karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

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Yielding

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I have to remind myself often that it’s a process, and I’m pretty sure none of us will reach the point where we’re 100% there this side of heaven but it’s a life goal I strive for. “Thy will be done” is easy to say but nowhere even close to easy to walk out.

I recently heard that the only one who likes change is a wet baby. They have a valid point. In my life I don’t think I’ve met anyone who actually enjoys change. The results, yes, for sure, but the process? That would be a definite no. There are a whole lot of changes going on in my life right now and as long as they lead me to the Cross, the pain is worth it.

Most gals have an lbd or two. I seem to have stumbled upon an lbc. (If you’re interested in what those mean by all means message me and I’ll share.) God has been stretching me way out of my comfort zone for quite some time now, and I’m just foolish enough to step out and find out. After being in a rather large (that eventually became a mega)-church from March 1993 to December 2018 it’s rather intimidating, believe it or not, to find yourself in a place where the pastor, two deacons, a boy child and you turn up for church on a sunny September Sunday morning. Yet today was one of the sweetest experiences of my life with God so far.

It’s bad enough being the white face in a pretty-much non-white face church but when you find you’re the only gal, that’s discomfort on steroids. For me, at least. Yet the sincerity and heart of the pastor is continually shining through all kinds of preconceptions and misconceptions I didn’t even know I’d subconsciously picked up in the last 15+ years of church attendance. I now am offered the freedom to speak if I have something on my heart. That’s totally new to me. I never had it before and it’s totally liberating!

They treat me as an equal, not as a woman, (ie. the ‘weaker vessel’) – another thing I’m unfamiliar with. I didn’t realize how much of God’s Word I had ‘hid in my heart’, Psalms 119 verse 11, until I started visiting my brand new lbc almost 2 months ago. It’s amazing to have scriptures bubbling up inside, ones you haven’t read in months, that can find their way into the atmosphere because of a non-judgmental spirited assembly. I’m starting to really understand that ‘where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom’, 2 Corinthians 3 verse 17.

I’ve been blessed in my walk with Christ to experience freedom in a great many areas of my life but it seems to be growing and expanding into areas I was totally unprepared for, and I think the lbc was a catalyst. The more I yield, however it may hurt, the more I receive of His goodness. Perhaps that’s the paradox of the Christian life – go low and you’ll be honoured; give and you’ll receive; encourage and you’ll be enriched.

In the words of Smith Wigglesworth, from a sermon preached in 1914, “If God can have His way today, the ministry of somebody can begin…”

Will you yield and let God have His way in your day? I plan to, and hope you do too.

Kari, the willing-to-be-yielding

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

Shallow Roots

produce shallow fruit.

I am admittedly a C. C. Lewis fan. He once said, ” One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give, and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God.”

His step-son, Douglas Gresham, once wrote of him, ” No tramp or beggar would be turned away empty-handed…”

If we as a collective society deeply believed we were “at every moment totally dependent on God” things would be in America how they are right now. Tozer grieved for his generation and I find myself wondering how much worse we can get. So I pray. And pray. Until my dying breath I will believe God can and is moving in this nation.

I’m convinced accomplishments are the 21st Century proverbial fig leaves with which we cover ourselves to mask our frailty. Which is exactly why we need Jesus. That’s why writing is so powerful to me. We can create for the pure joy of it, not to declare our value. We already have all the validation we will ever need from the One Who created us in the first place.

Proverbs 16.2 says, ‘all the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions…” God however views it differently. Motive is everything. The world says you should live to get, and hold on to it when you do. God says to hold all things loosely because He gave them and they are His to give away to those in need. The world tells us the meaning of life is found in fame and fortune. God tells us we are nothing without Him but with Him we have everything. The world says we need the latest —– [fill in the blank] and then we will be satisfied. God says eternal things are were true worth is found.

Make a name for yourself and show your worth to others who don’t know, and don’t care? I’d rather go with the idea that my Creator is with me wherever I am, in whatever I go through. He’s right there working it out for my good.

There is nothing quite so liberating as being convinced that the only opinion I care about is the One Who gave His life for me. The very least I can do is give my life for Him.

Kari, the completely convinced

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Be Careful Big Feet Where you Go…

… for little feet are sure to follow.

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There is a story about a successful Chicago businessman whose business started to fail. He went to church but not too much church was getting into him. When his business tanked he started going to bars during the day, while his family thought he was at work. One day it snowed significantly, and as he was approaching the bar he got the urge to glance back. Behind him, stepping carefully in his footprints, was his very young son who had somehow escaped from the house and out of his mother’s watchful eye.

The businessman quickly scooped up his son and took him home. He went to his bedroom, feel on his knees and started weeping for a long time. He made a vow to change his ways, because he did not want his son to make the same choices.

Hence the reference to the children’s song.

Proverbs 4.20 says, My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. The next verse encourages us to put them in our heart and keep them there. The world says talk is cheap, but as Christians we know that death or life are in our mouth. It’s our choice. To bless, or to curse. But here’s the thing – it all starts with your thoughts. GIGO. Thoughts lead to words, and words lead to actions. Surprisingly fast, actions lead to habits and, though some deny it, habits lead to lifestyles. For good or for bad. Again, our choice.

I admonish you today, friend and fellow God-lover on a journey toward our eternal home, choose wisely not only where your eyes and ears go, but also your feet. Many choices are made with those and we all influence somebody. I pray today that our feet may be shod with the Gospel of peace and never venture into darkness.

Kari, the careful-treader

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Forever Family

Folks tell me all the time the Bible is ‘no longer relevant’. They picked the wrong redhead to tell that to though. I happen to choose to respectfully disagree.

In Acts 28.3 we see Paul, who has been through things that make my own daily problems seem petty, and is finally, or so we would think, safe. He and his shipmates even receive ‘unusual kindness’ from total strangers in the form of a fire, ‘for it was cold’. But… then he met a snake. How’s that for relevant?

If there’s one thing I know about the authentic Christian life, it’s this: when you light a fire, the snakes come out. What I mean is that when you get passionate for God, people you’d never think would will bite you. With their words. Their actions. They may not realize but the intent behind it is to destroy. Physically. Spiritually. Relationally. (And we all know who loves to destroy. Or kill. Or steal.)

It’s not their fault. Well, not entirely. They don’t know what God has put in your heart. Because they never bothered to ask. So when you rock the boat of their preconceived notion of you, because God has put a dream in your heart and you’re ready to step out, it makes them uncomfortable. Church will stretch you.

Oh, btw, church ain’t a building, boo; it’s family. God calls it His Body. Capital B.

In the words of Rick Warren,

“God wanted a family so He decided to create the entire universe just so He could create earth just so He could create human beings just so we could have free will to choose Him or reject Him.”

It really is that simple. A Yes or No proposition. We choose. We are the church. And we can’t complete His perfect will for our lives or His Body disconnected from others. The natural body is interconnected and codependent. We don’t get to choose our natural family and we don’t get to choose our spiritual one either. It’s a Whosoever Will thing. All are welcome in the Father’ house. And mine, incidentally.

So now I come to a humbling realization: a decision lays before me. Every day. I can be a ‘sent one’ (apostle), or I can be a snake. I’m ashamed to admit I have had my share of snake days. Which never ends well. For them, or for me. I’d rather be a flawed but transparent sent one who is quick to repent when she misses it but has a heart as big as Texas for the hurting and broken.

Who’s with me? (Comments welcomed and encouraged).

Kari, the foreva-sista-in-Christ

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The Fosbury Flop

I don’t mean to hurt your feelings but it’s true – the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. It’s not, “the thought that counts.” Anyone can come up with an idea. Or a hundred. A friend once told me the fortune’s in the follow-thru.

Have you ever heard someone say, ” I could do that!”? My response, (and I usually have to bite my tongue so I don’t say it), is simply, “well, ya didn’t.”

Case in point: the Fosbury Flop. Nope, it’s not a delightfully fluffy dessert. It’s a mindset.

Dick Fosbury, a 21 year old student, was an unknown in 1968 Olympics. He was also a totally out-of-the-box thinker. I love folk like that, the God-can’s, not the can-God’s, those who believe they can do things others say can’t be done. And are brave enough to try.

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He wasn’t happy with the status quo and decided to challenge it. He even took off for the jump on the ‘wrong’ foot. He also took home the Gold. It’s rumored he commented once, “I knew if I could ever get my heart over the bar, my feet would follow.” Even if he didn’t, it’s a great rule to live by.

How many good ideas, even God ideas, have been aborted before they are fully conceived due to lack of action? Was their heart really there? Or just their mouth? I have to wonder.

What dream has God put in your heart? What are you doing about it? I encourage you to put your heart over the bar. Your feet (action) will follow. I promise.

Kari, the dauntless believer in good

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

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9SlVLyNixqU

https://mayooshin.com/dick-fosbury/

Do-Nothing

Joseph is such an inspiration to me. His brothers hated him because he ran his mouth and ticked them off, which, I admit was unwise. In Genesis 37 verse 19, right after they had ‘conspired to kill him’, they see him and declare, “here comes the dreamer.” Then in verse 20 they decide to throw him in a pit with the result that, ‘we shall see what will become of his dreams.’

(Personally, if the worst anyone ever says of me is that I’m a dreamer, I’m totally ok with that. There are much worse things they could say of one.)

It’s always amazed me how Jo could go through hell but the Bible constantly reminds us that ‘the Lord was with him and gave him favor’. Like God being with you ain’t enough

The world says, “I’ve got to see it before I’ll believe it.” God says it’s the other way around bo. What you see is what you get. It’s all in how you look.

Faith is visualizing the future. Believing before it ever happens. Just because God says so. To prove the point I have a story to share:

In the ’60’s the Russians sent a man into space and he came back with this report:

“I have search the heavens, and I looked for God, and I did not see him anywhere. Therefore, there is no God.” (Hence science accepts this as ‘fact’.)

Six months later the US sent a man to the same place, and this was John Glenn’s report:

“I saw God everywhere! I saw His glory in the galaxy. I saw His splendor in the universe. I saw His majesty in the stars.”

Who was right? Both. It’s all in how you look. Communist Atheists will never see the kingdom of God, according to John 33, and at that time Russia was. And didn’t.

Even the acknowledged father of the nuclear movement, Werner von Braun, once said that there had never been any great acknowledgement in history without faith. I agree. An artist sees it in their mind before they paint it. An architect draws it before it can be built. That’s all faith is. Seeing, before seeing. Everything designed by man has to be seen in the mind before it can be bicultural. That’s faith. No truly great idea, when followed through, produces nothing. It yields something of great value. Yet how many follow through?

This has been a convicting lesson for me, since I have many a story I have shelved, telling myself I’ll finish it at some better, future time. But I’ve been reminded that today is all I have. If I want to change my generation and touch a hurting heart, I need to act. Today. So I now encourage you to do the same. Act on your dreams. Don’t be a Do-Nothing! Be a Do-Something!

Kari, the Do-Something

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Hiding in Plain Sight

If I may, I’d like to talk to you for a sec about Maybe Moments. Life is made by moment-to-moment decisions, and one of my heroes is Jonathan.

1st Samual 14 starts right in the middle of a pretty major, long drawn out war between Israel and one of their greatest enemies, the Midianites. This chapter in particular finds Jon’s dad, Saul, the king, camping out ‘under the pomegranate tree.’ Not that I have anything against fruit, per se, but I’d be hidin’ somewhere I couldn’t be seen… like a cave… perhaps it’s just me. I’m assuming pomegranates don’t grow inside caves. Of course, I could be wrong. And btw, God, why were they hiding?

In verse 4, thanks to another hero of mine (Steven Furtick) I learned two significant things; Bozez means slippery, and Seneh means thorny. God never promised us a comfortable, easy road. This gives me hope. I often find myself in places where there seems to be no upside, circumstances that look slippery on one side and thorny on the other. When times get tough I often ask God to remind me that faith comes by hearing, not seeing. That He loves me, watches over me, is “mindful” of me. Little me, a random redhead from Reading, England, who got married and moved to the States and got dumped and often feels overwhelmed, like she’s accomplished nothing in life, but then recalls that she’s a prayer warrior who can change the world with her words – as long as they’re His words.

Back to Jonathan, who got a bright dumb idea and was willing to put his feet behind it. Plus he had a bud with enough moxie to go with. Even though it involved climbing slippery thorny mountains. What gets to me about this whole chapter, though, is that the Israelites had the priest. (Who represented access to God.) If they had the priest, they had the ephod. But they never asked.

(If you’re unfamiliar with the significance of the ephod, in Saul’s day that’s pretty much how God spoke to His people. Through the ephod. They asked questions, and God answered. It goes a lot deeper, but that’s the general idea.)

Yet Jonathan and his armour-bearing bud chose to go it alone, believing God was still with them, with or without the ephod. Guess they knew you can’t always take the (physical) ark with you. [Which represented His presence, in case you didn’t know that either.] Two lone rangers still vanquished the enemy, with no back-up. All because of an idea. And a major amount of follow-thru. Not to mention a rock-solid faith in an unseen God.

I’m so glad we don’t need an ephod. He lives in me, and everywhere I go, He goes. You too, if you’re His child. We’ve got it way easier than Jon-boy.

The point? Back to the ephod.

When you get an idea,

1) Pray, and listen hard.

2) When it first comes by all means evaluate the pros and cons, but don’t stay in hiding. Especially not under a pomegranate tree.

3) Don’t keep the ephod with the doubters. Take it with you. Metaphorically speaking.

4) Be ready to move on a “Maybe”.

5) Find a bud for the journey. They’ll surely come in handy if they believe in the idea and are committed to you.

In your Maybe Moments that we all encounter in life I have one last piece of advice:

step out, and find out. Messy or Miracle, life is lived in the Maybe Moments. If you stay in hiding you’ll never know what God would have done with that one idea.

Kari, the thinker and doer

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

Fruits and Roots

In my bible study today by Charles Hatten Spurgeon on Galatians something stuck with me. He was talking about self-reliance, how good deeds should be a by-product of salvation, not the cause. In his own words, “… if we put the fruit where the root should be, we greatly err.” Our own strength never has and never will produce God’s righteousness. Our choices play a part, yes, but, according to Revelation 21.11 it’s by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony that we overcome. The blood comes first in that verse, and all God does is strategic so I have to believe word order is important. If the work is not done by and through the Spirit, it’s not lasting.

My daily aspiration is to live and move and have my being in Him, for without Him I achieve nothing. Maybe it’s easier for me than most since I was born dead; when you live with the Rhema knowledge that even the breath you breathe doesn’t come by your own efforts you know on a very deep level that nothing else does.

Today dear friend if you’re resting in the finished work of Christ I commend you, and encourage you to share that revelation with those who don’t know yet. If you’re not, I urge you to examine the root you’re drawing your strength from. We will suffer in many ways in this life but He promised we can have peace that passes all understanding if we’re ‘rooted and grounded in love.’

As always, feel free to leave a comment below. And if you need prayer, reach out. I’ll be there.

Kari, the root-inspector

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

Healthy Hate

In Psalm 129 verse 113 David said he ‘hated’ double-mindedness. I feel the same way. One thing about me you may not know is that I’m usually 100% committed. When I was not God’s child I lived for pleasure and didn’t care how it affected others around me. When I became His I did a total 180. Folks who think they know me now often don’t believe it when I tell a BC (before Christ) story. There are many life choices I could be ashamed of but aren’t because they’ve made me what and who I am today. A God lover and a God chaser.

Have you decided what you hate in life? Or are you in a vicious cycle of sin you feel powerless to break? Doing the same thing over and over and despising yourself for your weakness? Been there, done that. The law of diminishing return states that the more you do a thing the less it satisfies. Almost anyone on the planet has experienced the joy of doing something for the very first time, then repeating the act later hoping for the same experience. Drug users can verify that is so not so. I know a few. They tell me you never top that initial high.

So what do you do when life gets hard? Grab the Doritos? Call up your ex-girlfriend knowing it will only lead to trouble? You may love what that does for you, but do you love what that does to you? Where do you run when attacks come? And they will. Sorry to bust your bubble but keep living and you’ll find out it’s true. Think about it for a minute. Have you already designated a safe place? Many seem so but aren’t. Sometimes what you get trapped in is worse than what you’re running from. You can hide in a cave where it’s dark and lonely but there’s usually only one way out. With God you can hide in plain sight, safe in His arms.

Many talk about what they ‘hope’ for, yet the more they talk the more passive their idea and concept of it seems. God says it can be an anchor in the waves if we want it to be. When hope becomes a verb rather than a noun, it goes from wishing to rock-solid conviction. Is your hope in a vague desire for present circumstances to change? Or in His promise? Find one and stand on it. That’s my advice to you dear friend.

In the words of Willam P. Young, “I’ll take a verb over a noun, any day.” You?

Kari, the so-not-double-minded

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