Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Plan-B Puddle

The Story of Jacob (Please read the entire story when you have your quiet time with God): Genesis Chapters 27-33

Galatians 5:25: "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

1 Thessalonians 1:3: "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

Titus 1:2-3: "-a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at His appointed season, He brought His word to light throughout the preaching entrusted to me by the command of our God our Savior."

I hope you enjoy reading this post. Yes, it is longer than usual, but I praise God for what He showed me through writing it! May He reveal much to you as well...

The other day, while driving to take Canaan to preschool, I saw a mother duck walking down the side of the road, with two baby ducklings following closely behind. I had to stop for road work, so I began to watch the ducks (Hey, if you could see where I live, you would totally understand! haha!). Based on where we were, I knew the ducks had walked a long way. Their journey came to an end when the mother duck led her babies to a small mud puddle on the side of the road. She stopped, hesitated, but then ushered everyone into the puddle. I felt sorry for them because they were trying to swim in a dirty overcrowded pool of muddy water. As the traffic moved, I noticed that right past the puddle, there was a huge beautiful pond! I thought, "Why didn't you keep on walking to the pond and not settle for the puddle?" Then, I saw why. The pond couldn't be seen from the puddle. A big bush was in between, obstructing the view. Those ducks were so close! They had no idea that what they really wanted was right around the corner...if they had just kept walking. I'm sure the momma duck was looking for a pond, but she had a plan-B...the puddle. I know this sounds silly, but God allowed me to see those ducks. He immediately reminded me of how often I tend to become spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally frustrated. How instead of waiting on Him to give me His very best, I settle for what "I" view as His best. God showed me that when I become weary from walking, I often stop at the puddle when the pond is just around the corner. But, there is good news for us "plan-B puddle ducks"!! His word is full of people who did the very same thing! And His word shows us the best part...how to keep walking to find the pond He promises.

As I mentioned, the Bible gives numerous accounts of Godly men and women who went ahead of God and tried to "speed things along", by orchestrating their own plans. First, you have the lovely couple, Adam and Eve, who decided that God must be 'holding out' on them with the whole, 'don't eat the fruit' thing (we know that didn't go well). Abraham thought he would help God along with His promise of blessing him with children. That didn't go well either (I can sure see why! Women don't share men very well). The Israelites thought they would just say and do what they wanted to, even though God kept telling them the game plan (We know that just led to alot of walking). We get so frustrated with these people of the Bible and are eager to point out their flaws. It is easy for us to sit back and say what they should have done. But, we KNOW the rest of their story. It's so different when it is our own self who is waiting on God to move and we can't see past the bush. Don't we, at times, think God is holding out on us? Don't we get impatient with God? Don't we grumble and gripe while we walk, even though we have His promises? We even go as far as having a 'back up plan"...just in case God doesn't come through for us. Or, just in case God doesn't answer us exactly the way we want Him to. In preparing this particular post, God brought to my mind, the story of yet another child of God who stopped at the plan-B puddle. I am referring to Jacob. If we read the end of the story of Jacob, we see a patriarch who saw the very power of God in his life. We see a man who God protected and blessed. We see one of the men that would continue the very bloodline of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But at first glance, Jacob was a complete mess. His name even meant "cheater, heel grabber". He wanted God's blessing so bad, that he was willing to take it by force by deception. In other words, he stopped at the puddle and made himself fit. But then, the greatest part, God takes Jacob's failure and works it to Jacob's good. Picture this(Genesis ch. 27 & 28): Jacob has just ran away from his home for deceiving his father and his brother. He steels a blessing that wasn't even for him. He breaks his fathers heart and his angry brother vows to kill him. It is night and Jacob is tired, sad, and even afraid. He has never really been away from home and to leave on such harsh circumstances was even more depressing. It was there at Bethel that God meets Jacob in a powerful way. God gives Jacob a promise for the future: "All peoples on earth would be blessed through you and your offspring." Then, God ministers to Jacob's immediate problem. He promises this lonely wanderer that he would be with him and never leave Jacob. Verse 15 says, "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." What an awesome meeting with the Almighty God!! This gives Jacob fuel to keep walking. Now, if you are like me, you read this and say, "Corrie, this is Jacob, not me. I have been walking my Christian walk and waiting on God to speak and I don't hear Him. I see alot of puddles, but there is no pond in sight." We must remember that God's word and the Holy Spirit, allows us to have encounters with God any time we want or need to. People in the Old Testament did not have access like this. You and I can pick up God's word at 3:oo in the morning and read His words and hear His promises to us. We also have to remember that God spoke to Jacob when He was in the wilderness. He was walking to "no where" (in Jacob's mind). But we are never walking 'no where' with God. As His children, we must realize the sovereignty of God. We mustn't, at any point, think that God doesn't care about our cries and our discontentment. In fact, just as the Israelites did, we must cry out to God for the pond and not settle for the plan-B puddle. No plan that you nor I have for our life will EVER be greater than God's plan for our life. The last part of the story speaks of Jacob's doubt of God. After this encounter with God at Bethel, years pass and Jacob gets word that his brother, Esau, is looking for him. Yea, the ANGRY brother that Jacob ripped off a blessing from, then left! Instead of continuing to walk to "the pond" in faith and trust God to be true to His promise, Jacob develops a Plan-B puddle to soften the blow with Esau. That night, God meets with Jacob again and reminds him of His promise. By deciding to trust God, Jacob's reunion with his brother is then greater than he ever could have imagined OR ARRANGED HIMSELF. Good story, right? The question is, what do WE do? Maybe you've read this whole post while thinking about an area in your life that you just don't understand. Maybe you have been like me, at times, and tried desperately to figure out a way for you to be content with this area...but peace never comes. Doors continue to close. You continue to look for temporary fixes or "puddles". But God, being the perfect loving Father, must keep His promise to us by only giving us the best...the "pond". The answer to this is found in Galatians 5:25. God's word tells us to keep in step with the Spirit. In other words, we keep walking to the pond by faith and never stop at puddles. But how is this possible, when we walk that narrow road for miles and miles? I am learning Paul knew this secret. Paul knew that faith is about perseverance and going with what you know about God, rather than what you don't know about Him. The problem is we are only willing to know so much. Instead of walking in the Spirit, we look for a 'spiritual bench' to sit and complain a while. I have noticed while I sit on that bench, the Plan-B starts to develop in my mind. This is dangerous. This is when we risk missing the pond. So, to find the pond, pray when you don't feel like it. Read God's word even if you don't want to. This, is keeping in step with the Spirit. I hope you will join me in continuing to seek God for the pond. Let us not find ourselves "making do" with a dirty puddle, or starring at the obstructive bush that appears to have blocked us. May we cry out to our Father, keep walking in faith, and thank Him in advance for keeping His promise of the pond...no matter when it is we find it.


My prayer for today: Father, please forgive me for being impatient with you. You have given me so much evidence that you know what is best for me and if I will just keep seeking you, you will give it to me when it is the perfect time. Help me to realize how significant being YOUR child, really is. May I turn my head away from all the puddles that Satan tells me is the best for me. May I keep my eyes on you so that they forever lock with yours. After all, you have never taken your eyes off of me...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meeting Beth Moore

Last Wednesday me, Corrie and Canaan loaded up in the Kia and headed to the Family Christian book store. Beth Moore, one of our generation's most beloved Bible study authors and teachers, was gracing the Birmingham area with her presence on behalf of her new book, "So Long Insecurity". We were very excited for the opportunity to meet her and have our books personally signed by her. Here is our little posse awaiting Mrs. Moore's arrival :

Mrs. Corrie Clay


Corrie's Aunt Nancy

Our friend, Devin

And in case you are thinking "poor Canaan, I wonder how he managed being immersed into girl world like that?" Rest assured, he came out of the deal with 2 wrestlers (R Truth and the Edge if you are up on that kind of thing and care to know) added to his collection.

Here he is holding up his prize:

Around 5pm we met up with Aunt Nancy and Devin at the bookstore and began to line up as we waited for Mrs. Moore to arrive. Our Canaan did so well. Here he is sitting in the floor by Mommy waiting patiently.

Things started to get really interesting after the bookstore staff announced that Mrs. Moore was standing right outside the door about to enter. I took this picture of Devin to fully illustrate the intensity of the moment. I think she was trying to get a really good shot of Beth. This is passion people! (Devin, this is why we love you!)

Canaan really didn't understand who we were waiting all day to see or why. When asked on the phone earlier that day what we were doing he replied, "I don't know. Waiting to see some Bible study lady". Then, when she finally walked in Canaan asked "is that her with the red lipstick?"

Next was my favorite part. Before we started, the whole store quieted down while someone led prayer over us and Mrs. Moore. Then one by one, we each got an opportunity to thank her personally for doing what God has called her to do and have our books personally signed by her.

Corrie went first out of our group. Corrie was personally grateful to Mrs. Moore for an encouraging letter she wrote Corrie. This letter came during the extremely difficult time when Corrie first learned of the incurable autoimmune disease she had, amidst many other overwhelming circumstances she was facing. God used Beth's letter to confirm to her that He had a purpose through all that was happening. Corrie says that Beth's letter put wind to her back to persevere. And as Corrie faithfully put one step in front of the other with God through all those incomprehensible hardships, the ministry God had promised her so many years before began to take form and bear fruit for Jesus Christ's great Name. Yes Beth, you were right, "glory is at stake" in each one of our lives. This blog and Corrie's speaking ministry is in so many ways a testimony to the importance of encouraging and exhorting one another to keep confidence in God and persevere (Hebrews 10:35-36). Let nothing make you quit. Corrie, you will be richly rewarded for doing this very thing, and you are already receiving so much of what has been promised.

Here she is with Beth,

I, on the other hand, was unusually speechless. There seemed to be too much to say in less than 5 minutes to someone who had been used so greatly by God in my life, but whom I didn't know personally. That seemed odd to me as I quietly stood there while she signed my book. I think I mumbled something to her about my love for God's Word being birthed through doing her Bible studies, but I was seriously about to lose it emotionally. I reasoned that no words could be adequate enough to explain what God had done inside of me as a result of her mentoring me through her Bible studies, and that she could never understand this side of heaven all that it meant to this one life. She is a mother to me in the faith. I've learned how to study and apply God's Word in my everyday life from watching how it works in her life.
In case you are thinking that is out there, I hope that you see that this is scriptural. Check out examples of this in Titus 2:3, 1 Cor. 11:1, Phil. 3:17, and 1 Tim. 4:12 just to mention a few. In all of these verses you see that it is Biblical and also vital that people of the faith live their lives as an example or a model to be followed. This godly way of life is unique from the world we live among and is a pattern that is passed down from generation to generation. In my own personal life, Corrie was the first person to show me that being a Christian is about having your very own relationship with God and NOT about all the seemingly mindless, legalistic chores I thought it was about. Mrs. Moore was the first person to whet my appetite for the study of God's Word, and to see it as personal to me. Their fire and passion for God spilled into my little life, and I am overwhelmingly grateful for them.
Here I am with Mrs. Moore,

Here is Aunt Nancy with Beth,

While we were there, we also had an unexpected opportunity to meet up with 2 fellow bloggers in the faith. Here is Corrie with Jennyhope and Mary Snyder. I'm not sure how to link their names, but here are the links to their blogs:



Corrie has been working on a new post, so that should be up soon. Also, be praying for her and her husband Shane as they will be traveling to Boston soon for her annual doctor's appointment concerning her autoimmune disease.

To God be the glory!