Pause and think about it!

(Written by Yvonne. April 2012.)

With tears streaming down my face, I sit watching. Watching. Two thousand miles away, yet by the miracle of internet I am watching … and reflecting.  It’s Palm Sunday and scores of people, including the choir, are dressed in costumes of Jesus’ time and re-enacting the triumphal entry of the King of Glory to Jerusalem. The voices soar in marvelous harmonies to proclaim “Prepare ye the way.” The children wave their palm branches and shout with glee, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” My mind begins to take a backward journey. I’m intimately acquainted with Jesus—the center of this drama; and I’m acquainted with the lady who wrote and designed this presentation. I’m blessed and proud to call her my sister.

My only sister, my younger sister, my little sister….(she lacked two months being five years younger than I)…wrote and directed many wonderful church dramas over the years. However, more than a decade ago, she was inspired to write, “The King of Glory,” a magnificent drama of the life of Jesus from birth to resurrection. Hundreds of people supported her vision and worked together for months to build the scenery, sew the costumes, learn the music, and rehearse their parts. Over the years, thousands upon thousands of people have come from far and near often waiting in line for hours to get in. While attending, hundreds decided to become followers of Jesus Christ. All who participated or watched will forever hold that experience in their memory.

But who is this author, this Virginia—this sister of mine—whose drama has impacted the lives of thousands of people? Let me take you back to April 1945.

Sunday, April 8, 1945.

Elzie and Nettie Hively were at the hospital where their daughter, Virginia Ruth, was born. Nearly three years earlier, this young couple had lost a son just after birth due to complications from RH factor. Now their newborn daughter was exhibiting some of these same issues, and it looked like she too would die. They called for pastors in the area to come to the hospital and pray for her. I remember vividly the testimonies of our parents about how Rev. Ross Taylor touched heaven with his prayers that day. By God’s grace, prayers were answered and Virginia Ruth lived and miracles in her body continued to come.

So first of all, my sister was a gift from God—and a miracle. Even though she was given life, I’m sure our parents had a nagging concern about her health. Her first year was rough. She had severe colic, and I remember both Mother and Daddy being up with her often during the night as her cries penetrated the darkness. Those nights soon passed and she grew into a beautiful young lady.

Our family was poor but we children didn’t know it. Our parents loved us. Our daddy was an itinerant preacher with bad grammar that faded into oblivion because of his Holy Spirit anointing. We loved him and loved to hear him preach. In whatever small church he was preaching, there were special programs for holidays. Mother saw to that.  And she always included us children—regardless of age. So the seed of communicating the Gospel through drama was planted in Virginia by the time she could talk.

At the age of 12, Virginia felt the Holy Spirit tugging at her heart and responded to Him. So now my sister was a follower of Jesus, the daughter of the King of Kings.

Through the remainder of her school years, Virginia continued to grow spiritually. She made a declaration that she would be a pastor’s wife and mother. She met the love of her life—a high school football star who was planning to be a coach. Even though she thought he was the one, she had to let him go because his plans were not compatible with her calling. She met another young pastor and a pastor-to-be, but neither was a match. Why? Because the one she had thought was the one was truly the one. James Wright changed programs in the middle of college and responded to the call of God to be a pastor. By God’s grace, they got back together and were married. Without question, the marriage of James and Virginia was God’s divine call. So now my sister was a pastor’s wife.

Three weeks ago, they retired from pastoral ministry to pursue their dream of mentoring young pastors and helping small congregations. After forty-four years in ministry, three children, 13 grandchildren, and one great grandchild, I sit here at home in Las Vegas watching the Palm Sunday drama as it is webcast from their church in West Virginia. God called them to plant this church nearly 36 years ago and it has grown to nearly 2000 in attendance—a vibrant church of excellence, preaching the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ, with passionate praise and worship, outreach to a diverse population with a myriad of needs, a pre-school, a Bible college, and two growing satellite campuses.

Our daddy was all for the marriage, but our mother was slow to affirm it. Eventually she, too, came to realize it was of God. Today very few people know her life story, but everyone who knows Virginia can see that God indeed called her to be a pastor’s wife and mother and in those roles she has truly excelled. Very few people actually know about her writing and programming, but her contributions to Kingdom Ministry will live beyond her life. Just as she and I remember being in those little dramas in the country churches, these children and young people will always remember accompanying Jesus down the aisle on the colt and shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Yes, “The King of Glory Passion Play” is a dream fulfilled that will continue to be performed for years to come.

Thanks, Virginia—my sister—for being obedient to the vision God gave you.  I love you.

Happy Birthday!

From your big Sis, Yvonne

P.S. Next to Jesus, she loves her family most–husband, children, and grandchildren. Picture added December 2015.

yvonnekarl@gmail.com    http://yvonnekarl.com      http://www.alabasterbox.org

 

Creepy Teachers, Sneaky Libertines, and our Glorious God

by C. Yvonne Karl

Click on title below to read Summary

Jude Class #7-Jude Summary

The birth of our son, Robert J. Karl

Sometimes we are tempted to falter and lose confidence as we face the scarecrows of our past. There was one such a scarecrow in my family tree.

My grandmother’s firstborn child was a baby girl, my mother. Soon grandmother gave birth to a baby boy, Denver Lee, who died at age two of complications from pneumonia.

My mother’s firstborn child was also a baby girl: yours truly, Carol Yvonne. Her second child was a boy, Charles Ray, who died from complications of the Rh factor when he was less than two days old.

Now, I was the third generation and, just like my grandmother and my mother, my firstborn child was a baby girl, Caroline Julia. More than four years later, I had a positive pregnancy test indicating our second child was on the way. The trial was here. The scarecrow was staring me in the face. Would family history be repeated?

Imagine the fear that was grabbing my mother. When I was about 24 weeks pregnant, three doctors could get no heartbeat and the ultrasounds lent suspicions that I was carrying a fast-growing tumor rather than a live fetus.

I went home from that appointment and shared the gloomy news with my husband. About that time, there was a knock at the door. A somewhat inebriated and elderly Lou Myers had come to ask for prayer. My husband invited him in and shared that it looked like we weren’t having a baby after all. He told Lou: “I’ll pray for you, and you pray with us that if it’s God’s will we’ll have this baby.” Lou responded quickly: “I don’t give you a dime for those preachers that say if it’s God’s will; you know it’s God’s will for you to have this baby.” And he began to pray: “Thank You God for giving Pastor and Mrs. Karl a healthy baby boy.” (We had hoped for a boy.)

While the doctors were planning to surgically eliminate the tumor, God was doing something in me. A few days later, the doctor said, “Whoa! No heartbeat, but it sounds like we might have a placenta swish here. Let’s wait a few days and see what develops.” Less than four months later, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1978, my handsome son was born.

Had three doctors been wrong in their diagnosis? Or had God turned the tumor into a live fetus? In my mind, I’ll always believe God did a miracle.

Oh, the fiery trial wasn’t over yet. The pediatrician came to my hospital room that evening to inform me that my son had an incurable blood disease. More prayer. My husband went to a pastors’ conference where he requested prayer for our newborn.

After an extended stay in the hospital, the doctor allowed us to bring our baby home on the condition that I bring him in for daily blood monitoring. He advised removal of his spleen because of the blood disease. However, before the surgery was scheduled to take place, something miraculous happened.

One day after taking the slide to the lab to test our baby’s blood, the doctor returned to the room with a huge smile on his face. There was no trace of the blood disease. It had totally disappeared, and tests repeated over the next few weeks showed no trace of it.

At age six, Robert made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Throughout his school years he excelled in academics, and at age eighteen he graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry/Bio-Chemistry. At age twenty-one he graduated from medical school. He is a family practice physician and has a beautiful Christian wife and three gorgeous, healthy, young  children.

The curse is broken.

To God be the glory. “He does all things well” (Mark 7:37).

“Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done” (Psalm 105:1).

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A few years ago, I posted the following story of Santa in an Alabaster Box Publication and later included it in my book East of Bethlehem.

About 25 years ago Noah and Laura, two of my students, gave me a treasured Christmas gift: a Santa kneeling at the manger worshipping Jesus.

I am well aware that there are those who would like to eradicate the legend of Santa, but he does typify what every Christian should be like for He is described as being full of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, and faith.

The Santa custom actually began as a person named Nicholas who was born around the year 300 A.D. in what is now Turkey. He was a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. When his parents died and he inherited their wealth, he simply gave it away in the form of gifts—primarily to poor children. If the recipient discovered his identity, he would request that they tell no one. From this came the custom of gifts coming from an unnamed Santa. We should not lie to our children about who Santa is, but enjoy the custom while making certain we teach them that Christmas is all about God giving His Son Jesus to deliver us from our sin and bring us into His family.

St. Nicholas, the generous gift-giver, was a church leader throughout his life and known for his warm personality, his compassionate spirit, and boldness in preaching. In later generations his death on December sixth was celebrated by giving gifts. Christians were already celebrating the birth of Jesus on a Roman festival day December 25, and at some point along the way, the St. Nicholas remembrance became a part of the Christmas celebration with the exchange of gifts as a reminder of the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we meet the Wise Men—kings from the East—who recognized Jesus as God’s gift to them and brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Likewise we acknowledge the gift that others are to us by giving something appropriate to them. It may be a gift of time, thanksgiving, a card, or something of substance. A gift is not given with the expectation of receiving a gift in return but rather in the spirit of having already received something. It is more blessed to give than to receive. St. Nicholas’ life reflected this attitude of heart. He is known as Jolly old St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Papa Noel, Father Christmas, and various other names in different countries and languages.

It is difficult to find a person who looks happier than a “Santa” with his twinkling eyes and joyful laugh. It is difficult to find a person so eager and ready to give to others with no thought of getting something in return. It is difficult to find a person so willing to forgive and be gracious to the smallest of offenders. Yet, these are precisely the characteristics that we Christians are to have day after day; they are the fruit of the Holy Spirit. If people all ages are drawn to these characteristics in Santa, how much more are they drawn to spirit-filled Christians who are in circulation 365 days a year rather than just a few days around Christmas time.

During the Christmas season, each time we see his symbol, let’s remember the life of St. Nicholas who gave himself and his wealth and time to those around him as he served Jesus. Perhaps someone will look at you this Christmas and say, “Hi Santa, I see Jesus in you!” The Santa in our house should be filled with Ho-Ho-Ho laughter that does our heart good like medicine. Such joy comes from knowing Jesus and is kept in manifestation by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Thank the Lord for St. Nicholas who worshipped Jesus and whose unselfish life continues to point us to Jesus Christ—the Greatest Gift ever given. No matter how good anyone may appear to be, how perfect, how jovial, or how benevolent, only Jesus is the real source of these characteristics for He alone is the giver of the abundant life. Above all else, JESUS IS THE CENTER AND FOCUS OF CHRISTMAS. May all of our activities and celebrations point to HIM.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. This is the first time I’ve had my picture taken with a Mall Santa, but it goes with the above story about how I relate to him. -December 2016

yvonne-santa2016-final2-copy

 

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Above article adapted and expanded from East of Bethlehem, Chapter 13, by C. Yvonne Karl. Brentwood Press, 2003.  (yvonnekarl@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

Who is Jesus Christ to Whom we give thanks? 

In Genesis, He is The Promised Seed of the woman.
In Exodus, He is the Passover lamb.
In Leviticus, He is the high priest.
In Numbers, He is the star to rise out of Jacob.
In Deuteronomy, He is the two laws: love God and love your neighbor.
In Joshua, He is the captain of the hosts.
In Judges, He is the covenant angel named “Wonderful.”
In Ruth, He is the kinsman redeemer.
In Samuel, He is the root and offspring of David.
In Kings, He is the greater than the temple.
In Chronicles, He is the king’s son.
In Ezra and Nehemiah, He is the Rebuilder.
In Esther, He is the savior of God’s people.
In Job, He is the Daysman.
In Psalms, He is the song.
In Proverbs, He is the wisdom of God.
In Ecclesiastes, He is the one among the thousand.
In Song of Solomon, He is the bridegroom of the bride.
In Isaiah, He is Jacob’s branch.
In Jeremiah, He is our righteousness.
In Lamentations, He is the unbeliever’s judgment.
In Ezekiel, He the true shepherd.
In Daniel, He is the stone that became the head of the corner.
In Hosea, He is the latter rain.
In Joel, He is God’s dwelling in Zion.
In Amos, He is the raiser of David’s tabernacle.
In Obadiah, He is the deliverer on Mount Zion.
In Jonah, He is our salvation.
In Micah, He is the lord of kings.
In Nahum, He is the stronghold in the time of trouble.
In Habakkuk, He is our joy and confidence.
In Zephaniah, He is our mighty lord.
In Haggai, He is the desire of the nations.
In Zechariah, He is our servant, the branch.
In Malachi, He is the Son of righteousness.

In Matthew, He is Jehovah’s messiah.

In Mark, He is Jehovah’s servant.

In Luke, He is Jehovah’s man.

In John, He is the Son of God

In Acts, He is the Builder of the Church

In Romans, He is the Justifier of him who believes

In 1 Corinthians, He is the first-fruits from among the dead

In 2 Corinthians, He is the unspeakable gift

In Galatians, He is the Seed of Abraham

In Ephesians, He is head of the church

In Philippians, He is the supplier of every need

In Colossians, He is the preeminent One

In 1 and 2 Thessalonians, He is the returning Lord

In 1 Timothy, He is God manifest in the flesh

In 2 Timothy, He is the Lord, the righteous judge

In Titus, He is the Blessed Hope

In Philemon, He is Savior of Slaves

In Hebrews, He is the High Priest

In James, He is the royal law.

In 1 Peter, He is the chief shepherd

In 2 Peter, He is the day star arising in our heart

In 1 John, He is our Advocate

In 2 John, He is the confession of one who is true

In 3 John, He is source of prosperity

In Jude, He is the beloved.

In Revelation, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Several variations of this can be found on the internet and in various book collections with no mention anywhere of the source.

(Also quoted in Chapter 25 of Yvonne’s Book, East of Bethlehem, 2003).

The following article was written on my return from Israel in April 2006.

Click here:  My Experience at the Tomb

The following article was published in 2009, ten years after my husband’s move to His Heavenly Father’s House.

These last ten years

Our last family picture – Christmas Eve dinner at the church  1998

Family-1998-02

As a child, I grew up in the beautiful hills of West Virginia then lived in Indiana, Louisville, and finally more than three decades near the gorgeous orchards of Michigan.* In all those places, there was an excitement for Autumn to come to bring relief from the heat and humidity of the summer but also for the opportunity to enjoy the extravaganza of the tree leaves changing from green to vivid colors.  Several years ago it dawned upon me what was really happening.  Click on the article title below to read my thoughts.

The Dance of Leaves

 

*Yvonne has lived in Nevada since 2006.