karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

Pray Day

Some say we shouldn’t, whilst others say we must.  On this controversial day of May 5th, 2016, I’d like to add my own fuel to the fire, if I may..

Yes, the official National Day of Prayer became an annual occurrence since 1952, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman and approved by Congress at the time, but history shows the very first call to prayer came in 1775, when the Continental Congress, whether you like it or not, or even agree, asked the colonies to fall on their knees and pray for wisdom while forming a small, unstable country into what we now know as the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Honest Abe himself called for such a day, one dedicated to praying for the emerging nation that would later become a super-power in the global economy.

I would like, however, to interject one caveat, perhaps even a caution.

As much as I understand with 1 Timothy chapter 2 verses 1 and 2 where we are “exhorted to pray for all those in authority”, and I’m completely willing to do so, I admit I have an issue with two items on our president’s agenda that he chose to include in his Proclamation yesterday.

The first is his comment about how he encourages us to, “see God in everyone…”.

My second is where he told us, “I join all people of faith…”

My unease is the same in both cases.  Which GOD and which FAITH are we talking about?

It’s been widely proclaimed, even proved, that he has participated multiple times in muslim worship, so I want to know what “God” and “faith” we’re considering here.

I was told once that if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… it just might be a duck.  Which would be a problem for me, since, despite what the ACLU would have us believe, it’s been well-documented in history that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.  I happen to think that if the founding fathers could see us now, and what “freedom of religion” has come to mean in today’s society, they would probably turn over in their grave.  But I could be wrong.

So as much as you may dislike me exercising my first amendment right, since I give you the right to any religious “tolerance” you may choose to exert I would like the right to use that same religious freedom and say my piece.

Today a fairly large body of believers in Fayetteville, North Carolina, came together with a common goal; to pray for the good of this fine country of ours.  I echo the words of our forefathers, and beseech the uncreated Creator of all things that His hand of blessing be upon our nation, that He would open up blind eyes, and turn hearts toward Him once more.  May true revival break out in this land, and may we once again honor the God who made this nation great and live every day of our lives with a faith that is pure and holy.

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/about

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/proclamations

http://www.religioustolerance.org/day_pray2.htm

Kari, the full-time warrior bride

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New Leaves

I’ll be the first one to admit that I love a clean slate as much as the next redhead, but personally, I prefer new leaves.  Would you like to know why?

First john is my absolute favourite book in the whole bible, simply because it’s so full of forgiveness.  John “the Beloved” felt the need to tell the early church over and over again that if they’ll just ‘fess up, all will be forgiven.  I for one kind of like that vision of our heavenly Father.  I’ve never understood the “strike ’em dead at the first offense” kind some preach – God knows, He had multiple opportunities with me but He never did. 1st John 4 verse 8 makes it crystal clear: God IS Love.

If His mercies are new every morning, and Lamentations 3 verse 23 says they are, and if He tells to forget the former things and not dwell on the past, which He does in Isaiah 43 verse 18, and if I’m to walk even as Jesus walked, which I am also commanded to do, then that puts my murky past on a whole new light, doesn’t it?

A woman I respect highly who goes by the name of Joyce Meyer said years ago that, “mercy sees the why behind the what.”  How quickly I forget to look for the story behind the story, the reason for the behavior I may be seeing in someone.  We all know the root cause of all sin is selfishness, but I strongly suspect there may be a little pain in the mix there too.  If all’s right with the world human beings rarely attack another, but wounded animals do.

So I’ve decided I love new leaves, and I’m turning over as many new leaves as it takes to make change stick.  I’ll just keep turning until I get it right.  And I give you permission to do the same.

How do you feel about new leaves?  Seriously.  I want to know.

Kari, the happy new leaf-turner

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Holy and Whole

There’s something about pornography that our deepest self knows is wrong; as much as we attempt to hide it or deny it that feeling never quite leaves. It can mar a life and destroy everything it touches. Ask Matt Fradd, a Catholic who struggled with it at a very young age after finding some magazines in his uncle’s garage; when his dad found his son’s collection of magazines he congratulated Matt, and only advised him, “don’t let mom know.”

Jason Everitt once said, “No-one gets addicted to looking at pictures of flamingos on the internet.” Have you ever had a friend come to you and whisper, “Would you please pray for me? My husband has found my collection of Amazon rainforest pictures! I know it’s wrong but I just can’t help myself!”? I think not.

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, or so thought George Santayana, Spanish philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist. (He won my heart, right there…)  Game of Thrones and 50 Shades of Grey are a case in point, and quite possibly the most popular “adult entertainment” of our culture. Sex seems to be a preoccupation and it’s rampant in society. Guess we didn’t learn anything from Sodom and Gomorrah. For a country originally founded on the Bible and Godly principles, tell me there’s not something wrong with that. If you do, I’ll tell you very politely, “you’re on crack, Jack!”

Which leads me to a question. Is there anything in your life, anything at all, you’re ashamed of? Others may not see but God does, and I for one have made a covenant with Him to never deliberately watch or listen to something that would hurt His heart. Those three wise monkeys were onto something, in my opinion.

It takes work, I won’t deny that, and diligence; I failed this weekend simply because I trusted someone enough to watch a movie they recommended. Big mistake. Way too many “f” words than I was comfortable with. In the end I didn’t care how well it showed their point as a foundational principle of writing – I didn’t make it half-way through! My max curse-word count in a movie when my kids were small used to be 5, and if you asked them they’d probably tell you stories of how we made it to the home stretch and I turned it off, for that very reason. Parents are supposed to be guardians, not enablers. In my opinion. We’re admonished repeatedly to guard our eyes and our ears. God will do His part, but we have a part too. Incidentally, guys, that rule still applies… in movies and in life. I’ve walked away from many a conversation.

Today is all we have, and all we’re given. We can’t change our yesterdays, but we sure can change our tomorrows. Today, I choose to be the woman I want to be, not the woman I don’t want to be. How about you?

Kari, the committed-to-purity

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one more thing –

http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo13/13hilton.php

just a thought.

What the World Needs Now… is Love, Sweet Love

Perhaps Karen Carpenter was onto something after all.  Agape love has been called “the God-kind of love”, and I honestly don’t think there’s not a person on earth that wouldn’t take it, if they truly knew what it was.  But how are we as His children doing on showing that love?  The state of the nation is a case in point.

We now have someone running for office who loses emails.  We have someone in a position of tremendous power who can’t find their birth certificate and tells me they are a Christian while running for office, then when they become head of the nation now tells me this is a Muslim nation.  Well, Goliath, I say this is a nation founded on God, and I really don’t care what you think, I’m praying people into power who will use their influence for good, not for evil.

Where are we as a nation when the stats tell me one in two, yes, two, Christians views porn in some form?  No wonder we’re killing our unborn and trying to kill the elderly.

Mother Teresa once said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”  I couldn’t agree more.

She also said, “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

(written on Mother Teresa’s wall in Calcutta)

How would the nation fare, if we as individuals would put these few ideas into practice?  I have to think we could change the dynamic in a very fundamental way.  If righteousness really does exalt a nation, but sin really is a reproach to any people, according to Proverbs 14,34, then I’d say we’re doing a pretty lousy job of living out the gospel, doncha think?  But I for one, choose to be an Ezekiel 22.30, so when God looks for a man to stand in the gap He’ll find one.  Well, a woman.  I’m with Keith Butler.  Not on my watch.  I refuse to stand before my Maker and be accountable for prayerlessness.  My bible says prayer changes things.  Wanna start a revolution?

Kari, the unashamed-of-the-gospel

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here’s a thought:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igCj3jsbcqs

Heart and Sole

This Friday my church is having a night of worship in the park, and I think it’s highly commendable that our city, despite some of their decisions implying otherwise, is still open to the Spirit of God at times .  I’ve often reminded Abba that, bless God, I LIVE HERE TOO!  I love everyone but I’m tired of the ungodly using their freedoms to make rules and regulations that take my freedoms away.  Confession is good for the soul, so they say, and I thank you for listening.

Speaking of soul, I brought up the night of worship because of its name – Heart and Soul.  Which is totally understandable.  We, as Christians, have the heart and mind of Christ, who is all about love, and we are commanded to touch souls, in any way we can.  But as soon as I saw this title, my redhead random brain saw it slightly differently.  As usual.  Heart and Sole is a whole ‘nother idea.  Are ya interested?  Just in case you are, here’s the Karified version of this idea.

Soul is cool, but in my humble opinion, Sole has more impact.  Abba says we’re to go and make disciples of every nation, in Matthew 28 verse 19, and He says in James 2 verse 18 that our works will show our faith.   In verse 17 He’s a little stronger; He claims that faith without works is dead.  Useless.  Nothing.  Clanging cymbal stuff.  Well, to me, works implies movement, which involves feet.  There’s a time for Mary, yes, but Martha has been much under-rated.  As much as I love worship and sitting at Abba’s feet there’s a time for everything under the sun, Ecclesiastes 3 verse 1 , including helping and serving others.

So I’ll keep this short and sweet.  Are you ready to be the Heart and Sole of Jesus Himself?  We’re called to walk even as Jesus walked, after all, in 1 John 2 verse 6.  Can I let you in on a little secret?  First John happens to be my most favourite book in the whole Bible.  I’ve heard that in China Christians are so persecuted they can’t even own a Bible.  How blessed we are here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.   Woops.  Rabbit trail.  Sorry.  OK, owning a Bible.  What they do, or so I’ve heard, is study one book to the point that they BECOME that book.  When they get together as believers you could get any combination: Romans, James, Numbers, Esther.  They know the book by heart, and can quote every word.  I decided long ago that if I had to be a book I’ll take First John, thank you.  Please God don’t assign me Leviticus!!!!  I’d be in serious trouble!  Not that there’s no revelation there.  A good friend of mine, Crisie, pointed that out last night.  I’m man enough to admit I’ve never done a word study on all the begats but I know names are important.  Another good friend, Carol, says that in a name is a nature.  I’ve found this to be true.  After all, God tells us to call things into being, and when I heard her say that I started paying much more attention to names.  Mine, by the way, I have a serious issue with and plan to discuss it with my Lord and Saviour at some point in eternity.  Caroline means ‘little and womanly’.  Little I can’t deny, since I’m 5 foot 3 on a good day.  But womanly?  So not happening.

Another rabbit trail.  My bad.  Sole.  Right.  Are you willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus?  I’m determined to be Jesus with skin on, and to turn my world upside down, like they did in Acts 17 verse 6.  If Abba truly is no respecter of persons, and I believe He is, then I can do these works and even greater.  I just love starting revolutions.  Wanna come with?

Kari, the living-walking-breathing doer and not just hearer

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Of Hobbies, Habits, and Hobbits

It’s sad, I know, but I cannot deny I’m random.  I’m nothing if not divided.  As hard as I try, focus is not something that comes easily to me.  A friend of mine is always telling me, “Kari!  Focus!!!”  And she does have a point.  However, I tend to dream.  Often. And I love dreamers.  George Moore once said reality can destroy a dream, so why shouldn’t a dream destroy reality?  I totally love Joseph, too, for many reasons, not the least of which is that he refused to give up on his dream.  I’ve said it before, but it might be something you need to hear today.  In Genesis 37 verse 19 the New Living Translation says “Here comes the dreamer!”  It happens to be one of my favourite verses.  How I thrive when I’m around dreamers, and builders.  I leave refreshed, rejuvenated, even if I am soooo not passionate about the object of their dream.  Enthusiasm is very enticing to me, for some reason, and those with it draw me like a moth to a flame.  Embarrassing, but true.

As you might have guessed, not only am I completely random but I have many, many interests I happen to be passionate about, not the least of which happen to be C S Lewis.  And reading.  And bike riding.  Hence the “hobbies, habits and hobbits” title  in reverse order.  Fiction really floats my boat, for some reason; I rarely watch or read anything, labeled “Christian” or otherwise, that doesn’t teach me something.  From the movie Tomorrowland to the book The Invention of Fire by Bruce Holsinger, I’m learning spiritual lessons like never before.  It seems the longer I’m His, the more God teaches me in the most random of places.  So I figure it’s not completely my fault.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not, in the words of Joyce Meyer, “some sweet saintlet”.  I believe mundane everyday life gut-kicks character, every time, and that a praying woman will win a man faster than an arguing one, but I still forget these foundational principals more often than I care to think.  I will even admit I’ve been known to pray bless it or blow it up, whatever the IT is at the time of my prayer.  That’s one of my constants. My pastor, James Al Brice, said once, “Don’t mistake my enthusiasm for fanaticism!  Enthuse means in-Goded!”  I’ve been accused of many things over the years, but underwhelming someone with my enthusiasm ain’t one of them.

Graham Cooke says, “Passion never allows you to see yourself as a failure. Everything is useful in our development. Mistakes, humiliation, defeats and obstacles are as valuable as success, achievement, victory and breakthrough. Passion wastes nothing. Passion always learns and always overcomes. Passion is belief in action.”  Just like Jesus, using even the fragments to bless someone somewhere… sounds kind of like my life.

… As for happy endings?  I look to God to write the final chapter. But in the mean time, I choose to live in love.  You?

Kari, the in-Goded

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Floundering in a Foxhole

When I get an idea in my brain I usually can’t shake it until I’ve shared it, and such was the case for this past week.
The thought? Rather random, I’m afraid, but very simple… I’m convinced there is no such thing as an unbeliever in a foxhole.
I read a story recently that touched on a nerve, and something started to make a whole lot of sense.
As the story goes, a full-blown colonel was being shipped out overseas and he contacted a friend of his, a fairly well-known preacher. They agreed in prayer for his safe return, and the colonel really didn’t think very much of it.
On arrival in the country he was assigned the platoon with the highest fatality rate. His very first step was to require all of the men under his command to learn Psalm 91. They didn’t have to believe it, agree with it, or even like it, they just had to learn it. The body count dropped immediately. To zero. Throughout his tour there, only a few men were injured, very minor incidents which healed extremely quickly. The platoon suffered no other casualties whatsoever.
When his tour of duty was completed he was shipped home to the States. Within two weeks the fatality of his former platoon had gone right back up; in fact, it was higher than before. He called his preacher friend for wisdom, because, understandably, he was totally confused. The preacher explained that once the anointing had left, and the motivation to obey the Word was gone, the men had reverted back to their old habits.
It’s not that God didn’t move: He did. But we have to make room for Him. If our lives are on a path away from His presence, how can He manifest?
Why would you not want to live in safety? Protection? Security? Fullness of joy? Beats me. What’s not to want?
Kari, the focused
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Dreamin’

It’s been a while since I blogged and I just can’t stand it anymore – I have to speak up.  Calling all dreamers…

I’m wired to be an encourager, and the older I get the more I enjoy being behind others, helping them fulfill their own dreams.  However, just today I was reminded that this ain’t necessarily so.

I have this really weird weakness, one I’m man enough to admit to.  I’m attracted to passion.  You can steer a moving car.  Apathy repels me, in fact.  On that sensitive subject, one of my biggest hot buttons is dream killers.  Dream stealers I can handle; when I did a little deeper I find they’ve often lost their own dreams and are just hurt and wounded.  A stolen dream I can get back real quick, usually the moment I leave.

Dream killers are another breed entirely.  They will not only kill it, they’ll stomp on it, spit on it, and usually stuff it in the trash bin, throwing a whole lot of garbage on top of it.  Now that takes a little longer to reclaim.

In Genesis 37 verse 19 the New Living Translation says something that has stuck with me over the years.  “Here comes the dreamer!”  I love being around dreamers, and builders.  I feel refreshed and rejuvenated when I walk away.  I want to be like that.

I have many privileges in life, and try hard not to take them lightly.  One of them is the wonderful blessing to work out with a small group of gals.  If I make it to her house when she’s having it, I get to participate.  She trains women for free.  Just because she can.  She’s about 4 foot 9 and around 102 pounds.  When I grow up I want to be a lot like her.  She’s amazingly strong.  Looks can be extremely deceiving.  I call her the Paminator.  If you came, you’d know why.

My brain is always working, always creating stories, so I tend to forget lessons learned sometimes.  This morning was a classic reminder of this.  Three on-fire, Holy Ghost filled, normally edifying women can turn on a dime.  I made the mistake of sharing a dream close to my heart, and lived to tell the tale.  Faster than a speeding bullet, those same tongue-talking, Word-walking women became dream killers.  They will usually tell you all kinds of encouraging verses, in any given situation.  Unless, apparently, you talk about becoming a writer.  Sharing stories you believe will change your world.  Caveat emptor (buyer beware.)  Makes me thing of the quaint English phrase, “here be dragons”.  History says this was written on maps where in regions they had yet to explore, as a warning that this was uncharted territory.  Except this was, for me.  I just forgot.

I spent the next 20 minutes on the drive home reviving the dream.  Hopefully this lesson will be learned for permanent, and I won’t bring up that subject again.  I’m not like that.  It’s hard for me to be around someone who is one way in a certain situation and another in a different one.  I’m pretty much the same wherever I am, whoever I’m with.  Happy, bubbly, talkative, creative, loving, a highly people-person: that’s me.  And I love investing in dreams.  My own, and others.

So I’m begging you today, dear reader, don’t be a dream stealer.  Or a dream killer.   Be a dream builder.  John Maxwell once said that he wanted to be a dream builder and a people builder.  Me too.  It will make for a much better world.  Just a thought.

Kari, the dreamer

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Dandelions

I was having an Eeyore day the other day, and when I came home I couldn’t ignore the dandelions growing in the garden any more. I do avoid things I’m not ready to address, I admit it, but that day I knew it was time. I took a deep breath and started pulling them up. As I leaned over to grab one more unwanted plant, I realized a very profound truth I’d lost sight of, something I’m man enough to admit to also, since I haven’t cared about my “reputation” for years. My youngest child can attest to that. I really have no respect for reputation. Jesus made HIMSELF of no reputation; that’s good enough for me.

Simple truths are so freeing. My eyes had been opened, one more time, by a patient, loving, gracious God. I had a choice: I could curse the dandelions, or thank God for a garden. If I had no garden, I’d have no dandelions… I might also be homeless, so I’d have no worries about any garden at all. I made a decision that day: rather than curse the dandelions, I’ll thank God for the garden. Yes, I’m very human and there are many things in my life right now that I don’t particularly care for, unwanted dandelions being the very least of them. Everywhere I look I can see dandelions, in the form of problems, if I choose; I’d rather look for the blessings. A thankful heart is irresistible, and irrepressible. Doncha just love being around thankful folks? I sure do. They encourage, and build up, and just plain make you feel good..

I was reminded of a book I’ve been reading by Daniella Whyte, entitled 365 Days of Thanking God. For a young gal she has a whole lot of wisdom. Daniella makes the valid point that when someone holds a position of power, in any area of life – and we all do; every last one of us have a sphere of influence, which gives us power over somebody – if they’re not thankful, abuse of power is inevitable. That made me come back to the dandelions. How many people in my days have seemed like an inconvenience? An interruption to my busy schedule? I should be thanking God He had allowed them to come into my life, giving me the opportunity to take a moment and minister to them so they feel better when they leave than before they arrived. How come I let these elementary foundational principles let slip so easily? Ouch!!! I don’t know who’s watching my attitude as I’m out in the yard, blessing the dandelions. I surely don’t pay attention to who’s listening. Maybe i should. I’m influencing, whether I know it or not.

Today I have a thought to offer you, dear reader. How many dandelions do you have in your life? A bunch, I’ll bet. Well, I have a deal for you… how ’bout we start thanking our loving heavenly Father for the garden, and just man up and pull up the dandelions? Just a thought.

Kari, the dandelion-puller
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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Holiness

Hebrews 12 verse 14 says something that’s been on my heart a lot recently:

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

I got to thinking about our uncertain times, and how we live in a country obsessed by the politically correct to the point of insanity. I’m tired of having my first amendment rights trampled upon, so I’m speaking out a little truth, if you don’t mind.

A little woman by the name of Maise Sparks wrote a book I’d never heard of until recently, called 101 Things God Cannot Do. But it got me thinking. Here’s my version:

10 Things God Can’t Do

He cannot lie                                                                                                             Hebrews 6:18

He cannot change                                                                                                     Malachi 3:6

He cannot sin                                                                                                            Leviticus 11:44

He cannot get tired                                                                                                   Isaiah 40:28

He cannot be stopped                                                                                              Daniel 4.35

He cannot break a promise                                                                                      Psalm 89:34

He cannot abandon you                                                                                           Deuteronomy 31:6

He cannot stop loving you                                                                                       Jeremiah 31:3

He cannot stop thinking of you                                                                                Psalm 139.17-18

He cannot remember admitted sin                                                                          Isaiah 43:25

Computers are amazing, but sometimes things get lost in translation. Or saving. I discover all kinds of interesting stuff when I start a search! Here’s a for-instance:

10 things the devil can’t do!   

He can’t demand your absolute obedience                                                            Romans 6:16

He can’t make you live in fear, unless you let him                                                  Psalm 27:1

He can’t make you depressed or oppressed, if you don’t let him                           Psalm 42:11

He can’t make you feel condemned, or keep you down                                        2 Corinthians 4:8-9

He can’t be the source of anything but evil                                                           John 10:10

He can never be your friend                                                                                  2 Corinthians 6:14

He can never fool you when you know the Shepherd                                           John 10:5

He can never have authority in your life you don’t give him                                  Luke 10:19

He will never be in charge, because Someone else is, and always will be  Psalm 22:28

He will never win, ultimately, because the fight has already been won                1 Corinthians 15:57

The original one was created by someone known on Sparkpeople.com as “Rev Trev”, but of course I had to Karify it, like almost everything I do…

I’d like to leave you with a quote that absolutely says it all, for me:

During the big kerfuffle (as my mother would say) about Chick-Fil-A and their right to put as many restaurants in as many parts of Chicago as they please and believe God has told them to, I learned this and it kinda stuck with me.

“As an American you are legally entitled to your opinion, regardless of how insensitive and intolerant it may be, but as a fellow American and an elected member of Philadelphia City Council; I am entitled to express my opinion as well,” James Kenney, a Philadelphia city councilman, wrote in a letter to the company’s president. “So please – take a hike and take your intolerance with you. There is no place for this type of hate in our great City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection”… (even though they are adding to the local economy… kg).

Question: Who’s intolerant of whom? Last time I checked, we still had that right to freedom of speech thing. Of course, I could be wrong.

If you want to read the whole article, go here:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/26/politician-plan-to-block-chick-fil-is-unconstitutional-legal-experts-say/#ixzz21pd9Au6y

Kari, the happy-in-her-righteousness-standing gal

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