Category Archives: Friendship

A Tiny Tale and a Tremendous Challenge from the Booth

 

Yesterday I saw a World Vision truck drive through the interchange. It was the first one I ever saw here at Denver. I’ve heard so many good things about World Vision so a few months ago Dwight and I decided to sponsor a child through this International ministry. In the past I was connected to children through Compassion International but this is my first experience with World Vision.

When the time came for my husband and I to choose a child, we made our choice easily. There was a little 10 year old boy named Elvis from Bolivia on the list of unsponsored children. Our family has always loved ELVIS so for us, the choice was obvious. Whenever we hear or see anything ELVIS related (including the upcoming ’68 Comeback concert on the big screen), I hope it will remind us to pray for our little Elvis!

One of the children I sponsored through Compassion International in the early 1990s, was a little girl named Impanoyimana from Africa. After several years of communication with her I was suddenly cut off. I found out later through field officers of the ministry that her family had gotten caught up in the horrors of the Rwandan genocide. Impanoyimana’s family were murdered while she was attending school at a Compassion compound. She was frantic to find her family and did not show up for classes shortly afterward. Impanoyimana was last presumed to be fleeing for her life. I never heard anything else concerning her because Compassion International could no longer locate her.

My heart was sickened and worried for Impanoyimana. I prayed for her safety. My hope has always been that she survived and has grown into a strong Godly woman somewhere in the world. Of course I may never know during this life?

It was difficult to start a new sponsorship after her disappearance but in time, I did. These children can be greatly influenced by a little time, a little money and a lot of love. If you’ve never considered child sponsorship, pray on it and step out in faith if led by His grace to take a child into your life. It’s a small sacrifice that can mean the difference between life and death for these destitute children.

Our own Elvis

 

Have you ever sponsored a child in another country? What were your experiences?

 

World Vision and Compassion International are both diligent and trustworthy ministries partnering with children, families, and their communities to  overcome poverty and injustice. They provide education, medical care, food and the Gospel. Click on their websites below for more information.

http://www.WorldVision.org/WorldVision

http://www.compassion.com

“Be generous and share your food with the poor. You will be blessed for it.” Proverbs 22:9 Good News Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Shine On Sign Off

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

SHINE ON—- The World Needs Your Beautiful Light.

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

 

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

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

Shine on wherever you are. . .

karan k

 

 

Call the Midwife!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think happened?

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

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

 

 

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

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Amigo Experiment

“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

I Corinthians 15:33 New International Version

My paraphrase is; “Choose your friends wisely. You become like those with whom you spend your time.”

As I approached the grand ole age of fifty, I decided to be proactive about my friendships. I have several precious long time friends but unfortunately some of them live out of state and time with them is limited. So I wanted to surround myself with good people who lived in my general vicinity. People who were solid in their faith. People I could rely on, seek counsel from, share burdens in prayer and spend quality time with on a regular basis. I talked it over with God.

 

With fifty years behind me I felt His lead to make my remaining time count. I wanted to be shaped by people I respected and had a solid hold on Jesus’ hand. I prayed and names began coming to mind. I discussed my ideas with my husband. With his approval we moved forward and came up with a plan.

Sojourners 2017
Dinner out— one sojourner missing from photo

We organized a dinner party for eight. I sent out invitations and was delighted when all three couples responded positively. I hired a chef and coerced our kids to be the wait staff, freeing up Dwight and I to focus on our prospective friends. I threw together a few games to get to know each other because some of the people never met before.

Silly times together alleviate stress

After our sumptuous meal, we retired to the living room and I explained my plan to form a close knit group of friends who I felt would encourage growth and Godliness in our lives. As that information sank in we played the games and later they shared how they felt about the ideas I laid out. No one objected to the ideas I put forth. Some said they were honored to be invited and some were quiet but all agreed to move forward. The Sojourners group was born five years ago.

Disney Fun

From the King James dictionary, a sojourner is: A temporary resident; a stranger or traveler who dwells in a place for a time. As in I Chronicles 29:15. So we are a group of travelers on earth passing through on our way toward home.

Coffee and prayer times

We regularly share prayer requests. We get together for meals out, or special themed dinners at home rotating at all four locations. Sometimes we see movies together. We uplift one another through difficult times such as illness, transitions and blessings. We share together, weep together and laugh together.

Fit and healthy fun

We’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level. Sometimes common interests draw members off on their own. We have two writers, four campers, one photographer, four bicyclists, and an avid foodie. I’m sure we’ll learn more about each other and our great God as the next five years roll on.

Encouraging each other to use our gifts

We have each other’s back which is such a comfort and joy.  Each couple is involved in ministry of their own so we make the best use of our time together which isn’t as often as we like but the Lord multiplies it to replenish us to continue serving wherever we are called.

supportive when illness strikes

I encourage you if you do not belong to a small group of Godly friends at this point in your life, make the effort to join one or form your own as I did. The blessings are immeasurable. We need each other more and more as the Day of the Lord approaches!

Enjoying a magic show

 

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

Honoring Friendship

C-3PO and R2D2

 

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 New International Version

 

What does loyalty look like in friendship?  How do we honor our friends?  Share your thoughts or a story in the comment section.

One on One time is extremely important

Yesterday filled my heart with warm fuzzes all day. I felt the privileged glow of spending time one on one with six of my precious friends. The day grew long but entirely satisfying.

I treasure all my friends. Each one is so distinctive and as such each friendship is unique. I attempt to encourage them, be understanding when they have issues and revel in their joyful moments. I make efforts to keep in touch, remember birthdays (by the grace of God), and spend time with them when I can. But I haven’t always valued my friends as deeply as I should.

In the past I had a group of older friends who also acted as mentors in my life. I met them during a floundering season of lowness. Their presence and support buoyed me back on my spiritual feet and helped me soar to new heights.

But as time passed I didn’t appreciate them properly. I loved them but my love was shallow. I grew bored and dissatisfied. I longed for younger friends. Friends who were more physically active and who I could relate to with ease. Simply put, I was an ingrate! I acted as an ungrateful person. Maybe not on the outside because these dear ladies may not have even been aware of my selfish discontent? But my heart swelled with it.

Can you relate? Ever have a good friend who you didn’t appreciate at the time? If they remain in your life consider reaching out to them and let them feel your love and gratitude for their friendship.

 

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

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)

Fond Memories

“So I recommend having fun. . . ” Ecclesiastes 8:15a New Living translation

This is a holiday weekend to remember those who have fought for our country, its freedoms and values throughout the years since our inception. Many ceremonies and celebrations will take place over the course of this weekend here in the US of A. The courage of the men and women who have and are serving our nation afford us many freedoms. One of those freedoms is to have fun.

Parades, ceremonies, cook-outs

I am blessed to share this time with two of my oldest friends who travelled from out of state to be here this weekend. There’s something special about people who have known you since childhood. People who have watched you grow up and been there for the good choices and the bad. The ups and downs of your life. They know you so well and yet they love you. What a comfort to one’s soul.

Yesterday, while driving my friends on an errand, we had an incident occur that I knew immediately would go into our book of fond memories.

1979 Pontiac Safari Station Wagon

My husband graciously allowed me to take my friends in our 1979 Pontiac Catalina Safari station wagon. The car is as big and as long as its name.:) It’s the kind that has the flip up backward third seat to sit in and watch out the back window. It’s a fun way to see where you’ve been.  Recalling this now I find it an extremely apropos experience in this car with my oldest friends.

So I’m backing down our driveway. The radio is playing “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey. The neighbor’s Basset Hound across the street is standing in the yard staring as this rumbling yellow (technically Montego Cream) beast of a machine with dual exhaust moves toward him. His owner, who I have never personally met, is in the yard, notices us and waves. So wanting to be a friendly neighbor, I push on the horn and begin to wave when the horn decides to continue blowing. It will not stop and I feverishly try to depress the horn again when the cap flies off exposing the wiring which continues to blast the horn. I cannot begin to exaggerate how loud this horn sounds.  My two friends are laughing hysterically as we cruise down the street announcing our arrival to every house on the block and beyond.

Friend in the front seat scrambles to retrieve the cap while I discover if I pinch the wire the horn stops. So friend in front seat pinches the wire while I drive and friend  in the back seat is laughing to tears and I fear she may wet herself on the vintage upholstery.

By the grace of God we pull over and attempt to get the cap back on which depresses the spring mechanism just enough to silence the horn… thank God. That is, until we pull into our destination’s parking lot and the obnoxious horn goes off again without provocation. My friends and I want to crawl under rocks but instead we laugh our heads off while those looking on stare in bewildered annoyance.

Good times. Good times. To see my friends laugh like this with utter abandon is priceless. Life can get serious and hard for all of us but moments such as these are gems in our book of memories. None of us will ever forget this stupid little incident which will always produce a smile and a laugh whenever remembered.

Happy Memorial Day to us.

I hope you can make some silly, simple memories this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the coming summer months. FLURISH in fun!

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22a New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k
…………..

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

Birthday Invitation

” Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me. . . ” Psalm 23:4a+b New King James version

Surprise!
Surprise!

Ever get an invitation for a surprise Birthday party? People love to be in on surprising someone. The thrill of seeing the person’s reaction is enough to entice people to attend a party. The anticipation of waiting for the guest of honor to arrive is exciting. But what if there is no surprise?

My sweet husband recently attempted to surprise me with a Birthday gathering. Being the planner I am, I figured things out although not quite all the details. I hope the guests are not disappointed that there will be no surprise, ’cause I’m psyched to share time with them. To celebrate with trusted friends is something I treasure.
On my actual Birthday I planned a surprise of my own. I decided to visit my mother at the exact time she gave birth to me many moons ago, 9:55 in the morning.

When I arrived, no familiar bright pink clothing greeted my eyes. Mom lay on her bed curled up in a standard hospital gown. I could see she didn’t feel well. I spoke to a nurse to find out what was wrong. Mom had caught a flu bug earlier in the week. One of the aids was kind enough to get me a mask to wear so I could visit.

 

Birthday surprise with Mom January 11, 21017
Birthday surprise with Mom
January 11, 21017

Mom perked up when I sat on the bed with her and stroked her “strubly” (Pennsylvania Dutch term for messy) hair out of her face. I could tell she had been laying in that position quite some time due to the matting of her hair. I told her I came at 9:55 am the time I was born to surprise her. But she didn’t have a clue.

I told her all the current news from the outside world of family and friends. We shared some memories from past Birthdays in my adulthood. Not much good to remember of my childhood birthdays. She seemed so glad to see me even though I wore the mask.

Just before I left our visit, Mom asked in her own cute little way,  “Did you know that you had red hair when you were born?” “No, you never told me that before, ” I answered. She smiled and said “Well, you did.” This little Birthday trivia  tickled my heart . What a special surprise.

I hugged her and left smiling.

Mom doesn’t recall a lot of details anymore due to her Dementia but I praise God for these lucid moments of sharing. I know there is coming a day when all her memories will stop. Her body may be living and breathing but her mind might struggle to even recognize my face. It’s a harsh reality but one I’ve asked Jesus many times to strengthen us to brave together. Sometimes Mom cries when she can’t remember stuff I ask her and it’s so hard to watch her struggling. But even during these moments I must realize HE is in control.

He is faithful to help with the surprises of life
He is faithful to help with the surprises of life

I am confident that as time rolls along and Birthdays come and go for both Mom and myself, Jesus will faithfully hold our hands and walk with us! Because we both invited Him to our party a long time ago.

Whatever you are walking through these days remember He is there by your side. Ask Him to help you notice and sense His presence more. He longs to be involved in all our experiences; celebrations like Birthdays and tough stuff like dementia. You don’t have to walk alone. He is awaiting your invitation. His answer will be the biggest and best surprise of your life!

5978790297_0e0cf3c6e6_b

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.” Psalm 23:4a+b New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Devilish Detonation Part IV: The Letter

” For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23 New Living translation

(Be sure to read Parts 1-3 to catch up on this series)

During a hot July weekend in 1983, I donned a beautiful chiffon gown to participate as Maid of Honor in one of my closest friend’s wedding. My ex-boyfriend chose to attend regardless of how I felt. The entire event squeezed my heart in a bittersweet fashion. I enjoyed the celebration, joining in my friend’s happiness. But the sore spot on my insides ached a little as I came home early even though the best man, Rob asked me out. I told him maybe the next week as I wanted some time to myself. He kindly did not press me.

0017-version-2
I settled in to relax with the Saturday evening line-up on tv; Love Boat and my favorite, Fantasy Island. At this time in my life I rented a room from a woman who became a second mother to me. That night she told me about a project she thought I would want to participate in with members of her home Bible study group.

She asked me to compose a letter of encouragement for a young man who recently became a Christian. His current situation was rather complicated and his grandmother requested prayer support for him.

Any blues I felt earlier quickly disintegrated as I realized the potential of what she was asking. A chance to serve in a ministry that even most Christians avoid. I felt honored and privileged for the unique opportunity. Little did I realize what I was about to embark on would throw me into a pitiful freak category in the minds of family, friends and peers.

My spirit soared beyond what I had ever known as far as joyful excitement was concerned. Any negative depressive issues or feelings I regularly struggled to control seemed to vanish. I decided not only to write a letter of encouragement but to include a small homemade card as well. The words came easily to me and I had to hold myself back from writing too much. I kept it simple, brief and to the point.

I wrote the basics. Who I was, my age and how I came to know about him. Most importantly I wanted to convey unconditional love to someone I knew many would write off as scum of the earth.

I wanted “Joe” to know he was loved and accepted just as he was. That there were Christians who believed with all their hearts in the saving AND redeeming power of Jesus’ blood. Our group of believers did not dabble in lip service only Christianity.

With the glue dried on the card and the ink dried on the paper, I scampered out across the apartment building parking lot with my paper treasure. Breathing a prayer as I opened the mail box, I sent off an invitation of friendship to a soon to be convicted axe murderer.

5045429991_d15609ea16_z
“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11 New International version.

Stay tuned and Shine on. . .
karan k0017-version-2

Least Lives Matter

4630013729_9ac69d37de_z

Lots of talk over the last few months about whose lives matter. I recorded a short video off the cuff concerning this topic according to the scripture below. Check it out and read the passage because you need to make sure you are aware of your choices. Someday it will matter more than you realize! Click here to watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QEEpQ5SMPQ&sns=em

If you have trouble viewing; Go to Youtube and search:

Karan Klassen, Least Lives Matter

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in His presence, and He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at His right hand and the goats at His left.

Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited Me into your home. I was naked, and you gave Me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for Me. I was in prison, and you visited Me.’

Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed You? Or thirsty and give You something to drink? Or a stranger and show You hospitality? Or naked and give You clothing? When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?’

And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!’

5809524187_7f393dc1a7_b
Befriend an Inmate

Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed Me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite Me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give Me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit Me.’

Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help You?’

And He will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me.’

And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Matthew 25: 31-46 New Living translation

These are the words of Jesus Himself. He is telling us about our future. It’s a long passage but I trust you took the time to read it. No matter who we are, these verses concern us. So pay close attention to them. Simply acting religious or doing good things will not cut it either. You must KNOW Him— {see Matthew 7:21-23 and Ephesians 2:8 &9} and then you will recognize Him as one of the Least Lives who matter most!

GOD saved you by His grace when you put your faith in HIm. HE empowers you now to serve the Least!
GOD saved you by His grace when you put your faith in HIm. HE empowers you now to serve the Least of These!

Shine on. . .
karan k

A Personal Note

“I will search for faithful people to be my companions.” Psalm 101:6a

16253826328_1a45cdeee2_z

 

To those who are just getting to know me this is a personal note from my heart;

My favorite thing in all the world is to visit those I love.  I am a social person by nature so people have always ranked high on my priority list. Endeavoring to keep in touch through letters, phone calls and especially visits has been a source of joy. Hugs are extraordinarily precious!  I am so grateful for the love and loyalty of so many in my life. You have touched my heart in countless ways.

A few years ago I hit a milestone birthday which set off some realizations like mental fireworks. I grasped the reality of my own mortality. This in turn illuminated the fact I could easily count how many more times I would see those I hold dear in this life. For those faraway it was only a handful of memories yet to be made. It saddened and scared me but also motivated me to be more deliberate in my appreciation of those I love.

One on One with you!
One on One with you!

I struggle with being in the moment. My mind and my mouth usually race ahead and trample over those who are close. Forgive me. I hope to develop better listening skills in the time afforded me. Another regret is losing the ability to multitask and so time is a premium. Social media is helpful but I truly wish I had skads of time to spend with each of you one on one. Just catching up and sharing our hearts. Perhaps in heaven? Extend grace until then.

My aim is to inspire never to condemn. I long to share and encourage you on the paths created for you. Over the years I met and made new friends and my family grew which made it harder and harder to keep in touch regularly. I never want my precious friends and family to feel ignored or neglected. Please know I love you dearly. It is not my intention to hurt only to love. As an imperfect human being I know I have failed along the way many times. I pray that I will improve as time marches on.

Friends and family members are gifts to enrich our lives and I am grateful for each of you who have ever taken the time to get to know me. You have been my pleasure and deepest treasure next to Jesus. Be blessed by Him today!

“Take advantage of every opportunity because these are evil times.” Common English Bible

FLURISH with those you love!

5221294734_c9a192b2d0_o

Shine on. . .
Always,
karan k

Christmas in July

6687443475_705756ac0c_b

“Rejoice in the Lord always: again I  will say,  Rejoice.”

Philippians 4:4  American Standard version

Summer heat here on the East coast can hit its peak in July. Thinking about winter snow, cold temps and Christmas can be a welcome diversion when the sweltering days drag on too long. So my thoughts turned to Christmas in July.
According to Wikipedia, Christmas in July has some roots here in North American soil. In 1933 at Camp Keystone in North Carolina, the all girls camp decided it would be fun to celebrate Christmas in July complete with Christmas tree, gifts and Santa. It soon became a much anticipated annual event.

Then in 1940 Hollywood produced a movie titled  “Christmas in July”. Not sure how much the film has to do with Christmas but it helped promote the slogan in the early forties. As a movie buff perhaps I should give the film the once over?:)

A few years later, a Baptist minister began a Christmas in July drive to provide Christmas gifts to worldwide missions ensuring early delivery. The idea caught on; prompting the U.S. Post Office and U.S. Army and Navy officials to work with  gift and greeting card companies to supply early Christmas provisions for the servicemen and women overseas during World War II.

Retailers continued to ride the ‘Christmas in July’ band wagon after the war ended.  They offered huge sales to encourage early Christmas shopping and boost sagging summer profits.

Today Christmas in July is celebrated somewhat formally in Australia and parts of New Zealand. The southern hemisphere experiences their winter season in July allowing for more traditional Christmas celebrations. A relatively new custom for the Aussies, Christmas in July gained momentum in the seventies in addition to observing December 25th.

A few years ago I held my own Christmas in July party for a gathering of friends. Tantalizing aromas of roast turkey and baking ham greeted the guests as they entered our home. Thanks to my husband who hauled our fake fir up from the basement, we could all relax in its decorated glow and ornamental beauty while the table was being set. Christmas music from the forties played softly as we engaged in conversation and enjoyed a full course Christmas dinner served by our grown children. We played seasonal games, exchanged gifts and cranked the air conditioning so we wouldn’t bake in our ugly sweaters. We forgot all about the hot, sticky summer for a few hours. It truly was a lovely evening. We ended the festivities with assorted Christmas cookies and steaming wassail followed by caroling.

Sitting in a circle accompanied by a friend and her guitar we sang all our favorite carols. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” etc. Together we unlocked the truths of their timeless words as a soft hallowedness flowed among us. It didn’t matter that it was the middle of July. The true meaning of Christmas was alive and well in our hearts.

16575126606_b5a1a5d0ae_z

As followers of Christ we must endeavor to guard the sacredness of the celebration of His birth. So often all the bells and whistles of the Christmas season shove Jesus in the corner if we are not careful. Christmas in July or any other month for that matter can be a creative idea to celebrate the greatest birth in the history of mankind. You don’t need food and decorations but you do need a heart that longs for your Lord and delights in celebrating Him.

 

Celebrating the reality of our Living Lord’s birth throughout each year rather than strictly in December might just further your FLURISHING experience. Give it a try sometime soon.

“Celebrate GOD all day, every day. I mean revel in HIM!”  Philippians 4:4 The Message Bible

219026651_7925d5fde3_b

Shine on. . .

karan k