Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is God Happy With Me, Mommy?

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14 "Is God happy with me, Mommy?" asked Canaan (my 3 year old son), as we were driving down the road. The question shocked me and melted my heart at the same time. I wondered what was going on in that precious busy little mind of his that he would ask such a question 'out of the blue'. I asked Canaan, "Do you think God is happy with you?" He said, "Yes Mommy. I love God and He hears me when I say my blessing and my night-night prayers." Tears filled my eyes because God allowed me to see just how profound my son's question and answer really was. I wanted to share my thoughts with you... The Bible tells us with numerous examples how important children are to God. Often, Jesus uses the innocence of children and the simplicity of them to illustrate how easy accepting salvation really is. One might think Jesus' references to children are silly. But after listening to my son share his love for God, I agree with Jesus totally. You see, as adults, we have a tendency to complicate things (that's a shocker!ha!). Or at least, we are so skeptical and distrusting, we are sure there has to be a hidden "catch" to having a relationship with Christ. How could the Almighty God who created the universe actually love me and want to have a relationship with me? That is the beauty of it all! There is nothing hidden. It is all in God's word. He shares from Genesis to Revelation exactly how to begin and maintain a relationship with Him. So why can't we get closer? Why does having this relationship seem to come so hard to us at times? For me, there are so many reasons, I don't have enough time or space to list them all. But for now, I am learning that just like beginning a human relationship, I must care about what makes God happy. I now know that God has emotions. He laughs, He cries, He gets angry, jealous, and the list is virtually endless. As I am getting to know God by spending time with Him, I am learning what He likes and hates. God allowed me to notice that Canaan asked if God was happy with him. All to often I ask God if He is upset with me or if He is angry with me. Seldom do I ask God if He is happy with me. The truth is that I ask out of selfishness because I fear discipline. I want to care enough about God to want Him to be happy. When you truly love someone, you want them to be happy. You do things for them, you spend time with them, you tell them how much they mean to you, and you avoid hurting them at all cost. Why? Because you care about their happiness. How often do I put my happiness before my heavenly Father's. I want to take Psalm 19:14 and live it out loud every day. I want the words I say, my thoughts, and my motives behind those thoughts to make my Redeemer so happy, that He wells up with tears. I hope you will take time to build your relationship with Christ. I hope you desire to make him happy too. "From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise..." Psalm 8:2 Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, forgive me for forgetting about your happiness. You gave your son to die for me and I continue to fail you without caring that your heart is broken by me over and over again. I want to have a pure heart so that you will be pleased with your servant...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thank God for Peter!

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. "You of little faith," He said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:31 I guess I have read the story about Jesus walking on the water 100 times from my childhood up until now. But tonight, God has revealed things to me about this passage that I have never noticed before. I am excited to share them with you... One dark and stormy night, the disciples decide to go fishing and Jesus goes to pray. The Bible says that during the fourth watch (about 3:00 a.m.), Jesus goes out to them and tells them not to be afraid. I'm sure all of the disciples were nervous about this figure walking out toward them! But Peter decides that even in his fear, he will call out to Jesus. I think that sometimes, because of pride or fear, I fail to call out to my Lord for help. Yes Peter was impulsive, but he was the only one who tried to get to Jesus. Jesus then tells Peter to come to Him. Peter does well while he's walking on the water and looking toward Jesus. But the moment...the very instant Peter takes his eyes of Christ, he begins to sink and panic. And then, the best part of the story happens: Jesus immediately reached out His hand to help Peter. After all the times I had read that story, I had never noticed the word 'immediately'. Jesus immediately came to Peter's rescue. Why? Because that's who He is. How ashamed I feel for the countless times I have worried that God-Jehovah-is going to forget me or not help me in time! But I realized something else. Peter had to be close to Jesus in order for Jesus to reach out his hand to help him. That to, is often our problem. We want immediate help or God's outstretched hand when we are so very far away from that hand to begin with. Out of the 12 disciples, the one that was always sticking his foot in his mouth, always acting impulsively and saying the right thing at the wrong time, the one who Jesus seemed to always be correcting, is none other than Peter. In the beginning, we find that Jesus changed the name of this famous apostle from Simeon to Peter. Ironically, Peter means "Rock". It seems hard for us to grasp why Jesus would give this great name which meant 'stability' or 'strength' to a man that proved to be the very opposite. But if we look deeper, we find a man who had a passionate love for Christ. Peter was the only one willing to get out of the boat and even try. Peter was always the spokesperson for the disciples and he asked alot of questions. But Peter got to know Jesus. I believe God lets us glimpse into the life of Peter because He wants us to see that we are going to make bad decisions, say the wrong things, and act before we think. But God also shows us a man that was transformed by a relationship with Christ who eventually fit the very name Jesus gave him--Rock. Jesus knew, even when no one else could see, that Peter loved Him. Jesus knew that He had left an impression on the heart of Peter and that Peter would be who He would 'build his church upon'. I thank God for letting me read about Peter's life and transformation. It makes me ask myself the question of 'can God build his church upon me?' Is the relationship that I have with Christ as passionate or as impressionable as Jesus and Peter's? I hope that it will be. As I said, I have learned many things from this passage. But the one thing I have learned that I will always remember is that I must stay close to God. For as long as I keep my eyes on Jesus, I will not be afraid to walk out onto the dangerous waters... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, praise you for allowing me to see how you want my relationship with you to be. Help me to never take my eyes off you when you call me to come to you. My trust grows for you every day. I also thank you for allowing me to see myself in Peter. Thank you for taking my failures and teaching me how to love you more...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mount Zion

"Those who trust in the Lord are steady like Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance." Psalm 125:1 I am so excited to share with you what God has impressed upon my heart tonight! Wait, let me back up a little. You'll need more info... For the past couple of days, I have been sick with a cold. A regular cold for a "normal person". But for me, the cold turned into a sinus infection. While being sick, I prayed and shared my heart with God, but because I didn't feel well, I spent alot of my time in bed. This left little time for me to be in God's word. In other words, I had been doing alot of talking to God, but left God no opportunity to talk. This gave satan opportunity to come at my mind because I wasn't guarded. Today, satan attacked. He came at me and began to present worries about our finances. Before I knew it, I began to cry and panic. I immediately began to feel God come to my rescue, as He so very lovingly does. But because He does love me, He also reminded me of how I had left myself unguarded. I began to wonder why I was upset. Had God not promised to take care of us financially? Yes. Was there anything too hard for Him? No. Then what in the world was I crying about? This is what I've concluded... Psalm 125:1 refers to the 'steadiness' of a place called Mount Zion. After researching this, I found that Mount Zion is the place on which the City of David was built. Mount Zion was an incredible place. It was considered to be a fortress. David chose it to build his kingdom on because of its solid firmness that would withstand attacks from enemies. I also found that Mount Zion is often referred to in the Bible as a symbol of spiritual steadiness. Faith in God that is so incredible, nothing can shatter it; not even for a moment. Wow! What does this mean for us as God's children? It means that just as Mount Zion cannot be removed, our trust in God should be equally as steadfast. As I thought about my time of tears and panic due to my circumstances, I asked myself, "Is my trust in God steadfast?" I began to cry again but this time, it was because I was so ashamed of how easily I had allowed my trust in God to be "moved". God had pointed out that I needed to fix this area of my walk with Him if I wanted to be closer to Him and experience His will for my life. After all, what kind of relationship with God do we really have without trust? In a commentary by Merrill Unger, he discusses the importance of placing emphasis on God as the object of our trust, rather than the firmness of the trust. This was helpful to me. It is important to keep our eyes on God and learn to know Him rather than to try to just increase our trust in general. Without time spent knowing Him, we have no reason to trust Him. I think we make excuses for ourselves not to trust God. We say things like, "I am only human!" or, "that's just the way I am sometimes." But God doesn't allow us any excuse not to trust Him. Yes, we are sinners and we will fail. But it can never be accepted or condoned. We must strive to learn from our sin and try not to make the very same mistake (sin) again. Psalm 125:1 says that those who trust in God will not be moved by any circumstance; Not just some circumstances, but any. I pray that whatever circumstance you are going through, you will join me in learning how to have a steadfast trust in God. I plan to make Him the object of my trust by getting to know Him better... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, I beg your forgiveness for allowing myself to waiver in trusting you. You have been so faithful. Tonight, I will remember what you have done for me and how you have blessed me. Thank you for being steadfast in my life. I will learn to focus on you and make my trust like that of Mount Zion.