karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

The Here and Hereafter

I’ve never really ranted before but I’m making an exception today. Here it comes.

Even though I shouldn’t be amazed at what folks do, because the Bible is clear we are to watch for the fruit of a life, I must admit all the shenanigans in this nation lately regarding the pro-life stance has me dumbfounded. Like I heard someone say recently, “ya can’t fix second-hand stupid”. How can you have an abortion midlabor? Forgive me but labor implies live birth, doesn’t it? The Oxford English Everyday Dictionary actually defines it as, “the pains or contractions of the womb at childbirth” (emphasis mine.) Which again implies to me the child arrives alive after its journey down the birth canal. This trumps ‘military intelligence’ as the biggest oxymoron I’ve ever heard.

Romans 8 verse 6 says we’re the ones who set our mind, and it gives the two choices available: here, or hereafter. Looking at the smug faces of those who chose to use their influence to legalize murder of the unwanted, inconvenient living miracle a woman’s body was created to produce, my heart was broken on a level I’ve never experienced before. Are we so blind, so stupid, as to think actions come without consequence? God warns us over and over we will reap what we sow, and I for one did not sow this. I value all life, be it planned or unexpected, adored or despised, accepted or rejected. What are we teaching the future women of tomorrow? Where does it end?

Why is the church silent? Does anyone out there have enough backbone to impact this generation and stand against the current tide of social norm and call it for what it is? Just plain wrong? So-called ‘Women’s rights’ has nothing to do with it. Research what that means; freedom from oppression and subjection to men, not the privilege to impose your will on another living breathing tiny human because you don’t like the result of your life choices. If the child makes it here alive and grows a little, then gets abducted and killed, we call it homicide, and justifiably so. Yet before they arrive here we call it our right to choose? I think not. May God forgive us.

Kari, the crusader-for-the-unwanted-unborn

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It’s Not About You, Boo!

1 Corinthians 7 verse 7 makes it clear: marriage ain’t about you! The One who created us tells us to find one, and keep ’em. Selfishness destroys all it touches, we know this deep down, yet I see so much of it in today’s culture. If we’ll ever needed an example of flesh warring against Spirit all we need to do is turn on the nightly news or pick up a paper. It’s there for all to see. Will we take note, and change our ways?

Everything in this world is designed to distract, and I admit I often fall for this subtle scheme. I forget to be patient and persistent, knowing that as long as I keep the Main Thing the main thing I will weather any storm in confidence and peace. I know we reach our destiny one step at a time, one day at a time but find I’m prone to make two huge errors in judgment: charge ahead into uncharted waters and leave my Father behind, or not step out to where I feel called because of fear. Am I alone I this? I don’t think so.

How can I live in Him if I’m not in tune with His leading? The older I get the more I can relate to David, who was quick to repent. I find I’m doing a lot of that lately. Yet I’d rather do what Joyce Meyer calls, “step out and find out,” than not step out it at all.

My greatest fear is not fulfilling my destiny, the reason He chose to birth me in the earth. My passion has recently become to bring others along for the ride. I know my core values and refuse to compromise them, despite what current culture or the ACLU say. I choose to let my little light shine and be true to my boo. My man as well as my God. I don’t want to stand before Him and hear, “Well …?” I want the “done”. How ’bout you?

Kari, the boo’d up

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7 Up’s

A preacher I’m rather fond of, Ed Young, had some really interesting things to say last Sunday and if you’ll allow me, I’d to share the love.

In Romans 13 verse 14 Paul admonishes us to make no “provision” for the flesh. That word provision is actually a legal term that basically means ‘loophole’. So I, along with Ed Young, would like to ask you something today: have ya left any loopholes?

There’s a reason God tells us to read His Word daily. Sin creeps in slowly because our enemy has refined his battle plan over the centuries. Like a magician doing slight of hand tricks he distracts and deceives; if he came at us honestly and openly most of us would recognize it and run a mile in the opposite direction.

Ed Young also had a few more tips you might want to think about too as you venture into this brand new year, which he called, ‘the 7 ups’. In that same verse God says to:

look up, pay up, straighten up, wake up, light up, clean up, and dress up.

That kind of short and sweet breakdown of a complicated theological concept really appeals to me, especially since I don’t want to leave any intentional loopholes in my life. My mind seems to do well with lists, for some reason, so now I have a game plan going into 2019. I’ll be working on doing these simple things.

Look up, because I know my redemption draws near.

Pay up, because I choose to give my tithe, the first fruits.

Straighten up, because I want to live in His a presence.

Wake up, because I want to be vigilant, so I’ll see the enemy coming.

Light up, because the Light of the world lives in me.

Clean up, because His mercy is new every morning.

Dress up, because my armour is available so I choose to put it on.

Whose with me?

Kari, the looking up, paying up, straightening up, waking up, lighted up, cleaned up, dressed up child of the living God

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Thorns and Thistles… with a Little Dust Thrown In

I’ve been reviewing the good and bad from last year and have come to a conclusion: I can let the thorns and thistles choke out the good in life or I can focus on what God does – souls.

Genesis 3 verse 18 and 19 talk about how after Adam and Eve sinned the ground was cursed, but it was so much more than ground. It was their lives. And those of every generation yet to come. To me, thorns and thistles are the challenges we all face in seeking to please Him, and I for one find I seem to face them daily.

Added to that is the whole concept of dust. Other bibles phrase it differently but mine calls it dust, which is a compelling idea to me. A wise man once said stuff’ll grow in dirt but dust is worthless, since it has zero nutrients, which is my point exactly. God took a worthless substance He Himself had created and used it to make something of ultimate worth; Mary, the future mother of His divine Son, the Saviour of humanity. Which speaks of potential. I love how God chooses foolish things to confound the proud. How much more foolish can you get than to use worthless dust to birth something that became the avenue of rescue for what God was willing to die for? Us.

Joyce Meyer often encourages her listeners to, “think about what you’re thinking about.” I have a friend who called this morning to share some things she’s been thinking on recently. Some of them were pretty bizarre, and she didn’t like where they’d been taking her. Yet she seemed unable to see clearly, or change her choices.

If today finds you in a hard place and maybe doubting your worth and value, think on this – in God’s hands dust is never worthless. And nor are you.

Kari, the dust-girl

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The Christmas List

I would like to ask you a question today. Do you trust God no matter what, or do you only trust Him if He acts as Santa Clause, giving you every item on your list? (I hope this doesn’t kick over a sacred cow or two but I must admit I’ve never cared much for the name, or the idea of a benevolent human entity spreading gifts to those he classified as good.)

I’ve got to the point in my life now where if it doesn’t lift up Jesus, I’m frankly not interested. Lysa Turkherst wrote a book called The Best Yes, one I highly recommend for your reading pleasure. And growth. It taught me to prioritize my yesses but it ruffled a few feathers along the way, especially with folk who were used to me dropping my agenda for the day and helping them achieve theirs.

After much thought and prayer I realized my life had been reduced to four things:

Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness.

I think yours can too, if you choose. I’m big on downsizing rather than hoarding, mainly because most true hoarders I’ve met along the way rarely give and when they do, they remember. My pastor said years ago, “blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.” In that moment I realized that described my life. People regularly tell me, “don’t you remember when you gave me—” and it blesses my heart to tell them no with a pure conscience; on the other side of the equation I remember almost every gift anyone has ever given me, especially if it was meaningful. A friend gave me a bookmark over 20 years ago that I treasure every time I see it in my bible.

I never liked New Years Resolutions – few seem to be kept for more than a month or two – but I do believe in goal setting. How ’bout we set a goal this new year to pare down our life so it’s not full of lesser yesses but focuses on the greater ones we can passionately pursue? Are ya with me?

Kari, the truster, do-gooder, dweller and feeder… not to mention rester…

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The Why and The What

I had an experience recently that reminded me of something God had taught me a while back. It’s a simple concept. Look for the why behind the what.

Psalm119.68 says that God is good and He does good. So I’ve learned in my Christian walk to look for the good, because there you’ll often find God.

We see things and are so quick to judge, yet we rarely know the whole story. I’ve banned, “I would never…” from my vocabulary. I have no idea; I’m not in their situation. When I see things I just watch and wait. Sooner or later, more is revealed and it’s often shocking how wrong my first impression was.

A friend gave me a ride somewhere and I forgot for a second that it’s someone I can’t trust with my heart. They don’t know it but they are not a Safe Place. They’re a Judgment Zone. I shared a story and they immediately rebuked me, telling me I had taken a verse out of context. I beg to differ – I take God literally. To be honest, I didn’t see any good in that correction, merely pride and condemnation.

Later that night we were leaving and they came to the entrance on to the main road. Bear in mind, this is around 9pm on a Friday night, with maybe 10 cars max in the parking lot. But because it said Entrance, they drove around the parking lot till they found the Exit. Forgive me but I’m not under the law, and legalism killed Jesus. I would have gone out the Entrance since it wasn’t Sunday morning on a busy church day. I couldn’t use a scripture to help me in a time of need but they’re living by the letter of the law.

I’d rather take God literally, and take Him at His Word. He says He will help in a time of trouble but you have to find a verse to stand on. Just because it doesn’t fit in with others’ theological ideas doesn’t mean you’re twisting His Word. I’ve seen folk pervert and misuse it, yes, but I disagree that using it in a time of need is taking it out of context. I’m into life, not legalism.

I’m reminded of the phrase, “consider the source.” This person believes themselves highly prophetic, and I’m not saying they’re not, but they haven’t yet learned to temper their frequent correction with gentleness. A couple of years ago I had a similar situation with them. Two days after someone I cared deeply for died, they happened to call me. Their advice in my pain? Basically, get over it. I get the point, but where’s the love there? I let them talk for a while, then ended the conversation with a gentle, “I know you meant well, but if you ever get to minister to someone grieving again… you might want to give them more than two days to recover…”

Going on this latest interaction I think they missed the point completely.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the why-finder

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Duck, Duck David

Yes, I know it’s duck duck goose, but where’s the fun in that?

First of all I apologize to the blogosphere for taking a short hiatus from writing. Life can often ambush you when you least expect it. Second, I’m now refired and rewired, back with a vengeance after watching one of my heroes, Steven Furtick. (DM renamed him my “boy”, and is given to ominous muttering such as, “your boy is on…”) SF has a way of breaking it down to simple concepts and he can stir me up in a heartbeat.

Today’s message happened to come from First Samuel, chapter 18, which finds David in his peaceful place strumming the harp, worshipping his heart out. Saul, however, has other ideas. The latter decides it’s a good idea to ‘fling’ a spear at the defenseless musician and ‘pin him to the wall’… literally.

What always threw me (but I’d never given much deep meaningful thought to) was the fact that David didn’t react way most would, given the dynamics of the moment. In fact, there’s no record he ever took his hand off the harp. I must admit I might well have grabbed for the spear. Gut instinct ranks high on the preservation scale in the Lowther household. But, as SF quite rightly points out, “Saul cannot kill what God has crowned.”

Which every child of God is. Crowned, I mean. With loving kindness and tender mercies, just in case you didn’t know. You were also created to be a David. His name means Beloved, and he lived to worship God.

He also there in two pieces of advice:

Keep your hand on the harp and God will keep His on the spear (meaning that if we trust Him, our challenges won’t kill us), and

Learn to duck!

Wise advice in any century, if you ask me. For those who think the Bible just a dusty old history book and has no relevance in society today I’ve only got one thing to say – Duck, David!

Kari, the ducking and the crowned

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Truth, Justice and the American Way

I stopped reading a local rag I had enjoyed reading for years, the Up and Coming Weekly, because they proudly bill it as ‘family-friendly’ but a while back did something I consider the complete opposite. Not they know or care I stopped reading, but I did.

I was unintentionally a rather captive audience recently at a venue where the mags were freely available, so I grabbed one just to check it out. I have to give Karl Merritt a shout-out for his excellent article entitled, ‘Objectivity is Very Near Death in America’. He defined the Cambridge Dictionary’s meaning of the word ‘objectivity’, and made a strong case for its death with the example of the ruckus that erupted after Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. Merritt encouraged interested readers to read the full report made by Arizona Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, but gave us a few of what he obviously considered the highlights. I happen to agree.

Here are a couple of undeniable facts:

The lady in question, a Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, apparently initially wished to remain anonymous. (So how can you legally accuse a judge of sexual wrongdoing but remain unnamed? That seems a tad unfair. Especially given there’s a small clause somewhere   with something about the right to know your accuser… perhaps that doesn’t pertain to the press, since they’re always so impartial.)

Said Dr. Ford could not keep her story straight as to when, where, or even how the alleged incident occurred. Few details came to mind, and the ones that did were inconsistent, including who was there with her to witness the event. The witnesses she did name and claim unfortunately claimed either complete denial of knowledge of the incident or simply did not remember it. Her story was never corroborated.

However, her allegations did destroy a man, his wife and two young children, bringing irreparable harm for the sake of a few minutes’ headlines. Is a reputation really worth so little to us as a people and us as a nation?

I could be wrong but it seems to me a pretty clear cut case of bullying and abuse. In fact, Senator Mazie Hirono was quoted by Tyler O’Neill in his article, “Dem. Senator: Kavanaugh Doesn’t Deserve ‘Presumption of Innocence’ Because I Disagree With Him”, as saying, “I put his denial in the context of everything I know about him in terms of how he approaches his cases.” Well. that says it all. Apparently Ms. Mazie has decided she is God and she alone has the right to judge her fellow man.

In Merritt’s own words, this strongly suggests ‘the presumption of innocence – a core tenet of English and American law  going back more than one hundred years – depends on one’s judicial philosophy.’ (emphasis mine). Is it really wise to condemn a man as guilty, despite all facts and evidence to the contrary, simply because you don’t happen to like their approach?

I agree with Merritt. If the media will go after a respected judge voted into office by a public who trust and respect him, for a public he has served faithfully for upteen years with such passion and dedication, then no-one is safe. We are indeed “all Brett Kavanaugh now.”

Your thoughts?

Kari, the passionate-believer-in-innocent-until-proven-guilty

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My Brother, My Hero

He was a carpenter, yes, and I’ve always loved wood so I appreciate the gift highly – it doesn’t help that before my man came along I seemed to have a thing for those tv house-fixer carpenters – but what I love most about my brother, my hero, is that He was an accomplished storyteller. He could draw a crowd in a hot minute, and they’d hear Truth disguised as parables. Whether that Truth sunk in was another matter entirely but as the old folks used to say, ‘ya can lead a horse to water…’. I trust you know the rest.

I discovered a major part of my calling and destiny at the tender age of 42. I’ve always been a reader, but was rejected as a writer so soundly in my 14th year of life that I didn’t pick it up again until what I fondly refer to as, ‘my epiphany moment’. It has coloured my world ever since.

John Bevere once said you never know a life-defining moment when you’re in it, and boy can I testify an amen to that. i didn’t, but I made the choice to follow my heart. I, like Robert Frost wrote, “took the road less travelled. And it has made all the difference.” I’ll take the highway of holiness every time.

I struggled for many years with Proverbs 11.30, but I now know how I can win souls and influence people. Through fiction. The foolishness of the gospel in bite-sized breadcrumbs. With everything I pen I pray Papa gives those He chooses eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to perceive, Isaiah 6.10, the traces of His Truth. Even if they don’t get it right then and there I pray I sow fruit that remains in silly stories about dogs, and teddy bears, a door in the middle of nowhere, and lost socks, not to mention 5 adult dysfunctional sisters and a timid teen with a strong anointing.

Is He your hero today? Your brother, protector, lover, provider, safe place and so many other things? If He’s not I encourage you to check out the tab, May I Introduce You? I’d love to pray with you so if you have any needs or just want to talk, feel free to respond below and start a conversation. We’re all in this together, and I’m here for you.

Kari, the child of a carpenter

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Eagle Feathers

We’ve all been hit pretty hard by multiple “natural disasters” in recent years and I still don’t get why the powers-that-be have to give ’em names but there ya go. ‘Florence’ really took a toll on residents here in NC, as it did almost everywhere in the whole nation. Few escaped her devastation. Yet one major thing I’ve learned in life is that in every bad there’s always some good. I once heard a joke I about two kids and a horse that taught me to look for the good in the most unexpected places. Like a hurricane. Fail to plan and you’re planning to fail. Now I have a plan. And I plan to rest in the shelter of the Most High.

Because I’m extremely visual and tactile, for some reason scripture memory never worked well for me. The good turned out to be discovering Esther Mui. No-electricity-days will apparently make a gal stir crazy in a very short time. No light, no reading, no coffee, no e-books, pretty much nothing. I’ve been trying to speak Psalm 91 over me and my family for years but as my grandmother told me, where there’s a will you’ll find a way. My way is YouTube. Ms. Mui has set scripture to song and it resonates within me. I encourage you to check her out.

During a hurricane there are many opportunities to fear, but we don’t have to take them. It may be a little more work in a 60mph wind than facing a flat tyre, but faith is a principle that doesn’t change based on circumstances. It often gets you to take a hard long look at your priorities. I’m praying more than normal that He’ll show me what’s important. Today.

It wasn’t what was above the surface that sunk the titanic, it was the hidden. Jerusalem’s inn was full and overcrowded – they had no room in their lives for Jesus. As for me, I think I’ll be doing some spring cleaning, spiritually speaking. I’m making room for a miracle. For me, and everyone I come across in life. Including you.

Kari, the feather-covered girl

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