karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

20 Creative Uses for Paper Clips

An amazing list of 20 creative uses for paper clips that you didn’t even know you needed!

20 Creative Uses for Paper Clips

I just have to reblog this from a God gal pal of mine. She’s so flippin’ creative! Who’d have thunk it? The humble paper clip. Whatever will she think of next? Michelle, you so rock!

Freedom Road

Something is really heavy on my heart today. I’m starting to see people daily walking away from Christ, some who even claim to have known Him for decades. As much as it grieves me deeply I want to ask them just one thing – why you would turn your back on the only One who can help when we all face the inevitable trials of life?

God has been so good to me I will gladly offer my allegiance to Him for the rest of my days. It’s the least I can do. I mean that sincerely. I was born dead, and according to medical science I should not be here. Every soul I touch and impact in this earth, either positive or negative, is an impact that should not exist. That puts eternity in perspective for me in a very real way.

Life is full of choices, but here’s the thing; the Bible talks about the ‘broad’ way and the ‘narrow’ way. Those choices lead to words. Words lead to actions. Actions lead to a behaviours. Behaviours lead to lifestyle. Freedom, or bondage, we decide which. It’s a road. We travel it every day, with every choice we make, whether we like it or not, whether we are aware of it or not ;we are walking toward Christ or away from Him every minute of every day.

The world says the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I would have to agree. Conversely, the road to Heaven is paved with submission to the Creator of all things, including you. A wise man once told me, “God is large, and in charge.” This helps me remember to focus on the right side of the equation, which I consider the Kingdom of God. Especially when the culture makes laws that go against my core beliefs. When a man in authority tells me this is not a Christian nation. When a virus with no known cure breaks out and many choose to welcome the spirit of fear with open arms, either actively or passively. I’d rather go with peace, personally. Right believing leads to right living.

The New King James puts it this way in Matthew 7 verses 13 and 14:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it”, (emphasis mine).

I could be wrong but the words “go in” and “find” speak to me of choice. Thought. Contemplation. Deliberation. Action.

The Amplified goes a little deeper, telling us that narrow way is “contracted by pressure”, making it even clearer. God never promised us an easy life; He did promise us an unspeakably wonderful future life. With Him. For ever. No sin, death, or taxes. (I’m especially excited about the last one…).

When your Maker is your mirror, none can define you but Him. Dear friend, I encourage you today to ponder the path your feet, thoughts, acts and life and taking, and if you’re not on the straight and narrow one, consider a change of route. You won’t be sorry.

Kari, the path-ponderer-and-narrow-way-walker
all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

Live Long and Prosper

At the risk of offending anyone (including Harlan Ellison fans), Star Trek scriptwriters, witty and creative though they were, did not come up with this idea.

Genesis 6.3 clearly tells us God wants us to live long; as for prospering, 3 John 1.2 covers that – and it’s not just money the writer is praying for. It’s life. God also reminds us constantly that He, and only He, is the Creator of all that is seen and unseen, known and unknown. Ecclesiastes 1.9 says there’s nothing new ‘under the sun’. Including fandom movies and iconic phrases.

You don’t have to believe me but as the Borg quite rightly pointed out, “resistance is futile.” God said it, and His Word endures forever. The only true Creator is the One Who made you and everything else in the universe, according to John 1.3. The fight’s been fixed from the beginning of time. It’s already done. Jesus won.

Do you know Him? If we are In Christ we may be flawed – everyone born is, thanks to Adam – but we are also faultless. You may not be convinced of this but if you have truly accepted Jesus as not only your Savior but your Lord (and that’s an important distinction we’ll get to a little later), when God looks at you He looks at you through Jesus, His Son. I didn’t get the concept for many years, until one day I was praying and had a fleeting glimpse of a pair of sunglasses.

I tell folks all the time that I’m Missouri, the “show-me” state; when I get a picture I rarely forget the message. Maybe this doesn’t help you in any way but a lot of breakthrough and revelation in my life have come through parables, which, in my opinion, may as well have been called illustrated sermons. For me a picture truly does paint a thousand words. These are my “Ah-ha,” moments. They’ve been known to radically change my life’s trajectory in very tangible ways.

When you are what Hebrews calls ‘fully’ persuaded on an issue nothing can shake you. God sees you through His Son.

Unless, of course, you don’t belong to Him. It’s a choice we make daily.

Years ago there was a children’s song that proclaimed, “there’s a hole in the middle of your soul.” An empty soul will seek fulfillment, and to the undiscerning anything will do. However, a temporary fix can never cure an eternal longing. If you don’t believe in the One true God you’ll spend your whole life looking for love and a whole lot of other things in all the wrong places.

Over 5% of young women and almost 10% of young men over the age of twelve – yes, twelve – are now officially classified as ‘addicted’. To something. The devil starts early. Even before birth. No wonder our country is in such a mess. Choices don’t stay choices. They become chains. To Christ, or to something else. That’s what free will is all about.

Here’s the thing: salvation isn’t a one-time prayer prayed in church in front of a preacher. It’s a decision made over and over, every minute of every day for the rest of our life. The human spirit is never stagnant.; it’s moving constantly. The question is, which direction? There are only two – closer to or further away from its Maker. We get to choose which.

Why does the human soul crave the things of this world? I have a theory. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been feeding on the wrong things. Proverbs 27 verse 7 claims that to a hungry soul even the bitter is sweet. Yes, I enjoy a great many things but I choose to depend on and be controlled by only One.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the redhead addicted to Jesus and thankful for it

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

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics

Cookies and Compliments

and crappy values. Those’ll mess up a life big time. They’re all centered on a common yet seriously flawed goal: self.

In a book I’m currently reading the author points out something I hadn’t really given much thought to: self-examination. We are often told to do this and I think it’s wise or we may find ourselves in deception, but I see her point; too much of it and the focus becomes us, not Jesus.

Solomon more than anyone who ever lived knows the reason why. Flesh is inherently fundamentally flawed. So when you use flawed logic on a flawed creation the results will be skewed in the wrong direction. There’s a time for desert but there’s a time for spinach too. Feel-good-gospel never changed a heart. Not permanently. And I’m getting a little sick of sugar-coated Christianeese.

Case in point: I recently watched a movie that fell into what I’ve come to think of as the 3M category. Mixed Message Media. Ask in a comment and I’ll share the movie name but for now I’ll share a couple of things that added up to one big huge gigantic colossal fail in my book.

Exodus 12.38 says, ‘and a mixed multitude went up also with them…’ (emphasis mine). The Bible doesn’t explicitly say who the “mixed” were, per se, but since the Isaraelites were leaving Egypt it’s a pretty good guess they dragged a couple of neighbors along for the ride. In numbers 11 it says they ‘murmured’ quite a bit, so it’s logical to think that mixed multitude might not have been the best influence on God’s chosen people.

Back to the movie. It centers around a newly widowed ad exec and a dance teacher. The guy talks of what he considers a deeper faith, going from what he unabashedly calls Casual Christianity to someone who will pray at the drop of a hat. Something I have no problem with. But… he comes across as just plain weird. Unless you compare him to his coworkers – by that standard he’s almost normal. As for the dance instructor, she’s been hurt by life and wants nothing to do with Jesus, naturally, and finds this praying thing very strange indeed.

There were small things throughout the whole movie that niggled me. It wasn’t until the final dance scene and improbable ending that it became clear why.

I do realize the whole idea of a dance competition is to seduce on as many levels as possible – that’s what the world does best – but her dress, in the immortal words of Alfred P. Doolittle, “done me in.” I honestly have no words to describe my shock and revulsion. I’m not even sure how it stayed on, to be honest.

What bothered me most is that the protagonist, the (Christian) ad man, appeared to have no problem with it. Er, no. So not happening. For the rest of that scene I focused on heads and refused to look any lower. This was a huge issue for me. The other epic fail for me was that early in the movie it becomes clear the leading lady suffered from an eating disorder as a teen that made her infertile. Yet in the final scene she is married to the protagonist, holding a brand new baby.

There were sooo many mixed messages in this film I don’t even know where to start. As much as it grieved me deeply I realize it’s nothing more than a reflection of current culture. Like the Roman theology after conquering new territory: keep all your gods, just add ours too. Christians are supposed to be a counter-culture. Not a blend-right-in.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke once wrote, and I agree. But balance is needed in all things: when you completely rely on what Second Chronicles 32.8 so succinctly calls ‘the arm of the flesh’, again, you’re starting with a faulty foundation.

Mushy gushy will never cut it, but condemnation hardens the hearer’s heart. Correction is needed, but it must come from a motive of authentic love or it’s worthless.

Yes, faith without works doesn’t work and the opposite is also true, but if we leave one out we’ll have the wrong equation. We have to be Mary and Martha both, at different times in our lives. In my opinion we’re not doing that good of a job winning the lost to Christ, especially in our homeland, the land of the free and the home of the brave, because we’ve kept our God and added the world too. Seasons change and we never change the gospel, ever, but perhaps we can rethink our approach? Just a thought.

Kari, the balanced Mary Martha

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

Dead, Dipped, Delivered

This is a book title I saw as I Amazon-browsed recently, something I’m prone to do, but I must admit, reading the description the author lost me at, “proper exegesis”. What does that even mean?

Being a lifelong writer I have a deep love of words but I also appreciate clarity where possible. I don’t do well with highbrow intellectuals who talk on a level no one but the elite comprehend. I prefer to hang with those who can take profound things and explain them in simple terms. They totally float my boat. There’s apparently a term for this: “relatable”.

Jesus was the Master Relater. Whoever He met, wherever He was, He got down on their level and simply shared stories. Or got straight to the bottom line, if that’s what was necessary. Depending on where their heart was. He could connect with just about anyone sincerely hungry for Truth. And faith. He loved it when He encountered faith.

The Centurion got it. Matthew 8, 5 through 13 tells his story, and ends with Jesus commending him for his faith. But get this – he wasn’t even a Jew! Talk about heresy. Jews considered other nations as ‘dogs’. Yet the guy who snunk a face-to-face at night, I’m not so sure about. He was at lawyer and a ‘citizen of note’; maybe that’s why he was so concerned for his rep and decided to visit in secret. John 3, 1 through 11, tells the classic tale of someone who knew things cannot satisfy the hungry soul, yet for all his smarts he couldn’t take Jesus’ word for it.

How often do I strive for understanding when I know God’s thoughts and ways are way more than my peanut brain can handle? Yep. I’ve been Nicodemus. I’ve also been the centurion, convinced that nothing is impossible with God. Emotion will get you, every time. And coming from someone born dead, literally, I can totally relate to both.

How about you, dear reader? Do you ever find yourself in their place?

Seriously. Inquiring redheads want to know.

Kari, the dipped, double dead, and totally delivered

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

Movin’ on a Maybe

We all have Maybe Moments. Anyone can move on a ‘maybe’. But not everyone will.

I heard a well-known preacher once say that God told them He had called 5 other people before He spoke to them. How utterly soul-destroying to know you were supposed to step out in faith and start something but refused due to fear, then see someone living your dream, the one God gave you and wanted you to birth in the earth but you didn’t.

James 2.26 warns us that faith without works is dead (emphasis mine). I often wonder where his head was in that moment, as he was writing that, and how many folks he had personally known that either did or didn’t step out on a maybe. He probably saw the results of those choices too, for good or for bad.

How many times have I failed to step out on a maybe? I love how, in 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan and his armour bearer decide that “maybe” God is with them and they’re willing to risk their life and limb rather than just sit around in safety in the camp under a pomegranate tree like King Saul. The army even had the priest and the ephod with them, for goodness sake, yet they didn’t think to ask God what to do next. How many times have I failed to do that? Yep. I can so be a Saul.

We’re at the start of a brand new year, and studies show that 95% of all New Year’s resolutions fail within 6 months. I don’t believe in resolutions, I’m more interested in revolutions. So I’ve decided I’m gonna start one. I’m determined to step out on those maybes and, like Queen Esther, if I perish I perish. Not physically, but possibly socially, status-ly, definitely ego-ly. If I fall flat on my face I’ll know I died trying, not sitting under a pomegranate tree passively watching others act.

One of my New Years revolutions is to start a podcast. Which, if you knew me, would totally make you fall off your chair laughing. I’m fairly organized most of the time at work, but in my private life? Not so much. Now I find I’m being drawn to this techno geek world full of ‘feed’ and ‘metadata’, things I’ve heard of but never understood. How weird is that? Yep, I’m steppin’ out on a maybe. Your prayers would be appreciated…

Kari, the mover on a whisper of a maybe

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

Shaken, Not Stirred

Being born a Brit I admit I’ve always had a soft spot for James Bond. I know he has issues – we all do – but most of the time he’s on the side of justice. Kind of. No super-powers, just really really cool gadgets. Not to mention he’s a chick magnet. Possibly a borderline drunk. One of his favorite things is a dry martini, but it absolutely must be, “shaken, not stirred.”

I never realized the writer in me was absorbing all kinds of things at a very early age. I was sent to church as a teen so God’s Word was being planted in my heart, though it didn’t work it’s way out much into my thoughts or acts.

God is so faithful that He will still work with you, even in the middle of your mess.

In Acts 20 verse 24 Paul boldly proclaims, “… none of these things move me…” He says this while he’s in the midst of what he openly admits are ‘afflictions and trials’, knowing the Holy Spirit has shown him that ‘imprisonment and suffering’ await him everywhere he goes. If anyone had a reason to be less than positive it was Paul.

Yet he used his gifts. So much so, he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, second only to Luke. The Stephen-killer became a Stephen. On fire and Holy Ghost filled. Only God can do that! Using those gifts brought much personal discomfort, yet Paul disregarded these ‘light’ afflictions, choosing instead to focus on eternity and the calling he’d been given to teach the gospel, the good news. He was neither shaken nor stirred; he was rooted and grounded in what he believed. He had met his Maker face to face and did a 180.

Today dear reader I have a quick question. Are you shaken, stirred, or rooted?

I pray you know the Lover of your soul intimately, and if the passion and fire in your heart has waned I pray He would blow upon it and fan it into an all-consuming flame that overtakes you and changes you, making you a Jeremiah, a bright light in a crooked and perverse generation. Sion Alford once said, souls are attached to your gift. Be wise. Use your gifts. And bring others with you into the kingdom. It’s so worth it.

Kari, the fire-starting fire-lighting child of the Living God
all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

The Replacement

2020 has been full of amazing things for me already, and my 57th year is truly shaping up to be one like no other. If you’re interested, please feel free to read on.

Sion Alford said once that souls are attached to your gift.

Wayne Gretzky said you miss every shot you don’t take.

Joyce Meyer says step out and find out.

Those thoughts weighed heavy on my heart as this new year began, along with an idea from the late Myles Monroe; the richest place on earth is a graveyard, because people leave her with unused gifts inside them.

So I’ve started taking some amazingly strange shots lately. And experienced fulfillment on a deeper level than I’ve ever known in my entire Christian walk. Take late last Friday, for instance. But first, a little backstory.

The last church I attended for over 25 years. I rededicated my life to Christ there. I got baptized in both water and the Spirit there. Pretty much anything of significance that had happened in my Christian walk since 1993 had happened there. I loved it, and was totally committed to what God was doing there. I was fed consistently and was growing like a weed. At first there was just one problem; they would ask for help with all kinds of ministries, and whenever I offered they would turn me down. Every time. I kind of gave up on being a functioning part of that Body. 

Then I started to see a pattern. In the last few years a very subtle shift in focus had occurred. It got to the point where I was very uncomfortable with certain things and felt led to leave. It was hard, since it was all I’d ever known since my return to Christ, but I knew it was necessary. For over a year I was church-less, which was even harder.

I’ve been attending a new church for over three months now. This one is completely different. They sincerely desire for every member to play an active part. Which brings me to four days ago. The pastor called to ask me if I would, “bring the Word” on Sunday.

You have to understand something. I will talk to anyone breathing who will stay still long enough. Especially about Jesus. And writing. My two favourite subjects. I’m a total sanguine. But “preach”? Not so much… I’ve already told you I was so used to being turned down that I kind of accepted it. Now I was being offered the chance to share something of value with the whole congregation – about 8 members and their families, I’m guessing.

John Bevere said once you never know a life-defining moment when you’re in it. I’ve been praying to have greater influence and now I’m given the chance to take a shot – so I had a choice to make.

I took it.

Many things were in my heart but it boiled down to one. Using the gifts we are given. Strangely enough God didn’t lead me to the parable of the talents, as one would think. Instead, Matthew 19 verses 21 & 22 and Luke 18, versus 18 to 23 were the ones I could not escape. You know them. It’s the story of the guy who came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to get into Heaven. Jesus told him to go and sell all he had, and follow Him.

I’m no bible scholar and I could be wrong but these two stories are so similar I suspect they might be the same guy. He always saddened me. He was offered the opportunity to join Team Jesus and he walked away. As I pondered this I realized something.

The guy was obviously good with money, but he valued stuff more than the chance to change a destiny. As I read the Bible the writer in me tends to find myself in the shoes of those I read about. I have to wonder if he was not perhaps supposed to be the replacement. For Judas. Who, any day now, would make a life-defining choice he would live to regret.

These were the sobering thoughts that lay heavy on my heart as I shared yesterday, and I hope it encourages you, dear reader, to never leave your gifts unused. I pray I use all I’ve been given every day I’m given to win souls and influence eternity in all those I come across in life. Wanna come with?

Kari, the imperfect but willing and obedient

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

No 3rd-Trimester Abortion (Operation 3rd-Trimester Rescue #O3TR) | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government

No 3rd-Trimester Abortion (Operation 3rd-Trimester Rescue #O3TR) | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government
— Read on petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/no-3rd-trimester-abortion-operation-3rd-trimester-rescue-o3tr

Wasn’t gonna share anything else today but this is important…

To all my Spirit-filled on-fire-for-God-and-His-I compromised-Word friends out there –

Please tell me you’ve seen it and signed it?

K

At What Cost?

Help Wanted: Apply Inside.

Judges 5 talks of how God was in a war and all creation decided to get involved.

Well, almost all.

In verse 1 Deborah and Barack sung a song. Which brought mind-blowing results. In verse 4 the earth trembled, the heavens poured, and the clouds rained. In verse 5 the mountains gushed. In verse 19 ‘they’ fought from the heavens – the stars did their part, though I’m not quite sure what that would have been. In verse 22 God makes a point of telling us even horses help.

But… and there’s a big ‘but’… in verse 23 Meroz decided he’d rather passively watch than jump on in. I’m no bible scholar but it looks like that war was a tribe thing, if I take it in context. A whole tribe. Less one. He obviously didn’t buy in to the vision.

Every part plays a part, or at least that was God’s original intent; this would lead me to think His Body might want to do a better job of steppin’ up and fillin’ the role tailor-made for it from the dawn of creation. Science says that synergy means the whole is greater when we all get together. God says one can fight a thousand but add one more and you can fend off ten thousand. That’s increase, not multiplication.

Society is a mess but I’m still prayin’. And writin’. And lovin’. And sharin’. Gender confusion is at an all-time high. Bullying has reached epidemic proportions. Drag queens now have the legal right to read stories to and indoctrinate the next generation in public libraries. Suicide is officially the number 2 killer of girls aged 15 to 25. That’s horrific. These things should not be. My grandparents could well be probably rolling over in their grave to see the state of our nation. I have to wonder why these are happening. And what we, as His representatives in the earth, are doing to help change the tide.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the cost-counter

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

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