Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Five Stones

"Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine." 1 Samuel 17: 40 Since I was a little girl, one of my favorite Bible stories is David and Goliath. When I read it as an adult to my little boy, I can't help but visualize of how that day of battle might have taken place. Let's look at the story more closely... I can just see David, this young shepherd boy who came to The Valley of Elah that day, bringing lunch to his big brothers. I am sure when David left, he didn't think bringing some cheese and bread would turn into such an eventful day! How creepy it must have been to hear the loud, obnoxious voice of a nine foot giant, yelling and screaming death threats! As his brothers shared their frustrations and fears of this angry man named Goliath, David listened. In 1 Samuel 17 verse 26, David couldn't believe that someone would actually challenge the 'armies of the living God'. Out of all the things David could have said, he is more worried about this man challenging the power of his God! No wonder the rest of them looked at him like, "This guy is going to kill us and your worried about what God thinks?" But you see, that is why David is known for having that phenomenal relationship with God. David immediately is defensive of his God. How often do we think about God's feelings in our battles? Then, David stands to basically say, "Well, I'll fight him." God's word says that people around him took this gesture as being arrogant and conceited. But the confidence that David exhibits, comes from the fact that he already knew the outcome of this battle. Why? Because he knew his Lord. David had such a close relationship with God that he knew God would prevail. I don't think he cared much about the 'how', but the outcome was a sure thing. We fail at this time and time again. We have a battle and then we worry and stress over the outcome. Why? Because we don't know the one who holds the outcome. The more I read God's word and the more time I spend with Him, the less doubts I find that come in my head. The worry is diminished because I know God is for my good. God has shown me that David agreed to fight Goliath because he knew he was only the 'body' that God would use. It was God's battle; not David's. David could have made it his battle, but he knew from the beginning and continued to remember that the battle was the Lord's (vs 45 ). Then I noticed that David meets with Saul because (let's face it) everybody wanted to meet this fool that was going to take on this giant! Saul gives David an armor. David refused. God then leads David to pick 5 smooth stones for his slingshot. It is interesting to me that David refused the defense the King offered him. Often times, we are in a battle in our life. And rather than trust what God gives us to fight with, we feel we need more protection, so we put on whatever the world suggests. The world suggests alcohol/drugs to numb things just a little; it suggests that maybe we just need to run away from it all; the world suggests harsh words that lash and cut; the world suggests we fight with self-help books and talk shows; the world suggests we hold resentment and put only distance between us and the ones who hurt us. Then we wonder why we feel as though we are drowning and the battle rages on. God gave David 5 stones. Not 4, not 6...5 stones. David had these 5 stones, a staff, and a sling shot. If I were David, I probably would have said, "God, are you kidding? Don't you think I need at least some kind of little dagger or a sharp- kind- of- something?!!! How about a bigger rock at least!!" David picked up the defense God gave him and defeated that giant. I guess what I am trying to say is that I want to be content with God in battle. I want to trust Him with every single aspect of my life. I want Him to control every part of me; my mind, my heart, my body. With this trust, I will be able to fight with whatever and however He leads. God placed this story on my heart tonight. I know many of us are facing battles in our lives at this very moment. If you are God's child, He promises to be your defender. I noticed that none of the circumstances surrounding David ever became an obstacle for him. He never said, "I'm too small; I'm too young; I'm not skilled; everybody is talking about me and saying I can't do this." David knew none of these factors changed the outcome of the battle. David knew who was 'really' fighting this battle. How often we get side-tracked by the obstacles around us. For you see, it wasn't the 5 stones that defeated Goliath, and it wasn't the boy who slung was God's power which came because of David's obedience to fight the way God wanted. We have to remember that if we ask God to fight the battle, then we have to fight it His way. What are your stones God has given you to fight with? Is it silence in the heat of an argument? Is it forgiving someone who has hurt you? Is it simply waiting on Him? Is it burying yourself in His word for more time with Him? To me, the stones are symbolic of David's faith and obedience to God in the battle. This story tells me that the reason David won the battle with 5 stones is because David trusted the One who told him to gather them... Love, Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, thank you for this powerful story. Thank you for showing me the significance of David's 5 stones. Help me to grow closer to you so that I may know you more. Help me to give my battles to you and be obedient to fight with what you tell me to. I trust you with my life, Lord. Be my defender...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mothers' Day Celebrations

Thanks to the ladies of New Prospect Baptist Church in Haleyville, Alabama, for allowing me to speak at their Mothers' Day Banquet. The fashion show was hilarious and God's presence was sweet as we opened our hearts to His word. I would also like to thank the women of Harmony Grove Baptist Church in Winfield, Alabama, for inviting me to share my heart at their Mothers and Others luncheon. After a time of wonderful fellowship (and the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten!), we learned of the great spiritual responsibility God has entrusted us with, as mothers, until He comes. I had a wonderful time with my sisters in Christ! Love, Corrie

Grace > Sin

"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them-yet not I but the grace of God that was with me." 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 I do not like math. I didn't like it in school and I don't like it any better now (and by the way, I don't use all that math in real life like some of my math teachers said that I would!). I guess when Canaan starts to get past addition/subtraction/ division/multiplication, I will have to call in a tutor! I can remember a section in math that was called: Greater than, less than, or equal to. It had these symbols at the top of the page: > < = Rember those? All I remember of that section was that it was about finding out how one particular number (or X...why X? :-) measured up in comparison to other numbers. This moved me to think about how we feel sometimes. We are given the illusion by Satan that our pasts and mistakes automatically make us 'less than' others. Let's see what God's word says... Have you ever compared yourself to other people and then walked away feeling so much less as a person? Perhaps you have said to yourself, "Well, I am just as good as they are." As humans, we are constantly motivated by the world to keep up with the latest fashions, technology, political issues, music, and the list goes on and on. We even become convinced that our body isn't like "so and so's" or that we need a better career, car, house, etc. This concept of comparing can spill over into our Christian walk as well. Many times, Satan preys on God's children. He tells us that we will never be close with God because of our past. He tells us we can never be the Godly spouse, parent, child, boss, employee, grandmother, etc., because our past sin is too great. When this lie from Satan is re-enforced with depression, an abusive childhood, a rocky marriage, or low self-esteem, distance from God is formed. So, what do we do to block these thoughts from creating distance from the God who loves us? To dispell a lie, one must know the truth. The truth about 'measuring up' with God is in His word. Grace is the word that destroys the lie of Satan. What is grace? Grace, by definition, means the 'unmerited favor' of God. Unmerited tells us that when we become God's child by salvation, we do not have to do anything to earn His love. Grace is given to us to help us live in the land of the living. God's favor is given to us because He loves us, not because of what we do or even who we are. Wow. It absolutely blows my mind that the God of Abraham, the God who knows the number of every grain of sand, wants to favor me! Insignificant, inadequite, me. Perhaps you struggle with feeling 'less than' in your Christian walk. God wants us to know that we don't have to worry about qualities that we do or don't possess, but that we understand that it is He that works within us. Understanding God's grace gives us the courage to walk in this old world until He retuns for us. Paul explains grace wonderfully in the verses above. Paul is one of the most renound warriors for proclaming the gospel. But Paul didn't begin that way. Paul's past was one of persecuting God's people. But because of grace, everything changed. Paul simply says that as a human, He is so unworthy. The fact that God worked through Paul, made the difference. Great things were done by Paul only by the grace of God working in and around him. Today is Mothers' Day. Are you a mother that feels as though she has failed at everything, especially with her children? Are you a mother that feels as though she is always less than other people in every aspect? Maybe you are God's child that has walked away. If you want to close this distance between you and God, take time to understand the awesome concept of His grace. Perhaps you are burdened by mistakes you have made in your past or even yesterday. Romans 5:20 tells us that where sin is increased, grace is increased all the more. How comforting this verse is to me. Though we must strive to flee from sin, it gives me hope to know that even though I fail in my walk with God, grace is greater than my failure. Grace is greater than sin. You must understand that God works through you to minister to your family. God reaches out through you to help others. God loves through you to your family and friends. That is the greatest news to me today. I know that as long as I stay close to God, Canaan will have everything he ever needs. God will love Canaan through me. What a concept!I hope you will join me in accepting that grace is greater than sin (grace > sin). That is one math concept I can use! :-) Give God your feelings of inadequacies and allow Him to do something awesome through you. Give Him your past so He can give you your future... Happy Mothers' Day! Corrie My prayer for today: Lord, how thankful I am for the concept of grace. I, alone, am nothing. But with your Holy Spirit living within me and working through me, great things will be done in your name. May you bless each person who reads this post. May they come to you and give you all their fears and failures. I pray that they come to know your grace and allow you to love and work through them...