From Me to You With Love

From Me to You With Love by Karen Jurgens

As the month of January concludes, the winter season will soon usher us into February.

What a great month!

Not only is it short, but its centerpiece is Valentine’s Day, the day of expressing love to those who mean the world to us.

It’s a day to enjoy exquisite chocolates, fragrant flowers, and cards with verses that touch hearts and bring tears of joy.

It’s a day full of red and pink hearts, iced cupcakes, and tiny gifts tied up with bows.

It’s a day of white tablecloths, candlelight, and sharing dinner with that special someone.

So, in honor of our February celebration of love, I’d like to express my gratitude to you by gifting you with my novella. Click “Buy on Amazon” under the meme for your free ebook (available from January 27-30).

Curl up by a toasty fire with an afghan and a mug of hot chocolate on a snowy winter’s day.  Lose yourself in Carlie’s senior year of college where she finally decides to put God to the test. Can a girl really find her perfect fit if she turns the matchmaking over to God?

Can Carlie’s faith also challenge today’s single women searching for a godly husband? Find out how 2 Corinthians 6:14 is still relevant in today’s culture.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (ESV)

 

Choose to Forgive. Choose Joy

 

Choose to Forgive Choose Joy by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever been betrayed by someone close? I sure have. I call it my Judas Experience.

Deep hurt leads to a crossroadsforgiveness versus unforgiveness. It’s your choice to make.

If you’re like most people, your heart has a compartment where you can jail old soul wounds. You think that if those bad memories stay locked in the dark long enough, they’ll dissolve and blow away with the winds of time, gone forever.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Instead, those hurts fester, rot, and stink inside its little coffin. You may try your best to conceal it with a sweet-smelling cover-up. However, it’s no use because God sees through pretense.

O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You ~ Psalms 69:5 NASB.

Unforgiveness is like swallowing poison, hoping the other person dies. But, isn’t it funny how that guilty one often continues with his or her life, while you’re stuck in the same spot, sucking the bottle dry? Just the thought of their “getting away with it” drives you mad, which is exactly why you cling to unforgiveness. You believe that if you let go, it would declare innocence for the guilty person. You become a lighthouse guardian of a wrong suffered, proudly carrying a blazing torch to memorialize it–to the grave if need be.

Can unforgiveness affect your physical health?

For some, unforgiveness may fester into a chronic illness hiding deep in cells, poisoning the rest of the body with puzzling physical symptoms. It could open a door for disease to gain painful access. Medicine often can’t diagnose its cause nor find its cure, so chains of suffering could last a lifetime.

That’s not any way to live. How can you cleanse your soul of this toxic waste, like dirty bathwater in a tub with a stopped-up drain?

Think about the life of Jesus. He lived a perfect, sinless life, but His enemies crucified Him to terminate His ministry. He never did or said anything to justify dying the most painful, shameful death imaginable. The Sanhedrin felt threatened by this new miracle-performing Rabbi who was proving to Jewish throngs that He was indeed Messiah, the Promised One.

At the crucifixion, those around Jesus hurled insults, saying, ‘Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!’ ~ Mark 15:29b-30 NKJV.

Jesus could have commanded legions of angels to come to His rescue and kill all His enemies in a split second. But that wouldn’t have accomplished God’s purpose. Jesus came willingly to lay down His life as the perfect Lamb, God’s perfect sacrifice, for all mankind to be saved.

Suffering and bloody from His crown of thorns, thirty-nine lashes, and spikes driven into His hands and feet, Jesus forgave His enemies with beautiful words, forever memorialized in Scripture.

‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ And they divided His garments and cast lots ~ Luke 23:34 NASB.

Can you imagine patiently suffering unto death and still forgiving your enemies as they mocked you? Have any of us suffered to a point like Jesus? Our miseries may seem unbearable now, but they are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us.

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us ~ Romans 8:16-18 NKJV.

How many times should you forgive? Not once, not twice, but 490 times!  

Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven’ ~ Matthew 18:21-22 NASB.

Will your tithe be accepted if you harbor unforgiveness toward another?

Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift ~ Matthew 5:23-24, NKJV.

What happens if you refuse to forgive?

‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’ ~ Matthew 6:14-15 NASB.

So, there are serious consequences attached to unforgiveness. Just as Christ has forgiven us, we are commanded to forgive others. It’s not a suggestion. We MUST forgive if we expect to be forgiven and enter heaven. Contrary to today’s culture, God doesn’t bend His Word—there’s no wiggle room.

No matter how our emotions may balk, we overcome through our free will. Pray to forgive your enemies, not because you FEEL like it, but because you WILL to do it in obedience to Christ. The Holy Spirit will certainly reward you with the victory.

Then, in prayer, release your hurts to Jesus. He will come through the Holy Spirit and pour oil and wine into your raw soul wounds, remove the stingers and cover you with a healing balm of Gilead, binding up and covering you with His grace and peace. Jesus promised to never leave nor forsake you.

I’ve found that as I forgive my enemies and bless them in prayer, the chains of inner suffering loosen and disintegrate. Jesus drains the filthy water away and scours my soul clean by the blood of the Lamb. Physically and spiritually, I’m freed from all that poison. My deepest cells heal, and my body can return to perfect health.

Releasing hurts and injustices to the Lord has wonderful benefits. Not only will it free and restore your joy, but it permits the Lord to work on your behalf. God’s Word testifies about how much He hates injustice, fights for His children, and punishes their enemies.

For the Lord loves justice And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever ~
Psalms 37:28-29 NKJV.

When I realized that God can fight my battles FAR better than I ever could, even on my best day, I now gladly release my enemies into God’s hands. As I pray for my enemies, my heart is restored through God’s grace, and I once again dwell in peace and joy.

Today, I am thankful to live in the freedom of forgiveness. I trust God—not myself—to be Judge.

How about you? Will you lay down unforgiveness and embrace joy?

Choose to Forgive. Choose Joy by Karen Jurgens

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will You Choose Joy?

Will You Choose Joy? by Karen Jurgens

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises ~ Psalm 98:4 NKJV.

Christmas has recently passed, and if you’re like me, all the decorations are neatly tucked away for another year. Although the house is back in apple-pie order, my emotions mourn.

A month before Christmas, I labored for a week to arrange twinkling lights, pine boughs, crèche figures, and ornaments. But now, after just a few short days, no trace of that joyful celebration remains.

Will You Choose Joy? by Karen Jurgens

I admit, I was rather sad to see such lovely beauty vanish.  I also pondered why my JOY had disappeared along with the decorations.

True JOY isn’t a by-product of the physical realm–that kind is passing, not permanent. Instead, JOY is a lasting gift God plants deep down in our spirits.

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation ~ Habakkuk 3:18 NKJV.

Years ago, when I was still teaching, I used to always smile and bubble over with JOY. Students would often ask me why I was so happy all the time—especially early in the morning. Since it was a public school, I danced around the real reason, which was the JOY of Jesus living in my heart. But it thrilled me that my witness made a difference, even in a place where I wasn’t verbally allowed to share my spiritual beliefs.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven ~ Matthew 5:16 NKJV.

 

The Holiday Blues by Karen Jurgens

We realize Christmas isn’t just about outward glitter, presents, and holiday feasting. All that is a by-product of the JOY of the birth of Jesus Christ.

This first month of the New Year, let’s take that precious JOY, live it out in our daily lives, and let our lights shine from the housetops!

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart! ~ Psalm 32:11.

Although happiness can turn upside down and dissolve with life’s circumstances, let’s allow the JOY of the Lord to shine through every word and action. No matter what comes our way, we can choose our response–JOY. 

Will You Choose Joy? by Karen Jurgens

 

So, let’s take off the lid of that pot of JOY bubbling in our hearts and allow the bliss of God’s love to overflow to the world in 2018. Let JOY be the witness of our salvation through the blood of the Lamb, having made us whole in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation ~ Psalm 95:1 NKJV.

Will you choose JOY to shine from your life this year?

Will You Choose Joy? by Karen Jurgens

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year by Karen Jurgens

Wishing all my readers a blessed and prosperous New Year!

Thank you…

I want to take this opportunity to thank you so very much for following me, whether you’re new or have been here from the beginning. I appreciate each and every one of you for taking time to read my blog. My goal is to always bring you fresh insight from God’s Word that will bless and enrich your spirit as we travel along life’s path.

Next Year…

Look for some new changes I hope you’ll enjoy. Each month will have its own theme, and I plan to blog at least twice a month. January will begin with the theme of finding deeper JOY–won’t that be a great springboard for us as we launch into 2018? I’m anticipating a wonderful New Year and trust you are too.

A Deeper Path…

You will also receive an invitation to subscribe to a newsletter for more in-depth communication. I’m creating something you’ll be excited to receive in your inbox just three or four times a year. So, be on the lookout for it this winter.  I earnestly hope you’ll come alongside as we travel a deeper path.

Warmest Blessings for the Happiest of New Years,

Karen

 

Thanksgiving Lemons

 

Thanksgiving Lemons by Karen Jurgens

Can lemons teach us something about life?

When life gives you lemons, make … lemon meringue pie. What? Kind of a strange flavor for a Thanksgiving table. More along the lines of a Fourth of July picnic or a summer tea party, wouldn’t you say?

So, how does lemon pie relate to Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving Lemons by Karen Jurgens

Lemons have significance for me this year. Learning how to cope with that sour, seeded juice has been my most important lesson. If I strain out the seeds and add lots of sugar, water, and ice, I create a lovely, refreshing drink full of healthy Vitamin C. And I enjoy Every. Last. Drop.

When life throws us a sour curve ball, how should we handle it?

Prayer. Take everything to the Father, and He will comfort us. Have a good cry in His arms, and you’ll feel better.

This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me ~ Psalm 119:50

‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ ~ Matthew 5:4, NASB.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a, NASB.

Praise. He is worthy of our worship and our praise songs that honor Him. Sing to the Lord–it will renew your spirit.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms ~ Psalm 95:2, NASB.

I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving ~ Psalm 69:30, NASB.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name ~ Psalm 100:4, NASB.

Thanksgiving. Of all days of the year, we have been taught from childhood to celebrate this day and give thanks to God. But let’s thank Him from our hearts, from the depths of our being. He alone is our all in all. Let’s lavishly thank Him for every blessing and be truly thankful.

‘He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God’ ~ Psalm 50:23, NASB.

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my enemies rejoice over me ~ Psalm 30:1, NASB.

Wait. What do we do about our hurts? How can we be thankful for them?

When we run to the Father, he heals our hurts. He wipes away all disappointments and soul wounds and lovingly replaces them with hope and joy. In time, He turns life’s sour lemons into sweet lemonade.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight ~ Psalm 3:5-6, NASB.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones ~ Proverbs 16:24, NASB.

For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands ~ Psalm 92:4, NASB.

Thanksgiving Lemons by Karen Jurgens

Have you suffered hurts and disappointments this year?

Here’s the remedy: overcome them with God’s forgiveness and grace. Leave them at the foot of the Cross. Then thank the Lord for the sugar and the lemons. There’s nothing better than heaven’s lemonade.

And while we’re expressing thanks this Thanksgiving … you’re invited to join me for a piece of lemon meringue pie.

Thanksgiving Lemons by Karen Jurgens

 

Signs in the Sky: The Blood Moons

Signs in the Skies Part One: The Blood Moons by Karen Jurgens

 Part One

Lunar and solar eclipses, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, asteroids and astral signs that have not happened in 7,000 years and won’t ever appear again … no wonder we’re trying to make sense of it all. Especially the Revelation 12 sign of Virgo and Jupiter—what in the world does all this mean?

God uses signs to send us hints and puzzle pieces about the future—just enough to keep us guessing but not enough to completely see the big picture. As a life-long prophecy student of the Word, I would like to share some of my thoughts about these signs in the heavens. I’m dividing the information into three shorter posts, with each one concentrating on one aspect of the signs in the sky.

To preface, let me first say that I don’t pretend to know the future, and I certainly don’t believe in setting dates for the Rapture. No one knows the day or the hour except God alone. My opinion is based solely on the Word and the factual events happening in our times.

To set the stage, let’s begin with a recent phenomenon that took place in 2014-2015.

The Four Blood Moons Tetrad

According to Bible scholars, the appearance of blood moons on Jewish feast days during Shemittah years is significant because they’re God’s signs of judgment on Israel. This phenomenon on these special days has occurred just four times in history, with the last one appearing just a few years ago. Each total lunar eclipse fell on alternating Jewish feast days–Passover and Sukkot–over the course of two years.

Here’s an outline of the dates and their significance to Israel:

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

1492-1493: Christopher Columbus, a Jew, was sent by King Ferdinand of Spain to find a land where the Jews in that country could be exiled, following their legal expulsion. God led Columbus to discover America, which later became their new homeland.

1949-50: Just prior to this tetrad, Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948. God fulfilled His Word that Israel’s dry bones would again spring to life and live again.

He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.'” ~ Ezekiel 37: 3-6, NASB.

1967-68: Israel’s Six-Day War resulted in the victory of reclaiming the holy city of Jerusalem on June 11, 1967. For more details, click HERE.

2014-2015: The last group of blood moons appeared, shown on the chart below. But so far nothing significant has happened.

blood moons

My opinion: God has blessed Israel with precious gifts of real estate during each of these Blood Moon cycles: first, a safe haven in the US where the Jews have sojourned up to the present; second, their own state of Israel in 1948; and third, the capital city Jerusalem in 1967. But there is still one piece of real estate missing.

What have they not yet possessed?

The Temple Mount, where they will build their third and final temple. I fully believe this is the meaning of the the recent lunar eclipses. We have yet to see this happen and wonder how it will occur. Whether by war or by God’s hand through a natural disaster of some kind, it’s God’s move.

www.shemitah-blood-moons.net

The red heifer, necessary for temple ritual, has miraculously made an appearance again after 2000 years. Notice how this one was born with a number 7 on its forehead. For more information, click HERE.

What’s next? Part Two, where we will explore the recent solar eclipse and its possible meaning.

 

Cricket Symphony

 

Cricket Symphony by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever heard the recording of crickets? Their chirping is slowed down, revealing an amazing song. Click on the link below to listen:

LINK TO CRICKET SYMPHONY

Pretty amazing, don’t you think? Now whenever I hear their chirping in the trees, I rejoice with them in praising God.

As the verse says, “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord” ~ Psalm 150:6, NASB.

Wishing you a day full of the praises of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Final Grains of Sand

First published in 2015, I want to again share my thoughts with you this Father’s Day. Wishing everyone a blessed day of celebration or blessed memories of  your father.
sands in hourglass

During my regular run in a nearby park, I slowed to a walk in the midst of the growing afternoon heat, mopping away the perspiration dripping down my face. Close behind me, a father and his little girl held hands as they went along. Proximity provided me an ear to their conversation.

“I love you, Daddy, on Father’s Day.” Her excited voice bubbled up to him.

“I love you, sweetheart, every day!” His tone promised forever, unconditional love.

The exchange was precious, and a smile spread across my face, reminding me of my own father. The only thing I have of him now are my sweet memories since he went to heaven twenty years ago. How I yearn to have him on earth again, to walk hand in hand, and tell him that I love him. Even though that’s not possible, I still have the rich legacy he left behind.

Growing up, he shared his love of baseball with me. In summer, he taught me how to play softball by practicing batting and playing catch in the backyard after dinner. He took my mother and me to practically every Reds game, beginning at the old Crosley Field and continuing years later in Riverfront Stadium. We had great seats in the section where visiting VIPs would watch Opening Day, the Playoffs or the World Series, and I have lots of famous signatures on my scorecard books tucked away for permanent safe-keeping.

IMG_1826 (4)

Although I still have his valuable collection of autographed baseballs and bats, my most precious possession is my memory of sitting next to him at the games, sharing a bag of fresh roasted peanuts, and asking all those annoying questions–whether foul tips count as balls or strikes, and who the players were—all which he patiently answered. Whether quoting RBI or home run averages, he lit up and was at his happiest when discussing the sport he loved most.IMG_1824IMG_1480

IMG_1817

Around the house, cutting the grass was one of his favorite jobs. Anyone who knew him would remember that because his lawn was always perfect. When I was a kid, our lawn’s size was an acre, and I used to sit on the front steps for hours and watch him mow. After he finished, we would sit together for a while and admire the fruit of his labor. Afterward, he would invite me to go with him to a nearby fast food restaurant, Henry’s, for a celebratory orange soda. Each week during grass season we followed the same routine, and that memory of sharing those times with him is still a comfort today.

Skelton_dood_it_1942My dad was also a big tease with a great sense of humor. I can remember his laughter at comedy shows back in the ‘60’s like Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, and Carol Burnette. But he also played jokes on his own family. When I was about five or so, he convinced me that if I could sprinkle salt on a bunny’s tail, then I could catch it. That entire summer I ran around the backyard with a salt shaker, but never could catch a single rabbit. I didn’t learn the truth until school began that fall. I thought that he must have had a good laugh watching me zigzag around the lawn with that salt shaker as he encouraged me to keep trying.

He also passed on important lessons of character through his own example for which I am eternally grateful. I learned about developing a good work ethic as I witnessed him work tirelessly as he provided well for his family. He is a true example of how to attain the American Dream.

He taught me to be honest and never lie (the few times I tried, I always got caught).

I learned to be obedient to his rules and respectful to others in authority (he only had to take me over his knee once, never twice).

He always instructed me, “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” (I’m always working on that one.)

His example of keeping everything clean, neat, and in its place made a huge impression on me. Order and peace reigned in our home and, to this day, is an important priority.

IMG_1829 (2)Most of all, his love of Jesus Christ and public profession of his Christian faith spoke volumes to me, teaching me to always be an active church member, study the Word of God, and tithe the first ten percent of my income to the church. His courage and fearlessness to stand up and speak up for what’s right have been my bedrock over the years. Even though he is not physically here, the Christian convictions that he modeled live within me as a rich heritage.

In November, 1994, a time arrived when he could no longer play his role as protector, and our roles reversed. On a day when he had routine prostate surgery, the doctor gave my mother the bad news. She wrote a note on the back of a dry cleaning receipt she found in her purse and handed it to me when I walked into his hospital recovery room. It’s bladder cancer. The doctor says it’s hopeless. At that point, my mother and I became his caregivers until his death on June 13, 1995—just a few days shy of Father’s Day.

Amid the sadness of that time, two specific occasions are picture-framed in my memory’s gallery. The first was after he was diagnosed with cancer and my mother had just told him the bad news. I entered their bedroom where he was standing and hugged him, saying, “I love you, Daddy.” We both shed tears. The last grains of sand in his life’s hourglass were swiftly slipping away.

The second was after he had been admitted to a nursing care facility for Hospice patients. His memory would come and go as he slipped into dementia, due to big doses of experimental chemo. One afternoon when he was lucid, I was guiding his wheelchair through the outdoor gardens where we stopped to admire the beautiful flowers. I took that opportunity to thank him for being such a wonderful father and told him how much I loved and appreciated him. That was one of the final days that he recognized me, and I am eternally thankful to God that I was given a window to tell him one last time. Such a priceless gift.

So, as I look into the sky this Father’s Day, I breathe out these words toward heaven. “I love you, Daddy. On Father’s Day and every day.

depression dove

The Passion of Christ

Each year at Easter, I anticipate Passion Week, especially Good Friday. If the sky isn’t dark and rainy between noon and 3 pm, I feel cheated. I expect nature to reflect the deep spiritual meaning of this day. In my soul, I want to drink deeply of the scriptures, worshiping at the foot of the cross of my Saviour. I want:

  • to again be humble before Him, to endeavor to understand the depths of His sufferings and their meaning of freedom for me as a believer;
  • to take communion with a deeper perspective than the previous year;
  • to commune deeply with Jesus and feel His Holy Spirit within me;
  • to listen to what the Holy Spirit would speak to me on this holiest of Holy Days; and
  • to be still and know that He is God, my Saviour, and my Redeemer.

Here are some scriptures from Luke 22 and Luke 23 for further reflection.

May the Lord touch you as we continue worshiping with “Oh The Blood” by Kari Jobe with Gateway Worship.

The Passion of Christ