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June 16, 2010

Strengthen Yourself in Him...

God on the water  

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 leave a comment, share a story or insight, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend! 

Two quick announcements:

In celebration of my newest release, Growing Grateful Kids, I'm giving away a 4G-I-pod Shuffle to someone who posts a book review on Amazon (only one month left on this promotion!). Go to my Facebook page, click on the Free I-pod! tab for more information. 

My new radio show, Live the Promise with Susie Larson launched last Saturday (Noon to 1:00 CST)! My guest this Saturday is author and evangelist Matt Brown. We'll be talking about people, in every generation, who have advanced the Kingdom of God. We had a powerful conversation. Be sure to listen in! For more information, go to: www.Faith900.com 

Now, on to my topic...

First of all, thanks so much to all of you that prayed for my family. Bless you, bless you! 

Our pastor recently asked us to read Revelations 2 and 3 and to ask ourselves, "What is the Spirit saying to our church?" I loved this assignment and I think it's a wise thing to do. I need a few more days with these two chapters before I'll really have a sense of where we are at as a Body of Believers.

However, something struck me during my reading time this morning. I was reading about the Church in Sardis. They had a reputation for being alive, but they were dead. 

Reputation: A widespread belief or perception

How many churches, ministries, and people have a look of being successful but at their core (to borrow a phrase from 'The Princess Bride') are mostly dead?

What a scary thought!

Verse 2 reads: Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

My NIV Study Notes offered this insight: Outwardly the (Church of Sardis) appeared spiritually alive and active and had a reputation of success. But Jesus saw the absence of the inner reality of Himself in the hearts of the people; he saw religion, not spiritual life.

What a wake up call for us! 

Is there any area in your spiritual life that you've allowed to go on auto pilot or that has become a rote practice, void of life? 

The passage above advises us to strengthen what remains, to remember what we have received, to obey what God has asked us to do, and to repent of our sins.

How easy it is to go through the motions, to look good, but to bear little fruit! And yet, there's an answer for us. We are to strengthen what life we have in us.

When the Psalmist David was in one of the battles of his life, the Bible says that he 'strengthened himself in the Lord.' (See 1 Samuel 30:6) 

I believe that David simply reminded himself of God's greatness, His faithfulness, His promises, and His presence. I think David probably nourished his soul by telling himself that he was not alone and that he mattered to God. 

While we still have today, may we abide in the Vine, and receive the fresh life flowing from Him! May we refuse to live a 'religious' life; one that is absent of a fresh, thriving, and fruitful life. May everything we do be motivated by our love for God and our response to His love.

When God looks upon His people, when He looks upon you and me, what does He find? 

Does He find us striving in our strength? Deeply motivated by our own selfish ambitions?

Or does He find our delight in Him? Humbly waiting for His lead in our lives? 

May everything we do, be in response to His love. 

Author John Ortburg's mentor once said to him, "The devil drives. The Shepherd leads."

No matter what you look like to the world, successfully huge, or obscurely small, let Him lead, and humbly follow. You'll find your strength in Him.

Until next week~

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Comments

Dear Kathy,

So true. As I commented on Cheri's post, it's so easy to miss this important lesson when you're a driver at heart. And yet, what a priceless way to live - to follow the Shepherd. Love it, love it. Hope all is well with you.

Blessings,
Susie

Cherie,

You're singing my song! My husband and I are drivers as well. We run hard. And to learn this valuable lesson to wait on God is absolutely life changing. For a number of years we've daily, morning by morning, submitted our plans, hopes, and dreams to God, and He has taken our offerings and multiplied them beyond our dreams. We - in spite of our tendency to run hard - totally know how small we are in light of His strength. It's a precious knowledge to have and a beautiful place to live. Bless you, my kindred spirit sister!

I appreciate your comment on "the devil drives the shepherd leads" also! That has been my husband and my prayer together as of late. That we be led by Him who loves and knows best. For a "driven" people to be led is no small thing these days! This household included! XO for you and son's Wellness Susie!

I am so thankful for God's contstant reminders to abide in Him. I love that quote "the devil drives. The Shepherd leads" I am going to meditate on that more...

The cares of this life can so easily choke out the Word and the vision of Heaven...thanks for the encouragement to stay sharp..."I have set my face like a flint..."

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