by Laura Cowan
There are no words to aptly describe how horrible I am with All Things Tech. I lose phones. I drop them in toilets, throw them across parking lots, leave them at out-of-town restaurants, and drown them in pools and oceans. I forget passcodes and security answers. John just spent two hours with the Apple tech guy, reconfiguring my new phone because I’d forgotten all my pertinent information, but never once did he roll his eyes at me or say, “Are you some kind of idiot that you give me 5 possible answers to the security question, ‘What was the first movie you ever saw?'”
When the problem is finally resolved, he hands me my shiny new working phone, and what do I do to show my appreciation? I drop it on the floor. He quietly said, “Laura, take care of your phone.” Not with visible restraint, just gentleness.
I literally cried, and laughed, and cried. At my stupidity and his goodness. I’d be living in the dark ages, but for John, my Tech Redeemer. John rightly could’ve said, “Laura, you don’t deserve a new phone.” Yet he loves me enough to give me one anyway. That’s grace.
It got me thinking of the verses in the Bible that begin with a description of our sorry human condition of failure, sin and death, and then breaks the despair with this phrase: “BUT GOD…”
“We were dead in sin, BUT GOD…made us alive in Christ…” Eph. 2:1-4
“BUT GOD will redeem myself from the power of the grave, and He will receive me” Ps. 49:15
“BUT GOD is judge…” Ps. 75:7
“BUT GOD knows your heart…” Luke 16:15
“…BUT GOD chose the foolish…” 1Cor. 1:27
“…BUT GOD…comforts the downcast, and comforted us…” 2Cor. 7:6
“… BUT GOD had mercy on…me also…” Phl. 2:27
“BUT GOD shows his love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ” Romans 5:8
There are too many BUT GOD’s to list here, but if you, like me, recognize your utter hopelessness to be anything, or do anything other than fumble and fail, remember “BUT GOD…”
by Laura Cowan
My friend texted me last night to tell me to go outside and look at the moon, so I did. The stars were particularly bright against the clear blackness. Initially the mountains hid the moon, but I could see the light coming as if from a sunrise. I stayed there, breathing in the light, until it dawned on me that I witnessed this glorious light because I stood in darkness. We often hear voices of doom and gloom for the days in which we live – and I’ve been known to join the chorus. But last night was a reminder that today we have the very greatest opportunity to shine the hope and joy of our Lord-not in spite of, but because of- the darkness around us.
This day, this dark day, His stars can display most brightly His Light.
This little light of mine, how will I let it shine?
Do everything without arguing or complaining, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God, without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you SHINE LIKE THE STARS IN THE UNIVERSE*as you hold fast to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16a
Give thanks to Him who made the heavenly lights…THE MOON AND THE STARS TO RULE THE NIGHT*. His faithful love endures forever. Ps.136:7,9
Daily Reading: Daniel Chapter 12
A Poem by Brian Law
I am willing Lord
Take me to the Ends of the earth
Or keep me home
I don’t care
As long as I am
In your poem
That work You have for me
I am willing Lord
But not Able.
Is what I am.
But not Able
To be found in You
That is my desire
To be led out and in
To find Your strength in my weakness
This is my biggest wish
But I am not Able
So fulfill in me Thy promise
“I can do all things through Christ
Who strengthens me”
I am not Able
But You are
And I am Willing
by Laura Cowan
People outside the church are rebellious, apathetic, and self-absorbed; while people inside the church are rebellious, apathetic, and self-absorbed.
This isn’t the way it should be, but it’s nothing new. The climate of the church back in Samuel’s day was cloudy with a chance of judgement- 100% chance. The climate hasn’t warmed much. The outlook can be downright depressing, and yet…God is calling. He called Samuel, but though Samuel served in the church, “Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.” (1 Samuel 3:7) Yet God kept calling, and eventually Samuel got the message. Samuel could’ve found plenty of reasons not to serve the Lord; his mentors were doing a pretty lousy job of it. My focus can not be on what the rest of the world -or the church- is doing; the question is, “What am I doing?” He’s calling, He will keep calling. May our response be as Samuel’s when he finally picked up, “Speak, Lord, your servant hears”.
“That is why the Holy Spirit says,
“Today when you hear his voice, 8 don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. 9 There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. 10 So I was angry with them, and I said, ‘Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ 11 So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.'” 12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.” Hebrews 3:7-12