by Laura Cowan
I’m going to stay home. No. I’d better go into the church. No. I need to work on my project. Or maybe not work on my project, but finish the laundry. Or get that letter-sent-off-and-go-to-the-store-or-see-what-you-guy-son-facebook-are-up-to-I-think-I-drank-too-much-coffee-and-aaaaaaacccccckkk!
It’s one of those mornings. “Among those nations you will find no peace or rest.” (Duet. 28:65)
“Those nations” being all the flurry and worry in me. I need to allow those “governments to be upon His shoulders”.
King David, harassed by a myriad of troubles, said, “Oh God, we meditate on Your unfailing love…”
I think I will just sit here a minute and breathe…
Inhale:”Be still and know that I am God.”
Exhale: “Give all your worries and cares to God, because He cares for you.”
Inhale: “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Exhale: “Jesus said, ‘Come to me, you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.'”
Inhale: “In quietness and confidence is your strength…”
Exhale: “…but you would have none of it. (Until now).
Now, at least, I can think calmly. What should I do, when I don’t know what to do?
“Trust the Lord from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure things out on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track.” Pro 3:5-6 (The Message)
March on with courage, my soul….
Time to head out to this morning’s Women’s Bible Study
Ps. 46:10, 1st Pet. 5:7, Ps. 91:1, Mt. 11:28, Is. 30:15, Ps. 48:9
By Laura Cowan
Today I lit the first Christmas candle of the season, then began my morning ritual of banging the tea kettle against the sink, dropping a spoon on the tile floor and splashing boiling water around the outside of my mug. You’d think such precision of this daily routine would awaken me (there arose such a clatter), but instead I sit squinting at my Bible, pretending to read, as a flame flickers and sputters in my peripheral- my mind and the candle, coming to life.
Eventually, I find Psalm 116: “ I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy…He turned His ear to me…”
A piney scent drifts over the table.
I read on,
“…The cords of death entangled me… I was overcome by trouble and sorrow…”
I envision twisted, knotted strings of burned-out Christmas bulbs.
“…When I was in great need, He saved me…”
Careful hands untangle the cords, change out the bulbs, set them straight along the path.
I read a portion from Isaiah: “Come, let us reason together, says the Lord…”
And a question flickers to mind: Why would the Reason for the Season desire to reason with the unseasonably unreasonable likes of me? No reason; but love.
“…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow…”
Softly falling now, Comfort and Joy.
Not the tinseled variety, but from the Clear and Present Manger: the Evergreen Christ, Our Peace on Earth, and the only Hope of goodwill toward each other.
I’m finally wide awake from today’s morning ritual, which is no ritual at all, but reality; from Joy To The World,
Joy to this girl,
And to you.
Emmanuel means “God with us”
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