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March 31, 2010

Safe in His Presence...

Lake Vermilion  

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. For the months of March AND April I will give away away a gift card and a couple of copies of my new book, "Growing Grateful Kids" so leave a post, share an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a fun treat this month!

A Quick Note:

I am thrilled to announce the release of my next book: Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places." Let me tell you, I am excited about the message in this book. If you have children at home (or grandchildren you want to influence spiritually), order a copy today. I do believe this book will equip you to parent from a spiritual perspective (but it's loaded with lots of practical application). You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be inspired and encouraged (that was my goal, anyway). :) 

Now, on to my topic...

If you've heard me speak before, you've no doubt heard me joke about what it's like being married to a giant. Okay, I know he's not that huge, but his 6'3" frame looms large over my 5' 2" frame. I'm as big as his leg. We laugh a lot about it now but when we first got married we had a lot of adjusting to do. When Kevin moved to put his arm around me, he'd often accidentally clock me in the face with his elbow. Instantly my nose turned red and my eyes filled with pools of water. Awkward moment = one, Romantic interlude = zero.

Here is another scenario that happened a number of times: I'd be in bed with a nice cup of tea and a good book. My husband would sweetly and innocently pull back the covers. Well, uh, sweetly and innocently to him that is. To me, he'd create a minor earthquake by whipping the sheets back with such force that my cup of tea would go flying in one direction and my book, the other. With that sweet deer-in-the-headlights look he'd simply say, "Oops. Sorry." 

My husband buys things in proportion to his size. He drives a big truck, loves his big lawn mower and owns a sizable snow blower. He uses a mixing bowl for cereal and he takes up most of the space on our bed. But let me say this, in all of the ways that matter to me, my husband is a gentle, strong, and protective giant of a man. He is gentle with my fears and lovingly protects my hopes and dreams. He is kind and loving and true.

He simply moves in proportion to his size. 

One day I pondered the whole concept of moving in proportion to your size - in light of our majestic God. He is unfathomably mighty and immeasurably powerful. There is no match to His greatness. He moves and the earth shakes. Read how the earth responds to His power: 

Fire goes before Him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax in the presence of the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth the heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory (Psalm 97: 3-6). 

Sheer power goes before Him and surrounds Him on every side. With that in mind, isn't it amazing that we can even get near the Living God? If we get too close to the sun, we will burn up. However, we can draw very near to the Creator of the sun without being consumed by this formidable power!

Because of Christ's finished work on the Cross, we can do more than simply draw near, we can come boldly into the Lord's presence, and, be assured of His glad welcome! We can enjoy an intimate, engaged, and loving dialogue with the Creator of Heaven and earth. 

Why are we allowed such an incredible privilege? Because of Jesus Christ's finished work on the Cross!

Read this verse (it overwhelmed me this week):

But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love - WE-ARE-NOT-CONSUMED - His compassions they never fail; His mercies are new every morning; and His faithfulness is great (Lamentation 3:21-22).

We are safe in God's presence because of His incredible love for us. We can wrap ourselves up in His love because He has boundless compassion for our weakness and our humanity. We can live with NO condemnation because His mercies are fresh and new every single morning. We are free.

As you ponder the days leading up to Easter, fully embrace the idea that your hopes and your dreams are safe with God. Your mistakes and missteps don't shake Him in the least. He's already made provision for your weaknesses. Just draw near and cherish the idea that you can draw near.

Have a blessed and beautiful Easter celebration. 

Until next week~

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Comments

Joy,

I've so enjoyed getting to know you through cyberspace! Congratulations on your first pregnancy. May the Lord bless and keep you both in His tender care. Blessings to you~

Dear Amanda,

So nice to meet you! Glad you found my blog. I am excited about, "Growing Grateful Kids" and I do hope it blesses you! And, you never know, you may win a free copy!
I appreciate your conviction for teaching your children gratitude, and for your awareness of how much we possess. God has blessed us richly. May we be an abundant blessing to others! Peace to you~

Sherry,

I LOVE this quote. I'm going to have to post it on my Facebook page. Thanks for sharing it!

Bless you!

Dear Nicole,

You are right, I think most only scratch the surface of what Christ's finished work on the Cross means for us. Oh, how I want to know more of this Love and Grace! We so easily default to our abilities and our efforts. We're not saved and established because of how well we strive, we are transformed because of what HE accomplished. He did it! He won the battle! He defeated our foe! What a powerful thought.

Lynda,

What a powerful, powerful testimony! Thanks so much for taking the time to share it with us! Isn't it something that the more tangible God's love, the greater our capacity to understand our value in Him? We are safe with Him. What a treasured blessing. Bless you, my friend~

Hi Cherie,

So nice to hear from you! I am thrilled that God is blessing us with an early spring. Such a welcome surprise. We're on the home stretch of our wild and crazy spring speaking season. And it's going well. God has been SO faithful! Hope all is well with you!

Wow, Jami,

That's amazing! You and your sister are such inspirations to me! I really want to see a pic of your new foster children. What a powerful gift to offer a child in need. Bless you, bless you.

Carolyn,

Your conviction to pause for the week leading up to Easter, to remember Christ's journey to the Cross, and His victory - is simply beautiful. Bless you.

Dear Kelli,

Bless your heart. Oh, how I remember those days! I hope you win my book too! May God meet you in a special and beautiful way amidst this crazy, wonderful time. Bless you, my dear!

What a perfectly-timed message! Thanks Susie! This morning one of the verses I read was "The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted..." (Ps. 116:6) It made me laugh and then I read your blog and that made me laugh more because God is so big and he is so aware that our hearts are small and simple and sometimes we just don't get it. As I'm going through the last couple months of my first pregnancy, there are times when my hormone-driven emotions really don't understand God or life or even myself! But God knows that and loves and protects my simple heart! We are SO blessed beyond what we can even comprehend! Blessings to you!

Susie, I just stumbled onto your blog after a friend told me about your new book. I just posted on Facebook today that I would LOVE to have some real ideas about how to teach my kids gratitude. They spent 3 hours cleaning their room this morning (they share a room, and they are almost 4 and 5.5). I see that they have TOO much and because they always have something else to play with, they don't take care of what they have--nor are they thankful. It is embarrassing at birthdays and Christmas as they rip through the mounds of gifts without stopping to even see what they received before they move onto the next gift. My husband and I are fairly simple people, and we have not spoiled them with stuff. Our extended family is another story. :) I am so glad that I found your blog. This entry was so beautiful to read. Even if I don't win your book, I am buying a copy for myself! Excited to learn!!! Inspired to draw near despite my anger over the kids' mess and lack of care this morning. Great is His faithfulness to me.

Wow! This was a wonderful post! I saw a quote the other day that said that Every difficulty is the same size: smaller than God.

Thank you for this post, Susie. It is so important to me to remember the passionate love our Savior Jesus has for us, and how amazing He is, especially at Easter time. His incredible sacrifice on the cross did SO MUCH more than we even realize, and I love how you pointed out our ability to draw near to God and not be consumed all because of Jesus. Joy!

I just like soaking in this truth...like a baby in God's lap!

Happy Easter Susie!

God is so awesome. My human mind cannot comprehend how big and powerful He is or the depth of His love for me.

It is true that Christ's finished work on the Cross allows us to come boldly into His presence. He loves each one of us so much.

Susie, I attended the Women's Retreat at Lake Geneva last fall and heard you talk about intimacy with God. Although I have been a Christian childhood and knew God loved me, your teaching and insight helped His love became more alive to me.

You had us say to ourselves, "You love me Lord, I am your treasure" and that "I am God's favorite." The first time I said "God you Love me" it went into my core. During the altar time after your message, I saw God scooped out all the crude in my Spiritual arteries. His love is so amazing. Even when I mess up and don't spend time with Him, He is quick to forgive and welcome me back into His arms.

Isaiah 53:4-6 came alive to me last Christmas. It talks about the things Christ suffered for us even when we rejected him; he took MY infirmities, carried MY sorrows, was pierced for MY transgressions so that I could have peace and so I could be healed. Everything he did was for me even though I didn't deserve it. There truly is no greater love than that.

Sweet Susie! I love that this is Easter and we feel His Love unfolding all around us as our first warm bit of weather and things coming alive in Bloomington. His timing is perfect! We are so grateful that He is so good:) I hope you will read My post today as well, if you sneak a minute this weekend. Have a Beautiful Easter! Love!

Susie I love the fact that God is so BIG so mighty yet so very personal. It is amazing. I am so very thankful that there is safety in His loving arms as we are embarking on a brand new adventure.

Just found out in the past week that we will be bringing 2 little boys (3 years and 7 months) into our family to foster!!! We are on vacation right now and will return home Sat. They come Monday! Crazy thing is, we had just put an offer in on a house two days before we left. It all came up incredibly fast but because it did, we had to make our home sell ready in 2 days.

We left home on a Friday - the same day we first heard about the kids. We ended up not getting the house so we won't be selling ours BUT now my house in completely clean and ready for the little boys!

God does go before and behind us, preparing and making the way for where He wants us. Amazing!! Would appreciate your prayers as we walk forward into the unknown. 5 kids...eeeek!! So excited though. Praising God for His faithfulness!

I have changed our tradition of just going to chuch Easter Sunday to attending all services & events wed-sun. My teenagers seem to think they are to busy for this. My oldest 16 replied, "why can't we just worship in our head?" The days of Jesus life from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday are critical to our Christian faith. The Last Supper instituting commumion, Jesus death on the cross,His resurrection from the dead, His rising to Heaven, & His promise to me that I will have a beautiful place to go when I leave this earth. All of this is the very foundation of our Christian beliefs. How can I not want to go to church everyday this week? How can we not celebrate His glory,His grace, His forgiveness? All of which we have been freely given. I am given freedom from the death of this world in Christ's death on the cross. I think the very least I could do is show up to church for 5 days. Eternal life in heaven with Jesus or a life of death to this world? Not a hard choice for me! Shouldn't we be bursting to celebrate our Lord especially this week?

Pam,

So nice to hear from you again! It seems that God has you in an awakening process. May your ear be fine tuned to His voice and His voice alone. He is a safe and wonderful God. He'll lead you beside still waters.
Blessings to you~

Nicole,

Thanks for stopping by, my friend! May God hide you in the shadow of His wing. Stay close to Him, stay quiet about the comments of others, and He'll be your greatest defender. Bless you.

Oh what a blessing...thank you! I have 3 angels all under the age of 2. My twins are 17 months and my wee angel is 4 months. My hubby missed the Easter Egg hunt to night at church due to illness....needless to say I am overwhelmed and exhausted...crying as I type this! What a blessing your message has been! I would SOOOOO love to win your book....I NEED your book.....I love your message and thank you for sharing your heart and experiences!

Susie,
I love your message!
It always takes me off guard when God takes my seemingly random thoughts and ties them in to messages like this to show me what He wants me to focus on.
He wants me to focus on HIM. (Surprise?)
I love that we have a mighty God: "Fire goes before Him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. And yet, we can wrap (ARE wrapped in) that same power around us? And as you said, we are not burned. This is Very cool.
So, the tie in to my seemingly random thoughts: I was swimming at the Y, kind of bored, and decided to fix my mind on the things of God to keep me on the positive track instead of bobbing aimlessly in my lane. I started thinking, "Isn't it amazing, God is filling this whole room. God is filling the whole building, the whole sky. I can't escape from his presence, it’s all around me." I got a little overwhelmed, but I was also comforted. I am surrounded by His presence always. I have to remember that. Also, I have been stuck on a verse from a song for months "Closer than the air around me, You surround me, Everywhere I go." Amy Grant? Then I read this blog. How fun! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that.
Yay God!

That was great Susie!! I met you at hearts and I am in the process of reading the uncommon woman- it is so speaking to me since lately I have had women of my church talking about stuff behind my back and it really hurts. Thanks for sharing your life and what god is doing. Praying you are blessed week!!

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