Karen

Top Ten Reasons to NOT Do Daily Devotions

May 22, 2019 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

I’ve been working on a new book, one that I also plan to use in speaking to women’s groups and church groups, which I call “Jesus Time.” It’s about the practice of spending a little time with God each morning. I write devotional books, and so I’ve adopted this habit over the years as God continually nudged me to do it. Now I believe it’s the most important thing I do each day.

While working on the book, I was reminded of some excuses I used early on or ones I heard from others about not taking that time with God. I thought I’d share them with you.

You can use them if you’d like, or perhaps you will feel the same nudge I did, to surrender your heart and spend time with the One who loves you more than you can even imagine.

Okay, here we go.

Number 10: I’m just not a morning person! I can’t do anything before my second cup of coffee.

Number 9: Do I look like a holy roller? My family would think I was weird if I did that!

Number 8: I have to get the kids up, make lunches, get everyone off to school, get dressed and then get myself to work. I just can’t add one more thing to my morning routine.

Number 7: I don’t really know how to do devotions. In fact, I’m not sure what they are, and I don’t know much about the Bible.

Number 6: I have to go to the gym first thing in the morning. I’m trying to stay healthy and I can only focus on one thing at a time.

Number 5: I barely have time for myself, so how can I have time for God? I’m sure God knows how busy I am!

Number 4: If it didn’t have to be every day, I might do it. Can you do it once a week or maybe every other week?

Number 3: I’m sure God has better things to do than listen to me whine. I’ll try it when I’m older.

Number 2: I tried doing devotions once, but I just couldn’t do it. It was boring and I fell asleep half the time.

And the Number One reason to NOT do devotions:

I’m afraid to sit down with God all by myself. My life is messy and I’m sure He doesn’t want to spend time with me!

The excuses may vary, but some of these may ring true for you. I’ve also written the Top Ten Reasons to DO Daily Devotions and I will post those soon. If you’re not doing devotions, let me know how I can help. If you are doing them, I’d love to hear a favorite story or two from what I’ve come to call, “Jesus Time.” Blessings to you today.

Karen

A Mom Is Love

May 10, 2019 in Inspirational

What a Great Word for Moms

Happy Mother’s Day

Karen

Stay Calm

May 9, 2019 in Inspirational

What a Great Word
May peace fill your heart and soul.

Karen

God Is Our Help

May 8, 2019 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

As the author of over 115 books, including many devotionals, of which nine are dailies, I feel called to invite more of you to join me in the morning hours and share special time with God. I call the time I spend each morning Jesus time because I always invite Him in to be with me, inspire my heart and guide my steps.

Today I want to reach out to you and give you a devotional moment to start your day. I will post one for each day as often as I can so that we can do this together. I look forward to sharing this special time with you.

Wellspring

Karen

BIG Belief

March 19, 2019 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

This morning as I read an entry from Wellspring, I noted the Scripture from Matthew 9:27-29 where Jesus is talking to two blind men. They have followed Him around with the hope that He will heal their blindness. Jesus asks them plainly if they truly believe that He can do this…do they believe that He can heal them? They say they do believe and so Jesus heals them.

As I reflect on this idea, I can’t help wondering if I have it in me to believe big enough that even my own blindness can be healed. I don’t wonder so much about whether Jesus “can” heal me, but I tend to be less certain about whether He “will” heal me. I suspect if I had been one of those blind men, I would have been able to see better, but more than likely, I would have still needed glasses because I probably wouldn’t believe BIG enough to see perfectly.

So often we are reminded in Scripture to look at what it is we truly believe. Somehow BIG things don’t seem to happen if our belief system is small. Big things require us to step up and put everything we’ve got on the line. They require that we believe that God can do anything. If we surrender our worries and our hopes and our need to be healed of any kind of blindness, seeking to be all that He intends us to be, then He will act in big ways on our behalf. Ah! There’s the problem! We have to have BIG belief and big faith.

Whatever you are believing for today, be brave and have the courage to believe bigger than you’ve ever believed before. Chances are good that you will begin to see many things about your life more clearly, and you may even be healed of some matter of blindness.

Let’s think BIG…no, BIGGER today!

Karen

Christmas Treasures

December 22, 2018 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

Many of us have ornaments, or handmade decorations from our children, or gifts from beloved friends and family that only make an appearance once a year at Christmastime. We treasure those special things and find joy in holding each one as we remove them from their protective wrappers. Seeing them in the sparkling light, a flash of memory brings back the picture of when we first received them. They are treasures that bring joy to our hearts.

Actually, Christmastime is filled with treasures as we sing our favorite carols once again, make grandma’s recipe for sugar cookies, and send love and good wishes to our friends. Silent Night and Away in a Manger bring gentle memories of days gone by, echoing their joy and filling us with peace and with the spirit of the season.

It has always been this way. When a young virgin named Mary first heard the words of the Angel, announcing God’s plan to deliver the world from sin, she pondered those words, treasuring them in her heart, most likely for her entire life. When the shepherds in the field heard angels singing in the night, they were caught in the glory of the moment and determined that they would go to Bethlehem and search for this treasure, the baby in a manger. Of course, the wise scientists of the day had been studying the stars for some time, prepared to follow His star and bring treasures of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Christmas is filled with treasures of the season, but some are only fleeting and disappear like visions of sugarplums. Other treasures, like the gift of God’s Son, will last forever. May you be blessed this Christmas with the treasures that remain in your heart from here to heaven.

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21

Karen

The Good News Angel

October 30, 2018 in Inspirational

Since my new book, What a Great Word, is releasing soon, I thought it might be a good idea to share a few excerpts from it.  The past few weeks have been relatively short of what feels like Good News, so here’s a thought that might bring a little warm light to your day. The word for the day is NEWS!

The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.” Luke 1:19.

These days it’s difficult to put the two words, “good” and “news” side by side. Good news doesn’t seem to stream through the numerous devices we have at our disposal.

But in biblical times, and still today, God tries to get us to hear the good news. He wants us to never forget that despite the mess the world gets itself into, He is still watching everything. He is still in control. Perhaps simply trusting that statement helps us to know that we can indeed receive good news into our hearts.

We can spread the word. We can choose to play the angel and be people who are sent out to speak with others about the good news of God. We can be an ambassador of God’s goodwill, His steadfast love, and His enduring kindness to human beings. We can go before God in our prayer time and in our study of His word and stand close to Him, seeking His guidance on how to create balance in the world; how to give people the good news.

You have a lot of things to do today, and each one is important, but see if you can find a moment to offer good news to someone. Extend a helping hand, offer a prayer, or simply make a connection so they know they are not alone. The world all around you is desperately waiting for something better; they are waiting for good news.

Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special regard to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.  Saint Augustine






Karen

Struggle Makes You Hold On Tight

August 21, 2018 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

My new devotional, What a Great Word will come out this fall and as I was looking at writing a blog today, I decided to share one of the entries.  The book focuses on one word each day from Scripture that you might want to study, or contemplate or consider again to get a new perspective.  I chose the word STRUGGLE for today, because that’s what my own life has felt like for the past few weeks.  I’ve spent endless hours praying, worrying, wondering, trying to fix things, and yet, nothing has changed. I’ve put up the white flag of surrender though, believing that the answers will come soon. Now I will simply keep my chin up and trust that God has my back.  Maybe you’ve been there too.  So, here’s the piece on STRUGGLE from the new book:

Struggle is an equal opportunity player. It doesn’t care what you do for a living or where you build a home. It doesn’t care how educated you are or how many children you have. It doesn’t even care if you go to church Sunday after Sunday or simply visit on key holidays. It’s there for you, or perhaps it’s there because of you.

Struggle comes to each of us as a contender, as a boxer in the ring. It’s ready to brag about its winning abilities, to taunt you into fighting, to get you into the arena where it competes. We know this because struggle is not coming first and foremost from the job you have, the family dynamic you live in, or the people in your neighborhood. It’s coming straight from the wily One who prowls the Earth. It comes to you to test you and taunt you and make you question the authority of the absolute power of God. It’s spiritual warfare that attempts to whittle away at your heart and mind and soul until you simply feel lost.

You may struggle to pay your bills, or to lose weight, or to find a great job, or about any number of other life situations, but remember that no matter what it looks like on the surface, it’s really a challenge to distract you from God’s love and grace. It is an attempt to get you out of God’s hand. This is not your day to struggle, though. It’s your day to win! Give God thanks and praise that you are tightly held in His powerful hands.

Scripture: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12, NIV

 






Karen

Undeserved and Underserved

July 2, 2018 in Inspirational

I’ve been musing this week about these two words, “undeserved” and “underserved.”  Inserting that one letter “r” changes everything about them and yet they cause me to think about who we are as human beings.  No matter where we live or what we do vocationally, we all live in undeserved grace. We have done nothing to earn our position in life, our family heritage, or our gifts and talents. These things were given to each of us by the grace of God.  Sure, we’ve worked hard and we’ve tried to make our way in the world, but it seems to me that we’ve been free to do that because every morning God brings a new sunrise and every evening He gives us a chance to rest.  He blesses us, not because we earned our way to His favor, but simply because He wants our good, He wants us to live well.  It’s all undeserved and totally unearned.

So, putting that “r” back into the midst of the word, we get “underserved.”   Even though we’ve been given this umbrella of unearned and undeserved grace, we still do not do all that we can to be of service to the One who watches over our very being.  We do not serve Him with our whole hearts and minds.  We do not minister to each other without counting the costs to ourselves or judging the worth of another.  We, who are part of the undeserving crowd, are caught underserving the One who reigns over the universe. Perhaps the “r” that is missing for some of us stands for Redeemer, the One who gives us undeserved grace and loves us even though we stubbornly underserve Him.

I wonder what the world would be like if we imagined every person as being deserving of love and grace and kindness, and we served each other with gratitude for all God has done for us.  I suspect, the news would have very different reports indeed.






Karen

Moving Toward Forgiveness

April 27, 2018 in Inspirational

I have a new book coming out soon called What a Great Word!  I’m excited about the book because it takes rather common words we find in Scripture and offers us a new perspective, or another way we might look at those words.  After the recent experience that Bruce and I had with the incredibly careless and deceitful moving company that packed us up haphazardly, broke many of our things, lost some of our favorite items and yet took no ownership of their own craziness, I had to pull a word out of my own book because I was so appalled by this experience. From the company president, to the dispatchers, to the moving guys, we have seldom witnessed such horrid behavior.  The word I needed then is “forgiveness.”

This past few days, I’ve been reviewing my book to make some minor changes for the publisher and when I got to the word “forgiveness,” I found that I had written this:

“Lord, when my fellow believer sins against me, how many times must I forgive him? Should I forgive him as many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive him more than seven times. You must forgive him even if he wrongs you seventy times seven.”  Matthew 18:21–22, NCV

Wait a minute! Does this mean if someone does something that feels like a slight, like an intentional act that hurts you, you need to forgive them, not just once, but 490 times? Exactly!
You probably don’t have a chart that tells you how many times you’ve forgiven someone who hurt you. In fact, you may feel that what happened was so wrong that you stopped counting at number one. You stopped counting and you stopped forgiving in the same moment. Certainly, human beings are accountable for many horrendous acts, sometimes repeating them numerous times. Someone in your life may have hurt you more times than you can count.

What does it mean then to move past the hurt, to move past the event that caused you sorrow and get to the place where your heart is willing to forgive? Perhaps the best example is to look at your relationship with God. Would you say that you have offended God by your actions at least once? Twice? Maybe even 490 times? The fact is that God’s love is so enormous that He does not count your offences. He does not keep a chart of the wrongs you have done because once you have asked Him to forgive you, He forgives, once and for all. He does not hold a grudge and He remembers your sin no more. Imagine that. He doesn’t ever think about what you did to slight Him ever again.

When you let go of your past hurts, the offences that have weighed you down for years, you don’t have to replay them in your mind any more. You can give yourself permission to move beyond what was and discover more of what God has for you. The offence will not go away, the offender will not be absolved, but you will be free to start again. Perhaps it’s time to simply forgive others as God has forgiven you, not for the other person, but for yourself.

 

I read this piece several times and as I did so, I thought about each person from this moving company.  Each one lied. Each one denied any sense of responsibility for the incredible amount of damage they had done to our household goods.  Sure, the human side of me is angry.  I believe that they should admit their sins.  But that is as far as I can take it.  I leave them in God’s hands because it’s time to move on to forgiveness.  I forgive them, not for their sake, but for my own, so that I can love my new home and start again in God’s grace.  After all, I know how many times He has forgiven me.

I look forward to sharing more about life in Savannah with all of you in the days ahead.  Blessings to you today.