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3 posts from September 2008

September 24, 2008

Love Heals...

BubsKneePillow

Greetings, Dear Friends!



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

I'm back from last week's publicity tour and I have to say, things went extremely well. I missed connecting with you though and I have a fun message to share today.

Before I get into my topic I have a little business to take care of. As most of you regulars know, each month I give away a $10.00 Caribou Coffee gift card to someone who posts on my blog. Next week I'll announce the winner for September. Remember, you have to claim your prize. I wish I had time to chase you down, but I don't. So if you see your name posted next week, be sure to contact me.

Also, on October 15th, my quarterly E-zine goes out to my mailing list subscribers. This E-zine is packed with fun information. From health and balance tips to great book recommendations. From devotional insights to a handful of fun giveaways. If you've not subscribed yet, do so by clicking the following link:


You'll receive the E-zine in October, January, April, and July. A couple times a year you'll receive a "Members Only" email offering great discounts on my books and CDs. 

Okay, now on to my topic...

About a year ago I blogged about a stray, abused dog my son rescued from traffic. In that post I wrote about the power of loving the weak and the call to to be more like Christ in this way. Check it out:


Anyway, when Jordan rescued, "Bubs" (a name he gave the dog after we tried every other name we could think of including Steve and Phil), he was scruffy, scared, and completely messed up. His nails were grown into a full circle. His teeth were black. He was filthy and without a collar. Whenever I reached up to scratch my head, he would shrink back in fear. Any movement made in his presence made him jump back and cower as if he was about to be hit.

(A little note: if you took the time to read the "Loving the Weak" post (which I love), you'll notice I referred to Bubs as a 'she' but we were more than a little wrong about that little point.)

Whenever I opened the sliding glass door for Bubs to go outside, he would shrink back, start shaking, and cry like a baby. Every. Single. Time.

I started to wonder if he had been slammed in the door or kicked out the door when it was time to go to the bathroom. 

Even now, when the storms rage outside, he trembles and cries in my arms. I have to wrap him in a blanket and hold him tight to get him to stop crying. My heart broke as I imagined him stuck outside on stormy nights. What a broken, wounded animal this was!

But boy, how have things changed for Bubs!

Just after we decided to keep him and care for him, we put about $350.00 into his teeth, nails, hair, shots, etc., etc. His whole appearance changed.

In the months that followed Bubs got perkier and perkier. He follows me around. Everywhere. I can't get up and take two steps without him right at my side.

My friend said that dogs know when they've been rescued and they're forever grateful. 

Bubs is definitely grateful.

What's amazing is that I can now open the sliding door just enough to let him out, and he'll bolt right through without a hint of fear! I used to have to open the door all the way and gently carry him out onto the deck. 

Now that Bub's feels safe, his funny personality has emerged. He makes us laugh every day. 

He still makes an occasional mess and sometimes smells bad. But he knows he's loved. 

Look again at the picture above. Now that dog has a good gig!

Just what does this have to do with you and me?

Well, I can think of several areas of my life that were once marked by fear, cowering, and shrinking back, and are now forever changed because of God's love and truth in my life

God's love heals.

He loves us. He wants to go to every deep, wounded, dark place, and shine His light there. He is intent on our healing and freedom. 

Read this great excerpt from, "Sparkling Gems from the Greek"

"...you can be sure that the 'agape' love of God wil never fail you or let you down. This love is constant, unchanging, and dependable. It is a love you will always find to be reliable and true--a love on which you can depend." (p.687)

When we're messy and when we smell bad, God loves us still.

When we're grateful and when we're growing, God cheers us on.

When we're afraid and we cower, God holds us close. 

When we cling to our fears more than the promises of God, we break His heart. And there is a point where those fears then, become rebellious.

It's for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free!

Just for good measure, I'll include one more picture of Bubs. Jordan 'super-tucked' him (something Kevin did for our boys every night when they were young).

BubsSupertucked

Daily, God pours forth a new measure of grace and healing. 

Slow down, look up, and open your hands.

Receive what He so lovingly wants to give you. 

Walk in a greater measure of wholeness today than you did yesterday.

Know and believe that God is up to great things in your life!

Have a blessed and wonderful week.

September 10, 2008

A Taste of Things to Come...

Newplaces

Greetings, Dear Friends!



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

As usual, before I get in to my topic, I have a little business to take care of. Each month I give away a little treat (and every once in a while, a big treat!). This month, one of you who posts on my blog will win a $10.00 gift card to Caribou Coffee. Here's how you win: post on my blog and come back to visit. I'll announce the winner on the first Wednesday in September. It's important to note, if you're name is announced, you need to contact me in order to claim your prize. So pay attention and watch for your name!

Now on to my topic...

The other morning during my time of prayer, I lingered for a while on a passage from the Gospel of Mark, chapter eleven.

Jesus rode through town on a donkey. The people took off their jackets and laid them on the ground that the King of glory and His never-ridden donkey might walk over them. The crowds shouted at the tops of their lungs, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (See Mark 11:7-10)

What a humble picture of our Lord receiving praise from those who would later shout in favor of His execution. If we were on that donkey, we might have gotten quite a rise from being the object of the crowd's affection. Jesus had a clear perspective in good times and bad. In fact, several times in the New Testament it says that because Jesus knew what was in the heart of man, He entrusted Himself to no one.

Jesus entered Jerusalem and looked around. He assessed the state of things. 

The next day Jesus and His disciples were walking along and Jesus felt His stomach growl. He was hungry.

In the distance He noticed a fig tree with its leaves. Let's read the passage of Scripture:

"...He went to see if He could find anything on (the fig tree). When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And He said to it, 'May no one eat fruit from you again.'" (Mark 11:13-14)

This passage troubled me.

If it wasn't the season for figs, how is that the tree was expected to bear fruit? 

Seems a little harsh, doesn't it?

Well I did a little investigating and I found a delicious little nugget in one of my commentaries.

Hang with me and read what I found in the "Believer's Bible Commentary"...

"Fig trees in Bible lands produced an early edible fruit before the leaves appeared. It was a harbinger of the regular crop, here described as the 'season for figs.' If no early figs appeared, it was a sign that there would be no regular crop later on...There was a promise without fulfillment, profession without reality...Although the primary interpretation of this passage relates to the nation of Israel, it has application to people of all ages who combine high talk with low walk." (p. 1350)

If there were leaves on the fig tree, there should also have been some edible fruit.

If we say we are Believers, it means there needs to be fruit, growth, increase, and nourishment going in and flowing out of us.

These are sobering times calling for real faith and tangible results. 

God has given good gifts to His children. He has planted seeds in our garden. 

Have we cultivated an atmosphere for growth?

Are people nourished by the fruit of our lives?

Traveling around as I do, I meet many Christians of all shapes and sizes. Some take seriously this walk of faith. Others, run to and fro, trying to keep up with their many commitments, thinking they'll nurture their relationship with Jesus...another day.

Over and over in Scripture, we are instructed to be ready; to have oil in our lamps and a watchful eye on the times. 

Read this verse from Matthew 13:12...
To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them.

That verse haunts me when I pray for women on the go who have no time to pray.

We can't be luke-warm and survive. Jesus would much rather our yes be yes and our no be no. He'd prefer we be honest about the matters of our heart. 

If we truly are Believers, may our walk match our talk. May our lives shine His light. And may the fruit that comes from our relationship with Him, nourish many.

Father in Heaven, I pray for my fellow brothers an sisters right now. Help us to keep You first and foremost in our hearts. May our hearts beat in rhythm with Yours. Help us love what You love and do what You would do. May we make the most of the times, for Your Namesake. Amen.

I'll miss you next week. I'll be on a publicity tour but I'll post again the following week.

Peace to you~

September 03, 2008

Good Gifts...

Cottageinthewoods

Greetings, Dear Friends!



And to those visiting, I say welcome!

I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.

I'm having a little trouble with the font function on my blog and I apologize for the two font styles and sizes on today's post.

Before I get into my topic, I have some business to take care of. Today I get to announce the winner of the $50.00 VISA gift card and the five recipients of a free copy of my new release, The Uncommon Woman.

Drum roll please...

And the winner of the $50.00 VISA gift card is: Denise! Denise, I don't have your last name but you posted on my blog in August. Please email me at info@susielarson.com to claim your prize. I know your email address so I'll recognize your address when you contact me. :)

And the five winners of free copies of 'The Uncommon Woman' are as follows:
Kelly F
Loree Arington
Anna J
Clair
Michele 

Please contact me at: info@susielarson.com to claim your book.
Congratulations one and all!

And one more point of business: As usual, this month I'll award a $10.00 gift card to Caribou Coffee to someone who posts on my blog. We're entering the fall season and for many of us, a warm cup of java soothes the soul. :)

Now, on to my topic.

This morning during my devotional time, I spent some time reading the Gospel of Mark. Quite a number of verses impacted me but for some reason, this one especially jumped out at me:

For truly I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward (Mark 9:41).

A cup of water. A small thing, no? 

Well, not really. Not ever.

Has anyone given you a cup of water recently?

I can think of a number of instances for me personally:

  • My husband and I volunteered to host the Varsity/JV football(and their friends) safe party at our house. We said we'd do it if someone could help us with the food. My friend Kay cooked sloppy joes for 125 football players and their friends because she's Martha, and I'm not. Amazing. 
  • One of my mentors asked me to come over for a snack and a time of prayer because during her prayer time, God spoke to her about me and she had some things to share. 
  • My son Jordan, before he left for school yesterday, prayed that God would heal me. 
  • A woman I'd never met face-to-face, offered to organize a speaking event and book signing because she believes in the things God has given me to say.  
  •  A friend has volunteered to come to my house and help organize my files (and my closets and my drawers) so I can start out my speaking season fresh and ready.     


God cherishes the gift of these precious saints so much that He Himself has written down their deeds in the Book of Remembrance. And though I'll find my own ways to express my gratitude, God considers their gifts important enough that He Himself will also return a blessing. 

Their gifts to me are divine and refreshing. And to God, those gifts bring a little of Heaven to earth.

What about you? Has anyone recently blessed you with a cup of water because you belong to Him?

Pause for a moment and consider the idea that those things are sacred and precious to God. Pray for those people and return a blessing to them.

Now let's look at this from another angle. 

Proverbs 3:27 says this:

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Give some things away today.

Give away a smile. Give away your place in line. Offer up a prayer for someone you don't particularly like. Send a card. Write an email. Make a call. Pay for someone's coffee. Forgive a debt. Forgive an offense. Offer mercy instead of judgment. 

Because you belong to God, and because it matters to Him that we bless others, give, give, and give some more. Not because it makes you look good, but because it makes Him glad.

Let's take one more angle and then I'll let you go for the day. :)

Read this verse:

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how-much-more will your Father in Heaven, give good gifts to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11)!

Daily, God pours out His blessings on a waiting and watching world. The problem is, most of us aren't waiting or watching.

Jesus loves to give good gifts - gifts that are specifically designed with you in mind. 

The Bible says that He delights in every detail of your life.

Think about that.

Don't be afraid to ask Him for gifts, for intervention, and for a cup of water when you're in a dry and weary land.

Ask, seek, knock. For those who ask, receive; those who seek, find; and those who knock, the door will be opened for them.

Be thankful for the countless ways people come through for you. Notice their deeds and take them to heart, because God certainly does.

Be a blessing and give something away every single day. Your load will be lighter and you'll bless another.

Be sure to ask God for what you need and thank Him for the ways He has come through for you - and for the ways that He will most certainly come through for you. 

Aren't good gifts just the best?

Until next week~