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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Doctorates In Christian Living

January 23, 2006
Doctorates In Christian Living

Titus 2:2-5
Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, worker at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.

In these passages Paul writes to Titus, of instruction to the older men and women in Christ. I think that not only is this instruction for the seniors in Christ, but for the young as well. First, these are tangible goals that the young may strive for: being “temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance;” not gossips, not drunks, teachers of good, encouraging young wives and mothers, clear headedness, diligent workers, kind, and heeding the wisdom of their spouse. Second, these are traits that young believers can use as a measuring stick for finding mentors.

Notice that the verses do not mention social status, education, occupation, or nationality. Even so, it may seem like a tough “boot to fill”, but there are godly senior saints out there who have, need to be, or will be part of your life.

At various stages of my life I recall several senior saints who possessed these wise traits. My dear Granny was very strict, but gave sound advice, “Remember to write.” Mrs. Ida Sooter, the director of the preschool I attended was always so kind. My former master’s track coach and church elder, Mr. Bob Hunt, now 85, would say that you have to first want to do God’s will to get God’s will done. Mr. Bill Cliff diligently greeted Sunday morning worshippers with a hearty “Good Morning” and a listening ear. Dr. John Carver, now 88, is an incredible Bible teacher who can explain complex topics in simple layman’s terms. Mrs. Ruth Brant, one of my piano teachers and widow of noted American composer Leroy Brant, took us students each month to a convalescent home to play for patients.

Is there someone in your life who has attained a “doctorate in Christian living?” Has that person in a large or small way been an example to you as described in Titus 2:2-5? If so, then today let’s pray for, call, or email them. Let them know that they play an important role in your spiritual growth. If not, then keep a prayerful eye out to discover a senior saint who radiates the characteristics mentioned in our verses.

Dear God, thank you for the instruction of your scriptures. And thank you for the wonderful senior saints in my life who are “doctorates in Christian living.” Help me to be more like you through their influence and to discover someone new who mentors to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Of Kingdoms and Kings

Of Kingdoms and Kings
October 16, 2006

I Samuel 8:17-20
He will take a tenth of your flocks and, and you yourselves will become his servants. Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day. Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like the all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.

We humans are very interesting. We want to have the freedom to do what we want, when we want. And at the same time we want to have the protection of someone or some system over us whenever we mess up. Though this sounds like the thought process of a teenager, unfortunately, the adults think the same way.

Here in I Samuel chapter 8 the heads of the households of Israel have approached the prophet with complaints. They don’t want his corrupt sons judging over them any more. They want a king. (vs. 5) Samuel prays to God and is instructed to listen to the elders and warn them of the consequences to having a king. In today’s verses the people are insistent about having a king. God then tells Samuel to heed the request. (vs. 22)

We may apply these verses to understanding sin. I think sin has a typical pattern. It starts out being seemly harmless, costing very little. Then, as we give in more and more to “King Sin”, the price goes up. But, of course we like to justify our acts by thinking that it’s okay because “everyone else” is doing/having/saying/buying it that way. Sooner or later, “King Sin” demands its payment and you are its slave.

The kingdom of Heaven is quite different. God is the King of Creation and in Psalms 145:12b-12 we find a description of His kingdom, “And the glory of the majesty of Thy kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endures throughout all generations.” This time you are free from ”King Sin” and a slave to Christ. Following him gives you everlasting life.

Dear Lord God, it is hard to imagine that freedom to sin turns on us and eventually makes us slaves. In your kingdom man is truly free from sin by being a slave to your son. Help us to put this into practice today by listening and heeding your wisdom through your word, other saints in Christ, and circumstances. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.