karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

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

Stool Pidgeon

You may not be familiar with this quaint Olde English phrase but I, being Brit born and bred, am.

You as an American are about to be made one, unless you act and act now!

This is a tad late in posting – my oversight – and I apologize profusely, but I want folks to be aware.

Kari, the thankful fruitful redhead
all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5383/text

The Slump of Stagnation

Even the best of us experience a slump or two every now and then. The important thing is not to stay there. Be it a desert or a swamp, the result is the same. Despair. Different terrain, same purpose. Purification.

I love Steven Furtick – he gives me so much material. I’m not an experienced weight-lifter but I do agree that God is the best spotter ever. When He sees the weight is too much for us He lightens it but doesn’t remove the load. How else will we ever build our spiritual muscles? Which we do by going through a slump or two.

John Bunyan, in his immortal work Pilgrim’s Progress, (a fictional account of a fellow making his way through a slump or ten), referred to it as ‘the Slough of Despond’. The book has many vignettes we would to well to take to heart. As Ecclesiastes quite rightly points out, there’s nothing new under the sun. Jesus was the consummate story-teller and I for one learn best through stories. We all go through them; it’s up to us how long it takes.

We may be stuck in a slump for good reason but God is all about forward-motion. Not excuses. When in mid-slump it’s easy to focus on the negative and lose hope for a bright tomorrow. Pre-jection is real. How many times have I thought, “no, I don’t think I’ll even bother to try…”, when I know God can do great things with whatever we give Him. He does wonders with loaves and fishes. He’s pretty good with a bit of oil too. He can stretch it further than a single mother, and that’s saying something.

Life is full of choices. My mother seems to think I’m a brave risk-taker but honestly, she has no clue. I just take a deep breath, a baby step or two, and wait to see what happens. I tell folks I’m too short to be boring. Or short-sighted. With enough baby steps anyone can make it out of any slump. Persistence pays off.

During this time of voluntary self-isolation I find I’m doing a lot of self-examination. Matthew 7.7 tells us to do three specific things: ask, seek, and knock. But what of motivation? I call it ‘the why behind the what.’ I get it wrong a lot, which is why forgiveness is my favourite gift Jesus offers. And the coolest thing about our Heavenly Father, in my humble opinion, is that He offers what I affectionately dubbed years ago The Ultimate Do-Over. Since His mercies are new every morning, every sunrise brings fresh-baked grace and another chance to do better. Not everyone gets that.

It’s what we do with what we’re given that counts. Take Mo, for instance. In Exodus 4.3 God changed Mo, not just his staff. Only God can make a snake from a stick. Mo ran. Smart man. I’d run too. In fact I have. So now may I pose a question for you, dear reader? How many times have you run from what you know He’s calling you us do? Are you facing a Red Sea today? Pick up a stick. Throw out a brick of mustard seed faith. And wait to see what happens.

God did it for Mo and He’ll do it for you; He has a stick (a staff) for every sticking point. Don’t get stuck in your story. And definitely don’t stop when you’re tempted to sit awhile in the Slump of Stagnation. My prayer for you today, dear reader, is that God would refresh, renew and restore you, shore you up in all your weak places, and then I’ll you in His Presence with fresh passion to do His will.

There’s always hope. You just have to choose it over the slump of depression. I’ve read the back of the book. We win. It ends well. I promise. If you let it.

Kari, the unstuck unslumped unstagnant child of God
all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

http://www.covenantofgrace.com/pilgrims_progress_slough_of_despond.htm

Can You Feel the Love Tonight?

Patsy Clairmont tweeted something recently that got this random redhead thinking.

We can all “get stuck in our story,” the one we write every day, for good or for bad. And it can go south fast when we least expect.

Take love, for instance.

In my humble opinion, Love is the foundation of any healthy life. And God is Love. Without Him as the centre you have no love.

I once heard tell of an Oregon pastor newly assigned to a state mental institution. His was told to ‘offer counsel’. To the crazy. His very first job was a padded cell full of deranged, almost-naked patients. The smell was terrible. He could not even talk to them, they were so incoherent. Their answers were nothing but moans and demonic laughter.

Then he felt the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit to sit in the middle of the filthy room. For a whole hour that day he sang, “Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong – they are weak but He is strong.”

I’m sure you know the rest.

The pastor saw no result that day, but did not lose heart. For several weeks he did this same thing, sitting singing in the middle of the dark smelly room, growing in his conviction every time he sung it, that, “Yes! Jesus loves me! Yes! Jesus loves me! Yes! Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so!”

Slowly, an amazing thing started to happen. One by one, as days went by, patients began to sing. At the end of the first month, 36 severely disturbed, mentally ill patients were moved from the high-dependency unit to self-care. Before a year was done, all but two had been discharged.

1 Corinthians 13 verse 13 says the greatest of these (the previous list) is love (emphasis mine). Truly, Love never fails. That story is proof.

We have no power to love anyone, including ourselves, until we have had a real authentic experience of Christ’s unconditional love. Are you convinced of His love, regardless of your behaviour? After all, it has nothing to do with us. He already made the choice. Is your soul full today? More importantly, is it full of Love?

For those of us in a hard place where someone close to us daily barrages us with hate and negativity and constantly demeans us, it’s inexpressibly good to know our identity is found in and dictated by a Man who never shames, never despises, never humiliates, and never ignores His beloved. He never leaves, either. Physically or emotionally. We are His treasured possession.

When we know the Source of all life we can rest in that Truth despite any chaos or drama surrounding us. And that’s a good place to stay. Permanently.

Will you sing it with me today?

Jesus loves me, this I know,

for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to him belong

– they are weak, but He is strong.

Yes! Jesus loves me!

Yes! Jesus loves me!

Yes! Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so.

Kari, the loved-and-loving
all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

If I was the devil…

You may be feeling as frustrated today as I’m starting to with the current state of affairs in our nation, but I’d like to encourage you today: get your praise back.

It may seem like the enemy of our soul has legally succeeded in preventing us from gathering together in celebration of our Redeemer for quite some time now, but he cannot chain worship. He’s on a leash and can only go as far as our Father allows.

I’ve never been so thankful for technology as I am right now. Man uses the internet for a great many purposes, some good, some bad. I for one choose worship. Eternal, faithful, loving, merciful, kind, yet so much more, I’m discovering and rediscovering many of God’s attributes in a new, fresh way. His anointing is unstoppable, transcending time, space, and place! If you’re in a hard spot today I’m right there with you, believe me, but then I remember He inhabits our praise! And I get it back, not even realizing it was ever stolen. How deceptive the cares of this world can be.

God says in Joshua 23.10 that one frail fallible imperfect human being puts a thousand enemy to flight and two chase away ten thousand. “We Bow Low” and “Waymaker” are two memory-joggers that have been on multi-repeat-mode in our house recently. How many ‘two‘s are gathered here I have no idea but it’s a bunch. And I’m adding my worship to theirs whenever I please. What an awesome privilege. Yet how easily I forget. I want worship to be my default, the place my heart goes to naturally.

Let’s take the words of one lead singer to heart… “Sing the doubt out!” Be a Barnabus. Sing in the prison with Paul and watch the chains fall off, so we can help others do the same.

How are you choosing to worship during this transition time?

Seriously. I’m interested.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vsypFJ5mNw0&t=163s

Kari, the worshipper-together-or-alone-if-need-be
all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

Smile!

You Never Stop

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

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/catalyst

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.

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