All posts by laura

Examining my own heart in light of a current trend <3

I have something on my heart and I just can’t shake it so I am sharing this musing NOT as a political statement but as a comment on what I see happening in the world that I hope and pray we are not imitating as followers of Christ. 

Even as I consider sharing, I hesitate for two reasons. 

One: I am not sure I have all the facts straight because I only hear bits and pieces of news reports and I know media bias exists in a huge way. So my take on this is just MY perception of public opinion and media coverage.

Two: I don’t want this to fuel any kind of political party ranting nor do I want to encourage further divisiveness amongst people. I am speaking here as a believer to what I presume to be an audience of mostly believers who, like me, are seeking to walk in truth and love every day.

But I see a trend in our society that I find alarming and a recent ruckus brought it to my attention in a clear way. 

It seems a certain senator was followed into a restroom by someone who didn’t agree with her and wanted to continue ranting about that issue.

And the pundits and public sat back and determined if this was okay or not based on things like freedom of speech and the right to privacy and all kinds of comments and tweets. 

As I mused on the sad state of our country that we are even considering this something to be debated as appropriate or inappropriate, it occurred to me that if we plugged in different characters and role played the scene, the take on it would have been entirely different. 

In a like manner, I am reminded of a situation where an officer held a man down with his knee and the result that ended his life. Yet some waited to hear if the mistakes of his life justified this.

I would say again, plug in different characters to the cast of this story and see if your assessment of this would have changed at all.

It seems we have begun to assume the role of jurist to how we assess if someone has done wrong, been violated, or overstepped the lines of decency. 

The media and social media have highjacked the simple bounds of what is right and wrong and encouraged us to sit in the juror’s box to determine guilt or innocence based on the full details of a person’s character, suspected motive and worthiness based on each juror’s standards of moral behavior as well as if they match up with our party lines.

I sense that we are being programmed to think that it is not the behavior that is wrong but only if the behavior is done by someone we do not share like thinking with.

We can easily excuse away wrong behavior in someone we support, while condemning the exact same behavior in someone we disagree with.

AND THIS GOES BOTH WAYS….it is not the isolated problem of the right, left, center or off the grid.

It is universal in our day and age.

No wonder there is so much confusion. 

As a Christian, it is imperative that I do not begin to fall into this pattern of the world. Following a person into a bathroom to continue voicing my displeasure is rude. Holding someone down when they say they can’t breathe is wrong.

These are two extreme examples of what I see constantly happening in the news.

It doesn’t matter if it is a democrat, socialist, republican or someone who doesn’t even have a voter’s registration card. 

Decency is decency. 

Changing our standards for right and wrong based on if someone is like us or agrees with our beliefs is not biblical.

Our standard is not based on solidarity of our connection politically, racially or any other earthly means of being ‘unified’….our standards, as followers of Christ, are HIS standards.

I can’t do a thing about the media or what others say or do or share, but I can continually measure what I am doing and saying against the standards set by the God I serve and when I fall short or err because of my human tendency to lean to the flesh instead of the righteous…well…I confess and I repent and I pray for strength to grow in that area. 

Blessings friends…as you work out YOUR walk of being saved with His help today <3

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Remembering Miss Sadie <3

Hey blog friend….in case you don’t know…this little slice of the internet grew out of a weekly letter to the Sunday school class I taught. I wrote it for many years before I ever tried posting on this wider reach. One of our class mates was Miss Sadie Fox and so I am sharing with you today the letter for today’s “Friday Email”…hope it blesses you. Sadie attended our class for years and even when she couldn’t hear very well and her sweet face was drawn into a concerning frown to try and hear what my over-loud voice was saying, she would thank me graciously every week for teaching. Sigh…loved her and the generation of women she represents. So here is the letter I sent them today…..

Hello and happy Friday

I didn’t get an email out last week because we were in an area in Northern Wisconsin that struggled with wifi access. Between that little curve ball in my phone/computer access and this past week’s interruption of all things Facebook, I have realized how much I rely on the internet for communication.

Cue a new level of panic in this continuing saga of post 2020 life where we are beginning to realize how quickly all that we call “normal” can be lost. 

Since news of all manner, but especially local information, seems to be spread now by means of electronic communication, I am aware that some of you will be reading this as fresh news and I want to share my deepest prayers for the way it may hit you. 

We lost another of the generation that still dressed up for church and got their hair done weekly and carried themselves with a sweet grace gleaned from years in the trenches that made them better, not bitter. 

Our dear Miss Sadie Fox left us to be with Jesus a few week’s ago and her absence from planet earth is still palpable to those who were hoping for one more encounter with her here on this side. 

Russ and I attended her funeral and there were times I feared an ugly sob was going to come bursting out of me. 

We had not planned to go through the visitation line with Covid and all, but we got there early enough and just felt compelled to go down and give our respects to the family. 

As they introduced themselves to me and shared relationship details, I cried because although I didn’t know the faces….I knew every name.

I knew seasons and details of their lives because I had been asked many times over the years to pray for them. Young ones who had traveled for school, older ones who had had career changes, losses, celebrations…all of it. 

I could hear their names rolling off of Sadie’s sweet southern tongue like honey on a biscuit as I would look into those beautiful eyes and feel her hand on my arm as she asked me to pray for this one or that one. 

Heading back to our pew for the service, I saw others I had been asked to pray for sitting here and there.

Young women, now, who I once prayed for as they were teenagers many years ago.

This one and that one that Sadie had taken under her wing and into her heart.

And if they were in her heart, you can know, she had consistently and urgently invited them into our hearts as well, through asking us to pray. 

I sat and listened to various family and our pastor share through choked voices about what she meant to them and to all of us. 

Sadie mentored before mentoring was a thing. 

She mentored by loving and caring and praying and then acting on the behalf of others. 

Her conversations were never overly wordy and never hurried, but all carefully thought out and then she just engaged in drawing people into the fellowship of prayer, community and action. 

No one on earth said my name quite like Sadie.

Even as she would be chatting about someone or something going on, she was pouring out encouragement and kind words and hope. Even when her hearing failed and her eyesight dimmed so that she would ask us to tell her who we were when we approached her, those joy-filled eyes would exude the light and love of Jesus as she warmly smiled into what she couldn’t see with her physical sight. 

I attended a conference once where the speaker said my generation loves senior saints, we just will never be one.

We all laughed and I think of it often. It is so true.

Even as I and my peers develop all the outward signs of being that “nice older lady at church….” We still hang on to the clothing and activities of our younger years.

My generation has done aging different than the one that preceded us.

I hope, though, that we are walking in the footsteps of the likes of Sadie’s Pendleton Plaid Jacket grace…that we are the bridge of faith to the young women and men coming behind us. 

I hope we are showing all the signs of having walked faithfully with God in the times we have been given and that we are inviting others to join us as we pray for those we love. 

I hope we remember the value of unhurried conversation and the sharing of our hearts with those in our faith community to build one another up….to say the name of the person we are talking in such a way that they will remember we knew them and loved them. 

I hope we graciously extend grace and help to those who are walking through the seasons we weathered, or were spared from…. and we are extending the fruit God has blessed us with to help them to grow and flourish. 

Thank you Miss Sadie Fox for living a genteel life with a fierce love for others. 

You are missed my sweet friend. 

Deeply missed <3

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September book check-in <3

Well….here we are almost a full week into October. But I like this monthly accountability (even when it is kind of embarrassing how little I actually read…)

This was the goal for reading in September and I confess I only finished one book and got less than halfway through a second.

I finished How God Became King by N. T. Wright and it was very good. Weighty and sometimes hard to process, but very good <3

Since the book was on loan from John I restricted my pen to taking a generous amount of notes in my journal. This slowed me down and I am a slow reader anyway so that might explain the poor performance on only finishing one book.

Here are some highlights I gleaned:

  • We have sometimes misrepresented Jesus by only honing in on one aspect of Him that suits our purpose and have missed the fullness of who He is.
  • There are four main speakers in the gospels of course…Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The author uses that term as a play on words to say that we have often separated what they are saying to fit certain audiences. In doing this, he says it is like “speakers” that carry sound and if you turn one down too low or up too high you distort what is being transmitted. He explains very clearly how the four Gospels are written to an audience that never would have separated them out the way we do.
  • Wright does an incredible job of using Scripture to present the fact that Jesus Christ was bringing the Kingdom of God to earth NOW.
  • Yes, a day of total fulfillment will come, but Jesus is King of heaven and earth and His Kingdom reign is over the whole world.
  • He points out that Jesus fulfills all four points of Scripture’s prophecy of who Messiah would be and what He would bring.
  • The four points are:
  1. The Gospels as the climax of the story of Israel
  2. God as the Savior of His people
  3. The story of Jesus launching God’s renewed people
  4. Kingdom of God confronting the kingdom of “Ceasar”

In the times we are living, I found this book to be so encouraging of my faith.

It helped me by strengthening things I already believed, but also by showing me where I have gotten off-center and viewed things through a world-view instead of a biblical-view. It also helped me with the puzzling question of why we have all the accounts of Jesus’ life on earth if we only focus on a few points for the purposes of sermon texts or reasons we believe something.

I do recommend this book. It is like taking a class. Keep your Bible hand and if you are a note taker, buy your own copy so you can mark up freely!

Now for next month, here is the plan….

I took this photo on the floor to show I have significantly lowered my expectations of reading more than one book…sigh…maybe my overachiever mode will be ignited and I will surprise us all.

I was not prepared to like the Lutzer book. I thought it was going to be something entirely different than it is. I have been delightfully surprised. It is not a brash, in your face, let’s take over the world and convert everyone or shut them up kind of book.

It is a reminder of how Jesus led and lived in a world that was contrary to God. It is gracious and merciful and encouraging.

I am loving the Jude study. I have mentioned before that I recommend to everyone to follow both Jackie Hill Perry and her husband Preston Perry on Instagram and listen to what they have to say about matters of the gospel, applying God’s word to our lives and also just their perspective on issues that are trigger points for controversy in our day and age. Her teaching is pushing me to open up my Bible and do some serious STUDY and I LOVE IT!!!

I am taking the Jude study at our church through the Women’s ministry but you can always rent or buy the video teachings through Lifeway.

Okay…that’s it for me.

What are you reading?

Are you a slow or fast reader and do you mark up your books or take notes?

Would love to know …

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