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Archive for the ‘Thoughts to Ponder’ Category

Patches Not Allowed (Put off … Put on)

As often happens with newly married men, my husband gained a few pounds. Not many—just enough to make his trousers a bit uncomfortable and cause the seams to split. He assumed that I, his new wife, knew something about tailoring since I frequently sewed my own clothes. Not wanting to disappoint him, I willingly took on the task of mending the seams. 

My zeal, however, was exceeded by my ignorance. Instead of opening the seam and sewing it properly, I merely applied iron-on patches. Imagine his discomfort when he slipped into the trousers without looking at the repair job. He spent the evening trying to ignore the scratchy irritation caused by the patch. Kindly and graciously he did not comment about it until we got home.

Although the patch closed the seam temporarily, it did more harm than good causing damage to the surrounding fabric and the skin of my beloved husband. The trousers found their way to the trash can. I had looked for a quick fix and it ended in destruction. In the same way, many are throwing away the best God has for them because they don’t stop to think. They try to get around problems rather than solving them to the benefit of themselves and others.

In Luke 5:36, Jesus spoke a parable: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old” (NKJV). My own experience confirms this truth; but as I meditate and apply the basic principle to life, it begins to take on a much deeper meaning. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor.5:17,NKJV).  Patches are not allowed.

When we are born-again (John 3:3,7), we are created anew—not our outer shell called the body, but the real person that we are—our spirit. Jesus doesn’t patch up the old; He gives us a brand new start:  “Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new’” (Rev.21:5,NKJV).

“You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness – righteous, holy, and true” (Eph.4:24,NLT).

In the next verse, Jesus continues:  “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved” (Luke 5:38, NKJV).

In the New Testament world there were no college degrees in packaging. Containers as we know them today did not exist. They took animal skins, sewed them together and used them as we would use bottles and jars and plastic boxes.  As they aged, the skins would become dry and hard and eventually they cracked and liquid spilled out. If new wine was poured into the old wineskins, it would continue to ferment and the gasses would cause the wineskin to explode. Jesus told the parable and He said new wine must be put into new wineskins.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Rom. 12:2, NLT).

Many of our friends and relatives “act as if they are religious, but they reject the power that could make them godly” (2 Tim.3:5,NLT). They try to patch up their life in their own way—unwilling to let the power of God make them new because it might mean giving up some of their old ways of living in immorality and materialism, undisciplined in every way. At first, their ungodly attitudes and actions may be concealed from others, but soon they will become obvious. In fact, the Apostle Paul says: “You must stay away from people like that” (2 Tim.3:5b, NLT)—people like what? Those who say they’re Christians but do not live godly.

“When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A NEW life has begun” (2 Cor. 5:17,TLB). That’s what it means to be “in Christ.”  Die to old way; get a fresh start. Jesus says you can’t put new wine in old wineskins because they’ll burst and the joy will fall out of your life. “Now you can really serve God; not in the old way, mechanically obeying a set of rules, but in a new way” (Rom. 7:6b-TLB) having a life and breath relationship with Jesus Christ thus allowing Him to make all things new in you.

By the way, my husband never again asked me to mend his trousers. He did it himself for the rest of his life—and he never complained about it. In the same way, we cannot expect others to take care of the problems in our life. We have the Mighty Counselor living in us, continually reminding us of our responsibility to “put off” and “put on” certain things. Scripture tells us what natural tendencies we need to put off and the spiritual attributes that must replace them. We get in trouble when we try to keep our old ways and simply patch them up with something new. We cannot put the new attribute on the old pattern. It simply won’t work. No patches allowed.

Here are some “put off…put on” admonitions:

  1. PUT OFF lovelessness, 1 Jo.4:7,8,20; PUT ON love, Jhn.15:12
  1. PUT OFF judging, Matt. 7:1,2; PUT ON God consciousness, Jhn. 8:9
  1. PUT OFF bitterness, Hbr.12:15; PUT ON tenderheartedness, Eph.4:32
  1. PUT OFF unforgiveness, Mrk.11:26; PUT ON forgiveness, Col.3:13
  1. PUT OFF selfishness, Phil.2:21; PUT ON self-denial, Jhn.12:24
  1. PUT OFF pride, Pro.16:5; PUT ON humility, Jam.4:6
  1. PUT OFF boasting, 1 Cor.4:7; PUT ON esteeming others, Phil.2:3
  1. PUT OFF stubbornness, 1 Sa.15:23; PUT ON brokenness, Rom.6:13
  1. PUT OFF disrespect for authority, Acts 23:5; PUT ON honoring authority, Hebr.13:17
  1. PUT OFF rebellion, 1 Sam.15:23; PUT ON submission, Heb.13:17
  1. PUT OFF disobedience, 1 Sam.12:15; PUT ON obedience, Deu.11:27
  1. PUT OFF impatience, Jam.1:2-4; PUT ON patience, Heb.10:36
  1. PUT OFF ungratefulness, Rom.1:21; PUT ON gratitude, Eph.5:20
  1. PUT OFF covetousness, Luke12:15; PUT ON contentment, Heb.13:5
  1. PUT OFF discontent, Heb.13:5; PUT ON contentment, 1 Tim6:8
  1. PUT OFF murmuring/complaining, Phil.2:14; PUT ON praise, Heb.13:15
  1. PUT OFF irritating others, Gal.5:26; PUT ON preferring others, Phil.2:3-4
  1. PUT OFF jealousy, Gal.5:26; PUT ON trust, 1 Cor.13:4
  1. PUT OFF strife, Pro.13:10; PUT ON peace, Jam.3:17
  1. PUT OFF retaliation, Pro.24:29; PUT ON doing good for evil, Rom.12:19-20
  1. PUT OFF losing temper, Pro.25:28; PUT ON self-control, Pro.16:32
  1. PUT OFF anger, Pro.29:22; PUT ON self-control, Gal.5:22-23
  1. PUT OFF wrath, Jam.1:19-20; PUT ON soft answer, Pro.15:1
  1. PUT OFF being easily irritated, 1 Cor.13:5; PUT ON not being easily provoked, Pro.19:11
  1. PUT OFF hatred, Matt.5:21-22; PUT ON love, 1 Cor.13:3
  1. PUT OFF murder, Exod.20:13; PUT ON love, Rom.13:10
  1. PUT OFF gossip, 1 Tim.5:13; PUT ON edifying speech, Eph.4:29
  1. PUT OFF evil speaking, Jam.4:11; PUT ON a good report, Prov.15:30
  1. PUT OFF critical spirit, Gal.5:15; PUT ON kindness, Col.3:12
  1. PUT OFF lying, Eph.4:25; PUT ON speaking truth, Zec.8:16
  1. PUT OFF profanity, Prov.4:24; PUT ON pure speech, Prov.15:4
  1. PUT OFF idle words, Matt.12:36; PUT ON bridling your tongue, Prov.21:23
  1. PUT OFF wrong motives, 1 Sam.16:7; PUT ON spiritual motives, 1 Cor.10:31
  1. PUT OFF evil thoughts, Matt.5:19-20; PUT ON pure thoughts, Phil.4:8
  1. PUT OFF complacency, Rev.3:15; PUT ON zeal, Rev.3:19
  1. PUT OFF laziness, Prov.20:4; PUT ON diligence, Prov.6:6-11
  1. PUT OFF slothfulness, Prov.18:9; PUT ON wholeheartedness, Col.3:23
  1. PUT OFF hypocrisy, Job.8:13; PUT ON sincerity, 1 Thes.2:3
  1. PUT OFF idolatry, Deu.11:6; PUT ON worship God only, Col.1:18
  1. PUT OFF leaving first love, Rev.2:4; PUT ON fervent devotion, Rev.2:5
  1. PUT OFF lack of rejoicing, Phil.4:4; PUT ON rejoicing always, 1 Thes.5:18
  1. PUT OFF worry and fear, Matt.6:25-32; PUT ON trust, 1 Pe.5:7
  1. PUT OFF unbelief, Heb.3:12; PUT ON faith, Heb.11:1,6
  1. PUT OFF unfaithfulness, Prov.25:19; PUT ON faithfulness, Luke 16:10-12
  1. PUT OFF neglect of Bible study, 2 Tim.3:14-17; PUT ON Bible study, Psa.1:2
  1. PUT OFF lack of prayer, Luk.18:1; PUT ON praying, Matt.26:41
  1. PUT OFF misuse of talents, Luke 12:48; PUT ON developing abilities, 1 Cor.4:2
  1. PUT OFF irresponsibility in family and work, Luk.16:12; PUT ON responsibility, Luke16:10
  1. PUT OFF procrastination, Pro.10:5; PUT ON diligence, Pro.27:1
  1. PUT OFF cheating, 2 Cor.4:2; PUT ON honesty, 2 Cor.8:21
  1. PUT OFF stealing Pro.29:24; PUT ON working and giving, Eph.4:28
  1. PUT OFF overindulgence Pro.11:1; PUT ON temperance, 1 Cor.9:25
  1. PUT OFF gluttony, Pro.23:21; PUT ON discipline, 1 Cor.9:27
  1. PUT OFF wrong friends, Ps.1:1; PUT ON godly friends, Pro.13:20
  1. PUT OFF temporal values, Matt.6:19-21; PUT ON eternal value, 2 Cor.4:18
  1. PUT OFF stinginess, 1 Jo.3:17; PUT ON generosity, Pro.11:24-25
  1. PUT OFF moral impurity, 1 Th.4:7; PUT ON moral purity, 1 Thes.4:4
  1. PUT OFF fornication, 1 Cor.6:18; PUT ON abstinence, 1 Thes.4:3
  1. PUT OFF lust, 1 Pet.2:11; PUT ON pure desires, Tit.2:12
  1. PUT OFF adultery, Matt.5:27-28; PUT ON marital fidelity, Prov.5:14-19
  1. PUT OFF homosexuality, Lev.18:22; PUT ON moral purity, 1 Thes.4:4-5
  1. PUT OFF pornography, Ps.101:3; PUT ON pure thoughts, Phil.4:8

As you study the Bible, you will find many more references to “putting off” and “putting on.”  It’s not enough to know about them; their purpose is to change you and give you abundant life.

“May the God of peace himself make you holy in every way; and may your spirit and soul and body be free from all sin at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess.5:23, NEB).                                 

(c) C. Yvonne Karl – yvonnekarl@gmail.com

Published by UPCI in The Vision – September 27, 2009

Twelve Churches in Twelve Weeks

Since I moved to South Carolina without knowing where I would become part of a church family, I decided to take advantage of the situation and visit several houses of worship. Here is my summary of those visits:

Click on the title below to open up the article.

Visiting SC Churches 12 wks 2017

Mind Your Own Business!

Jesus just finished a heart-to-heart talk with Peter. He gave him instructions: Feed my sheep! He gave him a prophecy: When you were young you dressed yourself and pretty much decided when and when you would go; but when you are old someone else will dress you and make decisions for you .. then Peter, turning about saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following … Peter seeing him (John) said to him, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus said to him, What is that to you? You follow me (John 21:20-22). When Peter looked away from Jesus and began to ask questions about John, Jesus gave Peter a rebuke: Peter, Mind your own business! It reminds me of a message I found on the floor at school:

The best BUSINESS

In the line of BUSINESS

Is to tend to the BUSINESS of your own

So if you have no BUSINESS

Then make it your BUSINESS

To leave other people’s BUSINESS alone!

When Peter turned, his focus was no longer on Jesus but on John. He was DISTRACTED. He began to ask questions that were none of his business. Very often, people and circumstances in your life DISTRACT you, DECEIVE you, and then DESTROY you.

BE ALERT TO DISTRACTIONS

How great are our tendencies to be distracted by the words of others, their actions, their great jobs, or their complaints about ours. It is common for us to think that we are required to sacrifice more than someone else. When we mature, we learn that every distraction, even momentarily, causes us to lose our focus on what is most important. Distractions weaken our faith and resolve, and they prevent us from being devoted wholeheartedly to our assignments. Scripture warns us repeatedly not to be led astray by false doctrine and philosophies. There is much emphasis on what seems right, sounds good, and satisfies our desires, but its satisfaction is only temporary. Any move away from the Way Jesus teaches, no matter how good it seems, will lead to deception and failing away from the Truth.

BE ALERT TO DECEPTIONS

No one is immune to deception. Some become distracted by pseudo-spiritual words and actions, and then are deceived by prophesies, signs, and wonders. Remember Jesus said, signs FOLLOW those who believe; He did not say believers are to FOLLOW signs! He says His disciples will be known by their FRUIT not by their gifts.

Do not be distracted, then deceived, by those who would intimidate you with their phony prophecies. Now, friends, there cannot be the counterfeit unless there is the real, and I believe in real prophecy; but there are far too many self-proclaimed prophets sitting in-wait to deceive. They manipulate, intimidate, regulate, and orchestrate by their own prophetic words. Once you are in their clutches, you move at their command–often as if hypnotized. You seek guidance from them. You desire a word from the Lord and go to them. You are deceived! This is the real co-dependency that should be abolished!

BE ALERT TO DEVOURERS

People will tear you apart. You speak the TRUTH to them, in love, and they’ll rip up your heart. They’ll knife you in the back. You think they are your dearest friends. You think they have your best interest at heart. You think they want to do all they can to help you. Then you say or do something that upsets them and they turn on you! Jesus said this would happen. He said people would take advantage of you and persecute YOU. The purpose of an attack is to sift you like wheat so you’ll be separated within yourself and have no direction; this is how the enemy can rob, kill, and destroy your influence, and to cause you to faint in your mind–wear you out! But if you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small (Prov. 24:10). You are able to withstand the fiery darts of the enemy and not be devoured because you know your God! Because you keep your eyes on Jesus! Because you mind your own business!

I don’t know the future of your church. I’ve lived long enough to see many congregations that spiraled to hundreds, even thousands, in the last few decades are now barely making it or have already closed their doors. Many that seem to be powerful, big, and mighty today may be just an offense away from destruction. It only takes one disagreement, one discord, to sift and divide a congregation, a marriage, a family, or even a corporation. Picking up offenses and joining the ranks of the discontented will result in a disappointment and collapse. Then comes the introspection: Since I couldn’t do anything to effect a positive change, why didn’t I leave the situation alone rather than sticking my nose into it. They come to regret not minding their own business rather than taking on the business of someone else.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds–maybe not much more of the wealth and prosperity so enjoyed by America over the past decades. Sadly, many have confused it with rewards for being good, or in the church it has been confused with God’s anointing. Probably not much more time of peace and fearless going to and fro as we pleased, for we have mistaken that for God’s freedom. But we do know, Jesus said, Occupy till I come… (Luke 19.13). And that means for us to do business! He gave each one of us an assignment. Do what’s assigned to you! And don’t turn and look at someone else! Don’t pick up their offenses, nor look for someone else to blame for your own plight! Neither be concerned that they aren’t doing their job, nor even be concerned what their job should be (unless that’s your business)! It’s your business to make sure you are fulfilling your assignment–as a mom, a dad, a boss, an employee, a pastor, an usher, a greeter. Be sure your account is settled and there’s nothing between your soul and your Savior! It’s your business to be concerned with yourself and your own purity.

Jesus is the author of your faith–the one who created it and gave it to you. He’s the finisher of your faith–the one who will bring you safely across the finish line of life. He’s the perfecter of your faith–the one who causes your faith to grow, mature, and be sufficient in times of stress and trial. The songwriter so aptly put it: When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay!

Mind your own business. Keep your heart pure and tender. Remember, Jesus gives you a heart of flesh in exchange for your heart of stone. Both break. But the heart Jesus gives also heals. The other one stays in pieces.

Do not be distracted.

Do not he deceived.

Do not he devoured.

Mind your own business!

_____________________________________________________________

(c) by C. Yvonne Karl. Revised from The Alabaster Box, Vol 9 No 01 Yr 1994. ykarl@alabasterbox.org

Scarecrows in my Cerebellum (“ites”)

Here is a pdf of my book: 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; Exodus 23:23). This book is out of print. Occasionally it shows up as a used book on alibris, abebooks, or amazon.

Click on the link below.

Scarecrows-Brentwood-Final

The Dance of Leaves

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 link below to read my thoughts.

The Dance of Leaves

 

*Yvonne has lived in Nevada since 2006.

Come hell or high water…

As a child in the 1940’s, the concept of hell was succinctly expressed in the hymns we sang. My family often attended revival meetings in country churches held for the purpose of bringing the unredeemed into relationship with Jesus Christ. Two of the most popular hymns sung at the end of the sermons were “Lost Forever” and “Eternity,” and the words are still with me today: Lost, forever! Lost, forever!
 Oh, how sad! Oh, eternity! Long eternity! 
Hear the solemn footsteps of eternity. (See words below.)

This era preceded the Rock and Roll take-over of “When the Saints go Marching in,” and I can still hear the congregation singing with gusto from Acts 2:20: “When the sun refuses to shine…” and “When the moon turns into blood…” As a little girl, I would come home at night and have nightmares because I wanted to “be in that number when the saints” went marching in. I didn’t want to be lost forever in long eternity.

Some of the evangelists openly confessed they wanted to scare the hell out of us, and for many it worked. Today with the emphasis on the Love of God, such a theme sounds brash, crass, and unloving—but their motive was admirable. They were exhorting us to move out of our sinful ways and into the path that leads to abundant life here and eternal life hereafter.

Hell? We find in the Bible that Hell appears as the English translation for Sheol and Hades—both alluding to the grave; Tartarus-darkness (2 Peter 2:4), and Gehenna-burning. In its primary description, it is the destination for non-believers after death. As soon as we hear this word, the picture that comes to mind most frequently is Fire.

However, we also read that it means a place where God is not (Matt.25:41); where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth as a result of bitterness, anger, and contempt for themselves and the bad choice they made to reject God’s love. Some people like the idea of being in a place where God is not but they haven’t thought through the consequences of their location nor the environment of that place.

In addition to eternal hell, we also hear about hell on earth which alludes to indescribable tragedy and incomprehensible abuse. The latter is often unavoidable as it happens when excessive weather phenomenon or disastrous accidents occur and when people exercise their free-will for evil which they inflict on innocent victims. For these situations, we have a verse of comfort in Isaiah 43:2 where God promises to go with us through these fires of life and through the floods of evil and tragedy that confront or immerse us.

In fact, we learn that in this life, we will have afflictions, persecutions, and problems that appear insurmountable. The Apostle Paul says none of them can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35). And Jesus Himself promised that He will always be with us even to the end of our life (Matt.28:20). To that promise I cling and determine to move forward and not get stuck in the hell-bent intentions of others.

Perhaps that’s the meaning of an expression I’ve heard all of my life: I’ll do it,  Come hell or high water. My research has turned up assorted opinions about the origin of this expression but none appears to be authoritative. However, all agree it means no matter what happens; no matter what obstacle befalls me, I’ll stay the course; I won’t be distracted. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all who profess to be in the family of God would adopt this determination? No matter what life deals to me, I’ll pursue Jesus. I will not permit anything to stand in my way of completing my life with faith in Jesus. We would say with Paul, I’ve fought a good fight; I’ve kept the faith. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming (2 Tim.4:7-8).

We often hear people say: Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise, I’ll do such and such. Lord willing is a biblical expression: You should say, ‘if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’ (James 4:15)However, to add and the creek don’t rise seems to give us an excuse in case we can’t follow through with our commitment. On the other hand, Come hell or high water, I’ll do such and such, gives us no way out but to trust Jesus is with us and go full speed ahead serving Him no matter what happens.

__________________________

yvonnekarl@gmail.com

(c) Yvonne Karl, 9 January 2013

You’ll get what you’ve got coming!

Give and it shall be given unto you. Although we often hear this scripture read preceding the offering in a church service, in context it refers not to money but to our moral responsibility to man and to God. Give friendship; get friendship. Give love; get love. Give criticism; get criticism. Give a cold shoulder; get a cold shoulder. We don’t always get back from the person to whom we give. Often we get back through other people. We may not get the return immediately; in fact, we may get it many years from the time we give. Whenever and however it may come, we do reap what we sow.  In other words, we get what we’ve got coming—even if it’s delayed until eternity.

We must expect to be dealt with as we deal with others: With the same measure that ye mete it shall be measured to you again. If we give lots of love and attention, in some way, shape or form, we will get the same lavished upon us—perhaps not by those to whom we give it but from others.

Consider these verses:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you give it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38 ). But read the true meaning in The Message version of the same scripture: Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity (Luke 6:38 Msg).

A man that hath friends must show himself friendly (Prov.18:24a).

Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life (Gal.6:7 Msg)

His master replied, You evil and lazy servant! You knew that I harvest grain where I haven’t sown and that I gather crops where I haven’t spread seed?  (Matt. 25:26 CEB).  Should that not be reason enough for us to give honor and respect and love—even to the unlovely? Even when we don’t expect a return from that person?

Some will say, but my parents didn’t treat me right. The scripture doesn’t say if they treat you right, honor them. It simply says, if you want things to go well for you and live long, then honor your parents. (Eph.6:2-3; Ex. 20:12; Deut 5:16).

Scripture also says to love your enemies: You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you (Matt.5:43-48 Msg).

Introspection

What am I giving that I would like to receive back in abundance?

What am I getting that I don’t like? Did I plant it?

What have I got coming to me as a result of my actions and words?

yvonnekarl@gmail.com

(c) 8 January 2013

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