karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

Archive for the month “March, 2020”

Excess Baggage

Here’s the thing. It’s never good. As far as I can tell. It weighs you down. Slows you down when you do get moving. Keeps you off airplanes.

Life tries to hand us baggage, doesn’t it? Stuff we don’t want and wouldn’t choose. Like guilt. Pain. Betrayal. Resentment. Bitterness. Distrust. Unforgiveness. It may smolder just below the surface but it’s there. Sometimes I feel like Paul on the ship when he told the captain to throw everything overboard. It’s definitely time to lighten the load.

Matthew 6.15 says if we don’t forgive we can’t be forgiven. Not wont. Can’t. Big difference. The Amplified version takes it a step further, as it’s liable to do, telling us that nurturing hurt and anger interferes with a closeness to the One who loves us most. Walls and fences may make for good neighbours but they definitely don’t make successful interpersonal relationships. Upward (God) or outward (people). Which is the whole point.

I’ve heard it said Jesus was a master networker and I would have to agree. He had a way of bringing like-minded folk together for a common goal. God’s will. Yet He was also a catalyst.

According to Dictionary.com, here’s the is the meaning of catalyst:

“something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected.
a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.
a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.

I can definitely go for that.

Here’s the Karified version:

Something or someone that either attracts or repels surrounding forces but never leaves them unchanged.

When folks encountered Jesus they could not leave the same. Whatever was in their heart was revealed, even amplified, in His presence, which was one of the reasons the religious right of His day didn’t care much for Him. He called them out on their hypocrisy and they reacted defensively, concerned more about outward appearance than inward growth.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve been both a humble hungry fisherman and a self-satisfied religious right, but one of my common prayers is for clean hands and a pure heart. I want to see the Lover of my soul. In this life as well as the next. I want to be a vessel He can work through. And to do that I might have to drop a little excess baggage but it’ll be worth it.

How about you? Is there something you might want to drop today, to lighten the load?

Tell me. Seriously. I’m interested.

Oh, did I tell you? I’ve decided on a definite tag line:

Kari, the catalyst, winning souls and influencing destinies –

waddya think?

Kari, the light traveller

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com


20 Creative Uses for Paper Clips

An amazing list of 20 creative uses for paper clips that you didn’t even know you needed!

20 Creative Uses for Paper Clips

I just have to reblog this from a God gal pal of mine. She’s so flippin’ creative! Who’d have thunk it? The humble paper clip. Whatever will she think of next? Michelle, you so rock!

Freedom Road

Something is really heavy on my heart today. I’m starting to see people daily walking away from Christ, some who even claim to have known Him for decades. As much as it grieves me deeply I want to ask them just one thing – why you would turn your back on the only One who can help when we all face the inevitable trials of life?

God has been so good to me I will gladly offer my allegiance to Him for the rest of my days. It’s the least I can do. I mean that sincerely. I was born dead, and according to medical science I should not be here. Every soul I touch and impact in this earth, either positive or negative, is an impact that should not exist. That puts eternity in perspective for me in a very real way.

Life is full of choices, but here’s the thing; the Bible talks about the ‘broad’ way and the ‘narrow’ way. Those choices lead to words. Words lead to actions. Actions lead to a behaviours. Behaviours lead to lifestyle. Freedom, or bondage, we decide which. It’s a road. We travel it every day, with every choice we make, whether we like it or not, whether we are aware of it or not ;we are walking toward Christ or away from Him every minute of every day.

The world says the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I would have to agree. Conversely, the road to Heaven is paved with submission to the Creator of all things, including you. A wise man once told me, “God is large, and in charge.” This helps me remember to focus on the right side of the equation, which I consider the Kingdom of God. Especially when the culture makes laws that go against my core beliefs. When a man in authority tells me this is not a Christian nation. When a virus with no known cure breaks out and many choose to welcome the spirit of fear with open arms, either actively or passively. I’d rather go with peace, personally. Right believing leads to right living.

The New King James puts it this way in Matthew 7 verses 13 and 14:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it”, (emphasis mine).

I could be wrong but the words “go in” and “find” speak to me of choice. Thought. Contemplation. Deliberation. Action.

The Amplified goes a little deeper, telling us that narrow way is “contracted by pressure”, making it even clearer. God never promised us an easy life; He did promise us an unspeakably wonderful future life. With Him. For ever. No sin, death, or taxes. (I’m especially excited about the last one…).

When your Maker is your mirror, none can define you but Him. Dear friend, I encourage you today to ponder the path your feet, thoughts, acts and life and taking, and if you’re not on the straight and narrow one, consider a change of route. You won’t be sorry.

Kari, the path-ponderer-and-narrow-way-walker
all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

PS. I can highly recommend this book. I rarely do this, but I make an exception here. He is one of my fave authors ever. Frank takes the internal struggle with sin and makes it visceral, showing on the outside.

Live Long and Prosper

At the risk of offending anyone (including Harlan Ellison fans), Star Trek scriptwriters, witty and creative though they were, did not come up with this idea.

Genesis 6.3 clearly tells us God wants us to live long; as for prospering, 3 John 1.2 covers that – and it’s not just money the writer is praying for. It’s life. God also reminds us constantly that He, and only He, is the Creator of all that is seen and unseen, known and unknown. Ecclesiastes 1.9 says there’s nothing new ‘under the sun’. Including fandom movies and iconic phrases.

You don’t have to believe me but as the Borg quite rightly pointed out, “resistance is futile.” God said it, and His Word endures forever. The only true Creator is the One Who made you and everything else in the universe, according to John 1.3. The fight’s been fixed from the beginning of time. It’s already done. Jesus won.

Do you know Him? If we are In Christ we may be flawed – everyone born is, thanks to Adam – but we are also faultless. You may not be convinced of this but if you have truly accepted Jesus as not only your Savior but your Lord (and that’s an important distinction we’ll get to a little later), when God looks at you He looks at you through Jesus, His Son. I didn’t get the concept for many years, until one day I was praying and had a fleeting glimpse of a pair of sunglasses.

I tell folks all the time that I’m Missouri, the “show-me” state; when I get a picture I rarely forget the message. Maybe this doesn’t help you in any way but a lot of breakthrough and revelation in my life have come through parables, which, in my opinion, may as well have been called illustrated sermons. For me a picture truly does paint a thousand words. These are my “Ah-ha,” moments. They’ve been known to radically change my life’s trajectory in very tangible ways.

When you are what Hebrews calls ‘fully’ persuaded on an issue nothing can shake you. God sees you through His Son.

Unless, of course, you don’t belong to Him. It’s a choice we make daily.

Years ago there was a children’s song that proclaimed, “there’s a hole in the middle of your soul.” An empty soul will seek fulfillment, and to the undiscerning anything will do. However, a temporary fix can never cure an eternal longing. If you don’t believe in the One true God you’ll spend your whole life looking for love and a whole lot of other things in all the wrong places.

Over 5% of young women and almost 10% of young men over the age of twelve – yes, twelve – are now officially classified as ‘addicted’. To something. The devil starts early. Even before birth. No wonder our country is in such a mess. Choices don’t stay choices. They become chains. To Christ, or to something else. That’s what free will is all about.

Here’s the thing: salvation isn’t a one-time prayer prayed in church in front of a preacher. It’s a decision made over and over, every minute of every day for the rest of our life. The human spirit is never stagnant.; it’s moving constantly. The question is, which direction? There are only two – closer to or further away from its Maker. We get to choose which.

Why does the human soul crave the things of this world? I have a theory. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been feeding on the wrong things. Proverbs 27 verse 7 claims that to a hungry soul even the bitter is sweet. Yes, I enjoy a great many things but I choose to depend on and be controlled by only One.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the redhead addicted to Jesus and thankful for it

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



Cookies and Compliments

and crappy values. Those’ll mess up a life big time. They’re all centered on a common yet seriously flawed goal: self.

In a book I’m currently reading the author points out something I hadn’t really given much thought to: self-examination. We are often told to do this and I think it’s wise or we may find ourselves in deception, but I see her point; too much of it and the focus becomes us, not Jesus.

Solomon more than anyone who ever lived knows the reason why. Flesh is inherently fundamentally flawed. So when you use flawed logic on a flawed creation the results will be skewed in the wrong direction. There’s a time for desert but there’s a time for spinach too. Feel-good-gospel never changed a heart. Not permanently. And I’m getting a little sick of sugar-coated Christianeese.

Case in point: I recently watched a movie that fell into what I’ve come to think of as the 3M category. Mixed Message Media. Ask in a comment and I’ll share the movie name but for now I’ll share a couple of things that added up to one big huge gigantic colossal fail in my book.

Exodus 12.38 says, ‘and a mixed multitude went up also with them…’ (emphasis mine). The Bible doesn’t explicitly say who the “mixed” were, per se, but since the Isaraelites were leaving Egypt it’s a pretty good guess they dragged a couple of neighbors along for the ride. In numbers 11 it says they ‘murmured’ quite a bit, so it’s logical to think that mixed multitude might not have been the best influence on God’s chosen people.

Back to the movie. It centers around a newly widowed ad exec and a dance teacher. The guy talks of what he considers a deeper faith, going from what he unabashedly calls Casual Christianity to someone who will pray at the drop of a hat. Something I have no problem with. But… he comes across as just plain weird. Unless you compare him to his coworkers – by that standard he’s almost normal. As for the dance instructor, she’s been hurt by life and wants nothing to do with Jesus, naturally, and finds this praying thing very strange indeed.

There were small things throughout the whole movie that niggled me. It wasn’t until the final dance scene and improbable ending that it became clear why.

I do realize the whole idea of a dance competition is to seduce on as many levels as possible – that’s what the world does best – but her dress, in the immortal words of Alfred P. Doolittle, “done me in.” I honestly have no words to describe my shock and revulsion. I’m not even sure how it stayed on, to be honest.

What bothered me most is that the protagonist, the (Christian) ad man, appeared to have no problem with it. Er, no. So not happening. For the rest of that scene I focused on heads and refused to look any lower. This was a huge issue for me. The other epic fail for me was that early in the movie it becomes clear the leading lady suffered from an eating disorder as a teen that made her infertile. Yet in the final scene she is married to the protagonist, holding a brand new baby.

There were sooo many mixed messages in this film I don’t even know where to start. As much as it grieved me deeply I realize it’s nothing more than a reflection of current culture. Like the Roman theology after conquering new territory: keep all your gods, just add ours too. Christians are supposed to be a counter-culture. Not a blend-right-in.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke once wrote, and I agree. But balance is needed in all things: when you completely rely on what Second Chronicles 32.8 so succinctly calls ‘the arm of the flesh’, again, you’re starting with a faulty foundation.

Mushy gushy will never cut it, but condemnation hardens the hearer’s heart. Correction is needed, but it must come from a motive of authentic love or it’s worthless.

Yes, faith without works doesn’t work and the opposite is also true, but if we leave one out we’ll have the wrong equation. We have to be Mary and Martha both, at different times in our lives. In my opinion we’re not doing that good of a job winning the lost to Christ, especially in our homeland, the land of the free and the home of the brave, because we’ve kept our God and added the world too. Seasons change and we never change the gospel, ever, but perhaps we can rethink our approach? Just a thought.

Kari, the balanced Mary Martha

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

Dead, Dipped, Delivered

This is a book title I saw as I Amazon-browsed recently, something I’m prone to do, but I must admit, when reading the description the author lost me at, “proper exegesis”. What does that even mean?

Being a lifelong writer I have a deep love of words but I also appreciate clarity where possible. I don’t do well with highbrow intellectuals who talk on a level no one but the elite comprehend. I prefer to hang with those who can take profound things and explain them in simple terms. They totally float my boat. There’s apparently a term for this: “relatable”.

Jesus was the Master Relater. Whoever He met, wherever He was, He got down on their level and simply shared stories. Or got straight to the bottom line, if that’s what was necessary. Depending on where their heart was. He could connect with just about anyone sincerely hungry for Truth. And faith. He loved it when He encountered faith.

The Centurion got it. Matthew 8, 5 through 13 tells his story, and ends with Jesus commending him for his faith. But get this – he wasn’t even a Jew! Talk about heresy. Jews considered other nations as ‘dogs’. Yet the guy who snunk a face-to-face at night, I’m not so sure about. He was at lawyer and a ‘citizen of note’; maybe that’s why he was so concerned for his rep and decided to visit in secret. John 3, 1 through 11, tells the classic tale of someone who knew things cannot satisfy the hungry soul, yet for all his smarts he couldn’t take Jesus’ word for it.

How often do I strive for understanding when I know God’s thoughts and ways are way more than my peanut brain can handle? Yep. I’ve been Nicodemus. I’ve also been the centurion, convinced that nothing is impossible with God. Emotion will get you, every time. And coming from someone born dead, literally, I can totally relate to both.

How about you, dear reader? Do you ever find yourself in their place?

Seriously. Inquiring redheads want to know.

Kari, the dipped, double dead, and totally delivered

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

Movin’ on a Maybe

We all have Maybe Moments. Anyone can move on a ‘maybe’. But not everyone will.

I heard a well-known preacher once say that God told them He had called 5 other people before He spoke to them. How utterly soul-destroying to know you were supposed to step out in faith and start something but refused due to fear, then see someone living your dream, the one God gave you and wanted you to birth in the earth but you didn’t.

James 2.26 warns us that faith without works is dead (emphasis mine). I often wonder where his head was in that moment, as he was writing that, and how many folks he had personally known that either did or didn’t step out on a maybe. He probably saw the results of those choices too, for good or for bad.

How many times have I failed to step out on a maybe? I love how, in 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan and his armour bearer decide that “maybe” God is with them and they’re willing to risk their life and limb rather than just sit around in safety in the camp under a pomegranate tree like King Saul. The army even had the priest and the ephod with them, for goodness sake, yet they didn’t think to ask God what to do next. How many times have I failed to do that? Yep. I can so be a Saul.

We’re at the start of a brand new year, and studies show that 95% of all New Year’s resolutions fail within 6 months. I don’t believe in resolutions, I’m more interested in revolutions. So I’ve decided I’m gonna start one. I’m determined to step out on those maybes and, like Queen Esther, if I perish I perish. Not physically, but possibly socially, status-ly, definitely ego-ly. If I fall flat on my face I’ll know I died trying, not sitting under a pomegranate tree passively watching others act.

One of my New Years revolutions is to start a podcast. Which, if you knew me, would totally make you fall off your chair laughing. I’m fairly organized most of the time at work, but in my private life? Not so much. Now I find I’m being drawn to this techno geek world full of ‘feed’ and ‘metadata’, things I’ve heard of but never understood. How weird is that? Yep, I’m steppin’ out on a maybe. Your prayers would be appreciated…

Kari, the mover on a whisper of a maybe

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

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