karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

Archive for the month “December, 2019”

Angry Birds

OK, angry homo sapiens, but I liked this title better.

I so appreciate the Amplified version of God’s holy Word. It breaks it down and makes it simple for me. Yes there’s a ton of words to read but it gives insight into what I might not get otherwise.

Take Matthew 5.22 for instance. “But I say I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart). against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable…” (emphasis mine).

It goes on to call that person an “empty-headed fool unable to escape hell,” but it’s long and wordy. I do encourage you to read it some time.

So here’s the thing. God makes it quite plain that anger is a natural emotion but to keep it is a choice. I personally know several ‘birds’ I would describe as angry and one more a harborer of resentment. You probably do too. In my 50 something years of life I’ve only come across two people (that I know of), one who refused to forgive me for one simple, though to their mind rash, action, and one for inappropriate, to their mind, timing.

I interceded hard for the former, once they bothered to tell me and refused my apology, for three days – on the fifth day I found out they had died in their kitchen. Possibly angry. At me. But here’s the kicker: for something I didn’t even know I had done! I was told on the sixth day they had mental issues. That doesn’t lessen the grief. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. I repented to God and to them, I prayed for them and asked God to change their heart, but they have a part in the process.

The resentment harborer has avoided me ever since the so-called incident, and even forbidden someone very precious to associate with me, which leads me to my next point: anger is never solitary. It always affects those around you. Not to mention your own walk with God.

No wonder James tells us it’s ok to be angry but don’t sin. Which tells me God doesn’t have a problem with the emotion – He gave it to us – He has a problem when it’s used unwisely. Righteous anger is healthy, and usually brings about change for good. Wrongly directed anger is unhealthy, sometimes fatal. Every media report I have ever read about highschoolers killing highschoolers mentions at some point that the perpetrators were angry. I believe it opens more doors than we can possibly foresee. I’m writing a YA novel about that very thing.

The ‘malice’ part really stuck with me. One of those angry birds often talks about the past; his words make it clear he has overflowing resentment toward a great many people. Which might explain some of his destructive life choices. He blames PTSD, bipolar, manic depressive symptoms for what he sees as his crummy life but we all have some influence over our actions. Just last night he talked at length of how he “enjoys seeing God’s justice” come on those who have crossed him. I realized it was futile to mention he might want to rethink the motivation there.

Which led me full circle back to me myself and I. Yes, I’m the first to tell you I’m no angel but I refuse to intentionally harbor malice or anger against anyone for anything. I choose to live every minute of every day like it’s my last. I want to win souls and influence eternities while I’m here, and take a bunch of folk with me when I go. Spiritually speaking.

Feel free to share your thoughts. I’m always interested in new perspective.

Kari, the so-not-angry-bird

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

Groundhog Day

Do ever feel like your day is full of wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed, rinse and repeat? I’ve been going through that a lot recently and didn’t know what to do about it. Then I had a God-wink that changed everything.

You may have heard the phrase ‘Ready, Set, Go,’ probably at the start of a race or a game. Being the rather random redhead that I am, God teaches me in oh so practical ways.

I was listening to a teaching by Robert Morris (who happens to be one of my heroes in the faith btw) explain how to hear from God. He simplified it to the point where I got fresh revelation, one of many things I appreciate about him. Yep. A major ah-ha moment happened right in the middle of this random redhead’s living room. It’s a ‘get ready, get set, go!’ thing. Here’s why.

Basically what he said was: find a time and a place; listen to worship music; read the Word; grab a notebook and expect God to speak. Not in those words, but that was the bottom line.

So for me that became: Get Ready – right place, right time, right reason; Get Set – prepare your heart; Go! – read mindfully; listen intensely; write what He says.

I’ve heard many teachings on the subject of hearing from God over the years but they just complicated it for me, adding more things to my already long to-do list. Now I have a doable. Starting this morning I put the plan into action and was blown away results.

It brought a whole new meaning to Psalm 119 verse 11, Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. It’s all in they eye of the beholder. Or bereader. Do you see law? Or freedom? Now I see total freedom. Another thing I value highly.

This comes right in line with another thing heavy on my heart right now – taking Christ out of Christ mas. There IS no ‘holiday’ without breath in your body, and He’s the One who gives it. Another free take-away I got was this: When your values are shallow, so are your victories.

I’m so not shallow, and don’t do well around those who are. To be honest, I’m afraid nothing about me is shallow. I was born that way. I’m passionate about almost everything. Especially people.

I will fight for the soul of this nation as long as I’m breathing. I won’t give up, back up, shut up, or compromise what I believe. That’s my New Years forever resolution.

Your thoughts? Seriously. I’m interested.

Kari, the born fighter

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

The Little Engine That Can

One of my children’s favorite books growing up was ‘The Little Engine That Could’. Most folks on the planet know of it but just in case you happen to be one that doesn’t, here’s a Karified cliffnotes version: it’s about the little guy who has confidence issues but also a whole lot of courage. And he was ready to what Joyce Meyer calls, “step out and find out.” He has my respect simply for going against the status quo when it oppresses the weak.

The moral of the story is great for character-building in young children and I applaud it, but may I recommend one tweak? He thinks he can. And it does produce results. But God says we CAN do all through Him. Not we think we can. So, define ‘all’. Does it have a limit?

Can we do or have or claim anything our selfish selfie-driven mind can possibly conceive?

You can’t take one attribute of God without all the others that come with it. His Word is the same. You don’t get to pick and choose. The Bible is kind of an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s the Ten Commandments, not the Pick-your-flavor commandments.

Philippians 2 verses 3 and 4 say we, as Christ’s own, are to do nothing – yep, nothing – from selfish ambition, and that we should be concerned about ‘the interests of others’. Which would imply that we can think and dream and pursue anything we want as long as it lines up with His will and His way.

There are many things in life we ‘can’ do, but, like John Bevere says, “is it good, or is it God?” They’re not always one and the same. The Holy Spirit knows all, and He is assigned to teach us if we ask Him but we have to be willing to submit to what He says.

As for me, one of my daily prayers is Lord, I submit to Your will and Your way, in Your time. Are you with me?

I pray God will bless you and yours richly this Christmas and the whole new year to come.

Your comments are valued.

Kari, the little redhead who can!

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

Mirror Mirror

Society thrives on Instagram selfie-driven perfect fake photoshopped lives but the truth is stranger than fiction. A mirror shows us what we look like, but not who we are, deep down as a person. We can work on the outside all we want but only God can fix a heart.

The world says, monkey see monkey do. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5.1 to be imitators of God, and all through Proverbs, He warns us to carefully monitor what we allow in our eyes and ears.

There is a scientific term known as Mirror Neurons I happen to find fascinating, and thought you might too. According to the Great Wiki we all know and love,

“A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another (emphasis mine). Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting…”

“In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex, and the inferior parietal cortex.”

There is, however, “intense debate” on this subject, as in almost any other in life. In laymen’s terms what they are claiming is that many times both humans and primates react in the exact same way, whether they are actually living, or simply observing, the experience. Children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend almost 6 1/3 hours glued to the tv, and almost 79% of 8 year olds have one in their bedroom. Which not only increases viewing by an average of 1 extra hour a day but also begs the question: who’s monitoring consumption? According to pediatrics.aappublications.org,

By 18 years of age, the average young person will have viewed an estimated 200,000 acts of violence on television alone.

Studies have revealed that children and adolescents can and do easily access violent media that are deemed inappropriate for them by the various rating systems and parents.”

Added to that, “… as teenagers increasingly use the Internet, they are exposed to violence there as well; a survey of more than 1500 10-to-15-year-olds revealed that 38% had been exposed to violent scenes on the Internet. Video games also are filled with violence.

Again, monkey see monkey do. If scientists and psychologists are right and the brain interprets scenes viewed as actually experienced, then it explains a lot. Like why many youth today are so cynical and unfeeling. This is why I pray. And it could be a possible factor in increased school shootings of late. As a man thinketh… if 6 1/2 hours a day every day of the year the average kid is absorbing and assimilating someone else’s values with no parental input, (which is almost a full-time job, btw), is it any wonder America’s once rock solid values are slipping?

On a lighter note, speaking of experiences, I for one am convinced we all have a story – some I’ve heard are almost unbelievable. Here’s one you’ve probably never heard:

Did I ever tell you, dear gentle reader, that my husband once got arrested on a DWW charge? Yep. W. Drunk while walking. It’s the honest truth. The sad thing is that he left his car at home so he wouldn’t get in trouble with the law! (There’s a story there too…) Plus he lived 4 blocks from the bar. To hear him tell the story, he asked the officer, “What?! Did I sideswipe a rosebush? Trip over the tulips?”

So. Here is my prayer for us today, in this Christmas season –

We are dust, Heavenly Father. Yet You love us passionately. Touch our dust with Your divine, Lord. We need you desperately. Help us look at the blessings You provide daily, not the giants in our way. When we go through the wilderness it can kill us, or kindle a fire, we get to choose. We know there is never a victory without a battle. As for me, I’m on the Lord’s side and I refuse to allow my enemy to hold the mirror. God made me, and God alone holds the mirror to my reality. I pray for my friends and readers who have stumbled here today. Bless them with mirror neurons in tune with Your will and Your ways. Keep them from deception and help them be a catalyst for this generation, causing many to want to know You more and more. I pray this in Your precious name. Amen.

Kari, the kindled and kind

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

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

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/5/1495

Today

This is my prayer for you today, dear friend

Holding Loosely

This world loudly proclaims a great many things, not the least of which is that readers are leaders; it even asserts that readers are writers.

I disagree, on both counts. They ain’t necessarily so.

Sure, there’s a grain of truth there, as with most ideas, but for the large majority of mankind I’ve encountered in my short life on this planet I’ve found neither to be completely accurate.

I do, however, believe some are born communicators. Which is not the same thing as a leader, or a writer. There are good ones and bad in every camp. I’ve met a few.

Right now I’m reading a rather off-the-wall but nonetheless fascinating book entitled Twelve by Twelve. Whilst I don’t agree with his every philosophy he has a true writer’s soul, and the pure joy of enjoying his prose is something I’m rather unfamiliar with. It’s been decades since I read for the sheer beauty of words.

Here’s a for instance:

None of the factors of genuine wellbeing are closely linked to material possessions.” (emphasis mine.)

How true. Yet it took living in a shed in the middle of the woods to actually be still enough to internalize this. Distraction can speedily steal our joy of the simple things in life, and I allow it every day. Materialism and greed have a way of sneaking up on the most well-meaning of souls. Society is saturated with it, and it rubs off on the best of us.

Nothing changes until it’s admitted and confronted, yet in this “factory farmed Flat World” he has escaped, he can now examine aspects of himself that the busyness of modern living can force many to ignore. Permanently.

His opinion of such a meager and simplistic life slowly changes to the point where he considers it …”an exciting, if quixotic, experiment to create a fruitful life on the margins.” How I long to live such an uncomplicated existence.

This book has inspired me to slow down and enjoy my fleeting moments more. My life is almost half gone, according to Genesis 6, and I want to pay more attention to the second half, God-willing, and writing for the sheer joy of writing.

You?

Kari, the introspective and passionate believer

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

All In

Culture teaches us to constantly live by feelings. Selfies rule and masks abound. In the online world everything is perfect. Clothes. Hair. Makeup. Work. Marriage. Life. Unrealistic expectations with nary a tough day in sight.

Reality is quite another matter. Spending for millennials is out of control. Self-indulgence seems to be the rule of the day. All the while things we hide from those we know and love are eating us alive inside. Inadequacies. Fears. Foibles. Perfect is not a goal anyone can achieve for long. The Instagram world shows us our failures and weakness every day. I call it the IFT (IFeelTherefore) Syndrome.

I feel stupid, therefore I am. I feel ugly, therefore I am. I feel unloved, therefore I am. I feel unworthy, therefore I am.

It’s cousin, I Don’t Feel, is also alive and well. I don’t feel: healthy… successful… accepted… fulfilled… complete… therefore I am not. Fill in your own blank. We all struggle with something.

Yet 1 John 4 verse 8 says God is love. Get that. IS. Not has. Not might be. Possibly. Perhaps. At some point in the distant future. Is. Such a small word, with such huge ramifications. It’s hard for us to wrap our heads around but then again, what do we expect? He’s God. Immortal. Invisible. Omnipotent. Omnipresent. Nothing He is or does ever makes sense to the human brain. Including unconditional love. When we deny that Love we deny all He is, was, and ever will be. To us, and through us to others. In the wonderful words of Ann Voskamp, “If love isn’t shaped like a cross, then it’s not really love.” That is the definition of unending grace.

Focus today on Whose you are, not who you are. The flesh will drag you down in a heartbeat, preferably taking others along for the ride. That ‘steal, kill and destroy’ thing comes in many forms, some subtle, some direct. Holidays have a way of bringing out both the best and the very worst in people. What’s in the heart comes out sooner or later. God, or man. Where we pour our resources day by day – time, talent, and treasure – is a major clue to where we’re at spiritually. I admit I have all-about-me days. I hope I’m not alone.

When I find myself sinking into the pit of despair I have to tell myself one thing: think about what you’ve been thinking about gurl! Poor self-esteem eventually kills just as effectively as cancer. Don’t fall for the IFeelTherefore lies. You’ll never be enough, and you won’t always feel great every minute day. That’s why we need Jesus. He is, therefore we are. Think about all He is, and the fact that He has chosen to share it with you. Strength. Joy. Peace. Healing. That’s what it means to walk by faith. Take Him at His Word. He is trustworthy, and He never fails.

The busy Thanksgiving season is now over and many are gearing for the next coming attraction. I encourage you to remember to put some Christ in your Christ-mas this year. Take time to smell the coffee, not get caught up rush of gifts and guests, decorations and preparations, but to simply know, really know, deep deep down, perhaps even accept, for the very first time in your life, that you are loved. Just because you exist. You are enough. Because He is in you and for you and with you. And He is all in. Are you?

Kari, the loved, lovable, and loving

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

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