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, March 26, 2008

Salt II

First Published March 19, 2008

Genesis 19:25-26
Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—
and also the vegetation in the land.
But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

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One day when I was in Mrs. Hewitt’s 7th grade home economics class, the girls’ assignment was to make traditional Snickerdoodle cookies. We were put two girls to a cooking station, and my partner for this project was Denise. The tasks were divided, and I measured the dry ingredients, including flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and … salt. All along Denise objected to me measuring over the bowl. I scoffed at her remarks until oops, too much salt went into the mixture. We continued the assignment to ensure a good grade, but it was no surprise, the cookies were ruined.

Warnings of consumption of too much salt flood our lives and rightfully so. Excessive amounts of salt contribute to the development of diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and stomach cancer (http://www.femhealth.com/DangersofSalt.html).

In the Bible, vast amounts of salt mentioned were associated with desolation. “The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim …” (Deuteronomy 29:23).

Do we as “salt of the earth” overdo our spiritual saltiness? Within, we become proud Super Christians! “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble"” (James 4:6).

Outwardly we “Bible thump,” stunting or ruining opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work. “My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” (James 3:12).

How can this work out? Fresh water has the right amount of salt, less than 1000 parts per million (ppm). So, with the right amount of salt we can as the “salt of the earth” be spiritually healthy ambassadors for Christ!

Copyright 2008 by Karen Vaughn

Monday, March 17, 2008

Salt (Part 1)

First published March 17, 2008

Matthew 5:13a (NIV)
You are the salt of the earth.
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Salt is an interesting compound. NaCl (sodium chloride) is a crystalline mineral readily found in the ocean (aqueous) and sediment rock. Today we don’t appreciate salt as much as people did in bible times. Historically, salt had been used as a preservative for as far back as 8000 years ago. Its value was global. Battles were fought over salt mining sites in places such as Saltzburg (Salt Town), Austria. Salt was used as a trading commodity, even as money. The English word “salary” comes from the Roman word “salt.”

So, when Matthew records Jesus’ words, the people of the day were seriously impacted by verse 13. This passage appears after the Beatitudes portion of the Sermon on the Mount. It continues Jesus’ encouragement to the disciples and multitudes of people. Through him they are the “salt of the earth,” preservers of the message of salvation.

Can we today relate to this verse when our society relies upon refrigeration and salt is so readily available? Let’s go ahead and use our present-day knowledge. First salt is essential for normal health by maintaining the electrolyte balance of human body cells. Without this balance, cells would either explode, or dehydrate. I’m glad salt is readily available. Next, salt creates a toxic environment for microorganisms so bad bacteria is killed and foods last longer. Synthetic uses of salt include PVC and pesticides. Both of these have been instrumental in improving our quality of life. (http://www.enviroliteracy.org/article.php/1184.html)

So yes, salt is still and will always be valuable. Next time you season with salt, consider how Christ wants us to be preservers of his word. What a great motive for glorifying Him.

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Lord God, thank you for the words of you son, Jesus. Help me to be the effective, preserving salt of the earth, spreading the good new to all who might hear. In Christ’s name I pray, amen.

Copyright 2008, Karen Vaughn