Friday, February 27, 2009

Assurance Rather Than Endurance

Let me begin by saying 'thank you' for all of your prayers for me last week. Shane and I had a safe trip to Boston to see my doctor. I also received a great report. Test results show my disease hasn't spread and is confined to the left side. Cutting down on my medication has been put into motion, as of today! This is wonderful news and could only be the work of my Lord. "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word, I put my hope." Psalm 130:5 Recently, God led me to write a post on, "How to Wait For God." I must tell you that I had planned on writing a post that was on a different topic. But the more I prayed, the more I began to see that God was leading me to write on 'waiting' again. However, we won't be looking at how to wait for God, but why we should wait for Him... Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to wait? I have. I wonder why God gave us this inner choice to either wait patiently or frantically. After my doctor's appointment today, I thought about how long I had waited to hear such good news. Then, it was like God began to play back, in slow motion, all the events that lead up to the good news. The time in between... the 'wait time'. I was sitting here in front of the computer looking over some of my prayer journals from 2007. I recorded the trials of my sickness. There are so many pages where I had told God how tired I was; how my body hurt; how I hated to see my hair come out; I didn't feel like working; I was afraid of the infusions; how scary it was to know the medicines were not working. The entries brought tears to my eyes because I remembered those nights. I remembered thinking, "Can I wait on Him?" God has shown me that waiting on Him is easier if I began to get my mind off of the endurance of waiting and focus on the assurance of waiting. In other words, the question is not, 'can I wait for Him?', but 'why should I wait for Him?' As humans, we don't like to wait. Statistics tell us that the average person spends about 45-62 minutes a day waiting. Just waiting. Waiting on water to boil; waiting on the snooze button to go off one more time (yes, I do that!); waiting on someone to answer their phone while it rings. Just waiting. I know certain things that I don't like to wait on, but when are there times that I don't mind waiting? For me, I don't mind waiting when I know the outcome will be worth the wait. This means my hope is secure in the outcome. I do not doubt that it will be everything I expect. Why aren't we this way spiritually? Perhaps it has to do with our hope in who or what we are waiting on. Let's look at Psalm 130:5 in three parts. First, the Psalmist says, "I wait for the Lord." The word Lord, in Hebrew, translates to the personal name for God (Jehovah /Yahweh), depending upon how it is capitalized (here, Lord means Jehovah). The Psalmist is saying that he is not waiting on just anyone; he is waiting on his God that he knew personally and had a relationship with. We can rest assured that the more intimately we know God, the more reason we have to wait on Him. The second part of the verse says, 'my soul waits.' To me, this reminds me that my eternity is secure and I am waiting to be with Him, whether in death or by the rapture. The last part says, "and in His word I put my hope." Here is yet another reason to wait for God's help... His spoken word. God's word should be reason number one and reason one million and one, that we say why we will wait on Him. How about you? Are you struggling with waiting on God? Do you have a trial that you pick up every single day and try to handle it your way by yourself, only to escape the wait from God? It is just not worth rushing. 2 Thessalonians 3:5 says, "May the Lord bring you into an even deeper understanding of the love of God and of the patience that comes from Christ." It is important to know that if God allows the trial, He provides the patience to go with it. The patience comes from a daily relationship with Him. I hope God has spoken to you (as He has to me) through this post. I hope that if you are struggling to wait on Him to come to your rescue, you will consider the following: "Yet this I call to mind and therefore have hope: Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for Him." Lamentations 3:21-24 Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, how faithful you have been to me and my family. You have never given me reason to doubt you. I have failed you daily, but never for a moment, have you failed me. Help me to remember that waiting on you should be about who you are and not when you come. I love you and will draw close to you while I wait...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why Keep a Troubled Heart?

Before I begin my post, I wanted to thank the ladies of Jonesboro Baptist Church in Russellville, Alabama, for inviting me to share God's word with them on February 7. God's wonderful presence filled the room as we focused on how to examine the content of our heart and pour it out before our Father. On a different note, Shane and I will be leaving tomorrow for Boston to see my doctor. I would like to ask you to please pray for our safety as we fly and for Canaan's safety as he stays here with my parents (might want to pray for my parents too; they will be worn out by that little four-year-old, by the time I return!). And now for the post... "...For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." Matthew 12:34-35 Have you ever said something hurtful to someone or about them, and later said, "I didn't mean what I said. I was just angry." I admit I have done this. Maybe you have too. The Bible is very clear on many things. Two examples of such clarity is the tongue and the heart. James chapter three gives us a good breakdown of how dangerous the tongue can be. We have become a society in which we must speak politically correct and never offend someone. We teach our children to say 'nice things' about others. While monitoring our mouths is important and even necessary, 'taming the tongue' begins with the out-pouring of the heart. Jesus said, in Matthew, what comes out of the mouth is only a reflection of what was is in the heart (I know. I don't like where this is going either!) Yes, He is saying that what we say (and how we act) is directly proportional to what is 'stored up' in our heart. How can you know what is stored up in your heart? You look at your conversations over a period of time. For example, when we have a heart that is full of anger, we tend to strike out at those who are closest to us; those who we think will never leave us (spouse/children/parents). When we have stored up hurt, we tend to build a very tall wall around our hearts, rejecting love from anyone, and then crying about why no one wants to be close to us. When we have stored up a heart full of anxiety and fear, our mouths pour out a constant babble of what terrible things might happen to us or our family. When we store up pride, we often say nothing to others, hoping they will figure out the meaning of the 'silent treatment' and apologize first. Storing up anger, hurt, fear, and pride all lead to a troubled heart, or that feeling of being unhappy but not really sure why. That feeling of not being spiritually content, even though you know lots of Bible verses. So, how do we get rid of a troubled heart? I found it interesting to know that Jesus gives two direct orders against having a troubled heart. In John 14:1 He says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." He doesn't say, "Try not to let your hearts be troubled." He says DO NOT!!! When I tell Canaan something and it begins with the words, "DO NOT..", he knows that what he is about to do is just not an option. We have a direct order from our Lord. I don't know about you, but I think it is worth finding out how to avoid a troubled heart. Let's go further. Jesus gives the order again in John 14:27 when He says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." So the answer to getting rid of the troubled heart (and correcting our tongue and behavior at the same time) is accepting peace from God. Sounds simple. I mean, who wouldn't want to accept peace into their life, right? Sadly, some of you who are reading this post have never accepted the peace of God into your life through His son by salvation. Some of us have accepted salvation but refuse and fight God on a daily basis to keep this troubled heart. He gives us proof day after day that He loves us and can give us peace but we choose to keep the uneasy feelings. I hope you will join me in getting rid of a troubled heart. After peace through salvation, having daily peace is all about the application of His word. To find peace, apply what God's word says about your heart's stronghold. Then, take His word and put it into action in your house, your marriage, your work, your body, ... in your heart. Then, we will have stored up the good that the verse talks about and guess what? It will come out of our mouths too! Don't go to bed tonight until you have exchanged your troubled heart for a peaceful one... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, I give you my troubled heart tonight. Forgive me for holding on to it longer than you wanted me to. I want to accept your word as true. I believe in you and I believe you. Let your word be my very breath. May the words of my mouth be acceptable to you because my heart is acceptable first...

Thursday, February 12, 2009


"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine..." Song of Solomon 6:3 As I mentioned last week, God is leading my posts for February to be written on 'the heart'. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I know of no better week to write about the emotion that the heart is best known Don't know about you, but in my 32 years, I have never really "checked into" why we celebrate Valentine's Day anyway. I do remember, though, that while in school, it was very cool to get something delivered to you on this day of love. As we become older, the Love Day is held to an even higher standard for a husband/wife to express their love for each other. When I began researching the origin of Valentine's Day, I found lots of 'tales' claiming to be the real reason behind the occasion. But one story, caught my eye. The story said that there was a priest by the name of (you guessed it) Valentine, who disagreed with a Roman law that young men remain unmarried. This concept was said to be created to use as a tactic to build up the Roman army by implying that "married men didn't make good soldiers". Valentine secretly began marrying soldiers and their fiances and was jailed for his behavior. While in jail, the priest befriended the jailers daughter. The legend goes that on the night before his execution, he wrote a note to the jailers daughter, whom he referred to as his beloved. The priest signed the note, 'from your Valentine'. Before you thank me for giving you such a happy story, I want us to examine the word beloved. Beloved, by definition, means 'dearly loved' or 'dear to the heart'. It is precious to me to know that God intends for His relationship with us to be compared to a romance. All throughout the Bible there are stories and parables that compare the love of a husband and wife to us and God. In fact, I believe He refers to us as His beloved. The song of Solomon is a good example. This book tells us of a Shulammite maiden who catches Solomon's eye because she is so very beautiful. Solomon takes her to his palace and tries to win her love. He cannot. Why? The maiden is in love with a shepherd... a shepherd who is away but is coming for her someday (sound familiar?). She refers to him as her beloved. My question to you is do you know that you are very dear to God's heart? If you have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, He calls you His beloved. Perhaps, even as a Christian, you are longing for a relationship. A relationship in which you always know you are loved more than you can imagine. How sad it is for God to know that all we have to do is say, "Yes", but we say," No". "I have no time for you today, God. I promise I will spend more time with you tomorrow." We are His beloved. If you are reading this and you say that you have never known real love. I have good news for you. 1 John 4:10 says, "This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God's love for us in sending His Son to be the way to take away our sins." You see, God is our Valentine because we are His beloved. The verse says the real definition of love is not what or how we love God, it is accepting His love for us, His Son. He has sent us the most special Valentine's present of all... Jesus. He died so that you and I can not only have an eternity, but His death made it possible for you and I to have a relationship with God on a daily basis. I am so very thankful for that. I hope you will join me in forgetting about what we think we have to do for God, like we have some spiritual check list. But that we will spend time with Him, talk to Him, and listen for Him because we love Him and we accept that He loves us more than we can ever know. With this in mind, I believe our Valentine's Day, might just be the best one we've ever had... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Father, I love you. Thank you for loving me through Calvary. Forgive me when I place anything and everyone in front of you. I want to spend time with you because you loved me first. I want to talk to you and tell you my fears because your love sustains me through them all. I am so happy you love me. Help me to accept it daily...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Satisfying God's Heart

"The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the Earth, and His heart was filled with pain." Genesis 6:6

When I think about February, I always think of Valentine's Day and everything associated with it; the candy (ya'll remember the chocolate one's that came in a heart-shaped box and you never knew what was inside the middle unless you poked your finger in the bottom first?---I didn't do that. Just wondered if you did:) ); the beautiful flowers, balloons, cards, and even stuffed animals. Everything given on that special day is to show someone just how much you love them. Or, if you will, an expression of what is inside your heart. Have you ever wondered about God's heart? Does He have a heart like us and can He feel emotions? How does He feel about you and I? Well my friends, you and I are about to find out. For the month of February, my posts will pertain to 'the heart'. We will open God's word and find out what makes a heart spiritually healthy and unhealthy. But first, let's begin with the first heart that ever existed...the heart of God. If you go back to Genesis, you will find that before there was anything, there was God. Sounds like a confusing statement but it just means what it says: God was always, infinitely here. We know that He began creating the universe and the animals. Next came Adam and Eve and then, well...sin. I guess when I look back at this story, I always seemed to focus on Adam and Eve's reaction to sin. They were ashamed, hid from God, passed the blame around. But I never really thought about how God must have felt. When I read this verse (Genesis 6:6), my heart felt like it was breaking into pieces. I did not like to read that later on, when sin had corrupted what God had made, it 'filled His heart with pain'. This verse shows us that our behavior can reach the very heart of God. So very often I hear people say, "No one cares about me," or "Nobody cares what I do." God cares. This verse offers us proof that God cares about who we are, what we do, and the choices we ultimately make. This is a very important concept to improving our relationship with God. In fact, understanding that our sin effects God's heart, is crucial in growing close to Him. Our society has become a very "accepting society". I often hear politicians and key leaders speak about how 'non judgemental' America is or how we 'accept everyone' and that we 'don't judge'. We have accepted, alright. We have accepted sin and behavior that breaks God's heart, according to Genesis. Most of you know that my ministry and my passion is devoted to finding out and sharing how to have a close, personal, intimate relationship with God. Maybe you desire this closeness to God. Maybe you long to converse with Him. I know it is possible. For this month, we will be looking at how to draw close to God's heart. I feel God impressing upon my heart for us to come to the simple realization that He feels. He wants us to know that what we do does effect Him and the relationship we so desire. Even as a Christian, we must daily identify the sin that is standing between us and God. Once forgiven, we should make a conscious effort to avoid that same sinful behavior. If you desire something different with God, it will require different behavior from you. Ephesians 4: 22-24 says, "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; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." I think, sometimes, we want our cake and eat it to. Meaning, we want to be close to God but we would also like to get away with not having to change any of our behavior. When I worked with people battling addiction, they called this concept insanity. To them, insanity meant doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Satisfying God's heart will not be done this way. What behaviors have made a rift between you and God? For me, I must stop asking forgiveness of not spending time with Him and change my schedule so that I can spend time with Him. What about you? Will you begin today to satisfy His heart? Do you desire to be closer to Him? I hope you will join me in satisfying His heart so that He can satisfy ours. I look forward to this month as God reveals more about the heart... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, I am so thankful for your heart. You are a God that is alive and feels so much emotion for His children. I am so sorry for allowing sin to stand in the way of a closer relationship with you. Forgive me. I want to change my behavior so that you and I can be closer each and every day...

Prayer Fest

Just a note to say what a wonderful time I had with the ladies that attended the Prayer Fest on January 24, at New Prospect Baptist Church in Haleyville, Alabama. The theme was "The Wedding of the Lamb" and was taken from Revelation 19:7. How exciting it was to talk about how we, the Bride of Christ, can begin making ourselves ready for the coming of our Bridegroom, Jesus! Love, Corrie