Nuff Said

 

“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Proverbs 10:19 New Living translation

During my growing up years I had a mouth problem. It ran constantly and caused me trouble. My mother called me a Babblemau, which was her version of “Babbling mouth”. My father had a rule about speaking at the supper table. He would slap my mouth if I spoke out of turn during a meal. You’d think that would have cured me after a few swift smacks but no. That need to babble, continued on when I got to school.

uh oh!

My teachers agreed on one thing about me that did not change from kindergarten through twelfth grade; I talked too much. I stood in corners, had to write on the board, “I talk too much” several hundred times and once got detention. All for my quantity of talking. For me, too much talk led to discipline. Hopefully by now I have learned to listen more than talk.

Instead of remaining a babbling brook I now find words fascinating. Their meaning, their sounds, how they can affect us. They are powerful. It’s a temptation to be verbose in my writing. More words do not equal quality. Brevity is a blessing. A skill I aspire to master. I attempt to use my words with wisdom whether in speech or in writing. I endeavor to think before I speak but am not always successful.

In our computer age, words we speak are often in written form. Texts, emails and social media have become our main form of communication. The written word becomes the words we speak. I see the need to carefully choose my words in light of Matthew 12:36;
“And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak.” New Living translation

What are idle words?
Idle word– This literally means a vain, empty, thoughtless, careless, useless word; a word that accomplishes no good.

“Here {in this particular verse} it means wicked, injurious, false, malicious, for such were the words which they had spoken.” Barnes’ Notes

So written or spoken, our words should be weighty with goodness, enlightenment, love and encouragement. How do your words stack up in this list?

Ever encounter a battle of opinions on the internet? Or conversations that seem to go on forever in a negative manner? Individuals arguing a point by beating it to death? Those words lose their power and will one day come under holy scrutiny.

Think before you type

Twice in the second chapter of II Timothy, verses 16 and 23, Paul instructs his young protege’ to avoid what he calls “foolish talk”. Repetition like that is means for paying attention.

As believers we need to be aware of our words and take responsibility for them. Follow James’s instruction to “. . . be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19b New Living translation)

Next time you notice rampant opinions flying all over the internet about any myriad of topics, think twice before you add your words to the conversation. Your two cents here may have a much higher cost in eternity.

 

“But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.” II Timothy 2:16 English Standard version

Good conversation skills include lots of listening

Shine on. . .
karan k

Who’s the Boss?


Then He said to the woman, I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. . . ” Genesis 3: 16a

The above passage is familiar to most of us. All too real to those who are mothers and have gone through the experience of nine months of pregnancy and then labor pain to bring a child into our world. But how often do we pay attention to the second half of that verse?

“. . . And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
Genesis 3:16b

How do you feel about control? Do you enjoy being in charge? Some personality types thrive on playing follow the leader as long as they are the leader. How does this play out in a marriage where the dominant personality is the wife?

Early in my marriage, I got frustrated often over “his” way of doing things as opposed to mine. After living on my own for many years, I had grown accustomed to wielding control over my affairs. His way was slower. He lacked a “sense of urgency”, I thought. His way caused him problems in the past. His way SEEMED inferior to mine. Can anyone relate?

Control is difficult to relinquish. It can be more painful than birthing  a child for some of us. I can tell you it’s a process that requires diligent effort. Most of the time we women are too busy with all our domestic and maternal  responsibilities to even think of giving up control. But the effort we make to give it up in the end will be worth it. It’s another “MUST JUST TRUST  God’s truth” lesson.

 

My dear husband kept mentioning his personality type as a reason for his method of handling concerns. After hearing his explanation at least a hundred times, I began to listen. I let him show me the personality test he referred to and read up on his personality type as well as mine.

Are you familiar with the DISC Personality Model? It’s one of many systems for evaluating personality type and learning about human behavior. It’s the personality test my husband took before I met him. Below is a basic skeleton of the DISC model. Each of us can have a combination of these with one usually standing out as the strongest.

D = Dominant and Direct Behavior
I = Inspiring and Interactive Behavior
S = Supportive and Steady Beahavior
C = Cautious and Careful Behavior

After a bit of study on the DISC model, the light began to dawn and understanding crept into my mind. I could see my husband being a Type S on the DISC scale. He is Supportive and Steady. This formerly translated in my mind as “taking too long” to finish a task. Of course when he performed a task it was done right and it was done well as opposed to my quick and shoddy workmanship.

 

I’m a huge believer in learning to study your spouse because it will increase your understanding of him or her. Understanding can go a long way to aid you in getting along on a day to day basis.

“People with understanding control their anger, a hot temper shows great foolishness.” Proverbs 14:29 New Living translation

If you are single, taking a personality test will help you understand yourself more and will benefit your relationships.

Sailing requires serious teamwork

For wives, understanding your husband can build your confidence in who he was created to be. It will help you to allow your husband to take charge, instead of hanging on to your natural bent to control. This is God’s design. He wants to mold a husband and wife together as a team but ultimately the husband has the final say. So learn to let go and trust God’s plan, His way works so much better than our own! Isaiah 55:9

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” I Corinthians 11:3 Berean Study Bible

 

We must diligently guard and protect the love relationship with our spouse IF we happen to be married. After Christ, they are the number 2 priority. Don’t take them for granted, they may not always be there. Learn more to live better together!

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

There are lots of free personality tests online. Here is one example.
For a free personality test try: personalityperfect.com

The goal

 

 

 

 

 

Child’s Play?

 

How many have memories of attending summer camp? Sports camps, theatre camps, Bible camps, band camps etc? Any of these things bring back memories?

 

Bug juice
Crafts
Swimming/Boating
Unusual games/competitions
Long lines for meals
The Canteen
Campfires

The memory I’m sharing today is from my third year of church camp in the beautiful mountains of Pennsylvania. I was 13 that summer and got assigned to Hemlock cabin along with three of my friends from church. This was an old two story cabin and we had the front room on the first floor. There were four girls in the next room and the counselor maintained a room in the back. The second floor housed about a dozen more girls ages 10-14.

One day near the end of the week after a morning of crab soccer, I sprawled across my cot writing a letter during free time. A gaggle of girls buzzing with excitement came bursting into the cabin heading for the next room. Several waved for me to join them so I put down my pen and walked into the room curious to know why they were so excited.

One of the girls from my church began telling the other girls about a guy, (of course) named Kevin who had died recently in a motorcycle accident. She explained that they had been very close and his sudden death was a terrible shock for her. Seems she couldn’t accept his death because when she went to the funeral, it was a closed casket service. She wanted to see him to say “good-bye”.

A girl from a larger church in Trappe, Pennsylvania piped up and said, ‘You have to play the game.” I wondered what she was talking about?

She continued. “It’s called Bloody Mary. You stand in front of this big mirror and say ‘Bloody Mary show me Kevin’ three times while you slowly turn around each time with your eyes closed. Then you stop and look in the mirror and you’ll see Kevin.”

More girls came rushing in from outside until the room was packed. My friend stood there contemplating playing the game. I told her and the rest of the girls not to do it. I told them God warns us to stay away from such things but no one listened to me. The girls closed in and my friend began the chant while I stood in the back and watched.

After the third time around she opened her eyes and looked in the mirror and immediately began screaming and ran out of the room and out of the cabin. All the girls ran after her screaming until I was left alone. I didn’t know what she saw but I knew the fear was real and they should not have done it. I followed them out to the porch. I tried to convince the frightened girls that the cabin was safe but they refused to come back inside.

Not goin back in there!

I walked back into my room and sat on the bed to finish my letter. Later the counselor came in and asked me what happened. She said all the girls are too scared to come back into Hemlock. I told her about the Bloody Mary game and that I warned them not to do it. She called everyone to come back into the cabin. A few refused. She talked to us and prayed with us for peace and protection. She told us even things that seem like childish games can be extremely dangerous and warned us to learn from this experience. I remember being grateful my mother taught me to stay away from such things.

 

The game Bloody Mary comes from a folklore legend and is considered a divination ritual, where someone seeks knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means. More grown up divination tools you may recognize as; Ouija Boards, Tarot Cards, Palmistry, Numerology, and more recently Occult video games and Online Occult games like Death Calculator.

Dabbling in the occult is nothing new. Making profit off it also is nothing new.
“It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.” Acts 16:16 New American Standard Bible

Consider if only one in 20 “churched” girls in the 1970s was aware of the subtle danger of the occult. What do you think the odds are now?

Some believe these things to be fraudulent,  harmless, or explained by science but  scrutinize the following quotes and make your own determination.

Female Fortuneteller or esoteric Oracle, sees in the future by playing her tarot cards during a Seance to interpret them and to answer questions

“. . . Don’t practice divination, sorcery, fortune-telling, witchery, casting spells, holding seances or channeling the dead. People who do these things are an abomination to God.” Deuteronomy 18:10 The Message Bible

 

“For many, witchcraft is more than just a religion .. it’s a way of life… When witchcraft is practiced [sic] as a religion, it is called by the old English term for witch, Wicca. This term is used to counter all the negative stereotypes that society has given witchcraft. . . ” witchcraft.com.au

 

“I want to remind you all there is no such thing as innocently playing with demons,” wrote Father Stephen McCarthy in an open letter to his students at St. John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2015 concerning the game Charlie Charlie {or poor man’s ouija board} . He goes on to say, “The problem with opening yourself up to demonic activity is that it opens a window of possibilities that is not easily closed. Please be sure to NOT participate and encourage others to avoid participation as well.” Reported by the Independent.

Game CharlieCharlie

 

“Divination in any form is sin. It is not harmless entertainment or an alternate source of wisdom. Christians should avoid any practice related to divination, including fortune-telling, astrology (signs of the zodiac), witchcraft, tarot cards, necromancy, and spell-casting. The spirit world is real, but it is not innocent. According to Scripture, those spirits that are not the Holy Spirit or angels are evil spirits.” GotQuestions.org What Does the Bible Say About Divination?

Innocent or Deceptive?

So what do you think?

For more information on this topic, check out:

“The Fakers” Danny Korem and Paul Meier

“The Occult: The Authority of the Believer Over the Powers of Darkness” Josh McDowell and Don Stewart.

 

 

These practices have become more prevalent in our modern society exploding through online access.  Be aware and be in prayer.

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Margin of Rest

 

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6+7 The Message Bible

 

Ever notice when you’re stressed every little thing irritates the heck out of you? Somebody says something wrong or even looks at you weird and bam, you’re angry, frustrated, stressed. Sometimes you explode. Stress can do that.

 

But stress can also be a great motivator for getting things done. lt doesn’t have to be a negative thing but it does need to be kept in balance.  Stress must be kept in  direct balance with the level of margin or cushion in your life. If you have  little or no margin/downtime, stress will be high. Likewise, more downtime will lessen your stress levels. We all know this simple principle but do we apply it to our own lives?

 

It’s an area I’m partnering with God to improve. I have to constantly keep it in check, like watching a pot on the stove come to a boil. If I don’t watch it, there’s gonna be a boil over and inevitably a mess.

 

I notice stress over deadlines can make me extra snappy with people at work, friends but especially my husband. I HATE when I do that!!! He hates it too and then he gets snappy and we go round and round. Not exactly the way I want to experience “Marital Bliss”.

Full schedules  can lead to stress, anxiety and unfortunately, angry outbursts. So I am attempting to simplify and build margins of time into my days.

 

What does that look like? For me, it’s staying home after work and the gym a couple nights each week, working on those things that have deadlines. Giving myself a free day a couple times a month where I expect nothing from myself. I think God had this same idea by giving us Sabbath rests once a week. (smile)

For my husband it looks a bit different. During the work week he needs more time at home to rest and recharge, so he prefers no activity after work on weeknights. On weekends he prefers doing one activity each day, not multiple ones. He’s often said he likes to go do things every other day. One day of activity requires one day of rest.

Each of us has a different limit of overload. Some personalities can take on a lot of activity and thrive all the while. Other personalities become frustrated and stressed over few activities and/or responsibilities. Each of us should discover our own limit of overload and then aim to remain under the limit. Otherwise we will make ourselves and those around us rather miserable.

 

What is your personal limit of overload? What stresses you? Think about it and identify your stresses. Put limits on those particular things and adjust your schedule in at least one area. This can benefit your own peace of mind helping you to be the best you for yourself and for those in your personal sphere of influence. Your co-workers, family and spouse deserve your best.

Life goes better with the right amount of margin

 

“. . . My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 New International version

Take His rest today!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness, part IV: Lonely No More

Transformed

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” II Corinthians 3:18 New Living translation

Do we see, really see the glory of God? It’s here all around us if we look with eyes of faith. Study the planets, the animal kingdom or the workings of the human body. His glory covers every inch of anything we can see, feel and hear plus all the unseen as well. Look deeper. Ask Him to show you His glory. He will. Why wouldn’t we want to know this truly awesome God on an intimate level?! What in this life is more important?

Explore His creative genius

Dating God regularly in various arenas of our world not only renews our mindset from lonely glumness to powerful praise and purpose, it also converts our character. Time with Him anywhere reshapes our character to reflect Him. We begin to become like Him in our hearts.

As this reworking process changes us on the inside, the results will show on the outside. We begin to express His character traits of kindness, faithfulness, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness and self-control in our daily dealings with others. It is a lifelong dating process to become like the object of our affection, Jesus Christ, God’s only son. He is the exact representation of God on earth.

In 2010 psychologist Robert Zajonc and his team from the University of Michigan found truth in the old belief that married couples look alike.  He found that close couples tend to mimic each other’s facial expressions, developing the same muscles and over time begin to look alike.

Do you recognize this couple? They met in 1922 and married in 1926. They worked together as a comedy team in vaudeville, radio, movies and tv for almost 40 years.

George Burns and Gracie Allen married 38 years

This is exactly what we want to do with God. We want to spend time with Him studying His ways and imitating Him. Working with Him, laughing with Him, and learning with Him moment by precious moment.  In time, we will begin to look like Him.

 

Reflecting our great GOD in turn makes us quite attractive. If we display His attributes freely people will be drawn to us. Given enough time with Him to transform us, we will have more friends than we may be able to handle. Loneliness will be a thing of the past. God will fill our hearts. Those full hearts will attract others and voila, Lonely No More!

 

Consider Enoch in Genesis 5:23 and 24. “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.” New Living translation

He dated God so intensely that one day God just took him away to heaven with Him. Enoch never experienced death. When you’re in dating mode you give every moment your best shot. You’re attentive and all in. Being aware of His presence is only the beginning. Enoch knew this. He chased after God and was not lonely.

“To walk with God, is to set God always before us, to act as always under His eye. It is constantly to care, in all things to please God, and in nothing to offend Him. It is to be followers of Him as dear children.” Matthew Henry concise commentary on Genesis 5:24

So do you want to remain a Lonely heart or Lonely No More? Try dating God and watch things change. Get started asap.

Shine on. . .
karan k

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness part III: Dating God?

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 New American Standard version

Dating God. . . let that sink in. Have you ever thought of Him this way? He desires us to know Him, to pursue Him, to spend time with Him. Isn’t that what we do when we date someone? We want to know all about them. Their past and childhood. What they value. What goals they have, etcetera.

To discover the answers and who this person is requires time and effort. It’s the same to get to know God. For someone who is lonely, the time and effort aspect can be difficult because you struggle to see beyond your own pain. This is the “chain” of loneliness. It’s a bondage the enemy uses to weight and drown us into the sea of despair. The chain must be broken by faith. By trusting God and doing things His way, all the way.

Read Psalm 34:18 again (opening verse above). Focus on the truth of this verse. The Lord IS near to the brokenhearted. If you are suffering from loneliness, you definitely qualify as brokenhearted. So the Lord IS near you. That’s the reality the enemy wants to hide from you. Break the chain by refusing to believe anything but the truth that God IS NEAR YOU!!! Then in faith act on that truth.

Begin by dating God. Sounds a bit strange but it helped me through some very lonely days. Basically, I would pick a place and off we’d go.

 

A park date consisted of packing a picnic lunch, a blanket and my Bible. I drove or walked to a park and found a nice welcoming spot. (Of course this date needed some good weather to succeed.) I’d spread the blanket across the grass, lay out the food and open my Bible. I usually brought a notebook as well to record anything God chose to tell me on our special date. Things He would whisper in my spirit as I sat with Him.

A mall date is good for when the weather is contrary. Pick a comfy seat and people watch with God. Talk about whatever comes to mind. You may want to converse silently in your head while in public places although passersby may assume you’re on a bluetooth.:) Again, take a notebook to record any words He speaks into your heart. You will treasure them later. God may even direct you to a hidden bargain while you’re there.

A similar date can also be done at a bookstore or library. Read books together with God. Ask Him what He thinks about new ideas you discover in the text or just enjoy a novel together KNOWING He is right by your side. Remember Psalm 34:18.

One of my favorite dates was going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Him. Sharing the wonders of His living creation with Him was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. Being fully aware of His presence enhanced every ride we took and every show we saw. Similarly, you can do a zoo date or go to a botanical garden with Him.

Remember to talk to Him to and from the date as well because He IS still near you and through His Holy Spirit lives in your heart so you are truly never ever out of His presence. You just have to intentionally be aware of Him.

Tree of Life—Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida

These are just some ideas to get you started. If you do this consistently, in time His presence will naturally, or I  should say, supernaturally be a conscious part of every waking moment.

When you’re ready for a deeper understanding and connection find a book on or google THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD to learn more about His character.

Over time your mindset will change but that’s not all. Join FLURISH for part IV of this series to find out more. Until then, start dating and share your ideas so all of us can learn and benefit.

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:7 & 8 New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness, part II: First Love

“I love those who love Me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” Proverbs 8:17 English Standard version

Do you remember your First Love? Probably have warm feelings recalling that special someone whenever they come to mind. We all have fond memories of someone even if the person was totally unaware of our affection. Do you realize God wants to be your First Love? It was part of His His divine blueprint.

In the garden of Eden, God created man and woman to know Himself. He created Adam FIRST and then He created Eve. The Bible says He brought her to Adam which means she also knew God FIRST before she met Adam. We don’t know the time frames for when Adam and Eve met but they both knew God, their Creator first.

Adam + Eve

God understands human loneliness. He created Eve because He knew it was not good for Adam to be alone forever. (See Genesis 2:18) So at some point God brought them together after they both knew Him. This remains God’s perfect design. For each man, for each woman to know Him FIRST before they come together as a couple.

If we are lonely as Christians, I believe we should start with pursuing God. Knowing Him intimately first before we try to involve ourselves in deep human relationships will widen the foundation for success from which we build any relationship but especially marriage.  This is true no matter our age. If we plunge ahead driven by loneliness to any source other than God, there will be needless pain involved.

Needless pain resulting from reckless and irresponsible behaviors. Drinking, which can lead to alcoholism, illicit relationships, job loss, DUI arrest and more…Loveless sexual relationships, leaving a person empty, unfulfilled and endlessly searching for more,  not to mention possible unwanted pregnancy, disease or abuse. Compromising convictions and being unequally yoked. What does being “unequally yoked” mean? Involving yourself in a relationship or even marrying someone who is not a believer. There is a long list of negative consequences for the believer who does this, too long to list here. The Bible warns of this in II Corinthians 6:14. All I will say in this writing is, I’ve walked that path and trust me, it does not work! God is not a killjoy…He simply wants to spare you from all this heartache. None of the aforementioned activities are a cure for your loneliness.

In building this foundational relationship with God first through Jesus His Son and His Holy Spirit, you will have your priorities in the proper order. ( Matthew 6:33) Then you can grow as a person and become whole in Him. At the right time, which only He knows, He will bring a partner to you just as He did for Adam, whether it’s a friend or a marriage partner. This process takes time and it’s different for each of us. Remember, healthy people attract healthy people.

God will not be selfish with you. He will not withhold any good thing from you. (Psalm 84:11) He loves you beyond imagination, but He does want what is best for you and so you MUST JUST TRUST Him and His timing.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 New International version

Learn to enjoy your time with Him, your First Love, so all who come into your life will experience the best of you because of who you have become in Him and the time spent with Him. “Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 New International version

As I said earlier, many of us have learned the hard way that attempting to defeat loneliness on our own by chasing human relationships first, ended in pain and heartache. But no matter where we are in life, we can begin the process to date our magnificent God! Stay tuned for part III where I will share some ideas that helped me.

For now increase your faith by reading the story of Ruth and Naomi in the book of Ruth. Ruth chose to learn of God through her mentor, Naomi and in time, the Lord provided a faithful partner for Ruth. A beautiful example of the principle of First Love at work.

Shine on. . .
karan k

“But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” II Peter 3:18 English Standard version