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

Archive for the month “October, 2019”

What’s Your Choice, Spear or Harp?

I want to be David so badly but I must admit, I’m often Saul. Interested in what I mean? Keep reading.

David often gets a bad rap. He did so much more than kill a giant and sleep with the wrong girl. He was gut honest with God and he admitted his faults. Unlike Saul.

Let me paint the scene for you. 1 Samuel 19.9 tells of a day when Saul was sitting in his house and decided to do a very strange thing. Sitting’ chillin’ in his pad – well, palace – he has a sword in his hand. Yep. You read that right. Tryin’ to relax, with a weapon in his hand. (That’s kind of a ‘duh’ to me, but hey, whatever floats your boat.)

Here’s the kicker; his mind is tormented to the point where he has no peace. Sittin’ on the couch with a sword in his hand ready for a fight, he has no peace. Ya think? So he decides to send for a musician. ‘Cos he’s figured out that’s the one thing guaranteed to bring him comfort.

Enter David. The sheep whisperer. Who’s been living way out in the fields somewhere, trying to obey his dad. Now he’s summoned to the palace, just trying to obey his king, who’s heard the rumor he can play some serious tunes.

So. Saul has a sword. David has a harp. Saul knows God’s hand had lifted from his life due to his own choices. He also suspects Dave is the replacement. The king has a moment, and attacks God’s newly anointed. Ever been there?

The sword leaves his hand and sticks deep into the wall by Dave’s head. My first question is, “dude, how could ya miss? You’re a king, experienced in battle!” The answer, I’m pretty sure, is, “nothin’ but God.” My next question -“you know he killed a giant, right? If you take aim you’d better make sure you don’t miss.” Yet he does. Why? I strongly suspect the same answer applies.

Dave does the next logical thing; he runs. So now I have another question. Who has the upper hand? In the natural it’s a no-brainer; for a game of Rock Paper Scissors, spear trumps harp every time. But it doesn’t. Next question; will you fight your battles in the natural, or in the spirit? I’ll chose worship, thank you. If I keep my hand on the harp the spear won’t harm you. Worship is stronger than any other weapon. But here’s the thing.

How many times have I? Have I what? Taken my hand off the harp. Let life suck the praise right out of me. Many. Yet God is so patient with me. It’s a new day and You have plans I want to be a part of. This is my prayer not only for me but for you also, dear reader. Simple, but heartfelt. Lord help us to keep my hand on the harp, and learn how to duck. When we bow to You we can face any king. And any thing.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the harp-chooser

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Purging the Grudge

My memory was jogged by a church sign, of all things, so for several days I’ve been pondering the fact that I had fully intended to and planned to comment on this explosive subject for quite some time. I’m finally brave enough to share my thoughts.

According to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (emphasis mine.) What God does, satan is sure to pervert.

Ecclesiastes 1.9 says that, “what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

According to Wikipedia, commenting on the story of Esther, not only did the king command the death of Haman and his ten sons, “All the enemies of the Jews” were additionally killed by the Jews, 75,000 of them.

I am admittedly a movie-holic, but I have my standards and they’re rock solid. When I first heard the titles of these two blockbusters I got chills all the way down my spine. You’ve probably heard someone tell you that “the end justifies the means”. I happen to disagree. It never has, and never will. That’s not how God works. He never ever imposes His will forcefully upon another, thereby taking away their freedom of choice.

What has been will be again…

Case in point:

This story may be fiction but the implications are frighteningly real.

“…the Purge has resulted in crime and unemployment rates plummeting to 1% and a strong economy.”

Sounds good, right? All that glitters is not gold, as Shakespeare quite rightly pointed out.

“…it is actually used as a method of artificial population control… it has also increased tourism as foreigners enter the US solely to participate in the Purge.”

Again, from a politicians point of view this sounds ideal. But… and there’s a big but…

“The film follows the experience of the Sandin family on Purge night of the year 2022. The family of four… along with their neighbors, show their patriotism and support for the national holiday by displaying blue flowers on their front stoops (emphasis mine). The Sandins bunker down into their home to wait out the ensuing violence of the next twelve hours caused by revelers “purging” their unproductive emotions of hate, jealousy, and rage in a flurry of statesanctioned mayhem, destruction, and murder (emphasis mine). Citizens rationalize the suffering… by citing the country’s unprecedented peace, prosperity, and wealth.”

For whom? Human beings have a way of rationalizing the most inhumane behavior in the most unusual ways. When we lose such traits as empathy and basic human kindness society will degenerate into this imaginary reality where we as people have no compassion or integrity. Are you sensing an all-too-familiar pattern here?

Another case in point:

“The Grudge describes a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage or extreme sorrowThose who encounter this supernatural force die, and the curse is reborn repeatedly, passing from victim to victim in an endless, growing chain of horror.”

The Bible makes it clear that unless we repent, the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the sons. When we accept the gift of Jesus and give Him our life we are freed from the curse. Without Him we are indeed under the sway of unseen supernatural forces, who want to steal, kill, and destroy everything good. In my younger days I often wondered why horror movies seem to be more prolific the older I get, but a wise man offered a suggestion that made sense. In Paul’s day audiences watched Christians fed to the lions. It was a spectator sport. Packed-out stadiums full of fans watched people torn to pieces and eaten. Some think that barbaric. But here’s the thing… we still do it.

Nowadays we may not kill physically but we do it in the theatre of our mind. Through our eyes and our ears. What we see and hear ends up in our heart and mind. Thoughts are powerful, and so are choices. Harboring unforgiveness leads to so much more than ‘a growing chain of horror’; it leads to the wrong destination. We are eternal beings and as such we will never die; we only get one shot at choosing our forever home, yet statistics show we would rather fill our moments with pleasure.

I think I’ll change my choices today and seek first the kingdom of God, since I know better and temporal choices have everlasting consequences. I’d like to encourage you today to make sure we as His children choose wisely. And bring others along for the ride. Are you with me?

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+1%3A9&version=NIV

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haman#Haman_in_the_Hebrew_Bible

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purge

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The Grudge

By the way, you might be interested in this… I sure was…

https://www.adl.org/sites/default/files/documents/assets/pdf/civil-rights/stop-islamization-of-america-2013-1-11-v1.pdf

https://m.facebook.com/AnniAynazCyrus/photos/in-islamic-iran-daily-chants-of-death-to-america-were-forced-upon-aynaz-and-all-/2154549208202536/

Kari, the righteous-minded set-apart-one

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The Nose Knows

Intellectually almost everyone of the planet will agree, if they are honest, that what we hang around rubs off. 1 Corinthians 15.33 says that “bad morals corrupt good character.” A visiting pastor gave the message this morning, and he took this concept a little further: you smell like what you’ve been with. I know this be true: I’ve experienced it myself.

I had a friend over two decades ago who was recognized as a ‘pillar’ in the church. And rightly so. She was. A loving, kind, extremely devout mother, sister, and Christian, I have nothing bad to say of her even if I wanted to. Which I don’t, because I’m more of a glass-half-full kind of gal. Anyone can tear down; I’d rather build up.

One thing you probably don’t know about me, dear reader, is that I have a very sensitive nose. No idea why, but it’s a plain true fact. It was a major pain in science class and I often had to leave the lab for 5 minutes of fresh air. This nose of mine got me in quite a bit of trouble growing up, because I didn’t have much tact and I sensed things many weren’t sensitive to. Especially smoke.

One Sunday morning I smelled cigarettes on this wonderful woman and it shocked me so much, I couldn’t stop the comment that escaped my lips. She looked at me wide-eyed, like I’d had a word of knowledge or something and aired her dirty laundry in public, although we were alone at the time.

Apparently shame and guilt had brought her to the point where she felt she had to hide her actions. This saddened me greatly. I would never condemn a friend caught up in an addiction; I just want them to find a way of escape. I assured her I loved her and that my opinion of her hadn’t changed, but I didn’t have the courage in that moment to ask if she wanted help.

I never forgot the anguish I felt. It showed me that for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, what we hang around speaks loud and clear, whether we are aware or not. It occurred to me today that I probably don’t hang out with my Father as much as I would/should/could, so the fragrance of Christ is not continually upon me. I’m so thankful for a new day, and the chance to change my choices. I’m determined to hang out more with the Vine so I’ll smell more like Him.

Are ya with me?

Kari, the sweet smelling branch

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Out of the Frying Pan

… and Into the Fire. Actually, it was more like Smashed into the Floor and On the Ceiling but still… that doesn’t sound way near as cool.

I can’t seem to get away from the fire idea. Not sure why. So here’s a cute story God taught me many things through. Hope this encourages you in some way to be all that you can be and fulfill your life’s calling.

It began on a morning several months into our new marriage, (3 1/2 years right now), and my man was making breakfast. We were learning about each other and he does many things differently. I was in the back of the house folding laundry. All of a sudden I heard a humongous crash. Rushing into the kitchen I found a confused-looking husband, a frying pan on the floor, and eggs on the ceiling. I kid you not.

My mind was like, “what the flip, dude?” Turns out he’d left the pan too close to the edge of the stove. It decided to try and commit suicide, probably due to maltreatment. (He’s not quite as gentle with things as I am). My round, fairly shiny frying pan is not quite so any more.

I have to wonder how many times I’ve left the frying pan of my life too close to danger, and suffered for it. Trusted people with the frying pan of my heart who later showed themselves to be untrustworthy. Opened the frying pan of my mind, or eyes, or ears, to something I later regretted.

That poor frying pan looks definitely the worst for wear. Unfortunately for the frying pan I’m rather stubborn. It takes a lot more than a death-defying leap to defeat me. The frying pan is no longer round, yet not really oval either. It is, however, still a frying pan, and therefore useful to me.

Dear reader, I encourage you today to allow the fire of the Holy Ghost to ignite your life. Who knows? You might turn out to be just like the frying pan. Useful to the Owner. Dings and dents and all.

Kari, the dinged-up-but-much-loved-daughter-of-the-Most-High

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Yolo – Start One or Fan One

I have it on good authority that this little tidbit means You Only Live Once. Unless, of course, you’re Hindu and believe in reincarnation. Which I’m not. And I don’t.

I do, however, have a What, When, Where, Why for you, dear reader. It’s one of those good/bad scenarios. I’m constantly amazed at how good can come out of the greatest tragedy. It’s truly a God thing.

Since I’m originally from England I decided to celebrate that heritage this month with a Question of the Day. So here goes:

What: The Great Fire of London

When: 1066.

Where and Why: to be fair it was never proven, but historians think a spark from a baker’s oven in Pudding Lane started it – such a cool name!

I have to wonder how the spark spontaneously ignited though, I must admit.

The next logical question is: why would a fire ever be a good thing?

Well, the fleas on the rats caused the Great Plague and the fire 🔥 was a good thing because it got rid of them. Yes, people died. But so did all the rats.

As a sidebar: the reason it got out of control so fast is partly due to the fact that houses were built of wood back then and it had been an excessively hot summer. Second, it happened around midnight or 1am so most folks were asleep and didn’t realize ’till it was way out of hand.

I tell this story to illustrate my point: a fire can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether it has established boundaries. It can warm a house or destroy a city. Like almost anything in life, excess usually kills. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

God tells us in 2 Timothy 1 verse 6 to “fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…” but for many that fire we got at salvation becomes a barely glowing ember, in large part due to inattention. All through Proverbs Solomon tells us to, “attend to my words”, yet it seems busy-ness attacks us all and priorities shift, often without notice. Which might be why God tells us our minds need a daily renewing.

Today dear reader I’d like to encourage you to light a fire. In yourself, yes, but also in others. Start one or fan one, depending on how hot the flame was when you first got started. They may even thank you for it. And now you know all about The Great Fire of London, go out and win friends and influence people with your wit and your wisdom!

Catch somebody’s heart on fire today. Burn bright for Jesus.

Kari, the fire-tender

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The Up side

I’ve been thinking a whole lot recently about the story in Matthew 25, the ‘talents’. Yes, it refers to money but, like all of Jesus’ stories, there is a spiritual meaning also. To me ‘talent’ means life. What we pour our moments, money, breath, plans, dreams, mental or physical energy into.

Verse 30 in the Amplified Bible says,

And throw out the worthless servant into the outer darkness; in that place [of grief and torment] there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].

I’ve read it many times but hadn’t really stopped to think on what He actually says here until today. I’m not sure about you but the extra details caught my attention. I started wondering how if must feel to be in a “place of grief and torment”, and how not using my talents wisely will inevitably lead to “distress and anger”.

So the next question I have is why? Why sorrow and pain? The guy had the chance to work his talent while he was alive; how come it took death for him to see the big picture? Which leads me to: why distress and anger? It’s a little late for regret, dude. Ya can’t change your choices now. How come I for one often have to lose something to miss it?

Every gift He gives us we are responsible for using. It pretty much boils down to three things: gifts, passions, and opportunities. We are given the talents two things. Glorify our Father, and serve others.

I’m more of a problem-solver than a problem-finder by nature and I totally believe in win-wins because if one side loses, we all lose. There really is no up-side with this guy. He was entrusted to be a caretaker of his master’s property but that privilege bore no weight with him. Stewards don’t have the liberty to choose when and how, or even if, they will invest what is not theirs. They’re supposed to simply weigh the pros and cons, then act in a way that will bring the most profit to the owner.

In the words of C. S. Lewis, “Aslan is on the move” all around us but I’m afraid often fail to notice. Today I pray for an awareness that I bring kingdom power everywhere I go, investing God’s wealth wisely and producing a great ROI because it’s His agenda that counts in eternity, not mine.

Kari, the up-sider

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Farmers, Farriers and Stable Boys

These are words uttered by a central character in the movie the Lord of the Rings. How profound is that? God says He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, 1 Corinthians 1.27, and the ignored and rejected, unimportant and unnoticed, are definitely a foolish thing, yet they won the battle.

Don’t ever despise yourself and your place in God’s plan. He will use anything we submit for His glory. I’ve discovered peace comes in three parts and if one is missing, it shows. We need peace with ourselves, peace with God, and peace with others. The first seems to be the hardest for most folks I come across. Others struggle with the third, but self-forgiveness is just as vital as God’s forgiveness for a healthy life. If God says He forgives us the minute we as, who are we to ignore that? Are we greater than our Creator?

I’m a problem-solver by nature; I see the problem, but I choose to focus on the promise. How I treasure Romans 8.1, knowing in my heart that “there is therefore now no condemnation…” If I fulfill the other part, to be ‘in Christ Jesus’ and called by Him, choosing not to walk in the flesh but yielded to the Spirit, the condemnation never comes. Not from my Father, at least. It might from myself, or even from others, but not from the One who holds my next breath in His hands. Hallelujah! That’s shouting ground right there! If that don’t light your fire I agree with a preacher I know – your wood is wet!

Here are some words to think on as you face the new and exciting future God has planned for you day by day:

“It is my desire that you seek to be at peace with yourself, with others, and with Me, says the Lord. It is very difficult to accomplish anything worthwhile and lasting when you are unsettled and in turmoil. It is imperative for you to establish yourself in a place of tranquility if you want to truly live in freedom.

1 Peter 3:10-12 For He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

October 2, 2019, http://www.ft111.com, Small Straws

I pray this encouraged you today as much as it encouraged me.

Kari, the foolish farmer

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The Come-Back Queen

Today I became my daughter. And if I said I was totally ashamed of myself I’d be lying. I’m only half ashamed.

My youngest child, Sara, showed signs of developing that famous British sense of humour, also known as dry wit, at a very early age. I don’t entirely blame her, since I was born there and didn’t land stateside until the tender age of 25. Must be in the genes.

I remember she’d be half asleep and still able to find a snappy comeback to almost any random comment, including “good morning, my love.” The comment wasn’t always kind but it was always funny, so although I was sometimes tempted to be hurt I really couldn’t be because girl was so flippin’ creative. Case in point:

“Mummy I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing near you.” Yeah. Right.

Like I said, I’m afraid I became my daughter today.

Because of the witch-hunt my Facebook home page has become through friend comments I rarely go there. I’ve become rather a Twitter-holic to be honest, because I find the tribe there are a lot less judgmental and complaining. Maybe it’s just the guys I seem to gravitate toward but they are all about Jesus and encouraging others.

On Twitter it constantly amazes me the things I get a chance to do; pray, laugh, cry, learn, make friends, even occasionally comment on political and social happenings. Many condemn social media as a total waste of time, which it can be if not used wisely, but when the motivation is right it can touch hearts and influence destinies, something I’m all about.

But today I became my daughter. And I am half-ashamed of myself.

A friend posted two things that had me in fits of giggles. I laughed so hard today my sides hurt. A merry heart really does the soul good, as Proverbs 17.22. To my chagrin, I was laughing ‘near’ someone and trying very hard not to laugh ‘at’ them. Different personalities have always fascinated me and I honestly think introverts get a bum rap. I’ve got friends that are just like me and friends that are nothing like me. God help the world if everyone was just like me. Boy, would we be in trouble!

Research proves that bitterness causes umpteen diseases but laughter heals. On this sunny North Carolina morning I highly encourage you to laugh, dear friend. It really does a body good. Not to mention a mind. Trust me. I should know. I’m ready to take on the world!

Kari, the laughing lover of God

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Unchanging Change

I thought about calling this Promises for Potholes, and yes, the blog today is all about the faithfulness of our Maker, but it’s really about the Unchanging One changing. Which is not an oxymoron. I’d like to tell you why.

But first… I have to give a shout-out right here to a man I respect highly, who truly has a gift for ‘KISS’. Keep It Simple, Sara! I thank God for those among the true church who can make deep theological concepts clear for me. Hey, this ex-Brit, uber-extrovert sanguine highly random redhead from Reading, England has no problem admitting when she’s in over her head. I tend to get there a lot. I’ve faced the whole ‘there are discrepancies in the Bible so why believe it?’ convo more times than I care to recall but today, one of my heroes, Robert Morris, shared something I’ve never heard taught before.

There are verses in the Bible that claim God doesn’t change, then you flip a bit further on and you find He does. I had always wondered “what’s up with that?”. Now I know. I’m not a jots and tittles gurl so I’d have never been enlightened on this without sweet Rob.

Despite what you may have been taught (and I was), the word ‘repent’ in the original Hebrew has nothing to do with grieving over sin. It’s not about sin at all. It means simply to change your mind. Which is why some versions of the Bible use ‘repent’ and ‘relent’ interchangeably. When God says He does not change, He’s talking about His character. When God says He does change, He’s talking about His mind.

Now it makes sense. When you break it down to grass roots ideas even a redhead can get, you’ve accomplished a lot in my book. And I for one am thankful that the Unchanging One changes from time to time.

I highly encourage you to listen to sweet Rob’s whole message. I don’t know the name of the sermon title, but he told the story of Jonah in a way you can’t help but laugh right along with him. In this time of self-iso I find I need all the humour I can get in a day. Perhaps that’ll help you narrow down your google search, should you care to listen.

Kari, the changed and changing

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