Beach Beckoning

 

“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.”
Psalm 104:23+24 New King James version

 

So here it is the beginning of summer on the east coast of America. Swarms of people will hit the beaches along the coastline in the next few months while the temperatures hover high. Some people dream of beach living all year long. Are you one of them? What do you look forward to when you get there?

Sitting under a bright umbrella with a new book? Strolling on warm squishy sand at sunset? Breathing the salt infused air swirling around your skin? Combing the beach at sunrise in search of the perfect shell? Riding the waves on a surf or boogie board? Building sand castles along the shoreline? Jumping through the crashing waves?

Destin Beach

Do you have a favorite beach spot? Tell us where it is. Beaches have inspired endless paintings and songs. They seem to be a place that awaken love and deep thought. Perhaps that’s intentional?

 

There’s something mysterious and powerful about the rolling waves of the mighty bodies of water no matter where they are located. Endless spools of water rush toward us and then away. The moon and sun pull and push in a perpetual gravitational dance. Friction forever forcing corals and rock to yield pieces of themselves to another purpose, the sands on the beach.

What would the beach be without sand? Uncomfortable! I’ve been to beaches where the shoreline is stony and rocky. Stones hurt to walk across and hard and lumpy to sit upon unless you were prepared with a beach chair. Not a pleasant experience for this east coast girl who is used to sandy softness.

 

Love and deep thought on the sand? Next time you find yourself beckoned to the beach spend some time meditating. Focus  on the awesome wonder of our Father who created the entire beach concept. Here’s a passage to ponder to get you started;

“How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:17 & 18 New Living translation

Lots of sand on the beach. Can we even fathom that His thoughts about us outnumber the sand? Mind boggling. His love for us runs so much deeper than any ocean He created.
“For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea.”
Psalm 104:25 New King James version

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

 

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness part I

 

“I am lonely, like an owl living in the desert, like an owl living among old ruined buildings. I cannot sleep. I am like a lonely bird on the roof.” Psalm 102:6+7 Easy to Read Bible

Heart wrenching seasons of loneliness visit all of us. How do we FLURISH through these times?

As a child I spent a lot of time alone because my siblings were much older and my parents both worked. Every year I dreaded the summer months because it meant being alone for an extended period of time. I enjoyed the social aspect of school and wished it continued year round.

At an early age I recognized and invited Jesus as my Savior to come into my heart. Soon I began making up plays, dramas, dances and songs that I would perform in our backyard to an audience of one. I knew God was watching. I could feel His presence and pleasure. This greatly helped me through the lonely times. So Jesus and I went out to play together as often as possible.

But as I grew older I forgot these precious moments with my heavenly Father. I stopped spending creative times with Him. I even thought at one point in my life that it was just foolish child’s play.

As a young adult I spent 15 years living totally alone. It became agonizing at times. Then one day I remembered the loveliness of the moments spent as a child dancing and singing in His presence where I could be my complete self. Loved for exactly who I was. I realized what I did as a child was not foolish but something led by God. I needed to lay down my pride and begin to recognize His presence and respond to Him as I did when I was young.

I began believing what the Bible says; He is ALWAYS with us. (Matthew 28:20b) The Bible also says to “Never stop praying” in I Thessalonians 5:17. So if HE is always with us and we are to talk to Him all the time then we had better learn to practice His presence.

One of the first things I began doing to practice His presence was to pick out music that spoke to my heart. I’d crank the volume and dance around my apartment with a fair amount of abandon. Praising and jumping for Jesus’ sake. Sometimes I did cheering type moves or ballet. Probably only a God who is Love Himself could enjoy it? I do know it always released stress for me and gave me a supernatural joy. I could be a carefree kid in His presence. Of course this is easiest to do when you are alone because others might try to have you committed somewhere other than to Jesus, if you know what I mean?

Years later when I bought my first home I had an upstairs Rec room with laminate hardwood flooring. One day while having devotions, I felt a still small voice in my heart calling me to play. At first I dismissed it as my imagination. But it did not stop. So I got up from my sofa and put some funky praise music on my stereo system.

As the first notes hit my ears I felt like moving. In my pajamas and socks, I discovered I could slide across the laminate. Jesus was calling me to slide with Him. Laughing and zooming across the floor, we had a great time. Later, I rearranged the furniture so there would be maximum sliding room. I created a little track and slid around it with Jesus often.

When my young nieces and great niece visited, I taught them to slide with Jesus too. I didn’t care if they thought I was crazy. I was crazy about Jesus and He was the only one who filled the lonely void in my life. Being seen acting crazy about Jesus is nothing new. Consider King David:

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns. But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.” II Samuel 6:14-16 New Living translation

Notice that David “leaped” and “danced” before the Lord. He simply delighted in the Lord and the return of the Ark to the City of David. David laid aside his royal garments to dance before his Lord. HE was willing to look foolish in the eyes of anyone for the Lord’s sake. That is a tight relationship. So powerful that it can destroy the chains of loneliness.

If you find yourself lonely take advantage of being alone, where no one can see you. Put on some music you love and surrender your pride as worship to your Lord. Dance, jump, sway just do whatever you can. Trust me, HE will love it and you may be surprised at the results on your end.

“God can’t give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because there is no such thing.” C.S. Lewis
Shine on. . .
karan k

Last Thread Thursday

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42: 11 New International version

My rambling thoughts cause twistedness and strife within my mind.
I want freedom. I want peace. I want purpose. Do I know that all these things can be found in You? My head knows it but my heart isn’t feeling it at the moment.

Anyone else just hangin?

That’s when my faith must rally the courage to step in and take control of the helm of my soul. Faith must rise up and remember the God who has never failed me! The God who provides for me! The God who masters an entire universe and yet cares about me. The God who loves me when I hang on my last thread above the abyss of despair. The invisible God who I cannot see with my eye but who I believe remains even in my pain.

The God who whispers, “in all this I remain by your side and I will carry you ’til you can walk on your own again.”

 

“and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.” Deuteronomy 1:31 New American Standard version

 

“You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head.” Psalm 139:5 New Living translation

Thank YOU for holding me!

May I trust You, knowing You are with me no matter what I face or feel today.

Shine on. . .
karan k

Pleasant Valley Proofreading

“Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than people.” Ephesians 6:7 New Living translation

Monkee mobile

Recently I took a leisurely drive on a Sunday morning, windows down and moving below the speed limit—which is a rare occurrence indeed. I wanted to drink in the budding summer scenery.

As I drove passed one development after another the atmosphere somehow oozed of sadness and the song “Pleasant Valley Sunday” began playing in my head. Do you remember it? Gerry Goffin teamed up with his wife at the time, Carole King to write it. The Monkees recorded the most famous version of the song this month 50 years ago.

Chorus
“Another pleasant valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land. . .
Bridge
Creature comfort goals, they only numb my soul
And make it hard for me to see”

The words continue to ring true in our world. It’s our human nature. When we compete to promote ourselves and focus to please ourselves, it blinds us to everything around us. We expect certain things and are not satisfied with less. We expect them not because we’ve earned them but just because we believe we deserve them. We harbor arrogant expectations to be treated as superior to someone else. Did the status seekers of the sixties breed the entitlement issues of our twenty first century?

sample of proofreading

My first full time job fresh out of high school came with a life time lesson I will never forget. I was hired in 1981 by a small photocomposition company. Six other applicants were also hired with me and started the same day. We were trained together in the trade of proofreading and all worked together in one room.

Six months later just after beginning our shift, the voice of the president of the company came over the loud speaker. One by one he called the names of all seven of us to report to the conference room.

I wondered what was going on and followed some of my co-workers to the large conference room. As we entered, I saw the president standing with his arms crossed and wearing somewhat of a scowl. There were papers turned upside down with each of our names at assigned seats. He asked us to be seated and we did.

A few of my co-workers arrived after I did and they were talking and laughing as they entered. The president’s scowl deepened and they quickly took their seats. From this point on no one spoke except the president. He explained that our evaluations lay on the table in front of each of us. He did not want us reading them until we heard what he had to say.

He told us he was quite disappointed in some of us and quite angry about some of our attitudes. And then the line that I’ll never forget. “Some of you people expect to get paid just for showing up everyday.” Everything after that is a blur, but I do remember he lambasted us for an awful chunk of time.

At the end of the meeting, a girl in her early twenties and myself returned to the proofreading room. The rest were fired. I learned that day that attitude is everything.
An attitude of entitlement got 5 people fired that day. I’m sure I didn’t even know what the word “entitlement” meant back then but I certainly was glad I had my job at the end of the day. I believe His grace and mercy rescued me from losing my position.

In remembering that lesson from so long ago, my goal is to keep my mind clear of any entitlement thinking that may try to creep in because it has become so pervasive in our world.

“You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”  — Abraham Lincoln

May I remember to uphold a solid work ethic so I can FLURISH on the job. How about you? Got any life lessons you care to share? Write them in the comment section so we may learn from each others experiences.

 

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Divinely Appointed

NYPD

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” Romans 13:1 New Living translation

French military July 14th National holiday parade
Us military

 

In 1989 when I began work on the PA Turnpike, the uniform of the toll collector included a metal badge similar to a policeman’s badge. We wore it on our shirts in summer and our coats in winter. It was an important part of our uniform. It was a symbol of authority and the customers recognized and respected it.

Sometime in the next decade the badges were removed as part of the uniform. The effect produced more paperwork for the state police because customers no longer saw collectors as any type of authority. When a dispute arose, a State trooper was called.

Often I have customers who refuse to pay their fare. Some will demand to see a State trooper or some other authority figure. If my boss is unavailable, I tell them I can call a State trooper for them but I am careful to add that the State trooper will simply make them pay the fare. This is an attempt to spare the customer wasted time. Most customers listen to reason, decide not to involve the law and pay their fare.

However, there have been customers who insist on seeing a police officer. The officer arrives, listens to the customer plead their case, and then explains that they must pay the fare. After all, it is a toll road.

Occasionally I have witnessed customers arguing with the police officers after they’ve been told by the officer they must pay the fare. It seemed so ridiculous to me at the time. It happened only a few times in the last 28 years but I sense a wave of change coming.

I wrote all this to say our world is changing rapidly. Things have been going on recently that are so ridiculous they seem surreal. As followers of Christ we are commanded to submit to governing authorities as stated in the opening verse. The word submit means to accept or yield to a superior force or the authority or will of another person.

US President Donald Trump
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
German Premiere Minister Angela Merkel

Whether referring to a police officer or the head of our country we need to take the Word of God to heart. He chooses who He puts in power whether in lower positions or the highest in the land. It is ultimately His call.  He has reasons we cannot imagine because He knows eternity past, present and future. Our job is to recognize, respect and obey the position of authority, even if we personally dislike the individual holding the office.

As we have seen recently, the unrest is escalating. Ugly hatreds increasing. Attitudes of bold rebellion are cropping up at alarming rates together with violence. We must stand for what is true and honorable according to His word and be examples to our world. We must be aware of what the Last Days will be like. Read II Timothy 3:1-8 New Living translation

 

Verse 3 especially stuck out.

“They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.”

Let’s make the upcoming fourth of July celebration here in the United States a marker, a reminder to begin to meditate and pray on our attitudes toward authority figures. If you live elsewhere choose a significant date for your country and begin the process to pray and appreciate the position. Let’s ask God for new ways we can be extra supportive and respectful of our governing powers upholding the law, i.e., members of the military, law enforcement officials, the President, his cabinet and our local statesmen and women. We need to set a standard for the world to see and pray they follow our lead.

Remember, these governing  individuals have our heavenly Father’s backing and they should have ours. They could be the only thing standing between us and a world where chaos is king. Support our governing leaders and obey the command of God.

“Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts.” Ecclesiastes 10:20a

Shine on. . .

karan k

Powerful Weakness

 

“Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ ” II Corinthians 12:9a New Living translation
Remember the Pop Quiz? Out of nowhere the teacher announced a test. Do you remember your reaction? Favorable or negative? No matter what age we are there remain tests for us to take. We cannot escape them.

The other day I faced a pop quiz from God:

As back drop, I must tell you that my body battles low blood sugar and anxiety regularly. I need lots of water, lots of rest and lots of food evenly distributed daily to function at any normal capacity. Otherwise, sugar shock and passing out can ensue. This is the physical weakness I live with in my body. Read on.

A coworker on the next shift after mine had some car trouble. She wasn’t sure she could make it in to work. Being low man on the pole, even after 28 years, meant working 12 or 16 hours straight for me. The shift had to be filled.
My first reaction was to pray for someone else to want or need the work. “No” was the answer to that prayer. Then I prayed someone would split the shift with me. 12 hours was certainly more acceptable than 16. Again the answer was “No”. So the test for me was 16 hours of busy work followed by little sleep to come in the next day for another busy shift.

God’s pop quiz tested my commitment to trust in His goodness, His provision and His grace. Temptation did not take the night off.

The first question on the test entered my mind as fear. Would I be able to physically handle working such long hours? I answered by recalling God’s faithful help in the past with forced lesser amounts of overtime. I decided this was the correct answer and steered my mind to trust in His help. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 New International version

Next question on the test. Will I complain to my husband, friends or coworkers? I felt the strong urge to complain to my husband. I wanted to seek his pity. But  he could not help me though he wished he could. I had to rely on the only One who truly could help. I remembered the many times God spared me from being forced to work double shifts in the past. Gratitude swept over my mind. “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good: For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” I Chronicles 16:34 New American Standard Bible

Third question. Would I allow self pity to pool in my mind? Or resentment and anger to settle in my soul? By His grace I resisted the negative and reminded myself of God’s sovereignty in my life. He had allowed this to happen. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 New Living translation

So I began asking for more of His grace.

Grace is what I needed to make it through 8 more hours when my back and feet were already hurting. Grace is what I needed to maintain a kind attitude toward my customers as I grew more tired. So I asked for grace over and over throughout the night. The more I depended on receiving grace, the more it washed over me in waves.

I completed 16 full hours on a busy friday while maintaining a good frame of mind. For me this was a huge improvement from years past when I gave in to fear and fretting, whining and complaining, anger and resentment.

I went to bed that night trusting He would give me good rest on little time and He did! Saturday proved busier than friday but His grace continued to flow as long as I continued to ask for and depend upon it. I knew I had passed His test.

“So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” II Corinthians 12:9b New Living translation

 

An A plus is given to a student for great work being achieved.

May your next test be a perfect score!

Shine on. . .

karan k

Fan Out Your Figures

Money Money Money

If your household is like mine, everybody works. Our combined finances keep the home fires burning. We’re down to a family of two. Our daughter is married now and flurishes in a neighboring town but the empty nest transition continues to challenge us. Needs and wants are different at this stage.

Out of his gracious heart, my husband allows me to handle all the finances. I asked for the responsibility when we first got married. He decided to give me the reins. If it didn’t work after a year, we agreed to try another plan. I appreciate his willingness to give my financial system a chance. After 10+ years I remain in charge and he continues to fully entrust me with the finances. But every now and then budgetary issues can get a bit dicey.

Dreaming of the mountains
Fantasizing about Europe
Wishing to be at the Beach

The same amount of revenue comes in most months and we have a working budget that I put together. Every year we make a few vacation plans and set some goals for saving money. But once in awhile I fear I bite off more than our budget can chew, so to speak. It’s sort of like a budgetary binge; perhaps you’re  also attempting to do something tremendous for your spouse or your children? Or treat yourself to something over the top? The price tag is a bit higher than your budget’s comfort cushion but you go for it anyway?

And then we have to fight off the vicious serpents of second guessing. Their bite can be deceitful leading us aboard the carousel ride where  fear doubt and worry ponies spin out of control if we’re not careful. Can you relate?

How do we justify splurging on ourselves when there are so many dire needs around us?

 

There are people starving all over the world every minute of every day. Worthy causes and ministries too numerous to number surround us in an age where we have access to give, making financial contributions around the clock.

Are we to live as monks giving up all our earthly pleasures?  (Consider the story of Job who was the richest person in the area where he lived and God called him righteous. Job 1:1)

How do we navigate our budgets to be good stewards?

We could give to the poor daily and there would still be more need. Jesus’ own words in Mark 14:7 say: “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them whenever you want. But you will not always have Me.” Berean Study Bible

This is not an excuse from giving but to balance giving with His other desires for us such as; worshipping Him, caring for our bodies, maintaining relationships, interacting with creation and sharing the Gospel to name a few.

How do we balance our own wants with the needs of others? We are God’s stewards of the money HE allows us to earn. We will give an account one day of how we used all of His gifts, including money.

” ‘Well done!’ the King exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be  governor of ten cities as your reward.'” Luke 19:17 New Living translation

 

That being said, how do you handle these financial dilemmas? Share your ideas in the comment section. We can all learn from each other.

When facing such spiritual conundrums, I employ what I call “The Hezekiah Approach” from II Kings 19:14-20. It’s like FANNING OUT YOUR FIGURES BEFORE THE LORD. Read the passage and follow Hezekiah’s example.

Lay it all out and pray for His Spirit to guide you

This is where our relationship with THE HOLY SPIRIT comes into play. His guidance is the answer. Lay your financial life out before Him like individual ledgers. The bills, the budget, the needs, the wants, the giving opportunities. Talk to Him about your concerns, cares and even the things you really want. He cares about the details and He will guide you on how to make decisions specifically for your life. Of course this takes some time.

Time set aside to gather all the info.

Time physically to lay it out on a large surface.

Time set aside to pray over it and seek His direction.

We must be intentional saved followers and stewards of Christ. Definitely slows the decision making process on the front side, but if you’re making better decisions the end result will more than make up for the time spent.

His goals for us are clear but the steps leading  to completion of them are  usually fuzzy so that we never achieve them without His help. He wants to be involved every step of the way. Working with Him on projects draws you close if you cooperate.

This results in a FLURISHING relationship  with Him which is His bottom line. Start budgeting with Him asap!

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Prayers for the Pot Roast

“. . . the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41b New International version

A line I remembered from a movie, “The Gift of Love” also appears in the book, ‘Never Forsaken’. It says, ” a house full of love has elastic walls.” Simply adore that line. Sort of goes along with the thinking, “the more the merrier.” This is the philosophy of my heart and spirit. But lately my flesh has not kept up with my spirit in the translation of hospitality in reality.


My husband and I host some of the family functions in our home like Christmas day gatherings or an occasional party. But for the most part we spend our days alone throughout the year in our house like two peas in a cozy pod. We are quite comfortable with this arrangement. But every now and then the opportunity presents itself to host overnight guests.
I enjoy having people stay over at our house and I like to think our walls are elastic.  It happens maybe twice each year with one or two people staying for a few days. This year is a little different. We extended invitations to two different parties and they both agreed to come and stay with us. Only one problem;

Their schedules dove-tailed into back to back visits totalling 10 days straight. My husband and I thought better to trust God and His grace rather than disappoint dear folks we’d already invited. Wasn’t their fault that they needed to come back to back. So we said come on and stay.

Things were going well with our first guest until fatigue and stress caused an emotional meltdown between my husband and I in front of our guest! Horrors! Now she could see for herself that we were not Mr. & Mrs. Superman. We were and are indeed made of flesh.

Adamstown Community Days fireworks with loyal friend

Fortunately, she is an old friend and understands the humanness we displayed and loves us anyway. She even asked to come back soon. What grace!

So strip the bed and wash the towels and what to cook for guest set #2? I decided on a roast I could throw in the crock pot while I worked and voila it would be done for the evening meal when they arrived. At least that was the plan. Did I mention I am not a seasoned cook? So I prayed over my pot roast. I wanted our guests to be blessed not made sick by my lack of cooking skills. Seriously, I have always found when I pray and ask for JESUS’ help with cooking, the food always turns out great. Why not? HE is Lord of All, even cooking.

Perfect Pot Roast

So everything skipped along splendidly with our second house guests, the out of state relatives who we were only now getting to know. Until. . . my fatigue reared its nasty face again. Although this time the result remained strictly physical. No emotional outbursts, thank God! But I felt drained.  Again, I experienced grace.

For my current guest said to me last night that she now understands more deeply Jesus’ words to His closest friends in the garden of Gethsemane; “. . . the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41b New International version

Julius Sturgis, Lititz, PA
Moravian Church Square, Lititz, PA

She said this after we shared a full day of local sightseeing. Her spirit wanted to do more but her body was saying “Wait just a minute! You’ve done enough”. She had to respect her physical limitations. Oh how I could relate! I didn’t have to give in to the lie that I hadn’t “entertained enough.” So we both called it a night and took our much needed rest.
“Hospitality is not about showing off your house, your decorating skills, cooking abilities or possessions— Hospitality is about God and how HE uses you and your possessions to serve those you come in contact with whether friends or strangers, believers or unbelievers.” Jami Balmet

Whether you have this. . .
Or this. God will use it.

This levels the playing field so that each of us has something to offer in the way of hospitality whether we live in a small apartment or a large mansion. Each of us can bless those around us when the opportunity arises. Don’t allow pride or fear to stop you from sharing what He has given you.  Don’t give in to the lie that you don’t have enough to offer. Like the little boy with the 5 loaves and two fish in Mark 6:41, rest in the fact that He will multiply your efforts to bless others. It’s something I’m learning as I FLURISH with Him in hospitality opportunities. Each one is different, each is unique and each one when offered to Him can bless all involved!

“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13 English Standard version

Share what you have for His glory

Shine on. . .
karan k