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5 posts from January 2008

January 30, 2008

The Road Narrows...

Sepiaroad

Hello, Friends!
Susie Larson here...

And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday, and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.

Before I get into my topic, I want to mention that next week I will be giving away a $10.00 Caribou gift card to one of you who posted on my blog in January. Like coffee, smoothies, green tea? Post a note and share what God is doing in your life! Your name might be drawn for a sweet treat!

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend and we enjoyed a candid conversation about the church, our lives, and the world in which we live.

"This is a different day than we've ever known" my friend said. "If we want to make it, we can't pretend; we have to talk about stuff. There are too many temptations to pretend that they don't exist, and there's too much at stake to just pretend everything is okay."

She's right, you know.

If you've heard me speak or read some of what I've written, you've no doubt heard the analogy I've repeatedly shared with my sons:

The Christian life is like a winding, country road - with deep ditches on each side. One ditch represents your rebellion, the other, your response to someone else's rebellion. Satan could care less which ditch he gets you into, he just wants you off the road.

Last night as I tossed and turned and battled sleeplessness, I found myself thinking again about that analogy.

Many today are painfully pretending to be something they are not. In public, they look like the stereotypical Christian, but behind the scenes they are embroiled deep in addictive behavior.

Other Christians are squeaky clean on the outside, but their hearts are hard with pride because they love to look down on those who struggle with such blatant sins.

As I pondered my analogy, I pictured more and more of the road giving way, creating cavernous ditches on both sides, and leaving a very narrow road on which to walk.

Continue reading "The Road Narrows..." »

January 23, 2008

Inseparable...

Singletree

Hi, Everyone!
Susie Larson here...

Before I get into my topic, I want to mention that I will be giving away a $10.00 Caribou gift card to one of you in January. Like coffee, smoothies, green tea? Post a time or two this month and share what God is doing in your life! Your name might be drawn for a sweet treat!

For those who are visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.

Many of you know that I've made it no secret that I'm no Martha Stewart. My friends say I don't give myself enough credit, but I say that I am a one-time wonder.

I can plant one kind of flower, maybe two, and it will thrive. I can make one kind of dinner, maybe three, and it will taste fairly good and nobody will get sick afterwards. I can decorate, to a degree, but I don't care about it enough to see my projects through to completion.

I remember a particular year when I was especially busy, and when spring approached, I was even too tired to plant flowers. One of my neighbors gave me the great idea of putting fake, plastic flowers in my hanging baskets outside!

What an idea!

Without further thought, I went to the store, purchased some bright, plastic flowers, and stuffed them into my hanging pots. Beautiful!

Beautiful that is, until the first spring showers. Rain is good for real flowers, but not so good for fake ones.

Though I thought I had saved time by not buying and planting real flowers, I really gained nothing. I spent time and money on a counterfeit and that's what I got.

Jesus calls Himself the Vine and He calls us the branches. We are to abide in Him and bear much fruit. He strongly stated, "Apart from Me, you-can-do-nothing."

When we strive on our own, we disconnect ourselves from the life-sap required to do His will.
When we get ahead of God, our branches thin out, our leaves wither, and our fruit ends up under-developed, and that's our fault.
When we take shortcuts because we're tired of waiting through the process, we plant fake flowers, and when the rain - that's meant to nourish - falls on us, our work is easily uprooted.

Our job is to stay connected to the Vine. Our job is to be the branch. Our job is to abide so closely with the Lord, that fruit super-naturally grows in every area of our lives.

Read on...

Continue reading "Inseparable..." »

January 16, 2008

Simple Trust...

Cottageinthewoods

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!
Susie Larson here...

Before I get into my topic, I want to mention that I will be giving away a $10.00 Caribou gift card to one of you in January. Like coffee, smoothies, green tea? Post a time or two this month and share what God is doing in your life! Your name might be drawn for a sweet treat!

Ever had one of these days?

Your email inbox is bursting at the seams and yet your computer keeps bumping you off the internet. You have laundry spilling over the basket and piles of paper work to sort through. Instead of feeling on top of your circumstances, you feel buried beneath them.

Am I the only one who gets this way?

On Sunday I returned from speaking at a women's retreat and we had a fabulous time together. On Monday I woke up to my bursting-at-the seams inbox, my billowing pile of laundry, and a sink full of dishes. I also had a very important conference call. In fact I had back-to-back conference calls.

Determining to take one part of my day at a time, I tried to put a dent in each of my piles of work. When it came time for my conference calls, I pulled my appropriate files and brought my laptop and phone up to my bedroom. I had my files spread out on my bed, my phone in hand (and a back up in case the battery died).

I even cut out of the my first conference call meeting a few minutes early so I could get to my next call - the one I'd been anticipating and anxious for.

I missed the conference call by an hour.

Apparently I had my time zones confused.

Ugh.

I woke up that morning exhausted but determined to make the most of my very busy day and yet I still fell miserably short.

Does that ever happen to you?

Well, I have some good news.

Continue reading "Simple Trust..." »

January 09, 2008

Great to be Back!

Uncle_seths_pond

Hi Everyone!

Susie Larson here...

I've missed connecting with you all.

A big THANKS to my wonderful author friends who posted in my place. Bless you, big time!

And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.

Before I get into my topic, I want to mention that I will be giving away a $10.00 Caribou gift card to one of you in January. Like coffee, smoothies, green tea? Post a time or two this month and share what God is doing in your life! Your name might be drawn for a sweet treat!

When my boys were young and adventurous, they wanted to try every adrenaline sport available. From skateboarding to snowboarding, from bike jumping to cliff jumping; I prayed for their safety and worked to keep healthy boundaries in place while allowing them to take a few risks once in a while.

During one of their outings, I looked around at the kids who were "regulars" to a particular sport. I watched how they talked with their friends, how they responded when someone got hurt, and how they treated the newbies.

It didn't take long for me to decided that this was not going to be a mainstay for my kids. They loved this particular sport, but they loved a lot of other experiences too.

So with prayerful wisdom, and unbeknownst to them, I gently steered them away from one activity and provided a way for them to actively pursue a different one that I knew they were equipped to handle.

I think God does the same thing for us.

He knows how transient we are. He understands the areas of our lives that are weak and still in need of maturity, and He guides us in the best path for us.

So when I'm tempted to worry about my own weaknesses or areas of vulnerabilities, I must remember that just as I, with understanding love, guided my boys to places where I knew they were equipped to stand, God does the same for us, and so much more besides.

I don't know if you ever do this, but I often fret over my own character flaws. More than anything I don't want others to stumble over my weaknesses. I don't want to dishonor the Lord because of my own foibles.

One particular day during prayer, God whispered to my heart, "Fear is the weakness; worry is the weakness; much more than the yet-to-be-developed areas in your character, the choice to worry about such things is the very thing that leaves you vulnerable to the wiles of the enemy..."

Continue reading "Great to be Back!" »

January 02, 2008

What do you see?

Ah, the new year: a time for looking back and reflecting, looking forward and planning and...making lists.

Continue reading "What do you see?" »