Author Archives: lauracowan

All-Purpose Cleaner

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It’s a ticking bomb found in public places, randomly detonating with the roar of a lion. I’m talking here about automatic flush toilets. They mean well, but do we really need our backsides sprayed with an international smorgasbord of bacteria? For those with weak constitutions, do NOT google “germs and automatic flush toilets.” Let’s just say it would be safer and more convenient to simply have automatic dispensers marked, “E-coli, Streptococcus, Hepatitis A and Who-Knows-What-All”, that we might contaminate ourselves at leisure.
Enter, wipes. Wipes of every kind. Y’got got yer diaper wipes, facial wipes, hand wipes, disinfectant wipes, personal wipes, scented, unscented, hypoallergenic, MI-free, paraben-free and alcohol-free; with aloe, vitamin e, and…green tea— I’m guessing for those times when sucking on a wipe just seems the right thing to do. Then there are organic wipes, flushable, quilted for extra comfort, triple-layered, and one that boasts of our evolutionary progress, “Made with 99% water!”
The one I recommend is the one you have handy when your phone drops into the toilet as you leap off the seat before the detonator blows.
Like unseen bacteria, spiritual contaminants continually mist us—sometimes jetting us—and, like a lion, seek to devour: pop-up porn, e-mail ads, and Facebook rants. As if that weren’t enough, we have the deadly schemes of our own secret, hateful, and desperate little thoughts, encouraged and lauded by the devil himself.
Thankfully we have a better—than—a—wipe, all-purpose cleansing solution:

God’s Word, the Bible. That humble, no—frills, dusty little book on our shelf, reaches to the unknown areas of our souls in need of cleansing and refreshing. It’s a hot shower in a handy carrying case. Simply open, read the instructions and apply daily.

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…just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word…” Ephesians 5:25,26

Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

Just think how much more the blood of the Messiah will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. Hebrews 9:14a

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27

Smell That?

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We’d been gone a few weeks and came back to it. It was there. Then it wasn’t. Then it was: A funny odor. Like dead-rat-in-the-wall funny. There it is again…sniff-sniff. There’s never a good bloodhound around when you need one. I sniffed in all the obvious places: the kitchen trash, the hamper, my armpits, John’s shoes,…I’m ashamed to say, I even gave John a hug just so I could sniff him.He backed away. “Laura, what are you doing.”  

“Do you SMELL it?” I said. 

He gave one token sniff, and, being all male- which is to say, I could slip a pea under his mattresses and he’d never feel a thing- he simply said, 

“No.”

After an hour of hyper-ventilation, I pulled out a drawer in the fridge. Petrified carrot, an apple-head doll, and…OH DISGUSTING!!! Who knew an innocent fingerling spud could emit enough methane to fuel the city of Los Angeles and its suburbs? I thought of calling a disaster clean-up company, but I suspect even they wouldn’t come near this root of mass destruction, so I had to dispose of it myself. Apparently, the poor thing had a bout of diarrhea before it died, so I cleaned up the drawer, too. 

I bring this all up, because that very same week, this happened to me again, in the spiritual realm. Something was off. WAY off. There was tension. John was seemingly being a total idiot-which isn’t like him at all. He was ignoring me. And when we did talk, communication was scrambled like yarn the cat got hold of. I couldn’t find the source of the trouble. So I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know what this is, could you show me?” 

HA! Never ask that question unless you are prepared for the answer. I know this will come as a huge surprise to you, but the answer was ME! I was the total idiot! So focused on the imaginary fingerling in John’s eye, I couldn’t see the russet in my own. I was naggy, bossy, and a lot of other negative descriptive words. Really stinky. This disaster needed relief. 

The great news is, the Lord doesn’t leave us rotting in our own juices. He reveals our sin, not merely to shine the lens, but to cleanse. 

I prayed, “Oh Lord, I am so sorry. Forgive me, and show me what to do next.”

(Like, really. You don’t know what to do next?) Clearly, I needed to apologize to John for being…well, me.

So I did. And because I’m married to a very forgiving man, we’re back to being the happiest married couple in the history of marriage. (We call ourselves the best kept secret in the world but we can’t say why, ‘cuz it’s a secret).   
The point is, the Lord specializes in disaster relief, but He takes it one huge step further, and reconstructs. He’s the Ultimate in restoration and beautification. And He’s one quick call away. ***********************************

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23,24
My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes. Jeremiah 16:17
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.”

And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32:5

He makes beauty from ashes, joy from sadness, praise from despair.
They will be like beautiful oak trees for His glory. (from Is. 61:3) 

*Gungor has an awesome song called, “He Makes Beautiful Things”, if you care to dance.

Raising The Difficult Child

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Laura’s a difficult child to raise. She’s sometimes hangs with the wrong crowd, the unkempt gang of thoughts that loiters under the dim light of her mind. Their tactic is effectively simple: volume and tenacity. I constantly have to remind her, “Yes, I hear them, but what is TRUE? What is REAL? Shine the Light of Truth on them, and see what remains.”  

Here’s a helpful little hint from one who deals with that lunatic army on a frequent basis: Simply ask, “WHO SAID?”  If the answer is anything other than Jesus Christ, arrest them and put them away. For life. Because, our thoughts become actions; our actions, habits; and habits, our life.

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 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

…Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will is for you… Romans 12:2
As he thinks, so is he…Proverbs 23:7

But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? Matthew 9:4

Tonight’s the Night

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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?
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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

*emphasis mine

Daily Reading: Daniel Chapter 12 

Project: Eden

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God loves puttering in the garden. He strolled through Eden “in the cool of the day.” (Gen.3) Imagine that; shooting the breeze with God; stooping down with him to study a plant and learn it’s medicinal qualities. Maybe God said something like, “Hey Adam- you’re gonna need this someday when you’re wife complains of something called a “headache”; have her chew these leaves to cure it.”God knew those walks would be cut short, and that beautiful garden would become a tangled mess of thorns and weeds. 

Thousands of bleak years later, another garden and other thorns became part of God’s plan to restore what was lost, so you and I could get up in the morning, watch the Son rise, and putter again in the garden, with God, in the cool of the day. 

That’s what we celebrate this week. Jesus did all that He did, to get us back to the garden- that place of friendship with God. 

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Jesus said he came to bring us some great news, to heal our broken hearts, to set us free from oppression, to open our eyes. (Luke 4:18)

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To see how Jesus did this, read the second chapter of the book of Acts, or the Book of Mark for the bigger picture (c’mon- it’s only 31 pages).

Not Your Garden-Variety

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Bishop Nursery had a half-price sale on “wintered-over” pansies. Not knowing what that meant exactly, I walked over to educate myself. The poor things looked like survivors of the Donnor Party; half-dead, frost-bitten, and huddled together against the cold. So naturally, I bought them. 

The saleswoman wouldn’t even look them in the eye. But like a sympathetic nurse, she instructed me to prune, feed, and tuck them into bed. I did, and now they play in my yard, alive and well. 

 It wasn’t just a bargain that drew me to buy them. It was that whole redemption thing. While we were yet half-dead and “wintered over”, Christ bought us and brought us to life. He paid full-price for a bunch of pansies. And we got a really good deal. 

Great Balls of Fire!

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Maybe the saying “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” was coined by Adam when he tried to give his dog heart-worm medicine for the first time; before the revelation of pills in hamburger balls.The Lord uses this tactic often- like in 2nd Samuel. Addressing two separate issues, those confronting David of his sins are instructed to begin by rolling the grave truth in “hamburger” i.e. stories- one involving a little lamb (lamburger ball), the other a poor widow; appealing to King David’s experience as a shepherd, and his strong sense of justice. 

In the end, David receives both the stories and the truths they contain, confesses, and his heartworm of sin is cleansed. 

Into every life, a bitter pill must fall. In those times when we are called upon to be the one to serve it up, let’s first ask God to provide the hamburger -a palatable way to present unpalatable truth. 

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Get rid of all…harsh words… Eph. 4:31

And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan… Eph. 6:19
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? Hebrews 12:5
…Gracious words are pure in His sight. Pro. 15:26
The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Pro. 16:21
Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. Ecc.5:2
Read 2nd Samuel 12 & 14 for the scoop on David’s bitter pill.