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4 posts from January 2009

January 28, 2009

Speak!

BeautifulPath

Greetings, Dear 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. 

Each month I give away a $10.00 gift card to someone who posts on my blog. This month, one of you will win a $10.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble, so leave a comment, share a story, and bless us all with your wisdom and insight!

Now on to my topic...

You've heard it said before, "Show me a man's checkbook register, and I'll show you what he cares about." Don't worry, we're not sharing check registers today, but I want to make a parallel statement: Show me what a person says, and I'll tell you what they believe.

More and more I'm learning the importance of and the power behind our words. Words are envelopes that carry powerful messages. Our words affect our circumstances, surroundings, and perspectives. Maybe you've heard me say this before but it bears repeating: Our words are seeds that bear fruit. Every time we open our mouth, little seeds drop to the ground and eventually produce fruit - sometimes rotten fruit, sometimes nourishing fruit. 

The reason our words are important is because we are important. We are messengers; conduits of God's grace. We have an important job to do during our time on earth. If we believe any less than that or if we think we are more than that in ourselves, our words will reflect those beliefs. 

Read this important verse: From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things, as surely as the work of his hands rewards him (Proverbs 12:14).

Think about it. If you have a full time job, you expect your paycheck at the end of the week. Likewise, we can expect that the words of our mouth will produce a result: they'll either bless or curse those in our sphere of influence. 

What's the answer? Spend time with God. Nestle in close and trade our unbelief for belief. Trade our anxiety for peace. Trade our doubt for faith. Get to a place where we are once again assured of God's promise to stand with us and provide for us in every season of life. 

From there, we get up, and we SPEAK!

Speak to the Mountains - Tell your obstacles to move into the sea! Does the enemy of your soul continually throw road blocks in your path? Speak to those obstacles and tell them to move! Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt...you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done (Matthew 21:21)

Speak to the Storms - Tell the storms to be still! Are you surrounded by chaos and confusion? God is the God of order! Speak to your storm and command order to return!  In Matthew 8, the disciples were in the boat with Jesus (who was taking a nap). The storm came and they called on the Lord (sounds like a good idea, no?), but Jesus wondered why their faith was so small. Jesus calmed the storm, but it would have pleased His heart for the disciples to do what He did. 

Speak to your Soul - Tell your soul to be at peace and remember the goodness of the Lord. Psalm 116:7 calls us to speak to that inner man when we are troubled inside: Be at peace (or at rest) once more O, my soul, for the Lord, has been good to you." God has been good and He'll be good again. He's a good God. Reflect on the many ways He has come through for you. Right here. Right now. Take a moment and say thank you for His faithfulness in your life.

Never underestimate the power of your words. They are a weapon in your hand. We'll be called to account for how we used this gift. Did we encourage those around us, or did we pick them apart? Did we talk about circumstances and people with cynicism or with hope? 

Dear Father in Heaven, Have mercy on us for every ill-spoken word! Renew our minds, our hearts, and our perspective. May we leave every person and situation better than we found them. Fill us with a greater sense of Your presence that we might impart life and refreshment wherever we go. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Have a blessed week!

Oh, and PS - if you haven't signed up for my quarterly Ezine, be sure to do so! It's full of great stuff (book giveaways, devotional insights, book recommendations, great quotes, etc.) Here's the link:

January 21, 2009

Embrace Life...

Wendyandkids

Greetings, Dear 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.

Each month I give away a $10.00 gift card, and this month's gift card is from Barnes & Noble. So stop by, leave a comment, share a story, and bless lots of visitors!

Now on to my topic...

On Monday I lost a very precious friend. Wendy (pictured above) died of a heart attack. She was only in her thirties. Wendy and I met about 7 years ago when I taught aerobics at Life Time Fitness. She went from being an avid participant to becoming an amazing instructor. I absolutely loved this girl.

I eventually retired from teaching to go into ministry full time. I joined the YMCA near my home and was absolutely thrilled to learn that Wendy started teaching there. Wendy was my favorite instructor by a lot. Wendy had an electric personality and lit up a room the moment she stepped foot in it. She was hilariously funny and wonderfully caring.

After cycle class Wendy and I loved to hang out and work on aerobic combinations together. We'd laugh and jump around and then end up leaning on the bikes and talking about family, faith, God, and life. To tell you the truth, I am absolutely devastated by this loss.

The Bible says that it's better to go to a house of mourning than a house where there's a party.  Parties inspire us to leave our cares at the door - which we need to do from time to time. But houses of mourning remind us - on a very deep level - what is truly important. All of the peripherals fall by the wayside.

Thank you for letting me share about my friend. But there's a takeaway for you here too, I hope.

We have today and what a gift it is.

Embrace life today. Embrace the fact that you have breath in your lungs and loved ones who are still with you. Kiss them, hug them, and tell them why you think they're great.

Embrace God and His unimaginable love for you. Nothing can separate you from His love. And daily He pours it out, so stop amidst your busy, stress-filled day, and look up. Open your hands. God has something for you to do today and it may very well be off your radar screen. Surrender your task list and ask God for a better one. Be in tune with the Holy Spirit who whispers in your ear. Make your life count.

Give life today. Every chance you get, offer encouragement; offer a word of  hope; pray for peace. The Bible calls us to encourage one another - all the more - as we see the days coming to a close. Use every opportunity you have to offer life and a faith-filled perspective to those in need. Speak the truth in love. Forgive the grudge. Reflect back to others all of the great things you see in them. Be joyful in all things.

Receive life today. When others tell you the great things they see in you - receive their words. Embrace the blessings God sends your way whether they be in the form of a compliment, sudden clarity, a held door, or a free cup of coffee. When people compliment you, don't dismiss it. When your child says, 'I love you' slow down long enough to cherish those words, and the child who speaks them. Every day the Heavens pour forth speech and provision. Receive every shred of life God sends your way.

Believe in life today. You are called. You are chosen. You have a divine destiny written over your life. Believe it! Precious soul, you are far more important than you know. Believe that you are alive today for a very distinct purpose. Believe that you have access to the riches of Heaven to accomplish your divine purpose. Believe that what you do in this life directly affects how eternity will be for you. Believe that no one can diminish your value because God has already determined it. Believe that faith, hope, love, courage, compassion, and conviction are essential to the life of the Believer. Believe that today is a gift straight from Heaven, because it is.

Even if you feel sluggish or bored or weighed down by your cares, rise above it! Embrace life today with everything in you. Take in the sights and sounds all around you and be fully present, here, now, in this day. You have today. Don't squander it and don't miss the chance to live fully today. And remember, you are loved deeply.

Be blessed today!

Until next week~

PS - If you haven't signed up for my quarterly Ezine yet, you may want to. Four times a year I release an Ezine packed with good stuff (book giveaways, devotional thoughts, great quotes, and great book recommendations). Signing up is easy, click the link below:

Susie's Ezine signup...

January 14, 2009

Put Your Emotions Under Your Feet!

Stillwaters


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.

Each month I give away a $10.00 gift card to someone who posts on my blog. For the month of January, I will give away a $10.00 gift card from Barnes & Noble. So leave a comment, share a story, and inspire many others who visit this blog each day!

Now on to my topic.... 

I didn't sleep at all last night. I made the mistake of going to bed with my task list still on my mind. I know better than to take a last look at email before I go to bed, but I did it anyway. Silly me. 

Throughout the night I tossed and turned and got tangled up in my blankets. Throughout the night my mind battled against the 'what ifs' all around me. "What if" questions are useless during the day; and they're absolutely tormenting at night, wouldn't you say? 

But I know I'm not the only one who has to work to stay in a place of consistent peace and a God-centered mindset. It's especially difficult to keep perspective when you're tired; or when you're sick, or broke, or broken, or wounded, or threatened, or just plain afraid. As I posted last week, these are uncertain times, requiring that we be more certain than ever of who we are and what we possess. 

Graham Cooke made a powerful observation regarding our perspective. I wrote about it in my newest book, "The Uncommon Woman." 

He suggests that we remember the difference between our state and our standing. I'll paraphrase his thoughts: Our state speaks of how we feel about our current circumstances (which changes with the ebb and flow of life). Our standing speaks of our position in Christ (which never changes).

We can acknowledge our current 'state', and not be in denial about it. We acknowledge how things are by admitting, "Yes, this is a difficult season and it's hard not knowing what's up ahead." But we can do so, without it shaking us; we can do so that is, if we get our perspective from our 'standing.' We acknowledge our state, but we view life from our standing.

According to my wonderful MAC Dictionary, "Emotions" are described as follows:

A natural, instinctive state of mind derived from one's circumstances, mood, or relationship with others. 

So you can see, emotions rise up out of us as an instinctive reaction to how we feel about our 'state' and from what we tell ourselves about our circumstances.

In Matthew 14 we read about the time when the disciples were in the boat and they saw Jesus walking on the water towards them. At first they thought He was a ghost. But when they heard His voice, Peter had the courage to ask to be invited to participate in a miracle. And he was.

Peter stepped out onto the water and actually walked on water. Imagine!

As with any step of faith we take, Peter began to feel resistance. In this case, resistance came in the form of the wind. He saw the wind's effect on the mighty waters and he felt the wind on his face. His instinctive reaction (as mine would have been) was to give more weight to the wind than to the glory of the One who stood before him.

Read this wonderful excerpt from my Believer's Commentary:

(Relating our experiences to Peter's): We are often storm-tossed, perplexed, in despair. The Savior seems far away. But all the time He is praying for us. When the night seems darkest, He is near at hand. We often mistake Him even then and push the panic button. Then we hear His comforting voice and remember that the waves that caused us to fear are under His feet." (p. 1262).

I love that...the waves that caused us to fear are under His feet!

And since we stand with Christ, those same waves are under our feet! Peter's example is for us!

So let this be a lesson for us today. Regardless of how we feel, God's promises to us are real; they are powerful, and He is true. 

Martin Luther wrote this: Feelings come and feelings go, and feelings are deceiving; our warrant is the Word of God, naught else is worth believing.

Be strong and be courageous! Do not fear or be dismayed! For the Lord IS with you, wherever you go! You have things to do in this life. Don't react to your fears, respond to God's promise of provision over your life. He will come through for you and me. We were made to be conduits of Christ's Kingdom work; of His mighty miracles; of His powerful passion for a world in need.

Have a bold and blessed week!

PS ~ If you haven't signed up for my quarterly Ezine, be sure you do! It's full of great things: book giveaways, devotional thoughts, great book recommendations, cool quotes, ministry updates, and a prayer to send you on your way.

Here's the link to subscribe:

January 07, 2009

Certainty in Uncertain Times...

GayHeadCliffs

Greetings, Everyone!



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

Each month I giveaway a $10.00 gift card to someone who posts on my blog. In honor of the holidays, today I'm giving away a $25.00 gift card from Starbucks. So stop by, share a story, leave a post, and bless lots of people with your insights. Maybe you'll win next month!

And the winner of the $25.00 Starbucks gift card for December is...Linda D.!!! 

Here's the clincher, you have to contact me before I give away next month's gift card. I wish I had the time to track you down, but I don't. Email me at: info@susielarson.com ~ Congratulations!

Now on to my topic...

How are things going in your life? Do your aspirations and cares feel planned out, provided for, steady-Eddie, no problems you can think of right now? I didn't think so.

You'd have to be a rich person living in a mountain cabin with no access to media or people, and no sense of God's burden for the world to be out of touch with the uncertainty of the times.

I've been here before, this place where all appears up in the air, undecided, not-sure-which-way-the-wind-will blow. And each of those times, God has used fleeting circumstances to strengthen my frame, my roots, and my sense of purpose despite the ever-changing world all around me.

Each time I walked through such a season, I grabbed my 'helmet of Salvation' and pulled it on just a little tighter. I asked, "Give me an eternal perspective, here, Lord. What are You doing in my midst and how should I think about it? May the helmet on my head affect my thinking here on earth. The earth is Yours and so there's always more going on than meets the eye. Nothing escapes Your attention. I'm standing with You; help me to think like You." 

The amazing thing is, every time I ask for a higher perspective, I get one. And every time I'm faced with uncertainty, I eventually come upon a deeper peace, an inner strength, and a profound trust that God is who He says He is. I shall not be moved.

Let's look at a couple of verses that support this idea:

James 1:1-8
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance his fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.  

Count it all joy - in every trial - consider it an opportunity to be strengthened and prepared to stand for the days ahead! So let it grow. In due time, even in sparse times, you'll have all that you need. You'll lack nothing because your resources are the unlimited resources of Heaven.

If you need wisdom for your current situation, ask for it. God will not breathe a heavy sigh or roll His eyes because you feel in over your head. He is a generous God and He will gently and lovingly guide you through all of life's trials. In fact, He loves it when we ask for wisdom! It's a wise thing to do!

But we must make sure that our loyalties are not divided, that we are not double-minded, and that we not live with one foot of affection on worldly pursuits and one foot of affection on Kingdom living. If we attempt to, we'll be miserable and must not expect to receive the wisdom God offers for our current need. Why? Because even if He is speaking wisdom to us, it's not getting through to us. When our footing is unstable and shaky, the first place our eyes go is downward. When our footsteps are firm, we can look up and listen.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for God who promised, is faithful.

Romans 8:38
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. Death can't. Life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, or worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.

So you see, we can either run to and fro and grab quick, band-aid solutions to our problems (which are no solutions at all), or we can call on the Name of the Lord, knowing full well, He is the One who can keep us from falling. He is the One who supplies all our needs! (Phil. 4:19). He is the One who loves us dearly. And He is the One who hears us when we call out to Him.

Refuse to give way to a stressed out, uncertain mindset. That's for un-believers. Do you believe God is true to His Word? Then stand on it! Do not waver! Ask for wisdom! Get rid of the garbage in your life that messes you up and slows you down. Get serious about your walk of faith because the times call for it. 

Nothing is more powerful than a woman or man in step with the Living God. When others see peace and certainty reflected in your countenance, they will be drawn to the Jesus in you. And that was His plan all along.

Have a blessed week.

PS ~ My quarterly E-zine will come out again on January 15th (free books, great quotes, devotional thoughts, ministry updates, etc.) Interested? Subscribe by clicking on this link: