Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankfulness with a Right Heart

Philippians 4:12 "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want."

As we gather with our friends and families to celebrate Thanksgiving, let us please remember what it is that we are truly thankful for. 

These are just a few of the basic necessities that are so easily taken for granted. If you take the time to think of all the things that you've been blessed with, you will realize that the important things are not the kind of car we drive, how big our television sets are, how many material things we can accumulate and how full can we cram our closets and cupboards with, just stuff. 

Having a safe, warm house to live in, food to keep our bellies full, water to quench our thirst, clothing to cover our bodies and keep us warm, a comfortable bed to lay in and get our rest, family and friends who love and care about us - these are just a few of the basics.

Things are so easily overlooked, taken for granted or even forgotten completely. When, and if we pray, we ask for things, and don't usually take the time to be thankful and to express that gratitude. 

My wish and prayer for you, my friends, on this Thanksgiving and throughout the rest of the year, is to focus on the things that we have been given, been blessed with by a loving and powerful God. Let us take the list the things that we are needing instead of the materialistic wants and things that we can truly do without and make a list of all the ways that we can be a blessing to someone who truly is in need. 

Instead of making a list of all the things that we want but think that we need, make a list of the things that we can do to help others and how to go about doing so. 

Do you know of a person that has no place to go for Thanksgiving or even Christmas? Invite them into your home.

Do you know of someone who will not have enough food to feed their family? Feed them.

Do you know someone who is in need of warm clothing? Clothe them. (Whether by buying new clothes, buying second-hand clothing, or just giving from your own closets - it does not matter.)

Do you know of someone who is hurting? Be the shoulder to lean on, cry on, an ear to just listen to them. 

The basic point of this post is to just really take the time to be thankful for the things that you have such as your life, family and friends to gather and fellowship with, a warm place to be, etc. 

Matthew 25:35-36 "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Have a blessed and truly Thankful holiday.

God's blessing to you all.
~Karen

Friday, November 22, 2013

Humility is Not Humiliation


"In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." - Philippians 2:4


 
Humility by definition means "a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness." Other words for humility are modesty, humbleness, meekness. Wikipedia states that humility is defined as, "a quality by which a person considering his own defects has a humble opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to... recognize and live up to your talents and gifts in the service to others, being humble in what you do without expecting praise and adulation from others."

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

Being talented and gifted in servitude - not as a slave but a person with a servant's heart desiring only to serve others in whatever capacity you are capable of - is the putting of other's first and setting your own desires aside for the sake of someone else. Matthew 20:26-28 tells us, "...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many." Humility is a lowliness of mind, submission which can only occur when the soul is triumphant over the flesh. When our own desires and interests are put aside for the good of another person as evidenced by Christ when He put His own earthly desires aside in order to sacrifice His own body completely for mankind. That is humility and love shown at it's highest and fullest extent.


John 10:17-18 tells us, "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father."
Humility is a submission completely done on one's own accord, willfully and deliberate service to God. Our flesh wants only to be in control, win all arguments, putting itself first. Daily practice and exercise in putting our flesh behind us, taking on a servant's attitude and heart is a real struggle. It is only when we overcome our own flesh can we triumph. It is a classic "tale" of good vs evil. Good will win out because we have a Saviour, Jesus Christ on our side. This is the Son of God himself, the ultimate child of God sent by God to earth in human form only to overcome the very grave itself.


"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16
This verse does not mean that we will be immortal on earth, but that we will live eternally in Heaven, with Christ. Our earthly bodies will indeed pass away, becoming dust but our souls will not die as long as we believe in Jesus as the Messiah, who came to earth where he was crucified, died and three days later rose again in the land of the living. We confess that we are sinners, ask God for His forgiveness and believe in Him. After He was resurrected, Jesus then walked the earth for 40 days to show the people that He was alive again. His body still held the scars of His sacrifice. After this 40 days were over, Jesus ascended to Heaven with the promise to return, and that He was preparing a place for those who believe in Him, where we will live for eternity with God. The Son of Man, of God, is still serving the people by preparing that special place for us!

Jesus' ultimate sacrifice - His life and body - were given so that we, even in our sinful natures, may live in eternal life. Jesus was beaten, His body broken and bleeding, was given for our sake simply because we are so loved by God, our Creator. Jesus was not a man filled with pride. He was a man who was humble, had the ultimate servant's heart, a perfect being. He walked with the sinful, ate with prostitutes and tax collectors. He showed us again and again, demonstrating in every situation of how we are to live our lives. "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." John 13:15. While Christ could have easily called down the angels to save Him from being sacrificed, but He was following God's will, not His own earthly desires. There is no one who wants to give their body over to be beaten, broken and eventually have their very lives taken from them voluntarily. Only the Son of God, following God's will would sacrifice Himself, taking on our own sins - those which have been commited as well as those not yet commited, future sins - because of His love for us.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

We aren't expected to be perfect as Jesus was. Overcoming our flesh is a thing that we strive to achieve. It is a constant fight to overcome our sinful nature. Even in our darkest hours, we have hope. We have hope in Christ because He has overcome the entire world. Death could not hold His body down. Within three days time, Jesus walked among the living again. No, he was not like the "living dead" of our movies and television shows. He did not stumble and stagger around in that body's search for human flesh so that it could feast upon it. Jesus was fully and completely alive again, His body made whole. This Son of God is with us, giving us the strength and courage to overcome these fleshly struggles. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified...for the Lord your God goes with you." Deuteronomy 31:6 We are not alone in our struggles. God is with us, giving us strength, courage and the ability to overcome.


Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God, my Saviour, and my hope is in your all day long. - Psalm 25:4-5
Another great example of humility is the Proverbs 31 woman, aka "the Perfect Woman." Many people believe that this woman is unattainable. If you read about this woman in Proverbs 31:10-31, you can see overall, that we can strive to be like her. It is not an impossible feat. Remember, we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Philippians 4:13.

I don't know about you, but when I take the time to really read and absorb what these verses are describing, I am pretty sure that this is a woman that we can become, with God's help. The Proverbs woman loves the Lord wholeheartedly, loves and cares for her family, is wise in all she does, honors her husband, bringing him respect and trust, in turn respecting and honoring her, she takes care of her home personally, helps others, etc. Most importantly, this is a woman who loves and fears the Lord, living a life of humility, quiet strength, mercy and wisdom.

Dear God, thank you for your love. Thank you for all the blessing that you have bestowed on us. I pray, Abba, that you will create in us a servant's humble heart. Give us the strength, courage and ability to overcome this earthly flesh and desire to be more like you, Lord. I pray that we will be peacemakers in our families, the ability to keep and maintain that peace no matter what the day will bring us. I pray that we will be men and women of God, demonstrating a life of Godliness and humility. I pray that the doors to our homes, our hearts and minds be opened to those in need. I pray, Abba, that we bring respect, honor and blessing to our families and friends. Let us be the light in the midst of another's darkest hours. I pray that we bring you honor, Lord, in all that we do. In Jesus' mighty name, Amen.

Have a blessed day, my friends. I wish you humility, love, honor and respect.
~Karen







"Serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " - Galations 5:13-14

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

"I'm going to put my money on Jesus..." Phil Robertson *Updated with link

Ok so I just finished watching a video on YouTube a bit ago and it drew me in.  I have a strong need pressing on me to share with you. Not sure why this happened at 12:01 am but when the need is there, so will I be.

The video that I watched was one of Phil Robertson aka Duck Commander from Duck Dynasty speaking about Eternal Healthcare. I'll tell you that that man can really bring a message. The video is just over 26 minutes long so it isn't a quick view but I am sharing it with you anyway. I pray that you will be blessed with the time to listen.

Phil is the man behind the Duck, so to speak. He is the man who started the Duck call company. He is a "low-tech man living in a high-tech world." He is a simple man who was not always the man that is known and seen today. He used to be... wait for it! Phil used to be an immoral, drinking, cussing man. This was before his wife of now 49/50 years turned his heart to Jesus.

As Phil will tell you, he married Miss Kay when they we 14/16 years old. Through all his sinning, Miss Kay had found Jesus, waited on Phil, brought him to Jesus and together they have raised 4 boys - Alan, Jade, Willie and Jep - who also love the Lord with all their hearts.

In the midst of the various hunting seasons, they are raising the grandchildren to be Godly people as well. The Robertson's are very close with one another and do many, many things together. For all the typical - and some not-so-typical issues that come from having siblings, they are deeply rooted in family. On their show they are shown sitting at the table together, Phil says a blessing aka a prayer and then Willie will briefly speak about whatever it is that they would like to showcase that week, such as feeling with family can be rough but they are family and you love them no matter what. One episode even shows Willie and his "senile" uncle as they affectionately call him, Si (Silas) being handcuffed together for a day! Yes there are some story lines that are played up and acted out but the way they portray themselves is real.

Sorry, as I have digressed from my main thought here. Anyway, this video was recorded in California at the Saddleback church. Please take the time to listen. Phil does ramble (why does that seem so familiar to me? (-; ) but take time to listen.


 Go to YouTube and look up ( it isn't letting me post a working link, SORRY you have to physically type it in) * UPDATE with link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyL1xha_1aU *

Duck Commander Phil Robertson Talks About Why This Country Needs More Jesus


"Physical death is coming your way. It's a problem; you can't fix it. Now you're fixing to pay out the nose...You're going to live or die with or without Obamacare. ... I'm trying to get you to get in to the Eternal healthcare - that's FREE!"

Abba Father, I thank you for the freedom to choose you. Thank you for the many blessings that you have blessed us with. Thank you for men like Phil Robertson and his family, who are on tv and refused to be censored when they speak of you. We need more that that!
Abba, I pray that my friends and family will be blessed with the time to watch this video. Phil is a simple man filled with your spirit and heart, Lord. I pray that You may be seen in this man as people view this video. I pray that it stirs their interests and they crave finding out more about you, Lord. I pray that friends and family will all have good days tomorrow - or today - and be get a taste of the blessings that you bestow upon them on a daily basis. I pray that their eyes may be opened to see you, that their ears be opened to hear your voice and that their - and my - mouth be opened to speak of you and share your free Eternal Healthcare that Phil shares in the video. Thank you Abba. Through Jesus's name I pray, Amen!

Have a great and blessed day, my friends. May you one day look upon the face of Jesus and be wrapped in His loving embrace as you enter through Heaven's gates. Like Phil, I am putting my money on Jesus and I pray that you do as well. 

Love to all,
Karen

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Hearts, oh those Warm, Fuzzies

My heart was super happy today, especially this morning. Although I did not think it would be a happy heart day. Those warm, fuzzies are a happy heart hug from the inside. ;-) Weird, huh? I certainly am. :-)

Shortly before my alarm would normally go off, my phone buzzed. I'm not sure why, because there was no text, no alarm or anything. Just felt like buzzing I suppose. After checking my phone, I noticed that our window blinds were more orangey than the typical gray of most mornings. I checked outside to see why the orange color was showing up and there it was. A gorgeous morning. The sky was a medium gray color due to the rain, and below the tree line, things were in shadow. But, oh the trees! Gorgeous yellows, reds and oranges. The sun was shining on the trees. The bright Autumn colors were offset by the darker sky. Over the trees was a very vivid rainbow. Every single color was shining brightly.

I wish that I had a picture to share with you but alas, by the time I grabbed my camera and got to the window in the kitchen, the houses were being brightened by the sun, the clouds were parting and the rainbow was quickly fading away. Within a moment's span, it was gone; nothing but a memory. In lieu of a photo of the actual rainbow and Autumn trees, here is a similar sky and bright trees picture.
Google images photo
My prayers this morning definitely including thanking God for showing me the scenery with the rainbow. I felt it was just for me in a way, because before I could share it with my family, it was gone. Sometimes life is just like that. There are things that we feel we want to share but in reality, are not meant to share. Sometimes though, distractions happen. I was definitely distracted soon after by my dog who left a single "present" on the sofa cushion. That was not a good distraction, by any means!
Koko, my mental cat
 
Genesis 9:12-16
 
And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;  and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
 
In the midst of our distractions, there is a voice that speaks to us. Sometimes we are too busy to hear it. Sometimes we listen. Sometimes we just ignore it. Although ignoring it, does not make it go away. That little voice keeps speaking gently. At times that voice can be barely a hum, and other times, it is like a slap against the head-cannot miss it for anything. This morning that voice was telling me that it was about time I sat up and listened. It was telling me that I was missing out by being so focused on things that were not as important. It told me to take the time to listen with my whole being. Listen to my children's voices as they speak. Listen to the sound of the rain against the window. Listen to the "heartbeat" of life, as I go about my day. Listen. Quietly listen.

I truly heard my children's emotions as they spoke to each other. (Not always the happiest.) I could hear the purring of my cat as she was stretched out under the kitchen table as I drank my coffee smoothie. (Yum!) I could hear the hum of vehicles on the highway, the sounds of the neighbors leaving for their day at work or running errands. I could hear my dog snoring and snoring as she was laying under the coffee table in the next room. I could also hear her whimper as she dreamed. As I sat on the sofa between my boys, I could hear them breathe, and felt that if I was quiet enough I could hear their hearts beating. It did my heart good to hear their laughter.

I love to listen to children's laughter. They feel so much and cannot hide it. It is honest laughter. It is laughter straight from their hearts and makes me smile every time. I love the way their eyes light up and seem to shine with their hearts. Before I became a mother, children's laughter did not make my heart melt like it does with my own boys. They make my heart happy. (That warm, fuzzy feeling that people get, to me that is my heart being happy.)




It is said that laughter is the best medicine and it definitely was doing my heart good to hear it today. Spend time with your children and/or grandchildren. Listen. Enjoy the time with them and just listen. It will do your heart good.

I pray that you all have a wonderful day and that you see many blessings and hear many things that cause your hearts to be happy. If your day is sunny, "listen" to the sun. If it is rainy, hear the rain. Focus on the things you normally miss because you are too busy. Slow down and smell those flowers before they fade away into Winter. I wish you all Happy Hearts.

~Karen