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, June 28, 2010

Ninth Position

First Published June 28, 2010

Matthew 19:30
But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

When I was in Junior High School I tried out for the softball team. Mrs. Miller, our coach, had us go through a variety of skill drills involving throwing, catching, batting, and running, while her assistant, a college student, took notes of our abilities. At the next practice we were assigned to our positions. Pitcher, the most prestigious position went to ...not me. The next popular position, first base went to... not me. Second base was assigned to ... not me. No infield positions had my name next to them. The dreaded news awaited. Right field. Center field. Left field. I wasn't going to even play any of those lowly positions?

I knew I was a good athlete, but maybe softball wasn't my sport. But wait, I heard my name called. Oh no, I was going to be the catcher. This was horrible. The chances of getting hit with the ball, bat, or both were huge (especially in junior high). The pads were ugly and cumbersome. The fielders and basemen just stood there, while the catcher exerted effort standing and squatting for every pitch. Figuratively, literally, and socially this position was the lowest of the low.

Now I know you out there knowledgeable in baseball and softball are smiling! You know something that I didn't learn until I was older. The catcher is the most important position on the playing field. From the home plate, the catcher sees the entire field and can analyze the fielders and base runners. When the batter is up at the plate, the catcher signals to the pitcher and dictates what kind of pitch will likely lead to a strike out. In the event of a short hit, pop fly foul, or bunt, the catcher must also be ready to field the ball.

Do you feel that your work for the Kingdom of God is like the "ninth position" on a softball team? Is your job looked upon as lowly, meaningless and unpopular? Did you get passed by when others were chosen to be the song leader, Sunday school teacher, greeter, star of the musical, or server?

Now hear this! What you do for the Kingdom of God is blessing people. You are needed to hold the hand of the sick, to say a kind word to a stranger, to take out the trash after a church event, or even unstop the restroom plumbing. You have something special to be in that position, and in many instances, things would be chaotic without you.

All nine positions in softball are important, but you could never have the second pitch without the catcher!

Copyright 2010 Karen Vaughn

Monday, June 14, 2010

God Is...

First Published June 11, 2010

Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

Recently I saw a health show on television. The physician host was confident that if you followed his steps to circumvent stress, you would lead a happy and healthy life. He suggested that by taking several deep breaths throughout the day, you could be refreshed, calmed, more positive, and less stressed about the day. This sounded fine, but something was missing.

Stress is the result of the affects of an over load of concerns and worries. Now the Bible says a lot about worry. Just do a quick online search and you will find loads of references. However, it’s harder to “just don’t worry” than it seems. How can we as Christians deal with stress, especially when it is heaped upon us at a moment's notice?

Let's combine the deep breathing exercise with phrases describing God's persona. (Please note that I am not a health care professional and my suggestions are taken with the user assuming responsibility). Inhale slowly through your nose while contemplating who God is. Exhale through your mouth, uttering the very words you were thinking. Inhale...exhale, "God is powerful!" Inhale...exhale, "God is Love." My favorite is "God is Good."

This exercise is an all-weather way of combating stress as well as a reminder to ourselves of where the worry-buck stops. Inhale...exhale, "God is!"

Stress seems to be a mainstay in today's world. Lord, I know that you want me to calm and level headed, not letting concerns overtake me physically and spiritually. Help me to practice leaning on you verbally, by acknowledging who you are especially in times of stress. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2010 Karen Vaughn