Friday, September 30, 2016

Every.Little.Thing.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6
Chances are you've heard that verse before.
Probably had it memorized at one time.
Maybe you still do!
But are you living it???

Because that, right there, is a pretty tall order!

I was drivig home from speaking for a MOPS group yesterday, thinking about my husband and some decisions we need to make. And I started praying.
Specifically, I was praying about deciding on accepting (or not) a tenant application for a rental house. And, for a moment, I thought, Maybe this isn't important enough to be bothering God.
As if on cue, the Holy Spirit brought Philippians 4:6 to mind. And I thought, Everything? How much is that? I mean, really. And I determined to look up the original Greek word when I got home. To justify not praying about the small stuff see exactly what God was saying through Paul when he wrote that epistle.
And guess what I learned?
HE meant for us to pray about everything!
The Greek word transliterated "pas" means all, the whole, every kind of, each "part of a totality". That definition doesn't allow much room for leaving anything out, does it?
Me thinks God wants us to pray about every.little.thing.
HE wants to be a part of every area of our lives.

So, as if that wasn't enough, I decided to take it one step further and find out what HE meant by telling us not to worry about anything.
I mean, did He intend to give us any wiggle-room?
Uh, I think not.
The Greek word mēdeís comes from mḗ, "not a possibility" and heís, "one".
Properly, it means "no one, nothing".
And literally, it means "not even one."

Yeah.
So, as I understand it, this verse is saying we are not to worry about even one thing. And the way we are to accomplish such a feat is to pray about every.little.thing.
Therefore, I will pray about selecting tenants, and choosing books to read, and accepting invitations to speak, and responding to disrespectful words, and everything over, beneath, and in-between.
Because if God is good, and able to do all things well (and I believe HE is) then seeking His heart in every move I make (whether large or small) is the only reasonable thing for me (us!) to do.
Amen?

Karen

Thursday, September 29, 2016

HE Has a Plan

So, Monday morning my phone rang.
And I almost didn't answer it.
Because I like listening to my new ring-tone, ya know!
But when Miss Clara finished her plea, I answered the call and discovered a MOPS leader on the other end of the line. She had heard me speak for a MOPS group several years ago, and wondered if I would be willing to come to the new group she's leading. Of course I said I'd be happy to, and then I asked if she had any dates in mind.

She responded by saying, "Well, that's my problem. Any chance you could come Wednesday???"

A quick check of my calendar verified that I could make it, and our plans were underway.
Yeah. Our plans got started Monday.
But God convinced me that HIS plan had been in place for a long time.

Can I just say, any thought that my time with those MOPS ladies yesterday was a random chance of cancelled speakers, or lost contacts, or last-minute changes, or whatever the reason was our plans didn't get set in motion until Monday - was completely wiped away by the perfect orchestration of God's timing?
I cannot tell you how many moms shared with me that the message of HOPE God brought through me was exactly what they needed to hear. They told me stories of struggles with children and husbands and every-day-kinda-stuff, and it was clear to me that God had put it all together just as HE knew it needed to be.
The MOPS coordinator didn't know it.
I surely didn't know it.
But HE had it all under control.

And you know, don't you, that the God who worked things perfectly for the MOPS group at Shepherd's Gate Church is the same God who is perfectly orchestrating the events of your life?
When you don't understand what's going on...
When you don't like the way things are playing out...
When you wish you could see into the future and know how your circumstance is going to be resolved...
When you long to have control over time and space - well, at least over your time and space...
May you be encouraged to know that the God who holds the universe together in perfect balance sees you, and knows you, and has a plan.

Karen

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pray with Me, Please

So, I was going to write a fun little post about my adventure and success this past weekend of changing the ring-tone on my phone.
I was going to say how much I love receiving phone calls, but find myself not wanting to answer.
Because I like the ring-tone so much.
Then I thought it would be cute to find the clip of the movie from which my ring-tone comes and post it here so you know what makes me so happy.
(Hearing Miss Clara call out, "Raise 'em up, Lord. Raise 'em up!")

But then I watched the clip, and my spirit got really excited, and all of a sudden writing a clever post seemed meaningless. All I want to do now is invite you to watch this clip and join me in prayer.
Our world needs it!

Karen

Monday, September 26, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hot Off the Press

Look what I got yesterday!!!


I am so stinkin' excited!

For a few reasons.

*The idea of the t-shirt is something I've been playing with for a few months, and it's fun to see the idea become reality. So I'm excited about that aspect.
*But more than that, I'm pumped because I was waiting to get them done until speaking season was upon me. And, well, I'll be back at it next week. So that's exciting.
*Still more than that, my heart is thrilled by the truth printed on the back of these shirts.
You see, as I spent time reflecting on the 11 years since I started speaking - as I began gearing up to focus on it again - God allowed me to look at what HE has done. It began with the notion in 2005 that God was using my children and my struggles as a mother to transform me into the woman He has created me to be. God used Psalm 66:10 to help me understand the refining process through which He is taking me.
And I was filled with hope.
Now I look at myself, eleven years later - still speaking to young moms about hope in the midst of the struggle, and I ask myself, Is it true? Is what I'm saying valid? Does God really transform us through hard times? Because, let's face it: I know I am not the woman God has created me to be. He isn't finished with this refining process in me. I'm not there yet!
Yes, that is true.
But so is this: I'm not the woman I used to be.
God has taken that angry, frustrated, irritable young mother who was devoid of hope, and HE has changed her heart. He has given her clearer perspectives. He has grown her faith and taught her how to trust Him in the midst of, of everything. He has brought joy to a life that was joy-less.
And He continues to do it every day.
Oh, I know, I am not who I will one day be, but - praise Jesus! - I am not who I was.

So, I am excited to share these t-shirts with other women who are in the midst of the Refiner's fire - be it via mothering, or something else. And I am delighted about the testimony each one of us has: While I may not yet be who God wants me to be, I'm not the woman I used to be!

And all God's children said, Amen!

Karen

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

All Glory to God

Oh, friends. How I love it when God speaks to my heart!

And HE speaks through His Word, amen?

I feel vulnerable typing this out for the world to see, but I am not my own.
May God use me and my words and my vulnerability for HIS glory alone.
You see, the thing is, I have been so skewed in my thinking. I have often been intimidated by seeing people who are being used by God to do good things. I have looked at them and thought, Wow. They're so amazing. So talented. Accomplished. Look at how they shine!
While simultaneously concluding of myself, I'll never be like that. I can't do those things. I am not as worthwhile as they are.
And then I find feelings of jealousy and self-deprecation creeping into my heart - tempting me to miss out on the good God is doing. I've gone there too many times to count.
But, thanks be to God who - by His grace and mercy given to us by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit - speaks. Through study of His Word, HE has set me free.
Just look at this, will you?
These are verses we have been studying in my Precepts class for the past two weeks.
As you read them, note the Source of the gifts we have. (The italics are mine.)

7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit... 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
~1 Corinthians 12:7-11

6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith...
~Romans 12:6

10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
~1 Peter 4:10-11
Did you see it?
I mean, could HE make it any more clear???
Over and over again we are told the gift(s) each believer is given comes from the Spirit, by the grace of God. It isn't from us, or about us. Has nothing to do with us - except that in God's mercy HE called us, and chose in His perfect knowledge to equip us with particular abilities for the edification of the Church.
The gifts we have been given are to be used by us - as directed by God, through His Spirit - for the common good, to bring Him glory.
Exaltation of ourselves (or other believers) has no place in this equation.
And I?
Am so thankful to God for His Word and His patience and His ability to speak Truth to my heart.

Have you found yourself feeling jealous or insignificant because of someone else's spiritual gifts?
How does this perspective from God's Word affect you?

Karen

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Women's Health PSA

So, this past summer someone I love very much had a double mastectomy.
She is doing well now. Doesn't even need chemo.
And that's a good thing. Thank You, Jesus!

Her experience caused her to implore me to go get my annual mammogram.
(Which I was kinda behind schedule on getting well over-due for OK I was avoiding it. *ahem*)
BUT, I finally got it done yesterday.
Not gonna lie. It was as unpleasant as always. Maybe more so.
But I got it done.
And if there's anything wrong, I'll find out sooner rather than later.

So, dear sister-friends of mine, are you up-to-date on your mammogram?
If not, go get yourself an appointment and get those girls checked.
Your life is too important to risk avoiding a little lot of discomfort.

Karen