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4 posts from October 2009

October 30, 2009

A Smart Pace...

BeautifulPath

Greetings, Friends!

Susie Larson here...

And to those visiting, I say welcome! I USUALLY post every Wednesday (and have been very consistent to that end until last week). :) My sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Though this post lands on a Friday, I'll be back on track next Wednesday. Lord willing. 

Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So share a story or insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend. It's time to announce the winner for the month of October. Drum roll please...

Kimberlee Patton, congratulations! Please send me a message via Facebook and give me your mailing address. I'll get the card in the mail within the next week and a half. Thanks for sharing your posts with us!

NEW RELEASE!!!

I am very excited to announce the release of my newest book, "Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience in God's Heart for Justice." 

Make my day and pick up a copy today! I believe the message of this book is an important word for women in our day. Follow the Amazon link below to get a look at my book. Please post a review if you've had the chance to read 'Embracing Your Freedom':

Embracing Your Freedom (on Amazon)

Now on to my topic...

A friend and I talked today about the importance of following the 'rules' of training. She is an elite athlete and competes at a very high level. She admittedly doesn't like to rest. She likes to move. She is a two-time cancer survivor, a near-fatal car accident survivor, and a typhoid fever survivor. Now that she's healthy, she wants to move! I understand her completely. I'm the same way. The thing is, though her coach repeatedly tells her to pull back at times and keep some reserve in the tank for the intense days, she figures, 'if I have it, I'm going to expend it.' Again, I understand her completely, because I'm much the same way.

But in order for us to accomplish the whole of what God has appointed us, we must never consider ourselves an 'exception to the rule.' If we run too hard without rest, we'll burn out. If we live half-hearted lives, we'll miss out. If we lose focus, we'll lose purpose. This is the race of our lives, friends, and if we want to 'run to win' we need to play by the rules. 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

Let's take a moment to consider the different aspects of 'running to win' as it relates to our physical and spiritual lives:

Run Focused:

Smart athletes keep their eye on the prize, on the goal. They say 'no' to many things so they can say yes to the race set before them. We have a destiny and a specific call of God woven into our spiritual DNA. We live on this planet, in this day, in our community for some very distinct reasons. How about you? What are your God-assignments? Have you said yes to too many good things, or even not-so-good things that have deterred you from your God-ordained purpose on this earth?

Stay Nourished:

Smart athletes nourish themselves regularly throughout the day. Their input has everything to do with their output. If they skip meals or eat junk food, their performance will suffer significantly. How about you? Are you feeding yourself throughout the day with the things of God? In this day, we have access to spiritual nourishment with the click of a button. There's no reason in the world for us to be spiritual malnourished. Don't let your taste for spiritual food wane, otherwise your life choices will follow suit.

Train Hard:

Smart-winning athletes put their time into training. They take initiative when everyone else is sitting in front of the TV eating guacamole dip (something I'll be doing later on tonight). :) Truly though, since the Bible likens us to an elite athlete, we need to look at our level of training. Do you consider heavy seasons as an opportunity to get stronger, or do you complain, whine, and drop the ball on your faith when you're not getting your way? Are you earnest in prayer and do you take initiative to serve God every moment you think of it? We're not here to dabble in Christianity, we are either all-in or nothing (See Revelations 3:15-16).

Rest Well:

Finally, and this is perhaps the most difficult aspect of training, the truly smart athlete knows how and when to rest. We don't necessarily rest when we feel like it. I can think of plenty of times I 'felt' desperate for rest and God told me to get up and run. In hindsight, I was thankful I did. Great fruit came from those times. We are called to rest as the Lord leads, on Sabbath, in-our-hearts-as-a-way-of-life, and during seasons when the Lord pulls us out of the rat race and puts us into a circumstance where we have no other choice. One thing we must remember: God-directed rest will always propel us forward. God-rest heals, restores, and replenishes. Lazy-rest rips us off and depletes us of the muscle and motivation necessary for the race.

How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man (Proverbs 6:9-11).

Take a look at your form today. Are you strong in one area and yet neglecting another? May the Lord speak to your heart and help you to make the necessary adjustments. 

  And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared (Ephesians 6:10-13 MSG). 

Until next week~

October 24, 2009

New Things...

Backyard Fall

Greetings, Everyone! 

Susie Larson here...

And to those visiting, I say welcome. Okay, here's where I usually mention that I post every Wednesday, and I do, really. I think I've been AWOL only a few times in the past several years. This past Wednesday was one of those days. As some of you know, I serve as an on-call radio host for a two hour talk show (Along the Way - AM 900 - Faith Radio Network). Anyway, I hosted the show from Wednesday through Friday and never had a minute downtime in between. So sorry I missed you. 

One more little blip I need to share. This Monday I leave for Chicago on a publicity trip. I return later in the day on Wednesday. If I'm still standing upright, I'll post that night, otherwise, next week's post will show up on Thursday. We should be on track after that! Thanks for your patience. 

Two more orders of business...

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

NEW RELEASE!!!

I am very excited to announce the release of my newest book, "Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience in God's Heart for Justice." 

Make my day and pick up a copy today! I believe the message of this book is an important word for women in our day. Follow the Amazon link below to get a look at my book:

Embracing Your Freedom...

Now, on to my topic...

A couple of hours ago I enjoyed a nice cardio workout at the YMCA. While I worked up a sweat on the machines, I stared out the window at the beautiful sky. Hazy clouds took on a yellowish glow as the sun reflected through them. Our great God, who put the stars in their place, is intimately engaged with us on this journey. He is a present and loving Father. He is our help in time of need. And He is beyond good when it comes to the desires of our heart.

While there is much focus and emphasis on all that is crumbling in our midst, God is still doing a new thing. You've heard it said, "When closes a door, He opens a window." As cliche as that may sound, it's beautifully true. He loves His children. He hears our passionate cries and He moves heaven and earth to get good gifts to His children.

But sometimes those 'gifts' don't always feel so good. 

When God opens up a new opportunity and shows us a new possibility, the thought of it excites us, right? But when we take the steps to move in that direction, our sense of security falters. We're leaving the 'known zone' for something altogether different. And just because we feel a little (or a lot) afraid, does it mean that God is not in it? Not necessarily! His peace is our guide and if we have no peace, we should take no steps in that direction. But if His peace is present and His word is confirmed in us, then we need to move ahead regardless of how uncomfortable the unknown might be. 

I wrote this in my new book, "Embracing Your Freedom" and it's important to remember:

When God says, 'Go!' it's more dangerous to stay behind. There is less risk in moving into the unknown than in lagging behind in disobedience and unbelief." 

Are the 'known' things slipping out of your fingertips? Is your once comfortable existence shaking beneath you? How easy it is to be swallowed up in despair and fear! But have no fear! God still answers prayers, still cares about the desires of your heart, and He does new things every single day. He is doing a new thing on your behalf right now. 

As uncomfortable as it might feel, embrace the unknown if that's where He's leading you. Take His hand and trust His heart. He is good and He is totally and completely in love with you.

"Yet, I still belong to You. You are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with Your counsel, leading me on to a glorious destiny" (Psalm 73:23).

~ Until next Wednesday (or Thursday). :)

Have a blessed week.

October 13, 2009

Fingerprints...

Martha'strail

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 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So share a story or insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.

NEW RELEASE!!!

I am very excited to announce the release of my newest book, "Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience in God's Heart for Justice." 

Make my day and pick up a copy today! I believe the message of this book is an important word for women in our day. Follow the Amazon link below to get a look at my book:

Embracing Your Freedom...

Now on to my post...

Today I want to chat with you about the idea of walking around the traps the enemy sets for us. You know that scene in the movies when an unsuspecting person gets tricked into putting his fingerprints on a weapon? Recently I pondered the idea of how the enemy often does the same thing to us. He baits us to:

  • Take the credit
  • Take offense
  • Grab for ourselves
  • Grab hold of anger
  • Open the door to gossip
  • Open the door to discouragement 
  • Open the door to fear, doubt, and worry

He wants us to put our hands on things God never intended us to touch. Picture it. Something happens that knocks you off balance, and the enemy is right there, holding out a weapon of revenge or a choice word of reaction. Do you grab it and start swinging? Or maybe you've recently achieved a few great accomplishments and people are singing your praises. You are grateful that God would use you in such a way. And just when you least expect it, that enemy of yours holds out a license of pride and subtle arrogance. He tempts you to believe that life is good because you are good. Do you step into that trap? Or maybe you've endured one hardship after another and you wonder what else could go wrong. At just the right (or wrong) moment, there's a knock at your soul's door, and you know it's hopelessness. But you're tempted to answer because you feel hopeless. 

Now imagine those same encounters where you step back, put your hands up, and declare, "I'm not touching that thing! You won't find my fingerprints on that bait! I'm not falling for the trap and I won't give in to defeat. I am made for better things!" 

God is always stronger, always makes provision for our victory, and always provides a way out so we can stand in the battle. 

First Corinthians 10:13 promises us that, no temptation has seized us except for what is common to man, and when we are tempted, He will provide a WAY OUT so we can stand up under it. 

We never have to fall for the enemy's traps. 

Isaiah 59:19 reminds us that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord shall raise up a standard against him.

Let's take it a step further. When faced with the temptation to grab hold of fear, may we put our hands on faith instead. When we are baited to take the credit or to think we are something when we're not, may our hands and our faces find the ground as we bow lower still and honor the God who saves us and lifts us up. When we are tempted to retaliate or hang on to un-forgiveness, may we cling to the Cross and remember once again all we've been forgiven. May our God see our fingerprints all over His promises! 

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior.  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah (Psalm 24:1-6).

Until next week~

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October 06, 2009

Connecting the Dots...

Crossintheclouds

Hi 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 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. Share an insight or story, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.

NEW RELEASE!!!

I am very excited to announce the release of my newest book, "Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience in God's Heart for Justice." 

Make my day and pick up a copy today! I believe the message of this book is an important word for women in our day. Follow the Amazon link below to get a look at my book:

Embracing Your Freedom

Now on to my topic...

We all go through seasons in life where we feel especially vulnerable and our insecurities feel close to the surface. During such times it's easy to misread people and situations. 

A trusted friend suddenly seems disloyal and distant. A co-worker pulls back and seems to be spending time with someone who doesn't like you. You walk into church and nobody seems interested in talking to you. Your pastor walks right by without noticing you. You no longer feel like you have your boss's favor.

When one or more of these scenarios happen in a short amount of time, it's easy to connect the dots, draw certain conclusions, and then react accordingly. Just recently I talked with someone who had a number of 'dots' out there. He had some legitimate reason for concern, but deep in his soul, he sensed that God was telling him to believe the best about others, not to jump to conclusions, and to continue on with doing the right thing.

His response was exactly right and at the end of the day, the little mishaps fizzled to nothing. Imagine if he would have taken the bait, gotten big and reactionary with his friends and co-workers, and stepped out of the authority and assurance that he had in Christ Jesus. 

We may have some real 'dots' out there, just begging to be connected, but that doesn't mean that the picture actually exists or is an accurate one. We need the mind of Christ not to draw wrong conclusions.

From now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view (2 Corinthians 5:16).

I cringe when I think of how many times I assumed people had bad motives when they didn't, or I assumed they we're mad when they weren't. Thankfully, many of those times, I kept my feelings to myself and brought them before God that I might find my footing once again. Interestingly enough though, I learned that in many of those situations, those people we're enduring their own struggles and would have greatly benefited from an extra dose of grace and love (which comes out of fullness; reactions, on the other hand, come out of emptiness).

We all tend to misread people and situations when something in them resembles a past painful experience for us. We must take responsibility for our actions and reactions, and we must pursue deep inner healing so that our past no longer has the power to diminish our current perspective and relationships. Remember too, the enemy overplays his hand when it comes to our unhealed areas. He prowls around, just looking for an opportunity to magnify a problem or skew a perspective. His goal is to get our eyes off of God and onto our fears and hang ups. He wants our past to keep speaking to us. He wants our wounds to perpetuate themselves. And he wants us stuck in the prison of an earthbound perspective.

You've probably heard me say this before, or read it in one of my books, but it bears repeating. If the devil can get us to live in reaction to our circumstances rather than in response to God, well, then, he has succeeded at stealing our joy and robbing us of the abundant life to which our souls are heir. 

Determine to believe the best in others this week. Even if their motives are off, you stay in the shelter of the Most High God and declare, My salvation and honor depend on God alone. HE is my mighty rock and refuge (Psalm 62:7). Determine too, to believe the best about God. He has your best interest at heart every single day. Even if your circumstances scream something different, refuse to draw a conclusion that disregards God's promises to you.

For the Believer, the only conclusion that matters is the one God has come to regarding us. We are worth everything to Him. We are loved, called, equipped, and chosen. We have everything we need and then some.

Have a blessed week~

PS ~ I took the picture above with my phone from my deck. Look closely at it; you'll see a cross in the clouds. It was HUGE! 

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