A Life Well Lived

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This past Saturday we celebrated my sister’s home-going after her valiant battle with colon cancer. She was a true warrior and a godly woman. One of the many amazing things about Karen is that she never felt sorry for herself or bemoaned the fact that she had cancer. She simply trusted God’s plan and did her best to live each day with joy, thankfulness and adventure. I’d like to pay tribute to her by sharing a few positive principles we can all learn from her life.

  • Glorify God in everything you do.
  • Live each day to the fullest.
  • Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  • Look for the good in every situation.
  • Focus on faith, not fear.
  • Keep hope alive in your heart.
  • No news before the Good News (Read God’s word before you read anything else each day).
  • Be generous with your time and talents.
  • Never waste time complaining.
  • Trust God’s plan and provision.
  • Savor gourmet popsicles.
  • Be diligent and intentional in Scripture memory.
  • Invest your time in the next generation.
  • Be consistent, dependable and disciplined.
  • Greet everyone joyfully.

Thank you for your love, care and prayers. We have all felt the blessing of your support and encouragement as well as the comfort of God’s love during this time.

For those who weren’t able to make it on Saturday, here’s what was printed in the program for the service.

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Karen Kinder Smith was ushered into the arms of her Savior on the morning of October 25, 2018. While here on earth, she lived every day to the fullest continually bringing joy to others. Born in Bloomington, Illinois on June 20, 1959 to Garry and Barbara Kinder, she and her sister Karol lived their early years in Illinois and Ohio. After moving to Dallas, Karen became involved at First Baptist Church Dallas, where she sang in the chapel choir. She graduated from Richardson High School and went on to Baylor University where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and achieved a degree in accounting.

Upon graduation from Baylor she worked for Fox Accounting and later for Kinder Brothers International. She married David Smith of Wichita Falls on December 30, 1989, and they have three beautiful daughters, Lauren, Emily and Andrea. The Smiths have lived in Allen, Texas for over 25 years and have been actively involved at First Baptist Allen. Karen joyfully served in her church through MOPS, VBS and Sunday morning Bible studies. She also served on the board of Engage Positive Parenting Initiative.

The hallmark of Karen’s life is faithfulness. She was faithful as a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother.  She was faithful in her service at church and in her work at Kinder Brothers. Most importantly, she was faithful to the Lord and was a beautiful example of Christ’s love in action.

Karen joins her mother Barbara Kinder in Heaven and is survived by her husband David Smith and three daughters: Lauren Smith, Emily Smith and Andrea Smith Larimore along with Garry and Janet Kinder, Karol and Curt Ladd and many other loving family members.

When We Don’t Feel Loved

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There are times when we doubt God’s love because He doesn’t seem to answer our earnest prayers. He seems to wait or hesitate not listen. Let us not think that because God delays, that His love is diminished. Quite the contrary, His great love for us may cause Him to delay because He knows what is best for us. The following thoughts are from a timeless devotional called Streams in the Dessert. Originally published in 1925, it’s truths continue to speak to our hearts today.

Hard Love

“When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” (John 11:6).

In the forefront of this marvelous chapter stands the affirmation, “Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus,” as if to teach us that at the very heart and foundation of all God’s dealings with us, however dark and mysterious they may be, we must dare to believe in and assert the infinite, unmerited, and unchanging love of God. Love permits pain. The sisters never doubted that He would speed at all hazards and stay their brother from death, but, “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”

What a startling “therefore”! He abstained from going, not because He did not love them, but because He did love them. His love alone kept Him back from hasting at once to the dear and stricken home. Anything less than infinite love must have rushed instantly to the relief of those loved and troubled hearts, to stay their grief and to have the luxury of wiping and stanching their tears and causing sorrow and sighing to flee away. Divine love could alone hold back the impetuosity of the Savior’s tenderheartedness until the Angel of Pain had done her work.

Who can estimate how much we owe to suffering and pain? But for them we should have little scope for many of the chief virtues of the Christian life. Where were faith, without trial to test it; or patience, with nothing to bear; or experience, without tribulation to develop it? –Selected

Check out Streams in the Desert for yourself.

10062: Streams in the Desert: An Updated Edition in Today"s Language Streams in the Desert: An Updated Edition in Today’s Language

By L.B. Cowman, edited by James Reimann / Zondervan

Filled with insight into the richness of God’s provision and the purpose of His plan, L.B Cowman’s Streams in the Desert has encouraged and inspired generations of Christians since its first publication in 1925. Now James Reimann, editor of the highly acclaimed updated edition of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, again brings us the wisdom of the past in the language of today, by introducing this updated edition of Streams in the Desert. With fresh, contemporary wording and precise NIV text, the timeless message of the original flows unhindered through these pages, lending guidance and hope to a new generation of believers. Let Streams in the Desert lead you from life’s dry desolate places to the waters of the River of Life.

Also, don’t miss February’s $5 book deal – Unfailing Love. For more information Click here.

When We Wonder Why

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This past weekend, my husband attended the funeral of a young man who died in the prime of his life. Often tragedies like this can lead us to question why. Why would God allow someone to die when it seems like there is so much of his life yet to be lived? Perhaps you have had similar questions about circumstances in your life:

Why did this happen to me?

Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?

Why didn’t God rescue me out of my misery?

The problem of pain and suffering is an age-old philosophical question. In the Old Testament, we read about a man named Job who found himself in the midst of struggling to understand why. His vibrant, fruitful world came to a crashing halt when God allowed him to suffer the loss of his possessions, his children, and his health. He couldn’t understand why this would happen to him especially because he was a noble and upright man.

God lovingly responded to Job’s unsettled questions. Instead of explaining the reasons Job suffered, God kindly directed Job back to an authentic trust in a God he could not understand. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” God led Job to a deeper understanding of His almighty power and omniscience, helping Job see that God’s ways are far beyond human comprehension. Job finally declared to God, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”

We must ask ourselves, are we willing to trust God even though we don’t understand His ways? It’s hard, I know. Direct answers would be much nicer. How do we grow to the point of trust? How can we rest in the arms of a loving God when we can’t understand why he allows certain difficulties in our life? Just as a child would rest in the arms of a loving parent, so we can come to a place of resting in God’s care as we grow to love Him as our Father. Certainly we cannot know all the answers, but as we begin to get to know who God is – that He is a good, kind and loving Father, we develop a trust for the God who loves us. In Job’s response, notice he said he had heard about God, but now he has seen Him with his eyes. Job moved from a point of knowing about God, to a place of truly experiencing Him.

Job was able to put his trust in a God who had become real to him, not just someone he had heard about.The same is true with us. We can find people’s opinions about God from books, commentaries, editorials, and even sermons on Sundays, but we must get to know Him for ourselves. A search for knowing the true God will lead us to see his faithfulness and love. It’s one thing to know about God in a distant sort of way; it is another thing to experience Him up close and personal.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, “If we begin to worship and come to God again and again by meditating, by reading, by prayer; and by obedience, little by little God becomes known to us through experience. We enter into a sweet familiarity with God, and by tasting how sweet the Lord is we pass into . . . loving God, not for our own sake, but for Himself.” We can fall into the arms of a God whom we know and love, but it is difficult to trust someone we do not know personally.

Where do we begin our journey of knowing Him? The Bible is God’s revelation to us about Himself. We read about His power, His goodness, His sovereignty and His unfailing Love in the pages of this magnificent book. Seek to know Him, not simply to know about Him. Draw close to Him. Open the Bible, and as you do, ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a very real way. He loves you and invites you to know Him personally.

To chat with someone about a relationship with Christ, go to: www.chataboutjesus.com

A portion of this blog is from Karol’s book, Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive.