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3 posts from July 2010

July 28, 2010

Eventually, the Light WILL Break Through...

Breakthrough Sunshine  

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! 

It's time to announce the Starbucks gift card winner for July. Drum roll please...

Christy Mitchell, congratulations! You are the winner of a Starbucks $10.00 gift card! Just email me at info@susielarson.com with your address (before I announce next month's winner) and I'll get your card in the mail. Thanks everyone for your posts!

As most of you know, I have a new radio show, Live the Promise with Susie Larson. The program airs every Saturday morning from noon to 1:00 CST. And guess what? We may be going live-daily in the fall! I'll keep you posted. 

Last week my guest was Pam Pierce and we had a great conversation about her new book, "The Rewards of Simplicity." She says that living a simplified life has everything to do with our faith in God. I agree. Check out the podcast from that show. This Saturday, my guest is Christin Ditchfield and we'll talk about the power of our words and about her new book, "A Way With Words: What Women Should Know About the Power They Possess." Listen in on KTIS AM 900, or listen online at: www.faith900.com 

Now on to my topic...

I've observed something in the past year that has really captured my attention. I've noticed two distinct 'camps' among Christians (although, there are many more sub-groups among Christians than these). One on side you see unapologetic, sold-out, passionate followers of Christ who are sincerely concerned about the times, and, serious about their role in the Kingdom story. On the other hand, you also see a large contingency of Christians, totally consumed with their everyday life, totally oblivious to the urgency of the times and ignorant of their role in the events that are unfolding before our eyes.

These two distinctions are especially apparent among the young people in our day, but they exist in older more 'seasoned' Christians as well. 

Another thing I've noticed is how many of the sincere-sold-out Christians are in the fire right now; going through the battle of their lives; fighting for their homes, their marriages, and their sense of security. Godly people are learning to suffer well, and yet are desperate for their breakthroughs.

Though I'm not presently in the fire like some of my friends are, I've got a number of heavy burdens that I'm carrying close to my heart; things in which I've waited and longed for a breakthrough. And yet, I have seen little to no evidence that my prayers are working.

However, every time I'm tempted to view my prayers as inconsequential, or to pull back from my stubborn stance of faith, I remind myself of this truth (and I say it out loud so that my own ears can hear it):

The earnest prayer of a righteous man or woman accomplishes great and powerful things! (See James 5:16). 

The other day while biking the trails and praying about those things that weigh heavily upon me, God brought a wonderful revelation to my heart. I saw a picture in my mind of a brick wall. I was on one side (with all of the forces of heaven standing with me, agreeing with me; and with the Light of God's truth shining on me, and showing me how to pray). On the other side of the wall were those walking in darkness. They are blind to the ways the enemy has dulled their senses. 

Though they were on one side of what seemed like an impenetrable wall, and I on the other, all at once I began to see the impact of my prayers. Every prayer I prayed was like a wrecking ball to that thick brick wall, chipping away at the enemy's shrewdly constructed fortress. Eventually, the bricks crumbled and broke and the light broke through. 

The Bible says that when you pray God's will, you can KNOW that you have what you've asked for. Pray His Word, pray His will, and you will see the Kingdom of God advance through your prayers.

He desires that we walk in fullness and freedom with Him. He desires that we know and love Him for who He is (not for who the world has made Him out to be). He desires that those who walk in darkness would come into the light. He desires to comfort the suffering, refresh the weary, restore the broken, and provide for those in need. He is a good God; a powerful God; and He is on a rescue mission. He has determined to work through our prayers! 

Pray earnestly, with GREAT faith, my friend! Every prayer is like a wrecking ball to the enemy's plans. You may not see it, but God is at work in your midst. He moves on the prayers of His people. Most of our prayers - at first - initiate invisible changes. But suddenly - oh how I love that word! - yes, suddenly, the light will break through and things will start to change.

Do not look down. Do not give up. Look up. Stand strong. Know the power of His Word!

Blessings to you this week~

Susie 

July 20, 2010

There's Power & Safety in Honoring God...

Whitewater View  

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! 

Now on to my topic...

Over the past several weeks, I've mentioned my new radio show, Live the Promise with Susie Larson which launched in June (airs noon to 1:00 CST every Saturday). My guest last Saturday was author, speaker, and mighty man of God, R.T. Kendall. We had a powerful conversation about the things of God, and we talked about his new book, "The Lord's Prayer" ((For more information on my show, go to: www.faith900.com )) To listen to my interview with R.T., go to: R.T. Kendall Interview...

Prior to recording each show, I ask my guests to send me a verse that is especially close to their hearts. R.T. Kendall chose the following verse:

No wonder you can't believe! For you gladly honor each other but you don't care about the honor that comes from the One who alone is God (John 5:44). 

In other words, how can you possibly have a right perspective of God when you have such a wrong perspective of others' opinions? How can you have faith in an Almighty God when you put more stock in the praises of men? As long as you live for the applause and accolades of this world, you will miss out on what it means to participate in the divine nature of Christ (See 2 Peter 1:4 and Romans 1:20). 

If we want our lives to really count, really make an impact, our egos and constant need for approval must die.

I love this verse: I've been crucified with Christ and it's no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20). That says it all, don't you think?

During the interview, R.T. Kendall shared how this verse put the fear of God in him. He determined, for the rest of his life, not to play to the praises of men. R.T. is after the blessing and honor that comes from God alone. He doesn't want anything to stand in the way of God's highest and best plan for him. He truly believes that by caring too much about the opinions of man, he will diminish God's influence in his life. And He is absolutely right. 

I often reference this passage from Proverbs 29:25...

The fear of MAN is a snare (or a trap), but the fear of God brings safety (or freedom).

Scripture says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (see Psalm 111:10). To fear God is just to begin to understand how big He really is.

Scripture says that when we humble ourselves under the power of the Most High God, He will lift us up and honor us in due time (see 1 Peter 5:6). Imagine.

Everywhere you look in Scripture, you find that our greatest place is to live humbly before the Lord. It's in that place where we find safety, freedom, provision, and even honor and strength. Be encouraged as you read the Word, God loves us so much; He even wants to honor us! Imagine that! But His glory must be safe with us.

Read this wonderful quote from the devotional, "Streams in the Desert"

There's no limit to what God can do through you provided you do not seek your own glory."

And this is from the devotional "God Calling"

I will set you on high because you have known My Name, but it must be a purified you to be so exalted." 

Take a step back this week from the need to be noticed, recognized, or acknowledged by man. Don't be too quick to eat up the praises of men, and don't be too quick to be defeated by their criticisms. God is present in the company of the righteous. He is with you. Care about what He thinks. Honor Him above all else. Humble yourself before Him and in due time, you will see Him do great things in and through you.

Have a blessed, humble, powerful week.

July 07, 2010

Taking Part in a Loaves & Fishes Miracle...

ADayontheVineyard  

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 week left on this promotion!). Go to my Facebook page, click on the Free I-pod! tab for more information. My quarterly E-zine goes out on July 15th and I'll announce the winner at that time.

My new radio show, Live the Promise with Susie Larson launched several weeks ago (airs noon to 1:00 CST every Saturday)! My guest this Saturday is clinical social worker and author Leslie Vernick. We'll talk about her new book, "Lord, I Just Want to be Happy." Is happiness our right as Believers? You may be surprised by her answer. Be sure to listen in! For more information, go to: www.faith900.com 

Now, on to my topic...

This morning I re-read my blog post from last week simply because my thoughts continue to linger around the significance of Jesus' encounters with His disciples described in the Gospel of Mark. 

Let's take a look at the first several verses in chapter eight:

In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.” 

First, we notice from this passage, that as serious Christ followers, Jesus will make us aware of the needs around us. He will draw us to Him to show us them. And that's where we must start when facing a loaves and fishes need. We must draw near to God - and He will draw near to us. 

I've never been one to think that the need dictates the call. We are surrounded by countless needs, and we have the capacity to burn ourselves out by running to and fro, trying to be the answer to everyone's problems. That's why drawing near is essential. We have to get our marching orders from Him.

Jesus had compassion on the multitudes who came out to meet Him. Out of His compassion, He brought the vast need of the people before His disciples. 

The disciples responded this way: “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?”

Look closely at their question. In essence they are asking, "How can one, or even a few of us, satisfy (translation: fill up to overflowing) such a vast need when it's only us?"

When faced with a gigantic task or insurmountable problem, we do the same thing. We look at the mountain, and then, we look down at our little feet and wonder how in the world we'll ever pull this off. But I love Jesus' response to them. He simply asked them, "Well, what do you have?" In essence, He is saying here, "Let's start there. Give what you have." 

But the thing is, even though 'what we have' falls woefully short of the vast need before us, make no mistake about it - giving 'what we have' will cost us. A lot. He's not asking for our leftovers or that we skim off the top of our resources and hand those over. Have you noticed in these multiplication stories how much was given before the miracle came? All of it.

When we are faced with a vast need, though our offering may be small in proportion to the need, it's not an easy give. We still have to lay it all on the line, go out on a limb, and give of ourselves in ways that sometimes make us tired and self-aware.

Divine efficiency starts with small offerings, to be sure. But to be a part of a loaves and fishes - divine multiplication miracle - we need to be all in, fully present, willing to step up and take a risk with our offering.

Of course, we know how the story ends in Mark chapter eight. Thousands of people ate to fullness with baskets leftover. We serve a more-than-enough God.

Now let's go back to Mark 6 where Jesus had just multiplied the bread to feed - count 'em - five thousand men (not counting women and children!). Try to get your mind around that miracle. In the next scene the disciples were out in a boat when the storms hit. When Jesus walked out to them and calmed the storm, they were amazed. I would have been as well.

But 'amazement' wasn't what God was after. In fact, Scripture tells us that they were only amazed because their hearts were hardened, for they had not understood the significance of Christ's previous miracle.

Here's the crux of it all: it's not enough for us to vacillate back and forth between anxiety and awe as we walk with God. If we want to be mightily used of God, we cannot be like Dori in 'Finding Nemo' and constantly struggle with short-term-memory loss when it comes to the previous faithfulness of God. 

At some point, we have to acquire an inner knowing - a core understanding of what it means to be an heir of God - a joint heir with Christ. You know, our association with the Most High God is a really big deal. 

If we want to be part of the divine multiplication process that is consistently presented in Scripture, we need to be all in, ready to give what God asks of us, and then, be expectant that He'll take it from there, and do the impossible. And when it's all said and done, we'll look back, shake our heads, and know for sure - that we serve a God of Divine Efficiency.

Have a blessed week!

PS ~ I'll be away from my office next week (and out of cell phone range) so I'll look forward to connecting with you again on the 21st of July.