Laurel Thomas

Monthly Archive: January 2015

Wednesday

28

January 2015

2

COMMENTS

No Regrets in the River

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Let it go, let it go!

Little did I know when seven-year old Gracie sang with her Elsa doll in our living room…in the car…on her way to bed…that she sang a word from the Lord. One belted out in the cars and bedrooms of every little girl singing Frozen’s anthem.

Ahh, the lips of babes. They speak the word of the Lord, or rather sing it at the top of their lungs. It doesn’t matter if they have anything to let go. It just feels right to sing it loud and with abandon!

This morning I turned to my daily reading in Genesis, read two chapters and was intercepted by a word from the Lord.

Don’t regret leaving your stuff. (Genesis 45:20 One New Man Bible)

It was Pharaoh, an ancient Egyptian ruler, talking to Joseph, his co-regent. Joseph was the slave who’d been plucked from prison and positioned to administrate the riches of Egypt.

Pharaoh appreciated a man who heard from God. So he was happy when he heard Joseph’s brothers had been found and that his dad was still alive. He had a word of wisdom for the brothers of his friend and co-regent.

“Tell them, don’t regret leaving your stuff, for the goods of all the land of Egypt are yours.”

Canaan had been a land of promise. But Joseph, a son of promise, was stolen out of that land. His dad, Jacob, never expected to see him again. Neither did the brothers who sold him. They watched the promise carted away, beyond reach and never to return.

A Canaan promise is one that comes out of the early days of our faith. Those times God spoke to our hearts and we knew it was Him. His promise was beautiful and filled with such hope. Somewhere along the way of life, though, it got lost. Or stolen. Maybe we gave up waiting for it.

Here’s what I saw this morning. What was stolen ended up in a place of destiny. A promise was positioned by God in an unexpected place, looking all grown up and unlike what it did in the beginning.

Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize him. But there he was, looking like what they didn’t expect, in a land they would never have visited unless famine propelled them there.

We have promises that appear lost. But they are neither lost nor dead. They’re  waiting in a place we didn’t expect, looking like what we haven’t recognized. Better yet, they are positioned by God to steward the riches of an unredeemed land.

Look around. Our lives may not look like what we planned. That doesn’t mean God’s strategy hasn’t been at work. The promise came to fullness when we weren’t looking. In an unexpected place, in an unexpected way.

So we don’t regret giving up preconceived ideas of how God was going to do it. We don’t mind leaving all the success and failures in His hands. The precious thing we thought was lost is found. And with it comes reconciliation and restoration in a way that will astound us.

After all, it was God’s promise. He remembers – even if we forget.

Shalom,

Laurel Thomas

 

 

Saturday

24

January 2015

0

COMMENTS

Fragrance in the River

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I was driving home from a retreat, in my twenties and a new believer. It was all so new.

The presence of God, fresh and immense, had shown up in that forested refuge, a sparse log-framed conference center. His love for me remained a big mystery, though. After all, I didn’t have much to offer.

It wasn’t like I could offer a beautiful brain. I couldn’t read a map and got lost from home to the grocery store. Okay, not that bad. But still, finding a new destination was hair-raising without any sense of north, south, east or west. I got lost a lot. Changing a tire, doing math – not so much. I just liked to read.

I couldn’t offer much in the way of holy living. After all, I didn’t know Holiness Himself yet. Didn’t know He would help me in that process.

So I was just praying that afternoon in my blue Plymouth Satellite, heading back home and thanking Him for all the goodness He’d poured out on me, an ordinary little lady.

When love appeared in that car, He came like warm honey that began at my head and filtered into my mind with a sweetness too big to contain. Love drenched my pores and saturated my understanding. It disarmed my defenses. It overtook my fears. It changed me for all time.

I married a great man and we had four children, all better than I planned or deserved. Life kept me busy, doing pretty much whatever was needed. Call of God? Well, sure. Exciting, life changing? I hoped so. Most of the time I was too busy working to wonder. Until the times giving got hard. The seasons I was depleted and wondered if any of it mattered.

Then one Saturday morning, I read about an anointing at a city called Bethany in the book of Matthew. This anointing wasn’t one applied to heal blind eyes, or to straighten crooked limbs. It wasn’t an anointing to send a tormenting demon packing or to bless a child. This anointing was for the Anointed One.

A human being anointed God by her love. Her anointing, a simple gift, prepared God for the offering of Himself.

An ordinary woman, responding to extravagant love, prepared God for His highest mission. Her offering, unsolicited and unrequired, was a spontaneous outpouring of her love responding to His love. And it mattered.

I didn’t know my life was costly or that my gifts were precious. Most of all, I couldn’t have imagined that the offering of me would propel His mission and fill His heart with the sweetness He’d so often poured out on me.

How was it possible? I still don’t understand.

But that doesn’t make it any less true. Our lives are fragrant, costly, precious offerings to Him. Imperfect, yes, but treasured by perfect Love Himself.

It is a wonder, a mystery that escapes our mental grasp. But we don’t have to understand to take hold of it or to live by the fragrance of its beauty. When we get tired or can’t quite remember why it matters, it does. When we’re just too busy to notice, it matters.

In fact, it makes all the difference. For Him and for us.

Shalom,

Laurel Thomas

Monday

19

January 2015

2

COMMENTS

Suddenlies in the River

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My husband loves to see the power of God show up. He loves documented miracles of deformities made whole, deaf ears hearing and blind eyes seeing. They are signs that the living God appeared and did what only He could do.

He’s sure if people could just see these miracles, they’d believe.

Jesus liked signs and wonders, too. He not only healed the sick and delivered the tormented, He made sure they also became billboards of His grace. A sign for anyone driving down the road of life.

He likes to show us off. Especially the ways we let His grace and truth change us from the inside out. A wonder to anyone who knows us!

Miracles are all around us. That doesn’t mean we see them. The power of God does heal. It does deliver in astounding ways. But His power to change us isn’t diminished because it goes unnoticed. My miracle loving husband hasn’t had pneumonia for ten years. It had been a yearly plague. I’m not an angry, alone person anymore. His power changed me.

We’ve made some progress in this journey. We have some suddenlies on the way.

Esther, a Jewish orphan married a Persian king. A suddenly apprehended her quiet life and positioned her in royal courts.

This suddenly had everything to do with identity. Circumstance called her orphan. God called her deliverer. Her alliance to the right identity redeemed and shifted an entire culture.

Circumstances hope to be strong enough to define us. An orphan spirit can develop through hurt and abandonment. It makes judgments like, “It’s not fair…”

It isolates out of fear, crying, “Maybe you’ll use me, abuse me. I’m safe only in my own hands, by my own devices.”

It’s miserly and whines, “What will it cost if I give love, give trust? I have so little to spare.”

In short, it tries to keep us small.

But we are not small. Not now. Not ever.

Esther married a heathen king. That marriage placed her in a mountain of culture. One that hadn’t experienced the God Esther knew. She couldn’t stand back in fear. She couldn’t stay small. She had to know the place of God’s calling was strong enough not only to keep her, but to change everything around her.

We may be positioned in some dark places this year. No need to fear. Our suddenlies are only opportunities to highlight what we didn’t know was in us. Like wisdom born out of hurtful mistakes. Or confidence that His strength shows up best in our weakness.

Light always wins. We just have to remember we carry it. No matter where our suddenlies lead us.

Shalom,

Laurel Thomas

Thursday

1

January 2015

0

COMMENTS

Muddy Waters

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Sometimes human love is muddy. The clear spring of love meets up with some dirt. That dirt could be sin or unhealed trauma. We may not know what kind of dirt it is or how it got in, but we sure know it’s there. What should be pure and sweet becomes difficult and heart-rending. Still love, just muddy.

In the first book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Merry, a hobbit, made a careless mistake. It was a costly one, beckoning an evil host who threatened not only his life, but the lives of his friends. He wanted to take it back. But it was too late.

That’s like enemy, tripping us up and then making us pay far more than we have.

Often our mistakes become defining moments in all the wrong ways. They mark us in a way we wish we could reverse. For me, it was an incident in college. I made a careless mistake. One that positioned me for a vicious attack. It cost me more than I could pay.

That’s the nastiness of the enemy. We become his victim and he leaves his dirt behind. If we aren’t careful, we believe the lie that it is our dirt. It isn’t.

I didn’t tell anyone. I hoped I could just press that gaping wound down and ignore it until it went away. It didn’t. It attracted more pain, which in turn, invited more infection.

Merry’s mistake brought up demonic orcs from the depths of the mountain. A battle ensued as Gandalf met the ringleader of that evil host. He and the strongman fought, descending into the depths where all was cold and dark.

All appeared lost until Gandalf rose again, with sword slashing, driving the demon back up into the light. It almost cost him his life, but in the end, Gandalf destroyed the evil strongman.

A battle with a strongman is real, whether we recognize it or not. We’ve heard his mocking. Sometimes we reel at his hits below the belt. He tries to assault with sickness, pain, or whatever his evil kingdom has to dish out. We can feel hurtled into the depths with no light in sight.

A lot more is at stake than our personal survival. More than we can see at the time.

For unto us, a Child is given. Unto us, a Son is born. His name shall be called Wonder, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace, there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with judgment and acts of loving kindness. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this… Isaiah 9:6,7

I’ve read that Scripture a lot of times, declaring His government (order) and His peace (shalom) increasing in a way that will never end. I just didn’t know it was for a kingdom. My kingdom. Your kingdom.

We don’t call it that anymore. We call it a sphere of influence. It covers the significant people in our lives, the ones we’re connected to. A kingdom grows as we welcome God-appointed people into our lives. It isn’t perfect. My kingdom still has pain in it. God’s order of love and truth is growing, but there are some muddy waters.

Those waters are a signal to take hold of my sword. For the sake of my kingdom. It is a sword of never-ending grace and truth. It’s a sword God entrusted to me, not out of perfection, but out of determined pursuit. So I hang on no matter how dark it gets. I slice and dice those lies until they are forced right up into the light and destroyed.

For years I thought I was the one the strongman was after. Turns out, he was after more than me. He was after my kingdom.

Unto us a Child is given, unto us a Son is born. He came to rule for us and for our kingdom. He came to order and establish my kingdom and yours in justice and acts of loving-kindness. He is Wonder (Miracle), Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Daddy and Prince of Peace for each of us and for everyone He brings into our lives.

In this new year we’ll remember our choices to follow Him are more important than we think. We may feel tossed into dark places that threaten to swallow us. They won’t. We’ll keep that sword close at hand, knowing His promise, trusting our kingdoms to Him.

Shalom,

Laurel Thomas