life will become a guaranteed certainty.  Make sure you do it for the right reasons.  Think through the eternal consequences of a decision to both follow or walk away from Him.  Whatever choice you make, if you’re still here don’t take the mark.  May God give you true peace in uncertain unstable times, and I pray I get to meet you in heaven.

Kari, the anti-sin pro-God girl

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

It’s Not OK!

I don’t often address current political issues but I’ve finally had enough.  I care! Do you?  Enough to do something?  Say something?

North Carolina has been getting grief from many quarters of society on one issue, to the point that some have chosen to “boycott” us.  So much for living in the land of the free.  And I suspect the brave are rethinking their stance on this issue too.

“An earlier report published in April 2011 by the Williams Institute estimated that 3.8 percent of Americans identified as gay/lesbian, bisexual, or transgender: 1.7 percent as lesbian or gay, 1.8 percent as bisexual, and 0.3 percent as transgender”.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_demographics_of_the_United_States

I do realise I’m in the minority – even though I’m actually in the majority in North Carolina: the others don’t have enough moxie to speak out – but I’m sick and tired of 3.8 percent of the population of a country supposedly deciding for me how I can and cannot live my life.  I’ve never imposed my views on one of that 3.8 percent, and I doubt I ever will; I pray for them instead.

If my children were still young right now I’d be driving them nuts every day.  They wouldn’t be going anywhere without me.  I fear for my unborn grandchildren, who may not be unable to take a bathroom break without meeting up with some confused soul who can’t decide what they want to be when they grow up.  I happen to agree with a friend of mine – check your plumbing!  Seriously.  It’s not hard to figure out.

I also think it’s pathetic that grown folk will throw a temper tantrum and boycott my whole state just because some brave God-fearing individuals in the so-called Bible Belt who happen to hold different moral values are finally speaking out.  If that’s not abuse of fame and fortune, not to mention manipulation of emotion and politics, I don’t know what is.

Seriously?  The Bible Belt is going to let 3.8 percent of the population accuse them of discrimination, while that same 3.8 percent is discriminating against others themselves?  It reminds me of a lesson I learned, of all things, at an Amway  convention.  A speaker started swinging his arms wildly, as he proclaimed, “you have the right to freedom of speech…” at which point he walked over to a fellow speaker, now hitting them with his flailing arms, and added, “… until your freedom of speech takes away mine.”  I couldn’t agree more.

“North Carolina isn’t the only state that’s been caught up in these discrimination debates. Since January, almost 200 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in states, which many people see as reactions to last June’s Supreme Court marriage-equality ruling. Recently, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a religious freedom bill, saying, “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia.”

https://www.yahoo.com/katiecouric/the-north-carolina-bathroom-bill-hb2-explained-172020141.html

There’s a whole lot of truth to that statement. Actually, I never have.  Discriminated against someone.  For any reason.  But it also goes vice-versa.  Or, to quote my grandmother, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  They don’t need to discriminate against me either.

I guess it might be a catch-22, or ‘circular reasoning’ if you prefer the scientific term.  One citizen accuses another of —— (fill in the blank; racism, bigotry, sexism, discrimination…), while ignoring the fact that, by doing so, they are doing the same.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the slightly-ticked-off-and-getting-worse-girl

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

So Not Happening

It’s been a while since I had the chance to blog, and I’m some kind of fired up! My bible says in Colossians 3 verse 12 that we’re to ‘put on’ mercy.  That would imply to me two things; one, it doesn’t come naturally, and two, it’s an active choice.

I got to make that choice just last night. And, hallelujah thank God for growth, I kept my mouth shut.  Yep, that’s major growth for me.  An opportunity to get offended presented itself and I turned it down.  Growth takes a whole lot of dying, but it’s worth it.

For integrity’s sake I’ll share only general details.  Someone had the opportunity to help me, but chose to exert their power and withhold that help.  The ironic thing was, all I was asking was the same courtesy that leader had been extended to a fellow church member just two minutes before.  I realize of course that the leader in question withholding the help was completely unaware of this fact, but I learned a serious lesson.  If God ever puts me in a place of prominence and power I pray I never use it to withhold help from those who ask, but rather, not only to never withhold good but to even have my mind full of ways to be a blessing, according to Galatians 6 verse 10, and to prefer one another more highly than myself, according to Philippians 2 verse 3.

Many years ago I read a quote by a guy whose name I truly wish I could remember because I’d give him credit. He said simply this: a great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.  As the years have gone by I’ve meditated on that and though I understand his intent I’ve realized that there are no little men.  My fellow Christian leader acted like they have yet to learn that lesson.  After many interactions with this individual it has become apparent that if the child of God before them is not important (prominent), they are not important (of value to the leader personally).  Which is ok, but that’s not the kind of person or Christian but above all, leader, I want to be.

Hopefully, lesson learned.

How ‘bout you? Any comments?  Seriously.  I’m interested.

Kari, the hopefully-humble-and-definitely-humbled

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

Barn and Noble

Growing up in England introduces you to a whole lot of idioms.  One of my special faves, something I was asked frequently as a young child, is – “Were you born in a barn?!!!”  Had I known then what I know now I would have responded, “No, but Jesus was.”

How ironic, even oxymoronic, that the King of kings would be born in a barn.  Nobility laid aside and humility embraced.  Luke makes this quite clear, though some theologians disagree; I believe it doesn’t really matter whether  it was a ‘stable’ or a cave, what matters to me is that history has proven He was born, He died, and I happen to be convinced He lives and guess what?  Some day I’ll be joining Him!

In time she of turmoil and civil unrest its good to have a rock-solid truth you can hold on to.  Try ‘He will never leave you nor forsake you’ on for size.  Or ‘for God so loved…”. It’s the ‘so’ that gets me every time.  I’m constantly told I take things too literally but I don’t believe God talks in metaphors.  Parables, yes, but not metaphors.

If you’re feeling down He’ll lift your head.  If you’re lonely He’s the friend that sticks closer than a bro.  (If you knew mine you’d understand the significance there.)  If you feel your life is insignificant, He has a future in mind for you, and it’s amazing.

Today and every day, I pray you will prosper and be healthy and live every day you have left in light of the fact that He loves you unconditionally.  It’s a great feeling.

stay blessed and sane,

Kari, the daughter of a Saviour-born-in-a-barn girl

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

A Love Story Worth Telling

Who doesn’t, deep down, love a good story?  I’ll be first to say yes, but that might be the writer in me taking over, as it is prone to do.

Today I have a wonderful, some would say even pround, one to share with you.  If you’ve never read it before I hope it blesses you like it continues to me tho it’s been years since I first read it.  I urge you to read it in the light of Christ and all He has done for a people He loves.  After all, He is the ultimate hero.

“Here is Soren Kierkegaard’s version of the story:

Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him?

She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal.

The king clothes himself as a beggar and renounces his throne in order to win her hand. The Incarnation, the life and the death of Jesus, answers once and for all the question, “What is God’s heart toward me?” This is why Paul says in Romans 5, “Look here, at the Cross. Here is the demonstration of God’s heart. At the point of our deepest betrayal, when we had run our farthest from him and gotten so lost in the woods we could never find our way home, God came and died to rescue us.”

Kari, the living-in-the-story girl

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

http://www.ransomedheart.com/daily-reading/king-who-loved-humble-maiden

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