karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

The Meaning of Life – Big He, Little Me

I don’t know if the same thing’s happenin’ where you are, but in my church God seems to want to visit every single Sunday! And I’m lovin’ it!

Yesterday was no exception. In fact, I’m getting rather used to His presence. Yes, I spend time with Him during my day-to-day life but there’s something very special when a bunch of BELIEVErs get together (no, that’s not a typo, I mean believers who REALLY BELIEVE) – He seems to take it very seriously and responds to hunger in a big way. I feel like I’m in the Garden of Eden sometimes, and that He’s talking to me during the cool of the day. Not that it was a warm fuzzy message – oh no, it was definitely a check-up-from-the-neck-up one. But it’s good. We all need to re-evaluage our priorities every once in a while, and I promise you if you’ll take the time to listen to this you will. So glad the man of God I serve shared this. I needed it.

Another thing I’d like to mention… I saw this and again, it reminded me of things I had let slip. It’s not that I don’t know them, but they’re foundational truths I’ve lost sight of. Short, but very good for the heart. In her own words, “Hell is not for me, any more.” Wise words, from a wise woman.

http://www.bible-knowledge.com/christianvideos/jesus-appears-to-woman-after-she-leaves-islam/

I truly pray this day finds you blessed and surrounded by His presence, but most of all I pray you’re more in love with the Lover of your soul than you ever have been in your life.

One more thing. A fellow WordPress blogger I discovered quite by chance posted something I know you’ll be inspired by:

http://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/the-day-i-discovered-hope/comment-page-1/#comment-602

Chuck Swindoll said many years ago that God can never use a man greatly until He has broken him completely. Of course, we know that God doesn’t do the breaking, but He does allow it. And I thank Him for it. Left to myself, I’d be a hot mess. With His help, I can do all things. Without Him? I’m in big trouble.

Kari, the totally-standing-in-awe
original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

Mindblowing Monday

Well, OK, Friday. I learned a fact this morning that really made this redhead think. Interested? It’s this: if the cosmos had mass of 10 to the 27th power more, it would have imploded. If it had 10 to the 27th power less matter, it would have exploded out beyond itself. So say leading astrophysists. We also needed a moon to stabilize earth’s axis. Now tell me these things just happen and I’ll tell you you’re a fool. I say to all saints far and wide, come, let us gather together and tell God how good He is. My worship pastor says that’s God’s favourite song – God is good, and His mercy endures forever. They have a point. It’s all over the bible.
I found out today about a phenomenon “the experts” call The Pygmalion Effect. It basically theorizes that the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they will perform. In 1966, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson published the results of a powerful study later dubbed this title. Rosenthal and Jacobson’s research, conducted at an elementary school, was simple. Tell a few teachers and tell that they were the best teachers in the school and therefore had the most academically gifted students in their class that year. Untrue. Both teachers and students were randomly chosen. However, the study showed an amazing result – that teachers’ expectations could influence students’ intellectual abilities, to the point where they excel beyond their peers. To a tune of 32%, if memory serves. It’s all up to us. After all, God says as a man thinketh in his heart, so IS he, Proverbs 23.7 says. I’ve been in a hard time in my life for quite a while but I still CHOOSE to believe God is good, and that His mercy endures forever. That He’s working in my life when I don’t feel it, and don’t see it. That He knows everything about me, and still loves me. Army Captain Chris Plekenpol said something I pray I never forget – “You can never let your current circumstances determine the presence of God.” This, from a man who lost a soldier within 4 minutes of arrival. Yes, 4 minutes. Do I trust Him? Yes I do. Do I understand? No, I don’t. But I trust in His goodness. And faithfulness.

As a funny little take-away, Joseph Prince said something the other day that really made me think. Here’s a paraphrased version: When your relatives say, Wow! You look so young! Is it detox, or Botox? You can say, it’s NO tox! It’s all Jesus, man!

Kari, the often faithless but still loved

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

Shout it From the Rooftops

omygosh I am so stoked right now! If you’re reading this and even slightly interested in why, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

It started off with a healthy dose of I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me, Philippians 4.13 [namely, be brave]. Then it worked its way up to I am persuaded He is well able to keep that which I have committed to Him, II Timothy 1.12 [principally, my life], with some The Lord will perfect that which concerns me, Psalms 138.8, finally settling on You have delivered my soul from death and will keep my feet from falling, Psalm 56.13. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights, (New Living Translation) sure helped, though, with a little Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip, Psalm 18.36 thrown in for good measure. And here’s why.

God tells us to be a good steward of all He has given us. I fall short many times, especially in the area of heights. I’m not exactly fond of them. Not terrified, by any means, but I do have a healthy respect for anything over 6 feet tall.Consequently, I avoid this issue in life whenever possible. The roof was proof of this. Until today. However, I will only procrastinate for just so long – eventually I’ll feel I’ve prayed enough that I’m ready to take on certain things regardless of the inherent torture entailed, because it’s reached the point that putting it off is worse than addressing it. It took me several days but this morning that thing was “the roof”. What roof? Mine. It’s only a single story rather humble dwelling place but still, the view from above can be intimidating at times. I’ve done it before, and it’s always under duress. But every time I do it my faith grows.

I seem to be in a season right now where my life is not exactly what you’d call a thriving success. My car’s needed a new transmission for 6 weeks and there’s not a thing I can do about it. I’ve been unemployed for over 2 years and again, there’s not a thing I can do to change that either. I’m doing all I know to do, and trusting my Heavenly Father to make up what’s lacking. I think I might have gone insane if not for His sweet presence in my life every day totally changing me and growing me. Plus my frequent adventures in blogging help me download what’s on my heart.

Today I feel like David. Now there’s one more lion and one more bear God helped me overcome, one more time. And I praise Him, and thank Him for His faithfulness to a little redhead who sometimes feels lost and lonely and very, very small but then remembers that she’s the apple of her Daddy’s eye, and that He sees all of her tears, her flaws, her insecurities, and still adores her.

Kari, the surefooted deer

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

Queen of Denial

We all have days when we play Cleopatra. History claims she was called The Queen of the Nile, but like the country song says, I find I often fall prey being the queen of denial. I know folk who won’t touch fiction with a barge pole, Some I know have even told me to my face, “all you need is the Word.” Well, yes, that’s true. I don’t deny it. A little condescending, perhaps, but accurate. Still, God tells us in Luke 16.8 that the children of the world are wiser than the children of God. So that tells me God thinks He can teach us His principles through other avenues if we’re open. Which I am.

To be perfectly honest, I must admit that I learn from all kinds of things. Billboards. Movies. And yes, fiction. My latest read was a book called Sanctuary, by Ted Dekker. But, being me, at the same time I’m also reading a book called The Search for Significance, by Robert S. McGee. I like to read for fun and read for growth too. Strange dynamic, some may say. Not really, says I. They both boil down to one simple truth for me – the universal need for acceptance and validation. One point McGee makes in his book is that we all go through seasons of hurt – emotionally, relationally and spiritually – yet we’re either unaware or in denial of the depth of our wounds. So we won’t do what we need to do to be healed, because we refuse to acknowledge the need.

At the end of his book, Ted Dekker puts it another way.

“In truth, we all exist in our own sanctuaries… I’m talking about our hearts and minds, which imprison us in anxiety, fear, insecurity, anger, and other forms of misery. The walls and bars that keep most in a constant state of suffering are thoughts and emotions, not concrete and steel. It’s a disease. Insanity. Most are afflicted by it, regardless of which side of the law they find themselves or where they lay their head at night. To be free of this, Renee, is to be free indeed.”

If Christ truly came to bring us abundant life, then why do we insist on holding on to our pain? I’ll let it go in a heartbeat. It’s a killer.

Kari, the healing and healing others

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

Guilty as Sin

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. ~ Romans 8.1

Doesn’t that give you hope? Many get all caught up in the ‘no condemnation’ thing and that’s good, but that’s not what floats my boat. For me, it’s the now. Right here, today, in the midst of my mess. We’re as guilt free as we’re ever gonna get. Why won’t we walk in it? Do we really take His Word at face value, and just step out on faith? Sigmund Freud believed guilt was the result of what he called “social restraint”, going against the social norm. My pastor says that Christianity is a counter-culture, not a sub-culture. Looking at the behaviour of Jesus I’d have to agree. Talk about a social misfit! He stirred up trouble wherever He went!

Christian writers Bruce Narramore and Bill Counts have a very different take on this than Freud. They belive there’s a true guilt – which is an object fact – but also a false guilt – a subjective psychological feeling of pain and rejection. Guilt is destructive; we see this in the tragic stories making headline news. Robert S. McGee, in his book The Search for Significance, maintains that, “it causes a loss of self-respect… causes the human spirit to wither… eats away at our personal significance…” Sound familiar? It’s a strong motivator, yes, but I’ve never seen any good come of it long-term. Guilt never encourages, inspires, builds up, which is what God’s kids are supposed to do. Where’s the disconnect? As McGee quite rightly points out, conviction deals with behaviour – not status before a holy, just God. His motivation is love, protection, and correction, not humiliation. Is ours? I call it fickle feelings. We react, rather than act. Romans 7.6 says that we now live in newness of Spirit and not by the letter of the Law. Where there’s no law there’s no sin, because there’s no standard. But we’re called to a higher standard, that of Christ Himself, Romans 8.2, which produces in us the need for grace. When we rely on the law we’re assured of failure, because we’ll never measure up. Performance will never produce self-worth. Don’t know about you, but I need grace. Grace, grace, and more grace. How I love my name.

I won’t be the one to cast the first stone. Will you?

Kari, the guilt-free

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

Improbable Saints

Wow. My Adventures in Blogging is gettin’ to be a regular thang! I must admit I’m totally enjoying it, in various shallow but nontheless pleasing ways. Sharing what’s on my mind, freely, without fear of recrimination. Way cool. Everybody else seems to be raising their voice; well, I am too!

Just this morning my mother phoned from jolly old England to share her latest news. She doesn’t exactly agree with my stance on all things spiritual but today, rather than defend myself, I simply shut up and, to a certain extent, shut down. If she’s not willing to hear what I have to say then I’m happy to save my breath. Along with Tim in 2 Timothy 1.12, I know in Whom I have believed. It gives me great peace.

She brought up the subject of sainthood, and I’m ashamed to say that my mind took off on a tangent at that point and didn’t take in a whole lot of what came next. I mean no disrespect to anyone living or dead, but who is man to decide who makes it to sainthood? Here’s a thought for you:

New American Standard Bible ~ Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name.

King James Bible ~ Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.

If God Himself calls me a saint, not an ‘aint, then who am I to say different? Who are we to belittle others? Why do we seem to get all caught up in the shoulds and oughts of Christendom? If Jesus truly purchased our salvation at the cross of Calvary, what did He leave out? What didn’t His blood cover? Like I said, just a thought.

Kari, the thankful saint

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

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