Pause and think about it!

My Statue of Liberty

Several people have asked for the study on the “ites” after Pastor Jamie mentioned it. Here is a pdf of the study in a book I wrote: Scarecrows in my Cerebellum. The Chapters are named after the “ites” which Joshua told the people God would drive out of their land (Joshua 3:10). This book is out of print and I couldn’t find it as a used book on any of the sites.

Scarecrows-Brentwood-Final

Click on link below to read Yvonne’s 2015 Christmas card

2015 Christmas Card

Having traveled to many countries around the world, I can tell you first hand that we have much for which to be thankful in our country. Even with the economic downturn in nearly every state of the Union, we are blessed with an abundance in our grocery stores, shopping centers, and commercial markets. We have bathrooms in our homes complete with flushing toilets. On cold, frigid nights, even the homeless can usually find shelters to sleep in and soup kitchens to serve them a meal. I have been in countries where the store shelves were virtually empty, one-room homes had only a dirt floor, no running water was available, and urinals and toilets were non-existent. Amidst all the complaints of unemployment and foreclosures, we’re still abundantly blessed with the necessities and conveniences of life.

However, the most treasured gift of all is our freedom of religion. Our forefathers cherished religious freedom and attributed to Almighty God the success in their private and public lives.

This Thanksgiving–and every day–we must remember, “It is a GOOD thing to give thanks unto the Lord!” (Psalm 92)

(c)  C. Yvonne Karl, Reprinted from The Alabaster Box, Vol. 25 No. 11

Creepy Teachers, Sneaky Libertines, and our Glorious God

by C. Yvonne Karl

Click on title below to read Summary

Jude Class #7-Jude Summary

Read Rev. Senseman’s obituary here:  http://www.chapmanfuneralhomes.com/obituaries/Dale-Senseman/#!/Obituary

Click on the link below to read reflections on the life of Rev. Dale Senseman from a Karl perspective.

Dale Senseman

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).

IMG_2822About 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 Santa 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. I’m not suggesting you lie about who Santa is or isn’t. Just enjoy the custom while making certain you teach your children 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 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.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the Gospel of Matthew, we meet the Wise Men 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 as does his “Santa” legacy that is with us today. 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 hard to find a person who looks happier than “Santa” with his twinkling eyes and joyful laugh. It is difficult to find a person so eager and ready to give to others without the 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, let’s not discard Santa but receive him as a gift to our lives. 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 Elzie as Santa-no datelike medicine. That joy comes from knowing Jesus and is kept in manifestation by the indwelling Holy Spirit. No matter how good people may appear to be, how perfect, how jovial, or how benevolent, Jesus is the real source of these characteristics for He alone is the giver of the abundant life.

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.

______________

*Last picture is of my dad and mother playing Santa and Mrs. Claus with my niece Lane c.1976.

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

 

 

 

 

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