« July 2010 | Main | September 2010 »

4 posts from August 2010

August 25, 2010

Make Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Memories...

Backyard Sunrise2  

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! I'll announce the winner for August next week.

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 are going live on weekdays starting in October! More details to follow...

Last week I guest-hosted for Connecting Faith and my special guest was Terri Savelle Foy, author of, "Make Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Memories. We had a great discussion (and it's the springboard for my blog topic today).

Check out the podcast from that show. 

And, a quick note about this week's show! Listen in as I interview author Jerry Rankin on his new book, "Spiritual Warfare and Missions." Listen in on KTIS AM 900, or listen online at: www.faith900.com

Now on to my topic...

I have a few questions for you...

  • Do you tend to look BACK more than you look FORWARD? In other words, do your thoughts default more to your PAST than they do to the POSSIBILItIES in Christ?
  • Do you tend to look DOWN more than you look UP? In other words, are you more SELF-AWARE than GOD-AWARE? 
  • Is easier to believe that God could NEVER USE YOU or to believe that GOD WANTS TO USE YOU GREATLY? 

I have great news for you today! It's a new day! The old is gone - it's behind you - it can no longer hurt you unless you breathe life into it. As a new creature in Christ, your sin is buried in the sea of forgetfulness. It's out of God's memory. Think about that on a consistent basis! There is NOW therefore, NO condemnation for you who are in Christ Jesus! (See Romans 8:1). God intends to give you a HOPE and a FUTURE. His plan and highest will is for you to live in the NEWNESS of today and in the PRESENCE of His promises that you might live life ABUNDANTLY.

As I mentioned in the intro above, this past week I interviewed Terri Savelle Foy on her great book, "Make Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Memories." Though outwardly as a young woman she appeared to have everything a girl could want going for her - she was dying on the inside - so aware of her faults, sins, and missteps. But at one point the Lord spoke these wonderful words to her heart, "Terri, why do you keep bringing up sins I've chosen to forget?"

Why do we do that? 

I am guilty of this very thing! I spend a lot of time calling to mind Christ's sacrifice on my behalf. And since I'm such a visual thinker, God tends to speak to me in word pictures. One day as I prayed about the past being dead and gone I pictured the ground behind me giving way as I walked forward. Every sin, every misstep and mistake, dropped into a canyon of forgetfulness, never to be accounted against me again. And yet, as the ground gave way and began to drop, what I did for Christ suddenly defied gravity and ascended to Heaven to be written in the book of remembrance. 

What incredible, scandalous grace! Our sins are covered and forgotten, but every act prompted by our faith, remembered and rewarded. 

We get stuck in our past not because God remembers but because we remember... and because we care that others remember. We put more weight in man's ability to remember than we do God uncanny ability to forget. God forgive us!

To have bigger dreams than memories, we must forget was lies behind us and press forward that which Christ paid such a high price: A redeemed, renewed, powerful, fruitful, world-changing life! 

Who cares if people around us still hold judgments against us? God Himself has made a public spectacle of the powers that oppose us! (See Colossians 2:15).

At some point we need to trust God, take Him at His Word, and shake the dust of the past off of our feet! 

Dream big with God today, my friend! Nothing is impossible with Him.

Blessings to you!

~Until Next Week

August 18, 2010

Sin, Faith, and Duty...

Crossinthewoods  

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! 

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 have a special prayer request for you: Will you stand with me in believing God for a sponsor for the show? I'll keep you posted. Thank you so much!

Last week my guest was syndicated radio host and author Jim Burns. We discussed his great book, "Closer: Devotions to Draw Couples Together." We had an excellent interview and Jim offered lots of great wisdom for couples.

Check out the podcast from that show. 

And, I am excited about this week's show! Listen in as I interview co-authors of the great book, "Wisdom Walks." Dan Britton and Jimmy Page serve at an executive level for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They were hilariously funny and wonderfully wise. You'll enjoy this interview. Listen in on KTIS AM 900, or listen online at: www.faith900.com  

Now on to my topic...

One of my favorite things to do is to meditate on certain passages of Scripture for several days in a row; to think through and ponder the truth and how it applies to my life and to the culture in which we live. 

This past week I kept coming back to a certain passage from the Gospel of Luke. I'll share it in just a moment. But first, I want to ask you a question (borrowed from AA's 12-Step Program): How often do you take a fearless, searching moral inventory of your life? 

Though I'm not much of a gardner, I know that true gardeners are on top of the weeds that threaten the seeds they've planted. They regularly survey their land and quickly uproot that which would choke out life so that life in the garden might prevail. 

Let's take a look at three areas in our own lives that may need a little attention. 

Sin:

First, let's read from Luke 17:1, 3

Jesus said to His disciples, "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come...So watch yourselves."

Let's pray: 

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts; point out anything in me that offends You (Ps. 39). Show me any area in my life that causes others to stumble. I know I have blind spots that everybody sees but me. By Your grace and mercy, help me to humbly receive Your help in my place of need. I do not want to make others stumble. I want to be a wellspring of Life because Your power is mightily at work in and through me! Raise up a new standard in my life, Lord. Amen.

Faith:

(Jesus said): If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea', and it will obey you." (Luke 17:6)

Let's pray:

Father, increase my faith! When I take inventory of my life, I want to see tangible increases in faith steps, faith results, and faith endeavors. I don't want to live a self-protected, small life! Forgive me for the countless ways I play it safe when You are calling me to a great adventure! You call me to speak to my mountains and speak to my obstacles (not to wish, whine, and complain about them). Help me to become a mighty woman of faith - filled with the power of the Holy Spirit - moved by Your heart for the world! You are looking over the earth, searching for faith; may You find it in me.

Duty:

(Jesus said): Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the feild, 'Come along now and sit down to eat?' Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink?' Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants, we have only done our duty.'" (Luke 17:7-10).

Let's pray:

Precious Lord, this passage convicts me deeply. How many times have I complained about the cost or expected others to notice and understand my sacrifice? Father, forgive me for selfish serving! Forgive me for expecting a thank you when, really, I was only doing my duty! It's an honor to be linked in fellowship with You! It's an honor to serve You. Help me to live in this self-entitled culture with an honorable, servant's heart. May I serve and live for an audience of One. My hope is in you, my purpose is found in You, and You get all of the glory for transforming me from an orphan to an heir. Blessed be Your Name. Amen.

May we walk in such close fellowship with the Savior that our very lives on earth nourish and bless others (and never cause another to stumble). May we be ever-increasing in faith and may our lives bear tangible evidence of this fact. And may we serve not to get the credit or a thank you or to be noticed, but may we humbly do our duty as unto the Lord - just because He's worth our absolute best. We could be stuck in a tyrannical system, but we're not. We serve a loving-living God who cares deeply for us. He deserves the best we can give Him.

~Until next week

August 10, 2010

Recipe for Greatness...

Backyard Sunrise2  

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! 

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 have a special prayer request for you: Will you stand with me in believing God for a sponsor for the show? I'll keep you posted. Thank you so much!

Last week my guest was Chrissy Toledo (daughter of author and Pastor Jim Cymbala - Brooklyn Tabernacle and Carol Cymbala, director of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir). She shared about her prodigal journey away from God's heart, and how she found her way home again. This was a powerful show! 

Check out the podcast from that show. 

And, I am REALLY excited about this week's show! Listen in as my guest is syndicated radio host and author Jim Burns. We'll discuss his great book, "Closer: Devotions to Draw Couples Together." We had an excellent interview and Jim offered lots of great wisdom for couples. Listen in on KTIS AM 900, or listen online at: www.faith900.com 

Now on to my topic...

Lately I've been reading through the book of 2 Chronicles and am once again both intrigued and grieved by the ripple effect of a King's choice of whether or not to follow and honor God.

When a King humbled himself and trusted the Lord, God gave him victory and granted his efforts success. When a king exalted himself and trusted his own efforts and acted on his own whims, many people paid with their lives. Kingdoms fell, God's people were enslaved, and idolatry flourished.

Just today I read about how King Uzziah started out by seeking after God and God blessed him as a result. But then we read this in chapter 26:16

But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall.

Why are we so quick to idolize our own efforts?

Though a king's choices have far more reaching effects than our choices, we must embrace the fact that our choices matter, and that people are deeply affected by whether or not we honor God and live a life of greatness. 

Here are a few things I observed about greatness by reading about some of the Kings in the Bible.

Embrace Your Identity - Obey Him Fully: Do you remember the story in 1 Samuel 15 when Saul did not follow through with obeying the Lord? This is what Samuel said to him, "Although you may think little of yourself, are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?" Saul had a job to do but he minimized the importance of his identity and his choices. We do the same thing.

We cower, we run, and we hide from the GREAT things God wants to do in us and through us. We justify our partial obedience and we dance around the things God has asked of us. We put off taking our next step into the unknown zone because the comfort zone feels better to us. And this is what the Lord says: You may have forgotten how important you are to Me, but remember today! You may not understand your important place in history, but embrace it today! Are you not My beloved? Have I not promised to take you to high places? Do you not have access to all of the riches of Heaven? Remember who you are today. Obey me fully. No more hiding.

Humble Yourself - Trust His Timing: Do you remember the story of when David was in the cave with (a raging, jealous) Saul (see 1 Samuel 24)? Clearly the Lord had delivered Saul into his hands, right? David was a God-fearing man and even though deliverance seemed to be at his fingertips, he would not take it until the Lord gave it.

I can think of a number of times when my 'dream' was at my fingertips, there for the taking. But I knew deep inside it wasn't my time yet. I would have had to drop the ball on something else to grab hold of what I believed God had promised me. It was so close, but not close enough to be mine yet. But when my time finally came, it was like plucking a ripe piece of fruit from a tree. 

Are you there? This is what the Lord would say to you: My beloved one, I have you! That dream in your heart? I put it there! Trust me in this, and see if I won't establish you beyond your wildest dreams. I love to work mightily through my people, but first I must do a mighty work in them. Humble yourself before me; refuse jealousy or a competitive spirit; embrace Me, embrace My timing, and I will establish you. I promise.

Tune Out the Enemy - Face Down Your Fears: Remember when a young David faced down Goliath? By all appearances, David had no physical chance of winning a fight against this beast of a man. And Goliath knew it. He spewed all kinds of insults David's way. But David didn't acknowledge Goliath's taunts. He refused to allow himself to be singled out. instead he spewed back, "Who is this Philistine that dares to defy the army of the Living God?" If David would have spoken to Goliath, he would have said something like this: 'When you come against me, you come against the host of heaven, so don't try to bully me with your insults. I am not alone in this battle and you are going down!" (okay, my paraphrase). :)

If the enemy's voice rings loud in your ear, tune him out, and listen to what the Lord has to say to you: My brave and precious one, you are not alone! Not by a long shot! Even if what the enemy says feels true to you, remember that I AM TRUE and I will establish you! This is not about your ability, it is about Mine. You have a choice of whether to be brave or to cower in fear. Be strong and courageous! I am with you! I will not forsake you! And you cannot please me without faith! Put those fears under your feet and follow Me to the high places I have for you! We have a great adventure ahead. Remember, never allow yourself to be singled out. As My child, you are a part of something greater than you can imagine; and far greater are those who are for you than those who stand against you! Listen to My voice alone!"

Dear Friend,

Though it's important to cultivate skills and always be learning, it's even more important to identify yourself as someone God loves and whom God has called. Hone your craft, practice your skills; be a great steward of the gifts God has entrusted to you.

But remember this: To truly walk in places that are far beyond your qualifications, to make an impact that is bigger than you are, you need God. You need to remember that it's in HIS hands to make great. And He really wants to do great things through you.

Embrace Your Identity. Obey Him Fully. Humble Yourself before Him. Trust His Timing. Tune out the enemy. And face down your fears. That's a recipe for greatness.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us (Ephesians 3:20 MSG). 

Until next week~

August 04, 2010

Hope is Your Rope...

Flame  

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! 

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 have a special prayer request for you: Will you stand with me in believing God for a sponsor for the show? I'll keep you posted. Thank you so much!

Last week my guest was Christin Ditchfield and we had an engaging conversation about the power of our words. We talked about her new book, "A Way With Words: What Women Should Know About the Power They Possess." Check out the podcast from that show. 

And, I am REALLY excited about this week's show! Listen in as my guest is Chrissy Toledo (daughter of author and Pastor Jim Cymbala - Brooklyn Tabernacle and Carol Cymbala, director of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir) shares about her prodigal journey away from God's heart, and how she found her way home again. Listen in on KTIS AM 900, or listen online at: www.faith900.com 

Now on to my topic...

We recently bought a six-month-old rescue puppy from the Humane Society. He is a strong-muscle-bound dog. When we go for a walk, I have a firm grip on the leash.

My daily walks with him have compelled me to see one of my memory verses in a whole new light.

First let's take a look at the verse:

Hebrews 6:19 ~ This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, leading us past the outer curtain and in to the inner sanctuary. 

Our hope is in the Lord. Our salvation in Him gives us access to Him. 

The other day I read Hebrews 6:19 in several different translations, a number of which provided a more vivid picture for me. This hope we have anchors us to the inner sanctuary

Think about it, just as I had a firm hold on my puppy's leash - God has a firm hold on us. We are tethered to the inner courts. The anchor for our soul holds fast and secure. The very fact that we have access, we have God's attention, and we have His involvement - allows us to live with great hope.

Scripture reminds us that our hope in HIM purifies us (See 1 John 3:3). 

We are so quick to look at our circumstances and to become hopeless, or to look at our superior efforts, and become prideful. But the One who put the stars in place holds everything important in His hand. It's in His hand to make great, to establish, and to bring the break through at the right time.

If, while at the bottom of our pit of despair, we let go of hope, we let go of the rope - of the anticipation and expectation that our God has us and will come through for us. The thing is, we can walk away from our end of the rope, but He never will. 

Read this wonderful passage from the Message paraphrase:

The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope (Colossians 1:5). 

You are tethered to the inner courts of God, held fast by your loving Savior. NEVER give up hope! Never quit! Though everything around you screams hopelessness - you have a living hope and His name is Jesus. 

He will make a way where there seems to be no way.

You are precious to Him and He has His eye on you. Be of good cheer and hope in the Lord. You have absolute access to the inner courts. You have His ear. You have His heart. He loves you so very much.

~Blessings to you! Until next week...