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, February 28, 2007

Apple Sauce

Apple Sauce

Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me;
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Recently I was shopping at the grocery store and saw a display. Apple sauce was on sale. “Wow,” I thought, “this would be a great deal if my children were very little. They even have Low Sugar, Chucky, and Cherry Flavor varieties. I’ll pass since the kids are big. Hm, or maybe I’ll get some anyway since I haven’t apple sauce in years. Nah, it’s just baby food.”

Spiritual “apple sauce” is needed when we are new Christians. The simpler teachings and verses of scripture are all that some of us can handle at this time. As we mature, we need and should crave spiritual “meat.”

In 1 Corinthians chapter 13 Paul talks about how to mature in Christ through love. We may be familiar with the “Love is Patient…” passages beginning in verse 4. In verse 11 he writes, “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child…” And I might add, “eat apple sauce like a child.”

How then, might we reconcile this message with Matthew 19:14? Well, one refers to knowledge, understanding, and actions. Whereas Matthew 19:14 describes of humbleness of the heart (See Matthew 3-4). So, as we grow and mature in the Word, we should keep a pure child-like heart.

As I continued shopping I recalled the joy of having baked apples as a child. My mother would fill the cores with cinnamon and sugar, bake, and when they cooled, my brother, sisters, and I would anxiously dig in with our graham cracker “spoons.”

I smiled and went back to the display. I put a jar of apple sauce in my cart and thought, “I’ll serve warm apple sauce with ham tonight!”

Almighty Father, your word tells me that I am to grow and mature and at the same time keep a child-like heart. Humble me Lord. Let my thoughts and actions begin with a humble spirit that I might receive the promise of Matthew 19:14. In Jesus’ name, amen.


February 12, 2007

Beloved, Let us love on another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7
One of the over used and misused words in our language is the word “love”. We use “love” instead of “desire” or “greatly enjoy,” as in “I love Chocolate ice cream.” We also say “I love it!” as a statement of agreement. Then there are several meanings of the word used to describe relationships. None of these meanings is the love which God bestowed upon us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. But, in our finite existence here on earth, there are some examples that may stand near the top.

My close high school friend, Margaret has a dear grandmother, Nana. The first time I met Nana, she greeted me with extended arms, gave me a big hug, and exclaimed how wonderful it was to finally meet me. I was surprised, since I had never been treated like that by a stranger before, so I was tongue tied. But, she had a genuine warm smile and twinkling eyes that put me at ease. She patiently engaged in a simple get-to-know-you conversation, and accepted me freely, without judgment. And this was just a one-time-only event. Nana participated in many ministries in her church. I have no doubt that wherever the Lord used her, his love abounded.

Today, over 30 years later, Nana and her husband Ed, are 92 and 91 years strong. Margaret says though health issues restrict Nana to a wheelchair, that they are still an example of love to everyone they meet.

As we meditate on I John 4:7, let us consider God’s love for us as THE example of the love we should have for one another.

Dear Lord, you are the very definition of love. But I have often trivialized it, lessening its value. Please show me ways to love without judging, and bless those who see you through my words and actions. I pray this in your loving Son’s name, amen.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Biggest Shoes

January 31, 2007
The Biggest Shoes

By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1John 2:5b-6

When I was a little girl, I would have fun going to the closet and donning some of my parents’ coats, galoshes, and hats. I liked wearing my father’s shoes because they were so large (size 13 ½) and made a loud authoritative “clop, clop” when I tried to walk in them. To me, they signified my father’s strength, protection, and justice. And, though I’d never grow to physically fill his shoes, creating the same footprint as he, I’ve tried to follow his examples of kindness, good humor, and even temperance.

The apostle John writes this letter we call “The First Epistle of John” to Christians believed by early church writers and historians to be in Asia around Galatia around A.D. 85-95. Our text is early in the body of the letter and is meant to urge believers to focus on Christ’s example.

Christ himself spoke of what we should emulate. “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right; for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you,” John 13:12-15. This means that we need to be humble and have a servant’s attitude.

Being humble as Christ was humble seems as difficult as me trying to clop around in my father’s shoes. It demands that we put others first. Yet, Christ continues, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them,” John 13:17.

Our desire to walk as Christ walked should prompt us to act with humility. Let’s begin today by asking God for a humble heart from which we may act with humility.

Oh God of the Universe, I fail trying to walk in your shoes. I force myself to DO what is right just because it is right. But you tell us through the words of your Son, that to walk as He did, I must take on a humble spirit. Help me to have humility that I may truly abide in you. Amen.