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3 posts from May 2011

May 18, 2011

And More Will be Given...

Backyard Sunrise2

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!

Now on to my topic...

Well, this morning as I prayed about today's blog post, the words, "And more will be given" kept running through my mind. And I think it's a great topic for today. 

May we give God our listening ear, our hopes and passions, our gifts and talents, and even our weak and feeble attempts to serve Him. God is the Divine Multiplier! He takes our puny little offering and He makes something of it. And, He deposits Heaven's resources into our lives because He is after a return on His investment in us.

Let's look at a couple of verses that speak to the 'more' that He wants to give to us:

Matthew 13:12

To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.

What's exciting to me is that God calls us to LISTEN, why? Because He has some things He wants to say to us! God wants to speak to us!  In fact, the Bible also says that God - the Creator of Heaven and Earth - confides in those who fear Him. He leans in and whispers profound secrets of wisdom and truth to those who honor and esteem His Name. Isn't that just amazing? But since that's true, may we remember that He is God and thus, be ever listening for that still, small voice.

How many times throughout the Bible do we read these words, "Listen!"? In the New Testament, God speaks out these words, "This is My Beloved Son. Listen to Him." 

To whom much is given, much is required. Since God has given us His Son that we might have access to His presence and promises, He expects that we will listen and respond to His direction and leading in our lives. And it's not because He is a micro manager. He is LOVE. He is GOOD. He knows BEST. And loves us MOST. He has our best interest at heart and is very protective of our lives and our dreams. He knows that we can't go this alone. 

For those who heed the gentle voice and who do what He says, more clarity will be given. More insight and inspiration will be entrusted to them. Imagine, God's voice becoming clearer to you; more distinctive; more profound. What a priceless gift He has offered us here.

But there's a downside to this promise. Those who get so busy with life that they miss what He says, will lose their sense of spiritual receptivity. Those who coddle their fears more than they cling to the promises of God, will not hear God's voice when He calls them to a more spacious and free place. Can you think of a more devastating loss than to lose the sense of God's voice in your ear? 

It matters if we listen or if we don't. 

Here is another verse to consider:

Matthew 25:29

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

Here again we are called to steward well what we've been given. If we take for granted the gifts of God, they will, in due time, slip through our fingertips. 

What have you been given? If you've received any encouragement from others, give some away. If you have food in your cupboards, give some away. If you've been offered a forgiveness you don't deserve (which, you have) offer forgiveness to someone who doesn't deserve it. 

And how about the gifts and talents God has given you? Whether you work in the ministry or in the corporate world, whether you're raising children or caring for your elderly parents; all of these are sacred when done with Jesus in mind. Bloom where you're planted. Use the gifts God has given you for His glory. Live with passion, conviction, courage, and compassion. Sow seeds of faith. Embrace hope. Walk in love.

Let everything you do, be done with Him in mind. And as you pour out your life to a world in need, more - much more - will be given to you.

~Until two weeks from now...

(PS - I'll be away from my computer next week so I won't be able to post. Bless you, bless you. :)

 

May 11, 2011

Embrace Your Worth!

God on the water 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.

Also, if you're a parent, you need to listen to the podcast from yesterday's show. My guest was Catherine Hickem (family therapist, counselor, parenting expert, and speaker) and we talked about 'Regret Free Parenting'. We had a GREAT conversation. Check it out if you need some encouragement and insight: Tuesday's Show

Now on to my topic...

This morning I posted these words on my Facebook page: 

Joy Stealer: Looking for man's approval when you already have God's abounding love and acceptance.

You'd think I would know by now not to allow myself any deep introspection on Mondays. Let me explain. During the fall and spring seasons I do a lot of speaking on the weekends. And really, I've learned - for the most part - not to look inward too much on Mondays. As I rule, I typically guard my thoughts, refuse to look over my shoulder, or obsess over what I could have done or said differently. And really, for the most part, that's just what I do. I look ahead. I work out. I catch up on things around the house and on my computer. And I thank God by faith for how He moved at the event. Then I go on to pray for the women I just spoke to. All of these things keep me focused forward on the things God has given me to do for that day.

But...every once in a while, someone says something that gets in or takes me by surprise, and like a little rat that wiggles its way through the smallest crack in the door, fear and self-awareness finds its way in where faith and God-awareness reigned. I hate it when that happens!

Thankfully, though, it doesn't take me as long to get myself back to the place of peace and assurance. Even so, that door should never be open. You know the door I'm talking about: the one that leads to your value and acceptance as someone who belongs to God. Yes, people will reject and betray us, but they still don't have the power to diminish or decide our value. Right?

Read this excerpt from my book, "The Uncommon Woman"

Giving people easy access to dethrone our identity and devastate us is not healthy. Deep in our souls there must be an inner chamber where only Jesus resides. It's  in that place where Jesus sits on the throne of our lives. By His very presence there, we are made, and continually made whole. He has already decided our worth, so it must never be up for grabs again. Since we belong to God, we can rule in the midst of our enemies (See Psalm 110:2). Some people are just plain mean; and others, misguided. We can be kind to these people but we don't have to let them (or their words) in. Others might be on to something when they point out our flaws, but if they possess no fear of God, we must confidently leave their presence and bring ourselves before the Lord. In that safe and holy place we confess our sin, admit our need for more of Him, and then throw ourselves on the mercy of heaven's court." (p. 111)

God knows our frame. He doesn't forget that we are human. But He loves us still. And His Son paid an exorbitant price to save us. Our worth is a settled issue.

It's just true. We all need to be reminded of this from time to time. We all have days when the cold winds blow that door open and leave us vulnerable to the lies of the enemy. But every day, may we identify ourselves with the Lord, as His very own. Every day, may we embrace His love as the defining factor of our lives. And every day, may we turn and love others in the way that He has loved us, because we can.

Until next week~

 

May 04, 2011

Offering Forgiveness & Grace to Those Who Have Hurt You...

BeautifulPath

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. So leave a post, share an insight and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend!

It's time to announce April's Starbucks gift card winner! Rachel Beran, congratulations! Email me at: info@susielarson.com to claim your prize. And thanks for posting on my blog!

Now on to my topic...

We had one of THE most powerful shows yesterday! My guest was Dr. David Anderson and we talked about his book, 'I For-Grace You: Doing Good to Those Who Have Hurt You.'

During the show a woman named Marti called in. She was a new listener and didn't know Christ. David so sweetly encouraged her and then as (super) natural as can be, he led her in a prayer to receive Christ. I was beside myself. You have to listen if you get the chance: Live the Promise (For-Graceness)

During the show we talked about what Christ has forgiven in us, and the implications of not forgiving others. I know how difficult it is to forgive someone hurt deeply, but you and I know that it's our only path to freedom and peace!

Read this powerful passage:

Mark 11:24-26~ Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Do you see the POWER in this verse? Prayer that changes things is linked with a heart that releases things. Oh, that we could learn the importance of running to Jesus the moment we have a spec of offense within our hearts. 

Catherine Marshall - a prolific writer and follower of Christ, practiced nightly prayers of forgiveness with her husband. Together they'd sit down and search their hearts in prayer. If they could sense even the slightest edge or attitude towards another, they would bow their heads, pray for their offender, and entrust the offense to the Lord. All the way down to being ticked about the little boy that pushed her daughter on the playground (me paraphrasing here), she bathed it in prayer. She attributed this daily practice as significant in keeping her heart and mind at peace.

Dr. David Anderson, my guest from yesterday's show, suggests that as Christ-followers, there's even a next step we can and must take whenever possible. He says it's not enough to release our offender of the debt they owe us. To follow Christ is to bless those who hurt us. And of course, that looks different in every situation, and requires divine wisdom each and every time.

Maybe the 'doing good' is simply to talk kindly to the one who hurt you when you'd rather be rude. Maybe it's earnest prayer on their behalf. Maybe it is washing their feet, or buying them groceries. Maybe you extend grace by asking them how they're doing that particular day.

Now of course, we need to keep distance from some of our offenders, but we can still pray for them. We need to keep boundaries with perpetual offenders, but we can still pray for them.

However, every once in a while, the Lord gives us an opportunity to actually and literally bless those who persecute us or hurt us in some way. That's what I'm talking about.

May the Lord Himself give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to do His will. Remember, Jesus asked the Father to forgive His executioners while they gambled for His clothes below - before they ever realized the gravity of their sin. 

We can't even comprehend the depths of forgiveness offered us by Christ because we don't really know the depths of our sin. But one day, in Heaven, we will. Oh, the depths of God's love! While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

May we likewise forgive and (whenever possible) bless those who also don't deserve it.