Laurel Thomas

Monthly Archive: November 2015



November 2015



A Whisper In the River

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Her name meant insolent and fierce. She was named for survival.

Jericho, her home, was the seat of worship to Ashtaroth, where children were offered on its lust-filled altars. The depravity of this fertility cult targeted the innocent and defenseless. No wonder even the land tried to vomit it out. (Leviticus 18:25)

God’s people had been slaves, so they knew a thing or two about being victimized. It’d taken a couple generations in the wilderness, but they were finally moving into the land God had prepared for them. It wasn’t the goodness of the land that delayed them. It was the darkness they had to conquer once they got there.

Jericho was part of that darkness. Joshua sent two spies to check out the city. They went to an inn built into the city walls and to a woman named Rahab. As an innkeeper and prostitute, she had access to information from all over the region.

She’d heard about Israel’s God. This God of the Hebrews defended His people. He’d opened the sea so they could cross to safety, then swallowed the enemy who’d pursued them. Rahab could have chosen to erect walls around her heart, like the towering stone that surrounded her city.

But she didn’t.

Maybe she’d heard the Scripture in Psalm 113:7.

He raises the poor out of the dust and lifts the needy out of the dunghill, so He can place him/her with princes, with the princes of His people.

It was worth the risk. She’d make the leap. And bring her family along, too.

I’m drawn to the story of Rahab, because I know she still exists. She might be in my face with the trappings of her culture. The one that victimized her. But she needs to hear real stories of the living God who shows up when we call His name. She needs hope in the power of His love.

Hope looks puny compared to the darkness that’s taunted her for years. She may not know that even as a seed, hope is stronger than the chains wrapped about her precious worth. Somewhere, she whispers and waits for an answer.

She’s an extraordinary person. Because once she knows Truth, she’ll lead her whole family into a land of promise. Generations will be changed. Champions born.

I’ll meet her as I walk forward with Him. And when I’m not afraid to face the darkness that has kept her captive.




November 2015



Rescue in the River

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In the days Jesus walked throughout Israel, crowds of people pressed around Him. After all, if someone needed a miracle, there were plenty to go around. Not that it always happened in a way they expected. Like this time.

Jairus was a leader in the local synagogue. Falling to his knees, he’d begged the Master to come and heal his daughter, dying at the age of twelve. He had Jesus’ attention and they headed, together, toward his home.

Until they were interrupted. Hidden in the crowd was a woman who’d been bleeding for twelve years. Jewish law prevented her from contact with other people.

Without warning, Jesus stopped. What? Didn’t He know death moved forward with each delay? But He stopped and asked who touched Him.

Who touched Him? The crowds pressed all around Him. Lord, I told You my daughter is dying.

Jairus didn’t pull a status card. He didn’t remind Jesus he was a synagogue leader and that He’d just stopped to heal a woman who defied Jewish law.

A moment moved into minutes, then longer, as sickness consumed his daughter’s body. At the conclusion of one miracle, the woman’s healing, a messenger appeared to Jairus with these words.

You’re daughter is dead. Don’t bother the Master anymore.

This blog is for those who’ve waited their turn. We’ve been polite, even in crisis. And waited. As we waited, something died. Maybe a dream or desire. In some measure we heard, Don’t bother the Master. It’s too late.

Fear, fueled by the crisis, raged, Now! It has to be now! And when the messenger came whispering, Too late, we cried and agreed. Not enough. Too little, too late.

We tried, we pressed into the Master. We had His attention. But He was interrupted. Maybe His supply ran out? We don’t say that out loud. Still the words taunt, It’s over. Don’t bother the Master. Such devastation in so few words.

So this is for us, who’ve heard that evil phrase whispered as we’ve watched something precious die.

God has a word for us.

Stop. Stop the fear. Stop the freight train of not enough and too late. Stop and believe the Author of life extends sozo over what is precious to us.

Sozo is unreasonable, irrational, unexplainable life. It’s life that can not be conquered, life that consumes death. It trumps every interruption, every detour and every roadblock.

Life, like the tree that grows outside a church we attended for many years. It was dead. We painted it, used it as a baby shower decoration and stuffed it in a closet. Months later, someone found it. With buds on its branches.

Now, nineteen years later, it’s a mature oak tree, planted on the north grounds of the church.

Life came.

Have you been stuffed in a closet, your dreams presumed dead?

Life is coming. Yes, it is. Don’t be afraid. Only believe.

Shalom in the River,

Laurel Thomas




November 2015



Invitation in the River

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Invitations come in lots of ways. They can be online, free, custom-designed, or personalized. There are invitations to birthday parties, to graduations, weddings – all special events to be shared. They may not come engraved on fine linen paper. An impromptu phone call or text works, too, like “Hey, how about lunch?”

Some invitations offer such promise or limited access they require careful honor. I watched a You-tube video of a Maori tribal welcome, complete with warrior’s spears and elaborate chants. Protocol surrounded the whole process. It wasn’t offered or received with a casual, “Sure, whatever,” but with intentional honor.

I’m invited to new territories all the time. I’ve been a wife, mom and now grandmother. They all offered an invitation to open my heart in a new way. Today it’s writing that whispers my name.

I’ve pounded on many doors in my lifetime. After all, maybe trying harder was the only way in. Like the years when I glared at the door of love and yelled, “Let me in!”

But what did I have to offer? Would I honor love when it welcomed me in? Or would I drink it dry, wipe my mouth, then turn away?

Invitation is often about acknowledging gifts right on my doorstep. I don’t need to leave town or place my order on Amazon. It won’t break my bank account, but does require my investment.

This investment is an unlikely one and certainly imperfect. Ready? It’s one that honors the invitation with my past.

Yikes! Aren’t I supposed to forget the past to move forward?

In God’s economy, my past matters. The tests I survived, even the mistakes I made all count. I didn’t learn about Him in only sunshine and roses. There were stinky days when my own heart betrayed me.

I’ve found that like God, the invitation isn’t a legalist. The journey of walking with my Redeemer counted. All of it.

Heaven extends its invitation in my present with future promise. Promise that my world needs. The fact that my smallest obedience didn’t escape His notice not only comforts me. It helps me see what His hand extends today and shout Yes! to the future it holds.

Shalom in the River,

Laurel Thomas