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 28, 2012

Restoring Hope

First Published Memorial Day May 28, 2012 I Peter 3:15 But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. **** **** For over three decades I have taught calculus at a local university. With each new term I am asked a common question, “Do you give partial credit?” And my answer is, “Yes, for a reason.” I want to give students reasonable hope for improvement. Ever since I can remember, I have liked math and was pretty good at it. I was one of those youngsters who was excited about the prospect of taking a math test or quiz, and I nearly always got a perfect score, until one day in the sixth grade. The teacher passed back all the math quizzes from the previous day, but I did not get mine back. She asked who didn’t get a paper and I raised my hand. She directed me to stand and retrieve the paper she had in her hand. “This is your lesson on knowing your name.” In the space for my name was a giant red “F.” No other mark was on the paper. The 100 math problems were perfectly correct. I collapsed into my seat. When people ask me about being a Christian, I am reminded about the hope that I have, not from anything that I did or didn’t do. The Old Testament contains numerous accounts of people who messed up once and were condemned by the Law. The New Testament shows the fulfillment of the Law in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. We now have hope, where we otherwise would have despair. John 8:10-12 tells of a woman who, by the Law, should have been put to death for her sins. Jesus forgave her and restored her hope. How can this apply to us? We can look at today’s verse as a guide. With gentleness and reverence, we can share the hope in us. My very close friend, Tanya walked home with me that day, spending most of the time reassuring me of my math skills. And, 11 years later I was teaching calculus, my hope restored. Today, recount a special time when you have had your hope restored and look for an opportunity to restore hope in someone else. Consider a card, a smile, a hug, a prayer, or some help that with gentleness and reverence may steer someone to the eternal hope in Christ Jesus. Remember, there is hope “for a reason.” Copyright 2012, Karen Vaughn

Friday, May 11, 2012

Believe Him, Or Not

First Published May 11, 2012 John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. **** **** This verse is widely recited, referenced, and revered for its concise and encompassing content. There are entire books devoted to this one verse penned by the apostle John quoting Christ Jesus. But, today’s focus is on the word “believes.” The word is translated from the Greek “pisteuo,” (πιστεύω) (pist-yoo’-o) which means to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in. The translation is the present indicative active form. This means that the action is ongoing. The belief referred to in John 3:16 is continuous and never ending. It’s hard to think in those terms, but in the Greek language this is an important issue. John’s use of the present indicative active tense implies trust and commitment. So, if we believe in Him, we trust that God’s plan is perfect and we commit ourselves to reflect His will in our lives. This truly goes beyond an intellectual understanding and acceptance of believing in Jesus. Our belief must be evident in our actions in the life we lead. If our believing in Christ is sporadic or wanes in intensity let’s make a change. Let’s purpose to focus on a continuous Christian walk and pray that today marks a new life of “pisteuo”-ing Him! Copyright 2012, Karen Vaughn