Karen's Devotions

This is a selected collection of my devotions e-published on Daily Devotions, Journey Christian Church, Irvine, California; George Bragg, Editor. To join the mailing list, email George, gbragg@cox.net.

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As a 25+ year homeschooling vet, post-cancer, math prof, mother of five, master's track and field athlete, and certificated private pilot, I have a lot to share about what God has done in my life. In 2000 I began writing devotions as something to try when it seemed like accoustic pianists were becoming an endangered species at church. I have since found great blessings from writing and sharing. God is good.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Spiritual Rhythm

First Published July 9, 2018

 
Rhythm. It’s all encompassing. There is rhythm throughout God’s creation. The earth rotates about the sun creating the cyclic seasons.  The earth spins about its axis giving us night and day. The moon is crucial, effecting the tide’s ebb and flow.
 
From within, our heart beats sending life giving blood throughout our body. We breathe rhythmically, inhaling air and exhaling carbon dioxide.  Our blood has been enriched with oxygen.
 
I think God made creation and us with rhythms for a purpose.  In those areas where we can make choices, rhythms are important.  We sometimes call these rhythms habits.  We make choices about our hygiene rhythms.  We make choices about our eating rhythms. We work and play with rhythms (schedules) in mind.
 
When it comes to our relationship with God, we might not be so rhythmic.  We pray spontaneously (when we want something).  We fellowship when it suits us.  We study the Bible when we have a writing deadline (I’m busted!)
***
Proverbs 22:17
Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge;

So, how do we (okay, I) regain my spiritual rhythm?  First I must confess my slacking and bad time management and pray that the Lord will guide me to be a better steward. Then, I’ve got to start.  Maybe a jumpstart like a defibrillator would do the trick.  Total emersion in prayer and study may be needed to ensure a proper focus towards God’s will. A slowly accelerating and deliberate plan may be best for me.  None the less, I must start. 
 
How do I keep up the momentum?  I’m easily distracted and need reminders to keep me accountable. A friend might be helpful. There is also technology.  I set my phone alarm for two reminders. One goes off midday and the other rings in the evening. I can be diligent. I have faith.
 
Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
 
***
Dear Lord, My spiritual rhythm was fading, barely beating.  It seemed overwhelming to try to regain it. Through your word you promise that I can have faith.  Please help me to continue that faith and focus on revitalizing my rhythm, keeping it strong.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


Copyright 2018 by Karen Vaughn

Friday, June 08, 2018

Psst!


First Published June 7, 2018
Proverbs 22:17
Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge;

School year end is upon us.  Once again in thousands of schools and universities, students will be cast out into the wide world with diplomas in hand.  I offer “Five P’s” to help carry you or your favorite graduate to the next stage of life!
***
Pray
Matthew 6:6
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
***
Purpose
Matthew 7:7
…Seek, and you will find…

***
Prepare
Proverbs 24:7
Prepare your outside work. Make it fit for yourself in the field…
***

Plan
Proverbs 15:22
Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established…

***

Power up
James 1:22-25
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

***

Lord God, today I pray for the young believers that are soon going out into the world.  Help them to be steadfast in your promises, never be timid to pray, have a definitive life purpose, make time to prepare through diligent work and rest, have a strong reasonable plan, and power-up, putting their plans into action. I also pray for those that do not yet know you will be enlightened and moved to accept your Son as Savior. In His name I pray, amen.

Copyright 2018 by Karen E. Vaughn

Friday, April 20, 2018

Orange Crush

First Published April 20, 2018
 
There is a freeway interchange in Orange County, CA where Interstate Highway 5, California State Route 57, and California State Route 22 intersect. I first navigated this nightmare around 1977 on my way from college to the north to a hair modeling gig (another story for another time) at a hair products show at Fashion Island, Newport Beach to the south. The traffic was bad.  The accidents were bad. The confusing signs were bad. My headache was bad.

A year later when my then boyfriend Jeff planned to drive us to a Kappa Mu Epsilon Math Society party at Newport Beach, I related my horrifying experience. “Oh, you can easily bypass the Orange Crush!” he said. The what?
***
One of biggest problems I have with reading scripture inside and outside of the Bible is the context. The impact of the words at that moment may be squelched by my need to find out the “who, what, why, where, and how” surrounding the verse. But that’s those are important details for truly understanding scripture.

How can we understand God’s word better? The solution is simple. We just need to be consistent in reading, asking questions, listening, praying, and doing.  The real stinger word is “consistent,” and the Bible addresses this.

My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding. Psalm 49:3. Reading and listening to God’s word will give results.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 is also wisdom for us as children of the word. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

We can gain understanding of the scriptures. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130

There are many references that address understanding scripture.  We need to stay diligent, focused, and opened to continually learning.
***
The Orange Crush is the name of where the I-5, Orange, and Garden Grove, freeways cross,” Jeff continued. I thought he was talking about the popular soda pop. I knew about the tasty Nehi Company product, but I hadn’t driven around Southern California much and didn’t know about the nick name given to the tangled mess of roadways also called the Orange Crush.
***
Lord, you know that I truly desire to understand your Word.  Help me to be consistent in study, clear in asking questions, quick to listen to wisdom, strong in communing with you, and confident in doing your will.  Thank you for those in my life who teach your precepts.  They hold a torch for your truth.  Thank you for your son, Jesus, who died on the cross that I may find peace and salvation.  Amen.


Copyright 2018 by Karen E. Vaughn

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Belated Pi-Day Chuckles


Fun Facts    Mag-pi : an irrational bird.
Pi-ano: a transcendental musical instrument.
Pi-ca: font type π in height.
pi-man Lambert:       Used a tan-ed pi.  Very irrational!
American Pi: 3.14… stars
: It was transcendental!
Fruit pi: fig, a plum, a peach, raspberry,…
Pi’d Piper:

Pi-thon: official Pi-Day mascot

Mrs. Vaughn’s Pneumonic – Now, I wish I could blackbelt my number facts and learn concepts acceptably

Inner Beauty


First Published October 11, 2017
                                               

Galatians 5:22-23(NKJV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.
***
Recently a dear lady was laid to rest after a short, but very intense bout with cancer.  The ceremony was beautiful with hundreds gathered, mourning the loss of Susie. Several multi-story windows in the church allowed us to gaze into the blue sky with mingling billowing clouds, and an occasional soaring bird. Truly it seemed like a heaven-sent picture.

Later on during her Celebration of Life gathering, friends and family lined up to say a few words about the life of beloved Susie; a life characterized by her dedication to her husband and children, her community and charity work, and her hobbies.  One common thread emerged: Susie exuded inner beauty unlike many had ever encountered in a person.  She was kind, good-natured, joyous, …the very list of the Fruit of the Spirit.

No one disagreed. She was remarkable and the loss was so painful.  But what I didn’t see in the nearly 33 years that I knew her was that there were two main things that contributed to her inner beauty. The first thing was a given: her faith in God and Jesus Christ. Only by Heaven’s Grace could she pray for others, help others, be compassionate for others, accept others, and be joyous through tough times.

Secondly, Susie’s Fruit did not appear from feeding on the mishaps of others, but rather that fruit sought to plant seeds, to allow all that knew her to continue to grow in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And this is what I learned from her absence. By His Grace I entered into faith, and by my life I can grow in spiritual maturity, planting the seeds from the Fruit of the Spirit.  That’s Inner Beauty.
***
Dear Lord, Thank you for the moments that I had with Susie and the lessons of faith reignited in my heart.  I pray that my life will grow in the Spirit and that others will see you as the seeds of that fruit nature.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" Luke 10:27

“Love is like pi – natural, irrational, and very important.” - Lisa Hoffman

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Go Kim!

And who should I see on the cover of the latest issue of CRPA Firing Line, which arrived last week, but my former Trig student, Kim Rhode!  It was an honor to have such a hard working student.  You Go Mommy! Mas Oro!!!






Sunday, September 17, 2017

Viewing the eclipse in Rigby, Idaho




Photo Courtesy of Rob Dueck

In Search of Blessings

First Published September 5, 2017



Ephesians 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us
in the heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Recently a friend questioned getting any blessings from God.  Well, I thought, we are assured that God has blessings for us.  But how could I convince my friend that blessings are real and are abundant? I returned to my Bible.

Matthew 6:6
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
***
Wonderful.  Try explaining this verse to a toddler.  Or, try explaining it to yourself.  Ah-ha!  It’s like eating a steak in one gulp. It’s a difficult quest. How do we fix our eyes on something unseen? Oh boy, I’m raising more questions than are getting answered.

But really, there must be some blessings that we can’t physically experience.  After all, we have unseen entities like the wind, electricity, gravity, radio waves, micro waves, etc. that we can’t see, yet are there.  And our belief in these started out small. So, our faith in the existence of blessings must also start small and consistent.

So let’s try putting all this into practice. In your evening prayer time, include praising the Lord for a small blessing from your day. Really explain the blessing and allow the Holy Spirit to deepen your thankfulness.  You will be amazed at how quickly more blessings will come to mind.

***

Dear Lord, thank you for the blessings that sharing through this devotion series brings to my heart.  I have developed friendships that I would otherwise not have and I cherish the comments and words of encouragement.  It is only from you that these blessings originate, from your infinite love for me, your child. Please Lord, help me to recognize each night that through the sacrifice of your son, Jesus on the Cross, I am truly, truly blessed.  Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Karen Vaughn

Onomatopoeia

First Published August 18, 2017

During a family gathering, among various conversations, the topic of onomatopoeia came up.

Pow! Bang! Burp! Uh-oh! Zowie! Ker-ching! Onomatopoeia is a word that demonstrates its meaning when spoken, imitating its natural sounds, like the aforementioned exclamations. When I was little I first heard this word when watching the Three Stooges vignette where Moe, Larry, and Curly diagnose a “patient’s” condition as “onomatopoeia!” It’s still funny. So, after the family gathering I tried to think of those self-defining words frequently found in the Bible.  This sounded like fun! Hallelujah!

Um…(awkward silence)…”hallelujah” was the only word I found.  But, that is really a Hebrew word. Hm.  Upon further investigation, I learned that the Hebrew text often contained onomatopoeia.  Here are a few I found.
***
They slip by like reed boats, like an eagle that swoops on its prey. Job 9:26

The Hebrew word for “swoops” is tus’, which sounds like the motion of the eagle (or peregrine falcon) when it swoops on its prey at an amazing high speed.

Thus says the Lord, “Go and buy a potter’s earthenware jar, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests.  Jeremiah 19:1

In this example, the Hebrew word for “earthenware (clay) jar” is baqbuq, mimicking the sound of water gurgling out of a jar.

(Roy B. Zuck. Basic Hebrew Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth.)
***
In that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is in the remotest part of the rivers of Egypt and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.  Isaiah 14:29

Zevuv is the Biblical Hebrew word for a fly which imitates the insect’s sound.
***
Fascinating, isn’t it? And there’s more to study.  The Biblical Hebrew scholars discuss how these words changed on their way to becoming Modern Hebrew, how combinations of words (like compound words in English) created new words, and how insight to the study of Biblical linguistics can help understand how the original audiences interpreted the scriptures. Awesome!

Obviously my measly investigation barely scratched the surface, but God’s word has new structural meaning to me!  Perhaps you might pick a verbs or nouns from the Old Testament and search for the Hebrew equivalents to discover onomatopoeia.  Pqh!!

***

Abba, thank you for embedding meaning to the spoken word.  Be with me as I discover and share your truth through the structure and words of Hebrew. Amen.

Copyright 2017, by Karen Vaughn