Tuesday, May 8, 2012
And I guess I should mention that yard sale season is also in full swing. Two weeks ago, I scored the cutest, little two-tiered-round-already-distressed-and-just-the-right-size table for my living room. For only eighteen dollars!
Plus, I've been helping my darlin' hub with some yard work. Okay, okay. You know me too well, sweet girl. Yes, he does ALL of the mowing, weed-eating, and edging. But I HAVE put pine straw in the flower beds and pulled a few weeds. That should at least qualify me as his assistant. Shouldn't it?
Oh, and wrapping of school year is such a stressful time for me. I have timelines to manage and meetings to schedule all before school is over for this term. But I have good news: Summer is almost here. Only sixteen more days!
This summer, I plan to work toward becoming more disciplined and more consistent about blogging.
So for now, let me share a verse with you that a friend sent me yesterday.
"God is not a man that He should lie, or a son of man that He should change His mind. Does He speak, and then not act?" (Numbers 23:19)
Has He spoken a word to you, sweet girl? Maybe a long time ago. Maybe just a few months ago. Maybe yesterday.
Have you seen His word to you become reality? Maybe not yet.
He has spoken a word to me. I haven't seen the manifestation of His word to me. Not yet. And I first heard Him speak about this thing several years ago.
Let's remember that our God is a God who speaks truth. Our God is truth.
Our God does not change His mind. His ways are right, and they are just.
Our God is not a god who speaks but does not act.
If He has spoken a word to you, believe Him.
Our God never lies.
He will make the thing that He spoke to you become more than a dream. More than a fleeting thought.
His word to you will one day become your reality. And the whole world will see. They will see the glory of our living, loving God.
Sweet girl, this is the season to believe.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
She couldn’t stand up straight and tall. She really, really wanted to. Wanted to more than anything else in the whole world. She asked for healing. Please, God, make me well again.
She believed that He could. That He would.
But He didn’t.
Instead she walked bent over, face toward the ground. Feeling each painful step. In her neck, back, legs. For eighteen years she lived this way.
This is the way things are. This is how they’ll always be.
Maybe she gave up hoping for a miracle. Maybe she got tired of trusting and believing. And maybe she exchanged hope and trust for a lie. A lie that God didn’t care about her. That He cared about others, but not her.
Like the day that she saw Jesus, and He taught at her synagogue, she didn’t ask Him to heal her.
He saw her.
He called her to come to Him.
He said, “… you are freed from your sickness…” (Luke 13: 12 NIV).
After all those years, He set her free. No more pain. No more crippled body. No more crippled anything.
He told her that she was free.
Then He touched her. And instantly, she stood up straight and tall.
The Living Bible describes her response like this: “How she praised God!” (vs. 12).
She got her healing. She got her hope back. I’m happy for her. But the truth is that she didn’t have to lose hope or trust or faith.
We don’t have to lose ours either.
When she thought God didn’t care, He did. When we think God doesn’t care, He does.
He does care.
He does care.
We have to remember this truth: God loves us. God cares. He’ll never stop loving us.
He never stopped loving the crippled woman. He waited to heal her so that His Son could perform the miracle.
Sometimes, He waits to answer our prayers too. But the waiting doesn’t mean that He has stopped caring.
I love how Jesus answered the people who accused Him of breaking Jewish law because He healed someone on the Sabbath.
He said, “…should not this woman…whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years be set free on the Sabbath?” (vs. 16).
Did you notice this phrase? “…eighteen long years….”
Jesus knew exactly how long those eighteen years were to that hurting woman. They did not pass by in a flash. They were long and lean. Difficult. Filled with despair and discouragement.
The long years are always like that.
But be encouraged, sweet girl. God sees us during the long, lean years of waiting. God calls us to come closer to Him as we wait for our prayers to be answered. He speaks to us. His Son has the power and the authority to heal us and to set us free.
One day by His great power and grace, we too will stand straight and tall.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
She walked into the room that night, a vial of extravagantly expensive perfume in her hand. Without hesitating, she broke the bottle open. Exquisite fragrance filled the room. Everyone at the party noticed. Most of them were mortified as she walked to the guest of honor and poured the perfume on His feet and on His head.
I mean, really.
She shouldn’t have gone in there. It was more like a For Men Only Event.
The women were pretty much expected to hang out in the kitchen. Cook. Serve. Wash dishes. Watch the kids. You know, make yourself useful and whatever you do, don’t rock the status quo.
Uh, Mary didn’t get the memo.
And Mary didn’t care.
She was that way. One time her sister, Martha, was waybusy preparing a gourmet meal for their friend Jesus—the guest of honor at this banquet, too. However, Mary didn’t help Martha.
Mary stayed near Jesus.
Mary listened to everything He said.
How cool is that.
But, of course, Martha got ticked off and tattled on her to Jesus. “Make Mary help me. I’m knocking myself out, and my sister hasn’t even offered to toss the salad. Don’t you think that she should at least rinse the veggies?”
Well, Jesus is like so totally awesome.
He explained that Mary had made a good choice. She chose Him over distractions and projects and activities. And Jesus talked so sweet to Martha that she stopped being angry with Mary.
But anyway, back to the night Mary crashed the party.
Perfume still in the bottle. Just a little.
People began to criticize her. A lot.
Friends, fans, and family of Jesus, supposedly.
“Woman, what were you thinking? Do you realize that an ordinary working man would have to labor for a whole year to earn enough money to purchase perfume like this?”
Another said, “What a waste. We could have sold the stuff and bought enough food to feed thousands."
And, “Who do you think you are? Don’t you care about starving children?”
Indignant? Sure they were. On behalf of the poor you know.
Now, Mary didn’t mean to be contrary. Didn’t mean to cause confusion.
But Mary broke more than just a bottle of perfume.
She broke out of her comfort zone.
She broke some worn out traditions and expectations.
She broke through barriers.
She was rejected, rebuked, ridiculed. But not by Jesus.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to Me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have Me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for My burial “ Mark 14:6-8.
Mary did something special for Jesus. Something beautiful. She anointed His precious, holy body for burial. After His crucifixion, several women went to the tomb to prepare His body for a proper burial. Although they arrived before daylight on the first day after the Sabbath, they were too late. He had already risen from the dead. Mary had already done what her friends tried unsuccessfully to do.
Mary saw something beautiful in Jesus. She recognized Him as being the Passover Lamb. The lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world. Sacrificed for the sins of the whole world.
He did Something Beautiful for us.
What will we do for Him?
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
His words fell on my lips like a lingering kiss. You’re still my girl. I’ll always love you. I keep replaying the entire scene in my mind. How I lay on the couch in our living room, feeling miserable. Looking even worse. Eyes bloodshot and swollen, devoid of color. How he seemed to be blind to my ugly, looked beyond it, and saw beauty instead.
I remember how he took care of me after I had retina re-attachment surgery. Both retinas were detached. The left eye required a very invasive procedure; laser worked on the right eye. Still, I couldn’t see much of anything for quite a while.
I remember that he hated having to put the drops in my eyes. He knew that it hurt for me to open my eye and that the drops burned really bad. But I needed them in order for my eye to heal. Four different kinds—one drop each—left eye only—four times a day. Eight o’clock, twelve, four, and ten turned into torture time for both of us.
I remember that he cooked breakfast for me the morning after I had surgery. My favorite meal: bacon, eggs, and grits. Funny how he did that because he doesn’t like to eat breakfast.
I remember how I was so visually impaired for the first few days following surgery that I had to wake him up during the night to take me to the bathroom. He never complained.
He loves me.
I’m his girl.
I was helpless and needy and unattractive. But none of that changed how he felt about me. Both his words and actions showed his love for me.
And you know what, sweet girl. Our helplessness—our neediness—our ugliness doesn’t change how our loving God feels about us.
He still loves us.
He will always love us.
We’re still His girl.
We’ll always be His girl.
Our circumstances don’t change God’s character. Our current cache of feelings can’t change God’s character either.
Our God is good. Loving. Kind. Compassionate.
He has proven His great love for us.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5: 8).
Nothing can change that kind of love. Nothing can change that kind of God.
He has given us the kiss of love. Lingering. Eternal.
Monday, March 19, 2012
I've been away from this place for a long time--way too long. I've missed being here. I've missed you. A lot has happened.
Some Fun Things
Like last summer, I spending a month in Miami with my darlin' hub. He worked while I relaxed by the pool. Walked to the beach. Shopped a little or more than. Don't feel too sorry for him, I did some work. You should have seen my tan.
Then we came back home. Sold our house. Moved to a different town. Downsized. That part was definately not my idea, but he convinced me it was the right thing to do. And it is. We did some renovating. I haven't finished decorating though, and there's enough yard work to keep him busy for years.
We hadn't finished renovating when I had emergency retina reattachment surgery. Both eyes. Have mercy! But now I can see, read, and drive, and I'm so, so thankful.
Like a church writing project. Many hours invested. Not a big return.
A big misunderstanding about my dream between me and the one I love most.
A lack of direction in writing.
And just when I thought there was no hope--and no reason to hope--and that my dream was gone--my loving God did an amazing thing. He showed me that there is hope.
He is my hope.
He will always be my hope.
My hope is in Him.
My hope is in His word.
My hope is not in my dream.
My hope is alive.
My God is alive.
And so is my dream.
"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You" Psalm 39:7.
I'm watching for Him. I'm waiting for Him. My hope was there all along. Jesus Christ is my Hope. He will never, ever--ever leave me.
He's way cool like that.
It's good to be back, sweet girl. Way good.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
“What things?” He asked. Incognito. Innocently. As if He were out of the loop and not the link between what had occurred in the first Garden and the things that had just transpired.
As if He were not the link between our last breath and our eternity.
The two men with whom He walked were incredulous that He asked, “What things?” Even a visitor couldn't possibly be that uninformed. Or so they thought.
He gave no indication that He had prior knowledge of or involvement in the things they discussed.
Not at first.
But He did know.
Had known since before time began what would one day go down in Jerusalem.
A garden there—Gethsemane. Betrayed by a friend's kiss.
Accused. The verdict? Guilty. The truth? Innocent. Blameless. Holy. Jesus. Abandoned by those who knew You best.
A circle of three friends. Most intimate. You nicknamed one of them “the Rock.” He declared his devotion to You.
Only a few hours later, under pressure. Strong cord broken. He capitulated. Denied knowing You.
You knew that he would.
Told him so.
Yet You prayed for him.
Your friend went away from You. Wept. Tasted salt. Tasted bile.
I, too, know that flavor. Bitterness of words and actions. I would give anything to take back—to undo.
Their spit ran down... ... Your sweet face.... ...Your beard plucked.
How could they? How could I?
A vine of thorns crowned the head of the Baby who once lay in a manger.
Called You names.
Made fun of You.
The Holy One of God.
Son of God. One and Only. Son of Man.
Tempted like I am tempted.
But not me. Not always.
Slapped. Scratched. Scourged.
Flesh cut to the bone.
Hands and feet nailed to wood.
You who hung the moon and the stars in place.
Hung on a cross. Hurting. Holy.
Wanting Your Father. Needing Him. Crying, “Daddy!”
Forsaken by Him.
Your burial. No time to hold a funeral. No need either.
Victory over sin—over the grave.
The fulfillment of centuries' old prophecies.
Reunited with the Father. Praying for us. Preparing a place for us. Planning to return for those who know You as Savior.
“What things?” He asked (Luke 24:19). “You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48).
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Six-years-old. About to graduate from kindergarten. Tired of wearing hairbows. Tired of ruffles adorning her attire. Tired of looking like a baby. Now she wants cool clothes that sparkle and glitter.
But one thing remains the same: Her favorite game is hide n' seek.
And her most secret hiding place? The bottom of the built-in linen cabinet in our hall.
She dictates the rules of the game as we play. When it's our turn to hide, she peeks. We know that she's peeking, and we tell her not to peek. "Cover your eyes, Korie." She does, but we know she's still looking.
Anyway, we count to ten while she hides.
We don't have to peek.
We search all over the house for her. But if we take too long to discover her, she gives us helpful hints regarding her whereabouts.
She'll say, "I'm in here, Nonnie. In the caffenet. Come find me."
We don't know why she gives up her hideout so easily and so quickly. She'll pick that same place five times in a row.
Guess the fun for her is in being found!
There have been times when I've felt like God was playing hide n' seek with me. Times that He seemed far away from me and unconcerned about my circumstances. Times that He appeared to be hiding from my hurt--my problems--my pain.
I've asked, "Where are You?"
I'm learning that God never hides from us. I'm learning that He wants me to look for Him because He wants me to find Him.
I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me find Me (Proverbs: 8:17).
When we look for God, we will find Him.
Our loving God is so good that He allows Himself to be found by those who aren't searching for Him.
"I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. To a nation that did not call on My name, I said, 'Here am I, here am I'" (Isaiah 65:1).
God's nature is to reveal Himself to us. His desire is that we find Him.
Even when, for whatever reason, we blow Him off and do our own thing.
Maybe we think we've asked way too many times already, and we feel guilty about adding one more time to the number. Maybe we think that we're too far away from His perfect plan for our lives.
No matter where we've been. No matter where we are now.
We can count on Him. We can call on Him.
He wants us to find Him.
Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten...ready or not, here I come!