Category Archives: Self Exam

Nuff Said

 

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

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

uh oh!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think before you type

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

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

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

 

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

Good conversation skills include lots of listening

Shine on. . .
karan k

Clogged Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shine on. . .
karan k

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

Consider CONSIDERATION

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“Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.” Philippians 4:5 New Living translation

Something that irks me on an ongoing basis is the shallow nature of our conversation here in this part of the world. I hope it’s better wherever you are?

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Recently during a phone conversation with a close friend I noticed she apologized several times for beginning to interrupt me. We’ve been friends since childhood and had grown accustomed to chattering over top of each other in excitement while sharing our latest news. This was our mutual modus operandi.

But after her third apology I stopped the conversation and asked her “what’s the deal”? She explained that interrupting people is rude. A bad habit she wants to break. All of a sudden I became very aware of my own deficiency in this area. Not only with my friend but in other conversations and worst of all, with my husband who certainly did not appreciate my interruptions.

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I decided my friend’s plan of action was one I should also adopt. How can I truly communicate if I’m not listening? It’s an ongoing  intentional effort  for me but I am determined to improve.

Old habits are difficult to break. Having an accountability partner can help. Which reminds me of another friend who shared a bad habit with me. One that offended the ears of others and did not take anyone else into consideration.

It was summer in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. My friend and I were 11 years old.  It was our first time at church camp  following the end of fifth grade. That school year we had both picked up the bad practice of using the word “damn” freely. We decided we needed to break this habit as soon as possible. We agreed to slap the face of the other whenever they used the word. Needless to say it didn’t take long for both of us to clean up our language. Red-faced by the end of the week we came home from camp with cleaner mouths.  Forty-three years later we remain good friends.:)

Then there’s the superficial greeting “Hi, how are you?” If you begin answering MOST people will tune out or not even stick around for your answer. Ever experience that? We give so little thought to the words we say. I prefer to stick with “Good Morning, Afternoon or Evening” as greetings unless I truly do care how a person is doing and have time to listen to their response.

ever see these signs?
ever see these signs?

But the absolute WORST IRK is when a friend or relative asks you a question. You begin answering, but they cut in and start talking about something completely different. One  recently even walked away just as I began answering! Okay so maybe I’m boring but c’mon. It’s as if what you have to say has no value whatsoever, and this from someone who’s supposed to be close to you? How hurtful is that? Why did they bother asking? This is not what Jesus would do.

Have you felt that type of pain? Are you aware that these things hurt people? I don’t know about you but I do not want to be responsible for hurting people because of my lack of consideration. My prayer is to grow more caring, more considerate in my listening skills. I never want to hurt anyone because of my own self absorption. So by His grace may I be  more intentional in my conversations helping others to FLURISH.

How about you? GIVE IT SOME CONSIDERATION.
“Don’t be concerned for your own good but the good of others.” I Corinthians 10:24 New Living translation

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Shine on. . .

karan k

The Beast Within

 

Unchain My Heart!

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9  New Living translation

Today was a rough day. Things happened that were unexpected and hard to take. It was a day that will go down in my personal history book as a day of infamy. Yes, it was that bad. I reacted abominably, nothing at all like Jesus!

Today I saw the ugliness of my heart.

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It reminded me of a scene from “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring”. The scene takes place early in the movie while in the Shire. Bilbo Baggins just said good-bye to all the shire folk at his birthday party. He disappears from the party. Then reappears in his home where he is confronted by Gandalf to give up his “precious” ring to Frodo. Bilbo gets angry and doesn’t want to give up the ring. It has become TOO precious to him. He turns sinister in an instant. I found that same selfish, ugly spirit in myself today, regrettably.

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Something I wanted was taken away from me.  Something I considered PRECIOUS. My heart reasoned to itself; I deserve this. After all, the seniority of my position should grant me this perk. All the recent added duties are enough to warrant this privilege and more.

Rather than be grateful for all that I did have, I got angry over the one thing I lost. I felt deprived. Ill used and unappreciated. Feeling unfairly treated, I exploded in anger. And that hurt others who were nearby when my rage erupted.

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This experience upset me. My anger seemed foreign and yet somewhere deep in my heart this ugliness thrived as a part of me; as a sense of entitlement. I never noticed it before. How long had this unhealthy attitude been lurking in the shadows?

By expecting what I felt was “owed me”, I had only fed my selfish pride which grew strong and beastlike. I forgot the entire goodness of God and His perfect provision. I lost all sense of gratitude somewhere in the midst of this dark and dirty corner of my heart.

All I could do now was to ask forgiveness and depend on His mercy, which I knew would faithfully cover me.

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” I John 1:8 & 9  New Living translation

I didn’t want to be like Bilbo who really never acknowledged the truth about himself.

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” For if you listen to the Word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.” James 1: 23 & 24  New Living translation

As a result, he had to face his “Beast Within” again in an even uglier encounter during his time in Rivendell. I, on the other hand, chose to face my beast the first time head on by the Grace of God.

So I needed to apologize to each of the wounded. This challenged me  further but it had to be done.  His amazing Grace helped me look at the beast within, slay it, and clean up the debris.

Thank You Lord for Your unending mercy and powerful grace! I need them more than I realize.

Only a truly pure heart could carry the ring with success
Only a  pure heart could carry the ring with success

Purify me so I can continue to FLURISH in my journey!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10  New Living translation

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

House Cleaning the Heart

 

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 New Living translation

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Continuing with the theme used in the last post “Spring Fling” concerning Spring Cleaning; I remember my mother referring to it as “House Cleaning.” Items in the house that were not part of the weekly cleaning routine were definitely targets for the annual “House Cleaning.”

 

I just spoke to a friend who’s sitting at home this Saturday morning before Palm Sunday having a coffee clatch with Jesus. She’s unpacking her soul before her dearest friend, basking in His presence and sipping her favorite brew. She’s bravely opening her heart to some House Cleaning. I must tell you I am guilty of envy right now but also brimming with joy.

Envy, because early mornings of unlimited time spent with the Lord  have become a precious commodity to me. I look forward to beginning each of my days with Him but it’s usually on a time limit due to my work schedule. Days off are my only opportunity for a bottomless time frame to sit and visit with HIm.

Joy, because I know my friend also treasures these lovely moments. She is a seasoned Christian for at least 50 years now. And yet, after all that time she continues to treasure her getaways with Jesus. Her relationship with Him has grown sweeter with time. I am happy for her because I know what she’s doing.

I know she’s currently unpacking some personal and painful things only recently revealed to her heart. Instead of giving in to fear of facing some unpleasant and ugly things about herself, she’s boldly taking them to Jesus. She knows He’s aware of these heavy weights and she can trust Him with them.

She’s laying down her burdens that have slowed her progress to be more like her Master.  She’s examining her heart for any sin she may have justified and  glossed over in the past. She knows that even sinful thinking can form into a fortress that prevents her from moving forward.

Jesus had His own moment of Heart House Cleaning
Jesus had His own moment of Heart House Cleaning

“. . . let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. . . . ” Hebrews 12:b New Living translation

Weights and sins like these can become deeply ingrained in our thinking and emotions. When that happens the enemy of our soul fools us into thinking they are a part of “who we are” as a person. As a result, we don’t recognize their negative effect. We don’t see the urgency of dealing with them.

Weights are things we put on ourselves like unrealistic expectations, false guilt, people pleasing etc.,  Good things like hobbies, sports or fitness can also become a load when out of balance.

Sins such as impatience, judging, envy, pride, nosiness, jealousy, anger, resentment etc.,  can hide in our hearts without our knowledge because we have grown accustomed to their presence. We learn to accept them as a part of us. This acceptance erects a blind spot of familiarity that hinders us from seeing them for the sins they are.

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When we choose to let Jesus do some “House Cleaning” in our hearts as my friend has done, He may shine the flashlight of His Word into the corners. He may move some big things around that rarely get touched otherwise. He may want us to see what He knew all along, was crouching under the heavy sofa that never gets touched. But He won’t do all the work for us.

He wants us to work with Him. He won’t force us to clean out any ugly things He reveals in our hearts. He gives us the freedom to decide how we will handle each one. He wants to rid us of the sinful things that damage and destroy us.  He gently points them out so we can be aware NOT be ashamed. Then  graciously He offers us His supernatural cleansing and healing as we give Him free reign in our hearts.

 

I’m so grateful for my friend and her devoted example of what a long time follower of Christ looks like. For her heart that is transparent before her Lord. And for her desire to grow ever more like Him no matter what age she is or how long she’s followed Him. She lives with eternity in mind. Striving to grow and learn His way whatever life throws at her.

I’m looking forward to my next day off. I scheduled some time for House Cleaning.  I want  uncluttered, unfettered FLURISHING. What about you? How clean is your heart?

Purified Heart
Purified Heart

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 New Living translation

Shine on. . .

karan k

Spring Fling

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Ever notice how laundry and dish detergents often have a “Fresh Spring Scent” advertised? The season of Spring is known for freshness which is something all of us desire. No one wants to be stale. Or stinky. . . who invented that word anyway? I use it reluctantly. Excuse my digression.
I believe the April showers in this part of the world really do bring May flowers and lots of that lovely freshness we crave after a long winter. The warmth of Spring  beckons us to throw open windows and air out our houses. It seems natural after being cooped up for those cold months to  want to alleviate the mustiness and clean til the cows come home. But somehow life has gotten busy, hasn’t it? Too busy to clean and care for what we already have. The idea of Spring Cleaning seems foreign to our modern society. Where did this ancient idea originate?

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Spring cleaning has ties to both cultural and religious observances across the globe.

Culturally these thorough cleanings revolve around New Years celebrations. The Chinese sweep their homes with vigor to get rid of bad luck. Japan calls it the BIG CLEANING done just before New Years and Scotland does something similar called New Years Cleaning on December 31st. Iranians practice “Khooneh Tekouni” which literally means “Shaking the House” and clean from floor to ceiling just before the Persian New Year in late March.

The Jews clean in preparation for Passover, scouring their homes to remove any and all crumbs of yeast. The Catholics clean the church altar area on Maundy Thursday in preparation for Easter. Orthodox believers in Greece and other nations observe what they call Clean Week to cleanse their homes for the first week of Great Lent usually falling around April 1.

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And then there’s the pineal gland theory of ancient man desiring to clean in the Spring because he feels more energized due to more sunlight hours during that time of year.

 

Whatever the motivation, there seems to be an age old practice to thoroughly clean our living spaces once a year. I find it to be a dying practice in my corner of the world. Very rarely do I hear anyone mention Spring Cleaning anymore. As a kid everyone knew what it was.  It happened every year at our house and I always dreaded it. Moving all the furniture around. Scrubbing every nook and cranny that normally never saw the light of day. Lots of hard work went into Spring Cleaning. But afterwards, the house looked and smelled fresh and new. Rather delightful.

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I recently heard of a  high school assignment for Spring Break that included Spring Cleaning. Students would receive extra credit if they took before and after photos of  cleaning their bedrooms. They were instructed to section off the clutter into Keep, Throw-away and Give-away piles also to be documented on film. Personally I thought it was a great idea to teach the next generation how to clean and organize. We need to teach the young to take care of their belongings. To appreciate what they have and not take them for granted. To give generously out of their abundance to those in need.

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Spring time should  be refreshing for our souls as well as our homes. As Resurrection Sunday quickly approaches perhaps we should ask ourselves if we appreciate the gift of salvation we’ve been given?  Have too many needless things have piled up in our lives that need some flinging? Maybe we need to Spring Clean our schedules, our priorities, even some of our relationships to make room for more reflective time to ponder the wonder of the Resurrection? Cleaning the house is good but cleaning out distractions from our heart is better….

“Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He taught.” Luke 10:39 New living translation

Let’s ask the Lord what priorities He wants in each of our lives and throw out all the other junk. It will refresh our spirit like a Spring Fling for the soul making us free to FLURISH.

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Crumby Toasters

“Catch the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming.” Song of Solomon 2:15 New Living translation

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One of my favorite things in my kitchen is a shiny red retro toaster. It sits nestled in the corner of the counter near the sink where the sunlight streams in through the window. I love this toaster even though I rarely use it. Adore bread but sugar issues limit my consumption of it so I just admire the pretty toaster AND I clean it.

My husband has toast or an english muffin everyday before work so any crumbs that collect in the pretty toaster are his doing. Now my husband is not one to shirk domestic duties. Don’t even get me started (unless you wanna hear it) about how well he helps around the house. At times, I have to strategically battle to do any of the housework before he goes ahead and does it. And does it well, I might add.

Looks clean from this view
Looks clean from this view

Fingerprints and smudges mar the beauty of my  appliance so I have caught him cleaning the exterior.  What about the inside Honey?     After all, the insides are what causes the toaster to function properly. The outside is just for show. I can only surmise the reason he doesn’t clean the inside is because  the crumbs are out of sight so he doesn’t realize they are STUCK in there.

So on my day off I decided to check the toaster. I looked down in the slots and saw a few crumbs. Nothing much to be concerned about. But when I turned it upside down, the debris that fell out was tremendous. Crumbs littered my entire sink area. I began to shake it and more crumbs tumbled out into the sink. Turning it right side up I heard hardened crumbs rattling inside the toaster, so I turned it upside down again and shook the thing with gusto. Over and over I repeated this process and the stream of crumbs seemed never ending. Where were all these crumbs hiding that were unseen upon a casual inspection?

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Some crumbs were small, some minuscule and some were huuuggee!! Also, some were white, brown or a charred black. Guess it all depended how long the crumbs were trapped in the heat.

Sometimes we tend to think the teeny crumbs of sin in our hearts aren’t a big deal. Like the little crumbs or the little foxes that spoil the grapes (see opening passage), our ‘seemingly’ small and possibly daily sins (such as judgmental attitudes, anger expressed in nasty speech, impatience, pride over how we look or what we have, envy over what someone else has etc., to name a few) are ignored or glossed over as if they are harmless. But they can destroy our souls and testimony just like the major crumbs of sin like lying, stealing, adultery, murder etc.,

To God, all crumbs of sin no matter the size are dangerous. They destroy our ability to FLURISH in Him and function the way He intended. If we don’t regularly clean out the crumbs from our hearts, our loving God will allow things to be shaken up in our lives so the crumbs fall out for us, and sometimes others, to see. Crumbs are not a pretty sight. But He allows shaking to motivate us to clean them up and confess our sins. This is the only way we can remain close to Him and FLURISH.

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We need to check our toasters and our hearts to evaluate the crumb factor. Crumbs hide in all our toasters and hearts. Give each a good shake regularly. Shake over the sink for our toasters and over prayers of confession for our hearts. Deal with these rogue crumbs promptly. If not, serious damage will occur to our relationship with God and others. “People who conceal their sins (or crumbs) will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 New Living translation
Crumb build up can ruin a toaster. Neglected sins can have deep consequences. God wants to spare His children as much pain as possible. He wants our daily existence to be full of life not dead dreams and suffering bodies because of poor choices. Because of the  unseen crumbs of sin festering in our hearts. “For sin is the sting that results in death. . . ” II Corinthians 15:56a New Living translation

So God will shake us like a toaster sometimes. This can be a painful experience. It can last longer than we may want because some crumbs stubbornly cling to the walls of the toaster. Some sins are stubborn too.  All  the shaking is to get our attention so we address these rogue crumbs that are destroying our insides causing us to malfunction.

Every model needs care and cleaning
Every model needs care and cleaning

When’s the last time you cleaned your toaster? When’s the last time you checked your heart for unconfessed sin? Confession is something we need to practice regularly, even daily or we can expect to get a good  supernatural shaking!

“If we claim, ‘We don’t have any sin,’ we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.” I John 1: 8&9 Common English Bible

Confession Tip: Find a translation of Psalm 139:23 +24 that you like and attach a tune to it to help you memorize it. Sing it to God during your talks with Him as often as you remember and see if He reveals areas of hidden crumbs.

UN-Happy Part III: Eeyore No More

See any Eeeyores around you or in the mirror?
See any Eeeyores around you or in the mirror?

 

” Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3 Common English Bible

Hey, wait a minute! That sounds like an oxymoron. How can hopeless people be happy? Hopelessness creates Eeyore type thinking, acting and even living in some cases. It’s hopelessness in a Hundred Acre Wood type existence, right?

Sticking with animation and the Winnie the Pooh analogy, let’s continue. Eeyore is the fictional epitome of sad sackiness. He’s pessimistic, gloomy, depressed and dare I say, apathetic about being so. Eeyore became comfortable with his gloomy outlook. He never tried to shed his pessimistic attitude. He accepted it as “who he was” and gave himself fully to it. He became comfortable in his wallowing. He is a symbol of what it means to be hopeless.

Now of course Eeyore is only a cartoon character like the ones we looked at last time, but do you see people around you with the same gloomy cloud hovering over their lives, their words and their countenance? Willing to accept the Eeyore mentality as their only reality? They believe life is hopeless. That their life will never be anything more. They seem far from happy. And many times they have grown so comfortable in this state that they have no desire for change, even positive change.

Why did Jesus say Happy are the Hopeless in the book of Matthew?
Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount begins with the above verse.. Jesus was not using the idea of hopelessness as in an Eeyore type mindset, in fact, just the contrary.

HE was using the idea of hopelessness in terms of being aware of one’s own insufficiency to produce LASTING happiness. Not just fleeting moments of joy due to circumstances but a joy of the heart that undergirds us through sorrow, pain and days of the mundane.

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In our humanness we cannot provide this for ourselves. The sooner we learn this and act on it, the happier we will be. People who are aware of their own inability to provide for the needs of their souls are the happy ones. They are no longer under the burden of caring for their own soul but see the reality of their lack. They recognize the truth that each human being created can never be completely whole without knowing their Creator. Happy ones admit their need. Happy ones take the next steps to figure out how to fulfill their need. They are proactive.

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They investigate the truths in the Bible.

They acknowledge Jesus’ work on the cross to completely provide above and beyond what their souls need in this life and the next.

They invite and allow Jesus to be their full provision as Savior, Lord and Friend.

They find a place to gather with other like-minded people who love and follow Jesus. They begin to live in community for a higher purpose.

They learn to love one another and grow in faith together. Their lives change from lonely Eeyores to vibrant individuals.

This is the FLURISHING life Christ came to provide. (John 10:10b)

Jesus loves every Eeyore too much to allow them to remain an Eeyore.
Jesus loves every Eeyore too much to allow them to remain an Eeyore.

If you think you are an Eeyore accept your own insufficiency. Chase after Jesus and be an Eeyore No More! Become the vibrant individual you were created to be!

Shine on. . .
karan k

UN-Happy Part II: Be Aware

 

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“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7a New American Standard Bible

Okay, so we have the right to pursue happiness, at least here in the United States. I realize there are readers from all over the world and so far some have registered from Israel, Brazil, Brunei, Italy, and China. The type of happiness we will be investigating on FLURISH can benefit anyone anywhere anytime.

So let me ask you a few questions:
Where does your mind spend most of its energy? What issues crop up continually in your mental centrifuge? Think about it? Do you focus on work? Leisure? Goals? Family? Survival? Yourself? Politics? Finances?Possessions? God?

Are the thoughts you focus on primarily positive or negative?

To pursue happiness, we must fill our minds with positive thoughts and positive things. This will look different for each of us.
The Bible says, “. . .Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 New Living translation

What we think about shapes our attitudes, values, and actions no matter where we call home. It’s extremely important to fill our minds with good stuff if we wish to FLURISH in happiness. Here in the U.S. we are surrounded by a culture that likes to shock, scare and depress us. Not the best avenue to promote healthy psyches in any society.

Negativity has many faces and forms. Over-exposure to it will eventually bend us in its direction and subtly twist our thinking without our own awareness that any change has taken place.

For example, let’s look at something most Americans see as harmless entertainment; cartoons. Our history shows a seeming preoccupation with characters who are down on their luck, grumpy, whiney. depressed or outright self proclaimed losers.

During the second World War a character called Sad Sack came to life in issues of Yank, the Army Weekly. Sad Sack became so popular that Simon & Shuster published two hard cover collections before moving him into newspaper syndication, which lasted until 1957.

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The forties also brought the Droopy Dog cartoon to MGM. Each decade has added some new negative personas to the mix such as;

Peanuts lead character Charlie Brown arrived in the fifties. Hardy Har Har the Hyena sidekick to Lippy the Lion appeared in the early ’60s. Schleprock from the Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm show surfaced in the ’70s. Care Bear’s Grumpy Bear hit the scene in the ’80s. Squidward Tentacles from Sponge Bob, and for any rebels out there, Bill Dauterive, the clinically depressed neighbor on King of the Hill, both dominated the ’90s television in primetime. Strong Sad a major character on the hit internet series Homestar Runner launched in 2000. And now Lamington, have you seen or heard of him? He’s a sensitive Boston Terrier cartoon, the saddest puppy in the world. Lamington has been seen on greeting cards since 2015 and hopes to expand to additional media outlets. Nothing of a positive nature among these ranks.

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Only unhappy people are obsessed with negative icons. Lots of unhappy people are paying good money to sport their favorite negative hero or heroine. For example, while meandering through a local gift shop I spied a sweatshirt featuring a fairly new icon which was not a cartoon.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Grumpy cat? Her real name is Tartar Sauce. She went viral as a kitten in 2012 when her owner’s brother posted a photo of her on a social news website.

As I looked around in the store I could not believe how many items bear her image. She has her own line of calendars, cards, plush toys, bean bags, socks (men’s and women’s I might add), posters, hoodies, post cards, gift bags, pillows, children’s books, stickers, stamps, guitar straps, mugs, balloons, magnets, slippers, craft sets (of a miserable sort of course), books, candies, pens, napkins, earphones, paper dolls, laptop sleeves, coasters, dinner plates, coloring books, mouse pads, bookmarks, infants clothing (let’s start’em young), playing cards, masks and the variety of T-shirts and tank tops seem infinite. Each item bearing the furry feline’s miserable mug.

Stuffed Grumpy Cat
Stuffed Grumpy Cat

These characters are fun and all of us can relate AT TIMES to being a sad sack, grumpy bear or cat, but it should not be our daily Modus Operandi. We should not celebrate it or we will become like it because we focus too much attention on something negative. Being flawed creatures it’s naturally easy for us to flow in the groove of least resistance. Easy is not always better. Happy is harder but so worth the effort.

If we’re struggling in misery may I suggest that unless we have Clinical Depression of some sort, we have a choice in the matter of being happy or unhappy? You can choose to disagree with my suggestion and remain miserable, that’s also your choice.

And if anyone is thinking I’m a Pollyanna type, think again. I’ve battled negativity, depression and anxiety throughout my life. I can tell you without a doubt it is indeed a choice and not a mandate to live unhappily ever after. I made a choice to believe there IS happiness in this life. Jesus said we can be happy. (John 10:10b) The forefathers of the United States believed happiness was attainable (see Part I). Who do you believe?

First step toward Happiness is being aware that you are not. BE AWARE of the state of your mind and heart. Accept that you have a choice.

I hope you choose to fight negativity and focus on the good stuff God has provided. Next time we’ll discuss where you go from here on your journey toward happiness.

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Tales from the Booth: PAY Attention, Not just Tolls

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

A week or so ago we had an interesting occurrence at the Reading Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. An oversize or what the Turnpike refers to as a  Class 9 vehicle,  was attempting to enter the Turnpike through one of our regular lanes designated for EZ-Pass only traffic. A special Turnpike permit is required for overweight and over-dimensional vehicles to gain access and such vehicles must enter and exit through larger designated lanes. For example, the transport of cement barriers is a common Class 9 occurrence at our Interchange. We use wide lanes without scales to put on and take off  such vehicles. If the entire vehicle length including barrier exceeds 85 feet it is identified as a “Class 9”. Likewise, overweight vehicles (in excess of 125,000 pounds), overheight vehicles (in excess of 13 feet 6 inches) and overwidth  vehicles (in excess of 10 feet wide) also require Turnpike Class 9 permits to gain  legal entry and must use the specified lanes..

Now that you have an idea what the term Class 9 is, I will continue recounting this Toll Booth Tale:

That morning the mist rolled in thicker than usual for this time of year. It crept eerily across the lanes as I sipped on some steaming java from my thermos. My morning somnolence ended when a shrill back-up beeper startled me. I turned to see an over-size vehicle backing out of an EZ Pass entry lane. An adrenaline surge pumped my blood into overdrive sending me across the lanes to halt this extremely dangerous and foolish maneuver.

Yelling and waving my arms like a crazed orangutan are not included in my job description but every now and then that skill set pays off. Fortunately it was effective  in this instance and the driver stopped in the middle of our dedicated EZ Pass lane.

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To cut to the chase, the over-width vehicle was stuck in our lane and impeding oncoming EZ Pass traffic entry to the Turnpike. I called for back-up and explained to the driver the predicament he caused and that he must wait for Turnpike personnel to help him out of the lane.

Within minutes the First Responder/Safety Patrol arrived and shortly thereafter a State Trooper. The dilemma: Should the truck move forward or backward to exit the lane? The driver was in jeopardy of causing Turnpike property damage as well as damage to his truck. The truck was wedged in so tight that the trooper and safety patrol together took over an hour to figure out how to safely remove the truck from the lane. They moved it a few feet forward. Then they tried a few feet backward. Cooperation, time and effort got the truck safely unwedged and on its way in the right direction.

Now I must say, the driver experienced all this trouble because he simply did not pay attention. His company issued specific directions to him for the routes he was to follow. The directions to his final destination did not include the Turnpike. So why didn’t he pay attention to his instructions? Why did he try to enter the Turnpike illegally? Was he stubborn, lazy, prideful? Only he can say.

The truck driver needed help to move in the right direction. On his own he could easily have moved the wrong way and caused himself and others a lot of costly damage. But to move successfully in the right direction he needed several things. Things we need when we are stuck. When we fail to follow instructions:

  • Determination- to choose the right direction; defeating the sin of stubbornness. ( See Jeremiah 7:24)
  • Humility- to receive help and support; defeating the sin of pride. (See Proverbs 16:5)
  • Effort- to work at putting the determined plan into action; defeating the sin of laziness. (See Proverbs 6:6)
  • Time- to give to the endeavor; defeating the sin of procrastination. (See Ecclesiastes 11:4)

Do we see any parallels between ourselves and the trucker? We can get into trouble quite easily without any assistance. But we need fellow believers to help us get out of jams or slumps or sin that we, even as devoted Christ followers, experience. No one wants to admit it when we do stupid things that easily could have been avoided had we followed the directions. If we deny that we get ourselves into these negative predicaments we are not facing the truth.  As I John 1:8 states “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” New Living translation

Our owners manual
Our owners manual

We need to pay attention to our motives and follow the instructions given to us in the Bible if we want to FLURISH at all in this life. Let that sink in. Don’t wait until you are stuck in a precarious situation. Pay attention now.

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Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

GOD’s Favorite BELOW THE SURFACE Part III

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“Come close to God, and He will come close to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners, and clear your minds, you doubters.”
James 4:8 GOD’S WORD translation

During my senior year of High School I participated in the All School Show entitled “God’s Favorite”. This play is a parody of the book of Job from the Old Testament. The premise revolves around Joe Benjamin, a God-fearing wealthy tycoon claiming to be God’s favorite because of his extreme good fortune. Comedic situations in his family occur quickly when his devotion to God is put to the ultimate test.

My character with twin brother
My character with twin brother

Chosen to play one of Joe’s twin children, Sarah Benjamin, my character oozed with naive excitement at the knowledge of a known rapist prowling around the house. It was a peculiar and entertaining role that stretched my acting abilities. I must confess the laughter and applause during my scenes generated an exhilarating satisfaction in my heart.

Neil Simon wrote the play “God’s Favorite” which was produced on Broadway in 1974. Born in the Bronx to Jewish parents, Neil Simon has written skads of material such as:

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THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG 1979 (which was the very first show I saw on Broadway), BILOXI BLUES 1985, LOST IN YONKERS 1991, THE GOODBYE GIRL 1993,  and perhaps his most famous work, THE ODD COUPLE 1968 among many other broadway plays, tv and screenwriting.

Unfortunately, “God’s Favorite” never became a big hit like many of his other works. Neil may have lacked faith in this particular project?

A lack of true faith is alive and well for Mr. Simon. Currently listed on celebatheists.com under the “Ambiguous List” he claims neither atheism or agnosticism as his conclusion on faith. He is apparently skeptical of theism and/or religion. So I found it somewhat surprising that he wrote this play based on a Bible story. Job—the story of UNWAVERING faith.

Perhaps Mr. Simon could relate all too well to Job’s plight?
“I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain.” Job 7:11 New Living translation.

Did Job scream or yell? We know he vented! (See Sneak Peek BELOW THE SURFACE Part II)

And so he wrote a play expressing the cry of his soul.
Neil Simon has said “‘God’s Favorite’ was written as a reaction to his wife’s untimely death from cancer.” Quite the curious correlation, wouldn’t you agree?

The trouble is, so far Mr. Simon is not showing the same result from his allowed testing as Job did. He wrote Job’s story, GOD’S FAVORITE as a comedy. Truly there is NOTHING funny about what happened to Job i.e., loss of oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, all servants and his children in a single day. See Job 1:13-16
And that was only the beginning. His friends brow beat him off and on in the next 18 or so chapters. Instead of sitting quietly with Job as comfort, they tried to wheedle him into admitting unconfessed sin and his alleged abandonment of God; which they were certain caused his calamity but none of their accusations were true. Sincere but wrong, they were terrible friends.

So was Neil Simon crying out against God for his loss when he wrote GOD’S Favorite? It is a very real possibility. Only God and Mr. Simon know for sure.

Now what about us? How do we handle tragedy that finds its way into our lives? Do we believe God sent it or caused it? Read the first chapter of Job. Read S-L-O-W-L-Y.
Here we have an extraordinary view into heavenly happenings. Imagine the scene while you read it.

In a nutshell, God believes Job is a man of integrity—pure in his heart toward God. Satan basically challenges that truth by daring God to ALLOW Job to be tested attempting to prove what God believes about Job is false. And so God allows it knowing Job will remain faithful. God is FULLY in charge but it is satan who wants to harm Job, not God.

After 41 chapters of various grueling trials, God and Job emerge with a deeper relationship. Job’s understanding of his God has increased as well as his love and devotion to Him. Once again, satan is proved wrong and is not found hanging around at the end of the book of Job for God’s victory dance. No, he was probably already afoot elsewhere (See I Peter 5:8 and claim verse 9 to FLURISH for life).

Learn from Job.

A Personal Note to Mr. Neil Simon: I’ve been an unknowing fan of your writing since “Murder By Death”  hit theaters in 1976. The movie was one of very few memorable moments spent with my father.  So I care about you Mr. Simon, please learn from Job and live fully restored in your heavenly Father now before you take your last breath! It’s not too late for you to FLURISH!

 I will restore to you. . . Joel 2:25+26
I will restore to you. . .
Joel 2:25+26

Don’t be caught in a “Room filled with empty people.” Sidney Wang —Murder By Death. Translation: Don’t Be Caught Dead Without JESUS, Neil!

Shine on. . .

karan k

Below the Surface

 

Check Below Your Surface
Check Below Your Surface

“Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.”
Job 5:2 New International version

My sister recently had an unusual experience when she went for a massage. A co-worker referred her to a woman she felt comfortable with and who had exceptional skills. At some point during the massage, the masseuse told my sister that she has a lot of resentment. Naturally my sister was baffled because not only did she not feel resentful toward anyone, she certainly wondered how this lady rubbing her skin could make such a statement!?

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The masseuse’s words stayed with my sister and she asked me about it and what I thought. I considered it odd but intriguing. The only thing I was told once during a massage was that I held all my stress in my derriere and that I would never have arthritis in my hands. Otherwise, I hadn’t a clue but wanted my sister to be aware she had touched on a rather ethereal and troubled topic that I did not want to touch with a twenty foot pole. However, she asked me to write a post on resentment, so here goes. This is for you, Sis! Mwah!

Tragedy, pain and even disappointments touch everyone in life. How many of us allow these negative events to sour into resentment and even bitterness? These two closely related deadly dangers may seep into our hearts without our awareness.

Resentment MOST OFTEN grows after some sort of disappointment. It can build and morph into deep levels over time becoming more difficult and laborious to remove. It creates a soothing sense of distance for the individual infected by it but not for those nearby. Resentment creates barriers to insure distance. It functions as a multi-layer protection system from disappointment to barricade oneself from the ultimate enemy of. . . PAIN.

 

We want to protect ourselves at all costs from pain. But this is a vicious cycle that diffuses short term pain of one type for long term pain of another. STOP THE MADNESS! Get off the RESENTMENT Train!
Bitterness ALWAYS stems from hurt, always. If the hurt is not healed promptly and properly, it will ferment in our hearts until it’s a toxic cancer spreading and destroying our minds and bodies. This is why the Bible warns frequently against bitterness. Ephesians 4:31 says, “Get rid of all BITTERNESS, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” New Living translation

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Bitterness is listed first I believe because it affects and can intensify everything else on that list. All of which are considered “evil behaviors.” If we do not take action against bitterness and remain in victim mode, the cost is steep. It can:

  • Prolong mental and/or emotional pain
  • Lead to long-lasting anxiety and/or depression
  • Precipitate vengeful thoughts and acts
  • Prevent you from experiencing the potential joys of living fully in the present —vs. dwelling self-righteously on the past wrongs inflicted on you
  • Create or deepen an attitude of distrust and cynicism
  • Rob you of vital energy
  • Interfere with cultivating healthy, satisfying relationships
  • Undermine your physical health by inducing such problems as insomnia, high blood pressure, back pain, headaches, abdominal conditions etc..,

This is by no means a comprehensive list but you get the idea. Bitterness is not your friend! Get rid of it as quickly as you can!

Begin by scouring your memory for disappointments and pains inflicted on you by others. Write them out in a journal. Pray over them an ask Jesus through His Holy Spirit to renew your mind concerning these events. Ask Him to heal your body where resentment and bitterness have caused damage.

Wait and watch God work to bring about peace and freedom in your heart. Begin to FLURISH one moment at a time, while He melts away your resentment and bitterness.

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Shine on. . .
karan k

Legally Bound?

Free to Fly
Free to Fly

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message Bible

Isn’t this a beautiful portrait of how He wants our life to be with Him? So often we get bound up in legalistic do’s and don’ts that were never a part of His plan. We feel like we’re living in a religious cage, rather than basking in our position in His family.  (See John 1:10-13) When we allow Him to take His role as heavenly Father in our lives,  He leads, guides, helps, works with, talks to and builds our relationship on grace. Our lives are meant to be joyful and thriving because of Him in our hearts. We can FLURISH without limitation if we stay close to Him and follow His lead.

How that looks in each of our lives will be beautifully different because each of us has a distinct relationship with Him. This is how He meant it to be and even though it’s difficult for our minds to fathom, He can easily have a UNIQUE relationship with each of His children throughout history because He is the Almighty God with no limits on His power! Think about the awesomeness of that.

“Legalism” simply is the wrong use of laws or rules. It’s not from Jesus.
“Yes,'” said Jesus, “What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden.” Luke 11:46 New Living translation

Break the chains
Break the chains

We must free and guard ourselves against the foul spirit of legalism. It can be so subtle that we often do not recognize it in ourselves. It sours our spirit and can sour others around us. Legalism is wrong because it emphasizes the external without encouraging the internal. God is all about the heart and its motivations. He offers love, forgiveness and grace in abundance for our lives. Some examples (certainly not an exhaustive list because it truly would be exhausting to write it) of modern day legalism that are all too alive and well are:

Type of Attire?
Devotions—When? How long?
Hairstyle?
Observing Sabbath? (see Leisure Update post)
Make-up?
Women working outside the home?
Smoking pipe, cigars, cigarettes?
Drinking? (Not to be confused with drunkenness)
Going to movies?
Upbeat worship music?
Using instruments in worship music?
Watching tv?
How often to attend corporate worship?
To spank children or not?
Dancing?
Bible versions?

Etcetera etcetera etcetera

Have you developed any convictions of your own? For instance, some people feel you should never write in your Bible. I personally write and highlight in my Bible to track my special times talking with and learning from Jesus. As a result, my Bible is full of marked up memories. I do handle my Bible as sacred in other ways by not setting things on top of it and using it regularly. These are personal convictions not commands, demands or “less thans” in God’s eyes.

If you face a biblical gray area, talk to God about it. Reason with Him over what is right for you and make that your standard but do not expect others to hold to your standard. Where gray areas are concerned, our loving Lord provides freedom and invites each of us to find our personal convictions with His Spirit’s direction.

time and effort equals cultivation
time and effort equals cultivation

“Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—-then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.” Romans 14:22-23 The Message Bible
FLURISH in His freedom and grace!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Hillbilly Faith?

 

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Hebrews 11:1 King James version or “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 New Living translation
One of the best definitions of faith I’ve ever heard is: Faith is believing something so strongly that you adjust your entire life to it. Not sure who said it or if I am misquoting it but I first heard Elisabeth Elliot say it on her radio program ‘Gateway to Joy’ many years ago. I never forgot it and believe in its truth.

 

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Remember the show, The Beverly Hillbillies? It ran on CBS tv from
1962-1971. It had an interesting premise about a poor family in the Ozarks who discovered oil on their land. “Black Gold or Texas Tea” as the theme song goes. Suddenly these poor people from the mountains believed or “had faith” that they were rich. They didn’t continue living in the Ozarks like poor mortals and tell people now and then that they were rich. Oh no, they packed up their old truck and moved across the country to California’s luxurious Beverly Hills, home to swimming pools and movie stars. They moved from a cabin to a mansion because they acted on the belief that they were now rich. That is a picture of faith. Acting on what you believe to be true. Adjusting your life; your mindset, your routines, your decisions, your values etc., to what you believe to be true.

From this. . .
From this. . .
To this
To this!

Concerning faith in God, it is not enough to say you believe only. Consider one of the strongest rebukes in the book of James;

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” James 2:19 New Living translation

I don’t know about you but I don’t want my faith to resemble that of a demon! I was concerned about someone very close to me who used to tell me they believed in God, but their life showed only apathy and at times ungodliness. I loved this person very much but I never saw them activate their belief. Belief must be acted upon to become true faith. Otherwise it is useless, just like a credit or debit card you get in the mail is useless unless activated. When my loved one’s life was tragically cut short, my spirit mourned for their soul because I feared their eternal destination. Only God consoles me over this sorrow.

Has your belief been activated to become a faith FLURISHING in the Spirit of the living God? All of us can have a strong vibrant faith if we choose to activate it. Don’t just admire someone else’s faith, build your own by trusting God with your whole self, body, soul, mind and spirit.

I want faith like Abraham who was counted righteous for his trusting faith and called a friend of God in II Chronicles 20:7. James further challenges us about Abraham:

“Don’t you remember our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.”
James 2:21 &22. New Living translation

You can read more about faith in Hebrews chapter 11 which is commonly referred to as the faith chapter if the Bible.

So have you activated your belief? Don’t delay, start FLURISHING in your faith as His friend today!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Tales from the Booth: If It Feels Good, Give It!

 

IXNAY on the EZPassAY!!!
IXNAY on the EZPassAY!!!

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 New Living translation

Every now and then a customer pulls up to the booth and tells me they are glad to see a person rather than a machine taking the tolls. They say they appreciate the human element and refuse to get EZPass. Some even tell me they are committed to the higher priced ticket system because they want to do their part to save jobs. I am amazed and find this attitude stunningly refreshing in a self-serving world. These people are willing to sacrifice their hard to come by cash so that I can continue working. It touches me deeply.

I wonder if roles were reversed, would I care as much about them and their job? Would I be willing to forego the convenience and economic benefit of EZPass for strangers to keep their jobs? Would I uphold such principles? Would I have such a generous spirit? I’m afraid to know the answer. Of course I am under no obligation but neither are they. Obligation would nullify true generosity.

“Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver.” II Corinthians  9:7 Common English Bible

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It’s one of the first things we are taught as children, to share. Most of us had to be forced into it. Especially with new toys. Who wanted to give up checking out all the functions of a new toy, like a Spirograph or Lite Brite? (By the way, both toys are still on the market) We wanted that pleasure for ourselves because we are self centered by nature. Somewhere along the line of our lives we had to learn to let go and share.

Each of us decides what we want to give and when and to whom. The key word is WANT. Otherwise it’s a compulsion of some sort. It’s not generosity. And what about WHY we give? What is our motivation? Is it pure? Do we give in secret and tell no one? Is it pride? Do we want to be seen? Do we tell others?

Jesus says, “When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—-blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity!” Matthew 6:2 New Living translation

A synonym for generosity is liberality. There has to be freedom to forge generosity. Our giving must be chockfull of freedom. We give the contents of our hearts freely. We extend freedom to the receiver by expecting nothing in return. We are free with all our assets without hesitation, i.e., money, possessions, time, labor, talent, gifts etc., This of course is the ideal for which to aim. I am in much need of practicing more pure generosity. Self centeredness has to move out of my heart to make more room for giving.

Freely give. . .
Freely give. . .

Our motivations are important to God and they should be to us. HE already knows what is in our hearts but we need to look inside every now and then so we know what is driving our giving. If we embrace true generosity we will further our FLURISHING because we will be giving more like our Father.

 

What kind of giver are you?

 
“It is the heart that does the giving; the fingers only let go.”
Nigerian saying

 
Shine on. . .
karan k