Category Archives: LIFE LESSONS

Practical Columbo [people pleaser finale’]

“If you live for people’s acceptance you will die from their rejection.” Lecrae

Let that sink in.

 

Columbo always made me think

Now are there any Columbo fans out there? For those unfamiliar, “Columbo ” was a successful TV crime drama that ran from 1960 to 2003. Lt. Columbo, played mostly by actor Peter Falk was noted for the phrase “Just one more thing”. So I’m sharing one more time some thoughts from my own ongoing journey to overcome people pleasing:

Listen up People Pleasers: Learn your own limitations. Each of us have different energy levels. Too much people pleasing can deplete our energy affecting our health and close relationships leading to serious breakdowns in either or both. Remember the opening quote.

“If you live for people’s acceptance you’ll die from their rejection.”

How many nonessential activities can you handle each week and remain fresh and lively? If you feel sluggish or grumpy, perhaps you need to cut back? It’s not wrong to put yourself first now and then when the motivation is to rejuvenate and stave off resentment!

 

What do your life commitments look like to those who care about you? Ask them for their honest opinion. Listen with a mind willing to make adjustments.

Another Columbo catch phrase; “There’s something that bothers me” and that is, people pleasers need practical tips to reform. So here goes:

 

Realize you always have a choice: It may not be apparent to you right away, but look for options. Don’t let fear pressure you to take the road more comfortable. That choice could lead to deeper pain later down that same road.

Columbo’s Wheels

Set your priorities ahead of time: Know what you believe and why about yourself, your capabilities and your faith. This is an area to revisit often throughout your life as you grow and change.

 

Stall for time to pray about the request: This is key. Telling the person/persons making a request of you that you need time to pray and consider their request will help you make the best decision. It gives you time alone with God and away from the pressure of answering in a weak moment.

 

“For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”
I Thessalonians 2:4 New Living Translation

“What did you pay for those shoes?” Another famous Columbo question. My answer? Doesn’t matter because I like them and they were worth the price.” Said with confidence and a wink.

Shine on. . .
karan k

“Oh, just one more thing:” Be advised that saying “No” to some people could cause unfavorable backlash. This is to be expected and all part of the process for becoming a reformed people pleaser.

 

 

Friendship Lost

“If you meet me and forget me, you’ve lost nothing but if you meet Jesus and forget Him, you’ve lost everything.”

I first saw this phrase written in a ZIGGY greeting card in the 1980’s. Remember him? Simple cartoon drawing of a short stubby guy, no hair, no neck, big nose and often traveled with a cute dog? Why Ziggy creator Tom Wilson used this phrase in his cartoon, I’m not sure. But I have never forgotten it.

Are you familiar with the term dyadic relationship? Concerning human beings it occurs when two people share something similar. For instance they may share backgrounds as far as hometown  location, or stage of life such as both being young and married, or they could share a common interest. A dyadic relationship forms when two people share something in common at the same point in time. The circles of their lives bump and mesh together for a period of time.

Coworkers and friends?

Laboring together as coworkers is fertile ground to form dyadic relationships which can turn into lifelong friendships. But sometimes it’s only the commonality that holds the friendship together. When natural change turns the course of our lives friendships are always affected. Sometimes the change brings a strengthened commitment and sometimes the change results in drifting and dissolution. That can be painful.

Dyadic encounter

Dyadic relationships are an inevitable part of life. Normally, every 3-5 years our relationships alter with the natural changes in our priorities and responsibilities. We should expect changes in our friendships. Our lives flux in constant motion like a zillion spinning spirogragh wheels interconnecting spontaneously in brilliant designs and colors. The Master artist never ceases creating. Without advance warning He sets change in motion scattering all the wheels.

We are all intertwining in constant motion like the circles of a spirogragh

People in our lives come and go and it can be heart wrenching when we see them turn away from our friendship for whatever reason. Ultimately worse, like the phrase in the Ziggy card, happens when they walk away from God. They reject Him and His offer of salvation.

With great regret I say that I had a dear friend turn heels on both myself and Jesus. It hurt to lose my friend but my heart aches more for their choice to leave Jesus in the dust. It remains one of the most painful departures of my life. I pray and trust for their return, that they will realize the truth of friendship with Christ:

“For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’ ” Hebrews 13:5b New Living Translation

“A person who has friends may be harmed by them, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NET Bible

Jesus Christ is our constant,  non-dyadic friend. May you FLURISH in your relationship with Him!

Shine on. . .

karan k

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 New Living Translation (Malachi 3:6)

Attention Paid: A Tale from the Booth

Does this grab your attention? Just checking. . .
“But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” Acts 9:6 English Standard Version
From my booth I noticed a driver in a luxury station wagon traveling toward our Interchange entrance to access the Turnpike. He headed for the EZPass only lane but appeared distracted. I didn’t think much about it until a loud CRASH sent metal and plastic debris all over our entry lane! His car ran head on into the yellow cement bullnose! So much for his nice car, it was smasharooneys as those bull noses ain’t playin!
Fortunately no vehicles, especially trucks, were following him closely or he’d be history. Was he texting? No, but he admitted to the police he was looking for his EZPass and became distracted. In a moving vehicle, not a smart move. He should have paid better attention.
Ever see the movie Seven Pounds?  Released in 2008, it stars Will Smith and Rosario Dawson. It’s a very hard hitting story about how quickly ones life can change when we’re not paying attention.
How are you at following the rules or following directions? Do you pay attention the first time or do you have to be told more than once?
The first time I took my drivers test shortly after I turned 16, I quivered with fear as I sat behind the wheel next to the state trooper conducting the exam. I wanted to do everything right. But after the initial part of the test that evaluated your knowledge of your vehicle’s instruments, I forgot to turn off the headlights.
This realization distracted me during the toughest part of the test. The three point turn. I thought I would fail the test if I let the lights in the ON position. So while performing the three-point turn, I carefully reached down to push off the lights and then bump! My little green Pinto nudged the guardrail of the driving course.
Immediately the officer had me stop the car and the test.
“You know I have to fail you,” he said. “But you learned a valuable lesson that most people do not learn— just how quickly an accident can happen.”
Of course I didn’t appreciate the lesson at the time. Failing my driver’s test devastated me. However, I never forgot the words of the kind officer. What he said proved true not only on the road but in many other areas of life.
Distractions sometimes sneak, sometimes march into all our lives. And at times we notice, other times we’re oblivious. Focus cannot be maintained if we don’t pay attention. God has many fulfilling things for us to see, learn and experience if we’ll just keep looking to Him and pay attention. Otherwise, things will eventually go awry.
sit up and pay attention
So what in your life do you need to pay  some attention to at this point in time?
 Remember: Paying attention is always better than paying the price.
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23 New American Standard Version
Shine on. . .
karan k

Successful Failure: Part II

What is success for you?

“. . . This is what the LORD says: ‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When someone turns away, do they not return?’ ”

Jeremiah 8:4 New Living translation

How do you view success? Do you see it differently for others than you see it for yourself? Can you recall a time when you failed? How did you respond? Can you recall a time when you felt you succeeded?

In 1987 my father died suddenly. I was 24. My mother needed support financially and emotionally. I decided I should take care of her. We tried to sell her house and move where she could walk to work since she didn’t drive. It was a disaster and two years later I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to move out. I failed in my plan to take care of my mother. I certainly didn’t FEEL like a success.

As I explained in Part I, I feared failure and any sort of risk. I lacked the knowledge and experience of independent living apart from renting a room when I moved away from home at 19. As with any new venture, alot of unknowns accompanied having my own place. But I was desperate to be independent and I chalked up the failure with my mom to lack of planning. I was not gonna let that happen again.

So I carefully counted the cost of moving out on my own. (Luke 14:28) After doing my homework and seeing my budget on paper I felt a degree of confidence. I prayed and moved forward finding a snug 2 bedroom apartment the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Scheduled to move at the end of January made it difficult to find volunteers to help me. I didn’t have much money but I remembered I had an insurance policy I received when my father died. He had taken it out when I was born. I figured my first apartment was cause for cashing it in to help with the move.

The Prudential building intimidated me with its vastness. The insurance agent who handled my policy seemed kind and trustworthy. When he found out why I was cashing in my policy, he asked if I had help to move. I told him “No” and he immediately made some calls. He told me he and a few friends from church would help. Yes, I was naive to trust a stranger but I had no one else and so I trusted God’s provision.

The night of my move two big flat bed trucks arrived right on time. Two men and the insurance guy made short work of loading all my belongings onto the trucks. My middle brother also lived at my Mom’s and he sat on the sofa and watched while these men carried my possessions passed him time and again. He never lifted a finger to help and as I carried a box out, he said, “You’ll never make it.”

He said it with such a sneer that the pain shot deep in my heart. I could never forget his words and lack of confidence in my ability. Inspite of what he said, the Lord helped me to live successfully for 12 years in that apartment and then go on to buy my own house.

That failure with my mother became a bundle of lessons learned to help me move forward to succeed on my own. I worked hard through the lean times. I sacrificed when necessary. And no bills were ever late or unpaid. I felt good about what I had accomplished, just me and Jesus.

We can turn every failure into success with perseverance and the Lord’s help. Or put another way; “Whenever you fall, do it forward and get up again as soon as possible.”

So what is your definition of success? Please feel free to share it in the comment section. Here’s my favorite definition of success;

“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shine on. . .
karan k

Successful Failure: Part I

 

 

“The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22 New American Standard Bible

HE’S THE ONLY ONE WHO NEVER FAILS!

Anyone remember the old show “Wide World of Sports” and Jim McKay’s famous catchphrase? “The thrill of victory . . . and the agony of defeat?” No one wanted to be that poor skier shown in the footage representing the “agony of defeat”. As bad as it looked, Vinko Bogataj, the Slovenian ski jumper in the clip, walked away with a concussion and a broken ankle. You can watch it on YouTube if you’re too young to remember Wide World of Sports.

His failure made him famous and admired by athletes the world over. Muhammed Ali asked for his autograph in 1981 at the 20th anniversary celebration for Wide World of Sports. Vinko continued skiing competitively and then became a ski instructor coaching the 1991 World Champion Franci Petek. He went on to lead a full life with his wife and family and later discovered his talent for painting.

Think about failure in your own life. Have you had a lot?

 

I recently read an interview with a young high school graduate. She was asked, “What’s the worst thing about being 18?” In answer to this question, she said:
“Everything you do after you turn 18 counts, so there is no room or time for error.”

Think about that for a moment. This is an 18 year old ‘determined goal chaser’ as she calls herself in another section of the article. I admire her raw ambition and desire to make the most of her time to make a difference in our world.

I was blessed to meet this young woman named Danielle and she has quite an impressive outlook on life. However, I do want to caution her and others not to fear failure. Because for those of us who know Christ, failure is just a different tool in the hand of God to chisel us to perfection.

Each of us will come face to face with failure more than once in our lifetime, but we can benefit from it IF we look to our all knowing God. We can learn lessons from failure that may not otherwise be possible. If we determine to be teachable we can learn and grow from the experience of failure. We should expect it and not fear it.

 

Don’t know about you but I was taught that if I fail at something then I AM a failure. I believed this lie for most of my life. For years I did all I could to avoid failure. Unfortunately unlike Danielle, my motivation avoidance was not commendable. Self preservation motivated me rather than striving to be my best for the sake of others. I did not want to look stupid at any cost. Too often in my past people were cruel and made fun of me and my ideas so I began to hide my ideas inside and not take risks.

 

As an adult if I was not fairly sure I could succeed at something I would not even try it. How many opportunities have I missed because of fear? What about you? Have you missed opportunities because of fear?

God in His mercy has scooped me up many times when I felt I could not go on. Then He’d take me at the moment of my failure and teach me useful things so I could move forward into other areas of life I never dreamed possible.

In weak moments fear sneaks in and attempts to rule me again but now I know the truth. That even failures I encounter may be part of God’s divine plan for me. So I turn my back on fear and lean hard into my faith in Christ. Because with His leading and help I can do anything and so can you!

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 New Living translation

Take time to enjoy the journey and FLURISH through any failures. And Danielle, as you head off to college remember, He’s got your back!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Hot Flash

“The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade at your right side.” Psalm 121:5 International Standard version

Twenty-five years ago I had  my introduction to God as my “shade” in reference to the opening verse. It was an awesome experience in my booth.

On a tremendously hot and humid summer day my boss scheduled  me to work the temporary booth which had no AC. The dread  spread through my mind like wildfire The burning anxiety attempted to overwhelm me.

How could I survive with such heat and humidity baking me in this flimsy tin can of a booth I questioned? I felt ill. I fought the desire to call off work and just hide in my air conditioned apartment.

 

When I arrived at work and entered the booth, the heat was already unbearable. A friend of mine had told me recently to ask God for grace whenever I felt in trouble. I began begging God for grace because I knew I was prone to fainting spells when exposed to intense heat.

A few minutes later the sky darkened and then a heavy downpour. Within twenty minutes the temperature dropped from 95 degrees to 75 degrees. A customer pulled up and asked, “Did you know it’s only raining around your interchange?” I KNEW at that moment the truth of Psalm 121:5. The LORD was my shade! He cared for me enough to send a personal storm cloud! I worked the rest of that day  praising God in fresh cool breezes after the storm passed. It was heavenly.

“. . . The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16b New Living translation

The key to answered prayer is having faith in God’s love for us and His goodness. Believe when you pray or don’t bother.

Ponder Mark 11:22-24 and Hebrews 11:6

Fast forward to July 2017 when heat and humidity hit hard. The HVAC technician arrived for our seasonal maintenance and after an hour of checking he came to me with the news. Not good. We had a leak and were losing coolant like a geyser. I authorized him to locate the leak. More bad news. The leak was in the coil which translated into needing a new AC system. My heart sank.

Worse news came later after we ordered  a new system. We were told it could be two weeks or more before installation due to seasonal demand. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’m a girl who grew up with air conditioning. I’m spoiled and do not like heat when coupled with humidity. And now I’m menopausal!

Hot Flash!

My  husband Dwight and I were not quite on the same page concerning how we would pay for the new AC system. I wanted to drain our savings and pay it outright avoiding finance interest charges, then trust God to help us build back our savings. Dwight, however, preferred to use financing, not wishing to deplete our savings.

We were bumping heads since of course we each thought our way was best. I did not like being at odds with my husband. My heart was not at peace.

So I started praying. I prayed we could somehow afford the AC without causing a rift between us. I also prayed for a speedy installation. Some may feel these issues are too small to ask the God of the universe to remedy. But I disagree. If He cares about the hairs on our heads to continually keep track of how many fall out and grow in daily, (Matthew 10:30) surely He cares about helping me and my husband in the heat.

The first answer to prayer came when the salesman offered us an AC system with 5 year financing for 0% interest. As long as we paid it off in five years there would be no interest tacked onto our fee. An affordable option satisfying both Dwight and I. Praise God! Thank You, Jesus!

Second answer came the next day when the HVAC company called to say they could install our system in one week rather than two or three as they originally thought. Hallelujah!

 

Midsummer hot week began nipping at my mind as the temperatures rose. I asked for grace, grace and more grace to get through the week without whiney complaining.

Beginning of the week the weather turned less humid and cooler at night so we slept well. We only had to endure heat for about 6 hours each day. Then midweek the heat and humidity climbed. I again asked  for grace and He faithfully helped me get through the sweaty hot days and muggy nights. Again I am amazed how He cares about each of us more than we can imagine!

What causes you to become unglued?  Wigged out?  Panicked? Ask Him for His grace to help you overcome. Believe and expect His help. FLURISHING will follow.

“. . .My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” II Corinthians 12:9b  New Living translation

For those who may view this entire post as silly, remember simple faith is a state of mind ; ASKING, BELIEVING, RECEIVING lived out in daily life.

Shine on. . .

karan k

Nuff Said

 

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

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

uh oh!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think before you type

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

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

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

 

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

Good conversation skills include lots of listening

Shine on. . .
karan k

Who’s the Boss?


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Sailing requires serious teamwork

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

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

 

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

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

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

The goal

 

 

 

 

 

Child’s Play?

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not goin back in there!

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Game CharlieCharlie

 

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

Innocent or Deceptive?

So what do you think?

For more information on this topic, check out:

“The Fakers” Danny Korem and Paul Meier

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

 

 

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

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Pleasant Valley Proofreading

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

Monkee mobile

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

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

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

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

sample of proofreading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Powerful Weakness

 

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

The other day I faced a pop quiz from God:

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I began asking for more of His grace.

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

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

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

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

 

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

May your next test be a perfect score!

Shine on. . .

karan k

Prayers for the Pot Roast

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

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


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

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

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

Adamstown Community Days fireworks with loyal friend

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

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

Perfect Pot Roast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share what you have for His glory

Shine on. . .
karan k

Clogged Grace

“The very center of the whole Bible is the doctrine of the grace of God.” —-J. Gresham Machen

In August 1988 George H. W. Bush accepted his party’s nomination for president of the United States. During his speech that day he made this remark, “I want a kinder and gentler nation.”

Some of you may remember hearing his words live that day.  Or  heard one of many replays  of the remark, serious or sarcastic that followed in the news or tv shows such as Saturday Night Live. (Dana Carvey nailed it). Younger readers may not know or care about it but President Bush’s remark has become a catchphrase in the history of American politics.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — Episode 5 — Aired 11/10/1990 — Pictured: Dana Carvey as George Bush — Photo by: Alan Singer/NBCU Photo Bank

A lot of jokes were made about the line at the time. But now almost 30 years later, in light of our escalating violence, wouldn’t it be comforting if we had a kinder and gentler nation in 2017? I’m not here to discuss politics today but to share some thoughts on the words spoken by our 41st president.

What does being  a kinder, gentler nation look like?  A place where people treat each other with dignity and respect no matter their differences? I’ll take that.

For a country to make a shift from division and dissension to kindness and gentility I believe  much grace is required.

Realistically, we know that not everyone in our country sees the Bible as the ultimate authority and so the idea of the grace of God is foreign to them.

But for those of us who have experienced the grace of God, we must put what we know into practice.

Ideally we should accept God’s ultimate grace to save us eternally first and then extend HIS grace through kindness and understanding to others during our everyday activities. Grace should flow freely at home with family members, at work with co-workers, out and about with store clerks, friends, neighbors etc.,

So why have we missed the mark if there are so many Christians in our country filled with His grace? Why haven’t we become a kinder, gentler nation? I think we need to start with our own conduit of grace making sure it’s not clogging the flow.

 

Remember the flight attendant spiel before every take-off?  You have to take care of your own oxygen before helping others.  We must intentionally treat ourselves with grace to maintain clear conduits. Do we tend to offer grace to others but not ourselves ? This can cause clogs in the system. . .

I get mad at myself. I get impatient with myself. I get frustrated with myself and disappointed at times with myself. And to avoid all of that, most times I push myself way too hard. Or I beat myself, and in effect my conduit, with the hammer of guilt too often. Does any of that sound familiar to you?

I submit to you that attempting to stream grace to others while our conduits are in such shape will lack power and purity.  We cannot flow His pure grace if we are not receiving it ourselves. We have clogged grace. So how do we offer grace to ourselves and unclog the conduit? Here are some ideas I use:

  1. I imagine someone I care about  coming to me for help. They explain their issues and how they handle them exactly as I have been doing. Would I tell them to lighten up on themselves or push themselves harder? Would I encourage them to give themselves permission to relax and dump their issues on Jesus?  Most times  YES! So relaxing, lightening and dumping are in order for myself.  (I Peter 5:7) GRACE!
  2.  When I feel I’ve failed, I remember the sovereignty of God and that He will use my failure for good somehow. (Romans 8:28) GRACE!
  3.  When I feel I’ve let someone down, I remember that I am not to be everything to everyone. Only God can do that.  (Hebrews 4:13) Helps me put things in proper perspective. GRACE!

I find that when I offer His grace to myself  first that I am in a freer position and mood to shower grace on others. Then I can truly FLURISH while flowing sincere grace wherever I go. Only then can I pay grace forward one person at a time and pray it becomes contagious. Enough of us do this and we become a kinder and gentler nation.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” Ephesians 4:31 New Living translation
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

To learn more about grace, study the life of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.

Sucker Punch Betrayal

 

“It is not an enemy who taunts me—- I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me— I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you–my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.”Psalm 55:12-14 New Living translation

How many of you have felt the stab of betrayal? A Julius Caesar moment? Someone close to you, a friend or family member commits something injurious against you? How do you handle it or how have you handled it when it happened? Feel free to share in the comment section.

 

The closer the person is to us the deeper the pain because we’ve opened ourselves up to them. We let them into our  inner world.  We allowed our hearts to be vulnerable because we trusted them. How could they do this? WHY would they do this? Questions all of us have asked ourselves without receiving answers. It’s simply an ugly part of our humanity since the Fall.
Sneaky sucker punches coming out of nowhere have been my experiences with betrayal. Just moving through the daily grind, thinking all was well in my world and BAM! Someone  pops me in the face with a powerful punch of betrayal causing me to reel with emotional disbelief and damage. Some  of these sucker punches had small consequences and others were total life changers. In either case, the betrayal crippled or killed the relationship.

Slander. Lies. Adultery. At worst, Murder.These are painful acts of disloyalty. I wish none of us ever had to face this intimate injury but most likely each of us will face some form of betrayal at some point in our life.

Here are a few thoughts on betrayal from my husband:

Betrayal is something that is common to the human experience. Common as it may be however, it is an experience that one never becomes accustomed to, no matter how many times it’s perpetrated on us. While everyone’s story of betrayal is unique, the soul searing, heart wrenching emotions are basically the same.

My experience was in the context of infidelity in marriage. My spouse’s betrayal and the ensuing divorce was THEE pivotal event in my young life. I grew up in the idyllic environment of a small midwestern town, much like “Mayberry” minus sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife.  Cheating spouses and divorce was big city stuff read about in the tabloid newspapers in my Dad’s grocery store.  I was taught to trust people, to take folks at face value, especially one who vowed in front of God and family, for better or worse, to love till the end. The discovery of the infidelity and the following years of denial of it’s reality was a cold hard gut punch to my pollyanna world view. My children and I were now a statistic. We were now one of the 50% of Christian marriages that ended in divorce.

Lives ripped apart

Yes, we were professing Christians! The guilt from being a divorced Christian was paralyzing. So much so, I couldn’t go to church anymore. I felt like a complete and total fraud. The pronouncements from my church’s leadership, condemning me to “hell” certainly did nothing to reinforce Jesus’ message of grace for all and draw me back to the very place I needed to be. “How could I allow my marriage and family to disintegrate and still sit in church and worship God” I reasoned?

So I left, not because I was rejecting Christ, quite the contrary. I never stopped believing, I just felt completely unworthy of Him and His attention and love. I obviously knew nothing of grace. From all appearances, no one at my church did either.

This one single event of betrayal started a 15 year downward spiral in my life.  Unbeknownst to me I had more control than I realized over my life’s events but, as I often say, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. I know now, that we must not let any incident of betrayal and the ensuing anger, bitterness, resentment and thirst for revenge consume our lives. It hurts, it’s painful beyond description, and can be debilitating. Grieve the loss and pain…yes! But move  on in Christ’s healing. Run to Him, not away from Him. He has promised over and over and over to heal our wounds and comfort us in our trouble. Trust Him and know there is life after betrayal. I’m living proof.

 

Whether you are dealing with any leftover pain from betrayal in your past, or are currently suffering or have yet to face betrayal, you can benefit from David’s insights. I encourage you to take some time and read David’s story in II Samuel 15-19.  Then Psalm 55 where he shares his agony with his Lord over what happened.

 

Judas Kiss

Remember, our Lord suffered this same pain at the hand of two of His closest friends. Judas and Peter both betrayed Him in different ways.  So He can definitely feel and understand your pain. Tell Him your detailed hurts. It will be healing for your soul. You will begin to FLURISH inspite of betrayal.

Peter’s denial

“Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”Psalm 55:22 New Living translation

Shine on. . .

karan k

Multi-Tasking Mania? A Tale from the Booth

 

Come into my world...
Come into my world…

“Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6 English Standard version

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A few days ago a woman approached my booth. I could see her face through my front window.  I hurried to catch up on paperwork before she actually arrived to pay her toll. I finished filling out my report from a previous customer and I turned toward her. Astounded by what I beheld, I attempted to keep my shock to myself while taking her ticket to process it.

In all my years on the Turnpike, this was a first. The woman appeared to be in her late twenties. She drove 53 miles from the Ft. Washington exchange on the Turnpike wearing dual breast pumps that were actively engaged.

I wondered if I should mention the “Elephant in her car” or remain quiet? I couldn’t help myself.
“So, I guess you’re really busy, huh?”

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“Yeah, and this works great on the road. Saves me lots of time,” she answered with enthusiasm.

I smiled as I handed her 75 cents in change and off she went pumping down the road. Just had to chuckle to myself and shake my head.

I wanted so badly to say STAY CALM AND PUMP ON! Gotta love my job, you just never know what you’ll see. This young woman sets the Ultimate Multi-Tasking record in my book.

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Now you may not be a busy young mother but are you a multi-tasker? In some scenarios this is a great advantage. I know several women of various ages who pride themselves in their ability to multi-task. There are men who also multi-task but primarily it’s a skill naturally occurring in women.

Me, I can do a couple things at once but are they done well? Probably not. The closest I can get to the young mom’s record is to eat my breakfast while the washing machine is running.:)

I believe women excel at multi-tasking in preparation for the demands of motherhood. I think of it as a God-given ability necessary for a specific time in a woman’s life. Not something to gloat about. At this point I’m passed the child bearing and rearing age and I can tell my abilities to multi-task are fading. This decline is natural but can be so totally unexpected when it starts. Especially if you are a person who relies heavily on this proficiency.

At first sight of losing my multi-tasking ability, frustration overwhelmed me. I had gotten used to my full speed ahead with multiple projects mindset. Inside I felt angry that I could no longer keep all the balls in the air. I felt inferior to my former self and I didn’t like it.

Elisabeth Elliot on the right
Elisabeth Elliot on the right

And then I remembered words I memorized years ago from a no nonsense woman of God who has since gone home to Jesus, Elisabeth Elliott**: She used to quote a poem called “In Acceptance Lieth Peace” on her daily radio program.

It was time for me to test that bit of wisdom for myself. To give up the idea that multi-tasking makes a life more productive, more valuable. That somehow I was less because I could no longer juggle 12 things at once. I needed to accept my limitations as a natural part of the aging process.

This is what I told myself and  now I believe it to be the truth. For every time I accept what I can do  well  as enough in any given day my mind, my soul and my body are at peace. FLURISHING is free to flow, no longer blocked by frustration and pressuring expectations. That is priceless.

May you find the same peace at whatever stage and capability of life in which you find yourself. Accept what you can do with whatever He gives you, whether a lot or a little. Read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.

Beware of multiplying your own expectations to multi-task. Remember, God won’t expect more from you than He empowers you to do.

” Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen.”  I Peter 4:11 New Living translation

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Shine on. . .

karan k

**Christian author and speaker (1926-2015). Elisabeth Elliott’s writings will challenge your faith. Check her out.