All posts by Karan Klassen

Well Known/Well Used?

How many of you honestly enjoy your daily life? Are you truly FLURISHING? We all have ups and downs, difficulties and challenges but underlying it all, do you feel good, do you sense the peace of God that passes ALL understanding? Do you have a private joy in the depths of your soul?

I have just come through a long depression that lasted about 5 months. It most likely was triggered by the death of my mother back on New Year’s Day. Could have been the grieving process? I may never know but it has been a difficult year. I leaned on familiar passages of scripture and continued trusting in the loving kindness of my heavenly Father. There were good days, blah days, tired days, unmotivated days and horrible days within my soul. Yet, as I kept looking to Him HE WAS EVER FAITHFUL!!!

I am here today to encourage you not to give up seeking the face of God amidst whatever you may be experiencing. This is the purpose of my blog, to remind you that HE is ever faithful and wants to be close to you and experience all of your “stuff” with you. HE wants the best life possible for you, the abundant FLURISHING life HE knows is possible for each of HIS children.

So, all that being said if you know these verses listed below, don’t just pass them by. USE them and BELIEVE them for your current situation. They may be well known but if they are not well used they will not help you.

And, if the verses are new to you, read them over and over allowing them to sink into your heart and memory so you can use them when needed. His Word is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. He is alive in these Words so USE it, that’s why HE gave it to us.

If you are FLURISHING currently, don’t forget to praise God for the blessing. Thank Him for His goodness in your life.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His Name.” Psalm 100:4 New Living Translation

 

 

If things are rough going at the moment, cry out to Him for help.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” II Corinthians 1:3 + 4 New International Version

 

 

If you are tired, burned out from exhaustion, come to Him for strength and let Him help you with your load.

“Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29 New Living Translation

 

 

If you feel blah and lack motivation call on His name to renew your zeal and revive your spirit.

“But those who trust the LORD will find new strength. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings; they will walk and run without getting tired.” Isaiah 40:31 Contemporary English Version

 

 

If you are overcome by sin and guilt, talk to Him, confess your sin and depend upon His mercy which endures forever.

“But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” I John 1:9 New Living Translation

 

Read about His mercy in Psalm 136

REMEMBER:

“For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .

karan k

“Never, Never, Never Give up on God! If HE helps me, He will help you.” A combined  quote from Winston Churchill + me

The Red Flag of Conscience

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 English Standard Version

Someone commented on my “Sin Still Happens” post about how nice it would be if we had a natural red flag warning system in our heads/hearts. I thought to myself we do each have a built-in red flag system called “Conscience”.

“The Lord gave us a mind and conscience; we cannot hide from ourselves.” Proverbs 20:27 Good News Translation

 

Do you think our conscience can be trusted?

I believe God cleverly engineered it into our very being. But do we bear any responsibility where conscience is concerned? Read on.

Merriam-Webster defines conscience as, “the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good.”

A Google definition says conscience is “An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.”

Which definition do you think is correct—Webster’s or Google? Can you explain your answer?

I’d venture to say in my opinion, they are both correct. According to www.gotquestions.com, “The conscience is the servant of our own individual value system.”

So our value systems of belief start forming from what we are exposed to as children. We’re influenced by family, church or religious training, school, community, culture and friends. Each of us decides over time to choose from these experiences and exposures what we believe to be true. This makes up our individual value system which our conscience follows. So we must choose our truths wisely. Or. . . results could be disastrous.

uh oh. . . bad input led to bad output

 

Some people are actively engaged in this process of forming values and some are passive, believing whatever comes across their mind’s path. We know the mind is an incredible organ more intricate than any computer man can create. So shouldn’t we be concerned about the values we choose as input for our personal filter systems?

I think so. If we want to use our natural flag system, we need to be intentional. We need to examine the input in our value systems from our past and determine what stays and what must be deleted to line up with scripture.

As Christ followers we choose the moral code set out for us first in the Ten Commandments and then the rest of the written Word to be input for our value system. But we must know what the Word of God says before that data can be entered into the grid system of our conscience.

As children we are taught on a child’s level. As we grow we need to actively read and learn what the Word says to update the information in the memory banks of our conscience. Using the gift God gave us of a healthy mind we continue to process the scripture throughout our lives, always updating and adding information as well as experience.

If something learned from the past is wrong, we need to update it or delete it altogether. A constant check on our value system input.

Again from www.gotanswers.com, “An immature or weak value system produces a weak conscience, while a fully informed value system produces a strong sense of right or wrong. In the Christian life, one’s conscience can be driven by an inadequate understanding of scriptural truths and can produce feelings of guilt and shame disproportionate to the issues at hand. Maturing in the faith strengthens the conscience.”

So if we diligently maintain the data of our value system included in our conscience it will be strong and we can use it as a yellow flag of caution or direction. However, since it can only respond to what we choose to value, can we trust it wholeheartedly?

I would say, “No.” Because the reliability factor lies in how well we program and care for our conscience. Unlike God’s revealed Word, our conscience is changeable and fallible.

Some people simply neglect their conscience, believing it works automatically which certainly doesn’t lead to a healthy, reliable conscience. Each of us is responsible for programming, updating and cleaning our own conscience.

If we do the work to maintain our conscience (proper programming, updating and cleaning) then we can use it as a guide but even then it must pass the test of lining up with the ultimate flag system of God’s Holy Spirit and  Word which will never contradict each other. So ongoing maintenance and subordination to God’s Word are the keys to a trustworthy conscience.

You cannot FLURISH without a purified conscience.

“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Hebrews 9:14 English Standard Version

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Hairy Renegade Feelings

 

“Beauty is the illumination of your soul.”
John O’Donohue

 

Anyone out there looking for a new style for that crop growing on your head? I get the itch about twice a year to cut and style my hair in a new way. Tonight is my appointment with my Stylist. I have no idea how I want my hair to look. I just know I want a change. Somehow this bothers me. If I’m not happy with how my hair looks, then I can easily FEEL unattractive and unattractiveness can spiral into worthlessness if I don’t take notice and harness those renegade feelings.

Can anyone else relate? How do you prefer to wear your hair?

When I was younger, someone close to me asked me never to cut my hair. Being the people pleaser I was at that time I explained that my hair needed trimming now and then to be healthy. So I wore my hair long cutting it only for regular teeny trims. Male attention seemed to run high for long hair on women and I didn’t always know how to handle that attention very well. Still I liked it. So I kept my hair long. I began to find my beauty, even my self worth, in my hair.

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.”
I Peter 3:3 New Living Translation

It took me years to realize I was allowing  my hair to define me. I didn’t want to be known by hair only. One day in an act of defiance against this consuming hair bondage, I cut my hair short. How refreshingly liberating! And the short crop fit my perky personality so much better. We women are more than just  pretty heads of hair for goodness sake.

Now in my mid 50s I can’t believe I continue to wrestle negative thoughts about my appearance being dependent on a good hair day. The battle is not as intense as it once was but it remains a nuisance to my peace of mind. Negative thoughts will not subside with age, unfortunately. But as we age we can hone and strengthen our skill at detecting lies from the enemy and defeat him faster.

 

Ladies, if you know Jesus and you share this HAIR struggle, let me tell you we are so much more than a HEAD OF BEAUTIFUL HAIR! We have to tell ourselves the truth about who we are whether we have long locks or peach fuzz!

“God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:5 New Living Translation

Each of us is a divine Princess. All daughters of the King of Kings! Everyone of us has unique gifts and talents to be used to better our world and glorify our Father. Our hair is just a God given accessory to hold our crown in place. Hair is for grooming not for obsessing.

 

Perhaps you don’t FEEL like a beautiful Princess. . . are you gonna trust your flighty feelings or listen to your Father and King?

“Take care of your inner, spiritual beauty. That will reflect on your face.”
Delores Del Rio

Shine on. . .
karan k

Sin Still Happens

“You are a sinner and your sin will find you out in time, in your body, in your character, in your conscience, and ultimately in eternity.”

Dr. Billy Graham

HOW DOES THAT QUOTE GRAB YOUR HEART?

“Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20

Since all of us sin, we need to deal with it properly. How do you handle sin in your life? Do you recognize it as sin? Do you admit to yourself that YES, I still sin at times and am in need of a constant flow of my loving Savior’s grace and mercy? Or does pride block your view of sin in your own heart and life?

It’s oh so easy to justify whenever we sin, isn’t it? So how DO you handle sin in your life?

Whenever I sin a red flag should go up as an alert. I need to pay attention and deal with this as quickly as possible, but often I ignore my conscience and what I know to be true. Was it even sin, I question? Do I take the time to think about it, considering my motives? Not as often as I should I’m afraid. Usually I tell myself something that sounds good about why I did what I did and then just move on about my business. This practice does nothing to cleanse away my sin. It actually allows it to find room to settle and fester in my heart.

So if we want to avoid sin build-up and boldly face the truth about ourselves, we pray for courage and the Holy Spirit’s guidance and enlightenment. Sometimes our sin is easy to spot, other times it hides deep inside attitudes and loyalties. The key is to recognize sin in our heart and deal with it swiftly not allowing it to set up shop in our hearts and minds. The longer it stays the stronger it becomes. We need the Holy Spirit’s help in this process.

 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” I John 1:9 & 10 New King James Version

Sin separates us from God’s presence as far as closeness goes but HE remains within the hearts of His children even though we sin. We who have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin do not lose our salvation when we sin but we do lose the pleasure of HIS presence while we remain unrepentant. Sin squelches our FLURISHING condition for the moment but we need only confess (admit our sin to God) and repent (remorse prompting us to turn away from that particular sin and toward God for help to overcome it) to be fully restored into His presence again. Through the whole process He loves us and wants us to come to Him for restoration.

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23 & 24 New King James Version

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

Puny Peevish Predicaments

Isn’t THIS great?!?:)

 

“Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Song of Solomon 2:15 New King James version

Today my booth is once again infiltrated with dozens of flies. Buzzing in my face, landing all over me and my stuff. They’re dirty scavengers who “gross me out to the max” (for all you late baby boomers).

I remember from junior high science that flies invert their stomachs wherever they land. It’s like throwing up on any surface and then reswallowing it to pick up food particles. Totally nasty.

Agh!!

I have to ask for skads of grace to get through such shifts when I am forced to share a very small space with these filthy pests. They can be so incredibly annoying.

 

Aren’t we often irritated by the little things in life? A pokey driver in front of us when we’re in a hurry. An annoying sound like fingernails across a chalkboard. People who cut in front of you in line. People who chew with their mouths open. Or how about when someone cuts you off in mid-sentence?

Yesterday as I drove through a convenience store parking lot very slowly, I might add—A guy strolled out in front of me across the macadam while he was texting. He never bothered to look up to see if there was oncoming traffic on his right or left. He leisurely moved in front of me with no care of oncoming cars. Even though I was not in a hurry it frustrated me.

Do things ever get to you like that?

What are some of your irritations or pet peeves?

These little seemingly harmless agitations can build up and ruin our mood if we’re not careful. We can become snappy with those around us and even those we love.
Like the little foxes that ruined the grapes, it can be the little things in life that spoil our moods. Irritations can quickly lead to burdens and touchy attitudes.

Let’s take our annoyances to Jesus. He can deal with them much better than we can! He’ll lighten our load and replace our irritation with better things.

“May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…” Colossians 1:11 English Standard Version

Shine on . . .
karan k

Aha, Amazing Grace!

Everybody but everybody knows and sings “Amazing Grace” it seems. Ever notice that? It’s recognized around the globe. According to allmusic.com it’s been recorded over 6,600 times! Just to give some perspective; that’s 4,400 times more than the Beatles’ song “Yesterday” which is the #1 covered song of all time according to mentalfloss.com. “It {Amazing Grace} may be the most recorded song on the planet,” said Jerry Bailey, executive at Broadcast Music, Inc., of Nashville. Jonathan Aitken, a John Newton biographer, estimates that this song is performed 10 million times annually! That’s staggering, isn’t it?

Do most people who sing Amazing grace in various venues KNOW what they are singing about or more accurately WHO they are singing about? The version of “Amazing Grace” most widely used includes only four stanzas. But the original song as penned by John Newton contained 13 stanzas. The very meat, the core of what this AMAZING GRACE is all about is left out of our contemporary form of the song. Check out the verses marked with double asterisks ** which may not be familiar to you.

AMAZING GRACE

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound!
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see.

**In evil long I took delight
Un-awed by shame or fear;
‘Til a new object met my sight
And stopped my wild career.

**I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood
Who fixed His languid eyes on me
As near His cross I stood.

**Sure, never ‘til my latest breath
Can I forget that look.
It seemed to charge me with His death
Though not a word He spoke.

**My conscience owned and felt the guilt,
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins His blood had shed,
And helped to nail Him there.

**Alas, I knew not what I did,
But all my tears were vain;
Where could my trembling soul be hid,
For I the Lord had slain.

**A second look he gave which said,
“I freely all forgive!
“This blood is for thy ransom paid,
“I die that thou mayest live. ”

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home!

**The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

**Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.

**The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine,
But God who called me here below
Shall be forever mine!

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

Read over them again slowly. Sing them, if you can. Drink in the meaning of this former licentious slave trader’s words as he comes face to face with Jesus Christ, the Savior of our world. John Newton was humbled, converted and transformed throughout the remainder of his life and he chose to tell the world in this simple song. It’s like a Saul to Paul conversion on the Damascus road.

That’s what amazing grace is all about. Our “aha moment” when we accept the truth of Christ taking our place, paying the price for our sins, saving us from eternal separation from the Father and then transforming us into His likeness. Unless we accept this truth as John Newton did, this song “Amazing Grace” is worthless in our lives.

Pray for those around the globe who casually or sentimentally sing this song without ever realizing the depth of meaning behind the words. That they may encounter the reality of the song writers experience. That the truth of the words burrow deep into the recesses of their minds and hearts and the realization of the grace they long for can only come to them through Christ.

Are you sharing your “Aha Grace moment” with the world?  You can begin today. Sing, write, speak, show in various art forms, etc. The means of sharing are limitless. Do it in your own unique way! Share your ideas in the comment section.

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Post Conference Reflection Ramblings: Part III Wrap Up

 

 

Ready Lord!

Ten minutes before the start of the Conference, I stood in the Pastor’s study as he and Dwight prayed for God to use me that night. My God-focus generated confidence and energy within me as we opened the session with Praise and Worship. The last song was one I requested and it felt like the Spirit of God was blessing our time together from the start.

The Pastors wife introduced me and I breathed a quick, “Here we Go, Lord” and walked to the podium. This time I was not flat! I could feel the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. There was excitement and expectation in the air as I began. The audience responded well to the message and participated throughout the conference.

The one screen issue forced some added exercise for the ladies to turn around every so often but perhaps that was not a bad thing? Kept everyone awake.

Dwight running powerpoint from sound booth

After the first night I had several women tell me it was an inspiring message. There were two older ladies well past retirement age who remain active in YWAM and encouraged me the most. The oldest one, an 80 year old woman told me the message and time spent together was “cleansing”. She had never been able to share and unload some parts of her life with any Christian community up until this conference. That alone was worth it all! To be a blessing in this way to a loyal saint of God still touches my heart every time I think of her.

There were several others who asked for prayer afterward. I pray all the women in attendance received one new thing the Lord revealed to them about Himself and their relationship with Him during our time together. I further pray that they continue to allow His healing in their hearts.

We ended the conference with a lovely fellowship meal. A beautiful woman named Gricelda cooked all the food for the conference. She had a squad of  ladies assisting her, busy slicing fruit and preparing desserts. She and her team did a fabulous job. They made me love authentic Mexican food like I never fathomed possible for me, a Pennsylvania Dutch girl.

Gricelda, you made a believer out of me!

And so dear fellow FLURISHERS those are the highlights of the 2018 Christian Women’s Conference from Tyler, Texas. Until the Lord opens new opportunities,

Shine on. . .

karan k

Post Conference Reflection Ramblings Part II: Of Set-Up, Silence, Snakes and Screens

 

 

“All you who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! HE is your helper and shield.” Psalm 115:11 New Living Translation

THE SET-UP

One of my favorite parts of speaking anywhere is the set-up. Each venue has different perks and choices. This particular event was   being  held in a large church auditorium. I could stand on the upper platform or speak from the main floor. I chose the main floor audience level to keep it more personal and casual.

l also had several options for podiums. First was the heavy traditional pulpit, then an all metal see through lectern with a small shelf. The third option was a beautiful white linen enrobed circular podium perfect for a women’s conference. But I chose the practical over the pretty and traditional. I wanted portability and a shelf for  water in case I had a coughing spell or dry mouth. Always be prepared.

 

We (the pastors, their wives, my husband and I) set up the auditorium banquet style enhancing the intimate atmosphere. We  ladies trimmed the tables with festive tropical and European destination accoutrements representing  varied life journeys. We also added vases filled with colored pencils finishing off the unique centerpieces.

I set up a white board as a visual aid to draw my life’s journey for the audience to view throughout the presentation.  I placed packets at the seats for each attendee that included a diagram to draw their own journey, some personal assessments and an adult coloring exercise. I encouraged the women that the self investigation started at the conference should continue afterward on their own with the Lord’s help.

THE SILENCE

I spent the early morning of the conference in a quiet beautiful spot praying and focussing on Jesus and His Word, just being silent in His presence. I wanted Him to speak through me for the conference. I knew I was prepared with my material but I needed His Holy Spirit to flow out of me into the hearts and minds of the women attending. My words would mean nothing if HE did not inhabit them.

I needed silence before Him to face the speaking challenge ahead and to conquer any enemy attacks. HE alone is my strength and shield. Being with HIM bolstered my faith and then I headed into the unknown of the day.

Tasty grilled salmon and veggies with perfectly baked potato

In the hours that followed, the beautiful Pastor’s wife blessed me with much appreciated pampering.  This Guest Speaker gig was growing on me! We got manicures, did some shopping, had a lovely lunch, and went swimming. It helped me further relax.  At 5 pm it was time to shower and dress for the conference.

THE SCREEN

I arrived at the church early. It was abuzz with prep in the kitchen and last minute tweaking by the tech crew. But there was a problem. We would not have dual screens for my powerpoint. A malfunctioning main screen limited the presentation for the audience. So now what? No time to fix it. Pray and MJT! (Must Just Trust—for any newbies to this blog)

I knew right away an enemy attack unleashed itself to strike fear in my heart. This in addition to two snake incidents that curiously happened earlier on this trip rattled my nerves.

I needed to learn to fight  the enemy and not give in to fear, doubt and worry. I raised my shield of faith and held on to God’s truths I read earlier that morning. I had to give my qualms about speaking and any technical difficulties to Him and move forward in HIS peace. Hard as it was, I decided to believe and rest in Him.

THE SNAKES

Rewind to six days before Conference—-snake 1

The first snake incident occurred during the first half of the trip in Kansas with family. I had been endeavoring to relax and forget about my upcoming speaking engagement  in Texas the following week. I would have preferred speaking the first week so I could relax the second week but God had a different plan.  Isaiah 55:8  says His thoughts and ways are not my ways. He had more to teach me. MJT again.

Chopped Snake

I decided not to look at any of my conference material while we were in Kansas. I made up my mind to trust Jesus and it amazed me how He helped me unwind and enjoy all the family events without fretting. Praise His Name, that was HUGE for me!!

As Dwight and I were tooling through the Flint Hills of Kansas to the family reunion in Lawrence I decided to peek at Face Book.  Our cousin Becki posted a photo of an unfriendly visitor at the very site of our reunion gathering later that day. I found it rather gruesome that she had to decapitate a full-size Copperhead with just a garden hoe! Not a comforting thought for someone afraid of snakes. Was it a fear tactic sent by satan to further rattle my trust in Christ?

I refused to let it get to me. The family reunion at the snake site turned out marvelous and refreshing especially in low humidity after the day before was sweltering.  To connect with family members old and new rejuvenated our souls. AND there were no snake invasions while we were there!

Family Reunion spot

Snake 2

Six days later after arriving in Texas, we were setting up the church late at night for the conference as I explained earlier in this post.  Around 10pm the Pastor received a call from his son next door at the parsonage that his dog got bit by a Copperhead snake.  Josie, a black mouth Cur began stumbling and was visibly ill. She had to be rushed to an on-call Vet’s office asap. We all prayed and waited.

This second snake incident happened on the parsonage property where we were staying and literally a stones throw from the church. It seemed strange to me that two snake incidents happened prior to the conference. Were they spiritual attacks? I won’t know ’til I get to heaven but I refused to give in to fear. Also, I am happy to announce that Josie got treatment and was back to her normal playful self in just a few days.

Josie and Jacob

Fear comes in many forms but our God is all powerful and not the author of fear so trust Him rather than giving fear any room in your mind. Try trusting next time you are tempted to fear.

 

Stay tuned as the Conference begins.

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Post Conference Reflection Ramblings Part I: Learning to Fight Fear

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”

II Corinthinthians 4:7

DO YOU HAVE TROUBLE FACING CHALLENGES? PERHAPS YOU ARE FROZEN IN FEAR? I  CAN TOTALLY RELATE:

 

For months I strained over how to compile notes and story threads for two hour-long sessions to be presented at the women’s conference earlier this month in Tyler, TX. It was the first time I’d be speaking for more than an hour and I wasn’t quite sure how to go about organizing all the information. I literally had scattered notes covering an entire dining room table. My inadequate organizational skills stared me in the face.. This was new territory for me and a bit scary.

fear-uncertainty-doubt

I don’t usually have trouble filling time talking but I wanted my words for this conference to be edifying to the heart and soul of each woman in attendance. I didn’t want to waste time with my own vain babblings. I wanted the precious Holy Spirit to speak through me.

I prayed for guidance. I asked for courage because what I would share was very personal and painful. Simply acting as keynote speaker terrified me if I took my eyes off Jesus. But I remember a song from Audioadrenaline’s 1996 BLOOM recording called “Walk on Water”. The line that repeated in my head is:

“If I Keep My Eyes On JESUS I Can Walk On Water!” Taken from Matthew 14:29.
I had to remember I can do anything HE calls me to do IF I keep my eyes on Him, further backed up by the Apostle Paul’s words to the Philippians in chapter 4 verse 13: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” New Living Translation

I persisted in asking God to help me and little by little as I trusted Him, the presentation began taking shape. Over the weeks in April and May He gave me idea after idea to keep the audience engaged and remain interested. The table in our dining room slowly cleared and actually looked organized with neat stacks of paper.

My husband worked tirelessly on a two part powerpoint presentation involving movie clips and stills. He stayed up late on work nights just to perfect everything into a professional looking presentation. I so appreciate his tech talents.

Just before leaving for Texas, onslaughts of fear and anxiety, dread and depression took turns tormenting my mind and emotions. I had to fight back because I knew the more opposition the enemy threw at me the greater the need was for someone to hear my message at the conference.

I leaned heavily on God’s words to Joshua in the first chapter of the book bearing his name, verse 9:

“This is my command— be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” New Living Translation

And from God’s word in Revelation:
“And they defeated him (satan, the accuser) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.” Revelation 12:11a New Living Translation

I had to trust God that He wanted to use my testimony, no matter how inadequate I felt. I had to trust Him and not give in to any fear, doubt or worry. We boarded the plane flying West and the adventure began.

 

The Pastor and his wife of “The Lords House” in Tyler, Texas welcomed us into their home. They encouraged me with their enthusiasm and I continued in faith.

My husband gave advice and suggestions to tweak the final version which we got to practice once with the sound system at the church. I barely got through it. The near 100 degree temperatures and traveling had left me exhausted. Even my dear husband’s face expressed the same conclusion— it was flat. But I had made up my mind by now that God wanted to use my message.

Deep inside a still small voice assured me all would be well the next day when the conference began.

To be continued. . .

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

Never Declined

 

“Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth You created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves Your plans.” Psalm 119:90 New Living Translation

I had a customer attempting to pay by credit card today. While the card was processing, I asked if he wanted any receipts because I’m able to issue a Turnpike receipt and/or a receipt from his credit card company. He DECLINED any receipts.

After a minute or two, his credit card posted the dreaded message: DECLINED. I had to tell him. Not my favorite part of the job. He produced an alternate form of payment and completed the transaction without incident.

Ever try to pay by credit or debit only to have your card come up DECLINED? It can be an embarrassing moment, especially if you have no other funds.

Have you ever had an idea you thought was so great you submitted it somewhere for approval? You wait in anticipation of acceptance and moving forward with your idea, but your submission is declined.

What about you as a person, have you ever been declined? “Politely refused” as the definition goes?  No matter how polite refusal arrives it remains a subtle form of rejection and embarrassment. It hurts.

Jesus is the only friend I know who never DECLINES giving me His time. When I need a listening ear HE is there for as long as I need Him. When I need help, He is there working things out for me according to the Father’s will which always includes what is best for me. He is my refuge, my hope and stay when all else gives way. With Jesus as my source I will never be DECLINED!

“He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:4 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

The Coffee Compromise

Quote from a regular customer on the pike: “Try Turkish Coffee— It wakes up the camel!” Klassen’s say “Proceed with caution.”

 

How many coffee lovers out there? I happen to live with one. Dwight truly enjoys his coffee. Just a smidge of cream in his medium roast and he’s good to go. Vanilla Lattes at Star Bucks, Cappuccino at Turkey Hill convenience store and regular coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Those are his staples. Usually three cups a day. One in the morning before work. One a few hours later from Dunkin and then one when he gets home from work but NEVER with food. However, after a meal he might have a cup as his dessert.

I struggle to understand the attraction. If I drink coffee, it’s strictly for the stimulating properties it releases, not for the sheer taste of coffee. Bleh! I gotta add stuff to it to halfway enjoy it.

Dwight’s regular “Go To” brew

I never dreamed I would drink coffee. My first experience occurred while working at a fast food restaurant. The strong brew certainly did help me work faster. I was 17 and used 11 packets of sugar to wash down a very small cup of joe. I decided quickly that practice was rather unhealthy and quit drinking coffee altogether.

Fast forward 25 years later when I met Dwight who not only loves coffee at home but also delights in frequenting coffee shops. He likes modern chain shops and quaint private shops as long as the coffee is good. He’ll hang out and read an hour or two enjoying the brew. Truly it’s one of his pastime passions.

Not wanting to rain on his coffee consumption parade during our courtship, I started sampling the accompanying pastries sold at these java establishments, much to my waistline’s chagrin.

We had delightful times together and I grew to love especially the private coffee shops brimming with character and ambience. But I also grew in size. So not a kool part of my courtship experience but one I believe is common for those of us dating during our more, shall we say, ‘mature’ years.

In time and to fit into my wedding gown, I weaned myself off pastries, though not completely mind you, and began drinking coffee with cream and most times flavored cream laden with sugar and fat. Lord have mercy on me! I continue to battle for balance in this area even more so twelve years later.

Shortly after we were married, we took a trip to Disney World so our daughter could experience it while she was young. Strolling through downtown Disney one sultry evening, Dwight and I had a full blown fight in front of a Lego sculpture. What do you think we argued about?

Lego sculpture

 

Coffee is the correct answer! His desire for a Cappucino, which probably cost $5 or so back then caused a blow up. There we stood creating a public spectacle over coffee in what some think of as the happiest place on earth! All because my values were different from his. I worried about the budget.:(

I didn’t value coffee. I could spend $5 on a dessert but could not understand $5 for a coffee. And of course I thought I was right in the sight of God and man, except for this man I married who just happened to love coffee.

It’s humorous now but sure wasn’t that night or even a long time afterward. His desire for coffee had become a sore subject between us. I daresay even a source of resentment. Praise God, in time I was able to see I was being foolish and accepted his love and enjoyment of what I considered “Rocketjuice”. I now include extra funds whenever I budget for vacation, groceries, date night etc., there needs to be “coffee money” set aside for my Beloved.

Pineapple cake and Cappuccino at CourtYard Cafe—Denver, PA

These days I relish coffee time with my husband at home relaxing in our living room or on a jaunt in discovery of a new cafe. He clearly revels in his java jive, and I’ve honestly learned to have it no other way. My corrected attitude adjustment did wonders for our leisure life together. I’m grateful that I chose to compromise my view of coffee so I could enjoy my husband while he savors his brew. Now I look forward to our adventures in coffee and the openhearted discussions which often accompany them.

Got any positive compromises you need to make?

What’s your “Go To” coffee spot?

Shine on. . .
karan k

Esteemed by GOD

“Then Eli realized it was the Lord calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, ‘Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” I Samuel 3:8b+9a New Living Translation

How’s your self esteem? Do you feel good about how you are inside? A lot of us struggle with this for a good portion of our lives.

When I was 8 years old I remember my uncle telling me, “There’s one thing you should never have: An INFERIORITY COMPLEX.” I remember thinking to myself back then, “Too late!” At the tender age of 8, I already felt “less than” and had a poor self image.

People who were supposed to be trustworthy told me I was fat, ugly, stupid etc., and for years I accepted it as a part of how I was expected to view myself although secretly inside I didn’t quite believe it. Because a small voice inside told me good things about myself. I wrestled conflicted feelings as a young girl.

Jesus had moved into my heart at age 7 and HE was the voice telling me good things through His Holy Spirit but I didn’t understand that as a child. I needed to listen to Him and trust Him fully by acting on HIS truth not the other voices swirling around in my world.

His words

Unfortunately I had no one to explain the voice I heard inside my heart for many years. I needed an Eli to tell me what was going on in my heart and life.

Sometimes we believe something simply because we’ve heard it so many times. But does that make it true? Of course not but yet it happens all the time if we are not careful. What we hear, what we read, what we feel all send messages to our minds. If these messages do not line up with the Word of God, we have to reject them.

We have to fight against the negative voices or thoughts and trust only in the Lord who loves us. We must guard our minds from destructive messages so we are not exposed to defeatist ideas that drag us into harm.

“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” II Corinthians 10:5 New Living Translation

We as Christians need to look to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ for our self esteem rather than anywhere in this temporary world. We won’t find what we crave in people, status or accomplishments. Only by believing we are who God says we are  brings true esteem.

One of the things I shared at the recent Women’s Conference was a sheet focussing on who we are in Christ. How much God treasures each of His children. Fourteen years ago a kind Pastor acted as an Eli encouraging me to study Ephesians chapter one to see God’s perspective on who I was. I read and studied it often until the truth made permanent residence in my mind. May it bless your soul as well.

 

Read Ephesians 1

Read a second time and mark or list how God loves us:

vs. 3 –blesses us with spiritual blessings
vs. 4–unites us with Christ
–loves us
–chose us
–adopts us
vs. 6 –pours out His glorious grace on us
vs. 7 –purchased our freedom
vs. 8 –showers us with kindness, wisdom, understanding
vs. 9–reveals His mysterious plan about Christ to us
vs. 11–chose us in advance
vs. 13–identifies us as His own
–gives us His Holy Spirit
vs. 14–gives us eternal inheritance

 

Pray verses 17-20 for yourself regularly and for those you love. HE will answer this prayer because of who HE is— verses 21-23!

 

WHO BETTER TO LOVE US! WE ARE OF GREAT WORTH!!

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Jet Ski Redemption

2007 Honey Moon

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 New International Version

Earlier this week Dwight and I had the pleasure of jet skiing on Lake Tyler in Texas. Pastor Samuel Priddy provided us with this exciting experience along with his lovely wife, Amy. I am so grateful we had this redeeming opportunity and blessed with such good friends.

2018

You see, this happened to be my fourth time on jet skis. A bay in Honolulu in 2001 marked my maiden voyage. I drove the jet ski myself with trepidation around the still water at first but became somewhat confident after an hour. Weaving in and out of the buoys and gaining speed. I loved it.

Second time I rode with someone at a local lake in Southeastern Pennsylvania. This was on a high power jet ski with an experienced driver. We zipped and zoomed across the water at higher velocities than I can imagine. I hung on and what an adrenaline rush!

Third time arrived during my honeymoon in St. Lucia. I wanted to share the thrill of the jet ski experience with my new groom. He loved motorcycles so I figured a jet ski is like riding a motorcycle in the water, right? I talked him into renting a jet ski at our Sandals resort. The problem arose when we discovered that the area where we rented to ride involved only the open sea! Not a bay, not a lake, not calm waters! The swells were about four foot that day.

My precious new husband Dwight did not tell me he was scared to death but bravely took me out onto the open sea. I smiled as I expected a similar experience as I encountered previously, anticipating the fun and exhilaration. Instead, both of us clung on for dear life as we plowed through the gathering waves. Thank GOD for life jackets because Dwight never learned to swim. My heart pounded fearing all sorts of sea creatures lurking below waiting to get a nibble on us if we capsized.

yikes!

After that harrowing episode I promised never to ask Dwight about jets skiing again. However, the desire never left my heart to someday share a positive jet ski escapade with him. So when Pastor Sam invited us to go on Lake Tyler I was so proud of Dwight for not letting past fear stop him. This time his experience was 100% different than in St. Lucia! He loved it and tore all over the lake! We had a blast!

 

By the grace of God and His goodness, the positive jet ski adventure has been redeemed! (Click on below)

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Are there events in your life that scared you in the past? Things you’ve been avoiding due to fearful memories? Let God redeem the experience. Don’t allow the enemy to steal your opportunity because of fear. Fight back with your shield of faith, fully trusting in the Lord’s care and help. Pray now for His courage to overcome past fears. When occasions present themselves, you’ll be ready to meet and enjoy the challenge in Jesus’ Name!

“I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalm 34:4 New International Version

Shine on. . .
karan k (click on below)

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To Be Continued…

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31 New Living Translation

Greetings and Salutations Fellow FLURISHERS!

It has been brought to my attention that some of you are missing my weekly blog posts. So I thought I would check in and give you all an update.

Since mid March I’ve been working on a series of messages for a women’s conference in Tyler, Texas. I’m the keynote speaker, well the only speaker, and I’m not a procrastinator. I wanted to be prepared. I’d been gathering ideas since late last year and so for months now I’ve been rolling them around, shaping and molding them to fit the Lord’s leading for this conference. It’s a process and one to which I’ve given all my free time. Thus no FLURISH blog during April and May.

I hope to write regularly again after we return from Texas.

In the meantime, I covet your prayers for this trip and the conference that I may yield to the complete leading of the Holy Spirit to be used in whatever way HE chooses. The conference is June 8 and 9.

Thank you in advance and continue to FLURISH during  any hiatus time you may be taking!

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

“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