Saturday, November 22, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Babes

And they said unto Him, "Do you hear what these children are saying?" "Yes," He replied; "Have you never read, 'out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise'?" Matthew 21:16 A couple of months ago, I was cooking supper (spaghetti... to be exact) and my son, Canaan (age three at that time), ran into the kitchen holding his finger. I was frantically fighting with my spaghetti, trying to keep it on low heat so it wouldn't splatter all over the stove! In a sad and tearful voice, Canaan said, "Mommy, I hurt my finger and I need for you to pray for it." With dish towel on shoulder, I looked at his finger and didn't see blood. I knew that was a good sign (all you mommies know what I mean!). I kissed the hurt finger and promised to pray for it when we ate supper (the spaghetti was still splattering!). Canaan said, "No mommy. I need for you to pray now." So, I knelt down by that sweet baby in the middle of my kitchen floor and asked God to take the hurt away and to help Canaan's finger to be well. When I said Amen, Canaan looked up at me with a big smile and said, "Mommy! My finger is better!" He then ran off to resume playing. I began to cry for what my son had just shown me. Canaan had shown me the faith that God requires of me. When I prayed and asked God to 'take care' of his finger, Canaan believed it...instantly. There were no questions, no doubt, no wondering if God would really do it. How ashamed I felt to think of all the times I had asked for God to come to me and help, but walked away in disbelief. I know that throughout the Bible, there are countless examples of faithful men and women. There are numerous commands for us to hold firm in our faith. So why do we have such a difficult time believing that God will do what He says He will do? I believe alot has to do with the fact that when we become adults, we have a set mind that keeps God in some sort of box, rather than have an on-going relationship with Him. When we need Him, we let Him out of the box. When we are done, we stuff Him back in again. Children don't have that mindset yet. They are trusting and have no problem believing in something or someone they cannot see. Our job as the adult, is to communicate to them that they can have a relationship with God; that He has a personality and a love for them that is huge. I liked the fact that when Canaan was hurting, he thought about God first. Before a band aid or a cold washcloth, he wanted to tell God. In Matthew chapter 21, a big parade is going on (Palm Sunday) to welcome Jesus into town. The Pharisees are all there, watching, doubting. The end of the story takes place in the temple where Jesus had to 'set some things straight'. The verse above comes into play when children, noisy children, come running through the temple shouting, "Hosanna! Hosanna to the son of David! Hosanna in the highest!" The Pharisees perhaps gasp and basically ask Jesus if He heard how rude those children were being! Jesus reminds the men of Psalm 8:2, which points out how important the words of children are. I know that I am thankful for the words that come from my child. Canaan is learning everyday. He is so desperate to know why and how and when, but little does he know that he is the one who teaches me how to love God purely. The point of this story is two fold. First, trusting God is more simple that we (adults) make it out to be. We base our degree of faith on the seriousness of our circumstances. I am finding out that faith is faith simply because God is God. Whatever the circumstance, I can rest that God will work it for my good. I am striving to trust that and stop my adult brain from going any farther. Second, we must listen to our children and learn from them. I praise God for children. I understood that day of the 'hurt finger' why Jesus tells us that we must become like a child to understand what He fully came to do on this earth. I hope you will pay attention to your child or children. If you don't have children, still take the time to listen to those who are around you. Because when you listen to a child, you can often hear God's voice too... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, thank you for children. Thank you for showing me how my faith is sometimes overshadowed by my adult mind. Help me to love you with all that I am and to never question who you are. Thank you for giving me Canaan to help me learn to love you all over again day after day...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Faith in TomTom

"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29 Those of you who know me well, know that I have no sense of direction and panic when I am driving somewhere I have never been before. I don't know how to follow directions that deal with north, south, east, and west. I would rather you tell me to turn left when I see a big green house or something (poor Shane!) Anyway, this weekend, I was asked to speak at a retreat in Leesburg, Al and I had no clue how to get there. Shane had a great idea and he suggested that I take his GPS along ( I call it TomTom because that's the brand it is and it sounds like TomTom could be the name of the guy in the box that talks). For those of you who are like me and unfamiliar with the GPS navigation system, you type in your destination and then TomTom tells you where to turn and what roads to follow. My best friend Angel and I set out for this place we had never been before with no map, no directions...just the voice of TomTom. Soon, much to our surprise, we arrived safely to our destination. Then, when we were ready to begin our journey home, both of us had complete faith that TomTom would get us back. God, ever so sweetly, convicted me of my lack of faith in Him and my new faith in this box. I so often doubt God, who has done so many things in my life and given me overwhelming evidence that He is present, but then completely trusted this crazy box with no question! I smiled when I thought about the verse in John 20:19 when Jesus says that those who would believe without seeing Him would be blessed. We are 'those'. I read my Bible sometimes and think how amazing it must have been for the people in Jesus' day to witness His miracles or walk and talk with Him. How the sick woman must have felt when she reached out and touched the actual hem of Jesus' garment! But as awesome as it must have been, there were still those that saw all of this and still didn't believe. I know that had to be difficult for Christ. He was showing them the way and yet, they still didn't get it. Don't we still do that? God reminded me today with that crazy TomTom that no matter how afraid I feel sometimes or even when I think He is distant, His Holy Spirit NEVER leaves me...not even for a moment. In John 16: 5-16, Jesus is trying to tell the disciples what will be in store for them after He left. He says something that I find very comforting: "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you...I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth." Have you ever felt sad because you just couldn't feel God as close to you as perhaps you had felt Him the day before? I have. God is speaking to me tonight to say that having a relationship with Him is not based on "a feeling". It's based on faith. A commitment that exists between me and God. This is the faith that Jesus refers to that is all about believing God to be who He says He is ALL THE TIME. That was God's plan. When Jesus went back to Heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent to stay with those who asked Christ into their lives. I hope you will consider what kind of faith God requires of you and me. May we put our trust in Him with no questions or hesitation on a daily basis and look for His glorious return! Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, how wonderful you are to give your life for me. May I be that woman of faith that presses on even when I don't know where you are. Help your promise and gift of the Holy Spirit in my life to be enough for me...

Women's Retreat with Angel Grove

What a privilege it was for me to be invited to bring God's word to the precious ladies of Angel Grove Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Alabama! The retreat was held at Chestnut Bay Resort in Leesburg, Alabama and the theme was: A faithful friend (Proverbs 18:24). We had a wonderful time sharing, laughing, crying, and playing games that will forever be etched in my mind!! (Ladies, you know what I mean!!!) God also blessed me and my best friend Angel to attend the retreat together and catch up on lost time. God filled the meeting room with His presence and truly showed us how to become Godly friends.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Blueprint

"Hear O Israel: The Lord God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the rode, when you lie down at night and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:4-7 This past week's election is said to be one of the most memorable elections in history. Statistics show that more people voted in this presidential election than ever before. I have listened as many Christians encouraged others to vote for Godly principles and how that we must "take a stand" for what we believe in. While this is true and I did take my stand by voting, it is important for believers not to sit back after an election is over. We must remember that our faith and hope is not determined by a man, a government, or laws. We have hope in our Lord. Our hope came at Calvary many years ago. His name is Jesus. We must accept that no matter the outcome, God still remains in control. The question becomes, "what do I do now?" What do we, as God's people, do until we leave this earth by death or by rapture? The answer is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-7. God's word gives us direction. He tells us to love Him with all our hearts, soul, and strength. I think we sometimes believe that if we attend church once a week, try to read our Bible every once in a while, and live a lifestyle that is acceptable in the eyes of the church, we are showing God love. This is false. God asks us to love Him completely with all that we are. This is a concept that I am experiencing now. I am deeply in love with Him and I have just scratched the surface! It comes about by emptying yourself before Him daily. We must get rid of all the junk or idols that are before Him in our day-to-day life. How much attention does God get from you and I? Not enough, at least from me. God also tells us to impress this on our children. Have you ever needed a blueprint or an instruction manual when it came to raising your children? I need one that deals with 4 year olds now!!!! But we have one! In those same verses in Deuteronomy, God tells us to talk about Him with our children when we sit at home, when we are on the rode, when we lay down at night, and when we get up. Seems simple enough...but do we really do it as often as He says. Perhaps we can't tell our children about God because we aren't as close to Him as we would like to be. There are so many things that distract us from telling our children about Him. I want Canaan to know that God wants a relationship, a friendship, with him. I want Canaan to know what God has done in my life and for him to see God's power. For me to see this come about, I must keep a close relationship with God on a daily basis. What about you? Do you feel fearful and afraid because of the world? God's word tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." That's exciting! Who doesn't need a sound mind?! God's word says He doesn't give us fear. God does want us to fear Him because it offers us protection. Proverbs 14:26 says, "He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge." Again, God tells us and our children how to endure walking on the earth until he comes. I hope you will join me in taking refuge in our Lord and teaching our children just how wonderful He is. You and I must also remember that if we are afraid, we are choosing to be afraid. God gives us other options... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Father, how wonderful you are to provide a refuge for me and my family. Thank you for showing me that I never have to be fearful, no matter my circumstances or the circumstances of the world. Forgive me when I choose fear over your peace...