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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Great Treasure

First Published February 29, 2008

Luke 12:34 (NASB)
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

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Today’s verse is a tiny portion of Jesus’ lessons to his disciples in Galilee. He knew they were anxious to establish a mighty physical kingdom with which to overthrow their enemies. But he also knew they needed micro-attention. Luke 12:30 begins, “For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.” He is referring to the physical, material needs of man.

Verse 31 continues, “But seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.” He wanted them to focus on that which was of lasting value. Verse 33b adds, “…make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys.” And, verse 34 summarizes, “For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

This poignant message for us Material Girls and Guys of today was recently looked at from a deeper viewpoint. In my husband’s new book, we see that for God to do all he did, we had to be valuable to him.

And so planet Earth, and the whole majestic universe that God made, pales in comparison to the incomprehensible fact that God dwells with man through Jesus Christ. God’s faithful people are his treasured possession (Ex. 19:5; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Psalm 135:4), and where his treasure is his heart will be also (Luke 12:34). What in this physical universe can compete with the reality that God loves and cares for his people? God raises them up to accomplish his will, reflect his glory, and live in his eternal kingdom. (Beyond Creation Science, p.359)

Luke 12:34 is not only a good set of words to live by, but our mighty creator himself holds to this promise. His son sacrificed himself that we might have eternal communion in heaven. This makes us valuable treasure to God. We are where HIS heart is.

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Lord God, Thank you for the love you’ve shown us through your son Jesus Christ. Be with us as we share and live that love came first from you, and we are the treasure of your heart. Amen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Running Away

First Published February 13, 2008

Psalms 145:17-20a (NIV)
The Lord is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him…
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Recently my family and I visited the Fresno (California) Chaffee Zoo. While admiring the kookaburra display, 3 boys aged about 8-12, stopped near by and asked a zoo employee where the restrooms were. The trio thanked the employee and began to walk past me. The oldest suddenly stopped and exclaimed an alert, “Oh, no, Parent Warning!” As the three turned and scurried back the direction they came, I turned to see a lady with a frantic look on her face. She peered around corners, searched among the people in line at the concession stand, moving and looking. Then she noticed the trio running away. She stopped and waited by the Macaw Cage. Upon seeing the boys, her worried look turned into frustration. My eyes caught hers and I offered an understanding smile. Unchanged, her focus returned to the three boys. She began to follow them.

One of the many misconceptions about the God of the Universe is that He is uncaring and has left us to fend for ourselves. Some of us think that when we sin and move away from his grace, He doesn’t want us. He turns his back on us. Well, now hear this! God loves you and me! He hates sin, but will be right there when you call upon Him “in truth.” No matter how far you have run away from God, when you turn around, He is right there to save you. How? Submit to His Son’s Lordship and redemptive power. Stop running away. Turn around and accept His love!

Later during our zoo visit I was in the Reptile Exhibit building and saw the trio of once-lost boys being led by the woman. Isn’t being led by love better than running away from it?
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Lord God, you are so loving. Our sin distances us from you, but if we stop and call upon you in truth; the truth of Jesus, you are right there to save us. Thank you. Thank you. Amen.

Copyright 2008 by Karen E. Vaughn

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

(Sniff, Sniff) Ah!

First Published January 28, 2008

2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are the fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
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As the weather turns cold and the holidays draw closer I look forward to doing more baking. In particular, my family enjoys banana bread. I use my mother-in-law, Sue’s recipe that includes flour, sugar, bananas, eggs, oil, walnuts, baking soda, and salt. The assembled ingredients bake 1½ hours, so the aroma ends up making its way throughout the entire house. (Sniff, sniff) Ah!

The Lord God enjoyed the aroma of the burnt offerings given up by Noah, (Gen. 8: 21). He commanded Moses to write the book of laws, Leviticus that the Israelites had to obey. Many of these laws included sacrifices in the form of burnt offerings, part of the covenant God had with his people. Obviously this was an important part of having a relationship with God. But, burnt offerings apply to us today in a different way.

The fulfilled covenant of the New Testament by Jesus through his death and resurrection allows us to bypass the burnt offering sacrifice as described in the Old Testament. I John 2:2 says, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” We can accept Christ’s selfless act done on our behalf; the purification of sin. This is an aroma pleasing to God.

During this holiday time of wonderful aromas, do you need to think about accepting what Christ has already done for you? If you are a Christian, consider sharing the good news of Christ to a friend using today’s verses along with some fragrant baked goods. Our decision for Him is a sweet aroma “…for we are the fragrance of Christ to God…” (Sniff, sniff) Ah!
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Thank you, Lord God for sending your Son that my sins might be redeemed. May my life reflect the aroma of righteousness through Christ. Help me to not stray away from your promises. I want to be a sweet aroma. In Christ’s name, amen.

Copyright Karen E. Vaughn