Changes are Coming

Changes are Coming

I have a new website up and running.

http://windowsofhisgrace.com/

I have just posted the music to the hymn I wrote a few months ago.

There is also a new feature called “verse of the week” on the sidebar. My goal is to have a new verse every week that I have set to music. It is an effort to make memorizing easier for me and for you if you decide to join me.

This site will continue to be here for awhile, but my newest content will be at my new site. Hope to see you there.

Karen Pickering

The God Who Forgives

Here it is the start of another year. There is hope for a fresh start, a new beginning. To do better at life than I did last year. But there are old doubts. Can I really begin again?  Can God possibly love and forgive me after what I’ve done?

The simple truth is…”If God doesn’t speak to me in my darkest sin, He doesn’t speak to me at all.” Either he is a God who loves even the most vile sinner and longs for them to turn to him or he doesn’t care for any sinner and will condemn us all to hell.

His love is way beyond anything we can imagine and so we imagine his love is like ours. “Fragile, weak and conditional.”

We love those who are kind to us. God loves those who hate him.

We love those who are worthy of our love. None of us are worthy of God’s love.

We love those who we have the energy to love. God loves with a passion that takes our breath away. It is an unending wellspring of love for the people he has created for one purpose only…to love and serve Him.

And yet we put limits on the limitless God.  We say, “I have gone too far. He can’t possibly forgive this offense. I have sinned too often. He will not forgive me yet again.”

But we forget that he is the good shepherd who leaves the 99 righteous persons to seek and save the lost one. (Luke 15:4-7)

We forget that he loved people like David who was guilty of sexual immorality, betrayal and murder.

We forget he loved the extremely wicked city of Ninevah enough to send a reluctant prophet to preach them the gospel. Jonah tried to get out of the assignment, but God insisted, and the entire city from least to greatest had the nerve to repent. (Jonah 3:1-10)

Such a heart of forgiveness this God has. So at the beginning of this year I bring my past failures to him. I seek His power in changing who I am. I determine to set my eyes on my only hope. The grace and forgiveness of a God who loves me in spite of who I am.

Note:  This post can also be found at my new website

 http://windowsofhisgrace.com/

I am in the process of moving some things over there. It is an upgrade that will allow me to do some different things. I will let you know when it is fully functional, but I hope you take the time to stop by. 

Jesus and Santa

“I can’t wait for Christmas!!!”  My granddaughter blurted out to the clerk restocking the shelves at the grocery store. The clerk responded with, “Have you been good this year so Santa will come?” Arianna looked a little confused and then answered,  “Santa’s not real, God’s real.” Now it was the clerk’s turn to be confused. Not knowing just what to say I smiled, and we moved on down the aisle.

I thought about the conversation all the way home. I don’t think of Santa as evil, but Jesus is so much better.

Santa keeps a list of who is naughty or nice. The theory is he only visits those who have been good. We use it to motivate kids to cooperate with us those last weeks before Christmas or those gifts aren’t going to show up.

Jesus, on the other hand, came knowing we weren’t nice. We needed a Savior who could save us from our sin. (Matt. 1:21) His coming depended on God’s goodness, not our goodness.

Santa supposedly leaves a lump of coal to those who don’t measure up. Jesus offers complete forgiveness and has taken the punishment we deserve by dying in our place.

Santa lives forever to keep track. Jesus now lives forever to intercede for us before God. (Romans 8:34)

Santa shows up one day a year. Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5b-6)

But the most important difference between Santa and Jesus is the one Arianna pointed out so simply. “Santa isn’t real …God is real!” It is fun to pretend, but my belief in God isn’t a fantasy. It is something I have staked my life on. So as you celebrate Christmas this year remember it is about a Savior, not a Santa.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Now that’s something to be excited about!

 

Feasting on Crumbs

She was dying of cancer. We had been friends since college. We had cried together and laughed much. Now she was walking a path I couldn’t.

When we were together she still did most of the talking. Her familiar laugh was sprinkled throughout the conversation. One of the last times I talked to her she said, “Thank you for the crumbs.”

She explained, “Every day I ask God for crumbs to get me through the day. He knows I can’t eat a big meal but need to survive on crumbs.” She related how every day she watches carefully for the crumbs God would provide. She looked forward to each one knowing they came from her Father’s hand.

Her faith amazed me. She was learning that the most valuable thing in her life was the moment by moment presence and provision of the God who loved her. He was walking with her through the darkness that was enveloping her. She was learning to let go of her children, husband, family and friends. She was drawn ever closer to her God. I wondered as I watched her those last weeks.

Years later as I walk through my own dark valleys I think of her. So, today I look for crumbs…knowing that my God is carefully laying them out for me to find.

Lytroo Retreat 2015 – Running the Race

There is still time to register for “Running the Race”. Hope to see you there.

Lytroo Retreat

What to Expect:  Learn how to run the race with our eyes fixed on Jesus, laying aside what hinders and finishing well. There will be an opportunity to study scripture and interact with others. Lunch will be provided along with coffee, tea and water throughout the day.

When:  Saturday, September 12, 2015 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Click on the Retreat Information tab at the top of the page to register. Registration due by September 5, 2015. Space is limited so register early.

Who: Women 18 to 100

Where:  Fond du Lac, WI

Speaker:  Margaret Falk is a wife, mother of 3 and grandmother of 6. She has served beside her husband, Jon, who has been a pastor in Wisconsin and Maine for 20 years and then another 12 years serving as foreign missionaries with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Uganda, Eritrea and Uruguay. They are presently in Menomonee Falls…

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Death of a Friend

Saying good-bye is never easy.

We who are made for eternity struggle with goodbye.

It’s not right, it isn’t fair.

This one who made us laugh and shared our deepest hurts.

Has gone before us to be welcomed to real life.

 

We forget this life is but a beginning.

An introduction to eternity.

Father, use this hurt to draw us to Yourself.

Remind us of the many who have no hope in death.

Give our grief words.

 

Karen Pickering

(Written March 27, 2008 for Sharon Peterson Seneker)

Posted today for my daughter, Maggie, who just lost a friend.