(vs 22) "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (vs 23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds: (vs 24) and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24 When I think about masks, I immediately think of Halloween. Though I am not promoting it's intended and original reasons for celebration, Halloween is a time of disguise. It is a time when people wear masks or a costume of some sort to pretend to be someone or something else. Masks are usually used to conceal the identity of the wearer. The origin of masks date back to 20,000 BC. They then were brought into the arts and were used to bring about different characters in plays. But still, masks are used to protect the one wearing it. Tonight, I began to think of the "masks" we wear on a daily basis as Christians. Many of us have worn a mask for so long, we sometimes forget we have it on. I am referring to the show that we 'put on' for the world so that the world will not know who we really are or what we are truly dealing with inside. God's word tells us this is wrong. Paul is telling the church of Ephesus that when we begin a relationship with God, it will be through Him that we are able to put off our old self (our mask=our identity) and put on our new self (the identity of Christ=who we are in Him). I believe that we sometimes are under the impression that once we become a Christian, we will no longer have struggles. We tend to think that our circumstances, both past, present, and future, should be immediately different and wonderful. This is not true. Our heart becomes different because the Holy Spirit has been invited in it. We, however, must begin the footwork of beginning a relationship with God in order to do as the verse above suggested: seek a new attitude of our minds. This is what changes our perception of our circumstances. Notice I said "change the perception" of the circumstances; not the circumstances. While God is powerful and can change anything He pleases, I have found that that isn't my concern. He wants me to be content with Him and Him alone...whatever the circumstances. How do we "put off" the mask? We must learn to change the attitude of our mind. This means perception to me. Philippians 2:5 says, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." The problem for me was (and still is) that I didn't know Jesus enough to know what His attitude was like. The solution is the relationship (you knew that was coming!). It's true though. The more we get to know Christ, the more we can take on His identity. This is what we are able to "put on". What about you? Do you wear a mask to hide that you battle a rocky marriage? Does your mask conceal an addiction? Do you pretend that you have a strong spiritual relationship only to feel distant from God? There are numerous masks for all of us. It really doesn't matter. God tells us that we don't have to pretend anymore. But we have to take the mask to Him and lay it down. I hope you will join me and lay down your stronghold or burden. If you don't, remember that you are choosing to continue to wear the mask... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, thank you so much for your death on the cross. It allows me to put off my mask to hide the imperfections of Corrie and take on your identity. How I wish I had removed it long ago. Thank you for providing me a way to live on this earth with hope and peace. I find it in you...
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
While Jesus was in Capernaum... (vs 2)"There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. (vs 3) The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant... (vs 6) So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. (vs 7) That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word and my servant will be healed. (vs 8) For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." (vs 9) When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following Him, He said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." (vs 10) Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well." Luke 7:2-10 This is an incredible story that spoke volumes to me because it discusses a topic that is required by God's children...faith. Luke records many of Jesus' parables and life examples of people who had a lot of, or lack of, faith. This is important to me because I think that for myself, I must learn how to have incredible faith to continue to walk in this world until Jesus returns. I want to have faith that is so strong and unshakable, that it withstands whatever the circumstances are around me. The faith of Abraham that was credited to his righteousness. I felt that by reading about the Centurion, it gives us a good idea of where to begin... After a sermon, Jesus came into Capernaum and was told of a troubled centurion who had a sick slave who was going to die. A centurion was a soldier in Herod Antipas's army who commanded and led over 100 men. Theologians tell us that the centurion was a Gentile but had heard of the healing power of Jesus. Out of respect, the soldier sends Jewish elders on his behalf to relay this message to Jesus. Jesus decides to go and help the centurion's slave and begins to journey toward his house. Luke then tells of the centurion's humility because he tells that he is so very unworthy of Jesus even entering his home. Then, the point of the story unfolds. The centurion recognizes Jesus' authority. He tells Jesus that he to, is a man of authority and when he gives a command to his soldiers, it is done! Wow! And then my favorite part... Jesus was amazed. He was amazed that this guy, this Gentile, who had no obligation to believe in Jesus because of the law, the crowd that was following Him, or anything else, established his faith based on Jesus' authority alone. This centurion knew all about the power of command and he knew that Jesus' authority was all that was needed to produce healing. I feel that this is a concept that we (I) often forget when it comes to strengthening my faith. I believe that we tend to try and 'muster up' faith from other Christians or from certain verses that tell us that everything is going to be 'ok'. While God's word is written to bring us comfort in the midst of our trials, it is also, above all, written to remind us of God's authority over our circumstances. I guess what I am saying is that it is important to not only "read" the scriptures, but to pay attention to our mindset while reading the scriptures. I tend to read them from a very defeated standpoint. I don't know about you but when I think of the power of Christ, I get so excited. I think about His authority over satan. I think about His authority over the wind and the storms. And then, I think about His authority over my sickness, my enemies, and whatever fiery dart is thrown my way! This, my friends, should increase our faith! It is all about His authority. The centurion committed the life of his beloved friend into the hands of Jesus because he understood the simple spoken power Christ had over any obstacle that would present itself. It is my desire to amaze my Lord. I want to have confidence in the God I serve. In this story, the slave was healed. However, we must be willing to be content with the outcome of the One who is in authority. You and I must agree to give Him authority first. How offensive it must be to doubt Jesus' authority over my petty problems in my life when He overcame death. I pray that you will join me in learning from this story. May we, His children, recognize the awesome authority of our Lord and then began to draw our faith... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, I stand in awe of your word. Thank you for letting me see this story of the centurion and what was missing in my relationship with you. You are my conqueror and my redeemer. Help me never to forget that in my walk with you...
Posted by Corrie at 7:07 PM
Saturday, October 11, 2008
"For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8-9 This week is bitter sweet for me in regard to memories. On October 16, 2004, God blessed me with the most incredible gift...my son, Canaan. Shane and I had tried for a long time to have a baby. In conversation with God one day, He promised that He would give me a child. But even with that promise, it was a sad time in my life. But before God could give me the child He'd promised me, He had to help me learn to depend on Him and He had to show me that I needed to be delivered in many areas of my life. Why? Because I would need to teach that promised baby how to depend on Him for deliverance as well. What a happy day it was when I heard that baby cry! His name, Canaan, reminds me and all who see him that waiting is an important part of spiritual growth and God's promise. On October 4, 2006, my grandmother died. One week later, I was hospitalized and the doctors of UAB confirmed my diagnosis of Takayasu's Arteritis. I felt as if my life was slipping away that October. My grandmother...how could I go on with out her in my life? My disease... would I even live to see this 'promised child' grow to have children of his own? But soon, God began to reveal Himself to me in a mighty way. I realized something that I'd never realized before. I suddenly knew that this life, this 'land of the living', was only that. There was so much more in HIM! You see, with out a personal relationship with God, you can only exist in the land of the living. But with an intimate daily relationship with Him, you can be delivered! The Psalmist writes that in the verse above. What is the difference between 'just existing' and walking before the Lord (finding out God's will for your life, which is the very best! )? The difference is deliverance. God has ever so sweetly shown me that when I come to Him when I am weary from my sickness or tired from financial strain, He personally delivers me in some way. When I am saddened with grief when I loose those I love, He delivers my eyes from tears. He is the one who keeps my feet from stumbling...even over objects I may never see. What about you? Do you feel like you are only existing? Maybe you need to be delivered from sin through salvation. Maybe you are His child but don't feel a bond with Him like you want to or that your heart aches to have. Good news! He delivers. Deliverance can come in different forms, though. For example, God has left my disease in place for now, but continues to deliver me from fear and sadness that come to my mind. The key is believing that He can deliver. That has made the complete difference in my life. I believe that He will deliver me and however He does it, I must trust that it is the best for my life. Perhaps you find the trial you face to be the same, day after day after day. Perhaps you find it too difficult to "just believe" Him to deliver you. It is my prayer that we focus not on the trial at hand and not on the deliverance itself, but that you and I focus on how to know the ONE who delivers! Soon, we will become so in love with Him that we will be able to find actual joy in the trial (James 1:2). I hope you will run to Him tonight. I hope you and I will 'walk before the Lord' (and not just exist) in the land of the living... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Father, how happy I am to have you as my God, my deliverer. You have sometimes left trials in place, but delivered my mind and my emotions, bringing me freedom like I've never known! I pray for those who read this. May they truly see you for who you are and believe you to be their deliverer!
Posted by Corrie at 7:54 PM