Lorri and her husband of twenty years live in Austin with their seven year old daughter. Lorri loves studying, writing, and teaching women at ARBC. She also enjoys singing and cooking and being outdoors with her friends and family.
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From the time a child is mobile, a mother begins to give advice: don’t touch that; share your toys; look people in the eye. One of the most rewarding and exhausting jobs of a mom is constant instruction for the purpose of shaping a child’s character, and hopefully, influencing the child’s choices long past the toddler stage. In today’s Proverb, King Lemuel recalls the words of his mother regarding how he can lead a life that blesses others and honors God.
- What is some of the best parental advice you ever received?
There is something about knowing that a trying situation has purpose that helps us navigate and withstand the difficulty of it. This seems to hold true both in the small and the big things. I can endure freezing temperatures in the winter because I know most plants require a period of dormancy before they can be productive and beautiful in the spring. I can endure a particularly hard workout because I know the purpose is to make my heart and my bones stronger and healthier. I can endure a difficult but loving conversation with a friend who is hurting because I know the purpose is to help that friend get back on the right path. Purpose is important.
- How does the ability to perceive purpose impact how you see your circumstances?
My dad is a literalist. Because of that, he can frequently be heard mumbling corrections under his breath. For example, if a commentator on the television during a sporting event contributes that a player is giving 110%, my dad cannot help but interject that there is literally no such thing as more than 100%. Previously, the writer of Hebrews reminded us that Jesus is 100% deity. Today, the author is going to add to that number. And it will be the only time my dad cannot argue that there is no such thing as more than 100%.
- What does it mean to you that Jesus was both God and man?
I am a mountain girl, but the rest of my family loves the beach, so each summer we make a trip to a coast somewhere. Upon arrival, my husband and daughter have many traditions to get their spot on the beach just the way they want it. One of these traditions started when my daughter was very young and continues today. In order to give her a visual reference, my husband ties a ladybug kite to one of our beach chairs. This is important for her safety because even though she would never intentionally move too far away, even the gentlest current could cause her to drift dangerously far.
- What are some reasons it is dangerous to lose a point of reference in a current?
When my sisters and I would argue, my mother would rarely get involved. When we ran to tattle that one sister had hidden the other’s favorite cassette of bad 80s music or had sneaked into the other’s closet and worn her new neon shirt without permission, my mother would simply say, “What goes around comes around.” For a long time—I must admit—I had no idea what that little phrase really meant. But I came to understand it had something to do with the fact that she was urging us to see past the moment and to think about long-term perspective instead of short-term pleasure. Today’s passage in Habakkuk contains some similar echoes.
- In what current situation do you need a long-term perspective?
In the Garden of Eden, God was fully present with Adam and Eve. Creation itself was, in a way, the temple of God. But when Adam and Eve chose sin—when they chose their own way above God’s—they chose separation from God, because a perfect and holy God cannot be where sin is. The tabernacle or the temple was God’s provision for the return of his earthly presence among his people. The temple had an outer court, an inner sanctuary, and a place called the “holy of holies” where a high priest entered once a year to atone for the sins of the people. In the Old Testament, the temple was an ongoing sign of God’s presence among his people. It was the dwelling place of God.
- Where do you go when you want to experience the presence of God?
I grew up in North Texas, and believe it or not, we had pretty cold winters there: several shut-things-down snow days each year. So, I thought I knew what it meant to layer up and dress for the chilly outdoors. That was until I traveled one February to North Dakota, a place where it physically hurt to breathe the frigid outside air. I thought I knew cold weather until I contrasted it with something much colder. In today’s reading we are going to highlight three short verses, but the power of the verses is best understood when they are contrasted with the verses before.
- Have you ever had an experience where a contrast clarified your view of something?
I once had a small group Bible study leader who was the living, breathing epitome of a prayer warrior, and when she prayed aloud, there was no mistaking that fact. She had spent some serious time in the throne room of God. Often, when someone in the group would voice a concern about a problem in her life, the leader would say to her, “Just be sure you go to the throne before you go to the phone.” That piece of advice has stuck with me because of its simple, but profound, wisdom.
- How often is Jesus the very last person to whom you pour out your heart when you are worried or distressed or confused about a problem?
In society today, the word “narrow” gets a bad rap: narrow-minded, narrow escape, narrow airplane seat. None of these conjure particularly positive feelings. But have you ever considered that narrow can also be good? I often find myself feeling overextended and wishing I could learn to narrow my pursuits to the things that really matter in life. I long to be able to narrow my focus in a world where billboards, cell phones, and social media all beg for my attention. In this way, being narrow isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength.
- What are some other ways we might benefit from being a little narrow every now and then?
Today we are going to look at what is perhaps the most quoted Bible verse in the 21st century. Any guesses? Maybe John 3:16? Perhaps it’s, “Jesus wept.” No, I bet it’s something from 1 Corinthians 13, since at least one verse from that is read at most weddings. Nope, that’s not it either. What if I added that it’s not really the most quoted verse today but rather the most misquoted verse of our time? Does that help? Today’s passage starts with these words: judge not, that you not be judged. And before you make a hasty judgment about what Jesus is saying, read the whole passage.
- Why do you think this verse is so often quoted, or misquoted, today?