Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour

We Learn In The Valley

We learn in the valley, to let Him guide us along,

To let His grace & mercy make our spirit strong;

Even when we might become weary & weak,

He hears in our prayers, every word we speak.

We learn in the valley, to keep our eyes upon Him,

He becomes to us then, our sweet & Faithful Friend;

He walks right beside us in every step we take,

And He promises to never leave us or walk away.

We learn in the valley, fellowship with Him will grow,

The Lily of the Valley is precious just to know;

His fragrance is beautiful to even get near,

He knows how to touch our hurtful, falling tears.

We learn in the valley, to let Him have full command,

So we may be led by His pure & righteous hand;

There’s a reason in our life in everything He does,

We just need to give Him our faith & total trust.

 

Snug As A Bug In A Rug!

By David Roper

When I was a child, my family lived in a house my father built in the cedar breaks west of Duncanville, Texas. Our house had a small kitchen-dinette area, two bedrooms, and a great room with a large stone fireplace in which we burned 2-foot-long cedar logs. That fireplace was the center of warmth in our home.

There were five people in our family: my father and mother, my sister, my cousin, and me. Since we had only two bedrooms, I slept year-round on a porch with canvas screens that rolled down to the floor. Summers were delightful; winters were cold.

I remember dashing from the warmth of the living room onto the porch, tiptoeing across the frost-covered plank floor in my bare feet, leaping into bed and burrowing under a great mountain of blankets. Then, when hail, sleet, or snow lashed our house and the wind howled through the eaves like a pack of wolves, I snuggled down in sheltered rest. “Snug as a bug in a rug,” my mother used to say. I doubt that any child ever felt so warm and secure.

Now I know the greatest security of all: God Himself. I can “lie down in peace, and sleep (Ps. 4:8), knowing that He is my shelter from the stinging storms of life. Enveloped in the warmth of His love, I’m snug as a bug in a rug.

Number Our Days

“If you can look into the seeds of time,
and say which grain will grow,
and which will not,
Speak then to me . . . “

Macbeth, act I, scene 1, line 58

Who wouldn’t want to hear from someone like that? Who hasn’t felt himself standing on tiptoe, straining to see what lies ahead? Even the writers of a weekly news magazine tried to look beyond today. They didn’t try many predictions but they did ask some tough, sweeping questions. Among them:

Is America in retreat?

Will our nation regain its trust?

Is public education doomed?

Can the world be fed?

Can we find more oil?

Can we keep hoping?

That last one is really the root issue, isn’t it? Unless we have hope, it could mean some pretty dismal years in front of us. Shakespeare’s “seeds of time” might very well be scattered and dangerously thinned out by the next century.

But let’s limit our thoughts to something we can handle. Most of us must admit those news magazine questions are too vast for us. We need a bite-size chunk to chew on.

Okay then, how about that unit called your family . . . now there’s something worth thinking about beyond today. Where are you going? What’s your game plan for the next ten years? Given any thought to specific objectives you want to reach—or at least shoot for? How about selecting some priorities? You say there’s no hurry? I challenge that. These ten years will literally fly by. A decade from now you’ll rip the December sheet off your calendar wondering, “How did ten years go by so fast?”

Ten years . . . Right now, stop and add ten years to your life and (if you have a family) do the same with each of your children.

Suddenly we’re all a bit more sober. The clapper of urgency has struck the bell of reality, and some of us sense a summons back to our inescapable responsibility. God commands us to number our days. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 92:12

Forgive me for pressing the issue near the point of offense, but unless some of you who read these words stop and think and start to execute essential goals for the next ten years, indifference, passivity, and procrastination will win another victory. And instead of making a few hard decisions that will initiate beneficial changes, your family ties will loosen, your children will drift, and you’ll dread the memory of the way you were.

How much better to invite the living, all-knowing Lord to show you ways to make the coming years much better than the years before! To allow you to become better, as well as older.

How about offering this prayer—in faith:

Lord, since You can look into the seeds of time,
and say which grain will grow,
Speak then to me . . .

Lord, show us how to make the coming years more fruitful than prior years.

— Charles R. Swindoll

Give Thanks

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”1 Thessalonians 5:18

I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot lately. What is it? When should we show it? What does God say about it?

Paul wrote the Thessalonians, “Give thanks in all circumstances”. Most read that verse and think it rather nice. So we slap a sloppy coat of thanksgiving on life and go about our day. In reality, most of us are thankful for very little.

Notice the Bible doesn’t command us to feel thankful in all circumstances. Instead it commands us to “give thanks in all circumstances.” When I begin to praise God in a difficult situation, even if I don’t feel like it, many times the scales fall from my eyes and I begin to see glimpses of His glory sprinkled on the black backdrop of the situation like diamonds on black velvet.

Sometimes I don’t see glory in tragedy, but I still can praise God because I know He is there.

Gratitude changes the lens through which we see the circumstances in our little slice of time. Thanksgiving changes our perspective despite broken dreams, broken relationships, tumultuous circumstances, and unfulfilled longings.

As you praise God for who He is and thank Him for what He’s done, your perspective of Him grows larger and your problems grow smaller. As a result, you will experience a deeper sense of intimacy with God as the emotional gap between what you know to be true and how you feel at the moment closes.

On many occasions in the Psalms, David complained about his circumstances (Psalms 42; 57; 62). But more often than not, about midway through David’s laments, he begins praising God for who He is and thanking God for what He’s done. And you know what happens? All of a sudden David starts feeling better! Life isn’t so bad after all! His problems grow smaller as his perspective of God grows larger, and he begins to see God’s glory shining through the situation.

Why is that? In the writing of one little Psalm, David shifted from depression to rejoicing. He didn’t wait until God changed his situation, solved his problem, or made him feel better before he began thanking Him.

When we stop complaining and grumbling and begin speaking God’s love language of gratitude, our perspective will change as well. We will begin seeing moments of sudden glory through the lens of praise and thanksgiving—glory moments that were there all along, but hidden from the grumbling eye.

Tuesday With Karen

Thanking Him for past & present things, and mostly, for being the King of Kings! Happy Thanksgiving!  KI

Bless The Lord, Oh My Soul

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, with glory & praise,

His eyes watch over my life, day after day;

He waits for me to earnestly upon him call,

When He sees a need I have, He supplies it all!

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, with great admiration,

He’s the One who gave me eternal salvation;

He died on the cross, so my soul could be saved,

The blood He shed from Calvary still saves today!

 

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, from deep in my heart,

I’m so thankful for God, who never departs;

Others may bow before a god that doesn’t live,

The God I know comforts, remains, and forgives!

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, who puts a song in my voice,

When life becomes hard, He helps me to rejoice;

He loadeth me with benefits, each day, He bestows,

My heart is so thankful for the Lord I’ve come to know!

Thanksgiving   2015

 

Tuesday With Karen

This is written for Thanksgiving this year. He deserves praise from the bottom of our heart! KI
It Pays To Praise
It pays to praise His name, in each day anew,
He’s worthy of glory, & He carries us through;
He watches over us with tender love & care,
When we call upon Him, He is always there!
It pays to praise God, in the great & the small,
He is awesome in power, & still Lord over all;
Mighty enough to speak the world into place,
Yet lives in our heart by His glorious grace!
It pays to praise the Lord, giving Him glory,
By Him, our heart knows salvation’s story;
He shed His holy blood on Calvary’s cross,
He doesn’t want one soul to be forever lost!
It pays to praise God, He has no measure,
His love lets us see bountiful treasures;
He blesses us far above what we deserve,
Praise Him, He guides our way by His Word!

 

It’s The Little Things

by Meagan Davis

Such Small Sin, Such Great Sacrifice

For all sin. For murder, theft, abuse, immorality. All of these put Christ on the cross. He died for all sin.

The greatness of this fact should never cease to amaze us. But sometimes, we put so much emphasis on all of the big sins that I think we forget about the fact that it was all sin that put Christ on the cross. It wasn’t just murder that put Him there. It was that simple lie that you told yesterday, that unkind thought when someone cut you off in traffic, that angry spirit at a friend. Christ died for the small things. Even if one of these seemingly small sins was all that we did, it would still not be enough to get us into heaven. Christ died for all sins, great and small.

So as you go throughout the day, think about those small sins. Those are what He died for. He saved us from that! So why do we continue in sin? Romans 12:1 tells us that we should present ourselves as a “living sacrifice” and that this is our “reasonable service.” Let’s not take for granted God’s great grace in saving us from these small sins. May it cause us to live our lives for Him.

Prayers of Gratitude

By Charles Stanley

Prayer is the amazing privilege of entering into God’s throne room. The Creator and Ruler of the universe actually invites us to communicate with Him. Typically, our prayers consist of petitions, intercession, confession, praise, and thanksgiving.

Which of these five aspects of prayer consumes most of the time you spend talking with the Father? If you’re like many believers, you’d have to admit that thanksgiving isn’t at the top of the list. And there are several reasons why this could be true.

Whatever fills our minds is also what dominates our prayers. If we feel overwhelmed with problems, petitions naturally become more urgent. When concerns for loved ones are foremost in our mind, then intercession will be our focus. A sense of conviction and regret over sin leads us to concentrate on confession. All these are important and necessary, but we can’t let the cares of this earthly life and our own needs prevent us from taking time to center our attention on the Lord.

Now, it’s true that after we’ve seen God work in our life or answer a prayer request, we’re filled with gratitude and thank Him repeatedly. But after a while we tend to forget and drift back into our regular thought patterns. Here’s the key to keeping gratitude and praise foremost in our prayers: learning to know the Lord more deeply. As we read the Scriptures and discover His glorious nature and mighty works, He’ll become our focus, and our prayers will be filled with praise and thanks, not just for what He’s done for us but in appreciation of who He is—our good, loving, faithful, and glorious God.

Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour

Don’t Ever Get Over It

Don’t ever get over the joy of our salvation,

God erased Hell’s death & condemnation;

He came in our heart, our sins were forgiven,

Then He gave us a place with Him in Heaven!

Don’t ever get over the peace He gives inside,

When He comes within our heart to abide;

There’s no amount of money, riches, or wealth,

That can take the place of not going to Hell!

Don’t ever get over the privilege to seek His face,

We watch Him answer prayer by His loving grace;

So many trials, His hand brings us through,

Impossible things with man, God can still do!

Don’t ever get over the blood He shed for our sin,

We’d have no hope at all if it wasn’t for Him;

So when we let other sensations & desires fade,

Don’t ever get over it, concerning being saved!

 

Time With Dad

My Dad worked for many years at the National Iron and Metal Company on Decatur Street in Atlanta. The main business was buying recyclable metals, most where things had been torn down and the metal removed and sold. No whole cars but a lot of car parts and a lot of steel beams. The real money was made across the street where they stored the good stuff, copper, brass and aluminum. Daddy worked everyday but Sunday and rarely took any vacation time or extra time off. But on Saturday he worked from 8-12, so he would let one of us kids go with him sometimes. The way he decided who would go was if you were up, dressed and had breakfast when he was ready to leave. Most of us would sleep in at least until 8 on Saturdays. O’yea you had to be eight years old to go the first time. All the boys looked forward to these trips if more than one got up then they had to pick which one would stay home, so they took turns. Many Saturdays no one was awake and dressed when he left to work so no one got to go. Then I turned eight. Every Saturday morning I got up and ready to go with Dad, I went a lot. If one of the other boys got up then they went, but just in case they all over slept I was ready.
I enjoyed the ride with my Dad and just me and noticing how he seemed different when you could spend a little one on one time together. I was the baby boy of the family so after the others got to “big” to go to work with Dad I went often.
Many years have passed since those rides to work with Dad but the memories will last all my life. One of the things I learned on those cool Saturday mornings was a special time when I got alone with my Dad I was able to talk to him about thing I never would have otherwise.
Maybe we need to put the same effort into getting up to spend time with our Heavenly Father. It will surprise you how much you can learn about Him when you just seat and talk and listen. The old song by Austin Miles, In The Garden, says it just right.

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
Refrain
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
Refrain
I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.