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

Archive for the month “May, 2020”

Of Specks and Spots and Telegraph Poles

I refuse to be a Speck Inspector.

Confused? Let me explain.

Matthew 7 verse 3 admonishes us with a simple but painful thought – “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Ouch! How often have I been guilty of this? We find what we look for. God knows, others could find a bazillion issues with me; who am I to judge theirs? There’s a ton of ugly out there. Magnifying only makes it bigger. But big or small, ugly doesn’t add one positive thing.

You’ve probably met a Speck Inspector or two on your journey in life. I call them “so-no’s”, meaning I so don’t want to be like that. Whatever the that happens to be. There are a great many things I don’t want to be, but at the root of it all is Matthew 7.3. And verse 12 goes right along with it; do unto others…

I saw a tweet today that said we love patience in the driver behind us, but hate it in the one in front. How very true. Which makes me thankful for The Ultimate Do-Over. Commonly known as a fresh new day. A new chance to make new choices. Do new things. Try new ways. Make new friends. Embrace the positive and let go of negative. Oh, how I love the gift of a new day. God is the gift that keeps on giving, not National Geographic. (That’s just my own opinion, of course.)

I’ve started paying more attention to what I choose to magnify. And it is a choice. We’re all crazy; the question is… what kind of crazy are you? Everyone sins, it just comes in very personal flavours. For some it’s bitterness, for others it’s gossip. For still others, it’s false humility. Or gluttony. Or anger. Yes, sin is very personal.

I’m reminded today because we choose what we magnify, I’m trading in the magnifying glass for the mirror. It’s got to start with me. I can’t change anyone, but God can change me.

God is coming back for a church – which isn’t a building, it’s you – without spot or wrinkle.

I don’t want to live in what I’ve lost. The past is a frustrating place, full of “if only”s. I prefer to live in God’s plans for my future. It’s bright, full of hope and purpose and passion and joy. Now that’s somewhere I want to live.

Your thoughts?

The Danger of Drifting

In a selfie world filled with Me and My it can be a little hard not to drift from our core values every once in a while.

This became clear to me one day on a road trip to the beach a few years back. I tell folks I’m Missouri, the show-me state. Once you do, I rarely forget. God knows that, and teaches me spiritual principles that way. He knows it’ll stick. Right at the start of Psalm 24, as in verse 1, our Father, Maker of heaven and earth, declares that everything in them (heaven and earth) belong to Him. He made them, and He owns them. Which tells me He can and will use anything we give him, as long as we’re willing. So when well-meaning Christianettes tell me they ‘only’ read the Bible (usually said in a slightly demeaning way), I tell them I’m happy for them. Truly. I read it too. But for some reason I learn life lessons all over the place. From billboards to books, webinars to websites. From those I know are saved to the bone, and those I suspect when I see the fruit of their mouth wouldn’t know Jesus if He came up and shook their hand that day.

So I stop and pray. I guess it must be because I have a heart for teens who won’t go anywhere near a church – usually for good reason. Church hurt stinks. I’m well familiar with it.

In my stories and in my speech I believe in ‘breadcrumbs’, seeds of the gospel sown into daily life. Especially when writing fiction. After all, that’s a foolish thing if ever I saw one. Then again, I’m imitating. Just like Jesus. Modern-day parables, taking situations and turning them into stories. After all, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like a good story.

Those with eyes to see will, and those without… well, I pray they’ll retain those seeds and that others will come along and water them to the point where they have a come-to-Jesus moment. Back to the drifting. I’ve found that when I’m in the sea I tend to focus on the fun, not the peripherals. I’m likely to lose sight of the shore and when I finally look up, I’ve drifted. Sometimes a little, sometimes not so much. Which is why I like to take a rather oversized ostentatious lime green tote bag with me. So I can spot my spot when I’m nowhere near it.

It’s always a good thing to have what Frank Peretti calls a “fixed frame of reference”. For beach. Marriage. Friendship. Childrearing. Life. I should know. My first husband didn’t, and I saw the fruit of it, and the fallout. As we all know, when you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.

As hard as I try, digging my feet into the wet sand and holding on to something and weighing myself down and all kinds of other creative ways, I never can stop the drifting. Which possibly explains why I’m slightly obsessive about self-examination. I don’t want to drift to the point of no return.

 Are you thankful He’s the God of the do-over? Every single morning we get to make a change, if we choose. It takes a live fish to swim upstream and I’ve never been passive.

I’d like to leave you with a quote by Dean Freeberg, in the description of his book, Me to We: Grace is free to anyone who chooses it.” So now the question becomes… are you drifting, or choosing grace?

(As always, comments are highly encouraged.)

Kari, the un-drifting redhead

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

Traits Used, Traits Refused

Character is something both intangible yet, at the same time, very obvious. It’s something we either have or we don’t. It shows up in our values, our actions, our choices.

I love 1st Peter 3 verse 4 and 5, where God reminds us to value what He calls the “hidden man of the heart”, which He deems precious. Something the Father deems precious might be something we should think about paying a little attention to.

I heard a dear woman of God refer this morning to traits God refuses, and traits He uses. How profound it seems to me today, in a country with a racial divide as wide as the sea, where many now use their freedom of speech to make it clear the duly appointed leader is “not my president” – completely disregarding due process and the fact that others in this fine country may possibly perhaps disagree somewhat with that opinion – I’ve noticed character is a subject rarely broached in any place I find myself. A wise woman once said gifts can take you where your character can’t keep you, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Last night my husband reminded me that he is a ‘realist’ – codeword for pessimist. I may be a dreamer and eternal optimist but I’m not stupid. I see the state of the nation. I just choose to believe prayer can change things. God says when we pray from a pure heart He hears and, in His perfect timing, answers. Our job is to keep believing.

So back to character.

Now more than ever I realize I can rarely change my circumstances but I can choose how to respond. I’m a total sanguine extrovert and this self-iso is really hard for me, but rather than complain about my lot in life I would much rather choose to think on the true, noble, helpful things Paul encourages us to than believe America is going to hell in a handbasket and ‘after all, we are in the last days…’, in my opinion many people’s excuse for prayerlessness.

God says He IS good and that He does good. I choose to look for the good in every situation I find myself in because, when you search deep enough, where there’s good, there’s always a touch of God. I’m not going down without a fight. I will pray for this country till my dying day. I will pray for leaders I like, and leaders I really don’t care for. I will do my best to influence my small corner of the world with a little honesty, transparency, and integrity. It might just make a difference in a life or two along the way. Will you join me on the journey?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Seriously. I’m interested.

Kari, the useful-traited redhead
all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

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