Category Archives: Self Exam

Sin Still Happens

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

Dr. Billy Graham

HOW DOES THAT QUOTE GRAB YOUR HEART?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

Aha, Amazing Grace!

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

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

AMAZING GRACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Esteemed by GOD

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

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

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

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

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

His words

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Read Ephesians 1

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

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

 

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

 

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

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

A good place to begin your healing process

 

Blown Away

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Shine on. . .
karan k

Read Hebrews chapter 4, just 16 verses of insight

 

A Tough List

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

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

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

 

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

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

That’s A Tough List.

Truly broken and repentant means making no excuses for sin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Prayer, Paper, Passion

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Michelangelo

Without a dream, goals are rather useless. Completed tasks need a common target to make the most of each shot.

I am not one to make New Years resolutions but I do like to make goals for each new year. Time slips by so quickly and I want to accomplish things while my health and energy allow it. Carpe Diem if you will. SEIZE THE DAY!

I first heard that term in 1989 while watching a new movie with a new friend. Since that day I’ve watched that bittersweet movie many times. Dead Poet’s Society stars Robin Williams as a new English teacher at a stuffy boys prep school who attempts to teach using very unorthodox methods. One of the ideas he promotes is “Carpe Diem” a phrase from the Roman poet Horace, literally translated “Pluck the Day”. However, the term “Seize the day” has become the popular translation in our modern times.

Merriam-Webster defines carpe diem as a term of exclamation “used to urge someone to make the most of the present time and give little thought to the future.”

Now I like the idea of seizing the day but to attain goals you also have to reach into the future. You need to make some plans that become steps into the unknown toward achieving whatever goal you desire.

So what goals are on your horizon? What do you want to accomplish before 2018 closes? As we begin the second month of this fresh new year, ponder and pray about your passions. Then make a plan. Write it out on paper.  With God’s leading guidance there are no limits.

My year is turning into one of developing and practicing speaking skills. I jumped into Toast Masters last month. One goal now achieved. {I had been putting it off for months due to fear}. But I promised Jesus I would Trust and Obey. . . It turned out to be a fantastic experience! I hope to join and attend regularly, speaking as often as I am allowed.

Just today I received an invitation to join a friend to try a story telling competition at the end of this month. And the ginormous goal for this year is a Ladies Conference in Texas. Guess who the keynote speaker will be for two days? I covet your prayers as I move toward that goal in faith. I want to do my best for my King and His Kingdom here on earth.

So again, I ask you; WHAT IS YOUR DREAM? WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? HAVE YOU MADE SOME PLANS? HAVE YOU COMMITTED THEM TO PAPER? Share with us and may we encourage each other.

Don’t delay! Seize the Day!

 

“. . . Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times. Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.”
Ephesians 5:16 & 17 The Message Bible

Shine on . .

karan k

 

 

 

 

Red Light Isolation

 

STOP!

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 New Living Translation

Do you like movies? If so, what are some of your favorites?

Spencer Tracy in Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde 1941

I love movies, all types. Most genres except Horror and Westerns. But even some of those I enjoy. For example, some of the old Horror films that have become cult classics like 1931’s version of Frankenstein, or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Spencer Tracy in the dual role. The Mummy from 1959, and for Westerns I like McClintock and The Magnificent Seven with an all-star cast (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Eli Wallach, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz) from 1960.

 

The Magnificent Seven 1960

Some of those older movies have such great scripts and since I aspire to one day write a successful screenplay, I take notice of the dialogue used. For example, I like this line from an old Cops and Robbers movie in 1949 called Red Light:

“You know Johnny, when you play Solitaire, you only beat yourself.”

Solitary pain

 

The line made me think of how many of us play Solitaire with our lives. We don’t let anyone close enough to know who we really are. We don’t allow anyone to help us when struggles and hardships enter our game. We insist on suffering in silence. But where does that get us?

Our loving Father designed us for relationships and community not for isolation and living as a one person team. Instead of Solitaire we need to play life INTERDEPENDENT on others not independent of others. Consider a team mindset like in  team-handball, soccer, football or baseball. A small close knit group that plays as a team to win. Each depends on the other to help the team move forward to victory.

Team Handball

So as the New year approaches ask yourself, am I playing Solitaire or a team sport? Do I need to stop isolation? Give it the red light and become a team player? None of us knows what we will face good or bad in the coming year but we truly need each other to FLURISH!

Let’s help each other

“This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” I Corinthians 12:25 & 26 New Living Translation

Group hug

Shine on. . .
karan

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

 

Good Wife/Bad Wife? Part III

 

“The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!” Proverbs 31:30 & 31 The Message Bible

What an interesting word to describe how an admirable woman of God is to be praised. “Festoon” means to adorn with ribbons, garlands and other decorations. Which basically gives the idea of hanging out her praises in public for all to see. What a wonderful word picture.

Have you ever been “festooned in praises” by someone you love?

 

Let’s wrap up this series with some last thoughts to help us garner more festooning from our husbands if no one else.

“A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like a cancer in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4 New Living translation

Draped in beautiful character

The word “worthy” here implies strength of character. The traditional seven virtues of wonder forming strength of character are as follows:

Prudence- the quality of being wise and cautious in practical affairs.
Are we gaining wisdom by spending time in God’s Word?
Are we cautious and frugal with spending money for the household?
Justice- the quality of being fair and reasonable.
Do we prayerfully consider all angles of a situation before making judgements? Do we aim to do what’s RIGHT (righteous) in every circumstance.
Temperance- quality of moderation or self-restraint.
Do we deny ourselves pleasures for the sake of the family and being an example of healthy balance? Do we have our temper tamed?
Courage- the ability to do something that frightens one.
Are we trusting God to help us overcome our insecurities? Are we moving forward inspite of fears?
Faith- complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
Are we holding back any parts of ourselves from the living God?
Are we depending on Him moment by moment to walk this life with us in the power of the Holy Spirirt?
Hope- a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
Are we positive in our words, thoughts and outlook, expecting His good in our lives?
Love- an intense feeling of deep affection.
Are we pouring out our love on God by doing what He says and worshipping Him?
Are we pouring out our love and affection on our husband emotionally (in ways he understands) as well as physically?

Look over the list and see where you are strong and where you are weak. I need help and grace in several areas. Life is brimming with seasons of change but we need to strive for constancy in our marriages for them to FLURISH!

Now this is some impressive festooning! The Taj Mahal is public praise in enormity. One of the seven wonders of our modern world was built  between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife— too bad she was no longer alive to enjoy it. May we receive praise while breath remains in our lungs! Start increasing your “worthiness” today!

Keep an eye out for a possible companion series on husbands written by my own husband.

Shine on. . .
karan k

Good Wife/Bad Wife? Part II

Clinton Kelly and Stacy London  look on the Cathedral Hoodie.

“Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretense.” Marcus Aurelius

Multiple Myeloma Bone Marrow 2

“. . . but a disgraceful woman is like a cancer in his [her husbands] bones.” Proverbs 12:4b New Living Translation

In the last post we saw that we wives can be a crown for our husbands. That was from the positive first half of this proverb. Now we get to the ugly second part. I definitely do not want to choose this option! Bone cancer is the negative side of what a wife is capable of causing in the life of her husband.

A few years ago I loved watching a show called “What Not To Wear”. This show was very different than “The Good Wife” discussed in Part I. It was not a fictitious drama but a sad altho interesting reality show on how some people choose to dress. Friends or relatives nominated someone for the show who they considered to dress in poor taste. The two hosts would surprise this individual and offer to take them shopping for $5000 worth of new clothes if they agreed to trash their entire current wardrobe. That was the general gist of the show. I loved watching each episode because I learned to avoid my own fashion faux pas by watching the mistakes of the featured guest.

In the same way we can identify and avoid our own “Bad Wife” behavior from watching others and learning What Not to Do. There are the obvious bad behaviors of wives who flirt openly or have sex and cheat on their husbands in private. That is aggressive multiple myeloma in the bones for sure! It can quickly destroy a man.

But what about the not so obvious behaviors? Ever witness a wife berating her husband in public? Makes me shudder. It’s painful to see and so humiliating for the husband. What does she do in private, I wonder? Or have you ever heard a friend complain about her husband to a group of her girlfriends over lunch? And then there’s  rolling the eyes or shooting looks of contempt toward your husband which can be deadly. These too are cancer causing behaviors altho less aggressive, the end result is  the same. They destroy your husbands spirit and should be avoided at all costs.

Crown or Cancer? Those are the choices. Which will you choose?

To attempt to remain indifferent is compromise with mediocrity. There is no riding the fence here. Mediocrity is choosing the “Bad Wife” business as usual mindset.

Loving your spouse is one of the ways we love the Lord and you know how He feels about indifference. . . check out Revelation 3:15 Barnes’ commentary notes.

 

“Among those who made no profession He had reason to expect nothing but coldness; among those who made a profession He had a right to expect the glow of warm affection; but He found nothing but indifference. . . anything is better than this condition, where love is professed, but where it does not exist; where vows have been assumed which are not fulfilled.”

 

Why not mix Love and Faith together for a Good Wife life? Be encouraged. If you choose to be a crown rather than a cancer in your husbands life, God will honor your efforts. Nothing gets passed His notice. He will help you by His Spirit so your marriage can FLURISH no matter how long since you said I DO.

 

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” Criss Jami, Salome’

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Wife/Bad Wife? Part I

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” Criss Jami, Salome’

 

I never watched the CBS hit tv series “The Good Wife” even though it ran for seven seasons and I often considered checking into it. Julianna Margulies stars in this political drama about her decision to reenter the workforce after 13 years to provide for her children because her state attorney husband is jailed for corruption and sex scandal. Is he guilty? That’s what we all want to know?

Not sure if it’s a GOOD show to watch (only you can be the judge of that) but Margulies character supports her husband in some form or other throughout the shows run.

That being said, I want to be a Good Wife. Not like the one on the TV show but like God created me to be. To reach my potential that He set out for me to glorify His name. I want my husband to know and feel that he has that kind of “Good Wife”. In this post let’s look at the first half of an intriguing proverb:

“A worthy wife is a crown for her husband. . . .” Proverbs 12:4a New Living Translation

The word “Crown” to the Jews meant more than kingly power but also joy and gladness.
Solomon the writer of this proverb knew what a crown of joy should be. His mother gave him a crown of joy on his wedding day. (See Song Of Solomon 3:11). So he knew the blessing of  receiving a crown from a woman.

I am striving to be a crown, a joy for my husband. Striving because it is a daily effort. A choice I make over and over. I’m endeavoring to discover what I can do that brings my husband gladness.

A key moment for us is when my husband walks through the door of our home after working all day. I look forward to this moment. I try to set the tone of peace and tranquility with low music, dimmed lights and the scent of supper cooking. That’s the easy part. The tough choices come when he drags in, growling under his breath not noticing the pleasant environment I’ve created just for him.

This is when I have to choose my attitude. Will I continue to care for him unconditionally by trying to understand his mood? By giving him space if he needs it? By not pushing my agenda for the evening? And by not whining about my own unmet needs? LORD help me! I can do it only by choosing His grace!

Love for a Lifetime—Husband and wife harmony

 

Being a crown for our husband also entails being helpers or a “help mete” according to scripture. Hebrew for Help Mete— Ezer Kenegdo, a difficult term to define. It means so much more than helper. A partner, a lifesaver comes close.

What does that look like? We can be a support second only to the Holy Spirit in our husband’s life if he’s a believer. We choose to be: A companion for him in loneliness. An enthusiastic cheerleader in his triumphs. A soft voice and a soothing touch in his struggles and wise words of encouragement in his defeats. A loving nurse in his physical weakness and an eager lover in his passion.

Which of these areas are hard for you to be supportive? God’s grace is available to help you improve. All you need to do is ask.

I have to choose to respond to my husbands needs and trust my own needs to be met by Jesus. It can be challenging and sometimes I fail at one or all those things but I am determined to be a crown so I keep working at it.

Are you choosing to be a Crown or something else?

 

Next time we’ll explore the brutal second half of Proverbs 12:4

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

Be Prepared

 

“Being prepared has taught me to look ahead, to anticipate the unexpected, and to carefully prepare myself.” An 83 year old former boy scout.

Woman pulls up to pay her $5.35 fare with a debit card. Her account is 90 cents shy of the total. She has no cash. So I ask for her license to do an insufficient funds procedure whereby she has 10 days to pay by mail or online with an added $2 processing fee.

Not prepared?

She begins looking for her license. Meanwhile, the traffic is backing up because my coworker is on his break. She tells me she doesn’t have her license so I inform her that I must call for a trooper to ID her. She tells me she has a job interview and she’ll be late if she has to wait for a trooper. This customer was in no way prepared.

I wondered if she sensed my frustration? These type moments make me beg Jesus for more grace. I mean really. Why would anyone drive on a toll road to a job interview without money or their drivers license and expect a positive outcome? She didn’t even offer any excuses. This appeared to be her habitual modus operandi.

 

I needed grace!

In the end I don’t know if she made it to her interview on time or if she got the job, but I do know she wasted time and paid extra fees for her lack of preparation.

Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts of America, devised the motto “Be Prepared” in 1907.

Baden-Powell’s idea of BE PREPARED was that “Scouts should prepare themselves to become productive citizens and strong leaders and to bring joy to other people. He wanted each Scout to be ready in mind and body to meet with a strong heart whatever challenges await him.” 13th latest edition of Boy Scout Handbook

Baden-Powell further expounded:

“Be Prepared in Mind–by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.

Be Prepared in Body–by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.”

 

Sounds like a healthy and productive way to conduct ones life. I believe Scripture also encourages this way of living.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7 English Standard Version

What preparations are in your knapsack?

So, how prepared are you?

For todays situations?

For your place in eternity?

Read Matthew 25:1-13 to gain important insights on being prepared.

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

Bland or Spicy?

 

 

tiny pepper plant

“Black and white is salt and pepper of colors, for life tastes bland without them.” Vikrmn

 

“Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 New Living Translation

Recently I wrote about the detriments of the routine in a post entitled “Spicy Life”.
The reason I wrote that post was because I know what it’s like to have a “Bland Life” as well as a “Spicy Life”. I wouldn’t wish blandness on anyone, but spiciness on everyone.

Many moons ago during my bland years life was routine and needless to say, boring. I slept in ’til 10am most days after getting to bed at 2am after my shift as a proofreader. Let me tell you that proofreading medical and scientific journals for eight hours a night has got to be one of the most tedious jobs known to man! Unless of course you’re a doctor or scientist and you can actually decipher the 12 syllable words and strange symbols into some sort of meaning.

Not an interesting place to be

Seven years I did this job every evening M-F. During the daylight hours I watched a lot of cable TV which was a new luxury for me. But the enchantment of catching up with shows I’d never seen before didn’t last long. I thought there had to be something more to existing on planet earth than proofreading and TV. My life tasted bland but it took me awhile to notice. Once I perceived my own dissatisfaction, I began making small changes with God’s help.

I decided I would enjoy getting more mail. So I began writing letters to friends who had moved away expressing my desire to keep in touch. I also began making my own homemade greeting cards for friends and family. Sending letters and cards to the sick and infirm also became a mission. The letters and cards were received well and in time I received personal mail regularly. My mailbox became a source of joy both going out and coming in.

 

Because I knew the pain of loneliness, I decided I didn’t want others to feel that pain if there was something I could do to alleviate it. Thus began adventures in visiting. I started regular visits with shut-ins who were stuck in stuffy nursing homes. Later I began to include hospital visits and then  planned get togethers with family and friends.

Suddenly one day I realized my life had gone from bland to spicy because I gave what I had and God blessed it. You see, the more I gave of myself the more came back to me. It’s a Biblical principle  you can count on to hold true. (See opening verse Luke 6:38)

We all have something to offer God to touch others. Time, money, skills, talents etc. It may be cooking, cleaning, singing, art. God uses anything because He’s ingenious and gave these gifts to you in the first place.

What has God given you? If you’re not sure, ask Him. Keep your heart and mind open for the answer and then take off with God on spicy adventures of your own. Leave the bland life behind. Choose to FLURISH in spice!

“To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks the LORD has planted for His own glory.” Isaiah 61:3 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Spicy Life

“It’s so much easier to pray for a Bore than to go and see one.”
C.S. Lewis “Letters to Malcolm”

Got any interesting routines in your life? Most of us have at least morning routines to help us get our day started. Alarm. A cup of coffee or tea. A Shower. Brush teeth. Get dressed. etc. I usually throw in a few stretches to start pumping the blood before I don my work uniform.

Routines can be extremely helpful when attempting to maintain a time schedule. But routines can also be a detriment. The problem with routines are they can become. . . routine. Yeah, they become so automatic that we may not even consider them routine but a part of who we are. That ‘part’ can becoming boring.

Do you think of yourself as boring? Do you feel bored?  Do others shy away from you at social gatherings? If so, you may have stumbled into the rut of the routine, operating mechanically, without passion or conscious thought. The longer you keep your routines, the more enslaved by them you become. You can morph into a boor. Is this what you want?

Consider God and His consistent love affair with variety. He spills unending assortments into our world through color, shapes, sounds, seasons, creatures, food, topography, emotions, plants, and so on constituting an entire universe exploding with diversity.

Flower fields of color—San Diego, CA

“Variety is the very spice of life” a familiar phrase written by English poet William Cowper in his work entitled “The Task’. Fifteenth century dramatist Aphra Behn stated the same thought this way, “Variety is the soul of pleasure.”

Maybe its time to change things up a bit? Explore a new interest or hobby? Visit someone you haven’t seen for a long time? Try new foods? Take the scenic route from time to time. Whatever you have to do to break the monotonous spell of the routine. Unless of course, you enjoy being bored and possibly boring?

If you sense you could be boring or a boor and you wish you were different, here are a few tips that may help:

Try photography
  1. Read more— magazines of various types, books, newspapers etc. The more interesting and diverse issues you can converse about the more interesting you will be perceived. You will no longer fear discussions when you have new information to share.
  2. Develop multiple hobbies. Start trying new things you may never have considered in the past. You might be surprised to find enjoyment from an unlikely source.
  3. Explore new places even if it starts close to home. Just follow your nose to unfamiliar areas and then widen your circumference of exploration as time and finances allow.
  4. Challenge yourself to do one spontaneous thing each week, even if it seems silly. Example; Buy an outfit that is totally unlike anything else you own whether in style or color. Or sign up for lessons of some sort like dance or cooking or ask a friend to teach you a skill they have.
Dance classes?

I hope you choose to FLURISH in variety rather than relegate yourself to routine!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Love the Alps! Have you seen them?

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 New International Version