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4 posts from November 2009

November 25, 2009

YES! and NO!

Blessed Morning  

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 an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and 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." 

Bless my socks off 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' (thank you so much!):

Embracing Your Freedom on Amazon...

It's time to give away this month's Starbucks gift card. Drum roll please...

Jami Kaeb, congratulations! Thanks for your great posts! Email me at: info@susielarson.com with your mailing address and I'll get the card in the mail to you. Bless you!

Now on to my topic...

Those of you who frequent my blog know that I've devoted the weeks in November to address some uncommon aspects of giving thanks (for our freedom for the unknown road ahead, for the first signs of answered prayer). Today we are going to look at the powerful gifts of our 'YES' and 'NO' when it comes to the spiritual realm. There is power in those words!

Ephesians 6:16 tells us to: take up the shield of faith with which we can extinguish ALL of the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

When we walk in step with the Lord, there is NOTHING the enemy can send our way that we can't defend. We raise our shield and we block his attempts to bring us down, make us doubt, and move us into discouragement. I'm speaking to myself here. I've been in a bit of a funk these past couple of days. But this passage reminds me that the armor I possess in Christ is perfect for times such as these!

Author Rick Renner addressed the 'with which' in the verse above. He wrote that the Greek word for the phrase 'with which' is 'dunamis' which means explosive power. 

When the enemy shoots his arrows at us, we MUST raise our shield in response to his attacks and say 'NO!' When we raise our shield and refuse his taunts, we actually activate and explosive power in the supernatural realm. Our shield isn't a plastic toy, it's a supernatural weapon to combat and overcome supernatural schemes devised against us! And that's something for which to be thankful!

Let's look at another verse:

(Jesus answers a man who said, "If you can...please help us"):

"'If you can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for him who believes.' (See Mark 9:23).

According to author Rick Renner, the word 'possible' in this verse is the Greek word, 'dunata' which comes from the word 'dunatos.' It expresses the idea of ability, power, and one who is able. It shares the same root word as 'dunamis.' 

Rick Renner writes: "You see, faith is the spark that ignites the impossible causes to become possible. When a person's faith is activated, it sets in motion supernatural power that enables that person to do what he normally would never be able to do!" (See Sparkling Gems, pg. 780). 

So you see, when you say NO! to the enemy, you active explosive power against the forces that stand opposed to you. And when you say YES! to God, you active explosive power in the heavenly realms where God has assigned warring angels to assist and help you.

Our 'NO' and 'YES' mean something to God and they mean something to the devil. Let's not minimize the gift of what God had made available to us in this life. We are equipped to be MORE THAN CONQUERORS in Christ Jesus. God has given us authority over ALL of the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19), and ANYTHING is possible for us who walk in faith (Mark 9:23).

Thank you, Lord.

~Until next week.


November 17, 2009

First a Trickle...

Vermilionfalls

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 an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and 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." 

Bless my socks off 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' (thank you so much!):

Embracing Your Freedom on Amazon...

Now on to my topic...

If you're new to my blog, I'm dedicating the weeks in November to some uncommon aspects of gratitude. The first week we remembered afresh our gift of freedom and thanked God for it. The call was to pull over to the side of the road and take in the beautiful sunset, because you can. Slow down and enjoy that conversation with your friend, because you can!

Last week we considered the unknown path ahead of us a beautiful thing. Why? Because Jesus is already there. He goes before us and He is behind us. He's even right beside us. And though the ground feels unsteady beneath our feet, Jesus is holds us steady and makes us strong. We as Believers have the glad assurance of God's precious and personal presence and for that, we are grateful.

This week we're going to look at the precious gift of answered prayer. Every one of us is either wearing, living in, or in some other way, enjoying full-fledged answers to past prayers. In fact, we've prayed countless prayers and then forgot about them only to enjoy the answer later with no thought of God's faithfulness. God forgive us. But there's still today. Let's thank Him today for every blessing we enjoy.

So where's the uncommon in all of this? Let's thank Him too for the prayers that remain unanswered - at least as far as our eyes can see. We must know that our God is fully engaged with us on this journey, an ever present help in times of trouble (see Psalm 46:1). 

The Lord wants us to ask and keep asking. Seek and keep seeking. Knock and keep knocking. He loves our tenacity and our faith. He is always moving. Always intervening in response to our prayers. The thing is, many of those answers and life-changes are invisible at first. 

When we bring our requests before God and when we hold on to the promises from His Word, things change. In the spiritual realm first. Just because we cannot see Him work in our kids, our spouses, our workplace, or our own lives, it doesn't mean He isn't working. He is. And He moves in beautiful and divine ways. 

Isaiah 43:18-19 is a great reminder for us:

Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a NEW THING! 

Now it springs up; do you know PERCEIVE it? 

I am MAKING A WAY in the desert and STREAMS in the wasteland.

We pray. We trust. We thank God for His faithfulness. And we continue to walk on in faith, knowing He'll come through for us.

And suddenly one day - sometimes when we least expect it - we notice a stream in the wasteland, a trickle of water finding it's way through the dry and weary places of our lives. 

We get discouraged when we pray because too often, we look for the BIG answer, the finished product, and the final solution, all the while missing the trickle of life making its way into our lives. 

As we acknowledge God's faithfulness in our lives, as we hold on to faith, walk in obedience, and trust in God's Word, that trickle in due time becomes a rushing river. May we never minimize those small beginnings and those little glimpses of change. We can find God in every nook and cranny of our lives.

Lean in and listen to what God has to say to you today. A new thing springs up. Can you perceive it? Do you trust Him enough to thank Him for the answers that are on their way? Answers are on their way you know, just for you.

If you see a trickle of water flow through your dry and weary land, celebrate! If you see a small, fist-sized cloud in the sky, jump up and down and praise Him! (See 1 Kings 18). God is moving in ways we cannot see. And He loves, loves, loves it when we wholeheartedly embrace that truth.

Bless Him today with your faith. Thank Him ahead of time for the ways He is moving on your behalf.

~Until next week.

November 11, 2009

Mercies and the Unknown...

Blessed Morning

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 an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and 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." 

Bless my socks off 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' (thank you so much!):

Embracing Your Freedom on Amazon...

Now on to my topic...

As I mentioned last week, in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm devoting the Wednesdays in November to the different aspects of gratitude. Last week we addressed the blessing of our abundant and literal freedom. This week, let's look at the beauty of the unknown.

I know, the unknown seems anything but beautiful at times. Terrifying, yes. Unsettling, for sure. But beautiful? Yes, too. For sure.

Our unknown is known by Him. Jesus is already there. Which makes it perfectly and wonderfully beautiful. 

Read one of my favorite verses: You both precede and follow me; You place your hand of blessing upon my head (Psalm 139:5).

I'm going through a bit of an unknown season in life. With the writing and then the release of my 'Freedom' book came a slew of spiritual attack and opposition. I poured my heart and soul into this book and I knew the results would be up to God. And they are. Still, I don't know what those results will be. Every time I speak on this topic, we see God move and lives changed, and yet all of the opposition behind the scenes leaves me feeling like I've just been beat up and pushed around by the enemy of my soul - each and every time. But I will obey and trust the Lord with the outcome because He is with me and He is ahead of me.

This spring I have another book coming out titled, "Growing Grateful Kids." I'm excited about this book; it's both funny and deep. I also have a full speaking schedule. But then you look ahead to next fall and I've sensed the Lord telling me not to take too many speaking events. Behind the scenes there are some opportunities before me that could result in a pretty drastic shift in ministry. Or...God could be leading me into a season of hiddenness and refining. I don't know. I'm tempted at times to panic about the potential shift of momentum. But He's already there, so it's a blessed and beautiful place. And I don't want anything that He doesn't want for me.

Check out the picture at the top of this blog. I took this beautiful sunrise picture this morning with my phone. What a spectacular, creative, artistic God we serve! His mercies are new and lovely every morning. His faithfulness is powerfully great.

What about your life makes you feel apprehensive? When you look at your future, do you see too many variables that make you feel unsettled? Can you thank Him even here?

Though unknown to us, our future is not hidden from God. He is already there. He has prepared fresh mercies to touch us and bless us for all of our tomorrows. His grace is sufficient for us. His power is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). He has taken it upon Himself to cover us, care for us, lead us, and strengthen us.

Over and over again He instructs us to be anxious for nothing, be strong and courageous, let not our hearts be troubled, and to trust Him in all things. All of these directives imply that we have a choice in the matter. He supplies. We lay hold of His supply. He is. We decide to become. 

Thank Him for His wisdom in the way He leads you. Thank Him - by faith - for the beautiful unknown path ahead of you. He is always good; always acting in love; always offering support; always supplying; constantly present, and completely engaged.

SO much for which to be thankful.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

~Until next week...

November 03, 2009

Free to Thank Him...

Backyard sunrise

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 an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and 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." 

Bless my socks off 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' (thank you so much!):

Embracing Your Freedom on Amazon...

Now on to my topic...

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday (blessings to my Canadian friends, I know you already celebrated your Thanksgiving holiday), I would like to take the next four weeks to explore what it means to embrace a heart of gratitude. And this week, in celebration of my new release, let's wrap our arms around the idea of being thankful for the freedoms we enjoy. 

The holidays are before us. And it's about this time every year that our motors get running on overdrive and we keep that pedal to the metal until the morning of January 1st. We wake up with an empty tank, iron eyelids and heavy feet, and we wonder how the last month and a half sped by us in such a blur.

Well, not this year! 

Let's decide together to pull over to the side of the road on occasion and enjoy a sunset or watch the trees blow in the breeze. Let's take a few extra minutes to chat with a friend or enjoy a cup of coffee. Let's make it our practice (for the next couple of months especially), to pause, give thanks, and enjoy the incredible gifts that surround us.

Why? Because we can. 

Here's an excerpt from 'Embracing Your Freedom':

"What an exorbitant privilege to hop into the car and drive to a coffeehouse for a $4 cup of coffee. What a treasured freedom to decide whether or not to go to bed early. Taking our kids to the park, enjoying a day at the beach, devouring Christian books, praying in broad daylight, watching back-to-back movies on a cold, rainy day; all of these priceless gems make us rich indeed.

Has your holy tenacity waned a bit? Begin by thanking God for the blessings you enjoy and the land you currently possess. Walk the boundaries of your home and count every square inch a treasure. Look at the pictures on your wall. They're yours. Trace the outline of the windows that allow you to look out where the birds sing and the sun shines. If you have children, place your hand on their heads and whisper a prayer of thanks. Next time you go to church, look around. Be amazed that you are free to come and go as you please. Notice your portion of land; be thankful for it. Simply by expressing your gratitude to God out loud, you'll bring courage to your heart and strength to your soul. When you start counting your blessings, you'll feel the wind in your sails once again." (pp. 25, 31). 

This week, make it your practice to notice all of the freedoms you enjoy. You can go to Bible study, or to the health club, or to the coffee shop, or even to church, without fear for your life. You are not bound in chains or owned by a vicious slave driver who pushes you relentlessly day in and day out. You have a life. A beautiful, free life. Yes, there are flaws in the fabric, sure there are trials to overcome, but step back - as often as you think of it this week - and marvel at your freedom. Give thanks to God. He's so very good.

And as you do it, you'll say, "Give thanks to God. Call out his name. Ask him anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what he's done, spread the news of his great reputation! (Isaiah 12:4 MSG).

~Until next week...