Friday, September 30, 2011

Seeking wisdom finding Jesus Part 1

I read this at first and thought, "Oy!  Another passage on wisdom. What's different about this as compared to the other Proverbs?"  I prayed.  I kept reading and thinking isn't this reference to wisdom describing Jesus?  So, I looked it up and I'm not the only one who noticed this : )  Always a good feeling...  This part of Proverbs made me smile because years ago when I went to college, I thought about what I really needed in my education.  Back then, the 70's-80's, it was known that what your degree was in wasn't as important as completing college.  Because I wasn't raised in a Christian home, I thought what I really needed most was to learn morals (wisdom).  The door opened and financially I was able to graduate from a Christian university.

If you came from a background like mine, you would have had a tendency to idolize Christians.  I thought a Christian school would be like Heaven.  No sinning, swearing, rude behavior, honesty, discretion... Boy was I in for a shock!  They were just like me.  Only their weaknesses were different.  I didn't have any rules as a kid, so I had no desire to stay out late.  Where some of the kids from Christian homes felt they were "free at last."  And continually pushed curfew.  I had all these cuss words in my mind to control, and they struggled with gossip.  And there were the ones that seemed to walk on water.  They smiled and sparkled always carrying a Bible around- I hung out with them.  We learned from each other.  It was good to know I was normal.  Some would say how horrible the campus was because "sin" happened.  I always told them, "This is the best environment I've ever been in."  I'm glad I got to go to a Christian school.

Reading this confirmed God's wisdom was the right thing to seek.   And quite honestly, I made the most money in computing- there was no such degree back then.  God knew what I needed most.
Proverbs 8:1-21

Jesus was crucified on Golgotha in Jerusalem. (Matthew 27:33)
1 Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:

He came for all of mankind, Jews and Gentiles.
22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:22-25 NIV
4 “To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
7 My mouth speaks what is true,
for my lips detest wickedness.
8 All the words of my mouth are just;
none of them is crooked or perverse.

It takes discernment, careful thought, to understand His ways are right and just.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.
1 Corinthians 3:11-13 NIV
9 To the discerning all of them are right;
they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
I possess knowledge and discretion.
13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
I have insight, I have power.

God created us.  He is greater than any king, prince, president, or noble.  Our only perfection is through Jesus' sacrifice.
14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Hebrews 10:14 NIV

13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus...
1 Timothy 6:13 NIV
15 By me kings reign
and rulers issue decrees that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
and nobles—all who rule on earth.

It's true.  By seeking God first, He has always provided my needs.  Either with jobs or money.  But, true riches are defined more in measures of contentment, love, faith, joy and peace with Him.  In how we serve others.  Jesus said-
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33-34 NIV
17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
and making their treasuries full.

If you think of other verses, please share them.  I enjoy hearing what you think as well.  Also, my apologies for no cartoon today.  I got a job designing a deli menu and I need to work on that today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Word-filled Wednesday

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Sometimes I sit and wonder why everything has to go wrong.  I feel sorry for myself, and wonder why God allows this. When I was doing the heart tests, I confess I wasn't very joyful during the process sometimes.  But when I stopped and praised God for these tests, I realized, they can learn so much from today's technology.   I thought about how good it will be to know everything is ok.  All the worry, fear and anger disappeared.  I thanked God.  My test results came back just fine.  My heart is working perfectly, it's just that it tends to beat in a different direction than most people, part of the time.  : )  I march to the beat of a different drummer, what can I say?  I've heard that about me my whole life. : )    I told my friend and she said, "It's not weird, just unusual."  I'm praising God, and think the results are kinda cool.  As a Christian, my heart does beat to a different drummer!

Habakkuk was a prophet that learned from God that the enemy was going to invade Judah.  Here's his initial reaction:
16 I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
Habakkuk 3:16 NIV
The verses on the photo are his sacrifice of praise to God.  A sacrifice of praise, is when everything seems to be going wrong.  It's when we praise God out of our distress.  It means a lot to Him, He understands how hard it is for us, and He renews our strength and courage.  I think it's ok to have a meltdown once in awhile, as long as we turn back to God.  I love these verses.  Habakkuk's story always puts mine in perspective.

I took this photo after a New Jersey ice storm.  It had rained and then froze.  The roads and trees were covered with an inch of ice.  But it sure was beautiful.  I chose this photo because winter symbolizes a season of death and cold to me (we really don't have deserts here).  To me, it's the perfect season to celebrate Jesus' birth.  During a very dark time, He was born in a manger.  For Christmas we put up lights that glow in the night.  Jesus is our light.

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Challenge sponsored by Internet Cafe Devotions.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ants and the economy

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
This definitely applies to today. The more I read Proverbs, the more I realize I can either learn things the hard way, by experience.  Or the easy way, by trusting God's Word.  Honestly, I tend to learn both ways- but I want to do things like God says instead.  And the economy is like the weather, when we look at the whole world there are troubles everywhere.  One of my neighbors wisely said, "It wasn't just the government that got greedy.  We ALL did."

Proverbs 6

You see, God never intended for us to take out loans.  He intended for us to work, and earn our way.  He gave Adam and Eve jobs in the Garden of Eden.  

God took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order. (Genesis 2:15)
God said, "It's not good for the Man to be alone; I'll make him a helper, a companion." (Genesis 2:18)
It was just man and woman taking care of the ground, enjoying the fruit from the trees, and the animals.  It was paradise. 

After the fall, things changed dramatically.  When my generation came along, we were enticed by loans.  You could save up and buy a used car, but if you took out a loan you got a new car and the payments were so small!  Who would want to save money and walk until you saved enough to get a new car?  Then you could go to college if you got a student loan.  Some parents preferred the idea of getting a loan as to saving up.  Then we got credit cards.  I remember my first one from Penney's.  I was so excited, I got a little studio apartment and quickly maxed it out on furniture.  I went to buy one more thing and I was told, "I'm sorry you have to pay off what you spent before you can use the credit card again."

Next, the car loan people called, "So why haven't you made a payment?"  Yikes!  I didn't know they watched that!  It stopped me in my tracks.  I was so embarrassed, I prayed for wisdom.  So, I started paying extra money on top of the minimum payments, and tithed.  Soon I was completely out of debt- paid things off early.  I didn't have to worry about grocery money anymore.  Were these financial problems God's punishment?  No.  It was my fault.  I got greedy.  With loans and women working, the cost of cars went up.  The cost of everything went up!  Everyone got greedy, the government raised taxes, insurance rates went up.  And now, we are facing the consequences of our actions.
1 Dear friend, if you've gone into hock with your neighbor
or locked yourself into a deal with a stranger,
2 If you've impulsively promised the shirt off your back
and now find yourself shivering out in the cold,
3 Friend, don't waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess.
You're in that man's clutches!
I love this.  
Go, put on a long face; act desperate.
4 Don't procrastinate —
there's no time to lose.
5 Run like a deer from the hunter,
fly like a bird from the trapper!

Here's another example of God's design for humans.  His original intent.  He's not saying look at the wealthy or Financial Advisers (who also make a profit from us asking), to learn how to manage money.  He's saying be wise, look at the ant.  Gotta love God.
6 You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
7 Nobody has to tell it what to do.
8 All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
9 So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
10 A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy — do you know what comes next?
11 Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent house guest!

Now acquiring more debt to help the economy is being talked about in our United States Capitol.   The problem is there never should've been debt in the first place.  We all believed taking out loans was the best thing to do, so we did it.  And, now jobs are disappearing- the well's running dry.  Only God can fix this mess...  Somewhere along the line we ignored the fact that people offer loans, to make a profit for themselves more than to help us.  They can get greedy too.  Maybe we just didn't want to notice, we got caught up in things.  As I shared before, God helped me out of my mess.  I know He can help us too.  But we do need to humbly ask Him and not attack others.
12 Riffraff and rascals talk out of both sides of their mouths.
13 They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet,
they cross their fingers behind their backs.
14 Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty,
always stirring up trouble.
15 Catastrophe is just around the corner for them,
a total smash-up, their lives ruined beyond repair.

Seven things God hates...
16 Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
 17 eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
18 a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
19 a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.

I believe what God is wanting us to do, is look at the ants.  Work, save, give, serve, avoid debt if you can, pay it off quickly if you do.  Be wise.   I've heard people say, that our American economy is cursed. That's why we can't get out of this recession.  I know what I'd like to hear from the government is, "We're going to reduce our debt in a manageable way; quit spending money we don't have.  Bring jobs back to our country, so we can help other countries again."  Is this His punishment?  Nope, I personally think we did this to ourselves.  There would be no question or doubt if He got really mad.

One of the Biblical prophecies in Revelation actually describes inflation:

Revelation 6:6
“Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

We're not there yet in the USA. It's a good time to pray for our world leaders, for wisdom.  That they will hear God's voice.

And again, we don't know when Jesus is coming.

Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

Almost forgot my prayer, feel free to join me if you like:

Dear Heavenly Father forgive us for our greed.  You said it, we've all sinned and fallen short of Your glory.  I lift up our leaders to You, I pray You will grant them wisdom.  Help them to understand these simple truths written thousands of years ago today.  I pray You will bless our nation again, help us elect wise leaders who will help us change our direction.  Father I lift up Greece to You.  I pray You will restore this nation.  Please pour out Your blessings on them, bring encouragement and hope to those in despair.  There's so much I don't understand.  But You see all and know all.  I don't know what to do.  But my eyes are on You.  Let Your mercy fall on our world.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The adulterous woman

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

This Proverb applies so very much to us today.  I was just thinking how I miss the Psalms, the challenging words, and emotion.  But, this is a Proverb that's hard for me to write about. : )  I'll do my best with it.  We have more ways to get into trouble today than ever before don't we?  Now we have temptation on the internet...  There's some great stuff too, like inspirational writing.  And there's a whole library of medical information so I can understand what in the world the doctor was talking about.  Even with that I always check and make sure the site is from a reliable  source.  But, the worst is the porn.  This Proverb is written for men, but I think women can gain from it too. 

When I was participating on a Prayer Forum, it was always so sad to see requests from women who'd been in this industry.  It leaves an ugly scar, a scar that's socially unacceptable.  Forcing them to live with a horrible secret.  But God forgives and restores.  And we can use tools on our computers to block internet porn.  In Windows, it's under the Control Panel > Internet Properties > Content > Parental Controls.  There's other tools available too by searching the web.

Proverbs 5

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.

Even associating with adultery can bring tragic results for people.  I think of people who posed for a nude photo years ago, only to have it re-surface and be condemned later.  One of the leaders at New York Institute of Photography wrote that he tries to warn kids that what they do with their cell phone cameras and the internet may come back to haunt them later in life.
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
8 Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich the house of another.
11 At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!
13 I would not obey my teachers
or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble
in the assembly of God’s people.”

God has given us all we need in our homes.  If you haven't found your husband or wife yet, don't give up.  Focus on your life, friends, hobbies, the Bible, Church.  We are most attractive to others when we're happy.
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

God sees and knows everything about us.  And is angry when we sin.   But He will forgive us when we confess and repent.
21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths.
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
led astray by their own great folly.

It's interesting, in the Old Testament women were to blame for adultery.  It wasn't until Jesus came that men were included.  Here's what Jesus said:
27 "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
Matthew 5:27-28 NIV

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Word-filled Wednesday

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

The One who is in us created the universe.  He created our bodies.  He knows more about us and satan than anyone on earth.  He's the great Physician.  The first time this really sunk in was in college.  I was studying for an exam, and not getting very far.  I prayed, "Father You know more about this than anyone on earth.  You created the earth.  Please help me understand."  And I did, got an A : )   My professor was so pleased he said, "I don't know what you've been doing but keep it up." 

So I told him, "Actually, I've been praying."  His jaw dropped.

When I was writing computer code and got stuck, I'd pray that He would help me. He created everything that makes up a computer.  He knows more about them than man does.   And He always helped me.  When life seems overwhelming, God is greater.  We don't need to be afraid.   I've seen all sorts of terrible things, but my biggest fear is spiders!  Maybe it's time to take the leap of faith and believe He's bigger than spiders too.

I took this photo day before yesterday.  Still determined to do my daily 20 minute walk, I headed for a trail.  I realized I enjoy walking most with a camera, so I prayed, "Father show me where the good shots are."  Soon I looked up and saw the moon in daylight.  Had to get the shot.  Something about seeing the moon makes me feel stability.  God has everything under control.  Even the universe.  The moon's still up there, even when we can't see it.  God is too, only He's in our hearts when we let Him in.  He isn't pushy, He only comes if we ask Him to.

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Challenge sponsored by Internet Cafe Devotions.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Guard your heart

It's another one of those days when I open the Bible and see it applies to today.  Love it when that happens.  The medical tests I need to take are for my heart.  I'm fine, really!  It's just when they did the EKG, my heart did a little dooley-whop.  I sing soprano, and it decided to do base... go figure.  First time it's ever done that for my doctor.  I don't have any other symptoms, except high cholesterol.  Just between you and me, while I was having the EKG, I started talking to the technician and we were having all sorts of fun...  Not so sure I shoulda done that at that particular time.  But no one is too alarmed, my doctor thinks it's just the stress of this year. 

I've been working out so I can "wow" the doctors when I do the treadmill stress test next week.  I made the mistake of believing it was more important for me to work than get up and walk for 20 minutes a day, or stretch.  I have had a lot of stress this year- and it wears on you.  Especially if you sit on your bum instead of letting it out with exercise!

Proverbs 4:20-27

Through my blog I've shared many of my favorite verses.  I would encourage anyone to memorize verses that stand out to you.  It's so great when they come to mind at just the right moment, the Holy Spirit brings them to memory.  They are a definite stress reducer.
20 Dear friend, listen well to my words;
tune your ears to my voice.
21 Keep my message in plain view at all times.
Concentrate! Learn it by heart!
22 Those who discover these words live, really live;
body and soul, they're bursting with health.

It's interesting that this is another of my favorite verses.  Only today, it has a new meaning.  Today it means take care of my body, my health.   Our physical hearts are so important to our health.  When I found there was a question, I zoomed in on that, without it we can't live.  It's the same for us spiritually too.  My heart is where my feelings are stored, my soul, what makes me love, hate, care.  It's where Jesus dwells. 
23 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that's where life starts.

Ephesians 3:16-17
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
Of course, you hear about health and hearts these days and the first thing that comes to mind is to lower your stress.  It's interesting, but a lot of the stuff we're not supposed to do, does cause stress.  Like lieing, if I tell a lie then I have to remember it, and if I forget...  Gossip, who wants to wonder if what you said got back to the person you said it about.  Sin is stressful.  I think God is fine with harmless laughter and fun.  That's how He created us.  Except maybe during an EKG when you are supposed to be resting...
24 Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.

Oy!  Another confession.  I don't always pay attention to what I'm doing.  I've mentioned that before, I'm clumsy.  But, this goes even further to help me consider what distracts my mind, is it healthy? or not so much? 
25 Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
26 Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
27 Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.

Ok so there you have it.  I'm no Super-Saint, just me : )  And, of course prayers would be appreciated.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Things would get pretty confusing if we all had our own detour sign...
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Ever wish God put up a big neon sign that read, "Don't go there!  This way!" or "Detour!"  I do.  Oh the hours I could've spent doing better things, or simply focusing on healthy things like painting, exercising, taking photos... 

Then there's the times I wonder if I should've ever gone into office work.  I would be so much further ahead than I am today in my art and photography.  But there's that verse!

Isaiah 43:18-19
18 "Forget the former things;
       do not dwell on the past.
 19 See, I am doing a new thing!
       Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
       I am making a way in the desert
       and streams in the wasteland."

No doubt there were reasons He led me into business,  maybe even some ministry I've forgotten or didn't notice Him doing.  I shouldn't have any regrets.  He's the Master.  Today is the day isn't it?  The day to step away from the things that bind us, fears, unbelief, memories of things that have gone wrong.  It's the day to take detours and go down the path He has for us.

Proverbs 4:10-19

These directions are actually quite clear.
10 Dear friend, take my advice;
it will add years to your life.
11 I'm writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way,
I'm drawing a map to Righteous Road.
12 I don't want you ending up in blind alleys,
or wasting time making wrong turns.
13 Hold tight to good advice; don't relax your grip.
Guard it wellyour life is at stake!
14 Don't take Wicked Bypass;
don't so much as set foot on that road.
15 Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth.
Make a detour and be on your way.
Ok.  So, evil=run!  good=relax...  hmmm that sounds clear.  Kind of makes me wonder if some of those traffic jams and annoying delays, have God's approval to keep us out of trouble.

I got myself into the most trouble when I was younger, like most young people.  I wanted to be cool and liked.  It does seem like we never slept, just stayed up as late as we could.
16 Evil people are restless unless they're making trouble;
They can't get a good night's sleep
unless they've made life miserable for somebody.
17 Perversity is their food and drink, violence their drug of choice.

This is beautiful.  If we live right, we "glow with light." Even brighter as we get older : )
18 The ways of right-living people glow with light;
the longer they live, the brighter they shine.

Ouch!  This is about as painful a description as I experienced.  So, glad the Lord kept working on me and helping walk straighter and stronger.
19 But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker
travelers can't see a thing;
they fall flat on their faces.

Here's two of my favorite Bible Stories about detours.

Joseph fled from Potiphar's wife.  You just don't hear things like this in the News.

Genesis 39:11-12
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

Jesus walked through the angry crowd that was ready to throw Him off a cliff.  It must've been amazing to see, He could've sent all of them off the cliff. 
Luke 4:28-30
28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Sorry to be so random with my posting dates lately.  I went for my medical exam and at my age I get to meet a whole bunch of other doctors : )  It's called "wellness care" so glad I'm healthy- must be really bad if you're not!  Maybe it's a ministry opportunity.  My goal is to post Monday, Wednesday and Friday.   God bless!   Karen

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Word-filled Wednesday

Dogs have this verse memorized!
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

I know God has a sense of humor, I've experienced it, and seen it.  Just look at dogs.  The Master calls and they jump!  When they are treated well, they wiggle all over and slurp when people come to visit.  They don't worry about what people look like or talk like, they just slurp and wiggle.  They never worry about their hair. The only time they worry is when the food dish is empty.  Usually, they don't let that phase them.  They know how to let the Master know.  It's really like this for us too.  I think I think too much...  There's so many things to worry about- but I really enjoy having fun : )  The simple truth dogs demonstrate is straight from Heaven.  God works all things out for good, we just need to trust, love, and obey Him.  Even when things seem a bit odd around us.

I took this photo when I was out walking and shooting on a trail.  I had been wondering and praying to God to make sure He wanted me in photography.  A woman, I'd never seen before, stopped me and asked what magazine I work for.  I was just working on an online newspaper at the time.  So she smiled and said, "Take my dog's photo.  I want her to be famous." 

It was incredibly encouraging.  How could I resist?  And such a beautiful dog as well. : )

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Challenge sponsored by Internet Cafe Devotions.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Biblical prophecy?

New Jersey, East Coast USA, Weather Report 2011
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

I woke up my husband the other morning by jumping up and down on the bed, saying, "Honey!  We have everything in New Jersey!  Earthquakes!"  Then I exclaimed, "Tropical Storms!" and I squirted him with the squirt gun.  Then I said, "Oh and blizzards! Let me go get some ice."  He laughed the whole time, but at the thought of ice he jumped out of bed and yelled, "NO!"  and chased me a bit. : )

I'm taking a detour from the Proverbs today. 
After the hurricane, I called up my Dad and brother to let them know we were ok.  Both of them asked me the same question.  "Isn't this like a Biblical Prophecy or something?"  It's hard because there's some bad stuff in the prophecy, people will die, this earth will end.  My brother asked if God was mad at us and going to part the sea, or turn everything to blood.  So I told him, "No.  That was Pharaoh who tried to be God.  Although Obama might want to cool his jets a little.  This is about the second coming of Christ."

To be honest the Biblical Prophecies have been so misunderstood for so many years.  I usually like to avoid them.  But when I heard my Dad and brother's concerns I thought maybe others would want to know as well.  So I'll do my best with it- there's some bad news and some great news.  The first thing to point out is America isn't mentioned in the Bible.  Russia, the middle east nations, Europe are all there, but not us.  Don't know if that's good or bad.  

This is what Jesus said:
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Matt 24:6-14 NKJV

This is one of the most important things Jesus said for us today.  If you hear predictions about the date of Christ's return, don't believe it- it's definitely false.  People have been predicting the return of Christ for centuries.  We just don't know the day of His return.  People thought Hitler was the anti-christ.  He fooled many into thinking he was looking out for the good of people.  Until the horrible truth was revealed.  The swastika is still a symbol of horror to many of us, the broken cross.  We need to really think about leaders who seem too good to be true, so it won't happen again.
36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
Matt 24:36-37 NKJV

Jesus wants us to keep busy loving others and looking out for each other until He comes.  Of course, there's an urgency to share our faith.  There's some words of warning here for those who would speak or do evil in Jesus' Name.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 24:45-51 NIV

And the good news!  There is also the hope that we will be raptured as Christians, before the great tribulation happens.  I hope we will be able to skip it.
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
Revelation 3:10 NIV

11 God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! 12 We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, 13 and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. 14 He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.
Titus 2:11-14 THE MESSAGE

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV

The heart of the truth about Jesus desire- not to destroy the earth.  But to save the people.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16-17 NKJV

None of us are perfect.  If we claim to be, that would be a sin.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 3:23 NKJV

He wants to forgive us.  He really does.  He's not waiting for us to mess up, He's waiting for us to confess.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 NKJV

Some people are saying America is cursed because Obama told Israel to change their borders.  I don't believe that's true.  If these folks would open their eyes to the rest of the world they would notice the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, the famine and drought in Africa, the volcano in Iceland erupting, the typhoons, earthquakes and tornadoes in the US, Australia and New Zealand.  There's a much bigger picture here.  I really don't think America is as important as we think we are.  However, we are a nation of many nationalities, religions, and Christians.   I am very concerned about our country's involvement in the middle-east.  The long term affects concern me.  Some say the US isn't in the Bible because many of us will be raptured.  I hope so, but it could also be that we are considered part of the West, Europe.

I looked up the New Jersey blizzards, earthquakes, and hurricanes on the web and found the first recordings:
1888 Blizzard that knocked out the east coast
1783 Earthquake in New Jersey
21 recorded hurricanes have hit New Jersey

None of this is new.  The strange thing- all that's happened in this particular year.  That's why I look to Heaven and wonder if He's coming soon.  I'll keep waiting and working. 
Matt 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

If you want me to share more or have questions, feel free to leave a comment.  Or if you thought of something else please share it!  This is just scratching the surface.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Word-filled Wednesday

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Sometimes things seem most impossible at night when I'm trying to get to sleep.  This is one of my favorite verses.  God promises to guide us, His love is unfailing.  Each day is a new day to start fresh on dreams and projects.  There are days I get up and pray, "Today is a new day Lord, help me do great things in Your name."

I never wrote the reason why I created this still life in my original post.  The Bible was my Grandmother's.  After she died, the family was looking for treasures to take home.  I saw the Bible and had to have it.  Grandma always tried to go to Church on Sunday, it's from the early 1900's.  The compass, is for my studies of astronomy.  When I learned the constellations are the same today as when Jesus walked the earth, I fell more in love with watching the stars.  Also, God knows all the stars by name.  It's also the symbol of the lost finding their way in the wilderness.  The stylus (pen) points to the Bible (in photography it's called a leading line), so many times the Bible says, "write this down. Remember it."  The gold ink, symbolizes the riches in God's Word.  The map, symbolizes the complexity of this world, the verse promises God will show us the way.

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Challenge sponsored by Internet Cafe Devotions.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sitting at His feet

Priorities are so hard to decide on sometimes.  Someone wisely taught me that my priorities should go like this:
  1. Jesus
  2. Family
  3. (no prioritization here- just 1 clump) Work, Church, fun and chores
1.  Jesus
I was so confused.  How could Jesus be more important than my family or Church!!?  But, then I listened more.  If I am right with Jesus, He is able to show me He is my Savior and Lord.  Once we accept Him, as Lord and Savior, He never leaves us.  I listen to Him by reading His Word, the Bible.  Then I praise Him, and pray for myself and others.  When I get too busy for Him, I am agitated by little things, I get down on myself easier.  The devil has a foothold in my life.  Not that I'm perfect after I sit at His feet!  No way!  But I am steady.  It's not about just knowing I'm loved.  It's about knowing God has a plan, that no matter what my circumstances, I'm still of value to Him.  I was created to be of value.  Then I can contribute to the Church and serve my family.

2.  Family
My family is my second priority.  I need to make sure my husband has breakfast, clean clothes, and knows he is loved.  I need to keep in touch with my brother and his family.  I'm the only Christian they know.  Sometimes I wonder why on earth that weird uncle is in my family- but God knows why.  He put him there.  If I had kids, it would be important that I train them up in the ways of God- and take good care of them.  But I'm much more fun and happy after my time with the Lord.

3.  Church, Work, Fun and Chores
Church and Work can turn into obligations that distract us from serving God, from our relationship with Him.  Work can be the place we go to get our sense of value instead of God.  The problem is sometimes you're amazing and sometimes you're a failure at work, people change their minds quickly.  It's a roller coaster ride for your ego.  Church is a place we worship as a community, work a place to earn money to pay our way- not our reason for living or the place we get our self-esteem.  Money is a tool for survival, the more we have the more we worry about losing it.  Fun to me is as or more important than vitamins- I'm still a kid at heart.  And chores?  Our mansions will be clean in Heaven!  Yay!  Until then, it's much easier to clean a clean house than a dirty one...  I better keep cleaning.  With God, I'm not left on my own to figure out if I'm ok or not.  He provides what most of us truly desire, "contentment."  And with my eyes off me, I can truly worship at Church, learn, sing, meet people, help others and grow.  My husband sits proudly by my side. It's not like that at all when we have intense fellowship on the way to Church...  Contentment, God's gift to us when we are wise.

And to find contentment it takes the presence of Jesus, and wisdom.
Proverbs 4:1-9

I envision a wonderful old man sitting us down to listen to his words.  He has glasses, short gray hair, and a few wrinkles on his face, his plaid shirt is cleanly pressed by his wife's loving hands.
1 Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice;
sit up and take notice so you'll know how to live.
2 I'm giving you good counsel;
don't let it go in one ear and out the other.

3 When I was a boy at my father's knee,
the pride and joy of my mother, 
4 He would sit me down and drill me:
"Take this to heart. 
Do what I tell you — live! 
5 Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding!
Don't forget one word! 
Don't deviate an inch! 
6 Never walk away from Wisdom — she guards your life;
love her — she keeps her eye on you.
7 Above all and before all, do this: 
Get Wisdom!
Write this at the top of your list:
Get Understanding! 
8 Throw your arms around her — believe me, you won't regret it;
never let her go — she'll make your life glorious. 
9 She'll garland your life with grace,
she'll festoon your days with beauty."

Just like the days of Mary and Martha, Jesus is still waiting for us to sit at His feet, read His Word and listen.  The room would've had clay walls with light coming through the windows.  Everyone in robes, with wide-eyed Mary kneeling before Jesus as He spoke.  Women weren't supposed to interrupt the men in this time period.  She just couldn't help herself from listening to Him, such wisdom.  Maybe she felt the warmth and love I feel in my quiet times with Him.
Luke 10:38-42
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blogger Awards

Ok.  So this is a bit embarrassing.  I have been blessed so many times doing this blog- as I write I'm learning, and the comments always make me want to do more.  Sometimes you get me thinking.  My last post made me think about graciously receiving compliments and encouragement...  And, well, I have received several awards from my dear friends.  I am so sorry for not putting them out.  Part of it was laziness, and also busyness, maybe a little wondering if awards belong here.  I realized yesterday that if I were a mechanic and someone gave me an award, I'd smile, say thanks, then hang it on my wall to remember such a kind gesture.  I also owe it to the community to pass them on to others.  So here goes.  Let me know if I miss anyone or mess up on the rules. : )

Thanks be to God for giving me so many gifts and talents, for my friends, and prayers for wisdom that I might use these talents to help others and earn a little money for our family.

I received this award from my dear friend Lisa @ My Heart's Home.  Thank you Lisa, you are a blessing to me and I love your blog.  I'd give it to you, for the music, insight and verses you share.  I also enjoy the family stories.  So glad we became friends. : )  I pass on the Style award to you.

Versatility to me means variety.  If I chose you and you'd rather not put awards on your blog, no worries.  I would like to pass this on to you:
  • Glynn @ Faith, Fiction, Friends your blog has everything from Christian book reviews, to your own poems, studies on CS Lewis and more.  Thank you for challenging me and inspiring me to dabble in poetry.
  • Clint @ Lyrics of Love and Lore  I never know what to expect on your blog!  Sometimes profound Christian thoughts, and sometimes funny stories.  Always a gentle humor and wisdom about you.
  • Murugi @ Her World you have shown us wonderful photos of Africa, even animals I've never seen before.  Recently you let us know about the tragedy in Somalia, so we could pray.  You handled it with compassion and professionalism.  You are indeed versatile.  /applause
  • Colleen @ Carpe Diem, Gorgeous!  you are delightful.  I love our friendship.  And also am enjoying watching you find your writer's voice.  You are another one I'm not sure what I'll find on your blog and always enjoy.
  • Sheila @ Sheila Scribbles I see you already have the award, but I would've given it to you today.  You are like the fun girl in school everyone wanted to be around.  You come up with great creative ideas- and stories.
  • Katie @ Katie Lloyd Photography Katie put together the Scripture & a Snapshot Challenge which is a wonderful idea. Like me, she also does professional photography so she has two sites in one. You are creative, versatile and inspiring. Thanks so much for Scripture & a Snapshot.

God bless you all!
Here's the embarrassing part. I received this award from Clint @ Lyrics of Love and Lore, Sheila @ Sheila Scribbles, and Murugi @ Her World .  (blush)  Thank you all so much.  I do appreciate your kindness so sorry I'm just putting it out.

Stylish to me means something unique and classy.  Again, if you'd rather not post the award, no problem.  I would like to pass this on to:
  • Joy @ Christ is livin' I almost forgot to include you!  But you are wise beyond your years and right on.  I enjoy reading your blog and the music and artwork you use.
  • Dakota @ A Look at Life from a Deerstand Dakota is wise beyond his years in Bible Study and a photographer.  We have a lot in common.  Your blog is straight forward and easy to read yet very powerful.  I like your style, insight and your photos!
  • David @ Red Letter Believers  Your style is very simple yet extremely powerful.  You make me think, that's a good thing.  And I find encouragement there.  Thanks!
  • boromax @ Shots that Snap!  I really enjoy your photography style. You find patterns and simple ideas that are so interesting.  I'll always remember your "Empty chair" photos. 
  • Matteo Taffuri @ Tuscan Landscapes (just hope you remember me after seeing his photos!)  Matteo has developed an incredible style for processing his photos from Tuscan Italy.  Your photos are beautiful having a painting quality of places I've never seen before.
  • Mary Sandoval @ The Universal Language of Photography, Mary is one of my fellow students in NYIP.  I loved her most recent post including child and Mother photos.  Nice style Mary!
  • Tanya De Leeuw @ Tanya De Leeuw Photography, Tanya is another of my NYIP friends.  She shoots in Canada and her style is also unique.  You do a very interesting vertical shot where most of mine are horizontal.  The scenery is gorgeous, another place I've never been.
(All of these blogs look very stylish, designed carefully and thoughtfully.  Designed with a unique purpose in mind).

God bless!  Thanks for your inspiration and hard work.  Round of applause!!!!

If you'd like to post the award you were given on your site:
  1. Click the award image.
  2. Right click it on the page that displays.
  3. Save it on your computer.
  4. Upload like you would any image to your blog. 
Ok 5 things you probably don't know about me (this is part of the rules for accepting an award):
  1. I've lived in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah, and New Jersey (life is interesting what can I say?).
  2. I'm 5'8" with a high pitched squeaky voice, so when you read my blog you can imagine my voice.
  3. My favorite food is either Mexican or Italian, can't decide.
  4. My favorite color is brown.
  5. I learned to ride a bike when I got mad at my big brother, jumped on the bike and started pedaling.  Kind of how I've been learning things ever since, jumping in and hoping for the best.