Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Things?

“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.

“What things?”



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.

You resisted.

But not me. Not always.

“What things?”


Slapped. Scratched. Scourged.

Suffering. Unbearable.

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.

For me.


“What things?”

Your death.

Your burial. No time to hold a funeral. No need either.

Your resurrection!

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).

Aren't we?

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hide n' Seek

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.

We haven't.

We're not.

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!

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

What Easter Means to Me

Jesus accepted the punishment for my sins. He took my shame. Was beaten and bruised for me. Wore a crown of thorns on His sweet head. Walked up a mountain with my cross on His shoulders.

He was crucified for me.

He was crucified for the whole world.

He loved us enough to die for us, sweet girl.

He loved us then, and He loves us now.

He is not dead. God the Father raised His One and Only Son from that tomb. My Jesus is alive.

His resurrection means that I can have a relationship with Him--my living, loving Savior.

I can talk to Him and listen to Him and read His word and come into His holy presence. I can give Him thanks and praise. I confess my sins, and He forgives me.

He's coming back for me, and I will live with Him forever!

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am (John 14: 1-3).

I want more of Him. More, more of Him.

What does Easter mean to you?

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Friday, April 22, 2011

In My Dreams

In my dreams, I am a writer. I write gently. Beautiful words and truthful. I don't know exactly what I write: devotions, articles, or Bible lessons. That part remains illusive. But I know that I write, and it pleases Him.

In my reality, I'm more of a scribbler than I am a writer. My repertoire consists mostly of journals. I write my heart out on the pages of spiral-bound notebooks. They can attest to the fact that I lay it all on the line. Hopes--dreams--disappointments--sins--confessions--my daily struggle to walk by faith and not by my feelings.

In my dreams, I am a writer. A good writer. Effective. Compelling. Those who read my words want to get into Jesus more, and they want to get into His word more. I accomplish my goal. God is good. Life is good.

In my reality, I tell God that I'm tired of following this dream. It's too difficult. Too much waiting. I ask Him to make my not-so-magnificient obsession go away. Give me my life back. I want to go somewhere else. Any place besides this nightmare.

In my dreams, I am a writer. I stay focused. God guides my steps. I take one at a time. I get there.

In my reality, I realize that I have a long way to go. I feel so alone. Does anyone understand?

In my dreams, I am a writer....

A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul (Proverbs 19a).

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Bragging Rights

Southerners are serious about some things--sweet tea, grits, and college football. Especially football. My family and I are no exception. We sport crimson and white tee shirts year round and feel quite stylish wearing them. We prefer a black and white hounds-tooth check over any other pattern. Alabama memorabilia shows up on our mailbox, on our vehicles, and in my den.

In or out, we love the Tide!

This past season, our Tide would occasionally go out at halftime and experience some difficulty coming back in for the last two quarters of the game. Like when we played our arch rival.

The sports authorities said that Bama couldn't beat our number-one ranked opponent. I don't think that anyone expected the Tide to get off to such a great start, but we did. Our defense hit hard. Took the smirk off of the orange-shirted quarterback's face. So sweet! Plus, our offense put points on the board.

At halftime, the scoreboard showed numbers in our favor: 24 to 7. Who would have thought?

We were so excited. Had to resist the temptation to trash text our friends who wear orange and blue.

I'm so glad that we didn't act rashly. We only scored three points in the second half, and our opponent came back to beat us.

After losing that game, I felt that we had lost our bragging rights too. My son changed my mind.

He explained it this way: We lost a few games, and we sure don't like to lose. But we still have the right to be proud of our team because you don't just look at one game or at one season. You look at what the team has accomplished in the past. You consider their overall record. And winning thirteen national championships is a pretty good record to hold.

Now, I know that some people would disagree with this position, and that's fine. However, I do have some bragging rights that are incontrovertible.

In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your name forever (Psalm 44:8).

No one can dispute that God is worthy of our boasting. Look at all of His accomplishments. Consider His stats.

He is the One and Only God.

He is the Creator. Sustainer. Provider.

He sent His only Son to die for us because He loves us like that.

He forgives our sins. He saves us.

He heals us.

He binds our wounds. He comforts the brokenhearted and those who are sad.

He shows compassion. He shows mercy. He gives grace.

No other religions can make these claims. The gods of other religions don't hold the kind of record that the One, True, and Living God holds.

Our God has all power and all authority and all wisdom.

Even if we're having a losing season, our opponent can't take these rights away from us.

Our God is the champion of love and forgiveness and salvation.

He has given us bragging rights!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just Fix It

"Poppa, come get me!" she yelled. "No, Korie, I'm busy. You can get down by yourself." "Come get me, Poppa!" my granddaughter insisted. No way was she going to make that treacherous trip down the steps of the storage shed by herself.

After hearing the third plea for help, my darlin' husband stopped trimming the shrubbery and walked over to rescue her.

Now, what was so dangerous about a six-year-old walking down some steps?


It's what she saw that scared her. When she got tired of playing inside the shed and started to leave, she noticed that there was a two- or three-inch gap between the top step and the floor of the building.

She saw this slight separation, and she must have imagined herself crossing the threshhold and falling and getting hurt really bad, and then she would be scarred forever and ever.

She wouldn't have gotten a scar for life or been hurt or taken a bad fall. There wasn't enough room for her to fall.

Her Poppa tried to tell her that. He knew she would be fine. "Come on, Korie. Don't look at the step--look at me."

"Please, Pop."

He coaxed her again. She nodded no.

Exasperated she said, "Poppa, just fix this so I won't have to deal with it."

That's exactly what he did. He swooped her up in his strong arms and set her safely on the ground.

Wouldn't it be great to have God solve all of our problems that way? Often, He does rush to our rescue.

But in other situations, He doesn't swoop us up. Instead, He chooses to teach us lessons to help us grow in Him.

Like the one about focus.

Obviously, my granddaughter experienced a few focusing problems, but so have I. I'm learning that sometimes I focus too much on me. I fixate on my circumstances and my wants and my needs. I see only what's right in front of me--the gap between where I'm standing and the place where I want to go.

The longer I look, the greater the gap seems to grow. Fear sets in. I could fall or fail and get hurt really, really bad, and get some scars too.

Or I can change my focus.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what it unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4: 18).

If we adjust our focus from it's all about me to it's all about loving God and sharing Him and obeying Him and being with Him for all of eternity, then, sweet girl, we can do anything. We can bridge the gap between where we are and where He wants to take us.

We can walk down a set of uneven steps and not fall.

Sometimes as we fix our focus, we realize that we don't need to be rescued. We discover that with His help, we can deal with it after all.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cute Shoes

I saw the black, high-heel shoes in the store. So stylish. I tried them on--oh my goodness! They were way cute, way expensive, and way uncomfortable. Know what I did? I bought them anyway.

Cute wins out over cost and comfort any day, don't you agree?

Besides, my dear daughter-in-law said, " I think you should get them. They'll make you look taller."

Well, that's all I needed to hear. Because if you look taller, then you'll look smaller. Right? And everyone knows that thin is in.

Buying new shoes sounded like a good strategy to me.

I wore my way cute shoes to church the next day. I slipped them off before early service ended--my feet hurt already. I put them on during Sunday school since I teach a class. I took them off again as soon as I got into the car.

When I mentioned this little episode to my daughter-in-law, she said, "Oh, no problem. This is the kind of shoe that you have to break in."

Break in? Now, would that be like taming a wild horse? Looking back, I realize that I may have been more successful with a pair of horses than I was with these shoes.

Do you know how long it takes to "break in" a pair of two-inch, high arch, peek-a-boo-toe shoes by Liz?

A long time.

The shoes left red indentions on both feet, sometimes made my legs ache, and scraped the nail polish off of my big toe on my left foot. I'm serious.

But I had no intention of giving up on wearing those shoes. Because, remember, skinny is pretty; even if it's only an illusion.

And I so wanted to look pretty even if it hurt. Now, how crazy is that? Pretty crazy I'm thinking. And you are too, probably.

Imagine how silly I felt after studying these verses last week so that I could teach them on Sunday.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishble quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God's eyes ( 1 Peter 3: 3-4).

We're women. We want to look and to feel pretty. That's normal. Sometimes, though, we allow our culture to confuse us about the true definition of beauty.

According to today's culture we should strive to look like movie stars and super-skinny, super models.

However, God doesn't require these things. He defines beauty based on what we have in our heart. He looks for gentleness and sweetness and patience and love and compassion. These qualities are important to Him and make us beautiful in His eyes.

He doesn't place much value in our hairstyles, our clothes, or our jewelry.

But I still like to think that He smiles when we find a pair of way cute shoes!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It Takes More Than Two to Tango

I tried to tango with an antique radio cabinet; however, things did not turn out the way I had envisioned them. See, I was excited about getting this non-working antique. It was free, and free is always good when you're decorating on a budget. And I knew that a little white paint would transform the tired and ugly old thing into something worth having.

Nevertheless, the poor piece sat in my kitchen for about two years untouched.

Finally, last summer, inspiration and motivation hit me hard, and I knew what had to be done. I went to the laundry room in search of white spray paint. Great! Found three cans of the miracle-working potion. My mission was getting off to a successful start.

But because the seemingly, one-ton radio was still attached to the inside of the cabinet and because no one was at home to help me, I had to figure out how to move the monster by myself.

Did I hear a little voice inside me telling me not to proceed with this project and that probably I should wait for my darlin' hub to get home so that he could help me? Yes, I heard that voice, and yes, I ignored it. And puhpuhleeze, sweet girl, don't tell me that you would have listened.

You see, inspiration and motivation lead to creativity, and I just couldn't stop. Could I?

So, I took two pairs of socks and put one sock on each leg of the cabinet. Then I turned and twisted and tangoed, and I managed to slide the cabinet across the hardwood floors from the kitchen through the dining room right up to the French doors that open to the deck. Problem solved!

Right? Wrong.

By picking up one corner of the cabinet at a time, I did get it over the doorsill and onto the deck. But even with the socks, I couldn't move the cabinet across the rough planks. I took the socks off. Still stuck. Plus, I realized there was no way possible that I maneuver the piece down the steps and into the yard so that I could paint it.

But I had made it this far and was unwilling to admit defeat. I retrieved a drop cloth aka old sheet and spread it out on the deck.

Then I began to paint. Looking good so far. The sun went down. I wasn't finished so I turned on the porch light. Left the cabinet outside to dry overnight. The next morning, I walked outside to check my handiwork. Not bad. But as I picked up the sheet, I saw something horrifying.

An eerie, milky film covered part of the deck. I had ruined the beautiful deck that my darlin' hub had just a month before power washed and restained.

I felt so bad about what I did. Why didn't I wait for someone to help me? I dreaded telling him what I had done. I dreaded his response.

When he got home, I showed him the deck and explained what happened. I expected to hear him say What were you thinking? You know you shouldn't have attempted this project by yourself. I worked so hard on this deck and look at what you've done.

That's what I deserved to hear.

But that's not what he said. Instead, he looked at the deck. Then he looked at me, and he had the sweetest expression on his face. Kind. Compassionate. Forgiving.

He said, "It'll be all right until it's time to stain again." He took my hand, and we walked back into the house.

Now, my man is certainly not perfect, but to me he sure seemed to be close that evening. He chose kindness over harshness and forgiveness over anger.

And you know, He's never mentioned my mistake. He's never reminded me that it takes more than two to tango, especially if one of your partners is an antique radio cabinet.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

Sweet dreams,


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Flunked Blogging 101

I flunked Blogging 101. You've probably figured that out since it's been forever since I last posted or visited any blogs.

Well, I'm not accustomed to getting F's, and I don't like to quit. And I'm tired of being an on again off again blogger. So last night, I decided to stop blogging altogether and just publish one final post to bring closure to my feeble attempts at writing.

And then this morning before I left for work, I read some verses from Psalm 52:

I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever for what You have done; in Your name I will hope, for Your name is good (8b-9a).

Did you read the part about trusting in God's unfailing love--His really amazing love--that never disappoints us--never leaves us? Did you notice the part about hoping in His name--His good name--His sweet name?

I did.

And while I don't understand why writing is so hard for me right now, I'm not going to ditch this dream.

I'm going to hang on because I really do trust in His unfailing love. I have put my hope in His name. Savior. Prince of Peace. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. Jesus. Giver of Dreams.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Why Didn't God Just Send O?

Well, the Christmas holidays are over. During the last two weeks, I stayed up way past my bedtime and slept late almost every morning. I shopped a lot, hoping to find just the right gifts for my family. I went to a few parties--ate way, way too much--and exercised not at all. We took the tree down and put it and all of the ornaments and decorations in the attic.

Christmas has come and gone.

A new year is here. I have proof:

I stepped on the scale this morning. Oh, my goodness! That hurt.

I went back to work today--resumed my normal routine, but I'm still dwelling in Christmas past. I keep wondering if Christmas was really necessary. Did Jesus have to be born?

Was there another way?

Why didn't God just send O? Surely, she could meet most of our needs, and all of our problems would disappear--right?

For example, I'm thinking that if I had a little more money, life would be so much easier, and I would be a happier person. How about you? Would a bit of exra cash make things moe manageable at your casa? Well, O is a phenomenal philanthropist. She could contribute generously to my bank account and maybe deposit some in yours. And, wahlah! We could do the happy dance.

But possibly money isn't the answer that will make life work for us. Maybe we simply want to feel better about ourselves. We want excitement, adventure, success . Most importantly, we want to justify getting whatever it is that we want. Not a problem. O is one of the most popular philosophers in our country. Millions of people watch her show and purchase her magazine. And if she doesn't have the answer that you're looking for, one of the psychologists or counselors or whoever else she may feature on her show will certainly point you in the direction that you desire to take.

Ok, I'm listening. So feeling good about ourselves may not be the solution to our problems either. What if all that's necessary is to change the way that we look? If we could only have a few procedures done--like nip, tuck, lift--then we would look super-model cool. But how could O help? She's not a physician. No, but she could send us to the best surgeon in the world and pay for all expenses. I'm thinking that a shopping spree would be in order too.

Sweet girl, you know I'm kidding with you about God sending O.

God had to send Jesus. O and people like her may do good deeds, but they cannot address our real problems and needs.

See, our real problem is sin. I'm a sinner. You're a sinner. Our real need is for a Savior. We are sinners, and we need a Savior who can take care of our sin problem.

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).

Jesus Christ is that Savior!

Philanthropists, philosophers, and physicians can't save us. Only Jesus can do that.

And that's why God sent Jesus. And that's why we need Christmas.

We need a Savior.

God knew that no one else would do.

Not even O.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

In 2011

Hi, Happy New Year! I want to thank you for sticking with me in 2010. When I stopped blogging for a few months, you continued to leave comments and to send E-mails. You prayed for me, and I so appreciate all of the prayers and the encouraging words.

I read a verse this morning that I'm offering as prayer for you.

It goes like this:

The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever--do not abandon the works of Your hands (Psalm 138:8).

May our loving God work in your life each day of this new year to bring His plan and His purpose for you into reality. I pray that as He works, you will experience His holy presence, His peace, and His power. I pray that you will know the truth: You are the work of His hands. No matter what has happened in the past. No matter what 2011 brings. He will never abandon you. Will never leave you.

Here's to more of Him in our lives in 2011!

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