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March 10, 2010

When God Moves...

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. In the month of March I will give away a gift card and a couple of copies of my new book, "Growing Grateful Kids."  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 (or maybe you'll win a copy of my new book)!

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...

Recently I read through the book of Acts and noticed something kind of profound, something that's still happening today. 

In chapter 14 we read about Paul and Barnabas in Iconium, preaching at the Jewish synagogue. Paul and Barnabas spoke with power and influence and the Lord our God was with them. Clearly, they loved God more than their personal safety. There was nothing self-serving about their ministry. Christ in them, was their hope of glory.

And as a result, Christ could trust them with His glory. 

God moved powerfully in and through Paul and Barnabas. And what was the result?

  • Humble, reverent earnest-God-seekers, responded to this movement of God in their midst. These sincere seekers were healed, encouraged, and saved. 
  • Rigid, pharisaical leaders stiffen up, get territorial and jealous, and viewed things from an earthbound perspective. These prideful unbelieving people stirred up trouble and tried to find fault with their supposed opponents. In fact, they wanted Paul and Barnabas dead. Ouch. 

Read this passage from Acts 14: 1-3

As Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against their brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of His grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. 

Even now, within the Kingdom of God, we have plenty of people building their own kingdoms. Maybe it's a kingdom of comfort, or association, or reputation. Maybe it's a kingdom of celebrity, or mega-status, or political correctness. 

But the Kingdom of God is always about Christ's saving work in our lives - moving and advancing to reach others with that same saving message.

The fact is, the Kingdom of God is ever moving, always flowing, and He is not interested in our fossilized methods, especially if they serve as obstacles to His presence. He wants us. He wants a living-breathing, freely-flowing relationship with us. He wants to move in us and through us and He reserves the right to disrupt our plans, our methods, and even our ideals in order to accomplish His other-worldly plans upon this earth.

Jesus didn't have a one-method way of doing things either! He healed people in a whole plethora of ways. He is not at all bound by the 'way we've always done it.' 

If Christ wants to move in our church or in our business or in our family in a new and fresh way, may we be the first to get out of the way and let Him have His way!

And what happens when we do such a thing? Fruit happens! Life happens! Power happens!

And how will people respond?

The sincere-earnest-Christ followers and seekers will be drawn to the fresh stream flowing from our lives, churches, and businesses. They will be nourished, healed, saved, and encouraged. Yes, Lord.

And the rigid-unbending pharisee? Well, they'll hate everything about it. They'll stiffen up; they'll find fault; they'll become territorial, and they'll turn into the sin police and watch for the slightest deviation from what they know to be right and true.

Now granted, we never want to deviate from the TRUTH. But in following Christ - who is the truth - we must know that He will lead us in ways we have not known before. He loves to do that and invites us to willingly trust Him, even if it disrupts our affection for appearing civilized and packaged at all times.

When God moves, may we move with Him. May we resist the urge to control our zone and to manage our methods. Let's put it all on the table and give God room to work.

Move powerfully in and through us, Lord!

~ Until next week

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Comments

Dear Heather,

What a GREAT mom you are! I'm so glad our paths crossed and that God used those sessions to bless and encourage you! You are teaching your kids a great discipline by giving them that reading time. I love that idea. Now if I could only get my grown sons to come home and have some reading time with me. :) I miss them so much.

God bless you, my friend!

Dear Lisa,

First of all, thank you SO much for taking the time to post such encouraging words from last weekend's conference! God moved all over the place last weekend. I am thrilled to read how the Lord led you to the sessions you needed and that the words you heard nourished and strengthened you. What an honor to know that! Thank you for stopping by. Bless you, my sister!

Can I just say this? I love how you comment on each others' posts! You're forming a great community of discipleship here! Love it, love it!

Dear 'anonymous' friend, from what I can tell by our online correspondence, I think you are already doing much to build HIS Kingdom. Be encouraged. Your heart to encourage others comes straight from Him, and you're very good at it! May the Lord Himself fulfill the deepest desires of your heart!
Blessings to you!
Susie

Dear Kathy,

I cannot even imagine such an accusation 'sticking' to someone like you! Hide yourself in that secret place of Psalm 91:1 (you'll find rest and peace there and as you know, He'll be your greatest defender).
Blessings to you, sister!

Dear Anna,

Isn't that the truth? We all get subtly tied up into others' opinions, responses, and reactions. And before we know it, we find ourselves in bondage to others' opinions rather than set free to be everything God intended us to be. We really do need to continually 'guard our yard' and protect the freedom God has offered us. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came that we might have life and life abundantly (John 10:10)! Love that! Bless you.

Jami,

I pray that everyone reads your posts and feels inspired to pray such a prayer. More of YOU, dear Lord! What more can we ask? He encompasses everything we could ever want or need. I owe you an FB response to your message. I'll get there. Still working my way through my bursting-at-the-seams inboxes. Bless you, sweetie!

Joy,

Loved your post! And I loved Tozer's 'The Pursuit of God.' Hardly anybody writes like Him anymore. Great stuff. Thanks so much for sharing. You've got a precious, authentic heart for the Lord. Love that.

Rebecca,

I have to say, your posts are some of my favorites! Just reading that passage from 'The Message' got me all pumped up and excited (and I'm sick in bed today). I love God's Word, and I love your love for Him. Bless you, my sister!

Dear Susie~

Before this weekend I had never heard of you (so sorry) and when I heard you speak on "Growing Grateful Kids" you had me in tears and you also had me in the very first illustration. It was SO refreshing to hear you speak truth (scripture) and give easy applications for 'me' to follow through with ..I loved that!
I felt a huge connection with you because I also have 3 boys ages: 2,4 and 6. My oldest is very compliant, my middle is very strong-willed (our joker), and my youngest is our gentle one! I LOVE my boys so much and my husband and I pray they grow up honoring, glorifying, loving and thanking God for who he is and what he has and will do. Always seeing his grace and mercy through whatever situations we/they face! I just started your book (GGK)yesterday and am almost done with it. My friends all want to read it (will actually be great gifts from me to them =) and I also bought 2 of your other books that I'm really excited to start reading. And just a side note, I'm not a big book reader...I used to be, but with being so busy I just didn't find time....now I try each and every day to find the time b/c it is so important!! I have the boys sit and read (look) their Bible books then I sit and read with them my books or Bible! Its a great time in our house!
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being at HAH this last weekend. Above all, I thank God for choosing to love me unconditionally. With his help, I can do this!!!!!


Dear Susie,

I am always amazed how God puts just the right people in your path at just the right time. This year was my 4th visit to the Hearts at Home conference. Each year has been great on one level or another. For example, the 1st year I attended I finally found the strength to embrace God's calling in my life to devote myself to my husband and children who were 5,4,and 3 at the time. Prior to that I was struggling with trying to do too many things and not doing any of them well. This year was equally as inspiring for me. I attended both of your afternoon sessions and gained amazing insight and inspiration from you about raising my kids to be truly grateful and aware of where all our gifts come from, Jesus. I also learned so much about myself and my own walk with God. You and Christy Nockels plugged up a hole in my spirit bucket and filled it to overflowing. Thank you for sharing your amazing gifts with us through your speaking and this blog.

YSIC,

Lisa

Jami,

What you said, "But what I found in my own heart was a desire to find significance in the "thing" he was calling me too rather than in Him."

This blesses my heart, and your honesty here is something we all need to be very careful about.

Thank you for sharing that!

My prayer from this Susie is this,

"God, please help me to every day, less and less, stop building MY kingdom and start building YOURS."

One day-by the Grace of God-I will open my eyes and find that I am adding daily to His Holy Kingdom.

Those of us with Children know the love a parent has for their child. How much more does God our Father long for the lonely, the hurting, the hopeless that we have not touched.

To add to that I also am challenged by this and don't want to forget it:

"even if it disrupts our affection for appearing civilized and packaged at all times."

Thanks Susie for the always challenging words.

"Fruit happens"!!!! (I love it!)Abide...

And warfare happens during fruit production...

"And the rigid-unbending pharisee? Well, they'll hate everything about it. They'll stiffen up; they'll find fault; they'll become territorial, and they'll turn into the sin police and watch for the slightest deviation from what they know to be right and true."~(your words)

Jesus came to me last night while I couldn't sleep and affirmed me with a reminder of when He was accused of doing miracles "by beelzebub"...I have been accused of such things (not miracles, but turning people away from God) which is deeply disturbing, but as I press in to Jesus, my Refuge, I am quieted by His love.

Thanks again for expressing what the Lord teaches you!

Wow--I especially love what you write about how "He is not at all bound by the 'way we've always done it.'"
As I continue the lesson in not acting based upon my assumptions about how I "should" do things, or how I expect people in my life to respond to my decisions, this is another affirmation. It is humbling to realize that I can't control the way the world responds: all I can do is what God asks me to do. But He is so gracious in providing affirmation [like your post?] that what He asks is what is right, regardless of the messages I get from others . . . thank you for speaking the truth!

I love this post Susie... I love all your posts!!

But it's so true, the more I give of myself and simply trust Him, the more I let go, that is where abundant life is found! It's not about trying harder, loving more, or doing better, it's about Jesus. And wanting MORE of Him! (Maybe I said this before but I used to often pray, "Lord use me." But what I found in my own heart was a desire to find significance in the "thing" he was calling me too rather than in Him.

So I instead I began praying, "Lord I just want more of you!" It's been a process but WHOA - has He given me MORE. In ways I never would have imagined (or even wanted sometimes!) but He has become so much more to me! I can't get enough of Him and I'm continually amazed and delighted by Him!!

It's all about moment by moment dependence! :)

Praying often for you Susie - and now more specifically too. See you Friday!! I'm believing some BIG God moments for you and through you this weekend.

Jami

Getting out of the way is right! I just read this week in A.W. Tozer's famous "The Pursuit of God" book about how the "self" is the biggest obstacle to really experiencing the presence of the Lord. Tozer mentioned a list of "self-sins" that we get so easily caught up in and so deeply involved in that we fail to even recognize them until we allow God to break through our hearts. They were "self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them." That hit me hard because I can pretty much relate with all of those! So moving with God and allowing Him to move means letting him break through these habits and sins in us, which is painful! But so necessary to really experience and be part of what He is doing! May God give us the willingness to put our "selves" down at his feet and follow him!

Amen and Amen!

What are we missing because we are so caught up in traditions and the way we always do things? I have prayed about this subject for a long time! I love that you said Jesus is not at all bound by the "way we've always done it." I was just telling my bible study ladies lets not limit God and what He can do. Lets keep praying and believing!

I love this verse from Isaiah- I especially like the message version.

This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can't get up; they're snuffed out like so many candles: "Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say 'Thank you!' —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth,Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.

I'm going to keep seeking Him in His word in prayer- quietness with the Lord. Waiting on the Lord- watching for His move.
Bless you Susie- may God protect you and continue to speak through you! You have such an amazing testimony!
PS I will say it again "I love your book Growing Grateful kids!"

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