Category Archives: Self Exam

Christmas Lights of Grace

I love driving around to look at lights this time of year. Some people go all out to decorate and illuminate their homes. I have more lights on the inside than on the outside of our cozy town home. How about you, do you use lights in your Christmas decorating?

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I AM the Light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you have the Light that leads to Life.’ ” John 8:12 New Living Translation

Jesus said these words right after the whole incident with the adulteress woman. Another simple story you can read in John 8:1-11. His message to us has not changed but remains timeless. We need His Light above all others to find our way. Any other light is false and we will end up in trouble if we follow it just like the adulteress woman. Whether its our finances, our tongues, our bodies, our relationships etc., each of us can find ourselves in trouble when we stray from His life giving Light.

Perhaps like the adulteress woman, you didn’t know about His light. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your heart so you can know Him and He can know you. His Light and Life will transform your existence. Its WHY He came. He love you and wants a life brimming of joy and purpose for you.

Crown of Lights?

When His light lives in us we can let it shine through us to others. No we are not perfect but His love and grace are available if we step back into the Light after we’ve sinned. Grace abounds in the Light!

May you receive His grace today in whatever way you need it!

Merry Christmas and God Bless us, every one!

Shine on. . .
karan k

“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 New Living Translation

Comforting Christmas Stories

“I have always thought of Christmastime as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely.”

From the book, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

This year while so many are watching the 25 Days of Hallmark Christmas movies, (I have no cable so no Hallmark for me), I am reading a Christmas book borrowed from a friend. She wanted to share a lovely Christmas story with me. Its a gift that she gave which is delighting my soul in the good things of the season. It’s a simple thing, an act of love from one friend to another.

This particular book is called The Christmas Bus, and at this point I’m only on page 45. If you’ve read it, don’t tell me the ending!:)

I am grateful I have learned to treasure such a pure gift of the heart. Don’t get me wrong, I relish Christmas movies and I’ll  definitely watch some of those too, but there’s something special and relaxing in a different way when settling in to read a book or a story.

It has taken me years to slow down enough to enjoy such a simple pleasure but this calming pace has enriched my enjoyment of the rest of the Christmas season beyond compare.

The opening quote is from my very favorite Christmas book. The quote embodies the true spirit of Christmas. If at no other time of the year, we should open our hearts to one another in love because Christmas celebrates the One who is the embodiment of good. He is the kindest, most loving, all-forgiving, most joyful and pleasant person we can ever meet.

JESUS! Do we know Him intimately? Is HE a part of our life story on a daily basis? Unless HE is, your heart will remain “Shut-Up” in some way or other. I challenge you to slow down your festive frenzied season. Take time to sit and READ about Jesus. Meditate over a cup of coffee or cocoa on His story and how He intersects it with yours.

This can pry open a scared, anxiety riddled heart and fill it with His gifts of Love, Joy and Peace. And really, isn’t that what we all want deep down inside? Love? Joy? Peace? When we can receive these beautiful gifts we are finally free to share them with others.  Because we cannot give what we do not possess.

So give it a go, open your heart to Him. What have you got to lose but some frustration and frazzlement. HE can make all the difference in your Christmas season and the rest of your life! And maybe, just maybe, your own story will become more exciting than any Hallmark movie. You’ll be FLURISHING through Christmas!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Loneliness and The Dating Game Part III: Head Games

 

The Dating Game Who’s Who: Sally Field appeared on the first night time episode of the show in October of 1967. She refused to actually go out on the date with the bachelor she chose.

 

Ok, so last time we briefly explored makeup and hair regarding any needed improvements to make a good first impression in the Dating Game of life. Before we completely leave the crown area we have to turn our attention to the mind.

I trust you are mentally and emotionally stable as you follow this series. If you are unsure, please stop and get help before continuing to search for love because you are not yet ready to meet someone.

You attract people on the same level of emotional health as yourself. So you need to be emotionally healthy to find a good partner. Don’t overlook this principle because it is paramount to succeeding in finding and maintaining a healthy relationship.

After emotional stability, the next thing to check is attitude.

I liked the definition of attitude from BusinessDictionary.com; “A predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively toward a certain idea, object, person or situation. Attitude influences an individual’s choice of action, and responses to challenges, incentives, and rewards (together called stimuli).

Four major components of attitude are (1) Affective: emotions or feelings. (2) Cognitive: belief or opinions held consciously. (3) Conative: inclination for action. (4) Evaluative: positive or negative response to stimuli.”

Attitude affects emotions, opinions, intentions, and actions. It’s so much more than just the way we physically carry ourselves. With God’s help we can control our attitudes. Truly.

We can choose to be positive or negative in our attitudes toward anything in life. A positive attitude is much more attractive to prospective dates. What is your attitude like, really? Are you a “Debbie Downer”, always seeing the glass half empty? Or are you engaging and positive toward life and ultimately pleasant company? If you are unsure, ask God and some people you trust to give you their honest opinion.

IF they tell you they see you as negative, you need to decide to adjust your attitude. It is possible. It isn’t easy but it will be so beneficial for you in life for years to come if you turn away from the dark side of negativity. And it will make you more attractive to everyone.

NOT a good attitude

How to adjust your attitude?

  1. Make up your mind you need an adjustment and want one
  2.  Pray! Ask God for help in recognizing when you are TEMPTED in any given situation to be negative.
    Each time you recognize a negative thought, capture it before it settles in your mind permanently. (II Corinthians 10:5)
  3. Replace the negative thought by viewing the same situation in a different way, a positive one.
  4. Ask a friend or family member to be an accountability partner to let you know if they see your attitude turning more positive. This will encourage you that you are on the right track.

The more you practice these strategies the easier and more natural they will become. In time your mindset will become positive in  attitude and outlook.

Smiling from the inside out is always attractive!

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Loneliness and The Dating Game Part II: TipTop

The Dating Game Who’s Who: Lee Majors appeared on The Dating Game and was chosen for the date on October 7, 1967.

This series more than most is coming out of my Life Coaching experiences.  I pursued Life Coaching certification in 2011 because as a young adult I had no one to help me navigate the simple or the complex issues of life. I wanted to learn how to be that person others could turn to for help in achieving their highest potential and personal goals.

Loneliness is a problematic issue I truly wish no one had. I struggled with it for many years.  My hope is to share what helped me overcome it so you too can have a better FLURISHING life.

So what has God revealed to your heart the last few days about yourself? Any new revelations? Continue asking Him and keep a written log of what He tells you. In the meantime lets do a physical evaluation.

Dateable?

How Dateable Are You?

Starting at the top:
HAIR— If you have some, are you making the most of it? Your hair is part of everyone’s overall attractiveness, especially  women.

“Don’t you agree there is something naturally powerful in the symbolism—-a woman, her beautiful hair reminiscent of angels, praying in adoration; a man, his head bared in reverence, praying in submission?” I Corinthians 11:13-15 The Message Bible

Take care of your hair. Usually it’s the first thing a person sees about your face because it covers a larger area than eyes or lips. Duh. Keep it clean, keep it neat. Do you need a trip to the hair dresser? Perhaps a new or updated style? Maybe you need to try something completely different?

A note to guys: So what if you don’t have much hair? Shaving it off is only good if you have the right shape head and face for it. If you opt for facial hair keep it trimmed, few women like the out of control wiry hair that scratches our delicate skin.:) Like us girls you may also want to try some new looks?

To do this in an inexpensive and noncommittal way, try an app. There are countless apps out there, some free, some only 99 cents. You can use a photo of yourself to superimpose different styles, lengths and hair colors on your face. Men can even try on various facial hair styles. Possibilities are endless and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Pick out a few styles you like and check with a trusted friend or relative OR send them to me and I’ll give you my take on them. Hair can be very personal so do a thorough study of your likes and dislikes. After you choose one, make an appointment for positive change. Don’t be afraid of change, it can be adventurous and exciting.

Don’t stay stuck in a hair rut just because it’s easy. Trust me, I understand wanting an easy-care style but if it doesn’t frame your face well it’s not doing you any favors. Plus a tired style can make you look dated and in some cases a lot older than you actually are. Yikes! Who wants to look older? No one over the age of 25.

A new style my take more effort but seeking a relationship also requires effort so think of yourself as “in training” for your future. You have to decide if easy is more important than improving your appearance to attract some positive attention.

Also, consider your skin tone when choosing hair color. I know some women over 50 who look fabulous in their natural silvery gray or white hair. What a huge money saving blessing. Unfortunately I am not one of them. My skin is so fair that gray or white hair makes me look pale to the point of appearing ill. So my hair dresser dyes my hair as close to my natural color as possible which right now looks best on me.

Maybe you have a great current hair cut but the hair itself is drab? Perhaps a new styling product is all that’s needed? Something to tame frizzies or bring back shine and sheen. Ask your stylist for recommendations for your specific hair type and style.

Whatever changes you decide to try, make the most of what you’ve got on the top. Do not underestimate the power of your hair!

Jennifer Aniston is one of my favorite older beauties but even she needs makeup

Moving on from the crown of our heads to our faces: What is your best feature? Your eyes? Your skin? Your lips? Use make up to enhance your best features. If you’re like me and not good with make up, try a free makeover at a Clinique or Sephora counter at the mall or somewhere similar to get tips. And the golden rule of make up is always LESS IS MORE. Go for a natural look as much as possible.

More can totally be Gore!

So Stay tuned as we continue the journey to FLURISH in the dating Game.

Shine on. . .
karan k

Labor of Love: Part II

 

As we said in Part I, to FLURISH on a daily basis, we need to enjoy our work. God gave us the privilege of work because idleness is unhealthy for us. We need purpose to FLURISH and work is a substantial part of that.

Do you know your purpose and are you enjoying it? Huge CONGRATS if you can say yes to both!  Share some of your tips on self discovery and why you like your job. For the rest of us, read on:

If you are not in that blessed situation, where are you today as far as your job and purpose are concerned?

Are you unemployed and scared?

Or  perhaps seeking a job better suited for you and your purpose?

 

Do you view work as a gift from God ? That He gives you specific skills to use your gift? Our attitude is an important part of being successful in our purpose and our ability to enjoy  work. A good attitude frees us more than we may realize.

If you’re currently unemployed and scared I want to encourage you not to give up hope and realize God already sees you and your need. El Roi is the Hebrew phrase for the “God Who Sees Me”, it’s one of God’s names you can pray when asking Him to help you in your situation.  (Read the story of Hagar in Genesis 16) He will help you find a job that fulfills your purpose and bring fulfillment to your heart. However, you may have to do some things in preparation for that future position:

Some work requires skilled labor. Natural skill and learned skills alike. Do you know what your skills are? And don’t say you don’t have any skills, because God gives them to all of us. Some are easier to recognize than others, but God does provide skills naturally in us.

“. . . and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze. . . He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn. . .”
Exodus 35:31, 32, 35 New International Version

We need to proactively discover and develop whatever skills we find within us. Whether its crafting something, communicating people skills or a service type skill, each one is important and needed in God’s scheme of things. He created so many unique individuals each with their own set of distinctive abilities.

Skills, Knowledge, Abilities

Our heavenly Father eagerly desires to join us in taking the adventurous journey into uncovering what He’s creatively placed inside us. If you haven’t taken this trip yet begin talking to Him about it and wait for his direction. Then follow His lead!

Some jobs require furthering our education. Ask God for financial resources IF He leads you back to school. Or if you’re young and continuing to study in preparation to enter the work force, ask Him for guidance on what schools to attend, classes, every detail. Pray about everything!

Our God promises to supply all our needs including employment opportunities. As always MJT! Must Just Trust!

 

 

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19 New Living Translation

 

Shine on. . .

karan k

Sin Still Happens

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

Dr. Billy Graham

HOW DOES THAT QUOTE GRAB YOUR HEART?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

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