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, April 26, 2010

The Bible Challenge

First Published April 23, 2010

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

About 30 years ago Pepsi ® waged an advertising campaign called the “Pepsi Challenge.” A table was set up in a grocery store or public event. The consumer was offered two samples of soda, one Pepsi ® and the other Coke ®. The consumer was then asked to choose which was Pepsi ®. Now if you really knew the taste of one, or the taste of the other, you could fairly easily choose which was which. If you weren’t familiar with either, then choosing was indeed a challenge.

Making moral choices can be very similar: cheat on a test? Lie about my actions? Gossip? Steal? The real question we need to deal with is whether or not I’ve hidden God’s word in my heart.

The first part of this process is obtaining the Word. The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out. Proverbs 18:15. Crack open your Bible and read the words of our great creator. Play the Bible CD in your car. Sign up to receive memory verses to your email address. Have a family reading time. Ask questions. Pray.

Next we need to engrave it in our hearts. "And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good ground; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold." Mark 4:20. Believe that the Word of God is authentic. We may lock in that belief by practicing it. Do for others. Pray for others.

Now when faced with a moral challenge, we may more easily recall what God has said. If all of this seems like a monumental challenge in itself, try starting with today's verse. Be encouraged to commit it to memory. Set your watch alarm and recite the verse periodically throughout today. You will be amazed at the results!

Lord, every day we face moral challenges. Your word has the power to guide me into choosing rightly. Help me to thirst for reading the Scriptures and practicing making decisions as I seek to do your will. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Copyright 2010 Karen Vaughn

Friday, April 02, 2010

Jesus, The Good Shepherd; Jesus, The Passover Lamb

First Published April 2, 2010

Jesus, the Good Shepherd
Isaiah 40:11
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs,
and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
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When I was a freshman at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, my roommate Margaret, talked me into helping her and some other animal science friends keep watch over the ewes very close to giving birth. She explained that the sheep need help during a lambing to keep the mortality rate low. In their natural environment, sheep tended to just ignore their just-born lambs. I was lucky to witness the arrival of a new lamb, and sure enough, the mommy started to move away. Very quietly and gently Margaret picked up the lamb in a cloth and reunited it with the ewe to nurse.

The meaning of today’s verse was very familiar to the people who heard the words of Isaiah. They knew that a newborn lamb needed the guidance of the shepherd to ensure its safety and proper nurturing. The prophetic words truly describe the Good Shepherd, Jesus. He provides the way to reunite Man with the God, the Father.

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Jesus, the Passover Lamb

John 1:29
The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him, and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
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Not only was Jesus referred to as that Good Shepherd, he was also described as the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God. As John the Baptist saw his cousin approaching, he revealed Jesus’ true identity, and the perfect sacrifice. A spotless lamb was significant for the Jews. It was required to present for the Passover sacrifice (Exodus 12:21). Jesus’ earthly life purpose was to be the ultimate Passover Lamb, preventing death to rule, as well as to deliver the world from sin.

As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of the Christ, let us consider his complete purpose as both the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God.
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God, Father of the universe, I think back on my incredible experience of seeing the birth of a lamb, ingraining the imagery of your son coming into the world to reunite man with you and becoming the perfect sacrifice. Thank you. I pray that you will keep me aware of Jesus’ complete role, and that I will boldly celebrate Easter as the beginning of new life in Christ. Amen.

Copyright 2010 Karen Vaughn