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5 posts from September 2010

September 28, 2010

Wise in Your Own Eyes?

One Morning  

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 winner for September (where did the month go?):

Vanessa Anderson, congratulations! Contact me through my website and include your mailing address and we'll get your gift card in the mail within the next two weeks (you need to claim your prize before I announce next month's winner). Blessings to you!

As most of you know, I have a new radio show,Live the Promise with Susie Larson The program now airs 6 days a week! Join us every weekday from 2:30-3:00 CST, and on Saturdays from noon to one, KTIS AM 900, on the Faith Radio Network, or listen online at: www.faith900.com

You won't want to miss this Saturday's show. My guest is Rebecca Nichols Alonzo, author of the gripping true story, "The Devil in Pew Number Seven." Rebecca shares her unbelievable story of harassment, trauma, and forgiveness. Don't miss this show! 

Also, I want you to have the inside scoop. Be sure to check my Facebook page for a heads up on my weekly giveaways (that way you'll know when to call for a book you may want). I'll also post daily questions and may read your comments on the air. Let's do this together! 

Now on to my topic...

Lately I've been hanging around in Proverbs 3:3-10, just meditating on these verses and committing them to memory. As I prayed about this week's blog post, one verse repeatedly came to the forefront of my mind:

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil (verse 7). 

As I pondered this verse, thought through it a bit, and asked the Lord for clarity, this is what came to me: To be wise in our own eyes is to trust ourselves, to believe in ourselves (apart from God), and to rely on ourselves. In essence, it's to say, "I've got this." 

We are far too easily impressed with our efforts and are quite quick to rely on our own understanding of things. Especially when the wisdom needed involves our area of experience.

Now hear me correctly. It's okay and normal to feel a certain level of comfort with things we know. But where we get into trouble is when we find ourselves impressed with our own wisdom; when we feel pride over our own experiences; and when we allow what we know to define who we are.

Think about it. The devil got himself kicked out of heaven because he shifted his hope from God to himself; in essence he declared, "I've got this."

When our kids were growing up we earnestly taught them that pride was one of the worst attitudes they could embrace (because it was the very thing that sent the devil hurling from heaven). 

The Bible reminds us that we can do nothing of substance apart from Christ. And anything done apart from faith, is a sin (we should tackle that scripture one of these days). We cannot please the Father unless faith is present.

In other words, our core belief should not be one of "I've got this" but rather, "You've got me, Lord." Whether we know our way around a topic, or we find ourselves in over our heads, we can humbly declare, "You've got me, Lord. In all things, in all places, in every circumstance; in small offerings and abundant ones, in easy tasks and heroic feats, You've got me, Lord. I live to please You. I am thrilled that You carry me. And I don't want to breathe a breath of life without You in it. I'm so grateful that You've got me." 

 The rest of the verse reads: Fear the Lord and shun evil...

We fear the Lord by giving Him His proper place in our lives. We honor Him, respect Him, listen to Him, and trust Him. And we shun evil by putting giving the devil his proper place in our lives - under our feet. We refuse to entertain thoughts that elevate ourselves or our circumstances above the One who holds us every minute of the day.

And the next verse reads: This will bring health to your body and strength to your frame. 

Powerful stuff. We could spend weeks on this passage, no?

Have a blessed week and may the Lord fill you with wisdom from above! A wisdom that He owns but entrusts to you, knowing you'll humbly steward it well; giving all of the glory back to Him.

~Until next week...

September 21, 2010

Praying BIG for Yourself...

Open Door.jpg  

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 now airs 6 days a week! Join us every weekday from 2:30-3:00 CST, and on Saturdays from noon to one, KTIS AM 900, on the Faith Radio Network, or listen online at: www.faith900.com

I have a great line up this week! Some of my guests include, Dr. Jack Hayford, Gary Thomas, and Leigh Ann Tuohy (Blindside). Be sure to tune in.

Also, I want you to have the inside scoop. Be sure to check my Facebook page for a heads up on my weekly giveaways (that way you'll know when to call for a book you may want). I'll also post daily questions and may read your comments on the air. Let's do this together! 

Now on to my topic...

On Monday I had the privilege of interviewing author and pastor Dr. Will Davis, Jr., and let me tell you, he was a great guest! We discussed his latest release, "Faith Set Free: Pray for Yourself With Reckless Abandon."

Our call screen lit up right away with callers wanting to discuss the whole issue of praying for yourself, not to mention, praying for yourself with reckless abandon (and only one caller got through for some odd reason). :(

I posted a question on Facebook asking whether or not people felt comfortable praying BIG for themselves. A number of women admitted that at least initially, it was difficult to dare to pray such a bold prayer. 

Many people feel a sense of guilt about praying for themselves, though Jesus calls us to ask, seek, and knock. Many feel it's selfish to pray for yourself, and it can be, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still pray about everything on our hearts. As we draw near to God, He draws near to us. As we close the gap between us and God, we become more like Him, more aware of His presence, and more passionate about His concerns for us.

We can pray for others and do great exploits in that regard (and part of our prayer life should always involve the needs of others), but, we will never realize our fullest potential until God is given access to work in and through us. He has gifted us, He has written a destiny over our lives that only WE can live out; and He has put desires in our hearts that are straight from HIM. 

Imagine how it must make Him feel when He breathes life into one of our hidden desires and we are so sure that the inner nudge is our selfishness talking, that we turn a deaf ear to God and instead scold ourselves for thinking such a ridiculous thought. 

We cannot please God without faith. He delights in every detail of our lives. He is crazy in love with us. He has written our name on His hand. He has a plan to prosper us, not to harm us. He ordained and appointed us for good works long before we were born. And, when we delight in Him, He establishes us, in our desires, in our giftedness, and in ways that we never thought possible. 

Some of our desires are simply selfish. But tucking them away and pretending they don't exist, is not the answer. Some of our desires seem selfish but are really linked to our God-sized call, and we'll have a ball when we dare dream with God and walk out those desires. How can we know the difference? We determine not to be so self aware. We run boldly into our Father's presence and ask Him to listen to every one of our concerns. We determine not to edit ourselves before we reach His throne (would you ask your child to tone down his dreams before he dares share them with you?). 

The Father, in His love, will shape our desires to fit His will. He'll change our hearts and renew our minds. And the cool thing is, our dreams are often too small. As we dare to admit our heart's desires, we will find a loving God right there to stir up our faith and lead us in the way that we should go. And remember, our God-sized call will always further His Kingdom and make life better for others.

Pray BIG for yourself today. And tomorrow. And the next day. See what God will do.

If you want to listen to the podcast of my interview with Will Davis, click here.

Now to HIM who is ABLE to do immeasurably MORE than ALL we can ASK or IMAGINE, ACCORDING to His power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

~Until next week.

September 14, 2010

Living in Response to God...

Light Through the Trees  

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 are going live on weekdays too, starting Monday, September 20th (from 2:30-3:00 CST). Tell your friends and listen in! I'll be doing giveaways on the air every week. 

I have a great line up next week! Dr. Jack Hayford, Gary Thomas, and Leigh Ann Tuohy (Blindside) are some of my guests. Be sure to tune in.

And, a quick note about this week's show! My guest this week is my friend and fellow author Grace Fox. We'll be talking about her book, "Moving From Fear to Freedom." Far too often we are bullied by our fears! But we will never experience all God has for us unless we are willing to put those fears under our feet. This was a powerful show. Be sure to listen in on KTIS AM 900, or listen online at: www.faith900.com 

Now on to my topic...

After taking a brisk walk with my daughter-in-law tonight, I sat down to write this week's blog. I had some ideas about what to write, but then my son Luke called and I spent the next hour on the phone with him. And what a rich time it was! 

Luke struggles with some chronic fatigue. He doesn't sleep well at night (I struggle at times with sleeplessness, so I know what a drain this battle can be). And yet, he loves Jesus and he loves his wife. He rises every morning and works two jobs (bank teller on weekdays, worship pastor on weekends). And right now, amidst all he is carrying, he is pressing in to know God more. I absolutely love his heart and am so very proud of him. :)

I'm going to share one of the many observations he shared with me tonight.

You remember the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector, recorded in Luke 19, right? He was a rich little man who swindled his neighbors by taking more 'taxes' than were due. When Jesus called him from his perch, he became a different man altogether. 

Referring to Zacchaeus, Luke said, "I've thought, and thought about this story. And I suppose I could give up our apartment, and give away my possessions, and go empty handed because it seems like the right thing to do to follow Christ. But when I looked deeper into this story, I realized that 'I' am not the point here, nor is my 'doing' the point. The whole essence of this story is that whatever He calls me to give or give up, I'll do it. Why? Because Jesus is worth it. Whatever He asks of us is small in comparison to what we gain in Him. When the focus is on our obligation, we somehow miss the living relationship that Jesus wants with us. But when our focus shifts to all that Christ is, and how worth it He is, we can give up all to follow Him. And the 'all' looks different on each one of us because we're all at different places in our walks of faith."

Isn't that profound?

Right away I thought of that passage from 1 Corinthians 13 that says, "If I give away all I have to the poor and throw my body into the flames...but have not love, I am nothing." Again, one could read this with the perspective that this is yet another 'should do' or 'ought to' that we had better be applying to our lives - but then we're left with the idea that it's all up to us. And yet, the Bible says that apart from Christ, we-can-do-nothing.

Ephesians 3:19 compels us to 'know this love (His Love) THAT WE MAY BE FILLED with the fullness of God.' When we are filled up with God's love, we spill it out to the world in need. We respond to God's love by giving more of ourselves back to Him. 

Love called Zacchaeus down from that tree. Love compelled him to do a 180, and turn his life around. His choices were in response to Christ's love for him, not in reaction to what he thought might be the right thing to do at the moment.

How does our faith-walk become so rote, so boring, and so life-less? It's from saying yes out of obligation when we should have said no because Jesus was not calling us at that particular moment. It's from growing apathetic in our pursuit of God because of our pursuit of things has left us bored. If we dared to press in and to wait on God, and if we were quiet and still long enough to listen for His voice, we would surely hear Him call us up, call us out, and ask us for special gifts that only we can give. And our response to Him would be the most super-natural thing in the world. 

Jesus doesn't want our obligatory efforts, He wants our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our talents. He wants everything from us, but not because we ought to, but because we get to. And you know what? It'll be our honor because we will know intimately, the One who calls us; we will know His love; and with everything in us, we will know that no gift we can bring is too much, because He is worth it. 

Need a fresh touch from the Lord?

With all your heart, ask Him, 'Draw me, Lord! Awaken my heart! Increase my thirst! Stir up my faith! I want more of You in my life! I can do nothing apart from You! My soul waits upon the Lord. In His Word I do hope!'

~Until next week... 

September 07, 2010

The Path of Life...

Hipsta Sunrise  

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 are going live on weekdays too, starting Monday, September 20th (from 2:30-3:00 CST). Tell your friends and listen in! I'll be doing giveaways on the air every week. 

And, a quick note about this week's show! My guest this week has a lot to say about the effectiveness of our Christianity and impact of our spiritual influence in America. He says that much of the Western church is sleeping. This show will serve as a wake up call to many. My guest was author and social critic Os Guiness. We talked about his new book, "The Last Christian on Earth: Uncovering the Enemy's Plot to Undermine the Church." This was a powerful show. Be sure to listen in on KTIS AM 900, or listen online at: www.faith900.com 

Now on to my topic...

Recently I wrestled with some uncharitable feelings towards someone who had hurt me on several occasions. I didn't gossip about this person. I didn't wish harm to him. He just bothered me and it bothered me so that I was bothered by him. 

I was tempted to stroll down memory lane and replay some the reasons for my frustration, but God interrupted my thoughts and whispered this across my heart, "Pray for his blessing and his success. Pray that he might be protected in his weakness, and covered when he feels exposed. Pray that My love surrounds him in such a way that he feels totally safe, totally loved, and totally cared for."

So thankful for the redirection of my thoughts, I began to pray, and pray I did. As I poured out my heart to God, my heart was filled with compassion and understanding towards someone who tends to rub me the wrong way. As I prayed my heart felt instantly lighter. Then another whisper crossed my heart. The Lord whispered to me "This, is the path of life." 

Right away I remembered Psalm 16:11

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence the fullness of joy is found. At Your right hand are pleasures forever more.

Ultimately, the path of life, is the path of Calvary and the victory won there. First and foremost, our lives are saved through Christ's obedient walk to the Cross to defeat death and the punishment for sin on our behalves. 

But then there's the day-to-day walk of faith. Do we choose to bless or curse? To speak life or speak death? To contribute to our surroundings or to drain it of its resources? The Bible says that there are ways that seem right, but in the end they lead to death. 

I've heard stories of people feeling so justified in tearing down their pastor for his style of preaching that they ran him out of their church and drove him right into depression and disillusionment. Where's the life in that? I've said this many times before, but if we have to let go of love to defend our cause, we have lost our way.

The path of life is the place where God's power is most present. It's the place where our lives are most submitted to Hs will, and where our hearts are most pure. It's not necessarily about abstaining from this or that; it's much more active than that. It's about stepping into God's highest and best purposes for us, and, on behalf of those around us - each and every day. 

Do you want to know where the high road is in your life, in your day, in your hour? If you really want to know, He will show you. Read the first part of Psalm 16:11 again, "You will show me the path of life." 

Do you want your life to be so full of the life of God that you spill it out to everyone you meet? Stay hidden in Christ. Choose life. Look at the second part of that passage: In Your presence the fullness of joy is found. At Your right hand are pleasures forever more.

We don't find 'the fullness of joy' from getting our way or from proving we're right or from nursing a grudge. We find it in His presence where life abounds, forgiveness is given, and death is swallowed up in victory. 

The path of life is before you, every day, every hour. Just be still and quiet your heart and you'll hear Him say, "This is the way; walk ye in it." 

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way;walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).

~Until next week

September 01, 2010

A Place of Safety & Significance...

Newbergs in the Fall  

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 winner for the month of August. Drum roll, please...

Kelly Black, you've won a $10.00 gift card from Starbucks! Email me at: info@susielarson.com with your mailing address and we'll get the card out within 1-2 weeks. (PS - you must claim your prize before I announce next month's winner). Blessings one and all!

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...

And, a quick note about this week's show! You won't want to miss my interview with Lisa Cherry and her daughter Kalyn as they talk about how a family friend from church, who was three times Kayln's age, lured her into a phone-sex relationship that almost destroyed her life. Kalyn's mom is a popular speaker with Acquire the Fire and this was a powerful interview about protecting your family. Listen in on KTIS AM 900, or listen online at: www.faith900.com 

Now on to my topic...

Okay, I'm going to get this out of the way at the outset: what I'm about to share may or may not make sense to you, but this is what God has been speaking to me these days, and it's what I feel I'm supposed to share with you. So here goes...

I've just come through a transitional season of life. And I learned that with such a season, comes the temptation to wonder too much; to worry too much; and to grab for a quick solution rather than wait for God's best solution. During times of transition when things don't exactly feel predictable, it's easy to look to your right and to your left, and to commit the sin of comparison.

One morning while praying my way through my process, the Lord spoke this to my heart, "Your place during this season is to stay especially close to Me. Your posture is to be that of a 'Grateful Slave.' 

I loved how Jude introduced himself at the beginning of the book of Jude. He identified himself as follows: A bondservant of the Most High God and the brother of James. 

We are too quick to lay claim to our successes and also, too quick to bear the shame of our past sins. And yet, under the new covenant, we can claim neither of those as our own. We are made new and hidden in Christ. 

I am a grateful bondservant of the Most High God; so thankful to even be linked in fellowship with Him. I refuse to look to the right or to the left, or to compare myself with those who are more or less successful than I am. (I've said this here before, but...) Those comparisons bear rotten fruit: either pride or despair. 

As I keep my face in His hands I remember who I am to Him and who He is to me. 

The Bible says that God actually has to humble Himself to behold the things of Heaven! Imagine that! He is so awesome and mighty, He has to stoop down to look upon heaven and earth (Psalm 113). This is the God I serve.

When I narrow the distance between us, and I take my rightful place as a humble servant of the Most High God, there is no room for stomping feet and shaking fists, because I have no entitlement, no claim to anything except His love - which is everything. When I narrow the distance between us, I have no room in my life for fear, doubt, worry, or insecurity because I am beloved of the One who is higher than the Heavens. 

When you take your position as a Grateful Slave - He gets the credit, He gets the glory. There's no room for comparison, competition, or jealousy. This is HIS Kingdom we serve, His Kingdom we are building; we are miraculously blessed to be a part. Only what is done for Christ will last. We are blessed to be a blessing. 

We get out of sync with our 'rights and our purposes' when we get out of step with His love and His greatness. We are everything to Him, but nothing without Him.

Our safest place, our most significant place is that of a Grateful Slave; bound to Him in love, connected to Him by faith; kept by His grace, established in His purposes.

The amazing thing is, when we humble ourselves before Him, He sets us in high places, with the princes of His people (Psalm 113). When we take our rightful place before Him, He lifts us up to places we have no business being if not for His endorsement and favor. But first and foremost, every day, and always, we are humbly His. He gets to decide how we serve, where we serve, and when we serve. 

I'd rather scrub floors in the house of my God, than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin. All sunshine and sovereign is God; generous in gifts and glory (Psalm 84:10 MSG).

~Until next week