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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