Just so much I don’t understand…

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A couple of days ago, I swiped the face of my phone to the right because I discovered a while back that there is some kind of news feed feature that pops up.

It must have been a slow news day, because the lead story was about a celebrity roast that had been filmed for a comedy network.

COMEDY network.

As in, they are in the business to entertain us all with laughter.

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The article was somewhat like passing a horrible accident.

I didn’t want to look and yet I couldn’t turn away.

There was just all kinds of wrong about it.

First off, the whole idea of a “roast” has always made me uncomfortable.

The whole premise of “we want to honor you but making fun of you publicly” is just weird to me.

Case in point, the article touched on the delightful anticipation of all the hilarity available due to the featured “honoree’s” many failed efforts in his field, multiple foibles and shortcomings in his personal life and his facial features and physical appearance.

It also included how the whole event had taken a unanimous turn to include a vicious verbal attack on someone the roasters didn’t like.

So basically, this group of talented comedians got together and said mean and nasty things about two people…

But it was acceptable and funny for the one they like…

And…

in this culture…

acceptable and funny for the one they don’t like.

Perhaps we see here why our children might be struggling a bit to understand the rules and concepts of “bullying”.

Because apparently, there is a rather complex set of guidelines for who can say ugly things that disparage a person or group of people,what you can say, when you can say it.

And to be honest…

I am a grown woman and I have trouble seeing the difference between jokes made on a talk show that slam a person based on their beliefs or physical features and the taunts of children on the playground for the same things.

This is not a new problem and thankfully we have God’s abiding truth in the midst of these confused and confusing times….

Words kill,

words give life;

they’re either poison or fruit.

You choose.

Proverbs 18:21 The Message

May God bless you today as we continue to choose LIFE…in Christ….over the ways of this world <3

 

 

 

 

Hellooooooo MoNdAy!

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So if nothing else…THAT should make you smile <3

We had a wild and busy weekend and since every. single. thing. I read this morning had some variation on this theme….”Read your BIBLE And PRAY”….I am headed off for some time to do EXACTLY THAT….before I launch into …. gulp….Monday…

but I wanted to make sure I leave you a little encouragement in case you stopped by…

So…

This sweet prayer is one I found in an email or reading …

and it MAY have been the Today God Is First: Daily Workplace Inspiration, so will give them the credit and if it was someone else…

well…

Hallelujah! Then the Glory really goes to God anyway so…thanks for letting me use your prayer….

I typed mine out and have it in by the  mirror where I do my face and hair each morning…

so I can present my heart to the One who can beautify it….

while I make my outside presentable for viewing…

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Dear Father God,

This morning, I need a fresh start to the day.

Please anoint me for the tasks at hand.

Anoint me that I may have

a joyful spirit,

a compassionate heart,

an energetic body,

a clear mind,

a spiritual eye and ears to hear.

Provide fresh anointing that I may do Your will

and bless others for Your glory.

I want to be what You want me to be.

Thank You for Your anointing

on the life

You have given me.

In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen <3

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Such a simple prayer and yet, as I meditate on those qualities that I deeply desire each morning, I love that this prayer asks for them as “anointing” ….

an outpouring from His Holiness onto my humanity.

These are not qualities I can muster up out of myself, but instead they will only flow as gifts of the Spirit into my spirit.

I love that it reminds me, it is not I who live….but Christ who lives within me…the life I live now is His gift of His life …. lived through this jar of clay.

God bless each one of  you this lovely Monday morning….<3

How are you doing?

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Last week I backed off of writing because faking it isn’t my deal.

God didn’t call me to set up camp here in this little slice of the internet to give you all anything but exactly what the focus of this blog is about…

sharing my journey with you…

the crazy and fun stuff….

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the “trying to figure out and find the way” stuff…

2014 and 2015 324

the snarky perspectives on the goofiness of humanity,

including and especially that of your’s truly…

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All of it…the good, the bad and the ugly.

But sometimes the bad and ugly build up something fierce, and finally they got me.

I was not blessed with a poker face, and while I can truthfully say the Lord has delivered me from a propensity to bouts with depression…the only picture I could think of to describe how I was feeling was the scene in the Lion King when young Simba is baking on the cracked floor of the desert while vultures make their descent onto his lifeless form.

So I retreated to the place and the One that knows my heart, knows exactly how much I can take.

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Instead of writing, I read…

I read His Word directly from my Bible…but I also read anything I could get my hands on that teaches ABOUT His Word…

and one of those books I burned through is Fervent by Priscilla Shirer; which exposes the dirty, behind-the-“seen’s” efforts of the enemy to shut us down and render us helpless and ineffective.

Now I am studying through the chapters with pen and journal in my prayer closet;

doing the “work” of the teaching instead of just saying…

“Great book….now onto the next one…”

We need to not just learn God’s Word….we must APPLY it…

I look at the news this week:

Devastations from earthquakes and tornadoes

More upheaval in the on-going conflicts of nations

Political murkiness of our own nation

Heart-wrenching rips in families near and dear to my heart

Health issues, relationship issues, discouragement, defeat, betrayal..

So this morning, I want to share with you the prayer God inspired in my heart after meditating on how I have let the enemy…

(WITH my full cooperation, mind you!!)…

do some serious damage to  my PASSION in prayer, in serving Christ, and in living.

Priscilla teaches that as we pray for spiritual things, we must include repentance and praise along with our petitions for the greater gifts of faith…and so I took that to heart as I wrote out my prayer.

Keep that in mind when you read…that my actual prayer starting out was for God to restore my PASSION for HIM….

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Heavenly Father God, I look back and I see You – Your faithful Hand -every age and every stage.

In the midst of dark times, I couldn’t always see it; I couldn’t always feel it.

Sometimes  glimpses; sometimes nothing and yet…

OH! When I look back, my life is absolutely and beautifully and faithfully covered with Your fingerprints.

I have failed You

hid You away

ignored You

tried to manipulate You

rebelled against You

betrayed You

mocked You

even blamed You and used Your name to curse my circumstances.

And I have seen You look down through eyes blurred by the blood seeping from each one of those thorns You wore for me…

and I have heard You breathe out with painful, final gasps….

Father,

forgive her.

She doesn’t know,

doesn’t REALLY know,

what she is doing.

I praise You that because You forgave me, I have run to You.

Hidden my sorry self IN You.

I have laughed with You and wept with You.

I have felt Your love wrap tightly around my heart when I thought it would shatter into a million, billion pieces…crushed so fine that it could never be healed. 

You have gathered up every shard and held it in Your nail-scarred Hands until it could beat again.

And I have felt You pry the steel cold fetters of unforgiveness off my hardened heart so that life could course once again through my weary body.

I have felt Your Peace in situations where I looked around with surreal wonder that I was not coming undone, but was, indeed, making it through.

I have heard Your voice call my name,

my actual NAME….

Laura…

and when you said it

and the way you said it…

it was like You were looking out over some grand vista of Creation and You were inviting me to come and see it with You.

All full of delight, as if You couldn’t wait for me to see what You were seeing up ahead.

And now, Lord, I just realized that I started out this  prayer with the intent of asking that You would gift me again with Passion to pray..

and as my pen has scrawled out the meditations of my soul to first address Repentance and Praise…

You have gone on ahead of me and answered the prayer of my heart.

I am renewed with such great love for You.

But Lord, I know it is early in the day and I am in this safe place with You.

The stuff of life is out there, so I ask You, believing and receiving, that You would continue to restore Your Passion in me for prayer.

Empower and enable me to take this moment of fullness in You and begin to pray Your Kingdom Come into the pain, sorrow and brokeness of our world.

I ask in Jesus’ Name <3

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May God truly refresh and bless each one of you today in whatever you are facing.

He IS mighty to save <3

His GRACE and MERCY are amazing <3

Jeremiah 29:12-14The Message (MSG)

 When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.

When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.

Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. God’s Decree.

I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you—God’s Decree—bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.

 

 

 

When you think you know it all….

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Recently I purchased a new face cleaning gizmo from the cosmetic counter at our local department store.

I have one that runs on batteries; but since I already feel I have contributed several acres of landfill to these toxic marvels of modern society, my ears perked up as the consultant gave her sales pitch to the lady in front of me about how this one runs from a charger.

Sold.

She gave me a brisk run down on how easy it was, blah, blah, blah.

So I brought it home, plugged it in to start charging and stuck the directions in the drawer.

Didn’t need them, you know, because I ….

A. already HAVE a face cleaning thingy and…

B. she had given me an overview so …done and done

That night I went to use it and shortly into my cleaning foray, the thing shut off.

Hmmmmm….I thought maybe I had somehow hit the power button so I turned it on again and it ran a bit but then…off.

I pulled out the instructions and scanned them quickly and sure enough, it said you need to charge a full 24 hours before use.

Ah…details…

I plugged it back in and fulfilled the charging requirement.

Fully charged now, I put the cleanser on and revved the motor on my new gadget.

It worked great …. for a little bit and then it shut off.

My mind immediately jumped to gathering all the boxes and innards and planning when I was going to take this back to the store and get one that worked, but I thought I would also look at the directions one more time for troubleshooting tips.

And as I read the full directions, I found out that it … gulp…blush….automatically shuts off after 30 seconds to eliminate overuse on the skin.

Oh.

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I see a correlation here with how we approach God’s Word.

(Tell me you didn’t see this coming…)

We THINK we know what God’s Word says.

The more familiar a passage of Scripture is, the more likely we are to tune out any teachings on it…

yeah, yeah…I know that one…big whale swallows runaway prophet…Ninevah…yawn…

David and the sling shot…giant falls to the ground…got it….

ok..Prodigal Son….wandered and squandered and came home…fatted calf – check, best robe – check, jealous brother – check….

or we skip over the lists of names or the laws because…

Really???

What does a bunch of people traipsing across dry river beds have to do with ME and MY life?

And we go on trying to fix ourselves or others…

solve our problems or their’s.

Without reading….

really reading…

the Directions.

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So we need to get into the Word of God ourselves AND we need to study the Word of God in community….learning from others and sharing what we have learned.

Starting September 10/11: our church, along with at least 17 other congregations in the area, will begin a series called “Finding Your Way Back to God”.

While it is based on the Prodigal Son parable of Luke 15, it isn’t just about the one big return after the one big mess up…

it’s about some key patterns that ALL believers meander through in the course of their faith journey.

I am excited about the opportunity to participate in the teachings gleaned by the authors of this material…both in our corporate worship AND in our small group settings.

You can join us for the study on line at http://firstdecatur.org/sermons or check out the website for the series at http://yourwayback.church.

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Whatever you do with what we are doing at FCC, don’t miss out on studying God’s Word right where you are.

Read it…study it…apply it…on your own and with others.

It’s really the map for us as we…..

Journey Onward <3

I’m not sure what you’re saying there….

IMG_4445Well, as I have mentioned we have had an unusual amount of travel this summer and the trips can start to run together…

but the stories just bubble up in my head so here’s one for today.

As Russ was processing our check out in one hotel lobby one early morning of a departure day, I sensed someone had come up behind me so I turned around and there was a lady that appeared to be a tad older than me.

She looked a bit sleepy still, tho she was dressed for the day, and her t-shirt caught my eye because..

well…shiny things and Jesus.

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In sparkly sequenced lettering splashed across a black background were the beautifully scripted words…

I love Jesus …

which made me feel all close in connection to her.

But when I smiled into her eyes, I got kind of a hard stare.

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So I finished reading the shirt, and it said…

….but I drink a little.

Hmmmmm…..

So I looked at her again and I smiled an even more sisterly smile and …

yeah…

nothing.

And I have been thinking about the whole thing and to be honest, I have had several thoughts.

I know you all are just sitting there with your coffee waiting on the edge of your seat so here are a few of them…

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First, if you are going to wear a t-shirt with sparkly letters declaring your love for Jesus, you need to fix your face and look happy when people smile at you,

because…

He is WORTH it!

Second, why the “but”?

Is it because ….

“I love Jesus, but I do something I think I shouldn’t be doing?”

or…

“I love Jesus, but I think YOU might think that people who do what I do don’t really love Him so….take THAT!”

or….

“I love Jesus, but I also love some other stuff that is equally important, and so I am going to list those things right up there with Him.”

Personally, I just feel like “I Love Jesus” is enough.

Or if you are wordy and have a lot of sequence to bedazzle a shirt with,

you could say…

I love Jesus …

AND….

then you could list all the other things that you want people to know about you.

Because I am pretty sure the whole point of loving Jesus is that He covered all of our…wait for it….

“but’s”

(puns might be my love language)

If you feel like you need to explain yourself…

which the last time I checked we don’t have to do because…..

you know….

G.R.A.C.E.

you might just try living your life by being salt and light and doing everything for the glory of God and let Him be your defense.

Because we all fall short and Jesus paid for all of it….ALL of it <3

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And maybe you would realize that you don’t need to justify yourself because,

once again…

hello…

G.R.A.C.E.

YOU have already been justified <3

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So if you have one of these t-shirts, don’t get all upset with me and defensive, puh-leeeeze.

But if you do, and you are wearing it out in public; if somebody smiles at you…

smile back for crying out loud!

People who love Jesus should be the happiest people around.

And even if you don’t have one and you love Jesus then….

in the words of the folks in Toontown…

(which by the way I love Jesus AND I do quote random songs and movie lines…)

Smile …darn ya….Smile!