Author Archives: lauracowan

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.

…And a Child Shall Lead Them

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 All week the little ones in my class have been listening to the story of Mary, Martha, and Jesus. Yesterday, they performed a dramatized version, choosing whatever props they wanted. Gus, who looks exactly like Ralphy the kid from that Christmas movie about bb guns, played Jesus. 

  “Yes! He said, when I assigned him the part, “I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be God!”  

I’ve read that story many times, but I learned a new lesson from my mini-theologians. 
Martha, using a broom to stir a pot (hmmm…who DOES that?): “Jesus, why do I have to do all the work around here? Tell my sister Mary to help me!”

 Jesus: “Martha, you worry way too much. Mary made a good choice.”

So here’s a new take on an old lesson:  If I don’t take time to sit with Jesus in prayer and His Word, I’ll worry and work myself into a witchy brew. It’s my choice. Even a kid knows that. 

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Luke 10:41,42 “Martha, Martha,” The Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed- or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”

Isaiah 30:15 “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing.

Mental (St)illness

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With the high cost of therapy, who can afford to go crazy? What did people do with their anger, addictions, and angsts before psychology and psychiatry, before syndromes and labels? I really don’t know, but I suspect taking a bite from THAT fruit has resulted in knowledge both good and evil. I get depressed,obsessed, and possessed when life’s terra-firma shifts; when what’s solid becomes liquid and then vapor; when what is, is no more. I know nothing of serious mental illness, or maybe I’ve honed the art of denial, but I do know when I am beside myself, I mean REALLY beside myself, curled on the floor too weak to move, I cry out to the Lord. Not so much a cry as a whimper. I whimper His name, “Jesus…Jesus…Jesus…” 

It’s not pretty, but it’s real, and He who dwells in what’s Real and True, finds me.

Like a mother hearing the cry of her child wrestling a nightmare, Jesus quietly soothes, “I am here, I am here, ‘I AM…'”and holds me in His very buff “Everlasting Arms”.
When I fall into the well of despair, the Well-ness and Hole-ness Specialist is at the bottom to catch me. And if I’ll listen and learn, He’ll makes me well and whole. 
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When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” John 5:6 

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“And He shall be called, Wonderful Counselor…”

Isaiah 9:6

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“He makes me lie down…He restores my soul…” Psalm 23

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I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. 

Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. Psalm 40:1-4

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(Read all of Psalm 40)