<![CDATA[Susan R. Lawrence - Telling stories so others may know Jesus. - Susan's Blog]]>Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:10:03 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Are You Comfortable?]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 19:09:36 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/are-you-comfortable
Molly has adjusted to our Big Move to the new home on Evergreen Avenue. She likes to go out in the fenced back yard by herself, she likes to walk in the neighborhood and see the other dogs, and she likes to go on a long walk to see the work being done on the lake. But she still loves the comfort of the old couch that she snuggled up in the first night she came home. And this week she has made herself quite comfortable on the new pillows I bought to match the colors we painted our front room.
I would prefer she would not lie on the couch, and I certainly do not appreciate her little doggy head on my new pillows. But she looks so comfortable, I sometimes cannot bring myself to shoo her off.
God is a better parent than I am. He warns against us being too comfortable. If we're sailing through peaceful waters, He allows the storms to rock our boat. If the path we're following is wide and unobstructed, we may encounter a rocky way around the corner. It's not that He wants us uncomfortable, it's just that He will do whatever it takes for us to keep our eyes on Him.

1 Chronicles 28:9 "Serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever."

Whether you are comfortable or not in your present situation, be sure your whole heart is serving God.

<![CDATA[When Things are Boxed Up]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 18:15:23 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/when-things-are-boxed-up
Molly's world is in upheaval. June 9th we are moving to a new home in the Easter Lake area of Des Moines. So Gary and I are frantically boxing up the contents of the home where we have lived for the past 28 years. And Mollie is worried.

She has lived with us long enough to know that boxing things means changes. It might mean a camping trip. It might mean we leave her with the tall man and go far away. So she worries.

She follows me from room to room. She jumps when the doors open and shut. And she has licked the hair off of a small area on her foot.

Is God moving you? Oh, maybe not to a new house, but a new circumstance, a new season of life, or a new area of service?

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

If Molly could understand, I would tell her. We're moving to a place that has a LAKE. We're going to fence the yard, so you can go out whenever you want. We will have comfy couches, carpet, and beds. Don't be afraid, don't worry.

But Molly can't understand. She trusts me, but not enough. So she worries.

God tells you, "Do not be anxious about anything." Philippians 4:6.

Do you trust God enough, even when he moves boxes around you?
<![CDATA[Too Much of a Good Thing]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:36:02 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/too-much-of-a-good-thing
Molly is usually full of energy. So, when I arrived home last Wednesday night, and Molly seemed lethargic, I started to worry. The next morning she refused to eat, and that never happens. I was ready for a trip to the vet. But when Gary went downstairs, he solved the mystery--the new sack of dog food we had bought had been chewed open. While I was busy at church, Molly was helping herself to several free meals. She spent the rest of the day sprawled on her side, digesting what was too much of a good thing.

Proverbs 23:20-21 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Oh, Molly.
<![CDATA[Dragging a Bone, part 2]]>Wed, 19 Apr 2017 15:37:45 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/dragging-a-bone-part-2
On our walk this morning, Molly found a bone. It was a treasure--the entire deer leg--hoof, lower, upper, and thigh bones all attached. But it was heavy and awkward to carry, especially through the field where we were walking. So Molly carried it a while, then reluctantly put it down. It was then her best friend, Teddy, stepped over, picked up her bone and carried it. In this way, they got it all the way back to our house. One dog would carry it, then drop it and the other would pick it up. Then they both gnawed on it a bit before this dog mom took it away.
When I have a burden I'm carrying, I have good friends who will do just what Teddy did. They step alongside of me, encourage me, and take part of the burden. In doing so, they are fulfilling Christ's law.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

We don't generally carry around deer legs, but to everyone walking this planet life happens. And as friends, God commands us to come beside them and help shoulder the burden. Who can you be a Teddy for today?

<![CDATA[Dragging a Bone]]>Mon, 09 Jan 2017 20:17:08 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/dragging-a-bone
     Molly found a deer bone in the woods on one of our walks. This grimy, slightly odoriferous object is now her treasure. She carries it with her everywhere she goes outside, dropping it only to take care of urgent business or to gnaw on the end of it. She is missing all the things she enjoyed about our previous walks--racing across the field at breakneck speed, sniffing every clump of grass to see who has been there, and even wrestling with her best friend, Teddy. She gets behind when she stops to chew and has to run awkwardly to catch up. But she is unwilling to drop the bone. So she hauls it up to the mailbox and back, down the lane and back. When we get to the house she reluctantly obeys my command to, "Leave it outside." But the next day she grabs it up as soon as I open the door for her.
     How many of us have "deer bones" we carry around? We're reluctant to put them down, sometimes even snarling at someone who suggests we should. It may be nasty or offensive to others, but we're convinced it is too important to drop.
     Just as Molly's deer bones don't give her the best walking experience with me, we can be missing out on a closer walk with God when we hold on to something we know He'd rather we leave behind.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
In this New Year, let's drop those "deer bones" and walk unencumbered with Him.
<![CDATA[Longing to see him ...]]>Tue, 20 Dec 2016 22:10:27 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/longing-to-see-him
     The love of Molly's life lives up this driveway. We pass it every morning as we walk to the mailbox for our newspaper. If Teddy hasn't already shown up in our yard to walk with us, Molly stands staring up the driveway with lovesick longing, hoping to see her furry friend. She wants to run and wrestle with him, she wants to chew on his fluffy ears.
      As the Christmas season fast approaches, are you watching for a Savior with longing? Not a sweet baby sleeping in a manger, but the Sacrificial Lamb who died for your sins. The One who has the power to overcome all that has burdened and chained you, the One who loves you eternally.
     When the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, they said, "Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11
     I don't know about you, but I think that is the best news ever. I don't have to stand like Molly, watching and hoping for Him, He has come!
     Merry Christmas everyone!
<![CDATA[Addictions and Other Sins]]>Thu, 10 Nov 2016 22:38:57 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/addictions-and-other-sins
My name is Molly and I am a Kleenexaholic. I can't resist them. Used, unused, nearly disintegrated from being in a pocket, doesn't matter, I love them. And it doesn't matter how you hide them. I can find the delicious morsel. Those cute little wastebaskets you bought to keep me out? I can flip them open with my nose in a second. In your pocket? I can sniff them out. Once I have a Kleenex, I will shred it, mouth it till it's soggy, or even eat it, depending on my mood. What I won't do is release it to you. Even if you pry my mouth open, I will hold it between my back teeth or under my tongue. Yes, I am an addict. But I love Kleenex and I don't want to change.

Maybe you're not addicted to Kleenex like Molly is, (I hope not!) but everyone has a few addictions they like to hide. After a nearly life-long battle with my weight, I can't deny I'm addicted to food. Maybe it doesn't have the extreme effects of a drug such as meth, but I am still depending on something to bring me pleasure or to comfort me other than the only One who can fill the empty parts in me.

What addiction are you struggling to overcome today? Listen to the words of the Psalmist and make it your prayer.

Psalm 73:25-26 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
<![CDATA[Old Nature Surfacing?]]>Wed, 11 May 2016 16:42:30 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/old-nature-surfacing
Molly looks sweet. But behind that innocent face beats the heart of a ruthless killer. Yesterday evening, Molly and I were out for our evening stroll. As usual, she poked her nose into every shrub and plant on the lane. When I saw her chewing, I assumed she'd found a stick, or perhaps a tasty bit of grass. No. She'd uncovered a baby bunny nest and I was too late for any kind of rescue.
I didn't scold Molly. She is, after all, a dog. And she'd simply reverted to her doggy nature and had done what her species has done for centuries. She hunted, she killed and she feasted.
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that "... if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!"
But how often do we revert to our old nature and excuse it with a pat rationalization?
Boys will be boys.
I can't help it, this is the way God made me.
The devil made me do it.
We all have to have fun, don't we?

The excuses go on and on. 1 Colossians reminds us we need to: "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature."
Unlike my four-footed friend, we are no longer bound by our original nature. And we have the power and strength of Christ to overcome it. Let's quit making excuses and live like the new creations we are.
<![CDATA[Come Back, part 2]]>Sat, 20 Feb 2016 17:25:23 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/come-back-part-2
     I know the rest of us are tired of it, but Molly loves the snow. This picture was taken during the brief but beautiful snow we had a little over a week ago. Molly is ahead of me as usual.
     I have shared before about the Molly-trot that carries her very quickly down the road. She knows the command come back and usually responds well with perhaps a gentle reminder from the remote collar.
     But when there is snow to be rolled in and bushes to be sniffed and dead critter remains to be found, Molly doesn't want to waste time walking sedately by my side. So when I call come back she dashes back to me, whirls around and trots away again. Unless it is a treat, she isn't a bit interested in what I have to show her.
     Is that your style of walking with God? When He calls come back, do you mouth a quick prayer and return to what you were doing before He interrupted? Do you hurry to church on Sunday so you can worship Him for an hour and ignore Him the rest of the week?
     God is calling come back  to you today. He wants you to walk by His side, listen to Him, and let Him show you His plan. He wants your come back to be more that a pass-by.
     Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 
<![CDATA[Do you need to "Come back"?]]>Wed, 20 Jan 2016 16:26:48 GMThttp://susanrlawrence.com/susans-blog/do-you-need-to-come-backPicture
     Molly has two gaits. One is a flat-out, speed-away run. She uses this when playing or chasing squirrels. The other is what I call the "Molly Trot." She heads down the lane at a steady pace, her short legs churning and her tail waving behind. I am sure she could go for hours and hours with barely a pause to sniff the grass for traces of critters or the neighborhood dogs.

     My two feet do not go as fast as her four and in a short time, I am trailing far behind. She trots on, not even looking back to see if I'm there. So, I taught her the command, "come-back." We start out together leaving the house, but soon Molly is ahead and I have to remind her, "Molly, that's far enough. Come back."

     Sometimes, I go a different direction that she is going. And it's, "Come back. We need to go this way." And of course, especially when it's below zero, I think it's time to turn back home. And I say, "Come back, Molly."

     Our walks with God are surely no different. We trot through life, thinking we know where we're going and often not even looking to see if we're still walking with the One who knows. God often puts circumstances into our path to make us stop, and He says, "Child, come back. Walk with me." How's your walk today? Are you going a different direction from God? Do you need to pause and come back? Stop trotting away on your own, turn around, and come back home.

Isaiah 30:21 And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it."