karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

Barn and Noble

Growing up in England introduces you to a whole lot of idioms.  One of my special faves, something I was asked frequently as a young child, is – “Were you born in a barn?!!!”  Had I known then what I know now I would have responded, “No, but Jesus was.”

How ironic, even oxymoronic, that the King of kings would be born in a barn.  Nobility laid aside and humility embraced.  Luke makes this quite clear, though some theologians disagree; I believe it doesn’t really matter whether  it was a ‘stable’ or a cave, what matters to me is that history has proven He was born, He died, and I happen to be convinced He lives and guess what?  Some day I’ll be joining Him!

In time she of turmoil and civil unrest its good to have a rock-solid truth you can hold on to.  Try ‘He will never leave you nor forsake you’ on for size.  Or ‘for God so loved…”. It’s the ‘so’ that gets me every time.  I’m constantly told I take things too literally but I don’t believe God talks in metaphors.  Parables, yes, but not metaphors.

If you’re feeling down He’ll lift your head.  If you’re lonely He’s the friend that sticks closer than a bro.  (If you knew mine you’d understand the significance there.)  If you feel your life is insignificant, He has a future in mind for you, and it’s amazing.

Today and every day, I pray you will prosper and be healthy and live every day you have left in light of the fact that He loves you unconditionally.  It’s a great feeling.

stay blessed and sane,

Kari, the daughter of a Saviour-born-in-a-barn girl

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A Love Story Worth Telling

Who doesn’t, deep down, love a good story?  I’ll be first to say yes, but that might be the writer in me taking over, as it is prone to do.

Today I have a wonderful, some would say even pround, one to share with you.  If you’ve never read it before I hope it blesses you like it continues to me tho it’s been years since I first read it.  I urge you to read it in the light of Christ and all He has done for a people He loves.  After all, He is the ultimate hero.

“Here is Soren Kierkegaard’s version of the story:

Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him?

She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal.

The king clothes himself as a beggar and renounces his throne in order to win her hand. The Incarnation, the life and the death of Jesus, answers once and for all the question, “What is God’s heart toward me?” This is why Paul says in Romans 5, “Look here, at the Cross. Here is the demonstration of God’s heart. At the point of our deepest betrayal, when we had run our farthest from him and gotten so lost in the woods we could never find our way home, God came and died to rescue us.”

Kari, the living-in-the-story girl

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http://www.ransomedheart.com/daily-reading/king-who-loved-humble-maiden

Sheep and Shepherds

Today I was listening to Joyce Meyer, which I’m prone to do early in the morning, and felt encouraged to research something I admit I’ve never actually done before.  Sheep.  Which, at some point in life, I’ll get around to.  But in the meantime, I’ve a few take-aways to share if you’re interested.

Joyce was talking about Psalm 23, a passage that just so happens to be a personal fave of mine.  There’s a lot behind that, many reasons why it’s deep in my heart, starting with an upbringing involving the local elementary school in England which, strangely enough, was very Christ-oriented.  Extremely low-key, but the influence was felt.  This gave me  a strong foundation in my early years.  I’m convinced it played a major factor in my return to Him at the tender age of 30.  In “assembly”, which began every school day, we prayed, heard the bible, and sung old hymns most millenials don’t even know exist.  Enter Psalm 23 for the first time into my life.

Another happy memory was when it was spoken at my youngest cousin’s wedding, again in England, in a small out-of-the-way country church.  As much as I enjoyed hearing it read, the pleasure for me came when my oldest daughter, Alison, aged 6 at the time, leaned over to tell my mother in a rather loud stage whisper, “I know this one…”

I couldn’t help but smile.  It’s a legacy I pray I’ve left in both my children, Alison and Sara, that will continue after my death.  It’s an enduring one.

However…

Joyce pointed out a few things this morning I either hadn’t known or considered in a long time.  Such as:

Joyce said shepherds actually purchase their sheep.  Didn’t know that.  But it did make me think.  If you purchase something, you usually value the investment and take good care of it.  Conversely, I’ve also heard they are stewards of the sheep, the reasoning behind this being John 10 verse 11, where Jesus says the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  So I’m starting to think some buy and some steward.  Your thoughts?

Sheep are fearful.  Yes, I’ve been there.  They’re stupid.   Guilty of that too.  Stubborn.  I plead the fifth.  Prone to disease.  There are a lot of things God is working on and taking out of me.  I still choose to trust that He is good and He is working all things for my good.

Sheep can get sad and mad all they want to but all that does is make them easy prey. And they have a lot of enemies.  Perhaps that’s where David got the revelation of “walking through the shadow death.”  He might just have had to, a time or two.  The lions and the bears would have solidified the lesson, I’m sure.  We all face hard times and difficulties; it’s what we do with them that counts.

I wouldn’t have chosen many of the experiences I’ve gone through in life, but I wouldn’t change them either.  I’ve gained from every one.  And I’m still sweet.

Joyce says we can be bitter or better but you can’t be both – I choose better.  We can’t give what we don’t have so if you’re not free you can’t help others get free.  I am.  In many areas.  Which is another reason I love my Heavenly Father.

I’m also an expensive sheep.  He gave His most valuable gift to me.  His blood.  He considered me to die for.  That’s the reason I’m radical about Him.  Just a thought.

Kari, the sweet sheep girl

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Thanks Giving Living

Happy Thanksgiving to anyone and everyone I know and don’t know out there in the world wide webiverse.  I’ll make this post short and sweet, with just one thing to ponder or not as you choose, dear reader, but it has shaped my life significantly.

What could have such a radical effect on a random redhead? you murmur.  I’m glad you asked.  The word Thanksgiving.  Many say it but few live it.  Me included.  Until the day I learned the root word.

Most things in life I seem to learn the hard way, but this one came easy.  A total stranger asked me if I knew the root word of Thanksgiving.  To my shame at the time I had to admit I did not.  Which was the main reason I used the word Thanksgiving just as flippantly as most others I’ve met in this journey I like to call life.  So after being issued such a challenge, this inquiring mind wanted to know.

The root work of Thanks-giving is actually Thanks-Living.  Which brings a whole new meaning to Psalm 118.24.  And Psalm 150.6.  And many others.  It rocked my world then, and still does today.

Whenever I start to feel depressed or irritated or just plain awnery I remind myself to think about all the things I have to be thankful for.  Before I know it I’ll be so full of gratitude for all my Father has done for me and given me, it will go from ‘faith it till you make it’ to sincere praise.  And you’d be surprised how a few thank-full days in a row can turn into thanks-Living.  Seriously. It’ll sneak up on you if you’re not careful. You can be living with the Grouch whole Stole Christmas and Tigger and Eyore all in the same house and you’ll still have a song in your heart.  Try it – I promise you’ll like it!

Happy ThanksLiving!

Kari, the Thanks-Liver

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All Kidding Aside…

I found this posted on Facebook and thought it worth sharing.  It has to do with the recent upheaval in this nation, and how it affects the average American youth.

“The President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University gave a lecture to students they’ll never forget. Recently a student complained about a sermon that made him feel guilty and blamed the school for making students feel uncomfortable. This is not uncommon. Many universities now are so afraid of offending even one student, that political correctness has run amuck. However, this University is based on religion and so one would expect that discipline, good character and personal accountability would be a big part of the curriculum.

Everett Piper, who is the President of the school, wrote a letter to the students admonishing them that playing the victim, blaming others and not admitting mistakes is not a way to live a productive and meaningful life. Here is the letter titled “This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!”

This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!

This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

This is not a day care. This is a university.”

Just a thought to consider in the coming days.

Kari, a small but none-the-less-a-part of “we the people”.

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“This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!” : College President Writes Scathing Letter About Students Wanting To Play The Victim And Blame Others

 

Change of Address

Lately life’s been a little on the hard side here in beautiful if chilly NC.  A book I’m reading really helps.  I hardly ever recommend things but this I will.  Squeezing Good out of Bad, by James Watkins.  He’s been thru a thing or two, it’s obvious from page 3, and he has a solution for life’s lemons.  The theory’s a little complicated but one point I remember distinctly: when the lemon truck shows up at your door check the delivery slip.  Kind of a duh! moment for me personally.  His point? Who really owns the problem?

Recently I’ve been offered multiple opportunities to take on other people’s issues under the guise that I am actually the problem.  After a long hard look I realised I’m not.  I can’t help it if someone insists in being bored and miserable.  That’s their choice.  I’m making a different choice.

The inimitable Mr. Watkins said something else that made me smile – writers don’t have problems; they have anecdotes that sooner or later will turn up in a book.  I’m stealing that, btw.  My pastor, James Al Brice junior, says, “the first time I’ll say, ‘as so-and-so said…’; the second time I’ll say ‘someone once said…’; but the third time, I’ll say ‘as I’ve always said…’ “.  I’m stealing that too.

Today I noticed I’ve been putting out fires left and right, and the help is just plain tired.  James 1 verse 3 tells us “knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”  I’m afraid I have to agree with Joyce Meyer, that “it brought a whole lot out of me before we ever got around to patience!”  Ouch hallelujah.  I’d been in the ‘trying’ mode (as in trials and testing) so long I needed a change of scenery, so, despite the chilly air and many charms of where I’m at, I changed addresses.  My new one, in case you’re interested, is Romans 8.6.  What does that say? you whisper.  I’m glad you asked.  “To be Spiritually minded is life’s and peace.”  Not quite as dramatic, but far more rewarding.  I desperately need peace right now, when my whole world seems so fragile, and a good dose of life wouldn’t be bad either.

Joyce also says if you’re feeling depressed, think about what you’ve been thinking about! Simple, yet profound. God’s version in Proverbs 23.7 says “as a man thinks in his heart, so IS he.”  (emphasis mine.). I made a decision.  I refuse to be negative.  I’m also way too short to be boring.  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

After all, I’m collecting some amazing anecdotes…

Kari, the perpetually positive

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To Vote or Not to Vote

… that is very much the question right now, it seems.  Almost every day for months I’ve come across what I can only refer to as ,”some sweet saintlet” (to quote Joyce Meyer) who can’t seem to decide between what they deem the lesser of two evils, so they’re abdicating the role entirely.

Reverand Charles Finney, however, held the opposite view.  He was of the mind that “The Church must take right ground in regard to politics…” to the point where “Christians must do their duty to their country as a part of their duty to God” (emphasis mine).  Which puts that “I can’t vote” idea in a whole new perspective, doncha think?

Edmund Burke, a British statesman during WWII, believed that evil prospered when good men did nothing, and I happen to agree.  I think God would agree too.  In fact, Ezekiel 22 verse 30 tells us God had to look for a man to stand in the gap for his country, but He couldn’t find a single one.  How that must have broken His heart.  Perhaps He feels the same today, seeing the hearts of those in this nation, hoping to find some who care enough to want real, lasting, healthy change, which, in my humble opinion, starts with righteousness exalting America to be, once again, all she was called to be.

John F. Kennedy thought, “We in this country, in this generation, are – by destiny rather than choice – the watchman on the walls of world freedom.”  My question today is simply this; what will you do with that freedom?

Kari, the violently voting and thankful for the right to do so

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Blazing Saddles

A guy I highly respect who goes by the name of Kenneth Copeland said something once that gave me cause for concern.  Which is amazing, because I’ve been watching him for 20 something years and never found a thing to dispute him on.  It wasn’t what he said, it was the repercussions that could come from it if you weren’t rooted and grounded in your bible.

I don’t remember the exact words but it amounted to simply this: if one person tells you you have a problem, ignore them; if two say it, think about it; if three tell you, “ship your saddle home”, which I could only interpret to mean, “don’t be an ass – listen to them!”  (Hence the title of this humble blog…)

Which premise I would agree with, in most circumstances.  Do you feel a “but” coming?  Well, there is one.  And it’s a biggie.

In this current climate of political correctness I’ve never been one to conform much.  I take after a real good friend of mine in that respect.  His name is Jesus.  You may have heard of him.

I’ve met a whole lot of men in my life and I’ve let a whole lot of fine trunks pass on by for one reason.  Yesterday night I had to revisit the same discussion again with a different face but the same belief and I’m getting really tired of it.  Where in the bible does it tell you that when God said, “be holy, even as I am holy”, and “those who come before Me must regard Me as holy”    … unless of course you’re living in the 21st century, and then all those commandment things go out of the window…

I don’t know if you’ve guessed it but I’ve never been a lemming and at the age of 50 something I don’t intend to start.  Like my pastor says, any dead fish can float downstream; it takes a live one to swim against the current.  Nobody’s ever accused me of being a dead fish. I’m not men-bashing and I’m not a man-hater I promise.  This is more like Custer’s Last Stand. I have a question for all you saved and sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost single men out there, and it comes in two parts: a) why is it such a problem for a gal to want a guy to protect her reputation rather than destroy it? and b) when a guy has a serious fight with a gal about one of her core boundaries (namely, no sex before marriage) on their very first official outing together and decides not to ever talk to her again because of the disagreement, where’s the love?

Love protects.  Love defends.  Love sacrifices.  Or it did last time I read 1st Corinthians 13.  If you are willing to dismiss one of my major boundaries so viciously, what will you respect?  There’s a reason I’m single.  I was reminded of it last night.  I get that apparently I have a great body.  Which I would disagree with.  And apparently I’m also a tad sexy.  Which I would also disagree with.  But holding on to my core values doesn’t make me a dictator: it means I have a different opinion than them.  Which, last time I checked, I had the God-given right to hold in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

A wise woman once told me, “Upper Room men get Upper Room women.”  It rocked my world and changed my theology significantly.  Am I lonely?  Occasionally.  Am I sorry?  Never.  You?

Kari, the fiercely independent but in love with her Jesus

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Pray Day

Some say we shouldn’t, whilst others say we must.  On this controversial day of May 5th, 2016, I’d like to add my own fuel to the fire, if I may..

Yes, the official National Day of Prayer became an annual occurrence since 1952, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman and approved by Congress at the time, but history shows the very first call to prayer came in 1775, when the Continental Congress, whether you like it or not, or even agree, asked the colonies to fall on their knees and pray for wisdom while forming a small, unstable country into what we now know as the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Honest Abe himself called for such a day, one dedicated to praying for the emerging nation that would later become a super-power in the global economy.

I would like, however, to interject one caveat, perhaps even a caution.

As much as I understand with 1 Timothy chapter 2 verses 1 and 2 where we are “exhorted to pray for all those in authority”, and I’m completely willing to do so, I admit I have an issue with two items on our president’s agenda that he chose to include in his Proclamation yesterday.

The first is his comment about how he encourages us to, “see God in everyone…”.

My second is where he told us, “I join all people of faith…”

My unease is the same in both cases.  Which GOD and which FAITH are we talking about?

It’s been widely proclaimed, even proved, that he has participated multiple times in muslim worship, so I want to know what “God” and “faith” we’re considering here.

I was told once that if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… it just might be a duck.  Which would be a problem for me, since, despite what the ACLU would have us believe, it’s been well-documented in history that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.  I happen to think that if the founding fathers could see us now, and what “freedom of religion” has come to mean in today’s society, they would probably turn over in their grave.  But I could be wrong.

So as much as you may dislike me exercising my first amendment right, since I give you the right to any religious “tolerance” you may choose to exert I would like the right to use that same religious freedom and say my piece.

Today a fairly large body of believers in Fayetteville, North Carolina, came together with a common goal; to pray for the good of this fine country of ours.  I echo the words of our forefathers, and beseech the uncreated Creator of all things that His hand of blessing be upon our nation, that He would open up blind eyes, and turn hearts toward Him once more.  May true revival break out in this land, and may we once again honor the God who made this nation great and live every day of our lives with a faith that is pure and holy.

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/about

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/proclamations

http://www.religioustolerance.org/day_pray2.htm

Kari, the full-time warrior bride

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New Leaves

I’ll be the first one to admit that I love a clean slate as much as the next redhead, but personally, I prefer new leaves.  Would you like to know why?

First john is my absolute favourite book in the whole bible, simply because it’s so full of forgiveness.  John “the Beloved” felt the need to tell the early church over and over again that if they’ll just ‘fess up, all will be forgiven.  I for one kind of like that vision of our heavenly Father.  I’ve never understood the “strike ’em dead at the first offense” kind some preach – God knows, He had multiple opportunities with me but He never did. 1st John 4 verse 8 makes it crystal clear: God IS Love.

If His mercies are new every morning, and Lamentations 3 verse 23 says they are, and if He tells to forget the former things and not dwell on the past, which He does in Isaiah 43 verse 18, and if I’m to walk even as Jesus walked, which I am also commanded to do, then that puts my murky past on a whole new light, doesn’t it?

A woman I respect highly who goes by the name of Joyce Meyer said years ago that, “mercy sees the why behind the what.”  How quickly I forget to look for the story behind the story, the reason for the behavior I may be seeing in someone.  We all know the root cause of all sin is selfishness, but I strongly suspect there may be a little pain in the mix there too.  If all’s right with the world human beings rarely attack another, but wounded animals do.

So I’ve decided I love new leaves, and I’m turning over as many new leaves as it takes to make change stick.  I’ll just keep turning until I get it right.  And I give you permission to do the same.

How do you feel about new leaves?  Seriously.  I want to know.

Kari, the happy new leaf-turner

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