Author Archives: Karin Graves

“P’s” of prayer

Perfected
I have wanted to share this idea for a while and even captured this photo back in July when I saw this beat-up white delivery truck with only one word on the entire vehicle, “Perfected.” It was this morning, when my AM readings included Psalm 138 and a devotion by Pastor Chuck Smith on prayer, I felt motivated to post it today.

Have you ever had someone come to mind to pray for, or even run into someone and thought, “I should say a prayer for him or her,” but didn’t know quite what to pray? Can be slightly frustrating? I mean, it’s not bad to just say, “God, please bless so-and-so,” but maybe there could be more? At some point in this last year, I had the “P’s of Prayer” come together for me (I think God was graciously meeting me with some divine inspiration), and they have helped me to pray for others when I don’t have anything specific in mind for them. The last “P,” “Perfection,” has a Scripture tied to it too.

It goes something like this…(and most often I say it for an individual man or woman.)

 

Heavenly Father,

would you give XXXXXXX Your PERSPECTIVE, that is, a Scriptural truth or truths

they are needing to know right now, or today, or for this week…;

may they go forth in Your POWER and not their own, yes, strengthen them;

would you PROVIDE and PROTECT them physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and/or materially;

and finally Lord, I pray for Your PERFECTION, that is, “would you perfect that which concerns them.” (Psalm 138:8—NKJV)

In Jesus Name, Amen.

The shadow of the cross

shadow of the cross

It’s so interesting as I have the story of Jesus’ birth in my 1-Year Bible/New Testament reading  (Luke 2:1-24) today—Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross for all the sins, of all mankind. Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, the Good Shepherd, Friend of sinners…

Born in a barn of sorts (not a castle as one might expect) and visited by shepherds (not by royalty).

Who died on a cross outside Jerusalem (not on Holy Mount Zion), but on the hill Golgatha–“the skull,” between two thieves.

The Gospel of Luke says, “do not be afraid…good tidings…great joy…to all people…born…a Savior…Christ the Lord…a babe…Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Jesus lived His entire life in the shadow of the cross as Savior of the world.

It also says in Luke that God “made the Savior known” to the shepherds and that they glorified and praised God for what they heard and saw…

There are no secrets with God, He has no hidden agenda, but a fully disclosed true story of salvation without any respecter of persons. The sacrifice of Jesus-sinless, His body broken, His blood spilt, in order to repair the separation between a perfect God and imperfect man, redeeming man’s sinful nature with His righteousness, in order that man may be in eternal relationship with his Creator and Heavenly Father–nothing short of “peace and goodwill toward men.”

Love and blessings, Karin

Note on photos: I took these photos one afternoon while watching TV at my parents. As the sun began to set, it shone on a shelf, casting a shadow off of an iron cross and a hand-carved Olive Wood sculpture of Mary seated upon a donkey and Joseph which I had bought for my parents while on my trip to Israel in 1998.

shadow of the cross

 

 

38 Roots and wings and then SOAR!

IMG_20151228_072602132Stockings are an abundantly fun occurrence for our family at Christmas–filled to the brim with cool stuff. My stepdad enjoys finding the perfectly suited magazine for each of us and this year was no exception.  I ended up with Small Room Decorating.

When I finally opened it up, I couldn’t have been more pleased (and encouraged) with the title of the Editor’s letter, “make tiny spaces soar.” What a great inspiration to take into the New Year!

(Photo: Also featured and right in line with Bird’s-eye View by Karin–a hummingbird cookie cutter from my mom and a small cutting board and knife from one of my sisters.)

I guess this post fits two of my three main blog categories– “HOME:studio living” and “DEVOTION: Jesus speaking.”

The last couple of years I’ve really anticipated and then camped out on the personal Psalm reading I end up with on December 31 and January 1, as I always align the calendar date with the Psalm number (so I don’t loose track). I guess this reading is significant because (a.) I have it two days in a row and usually repetition with the Lord carries some weight and (b.) it’s the Psalm that ends a year and begins another. And sometimes, my personal Psalm reading aligns with my 1-year Bible reading, which happened this year, and as of 12/31/15 and 1/1/16, I have…(drumroll please…) Psalm 1.

“I will delight in the law of the LORD, I will meditate day and night,
then like a tree firmly planted I’ll be, grounded in the Word.
Blessed is the one, who follows the way of the Lord, blessed is the one.”
(Worship song version)

Sally Lloyd-Jones says, “home is the place you set out from.”  So in 2016, I believe the Lord wants to make sure the Bible (His very voice!!) is my home base, and that it will be from this rooted and grounded place, where He would then love to see me soar into the wild blue yonder……….

Now doesn’t that seem like a good and faith-filled flight plan?

PSALM 1:1-6

 

 

Serving up hospitality

In preparing a “Year in Review” for WING Ministries (WING), I thought to include some hospitality highlights right here at Bird’s-eye View by Karin.

In 2015, two organizations stand out in particular, where I was able to serve the Lord and others with the mission of WING in mind–that is, to encourage generations of women to grow in their relationships with Jesus Christ and live godly lives, both biblically and practically, through one-on-one mentoring.

YOUNG WOMEN OF VISION–OC  (YWOV)

photo with YWOV girls
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo: I’m seated on the couch and overjoyed to be surrounded by these lovely ladies.)

Back in March, I spoke on hospitality at a YWOV monthly gathering for high school freshmen ladies and their moms. (It’s hard for me to believe that some of those moms were friends from high school and beyond–so totally sweet AND can I really be old enough to have friends with kids that age?!)

heart of hospitality

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every time I speak, the same prayer comes to mind, “Lord, open up your treasuries of word, thought, and verse.” In preparing for this topic, God was faithful to once again equip me for this time of sharing, and I too learned some new biblical and practical ideas through the message entitled, “Hostess with the Mostess, that is, Hostess with the Most High God…”

Quote from the message: “God created hospitality, and we see it in so many places throughout the Old and New Testament books of the Bible. It flowed from Christ-centered and others-focused hearts; it took place outdoors and indoors, and biblical examples of hospitality not only met a physical and emotional need, but more importantly, a spiritual need. God uses hospitality to draw others to Himself and to prepare the way for His teachings and message of love.”

 

GOOD STEWARD PROJECT (GSP)

GSP candid table (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In January, the Good Steward Project was launched. Modeled after The Barnabas Group, I think GSP could be described as a Christ-centered community for “20- to 30-something” business men and women, where they can come and grow together professionally and personally and also apply their time, talent, touch, and treasure toward God’s Kingdom.

GSP banquet table

 

GSP table centerpiece

 

 

 

 

 

In participating in the early developmental stages of this organization,  I had the opportunity to head up the hospitality team. Serving in this capacity included contributing creative vision for the ambiance and logistics of food & beverage for our monthly gatherings (five of them).

It was in joining the other members of the GSP Advisory Board at our planning meetings and actual gatherings, that I saw a beautiful example of  the body of Christ at work. “…now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased”  (the apostle Paul, I Corinthians 12:18).

Tip: Check out this post entitled, Really Listening, on a takeaway I had from Dean Del Sesto, our keynote speaker at the GSP Gathering in July.

 

GSP Coram Deo

 

I heard this Latin phrase for the first time at our first GSP gathering and it just stuck with me, “Coram Deo: to live in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and to the Glory of God.” It makes we want to say, “in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

 

 

 

Caught up in CHRISTmas (week 4)

…that’s how I’m praying it will be.

“…come and behold Him…”

bright and morn. star mammoth

 

December 2015–Week 4

Name:
10“then the angel said to them (the shepherds), ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”  Luke 2:10, 11

Statement of Faith:
“So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the lord has made know to us.” Luke 2:15

Praise:
13“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”  Luke 2:13, 14

 

(Note: I’m in Mammoth right now for Christmas. This photo happens to be Mammoth 2010.)

 

(CLICK HERE FOR WEEK ONE)

(CLICK HERE FOR WEEK TWO)

(CLICK HERE FOR WEEK THREE)

 

 

Caught up in CHRISTmas (week 3)

snow falling from the tree

 

…that’s how I’m praying it will be.

“…come and behold Him…”

 

December 2015–Week 3

Name:
1“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, ‘where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’”  Matthew 2:1, 2

 

Statement of Faith:
4“…he (Herod the king) inquired of them (all the chief priests and scribes of the people) where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, ‘in Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’” Matthew 2:4- 6

Praise:
9 “…the star which they had seen in the East went before them (the wise men), till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy…11 and fell down and worshipped Him.”  Matthew 2:9-11

 

(CLICK HERE FOR WEEK ONE)

(CLICK HERE FOR WEEK TWO)

 

 

 

#37 Core Christmas décor

studio xmas decor book helen steiner rice

Each year, certain items remain a part of my core Christmas décor and the merriment of my heart.

Some of those  items I have put out for more years than the others. For instance, my friend Linda gave me the book Christmas Blessings, by Helen Steiner Rice, over 10 years ago (the sweetest collection of rhyming poetry ever). Whereas the plaid bear I only purchased a couple of years ago at the Oasis Senior Center Gift Shop (I just fell in love with his little plaid self and blue button eyes). Manger Scene from Israel

When I traveled to Israel for the first time back in 1998, I knew one souvenir purchase I was going to make for sure and that was a hand-carved, Olive Wood Nativity. As you can see, I was victorious!

Consequently, since that time, there have been some casualties, key players have been broken and gone missing–like Baby Jesus (what?!?! Yes, I know, it’s horrible.) I confessed it publicly, right away actually, on Facebook, sharing how I had dropped Him and His arm broke off (I know–how could the story get any worse, but I repented, and I’m forgiven, so don’t hold it against me.) 🙂

Then, (and I won’t name any names), but a very kind, creative, and generous soul said she would fix Him for me, but she lost Baby Jesus in her garage, and He has yet to resurface (it’s been two years). manger scene with candle

So…because Jesus is “the Light of the world”,  (John 8:12) a candle now burns in front of the manger as a memorial to the Baby born King, the Living God (Yes, He’s alive, and all-powerful and all-knowing and all-present, just missing from my manger scene. So don’t hold this against Him.) 🙂

Ok, well, that’s probably all you can handle about my core Christmas décor at this time.

How about, by way of encouragement, I leave you with a heart warming sentiment from Helen Steiner Rice entitled, “The Presence of Jesus.”

In all seriousness, her writings about Christmas, and the celebration of Jesus’ birth are the merriment of my heart and I pray yours too. Enjoy.

“Jesus came into the world
one glorious Christmas Eve.
He came to live right here on earth
to help us to believe.
For God up in His heaven
Knew His children all would feel
That if Jesus lived among them
they would know that He was real
And not a far-off stranger
who dwelt up in the sky
And knew neither joys nor sorrow
that make us laugh and cry.
And so He walked among us
and taught us how to love
And promised us that someday we
would dwell with Him above.
And while we cannot see Him
as they did, face to face,
We know that He is everywhere,
not in some far-off place.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caught up in CHRISTmas….(week 2)

banner advent in studio

 

…that’s how I’m praying it will be.

 

“…come and behold Him…”

 

December 2015–Week 2

Name:
“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’”   Matthew 1:23

Statement of Faith:
20 “… behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife…”  Matthew 1:20, 24

Note: (Faith always requires a step, and then another…)

Praise:
46And Mary said,My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior.’”
Luke 1:46, 47

(CLICK HERE FOR WEEK ONE)

Creator…creation…confirmation…

Star and palm trees- Balboa islandBefore my walk around Balboa Island this evening (12/3), I was working on a Scripture card to go in the Christmas care packages our church is putting together for our missionaries. (Our graphic this year is a star against the sky.)

“The true Light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”
John 1:9 (NIV)

I guess someone could say (or I could think), “you sure spiritualize things…”, but the truth is, the Creator of all things can use anything to get our attention or confirm something in His Word…to let us know that He really does see us and hear us and care for us…

Jesus, Immanuel, translated “God with us”.

Caught up in CHRISTmas…

hummingbird ornament…that’s how I pray it will be.

Two years ago, I helped to draft an advent of sorts for my church. Since then, I have used the “NCL Christmas Nativity” as a way to focus on the birth of Christ and prepare my heart to truly enjoy and celebrate this holy and joyous time.

The Scriptures revolving around the Son of God coming to earth become almost new when seen through the lens of God’s names, statements of faith, and praises.

“…come and behold Him…”

Blessings, and here’s to a Merry Christmas indeed!
Karin

 

December 2015—Week 1

 Name:
31“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son,
and shall call His name JESUS.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest;
and the Lord God will give Him the
throne of His father David.” Luke 1:31, 32

 Statement of Faith:
“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37

 Praise:
“For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.” Luke 1:49

#36b So, about my neighbors…

studio living-rabbits 
First there were two, and then the Intimidation Bunny came along.

Here’s how it all went down.

Miss Brown Rabbit broke through the grass and was found digging to China as it were.

So Mr. Grey Rabbit was strategically placed in front of the rock, covering the hole, leading to the other side of the world.

It was quite the scene around these parts, and the tighter security had “The Shire” a bit on edge for a time. However, it would seem that all is well again now that our grassy knolls are further fortified.

If you ask me, one question still remains—how did Miss White Rabbit stay so clean through this whole ordeal? Let’s just say she’s under close scrutiny.

 

P.S. Please note, this photo makes it look like these two rabbits are still in trouble and behind bunny bars. Rest assured, the  fenced off grass area outside their hutch got cropped out of this shot.