Friday, August 22, 2014

What Is Intended: A Reminder

This is one of my favorite songs from a favorite album. I know, there are some of you who will not understand how Laura can possibly enjoy this style. You don't know me very well if that's the case. :)

It's okay. A lot of folks from my CHM background love Southern Gospel. I don't. Funny as it may seem to some, I was discouraged from listening to SG as a child. I'm happy for whatever helps you come before Abba to worship Him "in spirit and in truth."

If the words and the spirit of "Glorious Unfolding" don't evoke in you excitement and hope for what we have entrusted to Jesus, I'm truly sorry. This song inspires me, motivates me, and gives me a fresh reminder of good things to come! It helps me go about my housework with higher energy, a smile on my face, and a happy, hope-filled heart.

Pay close attention to the lyrics. Try to not let the "style" (if it is foreign to you) distract you from them. As you listen, may you be reminded of where we believers are headed, in spite of all the dark, sad, scary, disconcerting headlines these days!

I'm convinced we are headed for a Glorious Unfolding!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's The Big Deal?: Parenting with Eternity in Mind

Most of us have felt it, but have we chosen wisely once we've thought through the feelings?

It's almost time for youth drama (or choir or whatever event it might happen to be). My child is eleven, but the age for being in youth is twelve. She looks at me with those longing eyes, "Mama, can I pleeeeeeeeease be in it? I'm almost twelve. Just one more month, and I'd be old enough."

I feel her pain. I ache for her.

If I follow my feelings and the authorities will allow it, I'll make it happen.

But what is the eternal perspective of this scenario? Is there more than meets the eye?

"She really wants this. It's not a bad thing," I could reason. "In fact, it's a good thing. I'm so glad she wants to be involved with the youth at church! Her closest friends are already twelve, and she feels left out. What's the big deal? There's no major difference between eleven and twelve anyway, especially if it's eleven years, eleven months! Who could be ridiculous enough to enforce that?!"

If we take this seemingly innocent-all-too-common path, I believe we are helping push our children the wrong direction.

If we try to look through the eyes of Christ and New Testament teaching, is this not an accurate view of what is really going on?

"Mama, there is something my flesh wants badly. I want it more than anything in the world at this moment. I don't like feeling left out, and my feelings are what matter most. I don't care what the rules are or what they are for. I know what I feel. I don't care what anybody else in the church family or fellowship thinks or believes. I know what I want. I don't care about other kids whose parents won't let them join until they are twelve. Let them fend for themselves. I want what I want. So make it happen, Mama. Get me what I want."

So many seemingly small things can push us down the path of following the flesh. The habits we form as children will likely dictate what we become later in life (or at least what we will struggle with most.) God help us all as parents to do whatever we can to build our children's resistance to what is probably the biggest battle we Christians must fight.

Godspeed, my dear readers!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

25th Wedding Anniversary

Today was our 25th Wedding Anniversary.
I'm 50 this year--Curt will be in January, so for half  of our lives we have been building our relationship.
What a deep joy it is to continue studying Jesus together, studying ourselves, and studying each other so that we can know what we (naturally) are, what we need to be, what each other needs, and then with God's help, each of us changing more into His image with every passing day so that we can love each other and others better. 

I recommend this way of relationship building!!! I've never experienced anything more deeply fulfilling. I'm ever grateful for a husband who is devoted to his relationship to God first, and then his relationship to me. 

Our dear sister in law, Rachel along with our girls planned a celebration for us this past Sunday. What a pleasure it was to have many from our church family join us to celebrate.

Thank you to each one who came! Your love and mutual commitment to grow in Christ adds more to our lives than you can probably even imagine. We love and appreciate you all.

The cake was beautiful and delicious.
Thanks, Shelli MacIntosh!

My favorite (and only) brother, Keith. :)
and lifetime friend, Steve. We missed his family who were helping
take care of a grandpa in Kansas.

Some of our favorite ladies.
My mama, longtime friend, June, new friend, Flossie, and Curt's mother.

My daddy

The girls sneaked around the house, even up to attic
and drug out lots of pictures to display from the past 25 years.

Some they had never seen before. It was fun to look back.

Our maid of honor, Dorinda got us our dream RV, an Airstream!

I love these kiddos

and these folks

and these
Dorinda on left and sister in law, Carma on right.
Kind a love them too. ;)

Lora took some pictures for us. 


and her sweet friend and co-writer
of our dramas at church and camp, MacKenzie.
It was a beautiful celebration and a memory I will always cherish.
Thanks again, Rachel, LaRae, Rachelle, and all!

and Curt

The Message of the Gospel: New Creation

I read numerous responses today reflecting on the suicidal death of Robin Williams, and at the end of it all was left with a sense of perplexed sadness. I believe the Bible teaches the core of our human problem is our will. Therefore, our choices supremely matter. But I also am aware that we can make repeated choices over a long period of time which groove our brains in ways that cripple us and make transformation/new creation difficult. While the passion of my life is to prevent such grooves, (as in proactive parenting that looks far ahead) I care about people in this condition. I realize the path to healing can be long and arduous. But where should our focus be? When are we coddling the will to its own destruction, and when are we picking up the pieces of a broken life, helping to bring about the needed healing, the remaking? It isn't always easy to know. 

While I don't fully understand/embrace N.T. Wright's perspective on every issue, I was encouraged this week after reading his book Simply Christian. (See quotes below.)

Father, as ever, we need Your help. Our heart's desire is to be agents of new creation in your Kingdom, but we must have Your wisdom.

When Jesus rose again God's whole new creation emerged from the tomb, introducing a new world full of new potential and possibility. Indeed, precisely because part of that new possibility is for human beings themselves to be revived and renewed, the resurrection of Jesus doesn't leave us as passive, helpless spectators. We find ourselves lifted up, set on our feet, given new breath in our lungs, and commissioned to go and make new creation happen in the world... 
Something has happened in and through Jesus as a result of which the world is a different place, a place where heaven and earth have joined forever. God's future has arrived in the present. Instead of mere echoes, we hear the voice itself: a voice which speaks of rescue from evil and death, and hence of new creation... 
The Spirit is given so that we ordinary mortals can become, in a measure, what Jesus himself was: part of God's future arriving in the present; a place where heaven and earth meet; the means of God's kingdom going ahead... 
One key element of living as a Christian is learning to live with the life, and by the rules, of God's future world, even as we are continuing to live within the present one (which Paul calls "the present evil age" and Jesus calls "this corrupt and sinful generation.")
Those who follow Jesus are called to live by the rules of the new world rather than the old one, and the old one won't like it. Although the life of heaven is designed to bring healing to the life of earth, the powers that presently run this earth have carved it up to their own advantage, and they resent any suggestion of a different way. 
2 Corinthians 5:17! Your own human self, your personality, your body, is being reclaimed, so that instead of being simply part of the old creation, a place of sorrow and injustice and ultimately the shame of death itself, you can be both part of the new creation in advance and someone through whom it begins to happen here and now.
~N.T. Wright, Simply Christian