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.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Turning Wishes Into Hope

Romans 5:4-6
…Knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

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When my daughters were little they enjoyed watching the Disney animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In this production Snow White sings a song called “I’m Wishing,” which relates her desire to find “Mr. Right.” She seems to be singing this lament to anyone, including the woodland creatures, who will listen. Though this is a make-believe story, it illustrates the difference between wishing and hoping.

Wishing throws our desires in any direction without the confidence that they will be granted, let alone be heard. The nice part about wishing, though, is that there is little risk involved. So, as little children, wishing didn’t seem all that harmful. Adults, even Christians, may through maturity of years know that wishing is futile. But, doesn’t wishing our trials, cares, and sins away sound great?

Fortunately, our Creator knows that we need a wishing factor with trust. Trust that our physical and material needs will be met. Trust that our burdens will be eased. Trust that our sins will be no more. Trust that for each “Mr. Right” there is a “Miss Right!” This is hope. It is firmly rooted in the love that God has for us, through the sacrifice of his own son, Jesus Christ.

And we may hope because of an assurance that God is in control. This is faith. Romans 5:1-3 ties faith with hope. Hebrews 10:1 does the same, “Now faith is the assurance of things hope for, the conviction of things not seen.” So our faith in God through Christ gives us hope.

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Dear God in Heaven, my childish wishing puts you out of the picture. There is no foundation in wishing, so it is the easy route. But you have a better plan. Faith through your Son gives me the hope I need to conquer my fears, trials, and sins. I pray that my faith remains strong so I may have the confidence that you are in control, ready to meet my needs according to your will. Thank you Lord. Thank you. Amen.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Resolution Gone?

Proverbs 25:14 (NIV)
Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.

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When I submitted my first devotional for 2007 to George Bragg I mentioned in my email message that I had purposed to present two devotionals per month. I was tired of my flakiness and inconsistency in working on them. So I resolved to be more disciplined and focused about my time and submit two per month.

Things were going well until September rolled around. Suddenly there were other issues that seemed more pressing than to keep my promise. The further I fell behind, the worse I felt.

The Book of Proverbs primarily written by King Solomon tells of Do’s and Don’ts of God centered living. “The wise man” and “the foolish man” are the main subjects. It’s obvious that our verse may be categorized under the acts of “the foolish man.” An unfulfilled promise is like signs of anticipation without the product. Empty.

So, what is at stake when we don’t keep promises? Among men they are honor (Proverbs 3:35), good favor and good name or reputation (Proverbs 3:4), respect (Proverbs 3:21-22), promotion (Proverbs 22:29), influence (Proverbs 13:20), and dignity (Proverbs 31:25) to name a few.

This sounds rather bad particularly if we have made it a habit of not keeping promises. But there is good news in all of this. “Through love and faithfulness, sin is atoned for,” (Proverbs 16:6). The love and faithfulness is from God through his Son’s death and resurrection. We need to be assured that God is with us, confess our sin, ask for forgiveness, and ask for the strength to accept any punishment and to get back on the right track.
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Thank you, Lord for allowing me these past 7 ½ years to share lessons that I have learned in my life. Help me to keep my promises and to continue to contribute to this
devotional series. In Jesus’ saving name, amen.