karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

Archive for the month “September, 2019”

A Land of Promise and Perhaps

Steven Furtick is someone I highly respect, for many reasons. In one of his devos he talks of “a land of promise and perhaps”, explaining how both can peacefully coexist. He was specifically referring to 1 Samuel 14, where Jonathan gets tired of inaction and decides to take his bff on a two-man commando team death squad raid in the enemy camp. Oh, for those who will come alongside radical God-dreamers and risk all for the sake of loyalty to a leader and to a good God!

You probably know the story. Here’s a recap: Jonathan sets out a crazy plan and his bud says, “Go for it, man! I got yer back!” Jonathan qualifies it by ending with, “I know He can… perhaps He will.” Which seems like an oxymoron until you remember that we live by faith and that the lamp to our feet, Psalm 119.105, doesn’t extend past one or two steps; risk is always involved in obeying God because we never see the whole picture. One man can make all the difference in the world. Two changed the course of a nation.

This quote sums up how I feel about my hero Jesus, who lived a life of complete obscurity until His Father decided it was time for Him to shine.

“He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family, or owned a home. He did not go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually of company greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that have ever marched, All the Navy’s that have ever sailed, all the parliaments that have ever sat, all the kings that have ever reigned – put together – have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one, solitary life.”

There’s actually a little controversy over who actually wrote it but many have attributed it to James Allen Francis. I love these words and would like to share them with you today, dear reader. It reminds me that I’d rather live a life of total surrender, believing to do mighty things with God, than a comfortable life I had made for myself through my own self-effort, producing little impact on anyone for eternity.

One solitary life, whether it be a Jonathan or an un-named bff, can influence both the seen and the unseen. Do you have a dream today? One that burns deep but you’re afraid to pursue? I say along with Joyce Meyer, “step out and find out”. You’ll never know what He will do with a submitted life and a crazy plan until you risk all. Go for it. I’ve got your back.

Kari, the armour-bearer

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Sharing is Caring

… or so they say. I’m not good at tooting my own horn and I rarely do it. I’d rather toot on behalf of others. It’s been a little trying here recently; one or two challenges have ambushed me all at once so my focus has been directed toward multiple things but today I realized I’ve never actually shared with any random reader who may stumble across this blog what I’m all about. Which, in a nutshell, would be Jesus.

I must admit I’ve distanced myself from Facebook recently and delved more into Twitter, due to the judgment displayed by my ‘friends’, who seem to feel the need to express their ugly on my FB home page. Turbulent times definitely reveal the true nature of a person. If we as Christians are to be ‘known by our love for one another’ please don’t read their comments…

On a lighter note I find it fascinating how the folks in my life all have a completely different focus. When I started learning the craft of writing well over a decade ago I heard multiple times that one should ‘”write within a niche”, and “stick to a genre”. I’m not one to buck the system for no reason but in this case, one size definitely does not fit all. Obeying these instructions was hard for me because I tend to write what’s on my heart. Which has so far produced:

a blog I love writing, one semi-devotional sharing life lessons learned the hard way, a fiction book about the exploits of my crazy dog and his friends (some real, some imaginary), several children’s books about the fruit of the Spirit, a teen semi-dystopian book, a series of graphic novels offering possible solutions to major relationship issues, a random kids book about socks, another random kids book about a kid who gets sick, a book of short stories I had written for competitions but had no viable way to share other than in a compilation form, and something I can only describe as vaguely chick lit.

How’s that for focused genre? If I’d taken the ‘expert’s’ advice I’d have stopped writing on day one or been carted off to the funny farm years ago! Guess I’m the original square peg that won’t fit the round hole, huh? I’ve decided God made us all unique and my life mission has become to help others use that for His glory.

There. Now you know a little about the real me. I’d like to know a little about the real you. Are you up to sharing? The good, the bad, and the working-on? Seriously. I’d love to connect. I promise – what happens here stays here. You have my word.

Kari, the carer and sharer

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

Whosoever

Most people who have met Jesus for real know some of Romans and may even know 10.30 specifically – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

I’ve read it many a time over the 26 years since I yielded my will to my Father but I the other day I totally got a whole new revelation. Aren’t you glad His mercies come like that? New? Stale mercy wouldn’t cut it for me, I’m afraid. I need the fresh stuff, and I need a whole lot of it. The revvy came from that Smith Wigglesworth book of sermons I mentioned recently. Simple concepts really float my boat, because they speak volumes. Here’s the very Karified version of his deep revvy: whosoever will, by definition, means there’s a whosoever won’t. Duh.

I’d never really thought about this concept before but, as we all know 🙂 Newton’s third law states firmly that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I’d rather have brains than pedigree, any day. Which reminds me of an old Amway saying from decades ago: “some will, some won’t… so what! Next!” I’m not quite sure that’s the kindest gospel approach but it’s a good idea to keep in mind. (Sorry. Magpie moment.)

We are put here, I believe, for two primary reasons. To love God, and add to His family. How we individually work on the second is completely up to us but I highly advise that it be Spirit-led. Just this morning I heard a man I respect say we shouldn’t put more in our IRA than our ERA (eternal investment account). Good point. Which brings us back full circle to the first idea, Matthew 6.33, seek first God and His kingdom. I don’t have the former – yet – but I plan to increase the latter every day I live. Hope you do too, dear reader.

Passion is contagious, even if a little misguided at times. I heard a story about a preacher flying home who felt like he was just plain worn out. He happened to be seated next to a young chap fresh out of a convention on, of all things, enemas, and this guy was stoked to the max. Talk about ‘motivational speaker’! The pastor had to repent for losing his fire… since he had the eternal rather the temporal to offer those he met in life.

Some helpful soul told me years ago I needed to, “temper zeal with wisdom.” As a baby believer at the time, I thought they were quoting the Bible. They were not. Another heavy revvy there for me. If it ain’t in the Bible I can go one of two ways. That one was a throw-away. Gotta go with William P. Yount (author of The Shack) on this – I’ll take a verb over a noun, any day! […meaning action over passivity, in case I was unclear].

Upon this whole idea of ‘whosoever’ having two sides of a coin I decided I’m liable to change allegiances at any time. If it’s a God thing I’m a definite will. If it’s not, I’m gonna go with the won’t.

Where and how we spend our forever is up to us. It all boils down to belief and behaviour. Period. I’m on the Lord’s side. Always. Your thoughts?

Kari, the positively whosoever

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

The Price of the Dance

is repentance. Some are willing to pay it, while others are not. Choose, or refuse. It really is that simple. My former pastor used to say that Truth (God’s Word) is the new hate speech. Ten years ago. It’s becoming truer every day. I see our country choosing things that violate my core beliefs and even ‘Christians’ seem unconcerned. The whole “what’s right for you doesn’t have to be right for me” idea gives folks options I honestly don’t believe the Constitution, or even the concept of freedom of speech and expression, ever intended. The head of John the Baptist is severed, the call to repentance now silenced. Where do things go from here? Downhill. Fast.

If you don’t meet John, you’ll never will meet Jesus.

What am I talking about? Choices. A classic example of this occurs in Mark 6. Verse 22, to be precise. But you’ve got to have the backstory of verse 18, where John had called them both out, and one ‘nurses a grudge’, verse 19. A good life choice? Wrong. Eventually ‘the opportune time’ came for revenge, verse 21, and as we all know, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. (Many believe we have William Congreve to thank for that little gem, btw.)

We all face a dance or two with Salome. What we do with the dance influences not just our future but those who follow behind. You can’t do wrong and get right results. Stop before the dance is done and there’s space for grace. Dance the last step and you’ll pay the piper. Or your step-daughter, as the case may be. Hence verses 22, 23 and 24. You think you know cost and you’ve covered all the bases but I promise, you don’t. And you haven’t. The devil will always make sure the price is way more than you are willing to pay. He’ll demand payment when you’re not ready. And it will never, ever be worth it. Like verses 27 and 28.

Historians claim that Herod actually liked John and wanted to listen to what he had to say. Yet for the sake of a good night’s sleep with a wife John believed he had no business having, Herod decides to throw John in jail. Wrong again. Perhaps he thought that would placate his wife. Wrong yet again. He liked Jesus too. Just not enough to act.

I have to wonder – how many times has a young girl’s twerking body made a man act irrationally? Only God knows. Turns out, even a king is not immune to feminine wiles. What’s sad is that it was her own mother who put the girl up to it. That’s the thing about flirting with sin. It’s deceptive. You never see the truth until it’s too late to change. Someone I respect highly says hurt feelings buried alive never die. I agree. They grow.

A wise man once told me you never know a life-defining moment when you’re in it. I suspect Herod would agree. My prayer today is that we would have the common sense and the strength of character to choose wisely, at the start of every dance we get.

Kari, the dancing-with-Jesus gal

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Food for Thought, perhaps

Yielding

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

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