Category Archives: Daily Grind

How do YOU Pray?

“When you call Me and come and pray to Me, I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12 Common English Bible

Just some thoughts about prayer. . .

Each of us deepens and develops our relationship with the great God of the universe by prayer. How do we view prayer? According to dictionary.com prayer is “a devout petition to God or an object of worship; a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration or confession.”

Do we come before Him in an attitude of worship? Do we speak to Him in reverence and love? I admit that I forget at times just who it is I’m addressing. The depth of who He is is fathomless to my finite mind.

I am a huge believer in being very real with God and talking to Him about everything. He knows all about me anyway so no use holding back.  I believe He delights in my active inclusion of Him in the details of my day.

However, I do not want to forget His holy, righteous and awesome nature. There is a fine line to balance between casual communication and worshipful wonder. It’s a balance I believe we must hold tight to guard ourselves from presuming upon His divine personage.

I know some do not agree with praying about things seen as trivial. (see last post HEAT FLASH)  Out of reverence for God they may be more conservative with what matters they bring before Him.

What do you pray about? What type of things do you feel are worthy of time in prayer?

How do you address God? Dear heavenly Father? Dear Lord Jesus? Abba Father { Daddy Father}?  Or something else? Jesus said, “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy.” Matthew 6:9 New Living translation

When do you pray? How often do you pray? Got any prayer tips to share so all of us can benefit?

If I wake up earlier than my alarm with a bit of coherence I tend to pray for people who have ongoing issues. Or perhaps pray about concerns specific for that day. Later, when I get up for devotions, I pray over the things listed in my prayer journal. Yes, I do keep a journal so I can see answers to prayer. I highlight each prayer when it’s answered and then I  pray thanksgiving and praise for the answer.

Without the journal I find that I forget to either keep praying in ongoing situations or forget to thank God for His answers. A journal is a wonderful way to build faith when looking back over answers from the past. They prove God’s faithfulness when the temptation to doubt arises.

During my work day, I have short conversations with God. I make lots of requests for grace to deal with difficult situations or customers as the case may be. Sometimes I go on prayer walks during my break time and pray about more urgent needs of the day and for global leaders. I find walking while I pray diffuses the physical proneness to fall asleep during prayer. But then again, what better way to go to sleep than in the arms of Jesus?

 

Please share your ideas and practices concerning prayer.

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

“And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do . So you must live in reverent fear of Him during your time as ‘foreigners in the land’.” I Peter 1:17 New Living translation

Life Time

 

“The indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.” Wikipedia

Recognize this definition? Chances are you never looked at this definition because we are all so familiar with the concept. But I found it intriguing to reflect upon the thought that we are a tiny segment on the continuing, changing line of TIME. Equally mind bending is the fact that TIME is irreversible. Think about that. Each moment that passes is gone forever, never to return.

A young woman pulls up to the booth on a frigid day in January sporting a gray beanie with large letters in fluorescent green. The letters glowing across her forehead read YOLO. You know the phrase, it was popular a few years ago: YOLO — You Only Live Once.

 

I wondered to myself what that term meant to her in her personal life? Was she a thrill seeker trying to squeeze as much adventure as possible out of each day? Was she an ambitious entrepreneur seeking to break into some exciting new business and working daily toward that goal and not about to waste time. Or was she simply determined to try everything under the sun whether it was good for her or not? I guess I’ll never know, but as always it made me think.

I remember in Christian circles there were two added lines to YOLO;
“You only live once, this life is soon past
Only what you do for Christ will last”

So what does YOLO mean for you? What or on whom are you spending your lifetime? When we’re young it seems we have so much life ahead to do whatever we want. And then we find out as we grow older time seems to slip through our grasp faster and faster.

Time is mysterious

Science has not yet explained the mysteries of time and how it seems to speed as we age but one theory by William James made sense to me. He hypothesized that we gauge time by memorable events in our life. When we are young there are so many new things to experience. First day of school. First friend. First bicycle. First kiss. Prom. Graduation. Etc., All these events outweigh the average daily life of a working person where one day seems no different than the next. So time is altered or so it seems.

If Mr. James’ theory is true then we need to chase after new things. New experiences, new friendships, new challenges, new leaps of faith to keep life fuller and time slower.

Last year Dwight and I took surfing lessons. It was on his bucket list and I sorta got roped into it. This year, Lord willing, we are working toward experiencing the “Hang Loose” island life in Hawaii together. That is on my list.

Is there something on your bucket list you want to do but keep shoving that thought to the back of your mind thinking you’ll get to it later? Time is probably moving faster than we realize. So make or revisit your bucket list. Revel in past checked off experiences and start adding new ones to the list. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. We can garner ideas from each other. Share your bucket list plans as we FLURISH together and have the Time of our Lives!

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14 New Living translation

Enjoy Yourself. It’s Later Than You Think. . .
CHINESE PROVERB

Shine on. . .
karan k

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

Who’s the Boss?


Then He said to the woman, I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. . . ” Genesis 3: 16a

The above passage is familiar to most of us. All too real to those who are mothers and have gone through the experience of nine months of pregnancy and then labor pain to bring a child into our world. But how often do we pay attention to the second half of that verse?

“. . . And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
Genesis 3:16b

How do you feel about control? Do you enjoy being in charge? Some personality types thrive on playing follow the leader as long as they are the leader. How does this play out in a marriage where the dominant personality is the wife?

Early in my marriage, I got frustrated often over “his” way of doing things as opposed to mine. After living on my own for many years, I had grown accustomed to wielding control over my affairs. His way was slower. He lacked a “sense of urgency”, I thought. His way caused him problems in the past. His way SEEMED inferior to mine. Can anyone relate?

Control is difficult to relinquish. It can be more painful than birthing  a child for some of us. I can tell you it’s a process that requires diligent effort. Most of the time we women are too busy with all our domestic and maternal  responsibilities to even think of giving up control. But the effort we make to give it up in the end will be worth it. It’s another “MUST JUST TRUST  God’s truth” lesson.

 

My dear husband kept mentioning his personality type as a reason for his method of handling concerns. After hearing his explanation at least a hundred times, I began to listen. I let him show me the personality test he referred to and read up on his personality type as well as mine.

Are you familiar with the DISC Personality Model? It’s one of many systems for evaluating personality type and learning about human behavior. It’s the personality test my husband took before I met him. Below is a basic skeleton of the DISC model. Each of us can have a combination of these with one usually standing out as the strongest.

D = Dominant and Direct Behavior
I = Inspiring and Interactive Behavior
S = Supportive and Steady Beahavior
C = Cautious and Careful Behavior

After a bit of study on the DISC model, the light began to dawn and understanding crept into my mind. I could see my husband being a Type S on the DISC scale. He is Supportive and Steady. This formerly translated in my mind as “taking too long” to finish a task. Of course when he performed a task it was done right and it was done well as opposed to my quick and shoddy workmanship.

 

I’m a huge believer in learning to study your spouse because it will increase your understanding of him or her. Understanding can go a long way to aid you in getting along on a day to day basis.

“People with understanding control their anger, a hot temper shows great foolishness.” Proverbs 14:29 New Living translation

If you are single, taking a personality test will help you understand yourself more and will benefit your relationships.

Sailing requires serious teamwork

For wives, understanding your husband can build your confidence in who he was created to be. It will help you to allow your husband to take charge, instead of hanging on to your natural bent to control. This is God’s design. He wants to mold a husband and wife together as a team but ultimately the husband has the final say. So learn to let go and trust God’s plan, His way works so much better than our own! Isaiah 55:9

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” I Corinthians 11:3 Berean Study Bible

 

We must diligently guard and protect the love relationship with our spouse IF we happen to be married. After Christ, they are the number 2 priority. Don’t take them for granted, they may not always be there. Learn more to live better together!

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

There are lots of free personality tests online. Here is one example.
For a free personality test try: personalityperfect.com

The goal

 

 

 

 

 

Margin of Rest

 

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6+7 The Message Bible

 

Ever notice when you’re stressed every little thing irritates the heck out of you? Somebody says something wrong or even looks at you weird and bam, you’re angry, frustrated, stressed. Sometimes you explode. Stress can do that.

 

But stress can also be a great motivator for getting things done. lt doesn’t have to be a negative thing but it does need to be kept in balance.  Stress must be kept in  direct balance with the level of margin or cushion in your life. If you have  little or no margin/downtime, stress will be high. Likewise, more downtime will lessen your stress levels. We all know this simple principle but do we apply it to our own lives?

 

It’s an area I’m partnering with God to improve. I have to constantly keep it in check, like watching a pot on the stove come to a boil. If I don’t watch it, there’s gonna be a boil over and inevitably a mess.

 

I notice stress over deadlines can make me extra snappy with people at work, friends but especially my husband. I HATE when I do that!!! He hates it too and then he gets snappy and we go round and round. Not exactly the way I want to experience “Marital Bliss”.

Full schedules  can lead to stress, anxiety and unfortunately, angry outbursts. So I am attempting to simplify and build margins of time into my days.

 

What does that look like? For me, it’s staying home after work and the gym a couple nights each week, working on those things that have deadlines. Giving myself a free day a couple times a month where I expect nothing from myself. I think God had this same idea by giving us Sabbath rests once a week. (smile)

For my husband it looks a bit different. During the work week he needs more time at home to rest and recharge, so he prefers no activity after work on weeknights. On weekends he prefers doing one activity each day, not multiple ones. He’s often said he likes to go do things every other day. One day of activity requires one day of rest.

Each of us has a different limit of overload. Some personalities can take on a lot of activity and thrive all the while. Other personalities become frustrated and stressed over few activities and/or responsibilities. Each of us should discover our own limit of overload and then aim to remain under the limit. Otherwise we will make ourselves and those around us rather miserable.

 

What is your personal limit of overload? What stresses you? Think about it and identify your stresses. Put limits on those particular things and adjust your schedule in at least one area. This can benefit your own peace of mind helping you to be the best you for yourself and for those in your personal sphere of influence. Your co-workers, family and spouse deserve your best.

Life goes better with the right amount of margin

 

“. . . My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 New International version

Take His rest today!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness part III: Dating God?

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 New American Standard version

Dating God. . . let that sink in. Have you ever thought of Him this way? He desires us to know Him, to pursue Him, to spend time with Him. Isn’t that what we do when we date someone? We want to know all about them. Their past and childhood. What they value. What goals they have, etcetera.

To discover the answers and who this person is requires time and effort. It’s the same to get to know God. For someone who is lonely, the time and effort aspect can be difficult because you struggle to see beyond your own pain. This is the “chain” of loneliness. It’s a bondage the enemy uses to weight and drown us into the sea of despair. The chain must be broken by faith. By trusting God and doing things His way, all the way.

Read Psalm 34:18 again (opening verse above). Focus on the truth of this verse. The Lord IS near to the brokenhearted. If you are suffering from loneliness, you definitely qualify as brokenhearted. So the Lord IS near you. That’s the reality the enemy wants to hide from you. Break the chain by refusing to believe anything but the truth that God IS NEAR YOU!!! Then in faith act on that truth.

Begin by dating God. Sounds a bit strange but it helped me through some very lonely days. Basically, I would pick a place and off we’d go.

 

A park date consisted of packing a picnic lunch, a blanket and my Bible. I drove or walked to a park and found a nice welcoming spot. (Of course this date needed some good weather to succeed.) I’d spread the blanket across the grass, lay out the food and open my Bible. I usually brought a notebook as well to record anything God chose to tell me on our special date. Things He would whisper in my spirit as I sat with Him.

A mall date is good for when the weather is contrary. Pick a comfy seat and people watch with God. Talk about whatever comes to mind. You may want to converse silently in your head while in public places although passersby may assume you’re on a bluetooth.:) Again, take a notebook to record any words He speaks into your heart. You will treasure them later. God may even direct you to a hidden bargain while you’re there.

A similar date can also be done at a bookstore or library. Read books together with God. Ask Him what He thinks about new ideas you discover in the text or just enjoy a novel together KNOWING He is right by your side. Remember Psalm 34:18.

One of my favorite dates was going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Him. Sharing the wonders of His living creation with Him was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. Being fully aware of His presence enhanced every ride we took and every show we saw. Similarly, you can do a zoo date or go to a botanical garden with Him.

Remember to talk to Him to and from the date as well because He IS still near you and through His Holy Spirit lives in your heart so you are truly never ever out of His presence. You just have to intentionally be aware of Him.

Tree of Life—Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida

These are just some ideas to get you started. If you do this consistently, in time His presence will naturally, or I  should say, supernaturally be a conscious part of every waking moment.

When you’re ready for a deeper understanding and connection find a book on or google THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD to learn more about His character.

Over time your mindset will change but that’s not all. Join FLURISH for part IV of this series to find out more. Until then, start dating and share your ideas so all of us can learn and benefit.

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:7 & 8 New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness part I

 

“I am lonely, like an owl living in the desert, like an owl living among old ruined buildings. I cannot sleep. I am like a lonely bird on the roof.” Psalm 102:6+7 Easy to Read Bible

Heart wrenching seasons of loneliness visit all of us. How do we FLURISH through these times?

As a child I spent a lot of time alone because my siblings were much older and my parents both worked. Every year I dreaded the summer months because it meant being alone for an extended period of time. I enjoyed the social aspect of school and wished it continued year round.

At an early age I recognized and invited Jesus as my Savior to come into my heart. Soon I began making up plays, dramas, dances and songs that I would perform in our backyard to an audience of one. I knew God was watching. I could feel His presence and pleasure. This greatly helped me through the lonely times. So Jesus and I went out to play together as often as possible.

But as I grew older I forgot these precious moments with my heavenly Father. I stopped spending creative times with Him. I even thought at one point in my life that it was just foolish child’s play.

As a young adult I spent 15 years living totally alone. It became agonizing at times. Then one day I remembered the loveliness of the moments spent as a child dancing and singing in His presence where I could be my complete self. Loved for exactly who I was. I realized what I did as a child was not foolish but something led by God. I needed to lay down my pride and begin to recognize His presence and respond to Him as I did when I was young.

I began believing what the Bible says; He is ALWAYS with us. (Matthew 28:20b) The Bible also says to “Never stop praying” in I Thessalonians 5:17. So if HE is always with us and we are to talk to Him all the time then we had better learn to practice His presence.

One of the first things I began doing to practice His presence was to pick out music that spoke to my heart. I’d crank the volume and dance around my apartment with a fair amount of abandon. Praising and jumping for Jesus’ sake. Sometimes I did cheering type moves or ballet. Probably only a God who is Love Himself could enjoy it? I do know it always released stress for me and gave me a supernatural joy. I could be a carefree kid in His presence. Of course this is easiest to do when you are alone because others might try to have you committed somewhere other than to Jesus, if you know what I mean?

Years later when I bought my first home I had an upstairs Rec room with laminate hardwood flooring. One day while having devotions, I felt a still small voice in my heart calling me to play. At first I dismissed it as my imagination. But it did not stop. So I got up from my sofa and put some funky praise music on my stereo system.

As the first notes hit my ears I felt like moving. In my pajamas and socks, I discovered I could slide across the laminate. Jesus was calling me to slide with Him. Laughing and zooming across the floor, we had a great time. Later, I rearranged the furniture so there would be maximum sliding room. I created a little track and slid around it with Jesus often.

When my young nieces and great niece visited, I taught them to slide with Jesus too. I didn’t care if they thought I was crazy. I was crazy about Jesus and He was the only one who filled the lonely void in my life. Being seen acting crazy about Jesus is nothing new. Consider King David:

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns. But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.” II Samuel 6:14-16 New Living translation

Notice that David “leaped” and “danced” before the Lord. He simply delighted in the Lord and the return of the Ark to the City of David. David laid aside his royal garments to dance before his Lord. HE was willing to look foolish in the eyes of anyone for the Lord’s sake. That is a tight relationship. So powerful that it can destroy the chains of loneliness.

If you find yourself lonely take advantage of being alone, where no one can see you. Put on some music you love and surrender your pride as worship to your Lord. Dance, jump, sway just do whatever you can. Trust me, HE will love it and you may be surprised at the results on your end.

“God can’t give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because there is no such thing.” C.S. Lewis
Shine on. . .
karan k

Last Thread Thursday

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42: 11 New International version

My rambling thoughts cause twistedness and strife within my mind.
I want freedom. I want peace. I want purpose. Do I know that all these things can be found in You? My head knows it but my heart isn’t feeling it at the moment.

Anyone else just hangin?

That’s when my faith must rally the courage to step in and take control of the helm of my soul. Faith must rise up and remember the God who has never failed me! The God who provides for me! The God who masters an entire universe and yet cares about me. The God who loves me when I hang on my last thread above the abyss of despair. The invisible God who I cannot see with my eye but who I believe remains even in my pain.

The God who whispers, “in all this I remain by your side and I will carry you ’til you can walk on your own again.”

 

“and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.” Deuteronomy 1:31 New American Standard version

 

“You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head.” Psalm 139:5 New Living translation

Thank YOU for holding me!

May I trust You, knowing You are with me no matter what I face or feel today.

Shine on. . .
karan k

Pleasant Valley Proofreading

“Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than people.” Ephesians 6:7 New Living translation

Monkee mobile

Recently I took a leisurely drive on a Sunday morning, windows down and moving below the speed limit—which is a rare occurrence indeed. I wanted to drink in the budding summer scenery.

As I drove passed one development after another the atmosphere somehow oozed of sadness and the song “Pleasant Valley Sunday” began playing in my head. Do you remember it? Gerry Goffin teamed up with his wife at the time, Carole King to write it. The Monkees recorded the most famous version of the song this month 50 years ago.

Chorus
“Another pleasant valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land. . .
Bridge
Creature comfort goals, they only numb my soul
And make it hard for me to see”

The words continue to ring true in our world. It’s our human nature. When we compete to promote ourselves and focus to please ourselves, it blinds us to everything around us. We expect certain things and are not satisfied with less. We expect them not because we’ve earned them but just because we believe we deserve them. We harbor arrogant expectations to be treated as superior to someone else. Did the status seekers of the sixties breed the entitlement issues of our twenty first century?

sample of proofreading

My first full time job fresh out of high school came with a life time lesson I will never forget. I was hired in 1981 by a small photocomposition company. Six other applicants were also hired with me and started the same day. We were trained together in the trade of proofreading and all worked together in one room.

Six months later just after beginning our shift, the voice of the president of the company came over the loud speaker. One by one he called the names of all seven of us to report to the conference room.

I wondered what was going on and followed some of my co-workers to the large conference room. As we entered, I saw the president standing with his arms crossed and wearing somewhat of a scowl. There were papers turned upside down with each of our names at assigned seats. He asked us to be seated and we did.

A few of my co-workers arrived after I did and they were talking and laughing as they entered. The president’s scowl deepened and they quickly took their seats. From this point on no one spoke except the president. He explained that our evaluations lay on the table in front of each of us. He did not want us reading them until we heard what he had to say.

He told us he was quite disappointed in some of us and quite angry about some of our attitudes. And then the line that I’ll never forget. “Some of you people expect to get paid just for showing up everyday.” Everything after that is a blur, but I do remember he lambasted us for an awful chunk of time.

At the end of the meeting, a girl in her early twenties and myself returned to the proofreading room. The rest were fired. I learned that day that attitude is everything.
An attitude of entitlement got 5 people fired that day. I’m sure I didn’t even know what the word “entitlement” meant back then but I certainly was glad I had my job at the end of the day. I believe His grace and mercy rescued me from losing my position.

In remembering that lesson from so long ago, my goal is to keep my mind clear of any entitlement thinking that may try to creep in because it has become so pervasive in our world.

“You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”  — Abraham Lincoln

May I remember to uphold a solid work ethic so I can FLURISH on the job. How about you? Got any life lessons you care to share? Write them in the comment section so we may learn from each others experiences.

 

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Powerful Weakness

 

“Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ ” II Corinthians 12:9a New Living translation
Remember the Pop Quiz? Out of nowhere the teacher announced a test. Do you remember your reaction? Favorable or negative? No matter what age we are there remain tests for us to take. We cannot escape them.

The other day I faced a pop quiz from God:

As back drop, I must tell you that my body battles low blood sugar and anxiety regularly. I need lots of water, lots of rest and lots of food evenly distributed daily to function at any normal capacity. Otherwise, sugar shock and passing out can ensue. This is the physical weakness I live with in my body. Read on.

A coworker on the next shift after mine had some car trouble. She wasn’t sure she could make it in to work. Being low man on the pole, even after 28 years, meant working 12 or 16 hours straight for me. The shift had to be filled.
My first reaction was to pray for someone else to want or need the work. “No” was the answer to that prayer. Then I prayed someone would split the shift with me. 12 hours was certainly more acceptable than 16. Again the answer was “No”. So the test for me was 16 hours of busy work followed by little sleep to come in the next day for another busy shift.

God’s pop quiz tested my commitment to trust in His goodness, His provision and His grace. Temptation did not take the night off.

The first question on the test entered my mind as fear. Would I be able to physically handle working such long hours? I answered by recalling God’s faithful help in the past with forced lesser amounts of overtime. I decided this was the correct answer and steered my mind to trust in His help. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 New International version

Next question on the test. Will I complain to my husband, friends or coworkers? I felt the strong urge to complain to my husband. I wanted to seek his pity. But  he could not help me though he wished he could. I had to rely on the only One who truly could help. I remembered the many times God spared me from being forced to work double shifts in the past. Gratitude swept over my mind. “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good: For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” I Chronicles 16:34 New American Standard Bible

Third question. Would I allow self pity to pool in my mind? Or resentment and anger to settle in my soul? By His grace I resisted the negative and reminded myself of God’s sovereignty in my life. He had allowed this to happen. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 New Living translation

So I began asking for more of His grace.

Grace is what I needed to make it through 8 more hours when my back and feet were already hurting. Grace is what I needed to maintain a kind attitude toward my customers as I grew more tired. So I asked for grace over and over throughout the night. The more I depended on receiving grace, the more it washed over me in waves.

I completed 16 full hours on a busy friday while maintaining a good frame of mind. For me this was a huge improvement from years past when I gave in to fear and fretting, whining and complaining, anger and resentment.

I went to bed that night trusting He would give me good rest on little time and He did! Saturday proved busier than friday but His grace continued to flow as long as I continued to ask for and depend upon it. I knew I had passed His test.

“So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” II Corinthians 12:9b New Living translation

 

An A plus is given to a student for great work being achieved.

May your next test be a perfect score!

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.

Sucker Punch Betrayal

 

“It is not an enemy who taunts me—- I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me— I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you–my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.”Psalm 55:12-14 New Living translation

How many of you have felt the stab of betrayal? A Julius Caesar moment? Someone close to you, a friend or family member commits something injurious against you? How do you handle it or how have you handled it when it happened? Feel free to share in the comment section.

 

The closer the person is to us the deeper the pain because we’ve opened ourselves up to them. We let them into our  inner world.  We allowed our hearts to be vulnerable because we trusted them. How could they do this? WHY would they do this? Questions all of us have asked ourselves without receiving answers. It’s simply an ugly part of our humanity since the Fall.
Sneaky sucker punches coming out of nowhere have been my experiences with betrayal. Just moving through the daily grind, thinking all was well in my world and BAM! Someone  pops me in the face with a powerful punch of betrayal causing me to reel with emotional disbelief and damage. Some  of these sucker punches had small consequences and others were total life changers. In either case, the betrayal crippled or killed the relationship.

Slander. Lies. Adultery. At worst, Murder.These are painful acts of disloyalty. I wish none of us ever had to face this intimate injury but most likely each of us will face some form of betrayal at some point in our life.

Here are a few thoughts on betrayal from my husband:

Betrayal is something that is common to the human experience. Common as it may be however, it is an experience that one never becomes accustomed to, no matter how many times it’s perpetrated on us. While everyone’s story of betrayal is unique, the soul searing, heart wrenching emotions are basically the same.

My experience was in the context of infidelity in marriage. My spouse’s betrayal and the ensuing divorce was THEE pivotal event in my young life. I grew up in the idyllic environment of a small midwestern town, much like “Mayberry” minus sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife.  Cheating spouses and divorce was big city stuff read about in the tabloid newspapers in my Dad’s grocery store.  I was taught to trust people, to take folks at face value, especially one who vowed in front of God and family, for better or worse, to love till the end. The discovery of the infidelity and the following years of denial of it’s reality was a cold hard gut punch to my pollyanna world view. My children and I were now a statistic. We were now one of the 50% of Christian marriages that ended in divorce.

Lives ripped apart

Yes, we were professing Christians! The guilt from being a divorced Christian was paralyzing. So much so, I couldn’t go to church anymore. I felt like a complete and total fraud. The pronouncements from my church’s leadership, condemning me to “hell” certainly did nothing to reinforce Jesus’ message of grace for all and draw me back to the very place I needed to be. “How could I allow my marriage and family to disintegrate and still sit in church and worship God” I reasoned?

So I left, not because I was rejecting Christ, quite the contrary. I never stopped believing, I just felt completely unworthy of Him and His attention and love. I obviously knew nothing of grace. From all appearances, no one at my church did either.

This one single event of betrayal started a 15 year downward spiral in my life.  Unbeknownst to me I had more control than I realized over my life’s events but, as I often say, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. I know now, that we must not let any incident of betrayal and the ensuing anger, bitterness, resentment and thirst for revenge consume our lives. It hurts, it’s painful beyond description, and can be debilitating. Grieve the loss and pain…yes! But move  on in Christ’s healing. Run to Him, not away from Him. He has promised over and over and over to heal our wounds and comfort us in our trouble. Trust Him and know there is life after betrayal. I’m living proof.

 

Whether you are dealing with any leftover pain from betrayal in your past, or are currently suffering or have yet to face betrayal, you can benefit from David’s insights. I encourage you to take some time and read David’s story in II Samuel 15-19.  Then Psalm 55 where he shares his agony with his Lord over what happened.

 

Judas Kiss

Remember, our Lord suffered this same pain at the hand of two of His closest friends. Judas and Peter both betrayed Him in different ways.  So He can definitely feel and understand your pain. Tell Him your detailed hurts. It will be healing for your soul. You will begin to FLURISH inspite of betrayal.

Peter’s denial

“Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”Psalm 55:22 New Living translation

Shine on. . .

karan k

Needful Phix-ation

Dogwood Trees ca. 2001 Tokyo, Japan
Dogwood Trees

Is your life traveling by at the speed of light? One day slips into the next and all of a sudden we are beginning a new month? How did the last month disappear without your notice?

I have experienced these warp speeds throughout my life because I like to keep busy but once in awhile I gotta force my foot to step on the brake.

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Sometimes life gets so hectic and stressful even doing good things. We find ourselves in a constant whirl of busy activity. The needs of the many scream louder than our own . Somehow each need around us SEEMS most important and urgent. Our own inner needs are overlooked and sink like lead into the abyss of neglect.

Our souls, hearts, minds and bodies need care if we desire to continue serving others fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19 & 20. Otherwise, the crash and burn is only a lap or two down the raceway of life.

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I  know it’s NEEDFUL to pull myself and my mind away from all the pressing things of the day whether they be good, bad or mundane. I must choose to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul in his tiny book of Philippians chapter 4 verse 8;

“And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. ‘PHIX’ your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and LOVELY, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” New Living translation

So how do we do we do that? How do we clear our minds and rejuvenate?

It’s time for a NEEDFUL PHIX-ATION. Focusing on PHI-lippians 4:8 and the word lovely. What lovely things surround you? Can you ‘phix’ your mind on them?

Beautiful Song Birds
Beautiful Song Birds

Listen more:

I notice everyday about 5:10am or so the birds begin singing and chattering outside my window. Robins, Sparrows, Finches and Cardinals each sing a different song. Doesn’t matter if it’s raining or clear, they’re active and communicating. I always find it a cheery sound even when I may wish to be sleeping at that hour. I take a moment or two to listen and enjoy the loveliness; grateful I’m not on a farm with a resident Rooster.:)

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See more:

So much exuberance in our own back yards like the spring flowers  peeking up through the grass.  Bright colored tulips in rainbow shades adorn sidewalks and fences. Yellow and white daffodils huddle together in flower beds adding their own brilliance to the palette of my neighborhood.

Taking a stroll around the block can take  only a few minutes from your day. The benefits of soaking in some fresh air and lovely sights are well worth the time.

What flowers do you see in your corner of the world? When is the last time you took time to look? To really examine their beauty?

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Sniff more:

And the fragrance, don’t forget to check for that. When you find a scent you enjoy, inhale deeply and let the natural aroma intoxicate your senses. I love finding Lilac and Honeysuckle bushes. Such sweet smells. Invigorates the senses and definitely helps in the de-stressing process.

Enjoy more:

Another favorite event of the season are the blooming trees, especially the Dogwood. Pink and white petals delicate enough to float on the air it seems. Some areas even boast red Dogwood trees. Any Dogwood is a lovely marvel to behold. I always wish their season could be extended. Driving through the countryside becomes refreshing when I ‘phixate’ on the gorgeous trees instead of incessant thoughts about more pressing matters.

 

God offers lovely things for us in every season. Sights, scents, and songs to refresh and revitalize our mind, body, soul and spirit. Are we allowing them to recharge us regularly so we can pursue His assignments with renewed vigor and excitement? If we do it will allow us to  truly FLURISH while we serve.

 

Dogwood Tree, Loudon County Courthouse, Loudon, Tennessee

 

Shine on. . . and smell the roses. . .

karan k

 

 

 

 

Multi-Tasking Mania? A Tale from the Booth

 

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

“Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6 English Standard version

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A few days ago a woman approached my booth. I could see her face through my front window.  I hurried to catch up on paperwork before she actually arrived to pay her toll. I finished filling out my report from a previous customer and I turned toward her. Astounded by what I beheld, I attempted to keep my shock to myself while taking her ticket to process it.

In all my years on the Turnpike, this was a first. The woman appeared to be in her late twenties. She drove 53 miles from the Ft. Washington exchange on the Turnpike wearing dual breast pumps that were actively engaged.

I wondered if I should mention the “Elephant in her car” or remain quiet? I couldn’t help myself.
“So, I guess you’re really busy, huh?”

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“Yeah, and this works great on the road. Saves me lots of time,” she answered with enthusiasm.

I smiled as I handed her 75 cents in change and off she went pumping down the road. Just had to chuckle to myself and shake my head.

I wanted so badly to say STAY CALM AND PUMP ON! Gotta love my job, you just never know what you’ll see. This young woman sets the Ultimate Multi-Tasking record in my book.

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Now you may not be a busy young mother but are you a multi-tasker? In some scenarios this is a great advantage. I know several women of various ages who pride themselves in their ability to multi-task. There are men who also multi-task but primarily it’s a skill naturally occurring in women.

Me, I can do a couple things at once but are they done well? Probably not. The closest I can get to the young mom’s record is to eat my breakfast while the washing machine is running.:)

I believe women excel at multi-tasking in preparation for the demands of motherhood. I think of it as a God-given ability necessary for a specific time in a woman’s life. Not something to gloat about. At this point I’m passed the child bearing and rearing age and I can tell my abilities to multi-task are fading. This decline is natural but can be so totally unexpected when it starts. Especially if you are a person who relies heavily on this proficiency.

At first sight of losing my multi-tasking ability, frustration overwhelmed me. I had gotten used to my full speed ahead with multiple projects mindset. Inside I felt angry that I could no longer keep all the balls in the air. I felt inferior to my former self and I didn’t like it.

Elisabeth Elliot on the right
Elisabeth Elliot on the right

And then I remembered words I memorized years ago from a no nonsense woman of God who has since gone home to Jesus, Elisabeth Elliott**: She used to quote a poem called “In Acceptance Lieth Peace” on her daily radio program.

It was time for me to test that bit of wisdom for myself. To give up the idea that multi-tasking makes a life more productive, more valuable. That somehow I was less because I could no longer juggle 12 things at once. I needed to accept my limitations as a natural part of the aging process.

This is what I told myself and  now I believe it to be the truth. For every time I accept what I can do  well  as enough in any given day my mind, my soul and my body are at peace. FLURISHING is free to flow, no longer blocked by frustration and pressuring expectations. That is priceless.

May you find the same peace at whatever stage and capability of life in which you find yourself. Accept what you can do with whatever He gives you, whether a lot or a little. Read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.

Beware of multiplying your own expectations to multi-task. Remember, God won’t expect more from you than He empowers you to do.

” Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen.”  I Peter 4:11 New Living translation

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Shine on. . .

karan k

**Christian author and speaker (1926-2015). Elisabeth Elliott’s writings will challenge your faith. Check her out.