Friday, January 29, 2010

Carry that Cross!

...pick up your cross and follow me. These are a few of Jesus' words from somewhere in the Bible that I cannot share with you at this time because I have only a ridiculously small amount of scripture actually memerized, and I'm in a hotel on a business trip with my husband and didn't pack my Bible, but these words came into focus for me last weekend during my churches' worship service. A member of the congregation was singing a special song that reflected on this verse, and of course, I do not know the name of the song or the exact lyrics, but I know the gist of the lyrics that brought clarity to the concept of the cross in the verse I mentioned because that was always the part of this verse that I never quite understood. What was my cross, and how was I supposed to pick it up and carry it if I didn't know what it was? Well, back to the lyrics,"...I didn't know the hill was this steep, or that the cross was this heavy..." Something about those lyrics, and I can't tell you what, expressed to me that the cross we are to pick up and carry is whatever it takes in the course of our lives to glorify Jesus and help others know him as the awesome Savior and God that he is! My cross recently has been bearing up under the physical and emotional hardship of medical issues and resulting disabilities with a smile on my face that radiates from the joy and hope of Jesus in my heart. Quite honestly, its not something I've done, it is something he's done through me! I can't really explain all the way how I really haven't been an active participant in creating or maintaining this, honest to goodness, well of joy and hope that resides within me, and I can tell you that I would carry this cross over a millon times and as long as Jesus needs me to just to experience this and have him by my side! Yes, the hill is steep, and as I was growing up in the church hearing this verse over and over, I had no idea how steep the hill or how heavy the cross, but I can tell you that daily as I carry my cross for Jesus the last thing on my mind is its weight or the grade of the hill. I am just basking in the presence of my Savior as he assists me in bearing the load! You know, my mind goes to the retelling of Jesus' experience at the cross...He was bearing the weight all alone when someone from the crowd was drafted to assist our staggering Savior. This foreshadowing is beautiful to me for two reasons. First, because the idea of having assistance in bearing the load of the cross is born (Jesus is the one who comes readily to our aid.), and secondly, just like a common man was pulled from the crowd to help Jesus accomplish his purpose, God is still pulling common men and women from the crowd like me to help Jesus accomplish his purpose! Oh, how I wish I had my Bible to find the references that are popping into my head as I type...I just located the Gideon Bible in the room, so hopefully, it will be of assistance! Anyway, my challenge for you is to identify what your cross is and to hoist it onto your shoulders for the glory of God knowing Jesus is coming along right beside you to help shoulder the load! For me, the simple knowledge that my suffering has a purpose makes it totally bearable, so I hope the thought that whatever you are experiencing in your life could just be God drafting you to help carry on the purpose of Jesus' cross, bringing lost souls back into a relationship with God through Christ, strengthens your ability to endure under whatever suffering you are currently experiencing! Tonight as my arm aches endlessly from the spasticity there, I thank God for honoring me with the task of bearing this cross, so that one of you might come to know him more! God created you and loves you, and will do whatever it takes to get into a close, personal relationship with you including putting me in a position to witness effectively to you, and I want you to know I am a willing participant in his plan to reclaim you for himself because, as I said, I know he loves you and values you, and therefore loving him, I love you and value you. I know you are worth whatever it takes to show you that a life lived in relationship with God through Jesus is the only life you deserve! Its the life you were created to live, so start living it now:) I'll post the related scriptures when I get home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Paid In Full

Last week there was a message going around on Facebook that encouraged its recipients tally a fine by adding up monetary values assigned to vatious indecent/dangerous/illegal behaviors and afterward, post the total "fine" as their status. Upon receipt of the message, I was curious, so I followed the instructions and posted my fine minus $.10 for peeing in a pool because I thought the value would be too easy to identify, and, at the time, I really didn't want to divulge such a yucky incident, but, now, I have. Later, while I was reading comments that had been made on such status posts, I realized that there was almost a congratulatory nature present in most of the responses, and I was immediately ashamed to have participated in the game because, although I desire to be forthcoming about the person that I am, neither am I proud of the wrong choices I have made in the past, and it shames me to think that I may have made it appear as if I were flaunting my sinfulness as if I were proud of it! Then, as I contemplated how I might have damaged my witness for Christ by playing this game that seemed to me now to mock God and the behavioral boundaries he has set forth to protect us, the word fine struck me in a whole new way. The Bible teaches us that we all owe a fine for our sin...The wages of sin is death Romans 6:23 and for ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God Romans 3:23! The great news for all us sinners is the aforementioned fine has been paid in full by Jesus Christ! Surely he took our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5. He himself bore our sins in his body on that tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. 1 Peter 2:24 This last verse really brings it home for me!...the words in his body really speak to my heart to what extent my Savior paid my fine. He carried my sins of pridefulness, lust, impatience, greed, dishonesty, unfaithfulness and selfishness in his body. I mean, the specific sins I, Cori Lukomski, have committed in my 30 years of life were carried by Jesus to the cross in his body in order to pay the fine that I owed, and that's why I love him because really knowing me and my sins so personally that he internalized them, he still paid the brutal and deadly fine in my place, and not just my place and my sins, yours, too, so in the last several sentences when i've referred to myself, replace it with yourself and try to wrap your mind around the awesomeness of what Jesus has done for you. Oh.before I wrap this up, I want you to come with me to the scene of the cross for just a moment. Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour he cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?-which means My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?" For me, this verse carries the weight of what Jesus did for me on that cross! Because my sin and yours dirtied his purity in that moment, God had to turn away from him, and Jesus cries out in anguish as he experiences the separation from God that I will never have to face because he did it for me and you! What you've got to know is that for some of us it is like the cell phone rebate offer that sits on my kitchen table unrealized. Somewhere out there $100.00 waits for me to fill out the form and mail it in with my receipt to claim it. Jesus's forgiveness or his payment for your fine is like that, its paid in full, but each person has to claim it personally to receive its benefit, so you might ask me why I haven't sent the stuff in to claim that $100...The answer is "I don't really know...probably something like laziness paired with complacency. I keep putting it off thinking, "one day I will," or "maybe tomorrow." So, my question for you is quite similar if you have never claimed the forgiveness that Jesus offers you personally. If your answers are similar to mine as well, realize like I should that there will not always be a "one day" or a "tomorrow," so why not do it today! There are no forms to fill out or receipts to send in...just have a conversation with God letting him know you admit you have sinned and need to receive the forgiveness Jesus offers and want to do so today In doing so, you admit that you believe Jesus is God's son, and that you want to commit to be a follower of Jesus with the rest your life. Following such a decision with baptism by emersion is the way Jesus set forth(Matthew 3:15)
to confess to the world your new alliance with God. As a grand gesture of encouragement for you to take this step and become a Christian if you never have before, I am going to complete my cell phone rebate form and get it ready to mail out tomorrow as soon as I'm done writing this post!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Squeaky Clean

My mom is one of the best gift givers I know rivalled only by my husband, Tim, and this Christmas she along with my father gave me two coupons that stated she would bring her house cleaner to my home for the day to help me with whatever house-cleaning tasks remain frustrating to the point of neglect, so today I cashed in my first coupon. While I was busying around early this morning attempting to tidy the house before mom arrived with her cleaning lady, Fannie, in tow, it occurred to me how ridiculous it was to clean for the cleaning lady, and that thought reminded me of how before I officially became a Christian, I kept putting it off thinking I had to prepare myself before I asked Jesus into my heart. I would try very hard for a period of time to be what I considered good, and of course, fail, but I had this ridiculous notion that I couldn't invite Jesus in until I got myself all cleaned up in terms of behavior fully realizing that was his job. I can now see how silly that idea was, but at the time, it was very real to me and caused me to put off a very important decision for longer than was necessary because now, I know that just like Fannie thinks nothing of walking into a dirty house and getting down to the business of deep cleaning because that is her job, Jesus knows we are a mess, being that we're human and all, and gladly enters into our lives no matter how messy they are with the intent of accomplishing what we cannot on our things up until we are white as snow. I am very grateful for how sparkly clean my shower doors are at this moment and the crisp, new look of the upolstry on my freshly scrubbed furniture, but I am eternally grateful for the masterful cleaning job that Jesus did in my heart when I invited him to be a part of my life by committing to following his teachings and acknowledging I needed the forgiveness he offered on the cross. If you knew the me that I am without Jesus, you would be thankful too;) The before and after difference in me is much more breathtaking than the gleam of my shower doors, or the fresh scent of cleaner that wafts into ones nose when they walk through the door of my house today. If your life is a mess, I highly recommend asking Jesus to help you tidy tings up because he cleans up a life better than Scrubbing Bubbles cleans a shower or Resolve cleans upolstry!

Scriptures of Note:

Matthew 23:26 First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then, the outside also will be clean.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

1 Peter 2: 24 He himself bore our sins upon that tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together, " says the Lord. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bloggle study:1/19/10: Genesis 13-18

The thing I love the most about the story of Abraham is all the talk of his descendants and the inheritance good old Abe passes down to us through Jesus! My favorite part of this inheritance that I have received through Christ Jesus is in 15:1 Do not be afraid, Abram I am your shield your very great reward., and then in 18:19 it tells us exactly how Abraham passed this inheritance down and how we can continue to hand it down to the generations following us For I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. I am so glad that Abraham, his descendants leading up to my parents, and my parents were faithful to pass this inheritance of hope, comfort, and safety down to me because knowing that God is my shield having the opportunity to know him through Jesus has been a very great reward indeed! There is nothing greater that I can give to my daughter than the understanding that there is no need to fear in this world because God's got her back and that being in a relationship with him is a reward greater than anything this world can offer! Speaking of relationships, how awesome is the relationship that Abraham enjoys with God? God visits, Abraham sits and talks with him, God welcomes Abraham's questions and patiently entertains Abraham's frustration and resulting suggestions. That is the kind of relationship God created us to have with him. I can feel it when I read the text because my whole being longs for it!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Spiritual Failing #1,000,000,001: Animal Rights Gone Wild

When my husband and I moved into our new home over a year ago, God introduced me to a few members of his treasured creation with whom I have divergent views on animal care. Unfortunately, when these diverging views came to a head toward the end of last week, I failed to respond in a God honoring manner.( I became angry, and in my anger lost sight of the fact that the object of my scorn was an individual who God deeply loves and treasures. The casualties of my fit are still being tallied, but among them are the two dogs I had come to love as my own through caring the best I could for the needs I noticed had gone unmet. In the midst of the disaster that was last week, I contacted animal control who swiftly confiscated the aforementioned canines wisking them away to what I fear may have ended in their death. My greater fear is that the lives of the pooches were not the only casualty resulting from this fiasco that ended in unkind words and haughty attitudes. A relationship with my neighbor who also happens to be the beautiful and adored creation of the God I love seems to have been sacrificed on the altar of my pride, and in the end the two mangey-muts I was attempting to assist are probably dead, too! Something our minister has said on several ocassions sticks in my mind concerning the manner in which our society values and protects animal life and disregards human life being a travesty, and when he would make these statements of disgust, I would nod my head in agreement and think that I would never be guilty of such a shameful miscalculation of value, but there I was last week guilty of placing my concern for my neighbor's dogs well-being above my concern for maintaining our relationship and upholding my example for Christ. Now, I wonder,"Does she know Jesus? Was I the one meant to introduce them? Is there any way to repair the damage I have done?" In response to that last question, the Holy Spirit reminds me that a dead relationship will be a cake-walk for the God who raised Lazarus and Jesus from the dead.
Amazingly, after the events of the week, the sermon that greeted me Saturday night at church largely had to do with the importance of doing all one can to restore broken relationships starting with prayer and ending with persitance with face-to-face humility sandwiched in between the two, so I've been praying, and today off I trot across the yard, up the stairs to her front door with a humble heart with plans to persist in forgiveness and acceptance until God chooses to ressurrect my relationship with my neighbor. So, pray for me as I try to make amends with my neighbor and join me in committing to view each person with whom I come into contact as abeautiful and valuable creation of God made in his glorious image. Also, let's commit to doing everything we can to live in peace with all those we encounter in this life, and if we have failed to do so in the past, let's pray, have humble heats, and persist in our attempts walk along side of God as he restores what has been lost with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead!

Scriptures of Note:

Ephesians 4:26 In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

Ephesians 4: 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that they may benefit those who listen.

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of [dogs] food.

Romans 7:19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep doing.

Ephesians 1: 18-21 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomprehensibly great power for us who believe. The power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

More on Obedience:Bloggle Study 1/14/10: Genesis 9-12

We adopted a 2-month-old puppy, and my schedule has been all out of whack in defference to her needs, so blogging hasn't been on the agenda for nearly a week. Thankfully, Bernadette Minnie Lukomski, who being 14 lbs at 2 months is going to be a monster as an adult, did not wake Lili this morning with her yipping, and I have some much needed time to myself to get into God's word and write! I started where I think I left off with chapters 9 and 10 which I basically skimmed being that they were prmarily geneologies, and as I said before, i recognize that they have significance simply because God included them, but I am not educated as to what it is, so I will not even attempt to go there. In chapter 11 we pick up with the account of the tower of Babel, and I have a note written by my hand in th margin of the page that says this event transpired before the flood. I do not know when or why I wrote that note. I'm sure it is something I heard in a sermon or Bible Study meeting, but I cannot verify its accuracy. Even as I ponder the notes origin, I can begin to see where the people in this story went wrong in verse 4 Then they said, "Come let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth. First, their motivation was selfish, and secondly, it seems to me that their purpose of preventing themselves from being scattered was in direct disobedience to God's wishes expressed earlier in Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, " be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earthans subdue it. This may be a stretch, but if they were refusing to scatter, how were they going to "fill" the earth? We see in verse 8 what God thought of their disobedience and how far they got on their own. Lili is only three, as I am sure I have mentioned many times, but she is already hiding God's word in her heart. One of the first verses she learned was Phillipians 4:13I can do everything through him who gives me strength. The architects, builders, and supporters of the tower of Babel where attempting to accomplish something great on their own for their own glory and praise without God's blessing, and I hope we can see the cause/effect relationship in their level of success;) We are no different than these people from so long ago seeking to accomplish great things to make a name for ourselves or making decisions on our own in an attempt to control our environment rather than looking into God's word and testing our plans based on his desires for our lives. When we live our lives like this, we can see from this account in Genesis how the story will confusion and a pile of rubble! What I believe this story is trying to tell us today is include God in the plans of our lives....because no matter how thoroughly you plan if you try to do life on your own without tapping into God's strength and wisdom...confusion and rubble will be in your story, too, and wow, speaking of submitting to God's plan Abraham is comong up next in Genesis 12, and this dude just picks up and leaves his homeland and everything he knows at God's command., and there is a huge difference in this stories ending! When we live our lives submitted to God's plan instead of insisting on our own way, blessing beyond comprehension will ensue. Genesis 12:1-4 The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was 75-years-old when he set out from Haran. I love that Abram was 75 because it goes to show that you are never too old or too anythin else for God to begin a great work in your life! Because, remember, this is all about His strength and glory...nor ours! I, also, find great comfort in the fact that the man God found worthy enough to choose as the beginning ofthe line of Jesus Christ immediately screwed up and forgot everything I have been praising him for because that is just what I would have done! It, once again, gives me hope that God could love and effectively use a screwed up mess like me to accomplish his work on this earth! The first act I am referring to can be found in Genesis 12:10-20Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to loive for awhile because the famine was so severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sairai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'this is his wife' Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you." When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharoah's officials saw her, they praised her to Pharoah, and she was taken into his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservans and maidservants, and camels. But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharoah and his household because of Abram's wife Sarai. So Pharoah summoned Abram "What have you done to me?" he said "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say'She is my sister?,' so that I took her to be my wife?" Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!" Then Pharoah gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had. Here Abram starts to get worried about his well-being forgetting that he had committed to trusting God to provide, and makes his own plan to address the worry he experiences, a plan that results in disease and exile. Thankfully, for him and us this isn't the end of his journey with God but only the beginning, but we can still add it to our list of examples as to why we should seek God's wisdom as we go about life rather than trusting in our own faulty, human wisdom. I actually think it could have ended up a lot worse for him considering what he caused Pharoah, I'm surprised he left the country with his life let alone everything he had and his irresistably beautiful wife to boot! One last thing I must share today that totally alters the relavance of God's promises to Abraham for us please read Romans 9: 6-8 and Romans 4:13-17. These verses reveal to us what we may not have realized on our own as we read the account of Abraham (By the way, to clear up any confusion, Abram and Abraham are the same dude.)...that we have been added to the family line ofAbraham through our faith in Jesus Christ, so claim those promises folks. They are your inheritance passed down from father Abrham who had many sons. Many sons had father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you, so let's just praise the Lord! This is where God as my Author hero comes into plat, I mean, isn't it just spectacular how he weaves his story and continues to do so! I love discovering all the little ways the Old and New testament fit together! Growing up, I thought the Old Testament was just that old and in the past, not really offering anything to me of real value...oh, how wrong I was! Its BEAUTIFUL! and studying it has completely deepened my relationship with Christ and my understanding of the New Testament! The things I thought I understoof before took on new life after reading through the Bible the first time, so please, join me as I journey thtough it again, so you might have a similar experience!:) I would recommend the NIV Study Bible for optimal understanding and enjoyment!!! If you get it in soft cover, the cost isn't too bad, but after about 10 years it might need rebound like mine does, but at least, it can be done! I haven't priced it yet, but I plan to soon and will let you know if its reasonable!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bloggle study 1/5/10: Flood Waters and Rainbows

In yesterday's Bloggle study I was led to address suffering that results from the sin in our lives, and I was plagued all day about the possibility that an innocent suffering individual would apply it to her siyuation and get confused, so I had decided in advance that I would address suffering from a second scriptural angle today, and lo and behold, my reading during my quiet time actually goes along with the scripture I had chosen in advance...hmmm...I wonder if God had a hand in that:) Beginning in John 9:1-3 As he[Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him," Rabbi, who sinned this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus,but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life," and then, Jesus preceded to heal the man my spitting on the ground to make mud that he applied to the man's eyes before asking him to go wash in the Pool of Saloam. Also, there is the story of Job in the book of Job where God is upfront in letting us know that, Job, like, Noah, yesterday, was a righteous man describing him as blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil Job 1:1, yet he suffered greatly, and in this case it appears it was a test of the depth of Job's commitment and love for God, so we see two more examples as to why suffering may occur in one's life (1) to glorify God and (2) to test the sincerity and depth of our love for God. One other scripture occurs to me here Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the Children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of child-birth right up to the present time, so, it is my opinion, based on these verses, that it is possible that our suffering can sometimes simply be the result of existing in a frustrated and moaning world;) I believe the greatest pearl of wisdom to be identified is not the accurate identification of the source of our suffering because what does that accomplish of use other than possibly some comfort, or in yesterday's case, possibly some behavioral remediation, but rather, in identifying the source of surviving as we suffer! That is most definitely where I discovered treasure in the midst of the suffering that has visited my life on different occassions, so let's go on a treasure hunt in Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. I'm pausing here before I go on because this first segment holds the treasure we seek in verse 1...hearing God's word and putting it into practice is what sustains us in the storms of life! I'm continuing on with the scripture because the next part describes the extent of the storm damage in the life of one who chooses to ignore what God has to say about life. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell with a great crash! See, same storm, different ending, and I can attest to the truth of these words because I am that first man[or,in this case, woman who survived the storm with Jesus as my foundation.
Now, after a terribly long introduction, let's get down to business on today's reading...Genesis 7, 8, & 9. In these chapters we read more of Noah's storm in which the rain literally came down and the streams actually did rise until the whole earth was flooded, and please, take note of how Noah survived. He had heeded the word of God in his life to the point of looking like a fool and building a ginormous boat in a time and place that offered no place for it to float! He loaded it full of stinky animals at God's direction whether it made sense to him or not, and when the time for his storm arrived, God had prepared him to survive, and when Noah's storm was over, Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma....Genesis 8:20-21 This blog is my altar after my storm, and it is my desire that the offerings that I present here create an aroma that is pleasing to the Lord! Next, the Lord introduced the rainbow, and I hope you will never look at one the same after reading this. In Genesis 9: 8-11 God makes a promise to Noah and the earth that he will never destroy the world by flood again, and he seals it with a rainbow...And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenent for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth... I challenge you to not only be reminded of this at the sign of a rainbow, but also, that what sustained Noah in the storm was the fact he had heard God's words and acted in accordance to them in preparation for the storm, so if you haven't already, button down the hatches...get into God's word and put what you read into practice!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bloggle Study:1/5/10: Image

This morning I read Genesis 5 & 6 and was immediately struck again in verses 1-2 with the concepts I've already blogged about concerning us being created in God's image and verse 3 shows us a specific example to which we can relate of how God's image is displayed in us. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, and he named him Seth. The more I meditate of this verse the more I love it! Let's see if I can express why....As a parent I know how deeply I adore my child who this verse describes as being made in my likeness, which is the same wording the Bible uses to describe our relationship with God, so in my mind God must adore you and I with the same depth that I experience as I watch my Lili grow and develop. I will never forget watching her learn to walk across the black and white tile in the basement of our old house when it struck me that my relationship with her as I reached down with adoring amusement to help her back to her feet after she had tumbled to the floor with a gentle thud because she had tried to take a few more steps than she had previously as she toddled along beside Mommy was the same as God's relationship with me as I have grown in my Christian walk and struggled with my sinful nature as I try to walk along side my Savior to the best of my ability. The realization was gold to me because I had always figured that God was mad when I messed up, so understanding that each time I fell in my struggle that he was right there arms extended inspecting for boo-boos with eyes filled with adoration, and could that be a bemused smirk on his face as he witnesses his daughter growing and developing into the woman he created her to be!? Oh, how I love my Savior!, and how awesome a parent/teacher/creator is he to have woven this similar relationship into our exsistences, so we could experience and know first hand how a parent feels about her child knowing it would result in us understanding more deeply how we are loved by the Creator in whose likeness we were made!? I could go on in this vein forever, but I must depart from it here, so I can share one other tid bit that touched me as I experienced God's word this morning. Not far past the first verse I highlighted, Adam's lineage is outlined in chapter 5, and as I read it not much holds great meaning for me although, I am sure it has a purpose that one with a more thourough Biblical education could explain. I do notice, however, in verse 22 something new is said of one of Adam's descendants. Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. I can only hope that if there is ever a time when God records my life story for the education of future generations that he would say of me that Cori walked with God, or as it is said of Noah in chapter 6 that [Cori]Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord, and later,[Cori] Noah was a righteous [woman] man, blameless among the people of[her]his time,[she]he walked with God, and finally in verse 22 [Cori] Noah did everything just as God commanded him. It is the desire of my heart to be such a child to my Creator that I could be described in such complimentary terms! I am afraid I often fall terribly short, but thankfully, as mentioned before, my Creator adores me anyway! I love this concept that the story that the Bible tells is continued in our lives because it is a reality that God's work and kingdom building continues today in our lives, so what will be said of you? Will you be one of the standouts in the list of your geneology who walked with God, or will you blend into the monotony of the list being skimmed over by the less educated readers who encounter your story? This is my question to myself. I don't have to be a leading character like Noah. I just want it to be said of me that I walked with God and served him faithfully in whatever role he gives me big or small!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bloggle Study: 1/4/10

Tonight I read Genesis 3 & 4 most of which is covered in the first chapter of The Story although I did find that a few segments were ommitted from these chapters unlike chapters 1 & 2 which were wholely represented in chapter 1. Anyway, the essence of what stood out to me from these passages of scripture is contained in the first part of chapter 3 verses 1-19. In this segment both Adam and Eve are tempted to ignore God's guidance and fall prey to Satan's crafty reasoning that God was just trying to boss them around like a big bully and keep then from enjoying life to the fullest( vs. 1-5). The verse that nearly makes me want to vomit is verse 6 (When the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.), not because I am appalled at Eve's reaction to the fruit after hearing Satan's sly sales-pitch, but because I can so easily relate to her faulty vision that so ignorantly fails to view the temptation through the corrective lens of God's word (2:16-17 and the Lord God commanded the man, " You are free to ear from any tree in the garden, butyou must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil , for when you eat of it you will surely die."). Ugh...Why do we do that? We know God, the creator of us and the world in which we exist who, as a result, loves us and possesses all possible wisdom on how this world works and how to exist in it in a joy-filled and contented manner has given us instructions on how to live here in such a manner. Why do we second guess his perfect love and wisdom and suggest that we know better what we need and what will make us happy? That's exactly what Eve did and exactly what we do every time we sin...We say, "God, we know you said no, but it looks good to me, so I'm gonna try it anyway because I know I can't be happy without it," and I think God must knowingly shake his head in frustration and pain as he stands by and heart-brokenly watches the child he loves experience the consequences from which he lovingly tried to shield her. We repeatedly force him away with our sin and disobedience, and how does our creator respond to his insolent, bratty creation? He goes to work constructing a beautifully intricate and merciful plan to satisfy his Godly and perfect requirement for justice in which he plays the staring and sacrificial role by coming to the earth he created as a man named Jesus Christ, so he could live the perfect life that we cannot and serve the punishment for our crimes of which he is totally innocent all so he could reestablish that intimate relationship that he longs for with each man, woman, and child he creates! What a wonderful God we have! Let's learn some things from Eve and these childhood stories from Genesis this time around...(1) God created this world, so it only makes sense that he knows how it works better than any other being! (2) He loves man/woman and desires above all else to be in an intimate relationship with him/her (3) these two facts together equate to the reality that God's word is based on his great wisdom and never-ending love, so his guidance will always have our best interests factored in already. We never need to second guess whether God has considered our happiness and contentment when instructing us because that is what he desires for our lives as well, so that is exactly where he intends to guide us! (4) if we choose to ignore God's guidance in any area of our lives, we might as well brace ourselves because we will soon learn from what God was attemptng to protect his beloved child. Don't go sassing God when you get what you asked for when you ignored his instruction. In fact, when you are bearing the consequences of your sin, feel loved because you know your Father-in-Heaven wanted to protect you from the heart-ache you are experiencing...He didn't choose it for you. He just allowed you to choose it for yourself, and you did because it looked soooo good, but now, you know what God did all along, its so bitter and nasty that its painful:( The good news is He loves you so much He already paid the eternal punishment for your poor decisions and you don't have to remain separated from him. You can receive the gift he offered you by dying on the cross for your sins, and start heeding his advice, and he will lead you from whereever you've gotten yourself lost at to the joy and contentment that he always intended for you! You've gotta love a God that good, loving, and merciful! I know I do!! Let him lead you to the joy-filled contented life he planned for you today! He's standing by waiting for you to seek his guidance from whereever you have landed yourself:)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday, January 3 : Bloggle Study Genesis 1 & 2

Although I promised New Testament for my Bloggle Studies in 2010, my plans have changed due to a new read-through-the-Bible initiative my husband and I are participating in with our church family. As a congrgation we are reading the book The Story, not to be confused with my book This Is My Story, which is an adaptation of the Bible where in the text is presented as one seamless chronological story with only short transitional blurbs added to, well, assist in transition from one book to another...these are off set by italics so they are not confused as actual Biblical text. Anyway, Tim and I are reading bits of the chapter that will be reviewed in the oncoming weekend's sermon each evening before bed, and I am rereading the same scriptures in the morning during my Bible study and prayer time, so instead of beginning in Matthew, I will start with Genesis and follow along with The Story as our church progresses through it.
(Genesis 1 & 2) I began with Genesis 1 and 2 this morning, and I can't say that a great deal of it spoke to my heart in a fresh, impacting manner that I can clearly relay in writing. I was struck as I always am by Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. I never understood the concept of being created in God's image nor had I been exposed to an explanation until in 2005 when I was attending a Bible Study Fellowship meeting during which the subject was covered. Ever since, a scripture that I had always just coasted by totally pops when I encounter it and has helped define how I relate my creator in recent years! During the said BSF meeting it was explained that God created us giving us small portions of his full-blown abilities and characteristics. For example, he can create out of nothing and enabled us to create from that which he has provided us. He loves perfectly and has enabled us to love as well although without perfection. The list of specific shared traits went on and on and facilitated a deepening in my relationship with my creator because now, I totally embrace him as my overall life mentor and hero. Everything that I am or that I attempt to be, he is except in a bigger, more perfect manner. The connection that I experience with my creator as a writer, a teacher, and a parent is wonderful! Knowing that he is each of those things as well except perfect in each category, allows me to look to him for wisdom and advice as I pursue each endeavor, and how blessed am I, to have the world's most renowned wrtier/teacher/parent as my right hand advisor? Even now, as I write this, I am amazed at his perfection in each of these areas for knowing to set things up this way, so our realtionships with him can be deeper and more meaningful. Oh, and that the creator of the universe desires to be in relationship with us to the extent that he devised all the minute details of creation so that a relationship with him would be more necessary and sought after, and once realized, blissful! God loves you and wants do be in a relationship with you so much that he designed you and the world you live in specifically so you would need him and seek him out, and he promises that if you do seek him, you will find him Matthew 7:7, so start seeking today and find a father who loves you perfectly without end Romans 8:35!