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, May 23, 2011

Weekend Warrior

First Published May 20, 2011

Blessed is the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah. (Psalms 68:19)

Friday morning. Early. Too early? Exercise show is on. Must move it or lose it. Focus. Get shirt and shorts on. Stretch. Pick up the pace. Aerobic time. Sweat and cleanse. Focus on the rewards. What? The video says to do exercise every day? I’ll just double up 4 days into the weekend. Yes. Got to stay healthy. Got to focus. Workout.
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Give us each day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11)

Okay, so I chose sleeping in over jumping jacks and toe-touches. I’ll catch up tomorrow. Besides, I’m in good shape. A day skipped won’t matter much.
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And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself,
and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)

I can’t get motivated again. This exercise thing was good for a while. It’s a lot of work. I’ve got other things to do. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.
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Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:19)

Wow, look at the scale. My clothes don’t fit. I feel miserable. But, I don’t want any help. Let me be.
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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…(Hebrew 12:1)

You mean I’m not alone in this? I don’t have to be a weekend army of one? Yes, I need to let God help me persevere.
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But, encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” … (Hebrew 3:13)

I hear you Lord. I pray that a brother or sister in the faith will help me to be diligent daily; to be consistent, and not be just a Weekend Warrior in any aspect of my life. Let their presence be a reminder that you will not leave me to handle challenges alone. And also help me to be there to encourage another in your name. Hallelujah! Amen.

Copyright 2011, Karen Vaughn

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Setting the Bar

First Published May 4, 2011

Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
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Recently I was watching a television show host interviewing a prominent actor. His career spanned decades during which time he had the opportunity to play many roles on stage and on the screen.

The host asked several questions about the actor’s goals when he was young. The actor had many aspirations, some changing over time. Yet, he took the time to hone his craft of acting, earning him academy awards. The actor also spent time learning other skills for which he received praise among artists and musicians.

When the host asked about what advice the actor had for young people, the actor said that they should not have high expectations. They should not have high standards in life.

Did the host probe this line of thinking? Nope. I was stunned that this renowned actor would advocate mediocrity. He was missing a crucial point about life.
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Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

In Philippians 4:8 we see Paul summing up his proclamation about the secret of true joy in life (vs 4-7). This exhortation includes prayer, thanksgiving, and gentleness, which then is capped with excellent thought.

Our soul is constantly under attack by temptations and our first line of defense is our mind. Sing for Joy. Shout for Joy. Praise the Almighty aloud. Set the bar high by filling our mind with excellent things, and joy will surely follow.
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Dear Lord, I pray for those who accept mediocrity, for their joy is not full. Please help us all to set the bar toward excellence, that our joy and walk in you may be great. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Copyright 2011 Karen Vaughn