Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Writing on the Ground

"But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, "If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, Sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." John 8:6-11 The story in John chapter 8 shows so much about Jesus' personality and who He is. This is yet another wonderful moment in the Bible that I can just picture in my head. Walking to the temple, so very early in the morning, Jesus came to begin His day. The people spot Him and begin to crowd in and around Him. Seeing their desperation, He sits down and begins to teach. The Pharisees are watching. They just couldn't let it die. They saw one more opportunity to try and find fault with this man who called Himself the 'son of God'. They come toward Jesus, pushing their way through the crowd, pulling a woman behind them. Very loudly do they announce that she is nothing more than a lowly woman who uses her body to please men. According to 'spiritual law' during that time, Jesus could not 'excuse' her sin of adultery. But, according to Roman government, He could not take it upon Himself to condemn her either. Jesus, knowing this is a trap, bends down and begins to write on the ground. I have read this passage many times and only now have I ever wondered what He wrote. The Bible does not tell us. Many scholars and theologians say that He wrote the ten commandments because of the Pharisees reference to the Law of Moses. I believe He did write something to convict those who were accusing the woman. Why? Because we know that after He wrote on the ground and asked them to throw a stone if they were without sin, they all walked away. The writing had to be very powerful and convicting. Jeremiah 17:13 says, "...Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord." The Pharisees didn't get it. They didn't get that Jesus was about to die for them so that they could have a relationship with the almighty God. The veil would be ripped soon. But then, I noticed Jesus wrote on the ground a second time. After everyone left, Jesus raises up and tells the woman to go and basically be free from her old life. So the question is, what did He write on the ground the second time? Most of you who know me know that when I think or believe something that is really just my opinion and I have no actual proof, I call it Corrieology! Ha! So this is Corrieology on what I believe Jesus wrote the final time. I believe He wrote directly to the woman. In my heart, I believe He wrote her a wonderful love letter that said something like: " You don't have to be empty anymore. I love you and I forgive you. " What a wonderful thing it would be to have a love letter from God! But you know what? We have one! God's word is our love letter. Do you know this? Do you know that you are so very valuable to God? No matter what you have done in your lifetime, you don't have to be empty anymore. He wants to fill your emptiness with forgiveness and a relationship with Him. Maybe you have been drug in by the "Pharisees" of the world and looked down upon for your past. He wants to erase it and fill you up with a different life. Are you willing to pursue this?Maybe you are God's child but have walked away from Him and feel as though you have hurt God to much to turn back to Him. All you have to do it just turn back. He just wants a relationship on a daily basis. You see, to me, this story is not only about us refraining from morally judging others before looking at ourselves. It is also about Jesus' compassion for the relationship with those who fail Him. That is me. I fail Him on a daily basis. But, I want a relationship with Him. So, I will continue to strive to turn away from ways that I know hurt Him. I don't actually know what Jesus wrote that day. But I do know, at the end of the story, the only people left were Him and the woman. Jesus took the time to personally and privately tell her she was forgiven and to go and live a new life in Him. He wants that same meeting with you. To know how to live your life in Him, you and I must continue to read God's word... His love letter. Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, thank you for loving me when I fail you and I don't even love myself. Thank you for leaving your word as a love letter to me so that I can know who you are. I pray for those who read this today. Let them know how special they are to you and that you want a relationship with them...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Finding Joy in the Trials

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3 I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I must apologize that I am late on writing my post. Guess I was overwhelmed by turkey! Just kidding! I was thinking about how Thanksgiving has somehow taken on a different meaning to me this year. Of course, on Thanksgiving, I began to recap my year and all the blessings God has allowed in my life. Then, my mind recalled struggles I had faced in the 2008 year too. I thought of the many 'scares' I had had with my disease; quitting my job and walking away from a 10 year career; loosing my grandfather while at the same time, watching my remaining grandmother fight Alzheimer's for her every memory of our past as a family; wondering if I will have other children; hearing the doctor say, "you are a long way from remission"; hating that my husband has to go through the holidays without his mom...trials. Hard trials. But this year, I found myself being thankful for the trials almost as much as the blessings and here's why. I have begun to desire the truth and faithfulness of God's word. For so many years, I have read and even memorized verses in the Bible. But now in the end of our days, I have to do more than read. I have to be able to walk this Earth until my Lord splits open the sky and returns for me. If I am going to go through trials, I want to be able to do more than just "survive them". When the trial is over, I want to be able to 'come forth as gold' and be able to feel God's breath on the back of my neck from His closeness. For me to be able to see this happen, I need to believe God's word is effective and true. So, my philosophy is to apply it. I know, I know. It's not like it's my own invention! I mean, God tells us Himself to test Him and apply His word! But I have come to the conclusion that there is a way to apply His word and see a difference in our life. How do we do it?... being able to find joy in our trials. James 1:2 says to 'consider it pure joy' when you have a trial. We must first understand that when we face a trial, God is not telling us that the trial will produce a 'happy' feeling. Joy, in this sense, is being referred to as the outcome of having an intimate relationship with God. Because it is a fruit of the Spirit, it can not be achieved by ourselves but is given to us from Him. So this joy, James speaks about, comes from drawing as close to God as we can when we face a trial. Yet when we face a trial, God is often the last person consulted. Or, He is consulted and is abandoned when we do not get the response we wanted. This is why James relates perseverance with the trials. I have found that the joy comes when I continue to pursue a closeness with my Lord, despite the devil's tactics to pull me away. What about you? Are you currently facing a trial that causes you pain and despair day after day? We must know that God anticipated the problems we have in our homes, our jobs, our schools, our churches, and even our nation. He knew that His people would need both a reason to persevere and a way to do it. I hope you will join me in finding this 'joy' by drawing close to the one who can turn our despair into triumph... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, I believe you. I can't imagine what I would do without your word to cling to. Help me to hold to you when I am on shaky ground. Use every trial to bring me closer to you and farther away from me. May I find joy in loving you...

Women's Conference at Calvary Baptist

This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of sharing a word from God at the women's conference at Calvary Baptist Church in Russellville, Alabama. Because I grew up only a few miles from there, it was great to see so many of my friends and family. I can truly say I felt God's presence with us that evening. The Holy Spirit filled the room and poured out on those who were there. Wow! Thank you ladies for the invitation to come and be a part of such a special night! Love, Corrie