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4 posts from August 2009

August 25, 2009

Raw Honesty...

Housethroughtherocks

Greetings, 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. This month's gift card comes from Starbucks. So leave a post, share an insight or story, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and friend! 

Now on to my topic...

I love the story of when King David brought the ark of the God back to the City of David. He led the throng of people with excitement and jubilation. He danced before the Lord, not as a king but as a humble servant. King David removed his royal garb and wore only his linen ephod, which in those days was like the simple tunic slaves wore. His wife watched him from the window and was so appalled by this display of worship that she criticized him when he returned home. Let's read their exchange:


When David returned home to bless his family, Michal came out to meet him and said in disgust, "How glorious the king of Israel looked today! He exposed himself to the servant girls like any indecent person might do!" David retorted to Michal, "I was dancing before the LORD, who chose me above your father and his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the LORD. So I am willing to act like a fool in order to show my joy in the LORD. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, but I will be held in honor by the girls of whom you have spoken!"  So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her life. (2 Samuel 6:20-23 NLT).

Michal paid a price for her self-preserving attitude.

David, on the other hand, didn't rest on his laurels or feel the need to appear dignified at all times. Underneath it all, he knew who he was: a servant of the Most High God. 

Do you notice how mightily God uses those who are willing to humble themselves before Him? Why then, do we work so hard to appear more put together than we are? Pure and simply, we need Jesus! Every day! Every hour! 

Not one of us has arrived and we won't until we cross the finish line and hear our Father say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." There's that word again.

Read this compelling excerpt from John Fischer's book, "12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee."

"I often wonder how a gospel based solely on the merits of the one who has died to forgive sin could be perpetuated on the merits of those who don't seem to need it. If the whole point of the gospel is forgiveness of sin, then why do we insist on continually parading these 'almost perfect' lives in front of each other? How has it happened that the people who proclaim forgiveness of sin don't seem to have any sins to be forgiven of themselves? How has a church that once was the happy possession of common fishermen and prostitutes and tax collectors become the home of the spiritually elite? There are, undoubtedly, numerous and complicated answers to this question, but I believe at the root of them all is lurking the issue of the Pharisee." (p.95). 

Now, of course, if we are serious about our walk of faith, we will grow into the likeness of Christ. Hopefully we are more loving now than we were last month; and more forgiving now than we were last year. But I believe that we are never more intimately linked in fellowship with God than when we are raw and honest before Him about our sin and about our daily desperate need for Him. Not because He doesn't know our sad state, but so that we can be lifted from it. 

And I believe that we are never more blessed in community and more one with each other than when we are raw and honest with a handful of safe, godly friends. We need each other on this journey and we are better together. 

May we, like David, shed all of our frivolous garb and celebrate God with reckless abandon! May we always remember that we are servants of the Most High God. And may we be humble enough to be real and honest about our need for Him.

Have a blessed week!

If you haven't already signed up for my FREE Quarterly E-zine, you might want to! Four times a year I send out an E-magazine with free book giveaways from my author friends, a devotional, great book recommendations, great quotes, and a prayer to send you on your way. Here's the link:

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August 18, 2009

Silent Worship...

Silent Sunrise


Hello, Everyone! Happy Wednesday!



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's card comes from Starbucks! So share an insight or story, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.

I always respond to your posts. Sometimes it just takes me a little while to get to them. But I will!

Now on to my topic...

I don't know about you, but I'm a bit over-saturated with the noise of the news these days. Not that we shouldn't be abreast of current affairs, but the back and forth bickering is enough to give you an earache. Now is definitely the time to be praying. Now is the time to hold fast to your convictions. 

But now is also the time for something even more important. Now is the time to slow down, to pause, to look up, and to worship God. Now is the time to thank Him for the beautiful sunrise or sunset. Now is the time to drop to our knees and praise Him for the smiles on our children's faces. Now is the time to place our hand on our full stomachs and thank Him for His provision. God is so good.

Certain days call for loud praises and lots of hoopla. But other days call for a quiet reverence and a certain understanding that God is on His holy throne. He is the Maker of the Universe and no one can withstand His power. No scheme. No enemy. No plan can succeed against the Lord. 

He is mighty to save and He is infinitely good. 

Try this throughout the day, in the silence of your heart, worship Him like you never have before. Thank Him profusely and passionately for the blessings you enjoy. From the bottom of your gut, or even the tips of your toes tell Him how MUCH you appreciate His involvement in your life. Worship Him for all your worth. Because all of your worth comes from Him. 

Here's a fabulous piece from Gerald K. Hibbert:

"Silent worship is healing; it is uniting; it cleanses; challenges; stimulates.
It helps us to get down to those deeper currents of the soul that are so often neglected in life's hurry and bustle; it enables us to center down into fellowship with the Eternal and to hear the still small voice of God."  (Quote taken from: The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer)

Amidst this noisy season in life, practice silent worship. It'll do wonders for your soul.

Have a blessed, peace-filled week!

PS ~ I'll be guest hosting on Along the Way today and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday). Listen in if you get the chance (From 12:00-2:00 CST on AM 900 for the Twin Cities). You can listen online too. Here's the link (look for the 'listen' link):

PSS~ If you haven't already signed up for my FREE Quarterly E-zine, you might want to! Four times a year I send out an E-magazine with free book giveaways from my author friends, a devotional, great book recommendations, great quotes, and a prayer to send you on your way. Here's the link:

PSSS~ I'm finally on Facebook! Look me up. I'd love to be your friend!

August 12, 2009

Desperate!

Breakthrough Sunrise

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 give away a $10.00 gift card to someone who posts on my blog. This month's gift card comes from Starbucks! So share an insight or story, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend. 

Now on to my topic...

I just returned from my weekly cycle class. In fact, I'm embarrassed to say that I'm still soaking wet with sweat (I'll shower after I finish my post). :)  Anyway, our instructor (who happens to be an elite level triathlete), pushed us so hard today, the studio felt like a sauna and everyone sucked their share of oxygen out of the room. 

At a couple of moments during the class, my heart rate skyrocketed, I gasped for breath, and I was desperate for air. I truly was. I longed to step off my bike and step outside of the studio where the temperature was 20 degrees cooler; I imagined stretching out on a mat and allowing my heart rate to settle down. I was absolutely pushed to my physical limit. 

Honestly, I haven't felt that physically desperate for a long time. 

Read this Psalm:
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God (Psalm 84:2).

Oh, to be gasping and as breathless for the presence of the Living God!

Dear Lord, make us more desperate for Your presence! May our whole soul, mind, heart, emotions, and strength engage in this passionate pursuit of You! 

You reward those who earnestly seek after You - hear our cry, dear Lord! 

May we be filled with the knowledge of Your will in ALL wisdom and spiritual understanding, that we may walk worthy of You, fully pleasing You, being fruitful in EVERY good work, and INCREASING in the knowledge of God. Strengthen us with all might ACCORDING to YOUR glorious power, for all patience, long suffering and joy. Fill us with thankfulness because You have qualified us to inherit all of the blessings of Your Kingdom (Colossians 1:9-12). 

Forgive us for protecting ourselves from desperation. We have so many comforts to prop us up that we never really have to feel like we'll die without Your presence in our lives. Forgive us for drinking out of broken cisterns that never satisfy. We want You, Lord. Realign our priorities and our passions so that every choice we make is in response to your love (and not in reaction to our selfishness). 

Make us more like You! Create in us a clean heart, O, Lord. Fill us with a holy desperation to follow You and to run the race before us in a focused and purposeful way. Help us not to get sidetracked or discouraged. Make us bold and strong and brave. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

Okay, I didn't plan on writing out a prayer today, but there you have it. May our prayers be more passionate, our faith more bold, and our hearts more desperate for HIM! 

God bless your week!

PS ~ If you haven't signed up for my FREE quarterly E-zine yet, I invite you to! My author friends give away some free books, I write a devotional, offer some great book recommendations and inspirational quotes, and give you a prayer to send you on your way. Sign up here if you're interested:


Also, I'm finally on Facebook:

August 05, 2009

Hidden in Christ...

Housethroughtherocks

Greetings, 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. Leave an insight or share a story, bless lots of people and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and friend. And now it's time to announce the winner for the month of July.

And the winner is...Cherie Wilson! Congratulations! (Please email me at: info@susielarson.com and give me your mailing address. You must claim your prize before I announce next month's winner. Blessings!)

Now on to my topic...

At the outset, first let me say that the following post is for the earnest follower of Christ who is not currently living with hidden, willful sin, or embracing an attitude contrary to God's call for us as Believers. As you know, grace isn't a license to sin but rather a net to catch us when we fall. If you walk closely with God and take seriously His refining work in your life (but you're sometimes aware of how far you have to go...), this post is for you...

Last week I posted about what it means to be ONE with Christ. When the enemy tries to single us out, we must stay in rank. When he comes against one of us, he comes against the armies of the living God! He means to pick us off one by one but he won't get away with it unless we step out from the fold, wander it alone, or allow him to make us self-aware.

This week I want to explore what it means to be hidden in Christ. I hear from quite a number of you and I know this for myself as well, it's easy to hang on to past mistakes or to get under condemnation about our yet-to-be-redeemed areas. We are works in progress and yet, God loves us perfectly every step of the way. 

In the meantime, we're going to bump up against people who don't think we're the greatest thing since sliced cheese. They may not like us for the very reason we dislike ourselves at times. Yes, we are not the people we used to be - we grow more like Christ every day - but what about those things in us that still bear the resemblance of a selfish human with feet of clay?

Jesus told His disciples not to worry if someone rejects them, because it means they are rejecting Him. I don't have any problem if someone rejects me or rolls their eyes at me because I have a deep abiding relationship with God. As if I would walk away from a Love that never fails so that a mere human would have a more favorable opinion of me.

But what I have struggled with in the past is the idea that people may still reject me on the basis of ME. Again, not that rejection is the worst thing in the world (although it's not fun), but the thought that my carnal nature would turn someone away, seems quite depressing and tempts me to come under a certain measure of self-condemnation. But as we know, there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

Galatians 2:20 states something VERY important: I've been crucified with Christ and it's no longer I who lives but CHRIST WHO LIVES IN ME, and the life I now live in the flesh, I LIVE BY FAITH in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me. 

Read a couple more important verses:

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

For you died and your life is NOW HIDDEN with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

When we say YES to Christ, we become benefactors of all that He is and all that He did to defeat sin and death. He makes us privy to the inner workings of the Kingdom (the Bible says He confides in those who fear Him), He gives us access to His presences and assigns angels to our protection.  When we are in Christ, we are NEW all the way through! And we are surrounded by the armies of the Living God. It's like going from being a civilian to an enlisted soldier - only on a far grander scale. 

Jesus doesn't divide who we are into little sections and only defend the areas of our lives that have been 'perfected' in Him. We are whole and complete in Him right now! We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. So, when people reject, dismiss, or even bump up against the stuff in us that still needs to be refined, He is still our Defender. And if those people are careless with their words, cruel in their judgements, or simply carnal in their response, God will deal with them. We can rest secure in the promise of God's protection, defense, and love. We can be a peace with the pace of His redeeming work in our lives.

Does that mean we don't have to look at the yuck in our lives? Of course we do! But when we walk closely with the Lord, He corrects us within the embrace of His love. He leads us with grace. He refines us with gentleness and patience. And as we block out all the other voices and listen only to Him, we'll not only get where we're going, we'll be more like HIM when we get there. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. We are never out of His care or His reach. And He is our great Defender. Thank you, Lord.

Have a great week!

PS ~ If you haven't signed up for my FREE quarterly E-zine, you may want to! A number of my author friends donate some free books, I write a devotional and offer some great book recommendations; I share a few great quotes, ministry updates, and a prayer to send you on your way. Sign up by clicking the link below: