Monthly Archives: April 2019

The Kicker

“…So Esau despised his birthright.” Genesis 25:34

Do you ever wonder if you’re “called” to do something? Rather than tell you what it feels like, I’m going to ask you, by laying out a series of questions about your desires. Hold out until the end because, with all things, there’s a “kicker.”

To get us in the right frame of mind, the desires I’m referring to are not about things you can get. They’re about things you can give… your God-given gifts and talents. Your gift could be artistic, business oriented, working with your hands in a trade, lending emotional support to hurting people, writing, or as a financial giver. Don’t overthink the answers. Just make a mental note of whatever immediately pops into your mind as you read through these next questions. They’re certainly not all-inclusive, but I hope it’s a start to get you thinking.

Do you have a passion stirring deep inside that you tell yourself is just your own desire, but deep down you know — you can feel — it’s something so much bigger than you? Do you have an almost restless sensation that gives you an unexplainable urge or need to do that thing? And when I say restless, I really mean a Sigourney Weaver alien bursting out of your stomach kind of restless. On that note, does it also scare you? Does it take you beyond your present comfort zone? Do other people reaffirm your gift? When you’re operating in that gift, does it feel easier than you thought, fulfilling, and help seems to come just when you need it? Despite fear, does the idea of not doing it leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled?

Here’s a big one.

Is there an inaudible yet unmistakable voice… something you sense in the deepest recesses of your being that something… Someone… is calling out to you and telling you to cross that comfort line and do what you already know is welling up in you?

I don’t know what’s going through your mind right now, but I hope it’s validation of what you already know to be true. A name for your gift. Your call to action. Your calling.

Writing books and speaking/teaching is my calling. I used to be afraid to say that out loud. I used to let Satan fill my head with lies and fears. “No one will buy your books.” “No one will care what you have to say.” “You don’t have the right degrees.” I’ve dealt with tough negative self-talk over the years, but wasn’t able to get to the other side of it until I learned something very valuable. It’s not about me.

It’s not about you either. It’s about what God can do through us, if we’re willing.

I don’t need to care about who will or won’t buy my books. I just have to write them. I don’t have to worry about what people think of what I teach. I just have to invest time in studying, listening, and writing, and what those words do when they fall on someone’s eyes or ears is up to Him. It’s freeing, really. But you need to choose to give God control. Listening and answering the call are the easy parts. Give God the hard part, which is how people respond to what you offer.

I’m not suggesting answering the call makes the rest of the journey easy or care free. My first book, Stolen, is being published in a little over three weeks. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t feeling vulnerable and nervous putting myself out there like that. But I try to remind myself it’s not about me. It’s about the message, which is in God’s hands now. The same goes for you.

Ok, here’s the kicker. Are you ready?

You can’t take forever to decide to answer the call. God’s Word shows us if we don’t respond, He’ll find someone else who will. In Genesis 25, Esau despised his birthright, so God passed over him and granted it to his younger brother, Jacob. Do you recall all the places in the Bible where it refers to the great lineage of patriarchs “Abraham, Isaac and Esau?” Whoops. That turned into “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Or what about the business of King Saul? Saul had the throne of Israel first, but kept hardening his heart, so God passed over him too, and anointed that quiet shepherd boy we now know as King David. It was from King David’s lineage that Jesus, the Messiah was born. Double ouch for Saul.

The morale of the story is simple. First, don’t ignore the God-given gifts He is speaking to, and burning inside of, your heart. Second, don’t be afraid. Step up and step out. He’ll be there to carry you the whole way. I love the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” Lastly, don’t live a life of regret because you didn’t step up and out, and God passed your call onto someone else who would. You can’t undo that decision, and you have no idea the great plans God has for you, your whole family, and the lives of so many others. Don’t overthink it. Just answer it. I challenge you to take one step forward over the next week. Big step. Small step. It doesn’t matter. Just take a step, and see what God does.

Be blessed,
C.K.

The Witnesses

Slowly, they walked up the hill at Golgotha, trying desperately to function beyond their feelings of dread. Golgotha. It was aptly named. In Aramaic, this was known as “place of the skull.” It was known for death. Breathing deeply with every step forward, they assembled there. Storm clouds formed in the sky and the wind picked up around them. They pulled their cloaks tighter and looked amongst each other nervously as darkness fell across the land. Hours went by. They were watching. Waiting. Wondering what this would mean. Fearing what this would mean. Everyone was silent. Everyone but Him who was laid bare on the tree.

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:46

Thunder clapped and echoed across the sky and the earth shook with grief. The tremors shot terror through the hearts of those standing witness, and pulsed furiously a half mile west to the Temple Mount.

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split …. When the centurion and those with Him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!’” Matthew 27:51,54

Grief. Confusion. Anger. A complete and total loss of words. For the Apostles, the world as they know it just came crashing down on top of them. The hope they held out seemed like a distant memory and the One they called Master was now a lifeless body hanging before their eyes. Walking away from Golgotha was longer and harder than walking to it. They wondered what all of this was for now. Their mission. Would they even still have one? They wondered if all those things Jesus told them were even real. Nothing made sense anymore. Nothing.

* * *

Swiftly, the angels assembled, ready to bear witness to the most significant moment there ever was and ever would be in the history of both the kingdom of man and of God. Even the very earth was astir, its clouds rolling and wind sweeping, unable to contain its anticipation. They were watching. Waiting. But they were not wondering. They all knew what was to come. It would be hard to watch, but they knew He did it for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). A hush fell over them as every sin that ever was and ever would be committed laid on the shoulders of the One who came to save them. The Hope of all Hopes gave up His last obedient breath…

“…Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30

Thunder clapped and echoed across the sky and the earth shook with the joy of celebration. The tremors pulsed victoriously a half mile west to the Temple Mount.

“Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them …. Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.” Hebrews 7:25,27

Joy. Faith. Celebration. Songs of praise and worship. For all of Heaven knew the veil had been torn, no longer separating man from God, but creating a bridge to the Holy of Holies. Hope was now alive. As alive as their Lord and Savior. All the hard work was validated and the prophesy about Jesus fulfilled. It was the new reality for all of mankind. Everything made sense now. Everything.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Stolen Now Available for Pre-Order


eBook is now available for pre-order.

Order your eBook now, and Amazon will deliver it to your device of choice on May 21st. As an incentive to order early, eBooks are on sale for $6.99, now through May 20th.

*Paperback will be available for purchase once released for publication on May 21st.

Stolen Release Date!

I’m thrilled to announce Stolen will be released for publication Tuesday, May 21st.

Pre-ordering will be available, starting on Friday, for eBook format only. So, if you’re an eBook fan, then you’ll be able to order your copy this coming weekend, and Amazon will auto-deliver it to your preferred device as soon as it’s released.

If you prefer paperback, you’ll be able to order through Amazon as well, beginning on May 21st.

Subscribers will receive a notification email this weekend, once pre-ordering is live, and another once it’s published and both eBook and paperback are available for purchase. If you’re not a subscriber, but would like to join my mailing list, enter your email address at the bottom of the Home page.

Be Blessed,
Caroline

Fear of the Dark

It’s been a long day and your thoughts surrender to the quiet of the evening, and the longing to close your eyes and drift off to sleep. You make your way through the silenced rooms and hallways, closing windows, checking locks, and turning down lights. Satisfied you’re secure, you ascend the stairway, your way lit by a dim light coming from the lamp beside your bed. As you slip into the cool sheets the only thing on your mind is how comfortable your pillow feels beneath your head. You reach over and turn off the lamp. Darkness floods the room unnoticed as your eyes are already long closed.

In an instant you’re startled by an unfamiliar noise, and fatigue is replaced by uneasiness. There’s a strange, almost sudden, feeling that overcomes you. It’s a feeling you haven’t experienced since you were a small child. Fear. You begin the process of rationalizing with yourself all the possible things that could explain the noise you just heard. You wait, silently and tensely. Only quiet. You take a deep breath, laugh to yourself, and return to drifting.

Your whole body is jarred to an alert state as you strain to focus and search the darkness for the cause of this intrusion. You wrestle between the notions of climbing under your bed to dial 9-1-1 or screaming out in confrontation, in the hope they flee back into the shadows they came from. You stand, blindly searching for anything you can swing or throw. In your frenzied search the lamp next to you comes crashing to the floor in a tremendous thunder.

Footsteps ascend the staircase with great speed. There’s no time to call. Terror grips your throat and silences you as you fight to even take a breath. Your heart is pounding so hard you fear you might have a heart attack. Finally, your eyes have focused enough to see a figure at the door of your room. You manage to channel the last bit of courage you have to form the only words that make sense in that moment – “Oh God, help me!” You hear a snapping sound and the room that was once filled with darkness and fear dissipates in an instant, and is flooded with light.

You have no words as you find yourself staring face to face with your husband, who is supposed to be out of town for two more nights.

As kids, we often experience a fear of the darkness. It’s a fear more properly exposed as the unknown. We fear what we can’t see, and our minds create impressions of mean, scary monsters and indescribable creatures or intruders, whose sole purposes are to bring terror to our hearts.

Everything we do in our flesh represents that darkness. We see things with a skewed or darkened perspective. However fictitious this story, it defines something far too real in our everyday lives. When we live in the dark, our physical senses make up the only inputs of our truth and we end up accessing situations based on what we can see, feel or hear in our flesh. It’s impossible for darkness to exist within the light (2 Corinthians 6:14). When we ground ourselves in the knowledge of God, we’re turning on the proverbial flood lamp. We can now see things in a perspective that’s no longer subjective, but truth.

Are you grappling in the dark? Are you giving way to fear of the unknown? Flip the switch and see things for what they really are. How? Get into the Word of God. Learn the life breathing truth that will change your view for the better. God is light (1 John 1:5). Ask Him. Ask God to give you spiritual eyes and enlighten you with His wisdom and knowledge. Ask Him to turn your darkness into light.

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16

Be blessed,
C.K.

Scar Tissue

We all have scars. Some visible. Some not so visible. Webster’s Dictionary defines a scar as “a mark remaining after injured tissue has healed.” I want to look today at a verse in Psalms and share something beautiful that I hope makes you look at your scars differently.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” 

Psalm 147:3

This Psalm paints a comforting picture, but there’s much more here than meets the eye.

The Hebrew word for wounds is abatstsebeth (pronounced ats-tseh’-beth), which translates to “pain, wound, sorrow, affliction, grievance.” Pretty straight forward, right? I think we can all relate. But what I was struck by was the Hebrew word for binds, which is chabash. It means “to bind, wrap around, cover, envelope, enclose.” I hope that gave you the same goose bumps it gave me. When we’re hurting about something, it’s God’s desire to envelope us. He wraps His strong, faithful and able arms around us and provides not only comfort, but a cover of protection. When we allow God into a situation that’s causing us pain, God can so infiltrate our hearts and minds in that matter that He literally envelopes that pain and forms what you might say is scar tissue – He is, in essence, binding the wound.

I don’t believe God intended for scars to have a negative connotation. You see, scars don’t hurt – wounds do. If you have something that’s still painful, that means it hasn’t fully healed.

When I was six, I was attacked by a German Shepard, and ended up with 186 stitches in my face and neck. Most of the wounds healed beautifully, except for a large one extending upward from the right side of my upper lip. I was very insecure about it as a teenager. One day, a boy I had a crush on made fun of it, and I went home crying and felt completely devastated and ugly. I should mention that German Shepard was our dog. He was well trained but, for reasons unknown, snapped at the time of the incident – something I’m quite sure my dad felt beyond horrible about. I share this, because, after I came home that day feeling broken, I’m certain it’s the reason he offered to take me to a cosmetic surgeon to see about getting it removed. This would be an elective procedure and not at all in their budget.

We went to that surgeon for a consultation, and he explained how he would cut out the scar and re-stitch it so it wasn’t nearly as visible. Once I got home, I can still vividly remember sitting on my bed and feeling an immense sense of comfort. I don’t think I realized it was God speaking to me at the time, but after that moment, I went to my dad and said, “Dad, I really appreciate you being willing to do this for me, but this scar is a part of who I am and a part of my story. And if some boy thinks it makes me ugly, then that boy isn’t the right boy for me.” I can’t explain how such mature words came out of me, outside of God binding my wound. Today, I don’t even see that scar anymore, and if I do happen to notice it, I have zero hurt associated with it. To me, it’s as distinctive as my green eyes. It’s just part of what makes up my face.

Scars are merely the evidence of once existing wounds, each with their own, unique story to tell. Your scars are not for you. They are for someone else to touch, to see that you made it through – to encourage them and strengthen them to know that they too can persevere (2 Cor 1:4). So, the next time you find yourself encouraging someone else through a situation that you yourself once passed through, remember to praise God for your scars. They are evidence of His Glory.

Be blessed,
C.K.

*A special thanks to one of my readers for the topic request.

References:
Merriam-Webster Dictionary; Merriam-Webster.com. 2019. https://www.merriam-webster.com(April 2019).

Hebrew translations are taken from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: New American Standard Bible. 1995. Updated ed. La Habra: Lockman Foundation. http://www.biblestudytools.com/concordances/strongs-exhaustive-concordance/.