Fond Memories

“So I recommend having fun. . . ” Ecclesiastes 8:15a New Living translation

This is a holiday weekend to remember those who have fought for our country, its freedoms and values throughout the years since our inception. Many ceremonies and celebrations will take place over the course of this weekend here in the US of A. The courage of the men and women who have and are serving our nation afford us many freedoms. One of those freedoms is to have fun.

Parades, ceremonies, cook-outs

I am blessed to share this time with two of my oldest friends who travelled from out of state to be here this weekend. There’s something special about people who have known you since childhood. People who have watched you grow up and been there for the good choices and the bad. The ups and downs of your life. They know you so well and yet they love you. What a comfort to one’s soul.

Yesterday, while driving my friends on an errand, we had an incident occur that I knew immediately would go into our book of fond memories.

1979 Pontiac Safari Station Wagon

My husband graciously allowed me to take my friends in our 1979 Pontiac Catalina Safari station wagon. The car is as big and as long as its name.:) It’s the kind that has the flip up backward third seat to sit in and watch out the back window. It’s a fun way to see where you’ve been.  Recalling this now I find it an extremely apropos experience in this car with my oldest friends.

So I’m backing down our driveway. The radio is playing “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey. The neighbor’s Basset Hound across the street is standing in the yard staring as this rumbling yellow (technically Montego Cream) beast of a machine with dual exhaust moves toward him. His owner, who I have never personally met, is in the yard, notices us and waves. So wanting to be a friendly neighbor, I push on the horn and begin to wave when the horn decides to continue blowing. It will not stop and I feverishly try to depress the horn again when the cap flies off exposing the wiring which continues to blast the horn. I cannot begin to exaggerate how loud this horn sounds.  My two friends are laughing hysterically as we cruise down the street announcing our arrival to every house on the block and beyond.

Friend in the front seat scrambles to retrieve the cap while I discover if I pinch the wire the horn stops. So friend in front seat pinches the wire while I drive and friend  in the back seat is laughing to tears and I fear she may wet herself on the vintage upholstery.

By the grace of God we pull over and attempt to get the cap back on which depresses the spring mechanism just enough to silence the horn… thank God. That is, until we pull into our destination’s parking lot and the obnoxious horn goes off again without provocation. My friends and I want to crawl under rocks but instead we laugh our heads off while those looking on stare in bewildered annoyance.

Good times. Good times. To see my friends laugh like this with utter abandon is priceless. Life can get serious and hard for all of us but moments such as these are gems in our book of memories. None of us will ever forget this stupid little incident which will always produce a smile and a laugh whenever remembered.

Happy Memorial Day to us.

I hope you can make some silly, simple memories this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the coming summer months. FLURISH in fun!

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22a New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k
…………..

Clogged Grace

“The very center of the whole Bible is the doctrine of the grace of God.” —-J. Gresham Machen

In August 1988 George H. W. Bush accepted his party’s nomination for president of the United States. During his speech that day he made this remark, “I want a kinder and gentler nation.”

Some of you may remember hearing his words live that day.  Or  heard one of many replays  of the remark, serious or sarcastic that followed in the news or tv shows such as Saturday Night Live. (Dana Carvey nailed it). Younger readers may not know or care about it but President Bush’s remark has become a catchphrase in the history of American politics.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — Episode 5 — Aired 11/10/1990 — Pictured: Dana Carvey as George Bush — Photo by: Alan Singer/NBCU Photo Bank

A lot of jokes were made about the line at the time. But now almost 30 years later, in light of our escalating violence, wouldn’t it be comforting if we had a kinder and gentler nation in 2017? I’m not here to discuss politics today but to share some thoughts on the words spoken by our 41st president.

What does being  a kinder, gentler nation look like?  A place where people treat each other with dignity and respect no matter their differences? I’ll take that.

For a country to make a shift from division and dissension to kindness and gentility I believe  much grace is required.

Realistically, we know that not everyone in our country sees the Bible as the ultimate authority and so the idea of the grace of God is foreign to them.

But for those of us who have experienced the grace of God, we must put what we know into practice.

Ideally we should accept God’s ultimate grace to save us eternally first and then extend HIS grace through kindness and understanding to others during our everyday activities. Grace should flow freely at home with family members, at work with co-workers, out and about with store clerks, friends, neighbors etc.,

So why have we missed the mark if there are so many Christians in our country filled with His grace? Why haven’t we become a kinder, gentler nation? I think we need to start with our own conduit of grace making sure it’s not clogging the flow.

 

Remember the flight attendant spiel before every take-off?  You have to take care of your own oxygen before helping others.  We must intentionally treat ourselves with grace to maintain clear conduits. Do we tend to offer grace to others but not ourselves ? This can cause clogs in the system. . .

I get mad at myself. I get impatient with myself. I get frustrated with myself and disappointed at times with myself. And to avoid all of that, most times I push myself way too hard. Or I beat myself, and in effect my conduit, with the hammer of guilt too often. Does any of that sound familiar to you?

I submit to you that attempting to stream grace to others while our conduits are in such shape will lack power and purity.  We cannot flow His pure grace if we are not receiving it ourselves. We have clogged grace. So how do we offer grace to ourselves and unclog the conduit? Here are some ideas I use:

  1. I imagine someone I care about  coming to me for help. They explain their issues and how they handle them exactly as I have been doing. Would I tell them to lighten up on themselves or push themselves harder? Would I encourage them to give themselves permission to relax and dump their issues on Jesus?  Most times  YES! So relaxing, lightening and dumping are in order for myself.  (I Peter 5:7) GRACE!
  2.  When I feel I’ve failed, I remember the sovereignty of God and that He will use my failure for good somehow. (Romans 8:28) GRACE!
  3.  When I feel I’ve let someone down, I remember that I am not to be everything to everyone. Only God can do that.  (Hebrews 4:13) Helps me put things in proper perspective. GRACE!

I find that when I offer His grace to myself  first that I am in a freer position and mood to shower grace on others. Then I can truly FLURISH while flowing sincere grace wherever I go. Only then can I pay grace forward one person at a time and pray it becomes contagious. Enough of us do this and we become a kinder and gentler nation.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” Ephesians 4:31 New Living translation
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

To learn more about grace, study the life of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.

Sucker Punch Betrayal

 

“It is not an enemy who taunts me—- I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me— I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you–my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.”Psalm 55:12-14 New Living translation

How many of you have felt the stab of betrayal? A Julius Caesar moment? Someone close to you, a friend or family member commits something injurious against you? How do you handle it or how have you handled it when it happened? Feel free to share in the comment section.

 

The closer the person is to us the deeper the pain because we’ve opened ourselves up to them. We let them into our  inner world.  We allowed our hearts to be vulnerable because we trusted them. How could they do this? WHY would they do this? Questions all of us have asked ourselves without receiving answers. It’s simply an ugly part of our humanity since the Fall.
Sneaky sucker punches coming out of nowhere have been my experiences with betrayal. Just moving through the daily grind, thinking all was well in my world and BAM! Someone  pops me in the face with a powerful punch of betrayal causing me to reel with emotional disbelief and damage. Some  of these sucker punches had small consequences and others were total life changers. In either case, the betrayal crippled or killed the relationship.

Slander. Lies. Adultery. At worst, Murder.These are painful acts of disloyalty. I wish none of us ever had to face this intimate injury but most likely each of us will face some form of betrayal at some point in our life.

Here are a few thoughts on betrayal from my husband:

Betrayal is something that is common to the human experience. Common as it may be however, it is an experience that one never becomes accustomed to, no matter how many times it’s perpetrated on us. While everyone’s story of betrayal is unique, the soul searing, heart wrenching emotions are basically the same.

My experience was in the context of infidelity in marriage. My spouse’s betrayal and the ensuing divorce was THEE pivotal event in my young life. I grew up in the idyllic environment of a small midwestern town, much like “Mayberry” minus sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife.  Cheating spouses and divorce was big city stuff read about in the tabloid newspapers in my Dad’s grocery store.  I was taught to trust people, to take folks at face value, especially one who vowed in front of God and family, for better or worse, to love till the end. The discovery of the infidelity and the following years of denial of it’s reality was a cold hard gut punch to my pollyanna world view. My children and I were now a statistic. We were now one of the 50% of Christian marriages that ended in divorce.

Lives ripped apart

Yes, we were professing Christians! The guilt from being a divorced Christian was paralyzing. So much so, I couldn’t go to church anymore. I felt like a complete and total fraud. The pronouncements from my church’s leadership, condemning me to “hell” certainly did nothing to reinforce Jesus’ message of grace for all and draw me back to the very place I needed to be. “How could I allow my marriage and family to disintegrate and still sit in church and worship God” I reasoned?

So I left, not because I was rejecting Christ, quite the contrary. I never stopped believing, I just felt completely unworthy of Him and His attention and love. I obviously knew nothing of grace. From all appearances, no one at my church did either.

This one single event of betrayal started a 15 year downward spiral in my life.  Unbeknownst to me I had more control than I realized over my life’s events but, as I often say, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. I know now, that we must not let any incident of betrayal and the ensuing anger, bitterness, resentment and thirst for revenge consume our lives. It hurts, it’s painful beyond description, and can be debilitating. Grieve the loss and pain…yes! But move  on in Christ’s healing. Run to Him, not away from Him. He has promised over and over and over to heal our wounds and comfort us in our trouble. Trust Him and know there is life after betrayal. I’m living proof.

 

Whether you are dealing with any leftover pain from betrayal in your past, or are currently suffering or have yet to face betrayal, you can benefit from David’s insights. I encourage you to take some time and read David’s story in II Samuel 15-19.  Then Psalm 55 where he shares his agony with his Lord over what happened.

 

Judas Kiss

Remember, our Lord suffered this same pain at the hand of two of His closest friends. Judas and Peter both betrayed Him in different ways.  So He can definitely feel and understand your pain. Tell Him your detailed hurts. It will be healing for your soul. You will begin to FLURISH inspite of betrayal.

Peter’s denial

“Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”Psalm 55:22 New Living translation

Shine on. . .

karan k

Lions and Tigers and Zombies, Oh My!

 

“Be careful! Watch out! Because you don’t know when the time will come.” Mark 13:33 International Standard version

Run of the mill zombie

“Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” Galatians 6:8 New Living translation

As a kid I saw a movie entitled, “The Last Man on Earth” that scared me silly. There are several versions of this movie. I saw the one made in 1964. It stars Vincent Price battling a world where a plague infects everyone turning them into vampiric zombies except for himself. He was immune to the plague. For Price’s character every day was a lonely fight against the living dead to survive. It did not end well for him and the whole thing unnerved me as a 10 year old.

A scene from the movie “The Last Man on Earth” where he was actually the good guy

At least 471 feature length films have been made to date with zombies as the theme. Exactly what is the attraction? Why are so many people obsessed with the idea of zombies and a zombie apocalypse?

Fast forward  from 1964 to October 31, 2010. Television channel AMC premiered a new cable series in the U.S. called “The Walking Dead” based on a comic book series of the same name. It was also carried internationally by FOX.

The show is going into its 8th successful season due to consistently high Nielsen ratings. It has won numerous awards and continues to attract more viewers in the 18-49 age range than any other cable or television broadcast series. It is safe to say it has become a phenomenon.

Again I ask, what is the strange appeal of zombies that continues to capture the minds of the masses? Not to mention a new street drug named Flakka  or  “Gravel” also associated with zombie-like behavior.

“And instead of worshipping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshipped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.”  Romans 1:23  New Living translation

 

Be Aware

I knew the Bible speaks of an apocalypse or complete destruction of the world in the book of Revelation. But when I ran across this passage in the prophetic book of Zechariah, something struck me silly again. I couldn’t ignore it. I kept being drawn back to it and so I throw it out here as a warning for the things with which we occupy our minds.

“And the Lord will send a plague on all the nations that fought against Jerusalem. Their people will become like WALKING CORPSES, their flesh rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.” Zechariah 14:12 New Living translation

A ccording to this passage, a ZOMBIE-LIKE apocalypse is really going to happen. Not like in the movies, but it’s not going to be something you’ll want to stick around to see!

Don’t wanna run into this guy—for all you ZOMBIE lovers, careful what you extol

 

Chew on this;

A commentary on the passage from www.biblestudytools.com expounded the verse as;
“Punishment of the foe, the last Antichristian confederacy; (which basically means anyone who fights against those trusting in the teachings of Christ) Cross referencing Isaiah 59:18 “He will repay His enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on His foes. He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.” CAN YOU SAY APOCALYPSE?
Continuing with Isaiah 66:24 “And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against Me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”

Apocalypse is not something to celebrate, rather something to prepare your soul to escape. Trust me, you won’t wanna be sticking around for this epoch in history.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

 

“DON’T BE MISLED—-YOU CANNOT MOCK THE JUSTICE OF GOD. YOU WILL ALWAYS HARVEST WHAT YOU PLANT.”

Galatians 6:7 New Living translation

 

To leave you with an encouraging thought to FLURISH, remember this!

“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy (book of Revelation)  to the church, and He blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, FOR THE TIME IS NEAR.” Revelation 1:3 New Living translation

Christ followers have nothing to fear for what is coming, but everyone else is in danger of their worst nightmares coming true.  We need to warn a world in denial!

Shine on. . .

karan k

Pay attention to #6, #3 and # 1 for Zombie-like characteristics.

Mysteries of King and Country

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  II Peter 3:9  New American Standard Bible

What is your idea of Jesus? I mean how do you envision Him? Think about it a moment.

 

While traveling abroad in Europe, I met an older woman who loved to explore foreign countries. She showed me photo album after photo album of exotic places she’s visited. She and her husband trekked through many countries across the globe, except for one; the United States.

I found that intriguing so I asked “why”?

“Doesn’t attract me”, she said. So I probed further with another “Why.”

“There is no mystery there” was the answer I got.

Seems she was terribly fascinated with Asia, their culture and all the “mysteries” they held. In her mind the United States bore absolutely no comparison. She had zero interest in seeing my beautiful country because we were not “mysterious.” It saddened me.
What she called mysteries I saw as mere superstitions. Before we became the United States, the American Indians held much mystery in this great land. But along with the mysteries and superstitions came barbarism. Not something I want to embrace and explore on a daily basis. I’m grateful changes came to our country even if it may seem boring to some.

New York city

So I could somewhat agree that the USA of the twentieth century is not mysterious as a whole based on her definition. The founding fathers built this country on the principles of the Bible which taught love for humanity and civility practiced authentically. A lot of mysterious questions were answered for them in the scripture and a system of governing was set up in accordance with what they learned.

 

Yosemite, CA

In time the USA became a powerful and productive nation. We had freedoms and a way of life envied throughout the world. “Why?” Do you believe it’s because we accepted a divine truth and geared our way of life in submission to it?

Why? Or why not?

The attitude of our country is changing quickly with the dissolution of moral absolute thought. No one is sure of anything, let alone what the TRUTH really is. Chaos is beginning to roil and rumble in the undercurrents of our nation. No longer is our nation united as we once were.

Do you agree or disagree?

The woman I spoke with travelled to places like Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and China many times. During her travels she became especially enamored with Buddha and the philosophies he taught.

I asked her what she thought about Jesus.

Same answer. She had no interest in Jesus. My heart sank to a deeper low than over her apathy over the U.S.  So I asked her “Why”?

She said look at my Buddha and pointed to a small figurine in her living room.

“See how happy he is? How he smiles?”

Then she pointed to a crucifix adorning the wall, also in her living room. “Look at Him up there, He’s not happy.”

I tried to explain to her that Jesus was no longer on the cross. That He rose from the dead and is happier than we can imagine in this life. That He is ALIVE and seated with the Father in heaven, not hung on a cross on a wall or on a piece of jewelry.

“He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was REVEALED in these last times for your sakes.” I Peter 1:20 New International version

Mystery Revealed! That one day those who accept His sacrifice on the cross on their behalf will live with Him forever in paradise. Can’t get any happier than that.

It seemed to be a foreign concept to her. Probably thought we made it up in the United States.;(  She appeared more comfortable with her mysteries and superstitions. I pray for her from time to time that she will seek the Truth of the seed I planted in her mind years ago.

May she find the living Lord before she draws her last breath and it’s too late.

Perhaps there is someone you know who needs prayer to accept Christ’s Truth?

TRUTH

“. . . 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.”

Romans 8:34 New Living translation

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

As always, comments are welcome whether you agree or disagree.

Tales from the Booth: How’s Your Smile?

“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
Proverbs 15:13 New American Standard Bible

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Do you have a healthy inviting smile? I’m not talking about nice white teeth or perfectly shaped lips. More about what your smile conveys to others.

At work one day an older gentleman pulls up to my booth and says, “My you have a beautiful smile! I’m a musician and your heart’s all over your face.” He circled his hand around his face as he said this.

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The guy seemed sincere  enough and not just blowin smoke, as they say. I don’t know much about music but I wonder if this musician could recognize a song in my heart from the smile on my face?

Recalling his words in that short exchange now reproduces a smile on my face and my heart because I know the smile I gave him that day was long in the making.

1973
1973

You see, you cannot give what you don’t have. I remember hope dashed every year when my school photos arrived. There I was in living color gritting my teeth or forcing out a smile. I hated the way I looked.  One year I decided to do something about it.

I appraised my smile whenever I had a mirror available. I wanted it to be beautiful. My family made fun of me but their insults only reinforced my determination.

1980
1980

I experimented with varying widths of smiles. Mouth open, mouth closed. How many teeth to show etc., In Junior high I had no idea the reality of the problem had nothing to do with my mouth. No matter what I tried the smiles all came out forced and gauche. Why?

It wasn’t due to my awkward adolescence. It stemmed from  a deeper issue of the pain and sadness occupying the space in my heart. At that time in my life no song played in my heart to filter through to my face. For years I thought I was smiling but my sad eyes revealed the truth of my private world to the public.

IMG_2859

Only after I began allowing Jesus to take over and heal my heart, replacing the sadness with His joy did my smiles flow without effort. A song rang out in my heart and spilled onto my face.

This is a recurring favorite in my heart by Luther B. Bridges,  1910

HE KEEPS ME SINGING
Verse 1
“There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low,
Fear not, I am with thee, peace be still,
In all of life’s ebb and flow.
Refrain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sweetest Name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.”
Ever hear of a Duchenne smile? French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne conducted research in the mid-19th century on the physiology of facial expressions, specifically on smiling . He identified two types of smiles.

A non-Duchenne smile utilizes only the muscles around the mouth. Whereas, a Duchenne smile engages the muscles around the mouth as well as the eyes and is sometimes referred to as “smizing”, or “smiling with the eyes”. A Duchenne smile is uniquely related to positive emotion which emanates from the heart.

2016
2016

In essence when your entire face engages in the smile, that is a Duchenne smile. What a wonderful thing to have named after you!

 

So my smile issue began to improve in direct proportion to my heart issue. As my heart healed, the smiles widened.

So I ask again, do you have a healthy inviting smile? Are you sharing a song with your smiles?
“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:3 New Living translations

2017
2017

Shine on. . .

karan k

Needful Phix-ation

Dogwood Trees ca. 2001 Tokyo, Japan
Dogwood Trees

Is your life traveling by at the speed of light? One day slips into the next and all of a sudden we are beginning a new month? How did the last month disappear without your notice?

I have experienced these warp speeds throughout my life because I like to keep busy but once in awhile I gotta force my foot to step on the brake.

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Sometimes life gets so hectic and stressful even doing good things. We find ourselves in a constant whirl of busy activity. The needs of the many scream louder than our own . Somehow each need around us SEEMS most important and urgent. Our own inner needs are overlooked and sink like lead into the abyss of neglect.

Our souls, hearts, minds and bodies need care if we desire to continue serving others fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19 & 20. Otherwise, the crash and burn is only a lap or two down the raceway of life.

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I  know it’s NEEDFUL to pull myself and my mind away from all the pressing things of the day whether they be good, bad or mundane. I must choose to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul in his tiny book of Philippians chapter 4 verse 8;

“And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. ‘PHIX’ your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and LOVELY, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” New Living translation

So how do we do we do that? How do we clear our minds and rejuvenate?

It’s time for a NEEDFUL PHIX-ATION. Focusing on PHI-lippians 4:8 and the word lovely. What lovely things surround you? Can you ‘phix’ your mind on them?

Beautiful Song Birds
Beautiful Song Birds

Listen more:

I notice everyday about 5:10am or so the birds begin singing and chattering outside my window. Robins, Sparrows, Finches and Cardinals each sing a different song. Doesn’t matter if it’s raining or clear, they’re active and communicating. I always find it a cheery sound even when I may wish to be sleeping at that hour. I take a moment or two to listen and enjoy the loveliness; grateful I’m not on a farm with a resident Rooster.:)

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See more:

So much exuberance in our own back yards like the spring flowers  peeking up through the grass.  Bright colored tulips in rainbow shades adorn sidewalks and fences. Yellow and white daffodils huddle together in flower beds adding their own brilliance to the palette of my neighborhood.

Taking a stroll around the block can take  only a few minutes from your day. The benefits of soaking in some fresh air and lovely sights are well worth the time.

What flowers do you see in your corner of the world? When is the last time you took time to look? To really examine their beauty?

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Sniff more:

And the fragrance, don’t forget to check for that. When you find a scent you enjoy, inhale deeply and let the natural aroma intoxicate your senses. I love finding Lilac and Honeysuckle bushes. Such sweet smells. Invigorates the senses and definitely helps in the de-stressing process.

Enjoy more:

Another favorite event of the season are the blooming trees, especially the Dogwood. Pink and white petals delicate enough to float on the air it seems. Some areas even boast red Dogwood trees. Any Dogwood is a lovely marvel to behold. I always wish their season could be extended. Driving through the countryside becomes refreshing when I ‘phixate’ on the gorgeous trees instead of incessant thoughts about more pressing matters.

 

God offers lovely things for us in every season. Sights, scents, and songs to refresh and revitalize our mind, body, soul and spirit. Are we allowing them to recharge us regularly so we can pursue His assignments with renewed vigor and excitement? If we do it will allow us to  truly FLURISH while we serve.

 

Dogwood Tree, Loudon County Courthouse, Loudon, Tennessee

 

Shine on. . . and smell the roses. . .

karan k

 

 

 

 

Beware the Accuser

 

Do you feel like a Bull's Eye?
Do you feel like a Bull’s Eye?

“One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the LORD, the Accuser, Satan, came with them.” Job 1:6 New Living translation
(Read the rest of chapter 1 and see also Revelation 12:10)

 

Destruction of stuff
Destruction of stuff

I often think of Job and how this faithful man of God was tested beyond what most of us ever experience and yet without sin. (See Job 1: 22, 2:10) Here he was living his life for God and doing a great job at it (Job 1:1&2). Then one day EVERYTHING changed all because the Accuser decided to afflict Job in an attempt to hurt God. Why? Because Job was targeted.

Neverending family strife
Neverending family strife

Ever feel like the world is closing in and crushing you in some way? Like you have a giant bull’s eye on your back? Do you have financial strains that have come out of nowhere while you were doing your best to be a good steward with your money? Perhaps your children are in conflict with you and/or each other and things just do not improve no matter how much you pray? Or illness after illness attacks your body and you can’t get a break? Maybe you’re experiencing all three? These are the same areas where Job was hit on devastating levels.

Experiencing chronic illness?
Chronic illness

Satan, the Accuser’s number one goal is to hurt God. He’s not powerful enough to hit God’s heart directly. So he targets those whom God loves. He accuses us in our minds to mentally torment and weaken us. He afflicts us physically and outwardly any way he can. The book of Job is an insightful example of this:

God loved Job. Satan accused Job of serving God ONLY because of His goodness toward him. God was sure of Job’s love so He told Satan he could test Job but only so far and no more. Satan had to comply because he is nowhere near as powerful as God, the Father. So Job was targeted simply because he loved God and glorified Him by the way he lived.

Perhaps the Accuser is targeting you? Endeavoring to tear you, your mind, your faith and your love for God to shreds. He is out to steal, kill and destroy, remember? (John 10:10a) He’s attempting to show God that you don’t really love Him. That you will turn your back on God at the first sign of adversity. He also wants you to believe God doesn’t care about you. He tries to turn us and our heavenly Father against each other. But he is a liar and the father of lies according to John 8:44.

As faithful believers we must learn to EXPECT trials so we are not discouraged when they hit. Expecting puts us on the offensive, ready for attacks. Prepared to respond and reduce chances of injury. God warns us:
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if some strange thing were happening to you.” I Peter 4:12 New Living translation

Be encouraged. Job won the battle even though he was attacked on multiple sides. He learned through the trial things about God he hadn’t known before and his faith grew strong. We can have the same victory but it may take a fight.

It is a compliment to become a target. Your faith is effective if it’s disturbing the enemy. So he will attack you. But God is with you. If He allows your faith to be tested by an attack, don’t stop trusting Him. Leaning on His grace through the attack will purify and strengthen your faith. Keep your focus on Jesus and not the trial. Hang on. Remember, you are cherished by God and He will pour out grace as you need it.

When I’ve been worn down by the enemy targeting me, these practical fighting tactics helped me to endure:

Embrace the Fight
Embrace the Fight
  1. I call on my great God and His AMAZING grace! Even if it’s every other second for awhile. I keep asking for help. Satan is hoping I get lazy and stop asking. Don’t fall for that. Keep depending on His grace, it IS real! He promises to sustain! “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Isaiah 40:29 New Living translation
  2. I sing praise songs. Nothing like pure worship to turn my perspective to the hugeness of our God! The psalms are great inspiration for singing. Sometimes I make up my own tune for a certain psalm which words fit whatever I am experiencing at the time.
  3. I remember and think about the fact that HE goes before me and knows all about whatever I’m facing. He has a solution and I partner with Him to find it.
  4. I immerse myself in His Word and talk to Him about what He wants to teach me through the current trial.         2454154249_b575f6608e_z
  5. I share my burden with a trusted friend and fellow believer who will pray with me. If you don’t have such a friend or mentor, begin praying for God to lead you to someone. Some battles call for reinforcements of strong prayer warriors and at times, fasting.
  6. I look for something within the trial for which I can be thankful. This can be a hard one but if I look hard enough I always see something good.
  7. And then I tell everyone how Jesus helped me overcome! “And they have defeated him (the Accuser) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” Revelation 12:11 New Living translation

The Accuser doesn’t want to hear praises to God in any form or fashion. So go ahead shout, sing, tell your stories of victory in Jesus because you can glorify God, pass the test and stop the trial all at the same time!

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine.” I Peter 1:6& 7a

Victory is ours!
Victory is ours!

Shine on. . .
karan k