A Ghostly Christmas

I had the delightful pleasure of seeing the new movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas” the night before it opened nationally in the late hours just before midnight. My second Mom and I adore “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens so every year as a treat I try to find some rendition for us to see together. Sometimes plays, sometimes interactive recreated Dickens villages or special readings of this prodigious work. This year cinematography brought Dickens own life to light and how the Ghosts of Christmas may have visited him.

I never associated ghosts with Christmas. Andy Williams’  (dubbed Mr. Christmas) famous song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” includes a line of ‘scary ghost stories’ in it but I never thought about it. Apparently it was common practice in Europe before Dickens wrote his story. Winter solstice and pagan rituals were bloated with ghostly tales at years’ end. It was natural to look back over the ending year as a death and ahead into the unknown new one. Ghost stories abounded.

During the 1640s and ’50s the parliamentary party in England being Biblically based in beliefs rather than tradition banned a lot of the more, as we would say, secular Christmas festivities such as feasting, dancing and holiday games. The singing of carols was also forbidden. Christmas was shut down during the Industrial Revolution and people worked just like any other day. Sort of like throwing the baby out with the bath water— all the joys of Christ’s birth were squelched because of overindulgence in worldly ritual. It was a sad, dark era.

 

And then in October of 1843 Charles Dickens was inspired by his own ghosts to write his most enduring work. I believe the Holy Ghost Most High put the idea in his heart and helped Dickens struggle through his personal painful past to create this amazing Ghostly Christmas tale. A story focussed on redemption and transformation through the help of Ghosts.

The characters were formed and came to life as Dickens wrote speedily to keep up with them. In only six weeks he wrote the entire story and had it published just before Christmas that year. It sold out by Christmas eve. The story encouraged people to celebrate the transforming wonders of Christmas. They began to go underground with their Christmas festivities behind closed doors. Slowly Christmas celebrations returned to merry ole England.

Dickens masterpiece remains one of the most successful works ever written. It has never been out of print and has been translated into several languages; the story has been adapted for film, stage, opera and various other media productions.

The best ghost story is an older one. The most Holy Ghost played a huge part in the very first Christmas which started it all. He overshadowed the young virgin Mary and through His divine power the Son of God formed in her womb. And later Our blessed Savior was born to redeem and transform each of us from our sinful pasts. Offering salvation and a bright hope for our future. And so we celebrate the greatest gift mankind would receive.

Swaffham’s Catholic Church depiction of Annunciation

The Puritan viewpoint held before Dickens novella is said to have been based on the lack of Biblical instruction to celebrate Christ’s birth. But what if God let it up to us to decide if He was worth our celebration? Would we rejoice in His coming on our own? Just a thought. Surely the heavenly host who proclaimed Jesus’ arrival were celebrating.

 

Have you accepted His gift? Salvation and Transformation? It’s not too late as long as you’re still breathing.

May we spread kindness, generosity and compassion to all we meet this upcoming Christmas season and into 2018 because HE lives inside us by the power of the HOLY GHOST!

God Bless us, everyone.

Shine on. . .
karan k

As a side note for Downton Abbey fans; actor DAN STEVENS (Matthew Crawley) stars as Dickens in this delightful frolic of a film.

Good Wife/Bad Wife? Part III

 

“The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!” Proverbs 31:30 & 31 The Message Bible

What an interesting word to describe how an admirable woman of God is to be praised. “Festoon” means to adorn with ribbons, garlands and other decorations. Which basically gives the idea of hanging out her praises in public for all to see. What a wonderful word picture.

Have you ever been “festooned in praises” by someone you love?

 

Let’s wrap up this series with some last thoughts to help us garner more festooning from our husbands if no one else.

“A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like a cancer in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4 New Living translation

Draped in beautiful character

The word “worthy” here implies strength of character. The traditional seven virtues of wonder forming strength of character are as follows:

Prudence- the quality of being wise and cautious in practical affairs.
Are we gaining wisdom by spending time in God’s Word?
Are we cautious and frugal with spending money for the household?
Justice- the quality of being fair and reasonable.
Do we prayerfully consider all angles of a situation before making judgements? Do we aim to do what’s RIGHT (righteous) in every circumstance.
Temperance- quality of moderation or self-restraint.
Do we deny ourselves pleasures for the sake of the family and being an example of healthy balance? Do we have our temper tamed?
Courage- the ability to do something that frightens one.
Are we trusting God to help us overcome our insecurities? Are we moving forward inspite of fears?
Faith- complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
Are we holding back any parts of ourselves from the living God?
Are we depending on Him moment by moment to walk this life with us in the power of the Holy Spirirt?
Hope- a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
Are we positive in our words, thoughts and outlook, expecting His good in our lives?
Love- an intense feeling of deep affection.
Are we pouring out our love on God by doing what He says and worshipping Him?
Are we pouring out our love and affection on our husband emotionally (in ways he understands) as well as physically?

Look over the list and see where you are strong and where you are weak. I need help and grace in several areas. Life is brimming with seasons of change but we need to strive for constancy in our marriages for them to FLURISH!

Now this is some impressive festooning! The Taj Mahal is public praise in enormity. One of the seven wonders of our modern world was built  between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife— too bad she was no longer alive to enjoy it. May we receive praise while breath remains in our lungs! Start increasing your “worthiness” today!

Keep an eye out for a possible companion series on husbands written by my own husband.

Shine on. . .
karan k

Good Wife/Bad Wife? Part II

Clinton Kelly and Stacy London  look on the Cathedral Hoodie.

“Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretense.” Marcus Aurelius

Multiple Myeloma Bone Marrow 2

“. . . but a disgraceful woman is like a cancer in his [her husbands] bones.” Proverbs 12:4b New Living Translation

In the last post we saw that we wives can be a crown for our husbands. That was from the positive first half of this proverb. Now we get to the ugly second part. I definitely do not want to choose this option! Bone cancer is the negative side of what a wife is capable of causing in the life of her husband.

A few years ago I loved watching a show called “What Not To Wear”. This show was very different than “The Good Wife” discussed in Part I. It was not a fictitious drama but a sad altho interesting reality show on how some people choose to dress. Friends or relatives nominated someone for the show who they considered to dress in poor taste. The two hosts would surprise this individual and offer to take them shopping for $5000 worth of new clothes if they agreed to trash their entire current wardrobe. That was the general gist of the show. I loved watching each episode because I learned to avoid my own fashion faux pas by watching the mistakes of the featured guest.

In the same way we can identify and avoid our own “Bad Wife” behavior from watching others and learning What Not to Do. There are the obvious bad behaviors of wives who flirt openly or have sex and cheat on their husbands in private. That is aggressive multiple myeloma in the bones for sure! It can quickly destroy a man.

But what about the not so obvious behaviors? Ever witness a wife berating her husband in public? Makes me shudder. It’s painful to see and so humiliating for the husband. What does she do in private, I wonder? Or have you ever heard a friend complain about her husband to a group of her girlfriends over lunch? And then there’s  rolling the eyes or shooting looks of contempt toward your husband which can be deadly. These too are cancer causing behaviors altho less aggressive, the end result is  the same. They destroy your husbands spirit and should be avoided at all costs.

Crown or Cancer? Those are the choices. Which will you choose?

To attempt to remain indifferent is compromise with mediocrity. There is no riding the fence here. Mediocrity is choosing the “Bad Wife” business as usual mindset.

Loving your spouse is one of the ways we love the Lord and you know how He feels about indifference. . . check out Revelation 3:15 Barnes’ commentary notes.

 

“Among those who made no profession He had reason to expect nothing but coldness; among those who made a profession He had a right to expect the glow of warm affection; but He found nothing but indifference. . . anything is better than this condition, where love is professed, but where it does not exist; where vows have been assumed which are not fulfilled.”

 

Why not mix Love and Faith together for a Good Wife life? Be encouraged. If you choose to be a crown rather than a cancer in your husbands life, God will honor your efforts. Nothing gets passed His notice. He will help you by His Spirit so your marriage can FLURISH no matter how long since you said I DO.

 

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” Criss Jami, Salome’

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Wife/Bad Wife? Part I

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” Criss Jami, Salome’

 

I never watched the CBS hit tv series “The Good Wife” even though it ran for seven seasons and I often considered checking into it. Julianna Margulies stars in this political drama about her decision to reenter the workforce after 13 years to provide for her children because her state attorney husband is jailed for corruption and sex scandal. Is he guilty? That’s what we all want to know?

Not sure if it’s a GOOD show to watch (only you can be the judge of that) but Margulies character supports her husband in some form or other throughout the shows run.

That being said, I want to be a Good Wife. Not like the one on the TV show but like God created me to be. To reach my potential that He set out for me to glorify His name. I want my husband to know and feel that he has that kind of “Good Wife”. In this post let’s look at the first half of an intriguing proverb:

“A worthy wife is a crown for her husband. . . .” Proverbs 12:4a New Living Translation

The word “Crown” to the Jews meant more than kingly power but also joy and gladness.
Solomon the writer of this proverb knew what a crown of joy should be. His mother gave him a crown of joy on his wedding day. (See Song Of Solomon 3:11). So he knew the blessing of  receiving a crown from a woman.

I am striving to be a crown, a joy for my husband. Striving because it is a daily effort. A choice I make over and over. I’m endeavoring to discover what I can do that brings my husband gladness.

A key moment for us is when my husband walks through the door of our home after working all day. I look forward to this moment. I try to set the tone of peace and tranquility with low music, dimmed lights and the scent of supper cooking. That’s the easy part. The tough choices come when he drags in, growling under his breath not noticing the pleasant environment I’ve created just for him.

This is when I have to choose my attitude. Will I continue to care for him unconditionally by trying to understand his mood? By giving him space if he needs it? By not pushing my agenda for the evening? And by not whining about my own unmet needs? LORD help me! I can do it only by choosing His grace!

Love for a Lifetime—Husband and wife harmony

 

Being a crown for our husband also entails being helpers or a “help mete” according to scripture. Hebrew for Help Mete— Ezer Kenegdo, a difficult term to define. It means so much more than helper. A partner, a lifesaver comes close.

What does that look like? We can be a support second only to the Holy Spirit in our husband’s life if he’s a believer. We choose to be: A companion for him in loneliness. An enthusiastic cheerleader in his triumphs. A soft voice and a soothing touch in his struggles and wise words of encouragement in his defeats. A loving nurse in his physical weakness and an eager lover in his passion.

Which of these areas are hard for you to be supportive? God’s grace is available to help you improve. All you need to do is ask.

I have to choose to respond to my husbands needs and trust my own needs to be met by Jesus. It can be challenging and sometimes I fail at one or all those things but I am determined to be a crown so I keep working at it.

Are you choosing to be a Crown or something else?

 

Next time we’ll explore the brutal second half of Proverbs 12:4

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

Be Prepared

 

“Being prepared has taught me to look ahead, to anticipate the unexpected, and to carefully prepare myself.” An 83 year old former boy scout.

Woman pulls up to pay her $5.35 fare with a debit card. Her account is 90 cents shy of the total. She has no cash. So I ask for her license to do an insufficient funds procedure whereby she has 10 days to pay by mail or online with an added $2 processing fee.

Not prepared?

She begins looking for her license. Meanwhile, the traffic is backing up because my coworker is on his break. She tells me she doesn’t have her license so I inform her that I must call for a trooper to ID her. She tells me she has a job interview and she’ll be late if she has to wait for a trooper. This customer was in no way prepared.

I wondered if she sensed my frustration? These type moments make me beg Jesus for more grace. I mean really. Why would anyone drive on a toll road to a job interview without money or their drivers license and expect a positive outcome? She didn’t even offer any excuses. This appeared to be her habitual modus operandi.

 

I needed grace!

In the end I don’t know if she made it to her interview on time or if she got the job, but I do know she wasted time and paid extra fees for her lack of preparation.

Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts of America, devised the motto “Be Prepared” in 1907.

Baden-Powell’s idea of BE PREPARED was that “Scouts should prepare themselves to become productive citizens and strong leaders and to bring joy to other people. He wanted each Scout to be ready in mind and body to meet with a strong heart whatever challenges await him.” 13th latest edition of Boy Scout Handbook

Baden-Powell further expounded:

“Be Prepared in Mind–by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.

Be Prepared in Body–by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.”

 

Sounds like a healthy and productive way to conduct ones life. I believe Scripture also encourages this way of living.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7 English Standard Version

What preparations are in your knapsack?

So, how prepared are you?

For todays situations?

For your place in eternity?

Read Matthew 25:1-13 to gain important insights on being prepared.

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

Got Mask?

 

Masquerade party 2017
Everyday wear 2017

How many of you like masquerade parties or attending events requiring a costume? I love to dress in costume and pretend to be someone else for a day. It can be a fun challenge and definitely entertaining. What I don’t enjoy is wearing a mask. I find them confining, hot, stuffy and can cause dizziness. I’m sure some masks are better than others but I am steering clear of them.

Of course there are times when masks are absolutely necessary and not an option. Protection is a main purpose of masks in todays world. They’re an important part of certain outfits. Masks are regularly used in certain sports for protection such as hockey, baseball and skiing. Football requires helmets with face guards. Motorcyclists sometimes wear shielded helmets for protection and masks for warmth. Face masks protect us from germs. Oxygen masks can keep us alive.

But masks are usually not meant to be worn daily, are they? And yet if we look close we see masked people all around us everyday. People hiding true feelings or character, countless numbers afraid to reveal their true selves. Are you one of them?

If yes, can you identify what you’re hiding? Is it Insecurity, inadequacy, shame, regret or something else? Don’t ignore this if you suspect you are wearing a mask. Ask God to reveal the truth to you.

 

I once heard of a woman working in an office setting who frequently mentioned to her coworkers that she had a very strong work ethic. Turns out this was only a mask she wore to hide the truth: She often came in late to work, made many personal calls and surfed the internet on company time. She wanted to hide her laziness. But she was caught in a mask. Her co-workers were not fooled.

worst mask of all

Or the familiar story of a more insidious mask. A smiling facade that leads you to believe he or she is your friend. You begin to trust them and their smiling face. But the reality of backstabbing and exploitation leave you with painful scars and you are tempted to pick up your own mask to protect yourself from being hurt again.

But masks are fake. There is no real protection for the wearer. They only provide a false sense of security which will eventually backfire into deeper pain.

This is the cycle of entrapment that masks our genuine selves. God alone knows who we really are and HE created us to be completely free in our own identity. Masks bind us not free us.

“Wearing a mask wears you out. Faking it is fatiguing. The most exhausting activity is pretending to be what you know you’re not.” Rick Warren

 

Got mask? Jesus invites us to rip it off, cover ourselves in His righteousness, and depend on His Holy Spirit within us. HE will guide and protect us daily as we allow our real selves to emerge and ultimately FLURISH!

Free at last

“For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:26 English Standard Version

Shine on. . .
karan k

Dysfunction Junction

Any body remember Schoolhouse Rock? The animated series teaching grammar was fun, melodic and ran from 1973 to 2009. One of my favorite episodes was “Conjunction Junction What’s Your Function”. Conjunctions are used to connect things.  ‘And’, ‘But’ and ‘Or’ are stars of the show.

In 1981 I had an unusual opportunity to connect/join a healthy situation. A close friend who lived in my town and attended the same church became acquainted with my home life. He described what he saw to his parents over a period of six months. They found the situation appalling and decided to do something.

In June after graduation my friend and his parents paid a visit to my home. The two sets of parents sat at the kitchen table discussing things for nearly an hour. I heard my friends parents state they wanted to take me with them on their upcoming move to Louisiana. There was no rebuttal from my parents. Somehow that saddened me even though I hated being in that home.

I resolved to move away with them for a  fresh start to an unknown place until my friend’s mother made this statement that probably was not meant for my ears. She said, “Karan has too many hang ups.”

The words struck my heart like a swift rusty javelin. My mind swelled with infectious questioning.

Hang-ups? What hang-ups? Were they obvious to everyone but me? I always suspected there was something wrong but hearing it out in the open seemed cruel.

My wet dab of self worth evaporated on the kitchen floor as the guests walked across it preparing to leave. I announced my decision not to go with them to Louisiana. Before they scrutinized my words or my reddening face I retreated to my bedroom and shut the door. Oh how I wished I could lock that door and hide. I could not face the truth that may be lurking in the words recurring in my mind; “Karan has too many hang ups”.

 

This episode of my life was a Dysfunction Junction. Years of toxicity connected me to a caring family who saw the reality of my situation and chose to reach out to me. The function was to help me heal and move forward. But I chose to remain steeped in my own unhealthy issues. I let fear prevent me from escaping my own pit. The pit I hated.

How many of you have done the same thing? You embrace fear because it’s familiar. Familiar because we have lived with it far too long. Fear creeps into our lives in many ways. When safety cannot be found whether emotional, mental or physical. When needs go unmet and unnoticed. Abuses in our family of origin are usually hidden from public view and so it can go on for years. No rescue in sight. When we are faced with the truth of what we’ve been through it can be terrifying.

 

Such enslaving fears cause compounded dysfunction in our lives. We need divine strength to move beyond these devastating pains and toward whatever junction God is providing to begin the healing process. The first step is recognition. Do you see any Dysfunction Junctions in your life? Don’t allow fear to keep you from looking into your own heart and life for abuses. If you don’t face it you will be forever enslaved by it.

Trust your heavenly Father who loves you. Our great God is ready and wanting to help us on the journey toward healing. Will you step out in faith, take His hand and let Him help you overcome your fears?

To join us to healing freedom!

 

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children.” Romans 8:15 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Technical Difficulties

How many remember this sign appearing on your TV set with a long loud annoying beep? It was to inform you that the station was experiencing technical difficulties. Never a source of joy that I remember.

Television technical difficulties sign

“. . . when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2&3 New Living Translation

Lately my phone has not  been working properly. The battery wouldn’t keep a charge so I got a new battery. However, the phone continues to malfunction. I can’t use it unless I have a strong internet signal. The only thing on the phone that seems to work right is the phone feature itself. I can still makes calls. WooHoo! But rarely do I make personal calls anymore.

How about you? Do you text or email rather than call? It’s become the norm for most of us. Who has time to sit down and talk on the phone with a friend or family member? These days I make appointments ahead of time to talk to friends or relatives on the phone. I have to intentionally block out segments of time to make this happen and sadly, it doesn’t happen very often.

Our world is changing rapidly with all the advancements in technology. Some changes and developments are fantastic but the old ways should not be discarded just because they’re old. Sometimes the old ways are best.  And they’re reliable when we run into technical difficulties.

For example, when I write posts for this FLURISH blog, I use my various Bible apps to look up verses on specific topics. It gives me skads of information and saves me lots of time. I’m truly grateful for this capability. But at the moment, I don’t have access to that luxury. I’m facing technical difficulties.  I have to  actually open my Bible and search the scriptures by hand. I have to  wait for  the Holy Spirit to guide me to verses or passages I want to use. IMAGINE!

Some may think this is a pain? No way! Although seemingly inconvenient at the moment, it forces me to spend more time digging around and studying the Word of God. That my friends is a blessing of technical difficulty! In fact, I think I’ll add a new category to the FLURISH blog called “Offline Musings”—-posts written without the internet. Who knows, perhaps the Father wanted some undivided time with me— no competing with FaceBook, YouTube,  Instagram or Google etc.? HE is sovereign over the internet so it is certainly possible.

Have you had any technical difficulties lately? Allow Him to turn them into a blessing.

“Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again!” Lamentations 5:21 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

The living breath of God in readable form