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.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Greetings and Salutations!

First Published January 20, 2012

I Timothy 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

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In the American culture alone there are dozens of ways to greet one another. Gestures such as a handshake are general and accepted among strangers. Other greetings such as a hug, a kiss, a salute, a bow, or a curtsey acknowledge a certain relationship and respect along with the greeting.

In informal written correspondence, often Americans write “Dear _______” at the beginning and “Sincerely, _________” at the end. More often in emails I write “Hi ____” and just sign my name at the end. Though we tend to use very short written salutations, I think there is much to be learned from salutations in the Bible.

In I Timothy 1:1-2 Paul gives a lengthy “To – From” greeting establishing himself and his purpose. This is intended for Timothy, yet God and Jesus are noted five times total. Of course both Paul and Timothy were Believers, and still Paul references the source of his faith and hope, Jesus Christ. The letter is deeply enriched by the eloquent salutation.

So what does this mean for us? I am not suggesting that we cover our written messages with a lengthy testimony. Nor am I saying that we just ignore today’s verses, citing cultural differences. Let’s examine what we might do to sincerely and effectively communicate our faith and hope in Jesus Christ in our salutations.

Today I intend to sign my email correspondences and letters with the reference to today’s verses. I pray you will also join in this exercise and include a Bible verse in your greetings. Let us proclaim our faith just a little bit further and a little bit stronger.

Karen Vaughn
I Timothy 1:1-2

Copyright 2012 Karen Vaughn

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Northern Lights

First Published January 2, 2012

Psalms 146:6
He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—
He remains faithful forever.

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If you have ever seen the aurora borealis, you know of the visual spectacular illuminating show of glowing dancing lights. The lights of the aurora are the collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun entering the earth’s atmosphere. Occurring near the magnetic poles, the aurora borealis (North Pole) and aurora Australis (South Pole) are cyclic, peaking about every 11 years with a three-year window. With today’s technology you may view videos of past phenomena online.

I was a teen when I had the opportunity to be in Norway about a year before the aurora peaked in 1975. I got a glimpse of some greenish lights shimmering in the sky around midnight. It was one of the most amazing things I’d ever seen.

From the rapids of waterfalls, to the miracle of birth, we have all seen evidence of the greatness of God. But, do we take our omnipotent creator for granted? Do we live in our own little boxed world? No, we mustn’t! We need to acknowledge his handiwork and proclaim His greatness with exuberance, with joy, and with purpose! Great is the Lord!

Today pick a favorite wonder in this world and tell someone about how great God is for creating it. Hallelujah!

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Great are you, Lord! Praise your wonderful creation and the hands that formed it. The wonderment of your power may be seen each and every hour. May people continue to open their eyes and see you through creation. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Copyright 2012, Karen Vaughn

O Come All Ye Faithful

First Published December 21, 2011

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.
One of the most beloved Christmas carols is “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The Latin lyrics “Adeste Fideles,” are attributed to John F. Wade, and the English translation is by Frederick Oakeley. I’ve sung those words many times, yet I still wonder what they may have really meant. How does this carol written almost 700 years ago continue to have an impact on us today?
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
I Corinthians 1:9
I believe that the first phrase reflects a loud proclaimed invitation to focus your spiritual journey on the wondrous birth of Jesus Christ. This is opened to “All Ye Faithful.” Does this refer to all who are in Christ? Or perhaps, is this arms-opened invite for everyone who seeks to trust God’s own faithfulness? I think the latter gives mankind hope through God’s kept his promise of redemption through the birth of his Son.

Next, the verse tells of our attitude. We are “joyful and triumphant” [!!!] We are then urged to remember that the earthly beginnings of Jesus were real. Bethlehem is a real place, but Jesus is of royal lineage. He was “born the King of angels.” Then a simple reiterated command shapes the rest of the verse. “O come, let us adore Him.”

If you are drawn to read more verses, consider the Center for Church Music, http://songsandhymns.org/hymns/detail/o-come-all-ye-faithful.

This Christmas season; let’s remember God’s faithfulness to us and to respond to the celebration of his Son’s birth with our own faithfulness in Him.
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Copyright 2011 Karen Vaughn