Sunday, March 31, 2013

Forever Forgiven


FOREVER FORGIVEN

You were there before the earth was formed
Hovering over the deep
As a mother hen broods over her eggs.
Even then, You knew I would sin.
And You knew You would forgive me.

On Resurrection Morning, 
when the stone rolled away,
And morning light danced in your eyes,
Forgiveness overflowed your heart,
Yes, enough for even me.

When the church organist played
"Softly and Tenderly
Jesus is calling," 
And I walked down the aisle
Tears of repentance
Joy of being brand new,
You were there and You forgave.

When I stand before You, Jesus,
And the scrolls are read.
You'll say, Don't hold her sin against her
I bore it instead"
And You call me "Blessed"
Forever forgiven.

Karen

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

We Belong

How would I have felt if I had been there to see Jesus raised from the dead on that Resurrection Morning?

How will I feel when I stand before God's throne and hear Him say, "You belong to Me because of the extravagant price that was paid on your behalf."

Jesus' forgiveness and acceptance is as real now as it was the day He arose from the grave. It is as real today as it will be when we see His face in Heaven.

Father, give us faith to believe that and receive it.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Foggy

Early this morning, there was dense fog in our area. It reminded me of driving from Atlanta to Cumming my first year of teaching. One morning, it was almost impossible to drive because of the fog. I was creeping slowly up Highway 9 when I saw one of my fellow teachers on the edge of the road standing behind her new '72 Cadillac to "keep anybody from running into it"!

"My husband would be mad it anything happens to this car!" she told me. It seemed even worse to me because the lady was on crutches.

As I thought of how useless this lady's attempts were, God began to show me that my worrying about the future is just as futile. I read of "rumors of wars" on the internet, but I cannot see what lies ahead. Only God can protect us. Only His presence can comfort us. Only His grace can save us.

Without Him, I could do nothing.
Without Him, I'd surely fail.
Without Him, I would be drifting
Like a ship without a sail.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sound of Many Waters

My son Caleb and I used to visit a fountain at a nearby park. He liked to sit right on the edge and hear the rushing water and feel the cool spray on his face.

John tells us in Revelation that Jesus has a voice like the sound of many waters. When Jesus came to earth the first time, He didn't come as an earthly king, but in humility as a gentle lamb. But when He comes again, He will come in splendor and majesty, not with the faint cry of a newborn, but with a voice like the sound of many waters.
Revelation 1

There is a fountain Who is a king
Victorious Warrior and Lord of Everything
My Rock, My Shelter, my very own
Precious Redeemer who reigns upon the throne
 Dennis Jernigan

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Cheerful Heart and a Joyful Noise


With the morning sun shining through the curtains one morning, I burst out in joyful song, "There is sunshine in my soul today." Then I couldn't remember another word to this old hymn! So I finished with "da da dum tee dum".,hoping that the angels were laughing WITH me, not AT me! Well, the Bible tells us to make a "JOYFUL NOISE"

It kept bugging me so I googled the lyrics.
I had to smile at the words to the second verse:

There is sunshine in my soul today,
More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky,
For Jesus is my light.

There is music in my soul today,
A carol to my King;
And Jesus, listening, can hear

The song I cannot sing.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thank You for the Birds That Sing

I am inspired every morning by the cheery songbirds outside my window, up early getting breakfast for their growing families. They sing just for the joy of being alive, never wasting the beauty of today worrying about tomorrow.

Jesus said: Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And [yet] not one of them is forgotten or uncared for in the presence of God. But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows.

And I tell you, Whoever declares openly [speaking out freely] and confesses that he is My worshiper and acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will declare and confess and acknowledge him before the angels of God.
Luke 12:6-8 Amplified

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nothing Can Separate Us

Who then will condemn us?

No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:34-39

Monday, March 18, 2013

Knowing You, Jesus

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 
Philippians 3:7-8 NLT

This verse keeps coming to me this week from various sources. I think the lyrics to this song sum up the truth: KNOWING JESUS is what life is all about.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Sometimes I come up against a problem that seems impossible. At times, I pray, but then I don't take time to wait on the Lord and see how He will lead. I think I have to just run out and solve it myself the only way I KNOW.

Heavenly Father, You made a way for me to enter the Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, that I might commune with You. Jesus, You are my High Priest. You ever live to make intercession for me. If I lack wisdom, I may come to You anytime, and You will gladly listen and answer.

If you are not even sure about God's goodness and love and power, ASK HIM. He will reveal Himself to you in a way that you can understand.

Burden or Blessing?

There was a young student nurse who bluntly asked me whether or not I knew that Caleb would have Down syndrome before he was born. She then told me, as if she were the authority on the subject of life and death, that he was a "burden to society" and that he should have been aborted. There is no reason for "these children" to be born, she informed me. I felt very sad for her because she bought into this lie from the pit of hell.

We could ask God about this, and He would tell us that He planned Caleb's life from before the foundation of the world, and that He knew the number of his days before there was one of them.

If we could check in with Caleb right now, I believe he would tell us, "Better is one day in the courts of our God than a thousand elsewhere. No, I have NOT been shortchanged!"

How do we define a "successful" life or a contributing member of society?

We were all created to love and be loved. Are the "handicapped" the ones who don't know that God loves them because He made them, not because they can ever earn His love?

Whenever...

Whenever the emotions stray from peace,
ask for forgiveness and return to the heart of your Beloved, found in His Word.

Whenever the mind strays from peace,
ask for forgiveness and return to the truths of your Beloved, found in His Word.

Whenever the will strays from peace,
ask for forgiveness and return to radical dependence on your Beloved's good will,
found in His Word.
Bobby Conner

Hold Onto Me


If I climb upward on the rays of the morning sun
or land on the most distant shore of the sea
where the sun sets,
even there your hand would guide me
and your right hand would hold on to me.

Psalm 139:9-10 God's Word

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Carried in His Arms

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!
For each day he carries us in his arms.
Psalm 68:19

When you "carry someone in your arms" for years, you get to know each other pretty well. I know many families who have loved ones with multiple disabilities. The caregiver understands their invented sign language, made-up words, confusion, and the slightest gesture, expression, or cry.

Our Heavenly Father knows us through and through. He will never leave us or forsake us. Every single day of our lives, He will carry us in His arms. As we carry our loved one, Jesus is carrying us both!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Truth in Advertising?

My brother-in-law (who will soon "hit sixty"), entertains us with his knack for remembering advertising jingles from days of yesteryear! It's amazing how jingles are stuck in your head from decades past, even now that I have trouble remembering what I went into the store to buy!

I remember being promised that MR CLEAN would "clean my whole house and everything that's in it." I'm still waiting for him to show up. And where's that man who wears HAI KARATE aftershave instead of Old Spice.

I think my Dad might have been unduly influenced by Dinah Shore's "See the USA in your Chevrolet"!

In the early 60's, Daddy bought a sporty red Chevrolet and he kept it as shiny as a new dime. We were usually not allowed to eat or drink in Daddy's car, but one evening, Mother and Daddy decided to take us to the world's largest drive-in restaurant, The Varsity (near Georgia Tech in Atlanta).

The young car hop that took our order returned with a tray full of chili dogs, onion rings and bottles of Coca-Cola. As he stepped up to our car, he tripped and the tray and all the food bounced across the hood. Daddy jumped out of the car so fast. I thought, "This guy's in BIG trouble!" But Daddy helped the young man clean up the mess and then paid him double the cost of the food so that his boss would never have to know about the accident.

Daddy's actions made a lasting impression on us kids: that people are more important than things.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kind Words

Kind words are the music of the world
They have power that seems to be
beyond natural causes, 
as if they were some angel's song
that had lost its way
and come to earth.
Frederick William Faber

 Kind words are like honey—
    sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24 NLT 

When I went through a divorce, I dreaded running into some of my old friends that I had grown up with...that had known me through the ups and downs. Sure enough, I ran into my former neighbor, Janice, whom I admired so much, who was still happily married to her childhood sweetheart. What would she think of me? She asked no questions. Sbe gave no advice. She simply said, "Love you."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hidden Manna

My grandmother had a metal bread box that sat on her kitchen counter to keep the freshness in and thieving varmints out.

I thought about that bread box as I was reading in Revelation 2:17. Jesus says to the churches: "To him who overcomes (conquers), I will give to eat of the manna that is hidden..." (Remember the "manna" or wafers that God supernaturally provided for the Israelites as they journeyed through the desert to the Promised Land?)

Jesus promises us bread that will not spoil, kept for us in a place where it cannot be stolen.
I believe He is speaking of the "Bread of life". He told his disciples, after he had multiplied the loaves of bread and the fishes for five thousand people, "I am the bread of life." Bread keeps us alive here on earth, but eternal life through Jesus Christ gives us life with Him forever in Heaven.

In the same way that the "Bread of Life" is kept for us, we are kept for Jesus. We are His inheritance and His reward.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blotted Out

I made your rebellious acts disappear like a thick cloud
    and your sins like the morning mist.
    Come back to me, because I have reclaimed you.
Isaiah 44:22 God's Word 

We had several rainy windy days last week. I have to admit that I can get really down with a long stretch of heavy gray days. Suddenly, as I was driving, the Lord reminded me that His mercy has blotted out my sin like the clouds blot out the blue sky. I hope that I will remember this next time I see dark clouds roll in.

When I was a child, I had a little white Bible that zipped up. Inside, there was a page written in red ink that listed my sins: selfishness, unbelief, rebellion... But there was a page in front of it that was translucent red cellophane. When I place the red page over the page with red ink, the "sins" disappeared.

Come now, and let us reason together,” saith the Lord. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:18 KJV

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Had It Coming!

One night when I was about ten,  it was my job to clean up the kitchen after supper. I was peeved with my big brother about something. So, I washed every dish and glass except his...which I left sitting on the table. Well, this would have been a serious offense in Daddy's eyes. If he even spotted some crumbs in the sink, he would thunder, "Karen, you need to come back and finish your job!" But for some reason that night, Daddy said NOTHING. Later, Larry came in and washed his own dishes. Hmmpff! Guess I showed him!

I went to the store with Mother and my little sister Mildred the next morning while Daddy and Larry mowed the lawn. When we turned in the driveway, I noticed that the whole acre lot was manicured, except for the yard from my bedroom window to the street.

Daddy escorted me to the lawnmower and graciously asked if I needed help cranking it. I found out finishing my dishwashing job would have been a lot easier than pushing a mower in the afternoon heat. Before long, Larry came out to give me a hand.

I couldn't help but think of Larry when I read this wise quote.

Real friends are those who,
when you've made a fool of yourself,
don't feel that you've done
a permanent job.
Erwin Randall

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Never Stop Praying for Your Children - Joy Frangipane Marion

I think this is one of the most encouraging letters I have ever read about our children. It is worth taking the time to read it!

This message was written by Pastor Francis Frangipane's oldest daughter, Joy. It since has become part of Francis' book, This Day We Fight (published by Chosen Books).

Your Children Will Return

by Joy Frangipane Marion

No one can tell me that fathers and daughters can't have close relationships, or even become best friends. People are almost envious of the love my dad and I share. The only time we argue is about who loves who the most. But our relationship was not always this warm. There was a time when I felt I had lost my ability to love my father. I was a teenage Christian in a public high school. My Christian background made me different. I was new, craving acceptance. My father's rules seemed to be the source of my rejections.

Fueled by my insecurities, in my eyes my dad became the root of my problems. While I set an adequate standard and struggled to live by it, he was strict. I was angry because he refused to back down from the standard he knew was right. He refused to appeal to my ignorance in order to keep my acceptance.

Things were going from bad to worse during those years. We hit bottom the day I looked him square in the eyes and told him that I hated him. They were harsh words, but it was a hard time. I didn't really hate him. I hated me. I felt I wasn't bad enough to be accepted by my friends and not good enough to be accepted at home. When these feelings take over your life, you search for something--anything--to blame. I chose my father. He carried the blunt of my pain. He even became my enemy.

In my heart I knew I didn't hate him. I was angry and confused. I felt he wasn't concerned with how I felt. It seemed he had made no room for compromise with my situation. He risked losing my love to save my soul.

It was a hard time for us both. He suffered the pain of rejection as I did. He suffered the hurt and the loss, but from a different angle. His fear of the Lord withstood his fear of pain. He loved me, but he had a higher obligation than my favor and my approval. I'm sure at times he wondered if he was doing the right thing. There must of been times when he felt like his prayers were hitting the ceiling and bouncing back at his feet.

At times I'm sure he considered lowering his standards. It would have made things so much easier than wrestling with the power of an independent, strong-willed child. These considerations may have come, but he never gave in to them. He stood firm and prayed harder.

The prayers of a righteous man availeth much. Many times he cried out to the Lord in anguish and in frustration: "What have I done wrong?" My father has a wonderful ministry to God in prayer. I think I had something to do with the character God worked in him during those days. Before he ever prayed for cities and nations he was on his face praying for me.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” That verse was a promise that he would hold on to. "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" was another promise he stood upon. He had given me to the Lord, set a godly standard and held God to His word.

At the same time, I was wrestling with my salvation. My desire to be accepted by my non-Christian friends at school warred against my desire to be with the Lord. James speaks of a double-minded person being unstable in all of their ways. I was completely unstable. I walked on a line between heaven and hell. I wanted the best of both worlds and was satisfied in neither.

Although I had been brought up in the church, the world had taken its toll on me. My eyes had been blinded to the sin in my own life, further separating me from God and parents. It was so hard for me to see my way out.


When a child is brought up in a Christian home, regardless of what may happen, there is a seed that has been planted in their heart that continues to grow. It's an amazing seed because it can grow in the dark without water; it can even bloom in adversity. The reason we can never outrun God is because He is that seed growing within us. Once you have tasted the presence of the Lord, nothing satisfies you like He can. Sometimes those who seem to be running the hardest from God are doing so because He is so close to them.


On the outside my witness was weak, and I was in bondage to my unsaved friends. But inside, my heart cried for oneness with the Lord. I hated my double-mindedness as much as my father did. My whole life I wanted strong Christian friends to save the world with me. I wanted the support, I just never had it. I did the best I could, but I lost my sensitivity to sin, and the more I was with non-Christian people the more deceived I became.

Paul warns, "Do not be deceived. What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousnes?" I didn't realize the impact my unsaved friends had on me. The more I was with them the more I conformed to them. When I look back, I know, unless my parents had been praying for me, I would have been on my way to hell.

Sin has a way of moving in and taking control. But love is as strong as death and many waters cannot quench love; love never fails. And prayer is the highest power through which love is released. I had to relearn how to love. My love had become completely self-centered and conditional. I had failed to realize that my father and my Lord loved me unconditionally. I had only to try. I had only to bridge the communication gap to understand that God had loved me before I was even aware of His standards. And my dad loved me for me alone, not for something I had to become.

My relationship with my father is wonderful, and that's the truth. God has proven faithful in the working of both our lives. The Lord has bridged the gap and filled it with love. It took me leaving my environment and being planted with Christian people who faithfully loved me. It also took my will to change, but it did happen.

Listen, please don't give up on your teenagers. Don't sacrifice God's standards of righteousness to appeal to their carnal nature. They can't respect you for it and God won't honor it. Your children were not consecrated to Satan; they were dedicated to the Lord. He has had His hand on them and He will not forget them. He has heard your prayers and He is faithful to your cries. He is God.

Prayer works. I'm living proof of it. I look back now and see how many times nothing but the miraculous dedication of loving parents took me out of hopeless situations. The Lord will not forsake His children. He will not turn His back on them. We are never too far from His reach. Believe the promises of the Lord. He is not a liar. He honors a steadfast heart. Hold on. Your children will come back to the Lord.

Little Things

Enjoy the little things, 
for one day you may look back and realize:
they were the big things.

Robert Brault

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pray for Our Leaders


As our nation's leaders travel to meet with the leaders of Israel this month, we as Christians pray that Christ's kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

The Lord had said to Abram...“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:2-3

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pour My Love On You

Then Mary took a pound of fragrant oil--pure and expensive nard--anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped His feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
John 12:3 HCSB


Monday, March 4, 2013

Instant Forgiveness

Once when I was teaching in a second grade classroom, there was a BIG mess to clean up and the custodian had to be called in to shampoo the carpet (the second time that week!) He didn't look thrilled. I asked him later if he could forgive us. He quipped, "Well, you're going to have to give me some time!"

Of course, he was teasing, but it made me think about the many times I have been forgiven.

Father, help me to have mercy, forgiveness, and grace toward others and also to repent as soon as You show me I am wrong.

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 The Message

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I Am Yours

The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 6:17 

My granddaughter used to sing in the children's choir at church.  
Of the many wonderful songs she learned, this is one of her favorites.

I am Yours
You are mine
Grow me up
To be like You
Help me know You
Like You know me, Jesus
I am Yours 
 (I was not able to find the name of the songwriter.) 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tender Loving Kindness

My brother and I were watching Mighty Mouse on Saturday morning cartoons in 1961. The worst pain of my life hit me in the stomach and I doubled over and could not move or talk. My brother yelled for Mother and she called Daddy in from the yard. He carried me in his arms and slid me into the back seat of the car. I've never again been with anyone driving that fast! We went to the hospital in Marietta, but they could find nothing wrong.

Again and again for many weeks, I would have the incredible pain. I never knew when or where it would start - at school, at church, at a party. People began to wonder if I was "putting on" for attention. Finally a doctor in Atlanta had a hunch that I had chronic appendicitis and scheduled surgery on the chance that he was right.

The morning of my operation, Mother and Daddy were beside my hospital bed. Daddy was nervous and could not stop devouring Krispy Kreme donuts. Mother, who couldn't eat a bite, kept asking him, "How can you eat at a time like this?"

They prayed for me and walked me to the operating room doors. They anxiously waited for word from the surgeon. He told them that the appendix was just about to burst when he removed it.

The doctor and the nurses were very kind, but I will always remember my parents standing over me saying, "If only I could bear this pain for you. I'd much rather go through it myself than to see you suffer."

There is kindness, but then there is tender loving kindness, when someone would willingly sacrifice himself for the good of his loved one.

The Bible describes Jesus this way:
"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:7-8

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