Category Archives: Rumination information

Savoring Christmas Part II

 

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:33 + 34 The Message Bible

2017 Christmas concert
Michael W. Smith and
Amy Grant

Last week I experienced the blessing of seeing Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith’s Christmas concert. I have followed their careers and walk of faith since 1983 and especially loved their Christmas music. So this was a big deal, a real splurge for me.

Their concert touched my heart. Even though at age 60 and 57, Michael and Amy’s voices, respectively aren’t as strong as they once were, the message of their music shines brighter than ever.

I found myself weeping during carols they recorded years ago and it surprised me. The raw emotions overwhelmed me as I realized their  music got me through a lot of painful Christmas seasons past. I praised God in my seat there at the Hershey Giant Center grateful that Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith answered the call to music ministry when they were young. For I have been truly blessed by their legacy.

 

2007

Christmas can be a very difficult time of year for some people. Expectations can exceed reasonable possibilities spiraling us into despair.  Can you relate?

I confess I did not always look forward to Christmas. It was a lonely season and disappointing even in childhood. As an adult I worked extra shifts on Christmas day because I had no children of my own. I heard repeatedly that “Christmas was just for children”.  I didn’t want to believe that as my truth. Inspite of that I worked the holiday so others with children could be home with their families and I could keep busy.

The dysfunction of my past and family of origin depressed me. No one wanted to do any real celebrating. Every year it was like pulling teeth just to get everyone together. Eat some cheapo food, open a gift or two and that was it. There was little meaning and no family traditions to share. It totally blew! And every year I was glad when it passed and I could begin a New Year.

And then in the mid 90s as the Christmas season neared, I  determined to find the joy I believed Jesus brought.  I tried various ways of looking for Him every December.

One year I made special gift packages for  all the residents in a local  nursing home. Sneaking in at midnight Christmas eve so each person would awaken to a surprise Christmas morning was exciting.

Several years I delivered gifts through Project Angel Tree to children with a parent in prison. The kids were so glad to be remembered. Later I began helping with an annual cookie bake with my nieces and some friends to give out cookies and treats to relatives and shut-ins. Christmas began to sparkle.

Little by little every year got better simply because I CHOSE to focus on giving. The past 20 or so Christmases have increasingly improved for me personally edging out loneliness and despair, maybe even some bitterness.

But about 10 years ago I caught hold of the secret to savoring Christmas. . .  I finally set time aside before December hit to just sit and focus on my Savior. Honoring Him with the first part of my Holiday season brightened up everything else I did. Doing this first before all the mayhem began made a huge difference for me!

Jesus first, it’s HIS Birthday after all. Shouldn’t HE receive the first gift? Doing this has taught me to savor  Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy all the details and festivities but if they aren’t done for HIS glory then they too, though good, are empty.

This year choose to celebrate HIM first and watch all the joys of the season fall into place. There’s still time!

Me and Dwight enjoying the concert

Never stop looking!! As the saying goes, “WISE MEN AND WOMEN STILL SEEK HIM!!!

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Savoring Christmas Part I

 

A Christmas coconut tree?

 

How do you celebrate Christmas? Lights? Carols? Coconuts? A lot depends on your belief system.  No matter where you live or whether you consider yourself religious/spiritual or not, we ALL have a belief system. Where did that belief system originate?

Most are formed in our subconscious mind and lived out in our conscious mind without much effort on our part.The  mind has three interacting processing capabilities. They are as follows:

The mind has the power to choose

The conscious mind — our daily reality which accounts for only 10% of brain capacity.

The subconscious mind— our recent memories make up 50-60% of brain capacity.

The unconscious mind—  the storehouse for all memories and past experiences for the remaining 30-40% of brain capacity.

OR stated a different way;

“It is from these memories and experiences {in our subconscious and unconscious storage units of the mind} that our beliefs, habits, and behaviors are formed. The unconscious constantly communicates with the conscious mind via our subconscious, and is what provides us with the meaning to all our interactions with the world, as filtered through your beliefs and habits.”

So what does all this mind stuff have to do with Christmas? EVERYTHING! How you view and celebrate Christmas largely depends on what you have experienced in your life since birth. What you’ve been taught. What you saw. What you read. What you heard. Etc.,  What was your childhood Christmas like?

Christmas Memories

Now those memories could be positive or negative and all of us have experienced some of each. That’s part of  natural life on this imperfect planet. But our conscious mind actually has the power to pick the positive over the negative IF we choose to make the effort.

no Hum Bugs!

Which means that no  person who claims to be a Christian has an excuse for a BAH HUMBUG attitude concerning CHRISTMAS! No matter what has happened to you in the past, your present conscious mind can override it with the glorious truth laid out for us in Scripture. The miraculous birth of our Lord and Savior who gave up reigning in heavenly paradise to save our measly souls from hell on earth and hell for eternity is nothing less than awesome. It’s something to be POSITIVELY excited about!

 

If you are not enthusiastic in at least your heart about Christmas for whatever reason, I encourage you to reread the account of the Christmas story again as soon as possible and ask God to give you a new perspective on His unfathomable gift! He can heal old pains and help you focus on the positive truth which can transform your christmas season from drudgery to delight! Start FLURISHING before this Christmas season comes to a close.

 

 

Read Matthew 1:18-2:23

Shine on. . .

karan k

A Ghostly Christmas

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Swaffham’s Catholic Church depiction of Annunciation

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

 

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

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

God Bless us, everyone.

Shine on. . .
karan k

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

State of Darkness

Today at work after setting up my booth for a day of collecting fares, suddenly out went all the lights. There we were before sunrise in complete darkness. Motorists could not differentiate between lanes of EZPass or cash because the lights and signs were not illuminated. Talk about dangerous. This state of darkness continued for a half hour.

Working in darkness smacked of eeriness and having no heat added its own effect. As a chilling mist mixed in the shadows and crept across my skin, I had to feel rather than see to do most everything. I easily could have made mistakes when customers made their way to my booth. I couldn’t see where to put the ticket into the machine. My money drawer being black did not help matters. I had to feel each coin and hope I pulled out the correct bills when making change.

At any rate it made for an interesting start to my morning. I looked forward to the sun coming up so I could see what I was doing AND be seen by oncoming traffic. Thankfully, no one was hurt during this dilemma.

What do we do when the lights suddenly go out in our lives? Darkness falls in the form of uncertainty or calamity. What do we do? Grope around in the dark or wait for the light to shine again confident that it will return?

Those of us who know Jesus, the Light of the world are assured of His presence to guide us through dark times but what about people around us who don’t yet know Him?

Their entire existence has been spent in the dark. All they know how to do is inch forward clumsily with no direction, feeling their way from point A to B because they have no light. Desperately they try to avoid pits and traps they can’t see. For them each day can be a scary struggle of its own.

Allow the Light of the world to shine out of you to those who may be seeking to find their way. Light makes all the difference in the darkness.

“But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14 New Living Translation

Speak with friends, family, whoever will hear

Perhaps you know some who have become accustomed to the dark? Their inner eyeballs have adjusted and grown comfy in its murkiness. They exist doing as they please whether they hurt themselves and/or others. Taking such pain in stride they continue willingly in the blackness. They don’t believe they need the Light.

Shine His light and love on them anyway. God knows their heart and how to draw them out of the darkness but He may want to use you to do it. Work with Him. Don’t be afraid of the dark, you hold the light inside your heart.

 

Let His light shine daily because there is coming a deeper darkness than we have ever experienced.  [read about it in Matthew 24]  When it arrives how will we react? We  light-bearers need to be ready practicing how to reflect His light in this present darkness so that we may be glowing  beacons for those stumbling even now in the gathering shadows.

Shine on. . .
karan k

“. . . the people who sat in darkness have seen a great Light. And for those who lived in a land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined. From then on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’ ” Matthew 4:16 + 17 New Living Translation

Boomerangs

 

“Don’t be quick to fly off the handle. Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 The Message Bible

What’s your favorite amusement park ride? Ferris Wheel? Bumper cars? Tilt-A-Whirl?  By and large most people favor the speed and excitement of the roller coaster. Consider specifically boomerang coasters. There are currently 55 in operation around the globe. There are two boomerang roller coasters in Pennsylvania; one at Dorney park and one at Hershey park.

Dutch by design and manufacturing, the Boomerang roller coaster hit the scene for purchase in 1984. The coaster plunges forward into inverted thrills and then  returns backwards giving  it the Boomerang name.

Did you have a boomerang as a kid? My older brother got one as a birthday gift and my six year old mind watched in amazement as it returned to him each time he threw it. Seemed like magic.

According to the Boomerang Association of Australia, “If it doesn’t come back, it’s not a boomerang.”

The Bible also has a Boomerang or two of its own. The first Boomerang effect God says is about His Word, whether spoken or written, His message will return to Him.

“So will My message be that goes out of My mouth— it won’t return to Me empty. Instead it will accomplish what I desire, and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 International Standard version

The second biblical boomerang is a principle for us to learn about our own motives and actions returning to us.

 

Sowers must be good throwers

Like a boomerang, whatever we throw out in life will be returned to us. If we throw out kindness, kindness will come back. If we throw out rage, rage will return to us in some manner at some point. In life it’s not always an instant return but it’s a principle you can depend on experiencing. So be careful only to throw out good stuff because like a boomerang, it will come back to you.

As sowers, we must also be good throwers, because in the end it matters how you throw what you sow.

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return.” Galatians 6:7 Berean Study Bible

Shine on. . .

karan k

The Melting Pot?

“When I turn my attention to you, I’ll refine your dross as in a furnace. I’ll remove all your alloy.” Isaiah 1:25 New International version

What does the term ‘melting pot’ conjure up in your mind? What ideals do you consider “American”?

Merriam-Webster defines ‘melting pot’ as “A pot in which metals or other materials are melted and mixed.’ AND “A place where a variety of races, cultures, or individuals assimilate into a cohesive whole.”

London Graffitti

The US of A has long been called the world’s melting pot. This melting-together metaphor came into use as far back as the late 1700s. But the term became widely popular in the States after a play entitled “The Melting Pot” opened in Washington D.C. in 1908. The play later moved on to New York City and exploded on Broadway.

In Israel Zangwill’s play “The Melting Pot”,  he modernizes the story of Romeo and Juliette for the 20th century swapping out feuding Italian families for Russian Jewish and Russian Cossack families. Zangwill boldly uses the play to claim that America is a new country free of all the old animosity and predispositions of the old country. America becomes a beautiful escape for immigrants. A place where the immigrants were welcomed but not their former belongings of hatred and prejudice.

According to PBS, “God, Zangwill claimed, was using America as a ‘crucible’ to melt the ‘fifty’ barbaric tribes of Europe into a metal from which He can cast Americans.”

Mr. Zangwill dedicated his play to the US President at the time:
To Theodore Roosevelt
“In respectful recognition of his strenuous struggle against the forces that threaten to shipwreck the great republic which carries mankind and its fortunes, this play is, by his kind permission, cordially dedicated.”

What are your thoughts on that statement now in the year 2017?

Do you think we and any immigrant should melt down our individual heritage and mix together to conform to “American” ideals?

Grandpa and Grandma Klassen

The Klassens did. In 1924 my husband’s grandparents migrated to America from Russia where they faced cruel and unthinkable oppression. They willingly laid aside their European homes and loyalties to sail across the Atlantic to start a new, free life.. They allowed their Russian and German selves to be melted and mixed into patriotic Americans who gladly waited years to gain their coveted U.S. citizenship.

If you happen to live in this Melting Pot of the United States, may you find yourself praising God for the privilege.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He chose for His inheritance.” Psalm 33:12 New International version

Shine on. . .

karan k

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

 

Lions and Tigers and Zombies, Oh My!

 

“Be careful! Watch out! Because you don’t know when the time will come.” Mark 13:33 International Standard version

Run of the mill zombie

“Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” Galatians 6:8 New Living translation

As a kid I saw a movie entitled, “The Last Man on Earth” that scared me silly. There are several versions of this movie. I saw the one made in 1964. It stars Vincent Price battling a world where a plague infects everyone turning them into vampiric zombies except for himself. He was immune to the plague. For Price’s character every day was a lonely fight against the living dead to survive. It did not end well for him and the whole thing unnerved me as a 10 year old.

A scene from the movie “The Last Man on Earth” where he was actually the good guy

At least 471 feature length films have been made to date with zombies as the theme. Exactly what is the attraction? Why are so many people obsessed with the idea of zombies and a zombie apocalypse?

Fast forward  from 1964 to October 31, 2010. Television channel AMC premiered a new cable series in the U.S. called “The Walking Dead” based on a comic book series of the same name. It was also carried internationally by FOX.

The show is going into its 8th successful season due to consistently high Nielsen ratings. It has won numerous awards and continues to attract more viewers in the 18-49 age range than any other cable or television broadcast series. It is safe to say it has become a phenomenon.

Again I ask, what is the strange appeal of zombies that continues to capture the minds of the masses? Not to mention a new street drug named Flakka  or  “Gravel” also associated with zombie-like behavior.

“And instead of worshipping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshipped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.”  Romans 1:23  New Living translation

 

Be Aware

I knew the Bible speaks of an apocalypse or complete destruction of the world in the book of Revelation. But when I ran across this passage in the prophetic book of Zechariah, something struck me silly again. I couldn’t ignore it. I kept being drawn back to it and so I throw it out here as a warning for the things with which we occupy our minds.

“And the Lord will send a plague on all the nations that fought against Jerusalem. Their people will become like WALKING CORPSES, their flesh rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.” Zechariah 14:12 New Living translation

A ccording to this passage, a ZOMBIE-LIKE apocalypse is really going to happen. Not like in the movies, but it’s not going to be something you’ll want to stick around to see!

Don’t wanna run into this guy—for all you ZOMBIE lovers, careful what you extol

 

Chew on this;

A commentary on the passage from www.biblestudytools.com expounded the verse as;
“Punishment of the foe, the last Antichristian confederacy; (which basically means anyone who fights against those trusting in the teachings of Christ) Cross referencing Isaiah 59:18 “He will repay His enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on His foes. He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.” CAN YOU SAY APOCALYPSE?
Continuing with Isaiah 66:24 “And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against Me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”

Apocalypse is not something to celebrate, rather something to prepare your soul to escape. Trust me, you won’t wanna be sticking around for this epoch in history.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

 

“DON’T BE MISLED—-YOU CANNOT MOCK THE JUSTICE OF GOD. YOU WILL ALWAYS HARVEST WHAT YOU PLANT.”

Galatians 6:7 New Living translation

 

To leave you with an encouraging thought to FLURISH, remember this!

“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy (book of Revelation)  to the church, and He blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, FOR THE TIME IS NEAR.” Revelation 1:3 New Living translation

Christ followers have nothing to fear for what is coming, but everyone else is in danger of their worst nightmares coming true.  We need to warn a world in denial!

Shine on. . .

karan k

Pay attention to #6, #3 and # 1 for Zombie-like characteristics.