Laurel Thomas

Monthly Archive: January 2014

Friday

31

January 2014

4

COMMENTS

Seeing in the River

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She was seven when she left the north country and moved to Missouri with a new step-dad. Living with her grandparents for several years had been a refuge for three little kids and mom going through a divorce. Change again crept unnoticed into her horizon like a red-hued dawn.

Her step-dad, born and bred in Georgia, had a languid southern drawl and southern charms. He called her “sugar” and played baseball in the back yard. He was fascinating in an alien sort of way. Not the get close and check it out kind, but still, intriguing from a safe distance.

As she and her siblings jostled each other for space in back of the green Chrysler Imperial, she didn’t know the word “uproot.” All of life would change in the time it took to leave Minnesota and move into a brick duplex in small town Missouri. Her grandfather wasn’t there to make MaltoMeal on cold winter mornings. She missed the metallic taste of vitamins her grandmother doled out with hugs. No more afternoons at the kitchen table with cousins, eating cake donuts and drinking milk and no more dramatic productions of fairy tales in the basement as the adults talked upstairs.

Uprooted. How bad could it be? She was only seven and maybe the roots weren’t that deep anyway. It would be an adventure, a journey as a new family formed. Her adult self was grateful for the step-dad who not only adopted she and her siblings, but became an active dad. He played, disciplined, and loved.

Her childish heart, on the other hand, felt abandoned. In her eyes, she didn’t fit and didn’t belong. The orphan mentality, while not true, etched into her little girl’s perceptions as a stylus of circumstance seemed to confirm she was truly alone.

It wasn’t until years later she discovered the Spirit of Adonai, the Lord. He had come to bind up her broken heart and proclaim liberty to that small captive. But how?

He would open her eyes. Her life became a journey of freedom as she saw and received truth. The poverty and encased walls of the orphan spirit were dismantled in the generosity and open arms of her Creator whose resources and love were unlimited.

The orphan’s mindset was a dead-end road. It was self-adulation when she succeeded and self-flagellation when she failed. In the journey with Love, she discovered a secret. She had always had a good Abba. He had never left, failed or forsaken her. He just waited when the invitation of her heart opened her eyes.

Today, may the invitation of our hearts continue to open our eyes. We will see a multiplication of His goodness in our lives this year. Why? Because we are willing to learn what we don’t know and see what we haven’t seen – all in the light of His eyes that illumine the orphan’s heart and sets us free.

Blessings!

Laurel Thomas

Saturday

25

January 2014

0

COMMENTS

Seduction Against the River

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Gregor MacGregor invented his own country. It was London in 1820. According to MacGregor’s elaborate ruse, a native chieftain had appointed him Crown Prince. That made him royalty. Much nicer than swindler and con-man. He sold shares of land that did not exist to adventurous, albeit unsuspecting, pioneers who became easy targets for a deal too good to be true.

The fictional Central American country, called Poyais, was allegedly on the Bay of Honduras. MacGregor printed Poyais currency and sold shares of land. Sketches detailed the fictional land’s abundant resources of un-mined gold, silver and rich farmland on fake maps. It even had an imaginary capital with an opera house.

Many of the 250 would-be colonists sold what they had. They gave their life savings to purchase the bogus currency of a pretend country. As they wandered at sea looking for a non-existent land, MacGregor rounded up his next group of settlers.

People from two separate missions met on an untouched island jungle. Life was hard. Tropical diseases, exposure, and starvation killed 180 of the 240 within the first year. Most of the settlers returned to England when they had the opportunity. Sick and impoverished, less than 50 people survived the trip back.

When English newspapers published their stories, some survivors refused to label MacGregor as a charlatan. By then he had already left for France to start another expedition.

Seduction makes us look foolish after its eaten our lunch. It promises perpetual sunshine, but has only destruction to offer. It entices us to make decisions on the basis of appearance instead of integrity. Using flattery, it whines over unfulfilled desires. Betrayal peeks around its corner, hoping we’ll come along for the ride.

Balaam was a prophet. Well, sort of. His loyalty went to the highest bidder. He could hear the word of the Lord and prophesy on the mountain top and in the next breath go to an enemy king with a plot to sabotage God’s people.

Balaam and seduction were buddies. Why stage a battle when God’s people were willing to join the enemy? What a duo they were, promising such sweetness with such a diabolical heart.

No one is bigger, better, kinder, or more loving than our Creator, God. No one has better rewards. No one offers sweeter joy or better security. Psalm 91 reminds us that He rescues us from hidden traps. We fear nothing in His arms – only what can take us out of them.

Seduction isn’t bullet-proof. Truth can expose it. God offers wisdom and discernment, two sure-fire weapons against its lure. Tested friends and family can also help. Like Tyler Perry’s Madea says, find the root kind of people, ones who’ll give life-long stability and nourishment. God is like that. He is honest and kind. He won’t leave us. What we hoped for in a dream can come true. He carries the goods to deliver.

Be watchful. Seduction is after the precious currency of our lives. It lusts after our value, hoping we’ll buy the lie and purchase those false hopes. Its fiendish eye longs to see our dreams dashed against the shore of a desolate island. Listen to the true Lover of your soul, Yeshua Messiah. He is a worth the investment of our time, attention and desire. He’ll keep us from all that glitters but is not gold.

Blessings,

Laurel Thomas

Wednesday

22

January 2014

8

COMMENTS

A Tree in the River

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It was going to be a money tree. My friend went to a local green-house and asked for a dead tree. They had one. She took it to church, spray-painted it white, and put tiny clothes-pins on its branches for a baby shower. That afternoon, after the party, she stashed it in a storage closet. The closet had no window for sunlight. The only light drifted in when someone opened the door. No one watered the tree. After all, it was dead.

Months later, she opened the closet, and did a double-take. There were buds on the tree. She ran to show the pastor, who made sure it was planted on the north side of the church grounds. Today the tree is seventeen years old, over fifteen feet tall, and still thriving.

Moses and Aaron were brothers and team-mates. They walked together on an impossible God-directed mission. A simple message propelled them. “Get My people out of captivity.” Yes, there were about two million captives and yes, the king would fight them tooth and toe-nail all along the way. No matter, God, Moses and Aaron would get them out together. God provided the power, Moses was His spokesman, and Aaron, his right-hand man.

My husband talks about the gift of friends who will follow us into hell with a bucket of ice water. Moses couldn’t beat the kind of friend who stood with him before a cranky heathen king, one happy to separate heads from shoulders at any given moment.  

At some point Moses and Aaron realized getting the people out of slavery wasn’t the hard part. Physical location changed as they moved toward the Promised Land. Their hearts did not. A slave mentality had etched itself into generations. Its banner was passivity, setting the hearts of its victims in concrete with a perpetual, “Feed me, I’m yours.”

The Israelites missed the Promised Land with that kind of thinking. It was a tough loss. As victims, they looked for someone to blame. Where was that evil taskmaster anyway? Gone? No problem, Moses and Aaron were right there.

A bold insurrection formed, one rooted in blame and self-will. God’s people were glad to get out of slavery, as long as it didn’t require any heart adjustments. Moses and Aaron made mistakes, but their hearts didn’t waver in the passion to direct God’s people forward into His best.

Pushing and shoving each other, they still thought like angry slaves, forced to obey an unjust tyrant. But that tyrant was gone. Now they were rebelling against love Himself. Bitterness closed their eyes to the difference between an oppressor and a loving God. They ignored the lesson of the staff.

Each leader of the twelve tribes had a staff. It was a symbol of authority. In the middle of a giant mess, Moses put each one in the Tabernacle, immersed in the presence of God. The next morning eleven staffs were unchanged. Aaron’s staff, though, was full of ripe almonds. A dead branch budded, blossomed and yielded ripe almonds, an entire life cycle, in one night. The life of God Himself affirmed Aaron’s calling before the entire congregation.

Bitterness, a fruit of slave mentality, is expensive. It purchases what we don’t want. Like broken relationships and unfulfilled desires. God needs to expose its awful, stinky self. The staff is at stake. We may get put in a dark closest for a time so that the presence of God can immerse us in His light. As we embrace that light, our decision to adjust our attitudes is an investment. Its pay-off is the life of God at work within us.

This is an Aaron’s rod year. His life is not limited by our dark closets and thirsty ground. He affirms our obedience in the dark times with His life. Then we, like Aaron’s rod, dead branches without Him, bud, blossom and bear ripe fruit in ways we couldn’t anticipate. I’m game –how about you?

Blessings,

Laurel Thomas

Thursday

9

January 2014

6

COMMENTS

Currency in the River

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The television show, Mystery Diners, pulls on the inner cop in me. A restaurant is losing money or customers. The owner wants to know why. Mystery Diners comes to the rescue with hidden surveillance cameras and undercover helpers. It is their job to see what the boss can’t see.

This covert watch-dog mission unveils stealing, wild parties after hours, scams, and general sloppy behavior. Discoveries are not hearsay or rumor. They are facts. Hidden cameras record hidden realities.

In the end, the guilty are dragged into central station and see recordings from different angles of the restaurant. In short, they are busted. At this point, it gets interesting. Smoke-screens of every variety appear in the inevitable moment when truth exposes a lie.

Sometimes it is with self-righteous anger. “I was doing this to help you!” Right. Hence the stolen cash in the back pocket. Shouted obscenities hope to intimidate, or at least divert attention. A rare person accepts guilt and makes amends. Why so rare? Maybe because the dishonesty started long ago – when they first deceived themselves.

The camera mimics a mirror. In Mystery Diners, the workers don’t know they’re looking into one until the end of the show. The Bible is a mirror. We see ourselves in it. It isn’t meant to condemn or accuse us. It is meant to show us truth. When we receive truth, it becomes to us what it is, the way of freedom.

No one likes to be exposed. Sin wants to stay hidden. The worst thing about sin is that it diverts. It diverts the value of our lives into something that doesn’t matter, or worse, into something that harms us and others.

The Laodicean church in Revelation sent a message to those who appreciated good first impressions. “We have lots of money, great clothes, and abundant resources. We don’t need anything, thank you,” was their mantra. Something was hidden, though. Something God saw and needed them to see.

Ever crashed your knee into the corner of a bed-frame in the middle of the night? Or run into a door on your way to the bathroom? Pain, as a consequence of not seeing, rouses us like nothing else. God told this church what He saw and it wasn’t wealth and self-sufficiency. It was poverty and shame.

Not one to point out a problem and then withhold the cure, the Lord had some advice. He offered what they needed to solve the issue. It wasn’t out of their reach. They could purchase it from Him. It was true riches, gold refined by fire, clothes designed in heaven, and medicine to heal the blindness of unseeing eyes.

This year, I’m going to make some purchases from the living God. After all, He’s the one who recommended it. I might think I’m doing just fine. Life has a way of either lulling us to sleep or distracting us by its uproar. This is neither of the above.

My life isn’t effective without His perspective. I honor the fact that He knows things I don’t know. I need His righteousness to cover my insufficiencies. I need His anointing in exchange for my powerlessness. I need the God kind of wealth, freeing me from the poverty of greed and selfish ambition.

Our lives are valuable. We carry a kind of purchasing power. It can be offered for the wrong reasons for the wrong purposes, or it can be submitted as currency for heavenly business. This commerce between God and I releases His goodness, His love, and His plan on earth. I want to be a part of that. How about you?

Blessings,

Laurel Thomas

Monday

6

January 2014

0

COMMENTS

Brown Eyes (revised)

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Swaddled and resting in the plexiglass isolette, my granddaughter, Gracie, was less than an hour out of her mother’s womb. Her eyes were wide open. She was so new into the world, so fresh from heaven. I wondered what she would tell me about God if she could. If only I could communicate with her spirit peeking out of those unblinking brown eyes.

My prayer was that she would remember the heaven she came from, that even when the world distracted, she would recognize the voice of the One who created her with an everlasting love. In this new year may we all draw near to what we once knew.

Brown Eyes

Brown eyes

Peer into

Foundations of earth

Placed

Safe in her

Creator’s heart

 

The immense

The minute

Glimpse etched in spirit

So deep

Still calls

 

The embrace

Formed

And breathed

And waited

 

Unremitting

Beauty

A cavernous spring

Unfolds

In

Your eyes

 

Proud

Proclaims

In loud

Cataphonic crush

Threatens

Distracts

 

Little one

See

Inscribed inside

In infinite

Decree

 

Creation

Still calling

Come

With

Me

 

Blessings!

Laurel Thomas

Monday

6

January 2014

3

COMMENTS

Brown Eyes

Written by , Posted in Blog

     Swaddled and resting in the plexiglass isolette, my granddaughter, Gracie, was less than an hour out of her mother’s womb. Her eyes were wide open. She was so new into the world, so fresh from heaven. I wondered what she would tell me about God if she could. If only I could communicate with her spirit peeking out of those unblinking brown eyes.

     My prayer was that she would remember the heaven she came from, that even when the world distracted, she would recognize the voice of the One who created her with an everlasting love. In this new year may we all draw near to what we once knew.

Brown eyes

Peer into

Foundations of earth

Placed

Safe in her

Creator’s heart

     The immense

     The minute

     Glimpse etched in spirit

     So deep

     Still calls

The embrace

Formed

And breathed

And waited

     Unremitting

     Beauty

     A cavernous spring

     Unfolds

     In

     Your eyes

Proud

Proclaims

In loud

Cataphonic crush

Threatens

Distracts

     Little one

     See

     Inscribed inside

     In infinite

     Decree

Creation

Still calling

Come

With

Me

     Blessings!

     Laurel Thomas

Thursday

2

January 2014

6

COMMENTS

A Baby in the River

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The Wal-Mart pharmacy was quiet. It was late March. Flu season dissipated and displays of sun-screen appeared in time for spring break vacations. With a faked nonchalance, I slipped a home pregnancy test between the toilet paper and milk cartons. It took a few minutes to scope out an unknown checker. Not easy, since filling carts with provisions for my husband and three teenagers several times a week made me a familiar face.

The year I turned forty was a hard one. A flurry of accusations sowed doubt and mistrust in close friendships. Suspicion tarnished labors of love. Like the snake showing up in the garden of Eden, all that appeared to be paradise dissolved in “he said’s and she said’s.”

Broken bones heal over time. The wounds of broken relationships are harder to reach. Often they are stuffed into hidden crevices of our hearts. Instead of paying attention to them, casting them with grace and truth, they harden into crooked dysfunction. Untreated, they grow into cancers and chronic ailments of the soul and body.

Things didn’t get better. Angry words and knee-jerk reactions became more fuel for countless fires. Sighs of regret filled my daily prayer walks. One day I looked up. There, in divine answer, was a tranquil, turquoise sky. An unexpected longing bubbled up out of me. It tumbled out without reason, in tears and travail. “Lord, I need life. I need a child.”

Revelation 12 describes a great sign appearing in heaven. A pregnant woman cried out in her birth pangs. An enormous dragon stationed himself in front of her, ready to devour the child she brought forth.

Signs in the Bible are like billboards. They get our attention. Like being pregnant at the age of 43, after a prayer is forgotten and circumstances are impossible.

I learned, like Hannah in the Bible, that God heard my prayer for a child. My cry met heaven’s cry and a flesh and blood God-plan showed up in baby form, even as the devourer roared.

Our deepest desires are potential “babies”. Unlike resolutions forgotten in the first billows of a strong north wind, they are deep, often unexplainable longings.

The dragon is an accuser. It waits to devour our dreams. In my case, the accuser was behind innuendos and unresolved hurt among friends. This enemy doesn’t need a crowd, though. His weapons are tailor-made to fit our insecurities. They aren’t fair. They aren’t truth.

I’ve learn to smell the dragon. Accusations don’t always thunder. Sometimes they blow with a relentless, yet subtle pressure, eroding the expectations of our hearts. But these ploys remind me of good news. God has an answer to the fiery breath of a dragon’s lies. It is a child of promise.

Here are a couple of my prayers for 2014:

1. Help me recognize and reject the dragon that accuses me and others.

2. When I hear the accuser, remind me to look for the God-promise.

Our hearts are fertile ground for “babies” who come to earth, bringing hope and healing with them. Look for them in 2014!

Love in Christ,

Laurel Thomas