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4 posts from April 2011

April 26, 2011

God Brings the Increase (at just the right time)...

Flowers

Happy Wednesday, Everyone! 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 share a thought or an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for a friend!

Now on to my topic...(this one is a little longer than usual, but I think it's an important word for some):

Lately I've been in awe of God's divine intervention and attention to detail. In years past, there have been a number of specific desires in my heart that I longed to see come to pass; things that only God and my husband knew about, and, well maybe a few close friends. But as with anything worth having, readiness and preparedness take time. God can do anything in an instant, but we are the ones - with our free will and all - that need time to be ready, strengthened and prepared. 

We need time for our faith to grow. When we plant seeds, we can't repeatedly dig them up and pull them out of the ground to see if they are growing. We have to leave them in the ground. Those planted seeds (that we can no longer see) need to be watered by our faith. During the process we must learn to be content with seeing nothing while knowing that God holds everything in His hands, and that He moves on every act prompted by our faith, as the Scripture says.

The truth is, things just take time. Even 'suddenly-moments' take a while to spring forth. But one thing I learned about waiting on God is that He is always good. He always has our highest and best interests at heart. And when we trust Him enough to give Him room to work, He does His best work on our behalf. Truly, His loving attention to detail will woo any heart that loves Him!

Right now, today, I am walking in some of the most detail-specific answers to prayers of faith, prayed back then - years ago - when such things seemed non-existent and impossible. As I am sure is the case with you, the journey to this particular place of promise had its battles of refinement and pain. While I was stationed to the sidelines for a season, I watched as others ran full boar into their divine calling. And I felt jealous; which was why I was on the sidelines. God was intent on extracting from my soul the very things the enemy intended on using against me. God, in His infinite love, knew why I needed time. He is an ever-protective Father, no?

The amazing thing is, at their core, these desires of my heart were not selfish prayers, they were Kingdom motivated. And yet, our flesh is all too quick to lay hold of that which only belongs to God. He shares His glory with no one, and that's the way it is. The very fact that we get to be used by Him is mind-boggling, wouldn't you say? It's a glorious thing to lay hold of God's promises and toparticipate in the Divine Nature of Christ. Nothing on earth compares. 

Our hope is not in people; not in our bosses, or even in the next elected politician. Our hope is in the Living God who daily establishes His purposes for us! The Bible says that it's in His hands to make great, in fact, He stoops down to do so (see Psalm 18:35). He sets some on high for a season, while He sets another aside for a season; but, He makes all things beautiful in His time.

A.W. Tozer penned these wonderful words:

"What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world-scale I do not claim to know. But what He will do for the plain man or woman who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others. Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped for in his leaner and weaker days." 

Trust Him with your dreams and your heart's desires. Refuse to manipulate your circumstances or to posture yourself with certain people. Your hope is in God. He is the one who will lift you up and establish you at the most divine time and in the most divine way.

Blessings to you this day!

~Until Next Week~

 

April 19, 2011

God is Present...

Breakthrough Sunrise

Happy Wednesday, 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. Every month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So leave a post, share an insight, bless lots of people, and you might win a jolt of java for you and a friend!

Last week I had the privilege of interviewing Matthew Barnett on my show (founder of The Dream Center). Let me tell you, if that interview doesn't stoke your fire, your wood might be wet! :) I was so motivated, so inspired after that show, I'm pretty sure you will be too. Listen in if you get the chance: Matthew Barnett Interview

Now on to my topic...

Recently I've been acutely aware of how God is deeply interested in His people and how He sweetly shows up in the small places of life. Last Saturday morning we met with our home group in a friend's basement. Just us and four other couples. Our friend Al strummed a guitar and led us in a very simple time of worship. We didn't sound great, but we all love Jesus and it was an especially sacred time. I looked around the room at the faithful saints in my midst. Each of them had a tattered Bible open in their lap. Each of them has a long history of following Christ wholeheartedly. 

These men and women fear God and walk humbly with Him. They've offered Him their lives and as a result, there's a ripple effect of Redemption in the lives of those around them.

Though the rest of the world did not know we gathered together last Saturday, God did. Scripture says that God is present in the company of the righteous (Psalm 14:5).

God is in the nooks and crannies of life, ministering through His saints in small places, one at a time, two at a time, one small group at a time, one mission team at a time, one youth group at a time. 

And from a distance, these people and teams seem inconsequential in the whole scheme of things. It’s easy to wonder, “Does it really matter if I take a team to minister to a people no one knows about?” "Does it matter if I stop to help someone with a flat tire?" "Does it matter if I pick up the phone and pray with a friend?"

It does matter and God engages with us as we engage with others. The Kingdom of God has come and is coming – one seed a time, one trip at a time, one team at a time. He is present in the company of the righteous. He’s at our meetings, on our trips, weaving Himself in to the fabric of our lives, our faith, and our memories.  Think about it: our memories of God's involvement in our lives strengthens our sense of identity in Him. 

I pray you'll never underestimate the power of one life lived for God - your life. Singing songs in the car with your children, smiling at your husband when you'd rather not, caring for a stranger who needs your help - all of these random acts of kindness are noted by God and He is right there with you. He is present with us because He cares so deeply about the people He has made in His image. 

To quote lyrics from my friend Sara Groves, "It's a little stone, it's a little mortar, it's a little seed, it's a little water in the hearts of the sons and daughters, this Kingdom's coming." (Kingdom Comes from her 'Add to the Beauty' album)

Press on in His Name. May His Kingdom advance in and through you! 

Bless you this week!

 

April 13, 2011

When 'Quitting' is God's Will for You...

Bayfield Docks at Night

Happy Wednesday, Everyone! 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 post, share an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend! 

Typically I work very hard to reply to every post, but I must tell you, I am about 20 replies behind right now! Forgive me. I'm buried.  Please pray for me if you think of me. I'll get to those post replies as soon as I can. Thanks for your patience...

Now on to my topic:

Monday on Live the Promise my guest was Geri Scazzero and we talked about her book, 'I Quit! Stop Pretending Everything is Fine and Change Your Life". Listen to the interview here...

Geri is a pastor's wife who had 'served' dutifully for years to the point of utter and absolute burnout. Then one day - when she couldn't take another moment - she declared to her husband (my paraphrase), "I quit! This church may be growing, but I'm dying inside. I'm leaving this church and going somewhere else!'

Well, you can imagine how that landed on her husband. Long story short, though it turned things upside down for a while, her choice exposed a system within her marriage and her church that wasn't conducive to intimacy with God, intimacy with her husband, and a life that involved rest. The church culture was so fast paced, there was no time for replenishment. Now, Geri has the marriage of her dreams and their church culture is one that fosters life and balance. 

Years ago I hit that same wall of, 'I can't do it anymore!' and had to step away from a significant commitment. I had been trying to send up warning flares that my soul was depleted but everyone was busy with their own work and no one understood how desperate I was becoming. So, one day, I had to lay it down and say, "I'm done." And, that was the beginning of healing for me. It took a while for me to burn out, and it took a while for me to recover. But out of that season I learned a very valuable lesson. A couple lessons, actually. 

Nobody knows my limits like I do (and God, of course). It's up to me to establish personal boundaries so that I'll not only survive, but thrive in life. A second lesson I learned is that ideally, you don't want to get to such a crisis point that you have to blow up and quit in a moment's notice. Which brings me back to my first point: it's SO important that you pay attention to how your commitments are affecting you! Make some changes NOW if you need to so you can last long and finish strong! Ask God to show you how to honorably adjust your schedule and commitments so you can make room for life, and breath, and joy, and replenishment. Life must have its ebb and flow - not just flow! 

You might be at a breaking point right now. Here are four indicators to help you discern if you need to make some serious changes in your life immediately  (taken from Geri's book, "I Quit!):

  • You violate your own integrity (how you're living speaks differently than what you truly believe and value)
  • What or whom you love is at stake
  • Your present situation pain is so great, you have to make a change
  • The fear of things staying the SAME is actually worse than the fear of things changing

If you are in a desperate place right now, may you steal away for some time with the Lord. May you look up and listen for His voice. He will show you the way you should go. He WANTS you to be replenished, rested, and refueled. It's not impossible! You're not stuck, though you may feel otherwise!

Jesus reigns over your circumstances and He can and will deliver you if you trust Him.

Have a blessed week~

Susie

April 06, 2011

An Atmosphere for Answered Prayer...

Breakthrough Sunrise Happy Wednesday, 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. It's time to announce March's winner. Joy Berry, congratulations! Please email me at: susie@susielarson.com with your mailing address and I'll send you your gift card in the mail. And thank so everyone else who posted on the blog!

Now on to my topic...

Yesterday on Live the Promise I got to interview one of my favorite return guests, author and pastor Will Davis, Jr. We talked about his excellent book, "Pray BIG." If you need a spiritual shot in the arm, take some time and listen to the podcast from that show. Here's the link: Pray BIG!

At one point we discussed what an atmosphere for answered prayer looks like and we landed on the importance of obedience. In ways big and small, it matters that we obey. And as Will said on the show (my paraphrase), the Kingdom of God comes to earth through countless, small acts of obedience. And, Will reminded us, obedience almost always involves others: blessing others, encouraging others, ministering to others.

Also, we can pray all day long about a certain issue, but if God has already asked us to make the next right choice, and we have refused, we might as well be banging our head against the wall. Until we decide to obey, that is.  

Obedience matters deeply to God. 

But you know what else? Obedience brings a strong anointing on our lives. When God entrusts us with an opportunity to do something that matters to Him, and He finds us trust-worthy, He entrusts us with increase: increased opportunities, increased capacity to hear His voice, increased sensitivity to His Spirit, and an increased faith that we are linked in fellowship with Almighty God.

Have you obeyed the nudges God has given you lately? 

Make the call. Send the letter. Reach out to the neighbor. Pray the prayer. Send the money.

Read this powerful verse: 1 John 3:21-22

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, BECAUSE we keep His commands and do what pleases Him.

Stay in step with the Lord Jesus. Mind the nudges. Do what He says. Ask Him to work miracles in and through you. He loves to answer those kinds of prayers for those who are serious about walking with Him. He moves when people pray. He moves more often through the earnest prayers of His righteous ones. 

~Until next week