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, September 30, 2009

The Image of God, Part 3

First Published Sept. 30, 2009

Luke 6:39
And he also spoke a parable to them: A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he?
Will they not both fall into a pit?
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When I married Jeff, he had a degree in mathematics with nearly a major in physics and a heavy interest in optics. When our first child was born he decided to take up photography. He took classes and bought a very nice Canon A-1 camera. Soon he purchased special lens and filters. Some filters removed glare (polarizing filters), some removed haze (UV and skylight filters), and others correct color (blue filters), while some increased definition (contrast enhancement green or red filters). When a different filter is used, the image is better in a certain way.

One of the hardest things to do in life is to discern right from wrong. We make choices every day from the minor options of whether or not to have an extra slice of pie to major judgments like cheating on tax forms. And of course, our wrong choices can reap short term and long term effects. Granted, much of the yucky stuff that happens in life is beyond our control, but when given a choice, we then must choose.

In making choices or passing judgment, we may use several strategies, or filters. These can allow us to rightly discern. As camera filters change images, Biblical filters help us see the situation clearly.

For example, if you are impatient in making choices, you may need to don a filter of rest and calm. If you tend to rattle off at the mouth while passing judgment, you may need to put on a filter of silence. I hurry and rush to get things done and make a good choice look bad. To squelch my carelessness, I need to rely on a filter of patience and quality. After willful practice, these filters will become part of who you are. What is the result? Through you the world will see God more clearly.
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Lord God, when I struggle with discerning I lose my sight. Like the blind man in your Word, I am headed for a long drop in a deep hole. Help me please to put on the needed filters that are characteristic of you, so I may chose that which is right. Thank you Lord God. Amen.

Copyright 2009, Karen Vaughn

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Image of God: Part 2

First published September 16, 2009

Genesis 1:27
And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
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Recently I heard family friend Tim Martin speak at a conference. He used an interesting analogy for us understanding a particular Bible concept. He first showed us a color map of the United States. We all recognized it and could identify where we were, Ohio. The map was true and we could use it, but it was not complete. The next map we saw was a topographical map. In some ways it was a better map than the previous one, but it also was incomplete. The next maps Tim showed were a population density map and a geological map. Together the maps gave a good image of the United State, but still, there is more missing.

I’d like to use the same illustration, but for understanding God’s image. Skeptics like to challenge Christians about the existence of God. We can’t see Him with our eyes. We can’t touch him with our hands. We can’t hear Him with our ears. So we can’t form an image of Him. How is it then true that Christians have confidence of His existence? How can we say we know what and who God is? Just as in Tim’s analogy, we do have different indicators of evidence of God.

Through the scriptures we are able to know God’s traits and how we may be like him as well as see what He has done in the past. Through His creation we see the splendor of God’s craftsmanship, from the breathtaking sights like volcanoes and glaciers, to the wonderment of the birth of a baby. Thirdly, we may know God through the communication, blessings, and trials in our own life. Separately, the indicators are good, but together, they are much better. So, through prayer and active observation we may come to have a better image of our creator and understand Him.

Well then, this understanding will not drop upon us in a flash. We must study the Bible. We must observe and acknowledge His creation. We must pray and communicate with God. We must do these consistently. Then, as we experience our life, we may form an accurate image of God.
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I want to have a clearer image of you, Lord. I pray I will be diligent in studying your Word, in observing your creation, and in keeping lines of communication open. Thank you. Amen.

Copyright 2009 by Karen Vaughn