karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Sincerely Yours

One point Joyce Meyer makes in her book, How to Hear from God, is that Paul was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong.  He thought he was helping out the God of his understanding by killing Christians.  However, God says He’s LOVE.  Paul knew of God, but he didn’t know God.  It’s not hard; He wants to be found – all we have to do is seek Him, or so Jeremiah believed, so much so that he wrote it down in chapter 29, verse 13.  Many people think you can’t hear from Him, but I have a question for those who subscribe to that theory; if He really is your heavenly Father (and I happen to believe He is), and if He really loves you (and I believe He does, passionately), then I have to believe He’s talking to us.  All the time.  Am I listening?  I have to be honest.  The answer to that is… sometimes. 

I have no problem with knowing He’s God, which we’re told to do in psalm 46.10: it’s the whole being still thing I have a little more trouble with.  Even though I know that if I’m never still then I can’t really know Him like He wants me to, it’s still hard a challenge.  Ask my mother.  She’ll tell you.  I’m the original fidget.  She tried for years to make me be still, and know that she was in charge.  I tried, I truly did, but it just never really worked.  Today I came to a rather painful conclusion.  If I truly love what God loves, then I must be willing to go where He leads, even if it’s uncomfortable for me, because that’s where I’ll find those He loves.  Like Joyce has said for many years, how can we love the unlovely if we’re never around them? 

When John 14.15 says that to the degree that we love we’ll obey, I find myself once again on the potter’s wheel.  Well, I’m having a serious heart check-up this morning.  How much do I love?  Will I put my time, my talent, and my treasure where my mouth is?   Or am I all talk and no walk?  Pray for me.  I may not be where I’d like to be, but I’m nowhere where I used to be.  I’m a work in progress, and I’m ok with that.  Are you? 

 

Kari, the simple zealout

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

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Letting Go

Today started off like any other Saturday.  I had much on my to-do list, and not all of it got done.  But today my world changed, and I don’t believe it will ever be the same again. 

Milestones and transitions occur in many times in the course of a life, whether we happen to be ready for them or not.  Wikipedia defines rite of passage as “a ritual event that marks a person’s transition from one status to another”.  Well, today someone’s transition rocked me to my very core. My dear friend Caleb Brice died today.  I wish I could say my good friend, but he never really let me in to his heart, though I offered my friendship to him many times in the 20 years I’ve known him.  He was a quiet man, nothing like his siblings, most of whom tend to be pranksters.  I found him to be gentle.  Thoughtful.  Sensitive.  When you’re a member of a church for an extended length of time you get to see the children grow up, and every once in a while you get to invest in them, to speak into their lives.  I had such a privilege several times during this last year, and for that I’m grateful.  I wonder if that young man knew how very dearly he was loved.

It’s hard to prepare for the unexpected.  I for one often put things off, thinking I’ll have another chance to make it right, but the bible says we’re not promised tomorrow.  I’m so grateful I had the chance to tell him just how much I care for him.  Many don’t get that privilege.  I know he’s alive and well in heaven, and that I’ll see him some day.  Forgive me if today I’m a little bit selfish.  My heart is grieved for the loss of a precious little boy in a man’s body who touched the heart of many.  God alone knows how much I’ll miss him.

 

Kari, the thankful for her friends, young and old, here and hereafter

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

But What About Grace?

Some have interpreted grace as unmerited favour. There’s a teaching out there commonly known as the Law of Attraction, which basically claims anything that you have in your life you’ve attracted, for good or for bad. In light of recent events I have a serious problem with this concept. Mainly, what did those precious children do in Colorado to be gunned down while at school? What on earth did they do in their few years of life that attracted such evil? What could their parents possibly have done that was so heinous they would get to spend Christmas in grief?
God says in Romans 3.10 that there is NONE righteous, which tells me we can’t do a thing to serve the good things our loving heavenly Father chooses to give us, but equally, we can’t do a thing to stop the enemy of our souls, the angel known as satan, from attacking us or bring destruction into the earth. After all, his MO is simple –to steal, kill and destroy, according to John 10.10. Not that I’m saying I subscribe to the, “whatever will be, will be,” theory either, because Hosea 4.6 says God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, and 1 Peter 5.8 says that this same angel prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, which tells me we’re not called to be passive, but we’re not to be the driving force of our life either. To me, it’s all about balance. If we believe Romans 8.28, which says all things work together for our good regardless of what circumstances may look like right then, and Ephesians 6.13, that says when we’ve done all we know to do, we’re called to, “stand”, then our actions will follow.
I used to wonder what God meant by, “stand”, but then I came across 2 Samuel 23.12. The story’s really short, but basically it’s all about a guy called Shammah. He’s one of what God calls, “David’s mighty warriors”, so that tells me he was one bad brother. All kinds of stuff was going on around them – the chapter’s full of small skirmishes within a bigger battle – but Shammah had passion. I’m not sure if the field actually belonged to him and his family or if he was just totally committed to David, but either way that dude wasn’t movin’. According to the NIV bible, verse 12 says Shammah “took his stand in the middle of the field; he defended it, and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.” Joyce Meyer once said, “a made-up mind is a powerful thing.” Simple, but to me, insightful. Some versions of that story says it was a field of lentils and some call them beans, but either way, for me it was a lesson in the value of determination. Dedication. In fact, the first time I read the story I heard this softly spoken to my heart; “them’s my beans!” I got the picture of an average guy who had nothing but persistence, digging in his heels, one who’d been fighting for hours and was past caring how he felt, his sword frozen in a hand that had cramped into place hours ago, a man who’d drawn a line in the proverbial sand and decided the enemy wasn’t getting past him. Period.
Over the years, that thought has come to mean so much more. Now it means souls. When I see hurting people on their way to an eternal place of torment I’m finally saying something. After all, them’s my beans. He who winneth souls is wise. And I want to win a whole lot of souls.
I truly believe that kind of radical fanatic attracts God’s attention. Even if it’s misguided, I’ll take passion any time. The author of a small book called The Shack, William P. Young, said, “I’ll take a verb over a noun, any day.” That struck a chord with me that ran deep. I’ll take someone who will add walk to their talk any day too. You?

Kari, the bean field defender
original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

I Forgot the Nails – from Tree (the Manger) to Shining Tree (Calvary)

Yep, I admit it, I’m a true redhead and I’m prone to forget stuff.  I love practical things I can really grab a hold of and run with, things that will change me on a very deep level.  Yesterday my pastor’s wife made a point I think is worth repeating.  It had to do with nails. I’m really visual, so totally helped that she had a prop – one of those nails with a ribbon on.  You may have seen them.  I’ve got one hanging on my tree.  Yet I still forget.

Forget what? you may ask.  Forget the nails.  What nails?  Well, for one, the nails in my Saviour’s hands and feet.  That’s what Christmas is all about, after all… isn’t it?  The nails?  Because the nails lead to the cross, which leads to the tomb, which leads to the road to Emmaus.  Right?  I mean, the whole point of Easter was His sacrifice for us so that we could receive eternal life.  At least, that’s what I believe.

OK.  Back to the nails.  The kind your husband came home without,t after a whole day spent Home Depot.  Believe me, I’m well familiar with that scenario.  Tava made the point that Jesus was likely very familiar with nails.  In those days they didn’t have too many choices, since there wasn’t a whole lot of epoxy around, so pretty much the only thing that could hold things together would have been nails.  As she quite rightly said, it would be logical to assume there were could well have been nails in the very manger Jesus was placed in after His birth.  Which would mean that His life started with nails, and ended with nails.  Hence the importance to me right now of the concept of nails. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever done any research on what He actually went through on the day of His death from a medical standpoint, but it was horrific.  And I’ve come to understand that everything they did to my Jesus, it should have been me.  Those were my nails, the ones they put in His hands and feet – it was my sin and shame He bore that day.  It’s been said before but it’s good to remember; He was born to die.  Literally.  Frances J. Roberts said once that our sins are no longer covered, they’re washed away.  How I thank God for the NEW Testament.  We’re not under the law but under grace.  Talk about the ultimate “Forgive and Forget.”  I’ve been forgiven, and my sins have been forgotten, Psalm 103.12 tells me.  Thrown deep into the sea of forgetfulness, according to Micah 7.19.  Talk about the ultimate do-over.  How much more of a fresh start could you possibly need?

Kari, the conscious-of-the-nails
original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved 

More Thoughts on the State of the Nation

In view of all of the last couple of weeks developments, I have just a couple of things for you to think about…

When they took the 4th Amendment, I was quiet because I didn’t deal drugs.
When they took the 6th Amendment, I was quiet because I am innocent.
When they took the 2nd Amendment, I was quiet because I don’t own a gun.
Now they’ve taken the 1st Amendment, and I can only be quiet.
Lyle Myhr

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery ~ Winston Churchill

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom to worship here ~ Patrick Henry

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too highly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value ~ Thomas Paine, 23 December, 1776

I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that, ‘except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel ~ Benjamin Franklin

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other ~ John Adams, address to the military, 1798

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government – far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government ; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God ~ James Madison

Everything God controls gives John Hagee

(The last one happens to be one of my faves.)
Kari, the eternal optimist
original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

The Reason for the Season

We’re getting ready to celebrate something very dear to me. The birth of the One who gave His life for me, and ever lives to intercede for me. And like my pastor says, if He’s continually interceding, then I must continually need it…

Thought I’d share this interesting quote from one of my heroes. Food for thought, maybe?

“The Reason Jesus Came
I want you to notice something about the verse above. Notice that we are told to draw near to God before we’re told to stop sinning.
There are so many people who have it backwards. They think they can never come to God, can never have a relationship with Him, and can never be a Christian because they have issues in their life that they are trying to overcome first. They are trying to get themselves all straightened out so they can be good enough to have a relationship with Him.

But that’s wrong. The reason Jesus came is because we can never be good enough without Him. We have to have Jesus in our life. His death, His shed blood, paid for our sins, paid the debt we owed.

There’s no way we can be cleansed of sin until we draw near to God through the name of Jesus. God longs for you to come close to Him today. Don’t stay away, believing the lie that you must clean yourself of sin first. Instead, go to God, already cleansed by the sacrifice Jesus made for you.

“Prayer Starter: God, I refuse to believe the lie that says that I have to be sinless before I can come to You. Coming to You through the blood of Your Son cleanses me of my sin. I refuse to live in shame and know that I can draw near to You now, receiving Your love and forgiveness.” ~Joyce Meyer

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” (James 4:8 NLT)
Prayer Starter: God, I refuse to believe the lie that says that I have to be sinless before I can come to You. Coming to You through the blood of Your Son cleanses me of my sin. I refuse to live in shame and know that I can draw near to You now, receiving Your love and forgiveness.

Kari, the wide-eyed gaping-mouthed totally-awestruck kid in love with her Daddy
mostly original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

The Story of a Coon

 

This is a true story, told by a very good friend of mine, in her own words, but well worth sharing – she has many a tale to tell, and the gift of storytelling.

“I call this on The Felionious Assualt of Raccoon. My dad had an interesting story. It seems there was a time  where he forgot to roll up the windows on his Ford van one night. A really big (he says 35 lbs) raccoon somehow found its way into the van and remained undetected until my dad’s morning commute. At the time our family lived on Steven’s Island, and dad worked in Dundalk, MD. Dad was driving along, minding his own business, when out of the corner of his eye he caught a flash of grey. When he turned his head to look, he found a huge raccoon along for the ride in the passenger seat, looking out of the window while travelling on the Bay Bridge. The coon started chittering in coon language at my dad. Dad was halfway across a two lane bridge when he saw the hitchhiker. In shock, he slammed on the brakes briefly, then realized he was on a two lane bridge high above the Chesapeake Bay in a lot of traffic so he sped up again. He got to the end of the bridge before he literally stopped on the side of the highway right before the toll booths. There is a state park entrance there. A policeman, who was black, btw, came with lights flashing to see what was going on as my dad opened his door and jumped out of his van. Unfortunately – or fortunately, you decide – he forgot the coon would be trapped inside the van. The officer asked him what the problem was, and if he had been drinking. My dad replied that there was coon in his van , which was the reason he drove erratically to the side of the road. The office was a bit skeptical alright, and my dad said so help him God there was a COON in his van. The officer really didn’t believe him; I think he thought my dad was either crazy or something, so the officer went to the passenger side of the van to open the door.
Let’s sidetrack here a moment. Raccoons are very curious creatures but they also love attacking things; the little thieves will steal any shiny thing they can find, and once grabbed, will not let go for the life of them. The easiest way to live trap a raccoon is to drill a hole a bit bigger than their little paw and place bent nails (bent inward) around the hole. Drop shiny stuff at the bottom of the hole, and the raccoon will reach in and grab the shiny things, making his fist very large. If he would let go, he could escape, but otherwise he is caught Red-pawed so to speak. But I digress. Back to the story….
The police officer opened the passenger door and a huge raccoon jumped out, landing on his chest and knocking the officer down to the ground. The officer, of course, had a shiny badge; the coon grabbed it and ripped off his shirt. Badge in hand, the coon scampered towards the state park entrance towards the women’s changing shed (or cabaña). The last anyone saw of the coon, he was entering the changing shed. The officer was now a believer, and called in his report. He had been “Feloniously assaulted by a coon, and added a charge of “grand” larceny” for the shiny golden badge. Needless to say, his buddies did not believe the story until the camera’s tape on the toll booth showed a gray ball of something streaking out the van door, knocking the poor guy on the ground and making a grab for the goods right before a hasty getaway. The officer took a pretty good amount of ribbing but he and my dad were friends from then on. He would go have a few brews with dad once in a while, even an occasional fishing and crabbing trip. Some good did in fact come from this unusual story.
Epilogue: the coon did in fact get away completely. Even the FBI and CIA would not be able to find him, I suspect, and if the little critter is still alive I just know he has that shield from the police officer somewhere in his hideout. – Josephine Buchanan”

I hope you enjoyed it, even that it made you laugh. Stay blessed, and in love with Jesus.

Kari, the contented redhead

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

A Question of Taste

You have around 10,000 taste buds. I’m sure you know that. My first question to you is this: what are you hungry for? Proverbs 27.7 says that the hungry soul will fill itself with anything, even bitter things, because it’s so hungry it doesn’t care – it just wants to be filled. Well, the older I get the more discerning I seem to become about what I allow. In my mouth. My mind. My heart.

People are always talking about “they”. How they wish “they” would fix/remove/begin [insert whatever idea comes to mind here], but it starts with us. The elections are finally over, and for that I’m thankful. Some of us are happy and some of us are not. During all of the unrest God spoke something very gently to my heart that totally set me free. It was simply this. “It’s not about party. It’s about purpose”. We were promised change, and change we got. Apparently we needed more of it, because we asked for more of the same. So rather than complain about “they”, I’ve chosen to pray. And pray. And pray. Will evil prosper in this country? Not on my watch. I choose to be a faithful watchman on the wall. There are 530,000 elected offices in America. So my next question to you is this: what are we doing with them? It’s up to us.

They’re elected BY the people FOR the people. We vote them in, and we can vote them out. As soon as we take an interest in His mission, God gets interested in ours. When we become a people after His own heart, that’s when the mountain-moving begins. His priority is souls. Period. He gave His own life to prove the point. Our troubles trouble Him, and He asks us to return the favour. Reinhard Bonnke called it recently the Great Co-Mission. Made me think. Co- anything means helping in. Are we?

Graham Cooke said that passion never allows you to see yourself as a failure. Everything we go through is useful in our development. Mistakes, humiliation, defeats, even obstacles, are just as valuable to us as success, victory, breakthrough. Nothing is ever wasted. Passion puts action to your faith. God can use even your mistakes for the benefit of others. Everything you go through can help someone, somewhere. I’m a living testament that if God can use me, He can use anyone.

Ronald Reagan said this, and I quote: “I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines… the more the plans fail the more the planners plan. Now government can’t control the economy without controlling people, and they know when the government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. Somewhere, a perversion has taken place – our natural inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment… government is not the solution to the problem – government is the problem!” I’m not anti-government. Really. I’m not. I’m just pro-purpose. HIS purpose. Just because I’m for something doesn’t necessarily mean I’m anti something else. All it means is that I know my priorities.

Kari, the carefully tasteful and discerning
original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

Jesus Peace

With all the violence that our nation is facing right now, I was so saddened to hear something today that left me speechless. Which is hard to do. My mother says I have what she calls ‘verbal diarrhea’, and I must admit she has a point. I’ve never really met a stranger. However, I do try to use it for goo, to encourage everyone I get around, because I learned a long time ago that the world will bring you down in a heartbeat – Christians are supposed to bring Jesus with them everywhere they go, investing in others and sharing the GOOD news. Well, I may not have much but I do have a mouth, and what my mother calls a ‘grasshopper brain’ – I’m assuming she means I’m rather random, which I’ll also admit to. So I’m using both, courtesy of WordPress. Thank God for the world wide web. I’ll throw that net out there any way I can, and trust God that a few fish will be drawn into it.

I heard today that there’s a popular song going around right now, but Jesus may be in the title but I believe there’s no Jesus IN it. It’s nothing but cursewords, apparently. The source who told me is one I consider extremely trustworthy, proven for the last 20 years, so I’m not even going to pollute my mind by reading the lyrics. Knowing it’s sung by Jay Z is enough for me. Well, it’s my turn. MY Jesus gives PEACE. Not piece…s. I should know. I was so broken for so many years, then one day soon after my 30th birthday I had a face-to-face encounter with a living, merciful, holy God. I’ve never been the same. It’s too late to tell me He doesn’t exist. Doesn’t take the hurting and make them whole. Doesn’t take the stained and wash them clean. Doesn’t strengthen the weak, and use foolish things if they’ll just submit to Him. Doesn’t see greatness where everyone else sees failure. Doesn’t see and capture every single tear cried in the night, when no-one sees and no-one knows.

A preacher came to my church many years ago, and I don’t remember much about his sermon but one thing I do remember is the title. “But God”. All that night, he’d preach a little and say, “… but God…” It impacted me profoundly. Any time I think about prayers that seem to hit the ceiling and never go higher, mountains that look impossible to climb, prodigals that break a mother’s heart, healing that is slow to manifest, employment that never seems stable, all I know is that His mercies are new every morning, and that I know the secret. I’ve read the back of the book. I don’t care how it looks, or what may come. I’m on the winning side. I hope you are too!

Kari, the victorious – who don’t take credit for nothin’, as Creflo so wisely said recently
original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

Too Much Static

One of the things I love about God is that He’s so clear, even a redhead can get it! John 10.27 says that God’s sheep hear His voice, and they follow Him. In her book, How to Hear from God, Joyce Meyer talked about what she called, “keeping your receiver deceiver-free”. There are so many good things to ponder there that I highly encourage reading it, too many to mention in one redhead rambling, but one thing I’d like to hone in on is that she brings up the fact that many Christians aren’t expecting to hear His voice. If He’s our Father, why wouldn’t we hear Him? Since I read that chapter my prayer has become simple. Keep me safe from deception and defection. Why defection? Well, I’ve heard many a tale of those who have defected because of oppression or domination. A definition given at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/defect?s=t is “to desert a cuase, country, etc., especially in order to desert a cause, country, etc., especially in order to adopt another.” Deception is subtle, and slow, but very very sure. And we never even realize it.

I for one am man enough to admit I get easily distracted from the lifelong goal of focusing on Him, pleasing Him, living for Him. A few years ago I read a book by Terri Blackstock, Last Light. It had a fascinating “what if?” premise –what if our world as we know it was changed? Permanently? By the loss of all things mechanical? She reminded me that God says we are, and I quote, “aliens in a land not our own, sojourners passing through, pilgrims on our way to a destination we haven’t quite reached… sometimes the letting go is hard…sometimes His will is for us to look toward home, anxiously waiting for that day when we reach the gates of our own city. That place where all our ultimate comforts lie. That place where we will be welcomed in like dearly loved children long awaited.” Hebrews 11.13 says that our real home is not this earth, the so-invading and encroaching here-and-now; in reality, we are aliens and strangers, and that the city our God has prepared for us is nothing like this one. Why am I so quick to focus on the temporal rather than the eternal? I have no idea. But one thing I do know – I’m a work in progress and although I may not be where I want to be I’m nowhere near where I used to be. I’m so thankful for His mercy. My pastor said once if His mercies are new every morning, then we must continually need them! Just a thought. I’m learning to rest, and to simply receive, living in the revelation of my middle name. Grace. I’m peaceful, patient, and content. Are you?

Kari, the grace-full

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

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