Saturday, December 26, 2009

A moment ago as I was sitting on my dining room floor unsuccessfully and excitedly attempting to assemble the Barbie 3-Story Dream Town House my daughter received for Christmas, I questioned the child-like glee I experienced as I applied the stickers to the tiny accessories and popped the furniture together while one of my favorite scriptures crept into my mind to taunt me and my fascination with a child's toy, so now, I have to take a recess to reread the scripture in order to determine whether there is something the Holy Spirit is trying to express to me. 1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I thought like a child, I talked like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. When you read this for yourself, start at the beginning of the chapter. It is so beautiful that it is enjoyable reading!
Barbie dolls were my all time favorite toy as a child, and I garner great enjoyment, now, sharing the love of this iconic toy with my daughter! There are a few questions, however, that remain unanswered Who enjoys them more? When I purchase Lili a Barbie related item, is it truley for her to enjoy or secretly for me? Before Lili was born and came of Barbie age, I had repressed my love for Barbie for years in order to put the things of childhood behind me as the verse hints, but now, that I have an excuse to play like a child, I'm using it! To clarify, I do not believe this scripture is refering to toys and play when it mentions"childish ways." In fact, I am confident it is speaking of spiritual childishness or immaturity. I love how Paul artfully concludes his statement concerning love with this thought in order to help our minds connect with the fact that true love as described in verses 4-7 is the height of spiritual maturity, so get out your childhood toys, and instead, put away impatience, meaness of all kinds, bragging and pride, rudeness, selfishness, quick-temperedness, grudges, distrust, losing hope, and giving up on people because those things are signs of true spiritual immaturity!
Although I will not admit immaturity because of my Barbie love, I must confess that after honestly evaluating my life and my relationships with those in it, I still have some maturing to work on in the New Year! You do the same..honestly evaluate your life and relationships based on the criteria set forth in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and determine what "childish ways" you need to work on putting behind you in 2010 to continue down the path to spiritual maturity. Happy New Year and Many wishes for God's Blesings in your life in 2010!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Don't Judge A Gift By Its Wrapping

I love buying Christmas gifts for the people in my life, so I had my shopping completed before November had expired, and I dedicated this past week to preparing all of those carefully chosen gifts to be received by my loved ones. Unfortunately, the challenge of wrapping them with my one capable hand/arm was met with only minimal success:( When I was nearly done and stopped to survey my work, I saw what could have easily passed as the accomplishments of my three-year-old. Jaggedly cut edges were visible where the two ends of the paper didn't quite find one another and wrinkles and lumps were all too prevalent an occurrence. Dejectedly, I accepted the fact that the days of distributing pretty Christmas packages were long gone. I would have to be satisfied with the knowledge that once the recipient made her way past the unsightly exterior she would thouroughly enjoy its contents. A verse came to my mind at this point that describes the outward appearance of the first and greatest Christmas gift that gives significance to my poorly wrapped Christmas offerings. Isaiah 53:2 says...there was nothing in his appearance that we should desirre him. He was despised and rejected by men...In other words, the very unattractively wrapped Christmas gift I will be distributing during the next week are the perfect representation of that first christmas gift:) I just love the way the Holy Spirit works to turn my frowns upside down! No matter how undesirable his appearance was, he brought a gift into this world that I could not live without... the possibility of joy unspeakable that won't go away and peace that is beyond all human understanding devoid of circumstance! Not that I am claiming that the gifts I have to offer my friends and family hold anything near as valuable as what Jesus offers to us, but they will always be a reminder to me and anyone who witnesses my creative wrapping skills, that we shouldn't judge a gift by its wrapping because no matter how unattractive it is there may be a treasure inside! Remember, as you wrap your gifts this Christmas that Jesus the greatest Christmas gift ever didn't arrive in perfectly smoothed paper with a shiny bow centered artfully on top instead he is described as being undesirable in appearance....just like the packages loaded in my truck to head home for family Christmas parties!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Addendum to Company for the Holidays

I missed a main point that I wanted to make in my last post, so I'm going to try to make it here. God provides for our needs through his body the church. He provided for Tim and I in the instance of our move even when we had always felt we had no one to help by inspiring the hearts of those who love him to love us also through service, and more recently, he inspired my family's hearts to offer to help a friend. God is at work through his church, the people who love and serve him with their lives being bound together by Jesus Christ, so make yourself willing and available to bless those around you. Know that you are his hands, his feet, and his presense as Christmas and the new year approach.

Company for the Holidays

If you had been following this blog, you probably noticed my absence over the past couple weeks. My wonderful husband wisked my daughter and I away on a surprise vacation to Disney World. It was a great time, and on the way home when I was using my phone to catch up on my facebook friends, I noticed one of them had posted that she was feeling alone during this Holiday season due to a recently broken home and tight finances. As I considered this friend's situation I began to feel guilty for the joy, peace, and blessing that I experience in my own life, and wondered, "Why me?" aloud to my husband. He quickly responded by suggesting we offer assistance to this friend to which I agreed as I was transported back to a night in my hospital bed with my husband standing to my left side while the low glow of the room light illuminates us in my memory like a spot light. My husband was sharing the events of a busy day of moving that had been accomplished by our church family and people from his work on our behalf the weekend after my stroke. Prior to my stroke we had always teased each other about our recluse-like nature and joked around that we had no close friends, which is what seemed true to us at the time, so we wondered at the crowds of people who showed up to accomplish the task that we were unable to do on our own as the storm raged in our lives. I was struck so clearly in that moment that God had provided for our need in a very practical way and assured that he would continue to do so no matter what the next moment held. I love sharing these stories because they take me back to moments when I basked in the assurance of God's presence in specific moments of my life. Its important to note that his involvement didn't guarentee that the bad stuff didn't happen or that the unpleasant went away, but even more valuable, it guarenteed that I was never alone in my struggle and neither are you! If you are feeling alone, open your eyes to God's presence in your life, and reciprocate his love and faithfulness. Its time to really start believing God's promises that are realized in our lives only through Christ Jesus...not just believing in his existence but taking him at his word and resting in what he says! Hebrews 13:5 ...because God has said," Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you, So we say with confidence, The Lord id my helper; I will not be afraid.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Disney's Jungle Juntion, Compost, and the Power of Jesus

My dughter, Lili, is a huge fan of one of Disney's newest shows, Jungle Junction. I was watching an episode with her the other day and was struck by an unintended message that the program expressed. One of the characters had been collecting fruit and vegetable scraps to create a big compost pile for the communities' garden, and the other residents of jungle Junction were greatly opposed to the project because of the terrible odor that it caused, but they soon found out after the compost was applied to the garden, that it was responsible for helping produce the sweet, sweet smell of the jungle lily. In other words, the stinky stuff ended up having a beautiful aroma in the end that all the characters were pleased with, so they changed their tune about the stinky compost all together in the end. This story brought to mind my feelings about the events of my life. My stroke and open-heart surgery are the equivalent of the stinky stuff that no one wanted around at first, but I can now catch a wiff of something very sweet brewing as a result because of the power of Jesus at work in my life! How awesome is a God who can take tradgedy and heart-ache and turn it into great memories and joy!? How awesome is a God who can take stinky compost and grow a beautiful, fragrant jungle lily!? Okay, I guess that instance was just the magic of Disney, but I can promise you Disney nor anyone else could duplicate what the power of Jesus has accomplished in my life!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bloggle Study: Matthew 5-7 (Silence)

These scriptures are my favorites because they are Jesus's words, and I feel so close to him when I read them like I am sitting on his lap getting a personal lesson. His teachings are challenging to anyone at any point in her spiritual walk if she is honest with herself as she reads but filled with so much wisdom, hope and promise at the same time! I LOVE ME SOME JESUS! He responds, "Really?" "Well, if you love me, obey my you enemies and pray for those who persecute you. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn from the one who wants to borrow from you, Cori." These are what I find to be the most challenging out of these instructions for life from the mouth of my Savior. There is such a feeling of self-preservation that rises up in me at the sound of these words no matter how many times I hear them, but I know good and well that God loves me and along with being the creator of this world making him the one being who knows it inside and out these two factors cause me to trust him implicitly! He knows how things work down here from a creator's perspective and he loves me, so he is only going to guide me in the directionthat is beat for me! Knowing and believing those tow things whole-heartedly squelch that pesky hinderance of if I could preserve myself! I have learned by living as a committed -follower of Jesus Christ for the past 15 to 20 years that there has not been a single instance in which I have received bad advice from God's word! I trust its guidance with my everything! In fact, there have been times when the teachings have sounded absolutely nuts to me like give more to someone who takes from you, WHAT!, but it is fool-proof to provide the best possible outcome because God knows what he's talking about, and he loves each one of us dearly and wants to guide us to joy, peace, and contentment!:) There is so, so much I could say about individual verses here...I just love these passages! They are brimming with precious truth and wisdom ripe for the plucking, but I'm going to try to just choose a few of my favorites that seemed to stand out especially today, maybe, God meant them for one of you?

(6:25-30)We've all heard the birds of the air comarprison a millon times and still worry out the wazoo...but why? because, Jesus Christ, you know the guy, tells us right here that God's got it covered, the birds don't scurry around, sowing reaping and storing up, but they have food, and verse 28, why do you worry about clothes? This one hit me today!and verses 31-33 if we make attaining the kingdom of heaven our primary goal the food and clothes come as a package deal, so stop putting God off because you don't have the $$ to quit your job and serve in the way he is asking you to, or any otherscenario you're living in which concerns for your physical needs are hendering your walk because he's got it covered...believe him because, remember, he loves you and has your best interest in mind! If you keep putting him off, you might miss out on something really great he's trying to lead you to! That would suck, now, wouldn't it!

(7:7-12) I love these passages because I found then true time after time when I needed advice from the wisest being I know or when I simply covet his tangible presence...he (or she in my case) who seeks finds. It blows me over its so simple! If you want God or his wisdom just earnestly seek it out through prayer and reading his word, and you WILL find it! This is why I get so excited when someone is making an effort to look for God because his word promises he will be foun by that individual who is seeking. How awesome that he is so available to us! I don't believe this is like a list to Santa or anything, but even better its about forging a relationship with the creator of the universe!

(7:24-27) These words are particularly dear to me because if you've read any of my other posts, you may have noticed that I've gone through some stuff in the last couple years, my storm, as I refer to it, so these words speak to my heart in a way that causes a physical reaction everytime! I have felt the prickling sting of the cold, unwelcome rain that caught me unexpecting, and my feet have quite literally become numb as the cold rushing flood waters rose past my ankles, and the winds wipped and blew against me so hard they left lasting physical damage that cannot be repaired by man, yet (I) it did not fall, because (I) it had (my) foundation on the rock (Jesus Christ) ! Just typing that brings me to awe inspired tears! God is so awesome and loving and faithful and worthy of all our time respect and attention! Go on to read the words describing the individual who did not have her foundation on Jesus...the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell with a GREAT CRASH! Having chosen to serve and follow Jesus with my life in a very intentional and committed manner prior to my storm all I heard was TOTAL SILENCE, you know, the kind you can hear. Silence and peace in my soul to this day! Thank you Jesus! This is so NOT a testament to anything good about me but a blaring testament to my awesome, good, and faithful God! What I get from this and hope you do too is that the Bible is truth and wisdom straight from the lips of a wise and loving God and very worth acknowledging as we live our daily lives! (I hate to put a plug for my book in here, so I will separate it from the paragraph with parenthesis. If you want to read the story of how I built the foundation of my life on Jesus and his teachings, order a copy from tate or any other online book seller. It can also be ordered from any book store by providing the title and author This Is My Story, by Cori Lukomski.) It is also important to note the foundation that sustains a person in the storms of life is built by hearing Jesus's teachings and putting them into practice fron verse 24.