Global Week of Student Prayer

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This Wednesday thousands of students around the country will gather at the flag pole of their high school at 7 a.m. to pray for their schools, family, friends, communities and churches. Commonly called See You At the Pole, it is an opportunity for the students to gather together as they seek the Lord.

Please spend extra time this week praying for our students and especially for the ones who will be brave enough to publicly show their faith by attending this event.

If you can, please stop where you are on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. and prayerfully lift up these students, their families and your community.

Psalm 24:3-6:

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?

4The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.

5They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.

6Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.

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I Choose to Love Them

I look at this family member I dislike so much.

This person who has repeatedly and intentionally hurt and used me.

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And I think how could anyone expect me to love someone so detestable?

But then a small still voice whispers,

“the same way I could love you,
not because you deserve it
but because love conquers all
and covers a multitude of sins.”

…and in that moment I’m brought back to the reality of my salvation.

A reality that forces me to remember it’s not about whether they are good enough to be loved.

It’s about whether or not I am willing to love just because I have the chance.

So I choose to.

Not because I’m anything special but because by loving them I share with them a small portion of what my Savior gave me.

And in that moment we both glimpse Heaven.

Who knows but that loving them just one more time or showing His love again might be the time they finally get it?

The time they finally see the love of Christ shining through me.

And then I remember –  they’re broken, too.

They’re in need of a Savior to rescue them.

To heal them.

To save them from themselves.

Their actions are just symptoms.

Symptoms of a need for the same Savior I so desperately need to heal me, to restore me, to deliver me from myself.

And then, then it isn’t so hard to love them.

To feel compassion.

To hurt for them.

To pray for them.

To ask my Savior to reach out and be their Savior.girl-praying-hands-eyelashes-41942-medium

In that moment when I am kneeling before the throne, asking the King of King and Lord of Lords to have compassion on them and show them His love for them, I get a taste of His love for me.

And a picture of His love for them.

In that moment it isn’t hard to love them at all.

So I choose to love them.

To once more reach out to them with His love, confident that in so doing, I am doing what is best for both of us.

What is the absolute best.

For both of us.

I choose love.

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Jeremiah 29:11 Is Only Part of the Answer

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 is my son Ringo’s life verse.

He uses it to remind himself God has a plan for him.

This was particularly helpful to him as he walked through his high school years not knowing what he wanted to do with his life or what path he should take.

Ringo quoted it repeatedly. It soothed him when things got rough.

He forgot an important step, tho. He forgot to read it in the context of the scripture around it. He clung to it without understanding the entire passage.

He assumed as he graduated and moved out in to the world that things would be okay.

They weren’t.

When things got tough, he stumbled. And, because he didn’t understand the entire passage, he got upset with God because things weren’t going the way he thought they should.

Then, he stumbled again.

He just didn’t understand why the choices he was making weren’t working out the way he thought they should. He knew God had a plan and he thought he was following it.

And, he was. Or at least what he thought was God’s plan.

Unfortunately, he hadn’t stopped and really given God the time, attention and prayer necessary to get the actual plan.

He also still hadn’t read the rest of the passage.

12″Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

It’s not about sitting around waiting for God to bless us with a career, a material need, or a close relationship with Him.

He won’t just show up one day and say “here’s the plan,”.

We have a part in it.

It is our job to call on Him, to pray to Him, to seek Him with our whole heart. That’s when we will find Him and his whole plan. When we seek Him with our whole heart.

Only then can we fully understand what it is God has planned for our lives.

Ringo learned the hard way that it is more than just knowing God has a plan for us.

He is still working to recover from his stumbles. But, he’s getting there.

And the more he learns to seek God and to turn to Him for guidance, the more he learns and understands God’s plan for his life.

Seeking God with your whole heart. That’s how the plan comes together.

 

Seek – verb (dictionary.com)

  1. to go in search or quest of.

2.to try to find or discover by searching or questioning.

  1. to try to obtain

 

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Shine Your Light

Who cares how dark the world is?

It has been dark before.

It will get darker still.

We don’t walk in fear of the darkness.

We walk according to the Light.

The darker it is, the brighter a light can shine.

Focus on The Light and shine yours brightly.    ~Bro. G. Carpenter

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light ~Ephesians 5;8

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Yet – Chapter 2

(A few days ago I posted about the word yet.

I talked about how the Lord whispers this word to me when I am praying and tell Him I am concerned He hasn’t answered a prayer I’ve prayed several times.

Read about it here.)

One of the ways I use the word yet is when I am talking about things I want, but don’t have.

I don’t own my own home. Yet.

I want a house where I can paint the walls any color I please.

A place where I can grow a beautiful rose garden without worrying I will have to move away and leave it behind because I’ve planted it in land that doesn’t belong to me.
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I long to plant Iris bulbs in dirt I can run my fingers through and call my own.

But, I don’t own any dirt. Yet.

I grieve because not all of my kids are walking with the Lord the way they should be. Yet.

I know they were raised to love and respect Him. I know they have all met and trusted in Him.

While in prayer I’ve heard the Lord reassure my heart they are all saved but they have to learn lessons and make their own mistakes the way I did.

They are learning, but they just aren’t there. Yet.

So many prayers I’ve prayed.

So many prayers have not been answered. Yet.

I will keep praying.

I will keep believing He is going to answer when the time is right.

It just isn’t time.

Yet.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~Hebrews 11:1

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Yet

Yet.

I hear that word a lot.

Mostly in my prayer life.

I’ll be praying about something – again – and I’ll remind the Lord He still hasn’t solved a problem or situation and the word yet will immediately pop into my head.life-choice-clipart-1

He hasn’t solved it. Yet.

Then, I’m reminded that His timing isn’t the same as my timing.

He’s working behind the scenes, putting it all together.

I just can’t see that. Yet.

This past weekend I was at a Woman’s Banquet.

The speaker talked about entrusting God with things I have but don’t want. She also talked about things I want but don’t have. Yet.

She reminded us that God’s timing is perfect and he is not slack concerning any thing.

She reminded us of the importance of entrusting Him with things I don’t see Him working on. Yet.

Having faith means choosing to:

  1. Trust that He is willing and able to handle things and turn them around for the better.
  2. Trust Him with the things I am praying about, no matter what they are.
  3. Trust He is able to add or subtract the right things from my life to improve my situation.
  4. Trust He knows when the perfect time to act is.
  5. Trust He will move in just the right way, even if it’s not when and how I would like or expect Him to.

Today I have a choice to make.

I choose to continue to pray and ask Him to move in my life and the lives of others around me.

I choose to trust His timing even though I don’t quite understand what He’s doing or how He’s moving.

Yet.

 

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Heaven or Hell?

On more than one occasion I’ve heard someone say they’re going to hell.

Some even laugh as if it’s no big deal.

But, it is.

It’s a VERY big deal.

It’s not some party central where you get to spend eternity hanging out and having fun.

It’s a very sad, scary, painful place.

For those of you who don’t quite understand what it means or think it’s no big deal, here is the truth.

It is not God’s desire for any of us to go to Hell.

He loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him.

The thing is, He cannot tolerate sin in any form.   question-mark-clipart-01

Unfortunately, all of us have sinned and fallen short.

There is absolutely nothing we can do to fix ourselves or rid ourselves of that sin.

Only Jesus can do that.

That’s why we need Him.

To ransom us.

To cleanse us.

To rescue us.

Jesus lived and walked on this earth for approximately 33 years.

In all that time He never sinned.

Not once.

He could only live sin free because while He was a man, He was also fully God.

He did it because he knew that by coming down and sacrificing His life for us He could pay for all of mankind’s sins, once and for all.

Now that He’s done that, it’s up to us to accept or reject the free pardon from sin His death, burial, and resurrection provide.

If we accept this gift, we become children of God, new creatures in Christ who have been forgiven of our sins and will spend eternity in Heaven with God.

If we reject this gift we remain in our sins and cannot enter Heaven where God resides.

The end destination for those who have not accepted this free gift and therefore cannot enter Heaven is Hell.

It’s sad, but it’s true. There is no third option.

The choice is yours, really.

Will you accept this free gift – a new redeemed life?

Or, will you remain in your sins and face an eternity of suffering and pain?

It is my prayer that you will turn to Jesus and accept this free gift He is holding out to you.

God loves you and wants you to spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

So do I.

 

If you have doubts or questions about accepting His gift, or just want to talk about it, please email me. I am also available to text, Skype, or FaceTime. Just let me know what works for you.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Today’s My Birthday!

I’m 50!

Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I was graduating high school! Now, here I am with 3 grown kids and a full life.

Looking back I can see a lot of things that happened to me.

Some were sad, some were bad. Some were very painful.  Mostly though, they were good, happy times.
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I  see times when God has blessed me without me even realizing it until much later. I see times when His presence was very visible in the moment.

All in all, it has been filled with His amazing love and protection. I’m very thankful for that.

I am thankful, too, for the people the Lord has put in my life to help me, love me and challenge me along the way.

I look forward to what this new year will bring. Whatever it holds, I am certain the Lord will be there with me through it.

One thing’s for sure – it’s gonna be a great year!

Happy New Year to you!

Happy Birthday to me!

God Bless,
Karen

 

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Oh, the Irony!

All week I’ve been avoiding writing this post.

All week I’ve felt it rolling around in me.

So, here goes.

It’s Suicide Prevention week. The time we set aside to raise awareness and encourage people not to leave.

It’s a subject that has always been near to me. Not because I’ve ever been tempted but because it’s a subject the Lord has given me a heart for.

This year is especially hard —suicide_prevention_campaign_help_suicidal_people_cg8p7405236c_th

On June 29, 2015 I lost the best friend I ever had.

He died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

Suicide.

I never saw the signs.

I knew he had been sick. I remember him telling me he was tired and discouraged but I never once thought he of all people would make this choice.

That’s the thing about suicide – you don’t always see it coming.

That’s why it is so important to pay attention when people seem depressed or say they are tired. I don’t mean the “I’ve been playing ball, or just finished work” tired. I mean the tired that comes with living life.

We’ve all felt that kind of tired but for some people it runs so much deeper. It runs all the way to their foundation and chips away at their hope. It drowns them in sadness and keeps them from living.

If someone tells you they are tired, ask questions. Listen to what they say. Hug them.

DON’T tell them to “lighten up” or “let it go”.

That’s like telling a man with serious chest pains to shake it off or walk it off – impossible and ridiculous. If they could, they already would have.

Instead, take it serious. Be there for them. Listen to what they have to say and help them feel heard. Pray for them. Help them find the resources they need.

There are counselors out there who can help.

There are online resources for both those in danger and the ones who love them.

Go here: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Or here: National Suicide Prevention Hotline

If you need to talk to someone you can call toll free to 1-800-273-8255.

 

It’s ironic to me that the last post I wrote before I got discouraged and gave up my blog was about suicide only to have a friend’s suicide bring me back to it. Funny isn’t it, how life works? How it has been one year to the day since I last posted?

I know what my friend would say – he would tell me that I should be writing because the world needs my gifts. Maybe that’s the exact message we should be telling those thinking about leaving:

Please stay – the world needs your gifts. The world needs you.

 

If you are feeling tempted, please don’t leave. You are loved. You matter. You are wanted.

Even with all it’s heartache, this world is a beautiful place. Please stay.

Peace,
Karen

 

Here is Last Year’s Article written specifically to those thinking about leaving.

 

 

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Yesterday’s Post

Yesterday I posted about World Suicide Prevention Day.

It’s an important subject.

One that needs more attention, work and resources than it gets.

It was a good post, getting the message across.

But…

There were other things I wanted to say in that post but I didn’t because I wanted it to be short and sweet so if someone in crisis read it they wouldn’t feel preached at.

Here is what I wanted to say, and what I should have said:

I know you are hurting. I know you don’t see a way out. I know you have tunnel vision right now and all you see is a need to find a way to make the pain end.

The thing is, suicide is NOT a way out. There’s still pain on the other side.

It will come in one of two ways: either you will have to stand before God and explain why you threw away the precious gift of life He gave you or worse yet, you will step into eternity without the security of salvation that only comes through a relationship with Jesus.

Either way, death is not a cure-all end to pain.

Here’s the other thing – there is a way out and a solution to your situation, you just haven’t seen it yet.

Sometimes when we are hurting we get so focused on our pain we can’t see things and people around us. We miss opportunities before us.

I know it’s hard. I know it hurts, but don’t believe the lie that says it won’t get better. It will.

Don’t let this storm you’re going through win.

Refuse to give in.

Fight back.

Reach out for solid ground.

There is solid ground – it’s an anchor we all have access to.

His name is Jesus.

Turn to Him.

Cling to Him.

Let Him calm your storm.

Let Him calm you.

All you have to do is call out to Him with your heart.

He’ll meet you where you are.

He’ll walk you through this storm.

He’ll fill you with a peace and joy you have never imagined.

Just turn to Him.

Even if you are so weak and beaten-down all you can do is whisper His name, whisper it.

He’s there, waiting.

He loves you.

He wants to help you.

He is your anchor – hold tight to Him.

I love you.

God loves you.

You are special.

You are beautiful.

The world needs your gifts.

The world needs your talents.

The world needs you.

Please don’t leave it before it’s time.

You are important.

You are valuable.

You are precious.

YOU MATTER!

 

If you need someone to talk to about this, please email me. I would love to either email back and forth with you, speak on the phone, do a Google Hangout or Skype. Whatever you need, I’m here. I care, and I love you. Click here to send me a message: Karen’s Email

Karen

Online Resources:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

 

 

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