All posts by Karan Klassen

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will only love themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control.They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.”
II Timothy 3:1-5 New Living Translation

Since April is National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month I thought we should take a look at this pervasive issue.

Current statistics show that every 10 seconds a child is abused in the United States. Five children per day die from child abuse in our country. This is out of control. As Christians what do we do? Pray of course for the children in our care but is there something more we can do?

I believe most abuse, whether physical, sexual, emotional or neglect, stems from perpetrators who were abused themselves. The saying HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE is sadly all too true.

Growing up in an abusive environment, even as a teen I feared having children of my own someday because I did not want to take out frustrations on my children. I felt I couldn’t trust myself. Praise God, as I got older I got some good biblical counseling to help me heal from my own abuse and by the time I had the privilege to become a step-Mom, I could love our daughter without any inappropriate behavior on my part. I thank God for the healing and that I was able to cultivate a healthy loving relationship with her.

Have you experienced neglect and/or emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse? Have you ever told anyone?

Sometimes it becomes our normal and it’s hard for us to see it.

We need to be proactive and examine our own hearts and lives for anything abusive we have experienced ourselves. Without receiving healing, any damage incurred will eventually come out of us in unhealthy ways. Don’t wait for that to happen. Take action now to receive healing from God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If it has happened, ask for forgiveness and then get your help and healing.

Also, when you have been abused and find healing only then are you able to recognize and step in to prevent abuses in others. You can spot controllers and boundary busters easily and with the Holy Spirits guidance call the offender out on his or her behavior. Some abusers will stop abusing if they are aware that others are watching.

Abusers need help to overcome their own damage. Ministering to abusers to get help can be very difficult but remember, they are also loved by our great God. Helping one abuser to heal and renew their mind can spare some child somewhere future abuse. It may even save a life.

Survivors of abuse never escape unscathed. There are various effects of abuse including; physical injury or illness. Conditions such as diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, arthritis, headaches, gynecological problems, hepatitis, stroke and heart disease are more likely to occur in victims of child abuse. The mental health of abuse victims is ravaged by personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, dissociative disorders, depression, anxiety disorders and psychosis. Suicide, dependance on drugs and/or alcohol is also an elevated risk for those who have been abused.

So strive to become as healthy as you can be and protect those around you who the Lord has placed in your care.

“The Lord is close to the broken hearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Psalm 34:18 New Living Translation

 

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

A good place to begin your healing process

 

Do You Need A Reminder?

Lovely Reminder

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?” Romans 8:25 New Living Translation

The other Sunday I found myself struggling through my work day. On the PA Turnpike the toll collectors work 3 out of 4 weekends every month. Weekends are the busy traffic times so everybody works. Somehow after 29 years I have not managed to accept working weekends. I still dislike it. It feels like the rest of the world is out to play and we toll collectors are helping them on their way. Wah. Wah. Wah. Realistically, I know every job has a few negatives and I must accept it.

Besides the work related wound licking, I’ve been fighting for weeks on a personal level with strung out emotions. I function everyday but my FLURISHING feelings are just not able to push through to the surface. I know they are there because nothing has changed in my life. I remain a child of the Most High and nothing negative has touched my life. I should be enjoying all the goodness He gives.

But instead, I seem to be tired all the time and lack desire and motivation. I cannot get a handle on it. I must push myself to do everything: push to get out of bed; push to pack my lunch for work; push to go to work; push to go to gym or workout at home; push to cook supper; push to write or read anything. The only easy thing lately is going to bed.

yawn. . .

 

Some may accept this as their Modus Operandi but I do not want to live like this under a constant cloud of depression. I detest it. I want to be free to FLURISH again so I keep praying, trusting, believing that this dark cloud will lift by the grace of God. I know He’s been faithful in the past and I’m sure He has a lesson for me to learn while I slog through this difficult season.

So I continue collecting on the job this busy Sunday afternoon and a man in his forties pulls up and asks if I need something to brighten my day. Not wanting to sound as pathetic as I feel, I shrug my shoulders and smile. He reaches over and hands me a dozen beautiful red roses.

He saw hesitation on my face and explained that he had a blind date in the city. He bought flowers for her but she never showed up. He was disappointed but thought someone should get some joy out of the flowers.

I received the roses as a caring reminder from Jesus, through the hand of a stranger,  that He loves me even when I feel weak and struggling. I took them home and my husband set them up in a vase where I can see and enjoy them daily.

Are you weak and struggling too? Be encouraged, His love for you remains! Look around for His reminders.

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Blown Away

 

“So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus Himself and then delivered to us by those who heard Him speak?” Hebrews 2:3 New Living Translation

Yesterday I decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood. The wind was brutal but the sun was shining. It felt good to feel the warmth of the sun and be pushed about by the strength of the wind. As I walked around the block, I noticed everyone’s bagged newspapers were blown out of their driveways. Ours was completely MIA. Some people feel these free newspapers are a nuisance and create more trash. They don’t even bother to pick them up to dispose of them properly. I like receiving mine every week and was disappointed that it had flown the coop.

I continued walking around the block three times, four times, five times etc., until about the ninth time I noticed a patch of common ground between the homes that had four newspapers strewn across it. I continued walking and the tenth time I noticed a fifth paper laying in the street near the four others in the common ground. I decided to pick it up since it could have been ours and didn’t belong in the street.

As I carried my treasure back to our house I thought to myself, these papers must have been stuck in this common ground area during my entire walk. Why had it taken me nine passes before I even noticed them?

Likewise, ever find yourself driving somewhere and after you arrive you have no recollection of the drive? You’re lost in thought, distracted, preoccupied with something seemingly more important than your surroundings. In this condition we miss things that are right in front of us. It’s a common occurrence but a dangerous one.

It’s also dangerous in the spiritual realm. Like those local freebie newspapers, the Good News of the Gospel is free to everyone but many in our society are not interested in the “free news”. They think our culture is already cluttered with too much Jesus news. They want to discard it as worthless just like the newspapers blown around my neighborhood.

It can be easy to slip into that same mindset swirling all around us. Pulled into thinking that suggests the Free Good News is too restrictive, false or no longer needed in this world geared toward humanistic belief systems and lifestyles. We may think we’d never ever consider discarding the precious Word, but do we neglect it and let it lay on the sidewalks of our mind behind all the pressing business of our day?

We must guard the living message of the Gospel of Christ to be effective for the Kingdom. It is the true power behind all that we do as believers. We must keep it close, pure and fresh in our hearts so we may encourage each other as times grow rough. So we may hand the Good News out freely whenever opportunity arises and hope is needed.

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You.” Psalm 51:12 New Living Translation

Don’t let the winds of life blow away your time in the Word but rather be blown away by the Good News of the Word.

 

“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1 New American Standard Bible

Shine on. . .
karan k

Read Hebrews chapter 4, just 16 verses of insight

 

Easter Morning Musings

Ever think of how the Trinity was involved during the passion of Christ? At Christmas time we are given more specific information of the Trinity’s activity.

“The angel answered, ‘THe Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.’ ” Luke 1:35 New International Version

 

Thirty-three and a half years later, this same Son of God is nailed to a cross. Where was the power of the Most High and the Holy Spirit? I believe they were right there with Jesus because this was the plan all along. The Father’s love for us was so great that HE desired to make a way for us to escape not only an eternity in hell but also eternal separation from Him. He sacrificed His Son and in essence Himself to take our place, so we would have the hope of an eternal relationship with Him. (John 14:2&3)

Because God the Father, God the Spirit and God the Son are one, I believe they all felt the pain of the cross although perhaps in different ways.

“Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed His last.” Mark 15:37 Compare with Matthew 27:50 “Then Jesus shouted out again, and He released His Spirit.” Both verses from the New Living Translation.

Was the Holy Spirit shouting/crying out in pain through Jesus?
(see Romans 8:26)

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?'” which means “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34b New Living Translation

These are the only recorded words from Jesus on the cross in these two gospels. If Jesus felt abandoned, I wonder if the Father felt more intense grief at this time as He felt and saw His Son, who was also one with Him, dying?

We will have to wait for heaven to reveal all the answers but I believe the entire Trinity suffered during this excruciating sacrifice. Any experience affects each person of the Godhead. Likewise, early on the Sabbath they, each member of the Trinity, rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory at the reality of the resurrection!

The power of sin over mankind was forever obliterated by the precious blood of Jesus! Because of His willingness to take our place, we can be free! Let’s celebrate anew!

 

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY!

May you FLURISH like there’s no tomorrow!

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” II Corinthians 13:14 New International Version

Shine On. . .
karan k

A Tough List

“I am on the verge of collapse, facing constant pain. But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.” Psalm 38:17 & 18 New Living Translation

The word ‘Repentant’ defined by the dictionary is “Expressing or feeling sincere regret and remorse.”

“The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” Psalm 51:17 New Living Translation

 

We usually think of broken things as no longer useful. In the above verse, being broken is exactly what God desires. When we are truly broken then we are able to repent and HE can use us the most.

Next to this verse in my Bible, I have these notes written;
No excuses
No grudges
No entitlements
No gloating
No sulking

That’s A Tough List.

Truly broken and repentant means making no excuses for sin.

How often do we do excuse away our sin? “It wasn’t really that bad.” By whose standards?

Or “God understands.” True, God does understand. He knows the consequences of each one of our sins and how much they damage us. That’s why HE hates sin.

It can be hard to admit sin. I mean as Christians we know the verse that tells us we are all sinners; “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 New Living Translation

But in day to day life how often do we admit to ourselves that we have sinned? Until we admit our sin without excuses, are we really broken? Truly repentant?

Truly broken and and repentant means holding no grudges. We can’t hold blame in our hearts toward someone and expect any good to come from it. God will not bless bitterness. To be truly broken and repentant means any revealed resentments are brought straight to the Cross and left there.

Truly broken and repentant people do not have entitlement issues. They prefer gratitude for what they already have rather than expecting to receive more than others.

Truly broken and repentant people do not gloat. No parading of success to make others look or feel less. (We might consider our motivations before we share things on social media)

Truly broken and repentant people do not sulk and complain about their situation.

Looking over this Tough List every now and then is a good reminder to show us again how much we need our Savior, His grace and His mercy! Thank You, Jesus!

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him (Jesus), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts.” I John 1:8-10 New Living Translation

May brokenness and repentance be an ongoing state for each of us to FLURISH!

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Shine On Sign Off

“. . .Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Philippians 2:15b New Living Translation

 

 

I’ve noticed more items with the phrase “Shine On” for purchase in shops lately. I received a sweatshirt for Christmas with “Shine On” printed on the front and for my birthday, a wall hanging with the same phrase. Perhaps it’s a new trend? I hope it does spread because it’s a beautiful timeless idea and I will use it whether it’s en vogue or not.

I wear a thumb ring on my left hand that I’ve had for about 8 years now. It was given to me by one of my sweet and closest friends when I first became a Life Coach. I named my coaching ministry StudioShine so my friend found this ring to highlight this new venture in my life.

The ring is imprinted with the words “Shine On!” across the outside and it has become such a part of me that I rarely remove it. It has withstood eight years of daily abuse and remains in good condition. I’m grateful for its durability because I fear I could not replace it if it was damaged or lost. I like it so much that I decided to use it for FLURISH. If you’re a regular FLURISH reader you may recognize “Shine On” as the sign off I include at the end of every post. It’s a symbol of my hearts desire so it’s very important to me.

A precious gift I hope to have forever!
THANK U DEAR FRIEND

The best part about the ring is hidden on the inside of the metal and I had forgotten about it until the other day. I decided to remove the ring to refresh my memory. On the inside rim these words are inscribed, “The World Needs Your Beautiful Light”. So the complete message of the ring is:

SHINE ON—- The World Needs Your Beautiful Light.

Isn’t that great? What a wonderful gift! This tiny ring has encouraged me so often when the temptation to give up prowls around in my mind. Someone somewhere needs the light only I can shine. It encourages me to keep going, keep trusting, keep FLURISHING and keep shining on!

 

The same is true for you if you’re a believer in Christ. We hold HIS eternal Light within us and we just need to let it shine out of us because someone in this cold world needs the warmth and hope only HIS Light offers through us. How do you let HIM shine through you?

“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:!6 New Living Translation

Shine on wherever you are. . .

karan k

 

 

What Women Want

 

If you are a woman reading this, what is it that you want most? Anything jump to the forefront of your mind?

For me I’d have to say I most want to be appreciated and understood and at the least acknowledged as a positive life form (thought well of) from those I consider close to me. I don’t expect these things from anyone else. How about you. What do you really want?

Remember one of Mel Gibson’s movies entitled “What Women Want”?

 

The movie came out in 2000 about an extreme ladies man who gains the ability to hear women’s thoughts after he has a freak accident. One particular woman he hears at his office is a file girl played by Judy Greer. She is well aware that she goes unnoticed day after day in her work place. Mel Gibson’s character now hears her thoughts. She believes her life matters to no one. She’s contemplating suicide.

The world the file girl lives in is fast paced and people are not paying attention to her, at least not until Mel Gibson’s character hears her dangerous thoughts. Most of us live in this same type of hurried situation day in and day out.

You’ll have to watch the movie or google it to see how things resolve but do you ever feel like the file girl? Like you don’t matter in this rat race life? That no one sees or cares about the details of your day to day existence? Perhaps you are facing something tragic or challenging? Don’t try to run, hide or worse.

In Genesis 16 Hagar was running away because her situation with Abram and Sarai was difficult and complicated. She was a servant used as a surrogate mother and now that she was pregnant she felt resentful. Used, unwanted and abused she probably felt a lot worse than the file girl in Gibson’s movie.

But as Hagar hid in the wilderness, God found her and spoke to her about her life and future, giving her hope. Genesis 16:6-12. Hagar responded by calling God El Roi which is a Hebrew term meaning “the God who sees me”.

I am extremely grateful that God is never too busy or preoccupied to notice us, His children. All we have to do is call out to Him and He hears us. He knows everything about us everyday, every minute, every second. Only an all-knowing, almighty God could keep up with so many people and love each of us as if we were HIS only child.

Today remember HE sees you! Focus on the truth of HIS abiding presence. HE is available if we want Him, He’s only a breath away, call Him. He sees you. He’s waiting.

If I am seen, known and loved by my Lord that really is all this woman wants. What about you?

Shine on. . .
karan k

Sweet Read

Praising God for the ability to read 🙂

So I just finished another 12 hour shift that I honestly did not want to work but we’re short of help right now. I didn’t have a choice. When this happens I always ask  God for grace. I need it for my body to hold up and so I don’t get cranky with my customers and/or make costly mistakes. I recognize I can’t get through this on my own in a positive way. (John 15:5)  He answered my request and added a sweet something I didn’t expect.

The hours were going by saturated in grace as I refused to allow non-work as well as work related problems to agitate me. But oh how they tried.

One of them included a giant jackhammer that pounded through the concrete next to my booth all day. Reminded me of the scene in LOTR’s ” The Return of the King” where Frodo is battling the giant spider and SHE keeps trying to sting him but with added sound effects like a magnified dentist’s drill. Makes me shudder thinking about it.

Frodo battles Shelob

Anyway, later in the day  while the jack hammering continued, I began reading a book between customers. It just drew me in and I could not stop reading.  It wasn’t  necessarily an adventure story, although it was someone’s adventure. It wasn’t a steamy romance, sci-fi fantasy or crime novel. It was a self help memoir of all things.  Who  knew? The book was given to my husband by a friend. While he was finishing a current book I snagged it and finished it in record time. For me it was quite enlightening and gave my whole day a huge lift. It was a sweet read.

The power of a good read no matter the genre should not be underestimated. Have you experienced any sweet reads lately?

Reading can enhance your ability to FLURISH. It did for me today even under adverse conditions. If you haven’t read any good books for awhile, put it on your ASAP TO DO LIST. You won’t be sorry.

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Back in Action

“Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.” Psalm 55:2 New Living Translation

“Back in Action!” one of my coworkers announced. His computer crashed without warning. His lane had to be closed an hour for repair. He had to shut everything down until attention could be given to specific issues and adjustments could be made to restore proper functioning.

Ever experience something appearing out of nowhere that totally shuts you down? Could be a physical illness or accident, an emotional crisis or loss, hard financial news etc.? How do you react? Do you take it in stride? Do you get angry? Do you worry? Do you fall apart?

No one likes to lose their collectedness in public. It’s embarrassing, but these situations are no fun in private either. Sometimes the hurt and pain is so intense, so personal that it is hard to open up about it to another person. Someone else may not understand and then trivialize your feelings. That’s a total bummer.

The enemy of our souls wants nothing better than to take us out of action. His desire is to render us wounded and unable to carry on our Kingdom work. (John 10:10) But there is a repairman available 24/7.

Repairs Needed

One of my closest friends likes the hymn “There’s Not a Friend Like the Lowly Jesus”. I suspect she found the song comforting when life was painful time after time and there were no friends available. I’ve thought about the words many times since she brought it to my attention. It’s a solid reminder that I am never alone and neither are you. Here are just a few of the stanzas:

There’s Not a Friend Like the Lowly Jesus
Johnson Oatman

“There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! No, not one!
None else could heal all our souls’ diseases:
No, not one! No, not one!

Jesus knows all about our struggles;
He will guide ’til the day is done:
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! No, not one!

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,
No! Not one! No! Not one!
No night so dark, but His love can cheer us,
No! Not one! No, Not one!

Jesus will always help us with whatever comes our way.  He’s the ultimate Repairman! Call on Him and let Him help you so you can be “Back in Action” in as little time as possible.

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

 

March Madness?

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecllesiastes 3:1 New Living Translation

So I’m not an NCAA Men’s Basketball fan but I do get mad every March. It’s my least favorite month. In my neck of the world March equals strong winds and usually cold weather. That nasty  wind can make March more dreaded and miserable than January or February in my book, especially since I work a job exposed to the elements.

So the Lion of March is here but I am enjoying his roar just a little bit more this year. Here are my reasons:

First thing I did was create a  season of celebration. Twelve  years ago  when I knew I’d be getting married soon, I decided to transform March by getting married mid-month. This would  prevent my focus from crash and burning through the 31 days of March every year. Now I have an anniversary to celebrate every March and so far it’s successfully chased the madness into oblivion.

 

A Carribbean wedding  on the beach in St. Lucia totally made March rock in 2007. Yearly anniversary celebrations have included travel to warmer destinations such as California several times, Bahamas, Florida, Colorado, and Texas to name a few. But this year there won’t be any warm escapes from the blasts of March since we explored four Hawaiian islands at the end of last year.

Without travel, I needed some new March perceptions. The first one dealt with my wily nemesis, wind directly;

According to Agrometeorology, the direction of wind and its speed have significant influence on our crop growth. Wind velocity increases the turbulence in the atmosphere which increases the supply of carbon dioxide to plants resulting in greater photosynthesis rates. We need photosynthesis for  oxygen and Whole  Green Foods!

Aha! Did not know that. So now my attitude adjusts a wee bit about March. Knowing there is a positive reason for the pesky wind helps soften my temper. This softened temper opened some long forgotten memories from storage boxes in my mind about windy days in March. Thus the second new March perception, more indirect in nature;

In the early seventies the local park held a kite flying contest every year on a Saturday morning in March. I wanted to participate but I didn’t have a kite. My father was by no means easy to talk to or physically affectionate. In fact, he rarely spoke to me. However, my father was a creative person and offered to make me a kite.

Being very resourceful and frugal, my father used surplus materials he had from other projects to make my kite. He built the 3 foot frame with wood scraps and covered it in an old sheet which he painted completely in a light green color leftover from painting the trim on our house. Disappointed because it was not a pretty green I’m sure I wore a sulky attitude on my face but I knew better than to complain out loud.

I didn’t realize that my father was not finished. I found out he went to the old hardware store in a neighboring town and bought some new supplies. This surprised me and when I saw the finished product, I felt sure it would win a prize. A large kelly green shamrock outlined in shiny gold sequins adorned the drab green canvas kite. It looked gorgeous! I could hardly wait ’til the day of the contest.

When the day arrived, my father and I flew the kite together and it soared with all the other kites. It wasn’t the highest flying kite but it did win a ribbon for best homemade kite. For the next two years he made me a new kite for the March contest always winning best homemade kite.

Looking back I believe his kites were his way of saying “I love you” and for that I wish every month had been March.

What are your memories of March?

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

First Crush: Platforms and Earth Shoes

DIBLASI’S sandwich shop. . . I’d been waiting for this night for months. My best friend and I ate cheesesteaks and french fries while planning our strategy for the evening. We walked back to her place after eating and changed into our outfits for the evening.

It was the night of our middle school dance. I chose snug fitting bell bottoms and platform shoes paired with an off white peasant top embroidered with multi colored threads around the edges of the neck and sleeves. I decided on an au naturalle look and let my long strawberry blonde hair flow freely across my shoulders and down my back. This was as good as I could possibly look. I felt confident. I did not want to be a wall flower. My mother told me “You got a mouth, learn how to use it.” So I determined to ask all the cute popular guys to dance in case no one asked me.

When we arrived at the school the outside portico buzzed with preteen energy. Making our way through the crowd and into the cafeteria, we found a good spot where we could see everything. Soon our group of friends rushed over and everyone talked about who they hoped would ask them to dance.

The first song began pulsating through the speaker system S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT! Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers got the party started. I watched as mostly girls flung themselves across the dance floor. A group of jocks across the room laughed as they talked among themselves totally caught up in each other. Most of them were on my mental dance list.

 

Then I saw the kid from my homeroom hangin around the entrance. He  wore brown plastic glasses that were usually smudged and earth shoes. I tried to avoid his eyes. He talked to me a lot at lunchtime about tv shows we both liked and some of the bullies in our class. He was forever getting picked on by bigger guys. He always seemed to enjoy my sympathy.

First slow song began. “Mandy” by Barry Manilow, not a favorite but I decided not to waste any time. As I walked across the room toward the first guy on my list I could see the homeroom kid watching me. I ignored him and arrived at my destination. I asked the first guy to dance. He said ok and out we went. He hunched over me in that awkward way and I kept my eyes closed most of the time. When I opened them, I could see the homeroom kid continuing to watch.

The next song was “The Hustle”, you know, Do the Hustle! All my friends wanted to dance since we learned the steps in gym class earlier that year. So we went out as a group and all of sudden homeroom kid comes out to dance. He starts movin and groovin around the floor. He wasn’t John Travolta but he was pretty darn good. We were all looking at each other like “what the heck”? I was amazed. He just wove in and out between my friends and I. It was a blast.

Do the Hustle!

Every slow dance I successfully got a different jock to dance with me. All the fast dances I was out with my friends and the kid from homeroom joined us. KC and the Sunshine band, the BeeGees and Elton John tunes carried us through the night. And then the last dance was announced.

It was a slow dance and I had one guy left on my list, the most popular guy in our class, tall dark and handsome. On my way over to ask him, I was intercepted by the homeroom kid.

He saked me to dance and my heart sank. I didn’t want to dance the last dance with the homeroom kid. But the haunting voice of Eric Carmen singing “All By Myself”struck my heart a crucial blow and  I gave up my plan and said yes. My friends all danced with partners they dreamed of all year and shook their heads at me. But just like his fast dancing, the homeroom guy knew how to slow dance in a way those jocks had no clue about. The jocks were stiff and awkward, but he was fluid and confident. I sensed a genuine caring within him even at age 12.

When the song came to an end he grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the exit before the mass of middle schoolers exploded into departure mode behind us. We ran across the portico and stood against one of the pillars in a corner. He took off his glasses and gave me the biggest longest kiss sending me headlong into my first crush. All I kept thinking about was what my mother said ’cause This guy “had a mouth and he sure knew how to use it!”

It was an unforgettable lesson in not judging a book by its cover.

February 27, 2018

With God’s help I faced my fear of public speaking and  successfully told this story at this months Story Slam in Lancaster city earlier tonight. It was a hoot!

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

Common Cents In Plain Sight

Teeny Tale  from the Booth

“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.” Psalm 4:4 + 5 English Standard Version

My cuddliest pet peeve on my job as a toll collector is when a customer pulls up and hands me their ticket and money together with hidden change on the bottom. It’s almost always a change chasing moment, with coins rolling under the car or down the lane. Since speed and efficiency are important to waiting customers, chasing dropped change is an unwelcome interruption to traffic flow. And sometimes the change dropping customers seem the most irritated by the delay.

Have you ever dropped change during a transaction at a toll booth or in a grocery store line? What are your thoughts and experiences? Did you become frustrated?

In these instances I have to breathe a prayer asking for extra grace.

Otherwise I get so frustrated wondering how they expect the collector to know what they are being handed. Common sense dictates placing the change in PLAIN SIGHT on top of the bills when handing it to someone if you want to avoid  chasing change. Right?

Proper way to hand change

 

But how often do we expect people to know things about us that just like the coins are also hidden? We think because we know something or feel something that everyone else does or should as well. We think it should be obvious to others like it is to us. And when we don’t get the reaction we expect, frustration can easily occur. At times we feel insulted thinking, if they really cared they would KNOW this or that. Ever experience that?

It can be especially painful when dealing with someone close to you. A family member, a close friend or especially a spouse. We MUST remember NO ONE can read our minds except GOD. Period! You must fight the urge to feel offended. Or the urge to entertain condescending thoughts (possibly accompanied by the dreaded eye roll—-I am so guilty of this).

Are you are tired of being disappointed? Tired of being frustrated? Then join me to bust up this hidden block to the FLURISHING life. Carefully consider the expectations you place on those who share a close relationship with you and during daily interactions with strangers.

Endeavor to put things in PLAIN SIGHT by;

  1. Consciously questioning the fairness of your expectations.
  2.  Considering others may have a totally different view from your own.
  3. Choosing to communicate clearly and thoroughly.
  4. Covering others offenses real or imaginary in love.

These practices if done consistently can help you FLURISH and avoid frustration.

Hand out love wherever you call home!

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8 New International Version
Shine on. . .
karan k

HOLY SPIRIT, Where Art THOU?

“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 New Living Translation

Our daughter finished high school in 2012. For her graduation gift we sent her to Germany for six weeks to visit her foreign exchange family she met the year before in Bavaria. The plan was for us to follow after the first 3 weeks and stay nearby in a local pension or what we would call a bed and breakfast.

The first thing we noticed is that Bavaria is a place that truly looks like it was ripped from the pages of a fairytale. Quaint little villages with tiny houses and shops in varied bright colors nestled here and there along cobblestone streets. Baskets hanging from lamp posts lined the streets and window boxes on the cottages all brimming over with beautiful blooms of pink, white and purples. It felt surreal.

The bed and breakfast where we stayed oozed adorability. Everything smaller in size than what we were used to  but clean and tidy with fresh flowers daily. The doors and walls were heavy, old and wooden but kept in tiptop shape.

Heavy Bavarian breakfast

The food the inn keeper served delighted our eyes as well as our stomachs. Eggs with the deepest orange yolks I ever saw, fresh sausages, pancake crepe creations, fresh milk, various bacons and a score of pastries laid out neatly on our table every morning. (Across the street was the town bakery and the Bavarian people pick up fresh baked delicacies every morning.) Talk about Foodie Heaven, this was it! Everything naturally organic because they didn’t use preservatives in Germany.

Bavarian bread basket

We visited many of the famous sights as well as some out of the way places with the German family who were very gracious to show us around for three full weeks. So many wonderful memories and countless cross-cultural experiences. It far exceeded any expectations I had of what I perceived of Germany.

Only one thing dampened the joy of this Bavarian Odyssey. Everywhere we went the people seemed tragically indifferent toward God. The towering ornate cathedrals reeked of deadness. Each one we visited felt cold, just a lifeless shell of an architectural marvel. My heart ached for the German people at this point. The beauty of God’s creation surrounded them and yet they did not have eyes to see. The majesty of the Alps alone sent thrills throughout my entire being evoking praise and gratitude to my Creator God. Not so of the people I encountered. They did not give God much thought let alone credit.

While touring one cathedral our German guide pointed out the beautifully carved and painted ceiling. I noticed a dove sculpted into the eaves and asked about it. He explained the dove represented the Holy Spirit.

“You know that you are God’s sanctuary and that God’s Spirit lives in you, don’t you?” I Corinthians 3:16 International Standard Version

Happy to hear this I asked how the Holy Spirit interacts with him. He said the Holy Spirit is carved into the high ceiling to symbolize how far away He is and that man cannot reach Him. I explained I have a very different view about the Holy Spirit based on biblical passages and my own experience with Him. The guide listened intently but could not grasp the idea of the Holy Spirit living in a human heart as I told him I believe.

I wonder if this idea about the Holy Spirit being far away is a commonly held belief by Germans? Without  knowing what the scriptures teach and experiencing the presence of God through His Holy Spirit in the world and in my heart, I suppose I would be indifferent and apathetic about God too. But knowing the truth certainly does set one free to experience the glory and majesty of our Great God!

“And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.'” Galatians 4:6 New Living translation

Please pray for revival to spread throughout Germany that they may have a desire to read the Bible for themselves and see what they are missing. That they may receive the truth and discover that they too can know God personally, that He is not faraway but desires to live in their hearts through His precious Holy Spirit!

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Call the Midwife!

“Never trust anyone completely but God. Love people, but put your full trust in God.” —Lawrence Welk

I admit I know very little about Midwives. I did try to watch the popular tv drama “Call the Midwife” once but I was too squeamish to finish even one episode. But I do have a little story to share involving a Midwife.

Over 35 years ago I had a friend who was adamant about not wanting to have children. She never gave details as to why. She complained when women’s magazines printed articles on children and parenting. She felt they over focussed on childrearing and took personal offense. I listened but didn’t know what to say that would not offend her further. So I remained silent and let her vent whenever she felt the need.

This same friend also claimed to be an Agnostic. She believed there was not enough evidence for or against the existence of God. We had many discussions over the years about our differing belief systems.

In the late 80s she divorced her husband and later remarried. Imagine my surprise when she told me in early 1992 that she was pregnant! I couldn’t believe it!  Was this the same woman who complained at length about children?

Nine months later as she gave birth in a local hospital she experienced a change of heart and mind. Seeing the birth of her daughter was proof  enough to her that God does indeed exist. She adored her baby and became a loving mother at age 34.

Shortly after her daughter turned one, she moved several hours away to a sparsely populated area in the North. We continued to keep in touch and I visited on occasion when time afforded a road trip. I encouraged her and her budding faith as often as I could.

In 1995 she told me she would be having another child the next spring. This time she wanted a more natural child birth experience at home with a Midwife. I admired her for her courage.

Months rolled by and one day I got a frantic call from my friend. Her delivery time was approaching and her husband was out of state on a business trip. She was scared because the only Midwife in her secluded mountain area had taken a full-time job and could only assist with delivering babies on certain days during certain hours. She asked me to pray that the baby would come when the Midwife was available.

So I took her urgent request to my ladies Bible study group and asked them to join me in praying. Now I must tell you these dear women loved the Lord. They were older mentors for me and each of them had gone through childbirth themselves, some several times. I was the only one in the group who never experienced pregnancy.

So when I made my request, they snickered. One of them even said, “A baby will come when it’s good and ready.” I could tell they thought my prayer request was foolish. But I was not deterred.

I knew that our great God cared about my friend. HE cared about the fears that were trying to dampen her faith. HE cared about her struggle. I knew HE alone was in sovereign control over the exact moment that baby was to be born. So I prayed for the baby to come when the Midwife was available, believing, inspite of what the other ladies thought. I trusted in HIS best for my friend.

What do you think happened?

When her labor came and proper dilation occurred she called the Midwife. By the grace of God the Midwife had just finished her shift and was able to attend to my friend immediately. My friend successfully delivered a healthy baby boy to join her toddler daughter. Her faith was strengthened by this specific answer to prayer and so was mine!

So never let anyone discourage your faith in God’s care for you! Trust HIM above all others, even those you respect and your faith will FLURISH!

 

 

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8 New King James Bible

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Supernatural Snow Day

“Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters.” Proverbs 25:13 English Standard version

yeeha!

 

If you happen to live in cooler climates, you might be well acquainted with the term “snow day”. Those of us who grew up in the Northeastern area of the US probably remember listening anxiously to the radio or tv as kids early in the morning waiting for the announcement of school cancellations due to weather conditions.

Now our own kids or grandkids look forward to “snow days” just as we did—A free day with no school. Of course in the scheme of things, a snow day was followed later by a “make up” day to replace the required school hours that were lost during the “snow day”. But kids don’t care about such future details.

The good news for us as adults is we don’t have to wait for a snowstorm to grant us a “free snow day”. We  can schedule our own every now and then. We can take some time to just BREATHE. We can put all the responsibilities on hold for a day. It will recharge our minds, bodies and souls.

We also are not forced into a “make up” day. We just trust and expect our Heavenly Father to help us with anything that piled up during our day with Him. I have found Him to be faithful each and every time I do this to help me catch up on whatever work I have. It’s a supernatural thing!

Relaxing with JESUS

The trick is to actually TAKE a “free day”. To entrust your myriad of responsibilities to the Lord who loves you for one 24 hour period and not fret over them. HE actually expects us to do this once a week not once in a blue moon. HE gave us the Sabbath to refresh us to better serve and worship Him. HE knows we need it it whether we realize it or not.  (Luke 4:16 for any desiring New Testament proof—Jesus is our ultimate example) We need to incorporate this into our weekly lives no matter what our work schedules dictate.

I have worked weekends for 29 years now and it has been a challenge to take my “snow days” or Sabbath days. Sometimes corporate worship with other believers cannot take place the same day as my “snow day” time with Him due to my work schedule, but that’s ok.  He sees my heart and knows my desire is to be with Him so I proactively plan to do it as regularly as I can. This will be different for each of us.

Let HIM melt your heart of stone

For many years I didn’t carve out a 24 hour Sabbath for myself and burn out would overtake me. When I was young it took longer to burn out but now I grow tired faster which is actually a blessing since it forces me to physically rest.   Illness sometimes created forced “snow days”. But now I want to be proactive and obedient to HIS command. I don’t always do too well but I keep trying because I know HIS ways are higher than mine so I trust HIM rather than what I think or my schedule dictates.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 English Standard Version

Our world is so busy and everything seems important. The more complicated our world becomes the more we NEED weekly undivided time set apart with Jesus in addition to daily communication with Him.  We need to rest, to refresh and to refuel to FLURISH!

February 2018

 

Today I’m taking a “snow day” supernaturally as well as physically!! When was your last “snow day”?

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Sent from my iPad