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The Next Big Thing

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2015 at 12:37 pm

social-media-iconsWhat is the first thing you think about when you wake up? Is it your aches and pains, your life, your child? It’s not someone else’s aches and pains, life, or child, is it? Most likely, it is not. And that’s OK. We are hard-wired as human beings to primarily think about ourselves and our offspring. Self-centeredness serves largely for survival.

We have somehow—or maybe naturally—progressed to a reality-television–level of self-centeredness, though. It’s gone way beyond survival to sacrificing our dignity and our children’s privacy. What is it, that we all want the camera turned on us? (And, oh, how it turns on us!)

This idea that we want to see ourselves the way others do—and then alter it, change the narrative—has become an insidious pastime. One reality space dweller once commented that she is always happy on Instagram because that’s what she wants to portray. And so we see how we are seen and then we tweak it, plump it, enhance it, minimize it, spin it, filter it, or, quite often, apologize for it.

I propose a new concept, a radical one from a couple thousand years ago. Lay down your phone. Forget yourself. Think of others as you would think of yourself: First. I’ll try to do the same.

patiently awaiting promotion and for things to get better.

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2014 at 4:23 am

Frausto’s message is timely and has 2014 edge and eloquence. Had to share.

UP!::urban po'E.Tree(s)

patiently awaiting promotion and for things to get better.

everything is being modified, designed, stratified, digitized, maximized then minimized, marketed, socialized, manipulated then redistributed, imitated, upgraded, patented, repackaged, reformatted, made over, made up and everyone just gives in, bows down, let’s go, fades out.
so then do people really trust society, believe in anything or just have no choice?
so that today for all intents and purposes becomes another slicker, faster, cheaper version of yesterday.
everyday commits tiny actions that feel dirty inside like part of soul slowly being sold out, away.
thus the shame.
the shame of feeling, touch, nakedness, and dreaming- never doing but just thinking, of being passive aggressive and words over action.
the shame of only going half way because it’s easier to follow.
the shame, the guilt of shame.
of everyday allowing part of self to disappear in the name of profit as everything’s so…

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Government

In Uncategorized on April 24, 2014 at 3:00 am

jesus-is-king

The 2012 election and the commencement of the Christmas season inspired this entry, which I wrote Sunday, December 2, 2012, around 12:15 in the afternoon.


For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. These will be his royal titles: “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” “The Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6 (The Living Bible)

 

Lord, the ‘government will rest on Your Son’s shoulder’ now and in the future, yes? So no worries about who’s in control in terms of our President and Congress, yes? I know we must do our due diligence and vote and speak up for the disenfranchised and those who do not have a voice. But even when we lose our battles, we must remember that Your holy, faithful, loving Word says, “and the government shall be upon his shoulder.”

What does Charles Stanley say? “Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.” We need to remember in the midst of battles won and lost in our governmental smack-downs what exactly it is we’re fighting for. Healthcare rights? Reproductive rights? Tax breaks? Marital rights? It seems to come down to equality—among the young and old, rich and middle class, gay and straight, and mother and child.

But Satan has us all in a tizzy, fighting each other, when he is our common enemy and our only enemy. Because we are not fighting for equal rights. We are fighting for our souls—which have a lifespan of eternity, by the way.

The truth is we all have equality already. Jesus made sure of that when he hung on that cross on Cavalry to give every one of us the same advantage: Come one, come all, and come as you are. Now that’s the type of Leader we can all support. I mean, really, show me another leader who’s taken a nail to the palm for you.

Obedience

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2014 at 3:31 am

I wrote the following journal entry on Sunday, November 24, 2002, around 11:30 at night. I’m not sure why I was pondering obedience, blessings, and rewards. Perhaps, being six weeks into my 30th year, I was thinking about adulthood.


 

What is the purpose of obedience? What is the result? What is the reward?

Obedience builds character, strengthens the relationship between the “commander” and the obey(or?). It humbles the one obeying. The one who obeys learns about self: discovers talents, builds skills. Obedience protects.

 Is there a reward?

When we obey the Lord, we always reap blessings. I wouldn’t call it rewards, though. The Lord does not reward our good deeds and our obedience to Him. We cannot earn anything from Him. He doesn’t require us to work for His love. Instead, He blesses us.

What is the difference between reward and blessing?

Rewards are earned. Blessings are given. If we do not obey God, we are sinning. And because God is a Holy God, He cannot associate with sin. Let’s compare the Lord to a parent, since He’s our Father, anyway.

A man who works as a schoolteacher calls his teenage sons and asks them to please have the house straightened by the time he gets home from tutoring some students. He’ll be home in three hours. Before he made the phone call, he picked up some NHL tix, which he had ordered a month ago.

On his way home that evening, he is so excited to present his sons with the tickets. But when he gets home, the house is messier than when he left that morning, and the boys are on the couch watching TV. He’s so disappointed. He can’t give them the tickets now. It will seem as though the father is rewarding his sons for their disobedience. He had no intention of giving them the tickets as a reward for anything. He wanted to do it simply because he loves them.

And that is what a blessing is: a gift from God just because He loves us. But when we disobey, we tie His hands and cut off what goodness we had coming to us anyway—just because. We are then obliged to seek forgiveness and repent.

Why is it so difficult to obey? Why don’t we obey?

It’s uncomfortable. We’re afraid. It doesn’t make sense. We’d rather do it our way because we think our way is better. We find other things to do instead of what we’re being asked to do. Temptation.

How do we obey?

With the grace of God—in faith and trust. We obey because we know He loves us and would never do anything that isn’t ultimately the best for all of His children.

One Reason and One Reason Only

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2012 at 5:30 am

As far as I can tell, homosexuality is a victimless sin. Let’s break some of ’em down, though, shall we?

Theft: someone else loses something—his stuff.

Murder: someone else loses something—his life.

Adultery: someone else loses someone—his spouse.

Now onto homosexuality. Who loses what? No one and nothing. So how can it be wrong? Well, because God—the Creator of the Universe—said it’s wrong. And if He said it, then it’s true. Know this, though: He loves us immensely and unconditionally. Every rule He sets forth for us to follow—the biggest one being to love one another—is for our own good.  It’s never, ever to punish us.

As a Christian who leans toward the right politically, I take issue with politicians—specifically Republicans—and other Christians who condemn homosexuality based on it being “unnatural.” You want to tell me that some of the things heterosexuals do with and to each other during sex seem natural?

How dare anyone tell a homosexual, a heterosexual, an asexual—any human being, i.e., one of God’s creations, that he or she is going to “burn in hell” based on their lifestyle choices! The only thing that sends a person to hell is not accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior. John 3:16, anyone? And no one knows who, at the very last moment, right before a person takes his or her last breath, when the Light is shining so brightly, will surrender to the Lord Almighty.

I believe the victimless sin of homosexuality is a test that the Lord has been administering to us since the beginning. Or at least since the New Testament commandment of “love your neighbor.”

I Gave God the Finger, and, Yes, Cheerleading Is a Gift

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2011 at 4:58 am

Just because. That’s why God loves me. (And you, too, by the way.)

I have a hard time accepting that He loves me just because. That means my worth is based on nothing I’ve done. Let’s face it. In most, if not all, of our relationships, we like each other because the other person is, at the very least, nice to us. But the Lord loves me (yes, we’re back on me) even when I’m behaving in an unlovable way.

I’ll tell you something I haven’t told too many people: I’ve screamed, “F*ck You, God!” while giving Him the finger. True story. But I’ve lived to tell the tale. Know what? He loved me even during that blasphemous tirade. (Someday I will share the entire story behind the tirade.)

The flip side of not being able to earn the Lord’s love is that we also can’t lose it. That does not mean we have carte blanche to go on murderous rampages or even gossip sprees. Why would we want to hurt the One who loves us so dearly and unconditionally? When you genuinely have a relationship with the Lord, you’re not inclined to behave in ways that displease Him.

Similar to the “you can’t earn His love” Truth is that none of our accomplishments are our own. Crushing, isn’t it? I know. I thought for the longest time that my cheerleading skills in high school were all mine. You should have seen my toe-touch jumps, splits, back handsprings, and straight wrists. I was good. Really good. Varsity-as-a-freshman good. Turns out He gave me a gift. (Yes, cheerleading is a gift! And it is also a sport! Don’t get me started on that age-old argument. I’d rather argue when life begins.)

All things were created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16). The only thing we can take credit for is accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior. And some argue even that is entirely predestined, a precept of the faith I do not completely subscribe to. I believe we can take credit for being obedient to the Lord, though. But even then, if we pray, “Lord, please help me be obedient to You,” who gets the credit? He does, yes? It’s a prudent idea to give God the glory in all things lest one becomes prideful. After all, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Now comes the question of motivation. If I don’t have to do anything to garner the Creator’s love, which is the greatest love of all (sorry, Whitney, but your conclusion was not quite accurate), and if I don’t get credit for what I thought were my achievements, why bother with anything? The heart of the problem here is a big three-letter word: ego. It gets no attention!

But God is so gracious and judicious that He takes our unquenchable egos out of the equation of life by giving us unearned love and by rightfully taking credit for our accomplishments. So then what is left to do if the ego is no longer a factor? Let’s think…Let’s think…I know! Let’s look upward and outward! Let’s spend our lives glorifying God and showing gratitude: let’s pray, fellowship, spread the Good News, work hard, exercise, learn, give, enrich others’ lives with the gifts He’s given us, and celebrate life every day. Oh, and let’s love each other…just because.

Love Is Arrogant?

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2011 at 4:29 am

Live my life in light of eternity. That is my goal. Because nothing else really matters in the end. What does it look like to live one’s life in light of eternity? It means being kind. Loving those who curse you. Never, ever taking offense at anything. Ever. It means telling others about God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost.

The Lord has shown me how vapid the glamorous life is; I worked for MTV Networks. The place was full of crazy, creative bosses who poke you in the shoulder, make you cry, and then yell at you for crying. Then, when you tell them you’re quitting in two months, they tell you they absolutely love working with you and why didn’t you give them more notice.

Then the Lord showed me how the intellectual elite go about their natural habitat of the world of NYC publishing—magazines as well as books. They make appearances on Charlie Rose and host cocktail parties for authors—all published and reviewed in the New York press, of course. They mock the politically conservative and giddily ask the Jesus girl if somewhere in the Bible God really says we have to be perfect. This way, these atheist editors can write with authority in their smarty-pants magazine about how ridiculous God’s standards are.

In these microcosms, everyone was looking for the same thing: validation. ‘Tell me I’m creative, smart, attractive, blah, blah, blah.’  It’s neverending, the search for validation from human beings, because human standards change. Know Whose standards never change? That’s right. The Lord’s. Know what His standards are? Come as you are. Actually, let me back up. His standards are way high: blood, sacrifice, and death. However, that’s already been taken care of. He sent His Son to shed the blood, to sacrifice Himself, and to die. So now, you’re golden! You don’t have to impress the veeps in their corner offices or the critics on their couches. You’re fine as you are. As a matter of fact, He cherishes you as you are.

This message of hope is what I want to spend the rest of my life sharing. I tried doing that today with someone very close to me. I was so sure God had been ministering to me and telling me to speak to this person with the authority I have as His kid. I thought now was the time this relative of mine would finally at least start praying. Instead, after I made my case for why he should pray (yes, I made a case; it certainly wasn’t witnessing), this relative told me I was arrogant. Good job, Lori.

My main purpose on this earth is to win souls for Christ. My identity is Christian. And what do Christians do? They get people saved! Know what kind of people do not get saved? Arrogant people! Arrogance is what sent Satan to hell! I could not be a more colossal failure right now.

Ironically, I am humbled.

Challenging God

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2011 at 1:41 am

Jacob challenged God—and won.

I’m not in the mood to do any research right now, but from what I remember, Jake had the G-Man in a headlock, and….Okay. I know that’s not how it went down. Jacob grabbed God’s foot, or something like that. I think the Lord presented Himself as an angel. Not sure. (Three years of Bible school, and I’m having a hard time remembering one of the most famous biblical brawls. I mean, c’mon. God versus anyone should be unforgettable, especially to a Bible scholar.) Anyway, Jacob had a hold of God’s foot and said something like, ‘I’m not letting go until you bless me.’ So God did it.

[DIGRESSION] I love when people get all upset and say that God is high and mighty and has an attitude of arrogance—which He has every right to have. (Hey, when’s the last time you created a universe?) If He were arrogant, though, would He have even let Jacob wrestle Him? No! He would have plinked His creation on the forehead and knocked him over. Instead, God let Jacob think he had a shot. Then, when Jake demanded to be blessed, the Lord gave no argument; He just did it. His actions were the opposite of arrogant and in line with His promise, “Ask and you shall receive.” (For the accurate version of Jacob wrestling God, see Genesis 32. Okay, I looked that up.)

And now I, L.A. Wagner, am challenging God. Circa 2003, the Lord told me, “You will be known for your words, not your face.” Ya see, I, like many, many, many other young people believed I was going to be famous. This was pre-reality TV saturation and during the era of scripted programs. I didn’t want to be an actress, so I thought maybe I’d have a talk show. I knew whatever I did, it would be for Christ.  Then, one day, God made clear it was about my words and not my looks. By the way, He was telling me this while I was in a bathroom stall at work.

The next day, I was in the same bathroom stall, thinking about this holy words-and-face pronouncement, and I grew incredulous.  But then He said, “Your words will be more powerful than your face is adorable.” Huh? To be fair, I’ve heard that I’m cute and adorable since the day the nurse wiped the amniotic fluids and uterine slime off of me and placed me in my mother’s arms. I don’t hear it as much now, mind you, as I close in on 40. (Actually, maybe it’s just the company I keep and not my age. I need a new social set. Oops. That’s not very Christian.)

So now He was upping the ante by adding power to the prophetic equation. I was even more incredulous. I don’t remember asking for a sign or confirmation, but He gave it to me anyway. As I was washing my hands, a woman who I had never seen before, walked in, looked at me, and gasped. “Oh, my goodness! I thought you were sixteen years old! You’re so cute!”

Confirmation received.

Challenge on.

I Heart Lists

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2011 at 12:03 am

My Names—Nick and Otherwise:

  • Lorraine
  • Lori
  • Lorraine Ann
  • Lori Ann
  • Lon
  • Lo
  • LoDown
  • Dubzie
  • Dubzie Doodle
  • Dubz
  • Dubsie
  • Dubsie Doodle
  • Dubs
  • Quiche Lorraine
  • law
  • Little Wags
  • Darjeeling
  • Tallulah