Laurel Thomas

Monthly Archive: August 2013

Saturday

31

August 2013

2

COMMENTS

Hope in the River

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Hope deferred is a sneaky thing. We don’t understood hope. If we did, we’d know why it’s so sad to have it detoured. Hope is confident expectation. It is a promise based on God’s faithfulness. It’s like a birthday. Our five-year old granddaughter knows her birthday is coming. In fact, her next birthday is coming before the cake crumbs are swept from the kitchen floor and the inflatable castle is stowed away. Her mom might be exhausted after entertaining the covey of little princesses, but Gracie knows another party is just around the corner.

The book of Hebrews tells us not to throw away our fearless confidence. I can understand many commands in the Bible. I can understand don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t murder with your mouth or run with those who do! But why does he care if I’m confident? Isn’t wishful thinking a little more humble?

He tells us why.  Confidence is powerful. It has the ability to produce in a big way. (Hebrews 10:35). The real kind of confident expectation is based on promises from a God Who can not lie.  It isn’t that He chooses not to lie.  He can not lie. Lying is contrary to His nature.  Hope is anchored in the integrity of our unchanging God, whose love doesn’t waver or wane with changing times.

Hope deferred is hope put off for another day, another time, not for today. Before long, another day becomes never and I lay hope down completely. When I lay hope down, my dreams fade. I learned recently that the words “create” and “dream” come from the same root. If I don’t dream, I don’t create. Creation doesn’t happen outside a dream or outside of the hope that fuels it.

When hope fails, dreams and their power to create are quenched. We don’t see it as a big deal. But to God, it is a major loss. He understands the power of hope. He understands what would have been produced if hope stayed alive.

I ordered a book several weeks ago. I punched “confirm order,”and waited. It never came. The company said it had been delivered to my door. It ended up at someone’s door, but not mine. That’s like hope deferred. It isn’t gone forever. It’s just misplaced along the way. Life came by, made an unexpected turn, and took hope with it.

Lately, I’ve been talking to hope like a neglected friend.  I take “hope’s” face in my hands and speak contritely, but firmly. “I’m talking to you, yes, you. I’m sorry I let you go. I’m sorry I didn’t see you as the gift you are. Come home to me, hope. I need you.” I know that sounds a little strange, but I’m looking forward to the reunion!

Tuesday

27

August 2013

0

COMMENTS

Beauty in the River

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Have you noticed how we love competition these days?  Any night of the week, we can watch “ordinary” people compete to cook, to dance, to survive and even to fall in love!  Hey, let the best man/woman win, right?  It’s like me watching “Chopped.”  Four chefs have to create fine dining with an odd assortment of ingredients in a common basket.  Hey, I do that all the time!  Not the fine dining part, but the scrambling to make do!

So what do all these competitions say about us?  One thing is clear, I am rewarded If I produce better than anyone else. That kind of thinking keeps me moving.  I can exhaust myself on any given day.  Am I making progress or have I inadvertently bought into the treadmill approach to life?  Do striving and competition really bring greater productivity?

When I can’t sleep at night, I go to a happy place I create in my mind.  Okay, don’t judge!  I imagine different places, but they are all beautiful. One is a condo on the ocean.  My windows are open to feel salty breezes and hear pounding surf.  Another is a log cabin I created on our family farm in Missouri.  It has a desk with open windows nearby, too.

Why is it that my happy places are all beautiful?  Beauty hardly seems mandatory in everyday life.  I mean, I have a job to do, beauty or not.  So what is its value?

An apple tree looks squatty and nondescript throughout the winter season.  But in the spring, blossoms permeate the air with sweetness. They are extravagant beauty!  Are they just a nice addition?  If we look to learn, creation teaches us.  An apple tree is a model of the God kind of productivity. Those fragrant blossoms are more than a sensory delight.  They are a sign that fruit is on the way.

What an amazing God Who causes the blossom, the beauty, to signal fruitfulness? An apple doesn’t strive to pop out of the branch.  It just stays attached and beauty comes.  After the beauty, we find the nourishing fruit.  How simple.  Get attached and stay attached. The beauty comes.  It overcomes stench.  Its sweetness reminds us He is stronger.

Rest is beauty’s message.  It’s all about how we assign value.  Are we driven to perform hard and fast enough to be deemed successful by some arbitrary judge?  Or is there a Judge Who is also a Vine? He says, “Come, secure your hopes and dreams to Me.  My fragrance will permeate your life and yield a fruitfulness that feeds you and others with delight.”

He’s good.  Yes, that good!

 

 

 

Friday

23

August 2013

2

COMMENTS

The River, Part 2

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If we hang out in the river of God, we’ll find ourselves longing to create.  I’ve had such a limited understanding of creating.  I thought creating had to be art – really good art or really good writing to qualify for the verb “create.”  But that thinking only paralyzed my confidence and blocked the gift inside me. Our oldest son creates with concrete and metal beams.  My mother creates intricate geometric forms on fabrics that become quilts.  We pass them down into the generations.  Our daughter helps unravel emotional pain and mental anguish.  These are all creativity outside the box!

The Creator wants to form beautiful in and through us.  Like the river, He always moves forward.  In other words, good-bye “old” and hello “new” more often than we choose.  I used to like editing.  The story, already formed, just needed a brush up.  But now I’m learning to love the seed form of creating.  The seed form is the beginning.  It looks so little, so insignificant.  What, this?  How could such a little thing in me really matter?  The seed, like the undeveloped gift in me, doesn’t look like much, but has lots of potential.  It has to be planted,though.  I acknowledge the potential value in me by action.  I plant the seed.  I write.  I create – just in case what I create has more potential than I imagined.  It just might have the power to grow and spill out in unexpected ways, reaching unexpected places.

This is good cure for disappointment or hopes deferred by an ever-changing landscape of life.  There is always something of value in me.  It may be in seed form, but it doesn’t have to stay there. I can invest that seed

 

Wednesday

7

August 2013

4

COMMENTS

Home

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Welcome!  Glad you visited My Fresh Bread.  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday

7

August 2013

5

COMMENTS

Fresh Bread

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For My people have committed two evils.  They have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, and have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns which can not hold water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

One decision shapes my life in Christ. Will I choose to live in the river of God, or cling to a cistern?

A cistern is a container of water.  Because it has no outside source, the water gets stagnant quickly unless it is replenished.  It is wet and it is water, but I won’t go anywhere swimming in it!

A river, on the other hand, has a constant source of input. It doesn’t get stagnant because it is always moving. It moves from the inside out by currents that push it forward. Its constant motion takes me with it, through crooks and bends. I may get hung up in debris, but the river continually works to free me.

The river not only cleanses me, it shapes my world at the same time. I don’t have to be perfect. I just choose to cooperate with His life inside me. He cleans me up AS He shapes my world by His life and purpose.

The river takes me to new places, moves me from shallows to deep and then back again. It goes through or over obstacles. Obstacles only give the river a chance to show off its superior strength by cascading waterfalls and rapids.

I can choose cistern living by defending opinions based on outdated or untrue information. They are set in concrete, just like the cistern, regardless  of new information that challenges them. The smallness of the cistern vista breeds pride.  Attitudes like “I already know that,” or “I’ve got this” define it.

Cistern living is safe and without adventure. I can say, “Look, I’m swimming,” but really I’m just bobbing around. River living challenges my thinking because it is so large, so uncontainable, so full of mystery. River thinking requires humility, but rewards me with a huge view.

I am willing to live in the deep water of Ezekiel 47 when I let God show me what I don’t know, so He can take me to a place I’ve never been.  Any takers??

Tuesday

6

August 2013

2

COMMENTS