Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God Didn't Ferberize Me!

I have mentioned many times that God is my author/teacher/parent hero because he is the ultimate clinician in each of these practices as well as every other. In this post I will be focusing on God as a parent. Just because of who he is I know he is the epitome of perfection in parenting, so from the very beginning of my parenting experience, I have paused in perplexing moments and asked myself, "How does God parent me in similar instances?"Because whether we want to admit it or not there is nothing our children can do that isn't something for which a "similar instance" for comparison doesn't exist;) Yes, I am admitting that at times I behave as if I am no more spiritually mature than a 3-year-old, so my experience with God's handling of my behavior becomes a reference point as I raise my daughter on many occassions. One such occassion leads me to explain to you why my ever-growing 3-year-old daughter shares a bed with her parents in spite of the blatant disapproval of her pediatrician and many others. Lili slept in her crib long past the whole SIDS risk had been outgrown, but at 10 months after just that many nights of getting up 15-20 times a night to nurse her back to sleep, I decided I wanted to get some rest, so I called up Dr. Bob, Lili's very experienced and highly recommended pediatrician to inquire how I should go about addressing the issue at which time I was given a thourough explanation of the Ferber Method. A method I had refused to even consider in the past but was ready to try in the present, but after enduring the motherly turmoil of hearing her baby cry and not being able to respond for a day and a half, I threw in the towel admitting that I could already see it working but denying sleep was worth the cost of training my child like a dog that she couldn't trust me to come when she called, so she might as well shut-up and go back to sleep! This brought me to one of those earlier mentioned moments of perplextion, and I got to thinking that God had never done that to me, so I followed my heart, ran to my child the next time she cried out to me apologizing for being such a dim-wit of a momma, and carried her to a place of love and comfort until the night had passed...just like my Heavenly Daddy does for me when I cry out to him! Ever since my Lili Rose has been welcome to rest in that place until the day she chooses to sleep in her own bed...even if it takes a little bribery...I slept with my parents until the 2nd grade according to my baby book, and I clearly remember my father offering me $1 for every night I made it in my own bed. I was ready at that point, so the offer was all it took to tearlessly break me of what many consider a bad if looking to your parents for comfort and security should ever be considered a bad habit! I want to clarify that I am not trying to make anyone who has successfully or unsuccessfully used the Ferber Method feel like a bad parent. We do the best we can with what we've got, and this is simply a description of what that looked like in a specific scenario for me, and once again, we lack the perfection that God possesses, so even if we were to look to his example in every situation, we would be sure to fail in one way or another...the great thing is our inperfection is known and supplied for by him and any scars we leave in our children's hearts by our mistakes, he can heal! Another disclaimer is required here....I'm soooo not saying to parent willy-nilly since God is able to clean up your mess!...Just do your best and don't stress too much when you mess up because he's got your back, and if your not sure he does, tell him you want a relationship with him through the forgiveness Jesus (who you believe in and trust) offered you by paying the punishment for your sins on the cross, and start living with Jesus as the Lord of your life right now...for instructions on how to go about that, read the Bible;) By the way, Jesus set a Biblical example of following such a decision with a swim better known as baptism by emersion, so CANON BALL! Love you all and sweet dreams, say your prayers, and don't let the bed bugs bite...night-night;)

Monday, March 22, 2010

David vs. Goliath

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:19

My most recent studies as I have been writing the curriculum for my churches youth have been about a young shepard boy named David, the least of his brothers, who was annointed to be the king of Israel after Saul had lost the kingdom in conjunction with losing sight of God. God is clear that he chose David singularly because of the condition of his heart. "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward apppearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 Later, David steps up with gynormous faith to face a giant named Goliath who no one else in the Israelite army had dared to face including the king and his older, more physically impressive brothers. I'm thinking this is a show of the "heart" that God had already seen and annointed king when in 1 Samuel 17: 45 David greets Goliath by saying, "you come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied..." Lili and I play this game where I pretend that my shadow is eating hers up because it is so much bigger than hers that when I stand in her path my shadow consumes hers, and I think of this when I consider what it might have been like for this young boy to approach the huge, giant of a man in the valley between the two camps, of course, I don't know whether the sun was shining that day, but if it were, I am quite confident that Goliath's shadow similarly consumed David's shadow, and even though he approached without a shred of armor and only a sling accompanied by a few stones as protection David was confident not in himself but in God's power and faithfulness to the point of proclaiming "....All these gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's and he will give all of you (the Philistine army) into our hands." after saying this David didn't stand reluctantly quaking waiting to be smashed instead he ran at Goliath with confidence. This moves me especially in light of the verse from 2 Chronicles and the revelation in 1 Samuel that God chose David based on the condition of his heart, my guess is it was "fully committed" being that God took this boy considered to be the runt of his litter and strengthened him to the point of being victorious over a giant that grown-men who were trained for battle feared! The verse from 2 Chronicles in conjunction with this story also teaches me that God is still searching the earth for hearts that are fully-committed to him to bring down giants in current and future spiritual battles for his people. If God calls you to such a task, be confident as David was because God still has the back of those who are fully-committed to him!:)

Two other details from this familiar children's Bible story stood out to me fresh and new as I listened to it being taught to the 3rd-5th graders this past Sunday. First, David refused to wear the armor that Saul offered him before he went into battle...this led my mind to consider all the armor we wear each day in an attempt to protect ourselves on an emotional level as we face the world...leave it behind today because you don't need it if you're heart is fully-committed to God because he's got you covered! Secondly, even David in all his faith didn't know to what awesome and abundant extent God was going to provide for and protect him, I mean, the lad gathered up 5, smooth stones when he only needed 1 with God's backing to take down the giant! God's abundance is overlooked in so many ways, for instance, each of you have probably never stopped to thank God for giving you two hands, legs, arms, etc...along with tons of unused, back-up brain cells when you really could accomplish nearly all you need to accomplish with much less. Daily, I am reminded of how abundantly God blesses us when I face the day successfully with little more than half of the physical tools and abilities with which God originally gave me, and I am appalled that it never occurred to me before that all that I am missing now was a gift of abundance over and above what I truly needed to live happily and heathily in this world, so I wonder for what else I am failing to thank my generous creator, but, now, I thank him daily that he provides so abundantly that I can get by with so much less than that which I came prepared, and I know that just like David only needed one of the many stones he gathered to take down the giant that I will continue to experience victory with God's support with only one properly functioning side of my body/brain! Like David, I want to face down the giants in my life whether they are so big they swallow my shadow or not, confidently saying, "I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty,(here I papaphrase) and I'm going to beat your patoot because this battle already belongs to the Lord!" Join me as you fight your daily battles in fully-committed confidence:)

Major application points....honestly examine your heart...Are you fully committed to God? If not, what does that mean in light of these Biblical truths? If so, how does knowing God has your back change your approach to your daily battles? If not, why not...what's holding you back from total committment to God?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


My Lili near to broke my heart on the drive home tonight when she said dejectedly," Its taking a long time for maw-muh's arm to heal," and almost as if it were the harmony to her melody these words whispered through my mind completing her thought, "and I prayed so hard and so much asking Jesus to heal it!" My heart broke at her unspoken disappointment, and I assured her as best I could in that moment that mommy trusted Jesus to answer her prayers in whatever way he saw fit whether it be total physical healing, or simply this plenty miraculous heart-healing he has already accomplished in my life:) I need to tell my girl that Abraham never saw God's promises realized in his physical life as I may never see the use of my stroke-affected arm in this life, but that wasn't because God didn't keep his promises to Abraham, I mean, generations and generations later, we can look at the Biblical texts and see how they are realized in our own lives and see that every promise God made he kept, and just as Abraham witnessed the fulfillment of God's promises on the other side of heaven so I might have to wait anxiously to see the answering of my sweet child's prayers when I meet Jesus face-to-face. In fact, I've already been promised a new body that can run and skip and flail about enthusiastically as I once did, and after Abraham's example, I will wait faithfully knowing that my God is able and trusyworthy, for that day if that is how God writes my story! I mean, really, how could I ask for more than what he's already done for me, so I'm a little gimpy these days. I love him so much and am so greatful for who he is to me that he can take it all if that's what it takes for him to accomplish his will in my life! What I need you to know is that devotion you hear in my words stems from his awesomeness...His awesomeness inspires that level of devotion when realized in even a fragment of its totallity! I write these blogs so that you might recognize this awesomeness on a personal level in your own life because peeps it isn't just for me. The God that Rocks my world wants to rock yours too;) Pray with me that Lili will recognize the healing of my heart as just as relevant, useful, and valuable as the further healing of my body!

Monday, March 15, 2010


While at Chick-Fil-A today Lili and I met three little boys named Jeremiah, Benjamin, and Solomon. The last whose name reminded me of some scripture God called to my attention last week during some of my study and prayer time. I was just thumbing through the Old Testament reading over some scriptures I had highlighted in the past when I noticed a startling difference between two seperate verses describing different phases of King Solomon's walk with God, and I became very disturbed, almost haunted by what the verses communicated. Let's look first at 1 Kings 7:41-43 As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come to a distant land because of your name-for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm-when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the people's of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel and may know that this house I have built bears your name. In these words of Solomon's I hear a heart for lost people and a whole-hearted dedication to the God of Israel for whom he had erected an ornate temple in obedience to the detailed specifications laid out in earlier chapters of 1 kings which he had received. His obedience as obedience always does speaks of a deep faith born most likely of his father, David's example, but later in Solomon's life we , sadly, see a completely different portrait of the same man. 1 Kings 11 1-3 &6, 11 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women...They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites,"You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods. Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love....and his wives led him astray....So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord. he did not follow the Lord completely......So the Lord said to Solomon,"Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your subordinates. Whew, I almost feel sorry for him, I mean, he started out so strong in his faith, but because he refused to completely submit to the Lord, he lost his blessing:( It seems the Lord doesn't give a holy crap how grand Solomon's early gesture of faith was. He was only concerned with the current attitude of Solomon's heart, and once again, no matter how much we hate it, the attitude God desires from our hearts is total and complete submission...partial doesn't cut it! He wants us to obey even when its scary or uncomfortable and definitely when we don't want to because obedience in such areas communicates something even greater than and trust, so personally, what this spoke to me was, Cori, don't rest your faith and your relationship with God on past faithfulness, but rather be TOTALLY faithful with what God has given you NOW! My temple experience with God otherwise known as my grand gesture of faith was when I quit my job givong up its financial security to pursue whatever God called me to which happpened to be writing a book that shared my spiritual testimony up to that point. I have to admit that after having my book published and settling into life serving in the church youth ministry I got comfortable with the idea that I HAD BEEN FAITHFUL, but these scriptures clearly tell us that God isn't concerned with what I WAS...He wants faithfulness in the HERE AND NOW, and who says we can only build one temple in our lifetime? Through this blog, I hope to be establishing the foundations for the second structure in my life that bears Jesus' name! Now, I'm by no means, intending to communicate that for a gesture to be grand it must seem big to anyone outside the intimate circle that is you and God. You and God know what is grand in terms of your life experiences and talents. It may simply be making amends with a long time grudge or submitting to his will in an area of your life in which you have obstinately insisted on your way to your own detriment for years, or it may be submitting to his call to serve him in spite of your insecurities that have encouraged you to resist him in the past. Basically, what he is saying to us through this scripture is FINISH STRONG! Don't, like Solomon, start out your relationship with him all ablaze with fire and passion using your life to build grand structures that attract others to God by bearing his name only to die out to barely an ember of partial committment in the later days of your walk because no matter how grand your early gestures of love and committment may have been only the attitude of your heart in the here and now ensure God's blessing on your life. No matter what you've done in the past, if you refuse to submit in the present, don't be surprised if one day God justly tears the kingdom away from you. This brings to mind,Phillipians 3:12 Not that I have attained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I love this verse because it speaks of the effort necessary to grow and maintain a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Not to say that its something we can do that saves us because scripture is very clear that it is only by the grace of God that we are saved, but I do believe scripture clearly communicates a measure of active involvement and willful action is needed on our part to mature beyond infancy as children of God, and if a child is not properly nourished, we know he/she becomes weak to the point of death, so how can this not apply to our souls if we knowingly cut ourselves off from our source of spiritual nourishment by disobedience and half-hearted committment. Listen, once again, to Paul in Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Let's make this same committment with Paul to FINISH STRONG accomplishing that or those tasks for which God created us and called us to himself. Solomon got lazy resting on his past faithfulness and failed to remain faithful to the end of the race. He didn't continue to press on in service and committment to the Lord and his lacksidasical, half-hearted attitude left him vulnerable to temptation, and he fell away from God after a strong start....don't let your story mirror his!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Where's My Fruit Salad!?

Now, this isn't the fruit salad sung about by the famous chidren's group The Wiggles in their catchy tune, Yummy, Yummy. The fruit salad they make has nothing on the fruit salad spoken of in Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is the fruit or product that is supposed to be present in the life of any and every individual who truely lives a life submitted to God as fully committed follower of Christ Jesus and his teachings. I can remember a time in my walk with Christ when this scripture puzzled me because I had been baptized, but I knew that in truth I was not producing these fruits that were supposed to be evidences of the Spirit of God at work in my life. In contrast, now, I overflow with what I consider a very yummy, yummy fruit salad in reference to the scripture in Psalm 34:8 that encourages us to Taste and see that the Lord is good. This concept that life in conjunction with God is irresistably scrumptious is repeated in 1 Peter 2:2-3 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. So, the question that needs answering is what's changed in my life from then to now? The solution to this puzzle is hidden in plain sight in the stories of Samson in Judges and Saul in 1 Samuel of the Old Testament. Check out Judges 14:6 The Spirit of the Lord was upon him in power, so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat(or in terms to which I can relate a wet piece of paper). Compare the strength displayed in Samson when he was fully submitted and obedient to God to later in his life when he had allowed himself to become distracted to the point of disobedience Judges 16:20 Then she called,"Samson,the Philestines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Do you see how Samson's life bore the products of a relationship with God (in his case, physical strength) as long as he was fully-committed to obedience, but when he allowed an area of his life (His physical attraction to a pagan woman.) to fall out of submission to God's will, his life became barren, producing no fruit. One can see a very similar example recorded from the life of Saul in chapter 13 0f Judges. God appoints Saul as king over Israel expressing his pleasure with Saul by blessing his life until Saul chooses the path of partial-obedience, which we find to be disobedience in God's eyes when in verse 14 Samuel reveals a different kind of fruit, the fruit of disobedience, which happens to be the removal of said blessing" But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command." Just in case it isn't as clear as I think it is, I'll clarify that the difference in my life now from when I wasn't experiencing the fullness of my relationship with God is what I discovered after close and honest reflection of my life. Areas existed in my life, in the past, in which I was not fully-obedient/submitted to God's will for me. It took months of prayer and digging into God's word to discover the hidden committment issues to which I ignorantly clung that robbed me of the pleasure of enjoying the delectable fruit salad with which God desired to nourish me. Upon discovering these areas and realizing how they were limiting my ability to experience all the beauties of knowing Christ, with God's guidance and assistance I died to myself, once again (and have had to do daily since), and submitted to God's plan and desires trusting fully that his power, provision, and wisdom were all I needed in life, and talk about abubdant fruit. I've near to drowned in the stuff ever since, so if after some honest introspection you identify a fruit shortage in your life akin to spiritual scurvy, I challenge you to investigate and discover what areas of your life you still foolishly cling to not believing God is strong enough or wise enough to safely guide you, and pry your fingers loose of those areas with the help of a friend or family member if necessary, and drop it at God's feet. I promise it will be terrifying at first because you have been hanging on under the dillusion that doing things your way is the only safe way, but I guarentee you that if it makes you feel vulnerable, you are on the right path. The one that leads to abundant fruit salad, yummy, yummy:) If you want more details about the specific areas I needed to submit to God in full-obedience before getting a taste of God's fruit in my own life, check out my book, This Is My Story...Its all in there in more detail than I care to write here! If as you read this, you think," that's not me," at least take time to inventory your fruit because a shortage is a guarentee that you're holding something back, and there is more abundant life waiting to be had by you, so please, partake in the fruit feast God has prepared for you! Don't deny yourself the mouth-watering delacacies of peace, joy, and love!