Laurel Thomas

change Archive



April 2017



Unscripted Life

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I talked to a friend on Sunday. The kind of friend who’s such a thinker, I need a notepad when he shares a sentence or two.
“Are you getting those profound thoughts of yours out into cyberspace?” I asked.
“No. I’d have to validate everything I say. It would take forever to document it all.”
Document it all? A man of integrity, for sure. He has opinions, but wants to make sure they’re based on truth.

My caution was – don’t let pressure to perfect keep you from jumping off a cliff with what you believe you hear from God.

Cliff-jumping? How could that be God?

It’s like this. What I believe in my gut about God directs what I do and how I live. That’s a given – almost a cliché.

It’s more than that, though. I’ve lived a careful life. Like a mistake would throw me off course – maybe even propel me out of His plan. So, although I never voiced that opinion, I lived it. And my world suffered because of it.

What about the God of an unscripted life? You know, the God who is appropriate for an ever-changing world.

We all experience change. On a gut-level, I’ve despised it. Because my real issue is, “God, are You up to this?”

We’ve been taught that God is in control. After all, doesn’t He know everything before it happens? If so, where do we fit in?
God isn’t in control when babies are abused, when young girls and boys are sex-trafficked, or when there’s poverty and violence in our culture.

But He made a leap.
He decided to trust us – those who believe – trusting that we’ll partner with Him to let His goodness shape our world.
That takes a certain amount of cliff-jumping.

Me? I’m not God. No one believes I am, for that matter.
But when I act in His behalf, before I know or understand anything other than His nature – I cooperate with Him. I act out the truth of who I am. A child of God.

I’m formed in His image to effect change. The good kind. Because the world won’t change if I don’t act – like who I am.
That means I jump off the cliff of my own understanding. Maybe knowing just enough about “form” – His principles – to keep me from hurtling in the wrong direction.

But still ready to jump.
How about you?
Where will your leap take you? How will it change your world?

Shalom in the River,

Laurel Thomas



June 2014



New Wineskin in the River

Written by , Posted in Blog

What does resurrection life look like in me? I mean the real thing. If He is real, and He is, then His presence looks like something other than just me without Him. Right?

I’ve found one constant that signals Him in me. It is change. Not the theoretical kind. Transformation sounds more spiritual. But transformation begins with change.

His life in me rearranges things. Not just random change for the sake of change. His presence seeks to uncover me, to unveil part of Him in me I didn’t know was there.

Fear used to drive me like a tyrant. My fear had lots of faces, none of which were very attractive. Sometimes it looked like anger. Often, it looked like control, making sure all of life was ordered and therefore, secure.

Fear made it hard to slow down. So much to accomplish to prove my worth! It didn’t make me much fun and kept me isolated from what really mattered, like relationships that needed time and trust.

What is it about God that He would even care to reshape and reconfigure me, to carry Him in a fresh, new and living way?

I looked around for a long time, trying to fit myself into the familiar even when everything changed around me. While change sounded good in theory, I resisted it.

Still, it didn’t keep me from being what God called a wine-skin. I’d never seen one and had no idea how one was made. So I did a little homework. Who would know I’d have something in common with a goatskin, stretched and lined with pitch?

Here’s what I learned. Wine has to have a container. Wine-skins were a portable way to carry liquid sweetness around. God wants us to be portable containers of Him, too. And He is very sweet.

It took lots of preparation for a wine-skin to hold wine. Especially if the wine was new. The new wine expanded as it matured. If the goat skin was old and inflexible, the skin burst and the wine was lost.

I love it when I know what’s going on, when I know how to do this thing called life. It’s just that life isn’t static. It moves. God moves, too. He wants to move me into unfamiliar territory. He needs me to look, to think in a different way for a new season.

Just because the wine is new and hasn’t had time to mature, doesn’t make it any less valuable. It just means the container needs to stretch. I need to let God’s presence shift cherished opinions and mind-sets.

I looked all over with my old wine-skin on, longing for the same function in the same package when the Lord wanted to do a new work. No wonder I got frustrated.

I couldn’t guarantee how my life would look or even if it would taste good. But if I didn’t change, the new wine, the new work, would break the old me and spill out like a wasted treasure.

New wine is precious. If I put today’s wine in yesterday’s me, I might lose the wine. The old me doesn’t have the capacity that new wine needs for growth.

So like my favorite GPS word, I am recalculating. I’m asking resurrection life to shape me. A lot is at stake. A new expression of Him waits. I may not recognize its package, but I’ll taste its sweetness. Others will, too.



Laurel Thomas