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4 posts from October 2011

October 26, 2011

Beloved and Armed...

HousethroughtherocksHappy 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 giftcard to someone who posts on my blog. So share an insight, leave a comment, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.

Now on to my topic...

Recently I gathered together with a couple of my mentors and a close girlfriend (who also receives great input from these older, wiser women). We had a special time of prayer and ministry and it was life-changing for me. With grace and humility, these women came alongside me and helped unearth old fears that had suddenly surfaced to trip me up in a whole new way. 

God is so good. And so kind. He - in His gentle and loving way - pointed to painful past memories that provided the enemy ample opportunity to sow a few lying seeds without my knowledge. Seeds that would later produce the bad fruit of fear, doubt, and worry.

Together with my golden girls, we asked the Lord to bring truth where I had believed a lie. And He did. The Scripture promises, "You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32). I love this passage from Psalm 51:6 ~ "You desire truth in my inmost being, and the hidden places, You'll make me know wisdom."

If a lie remains in those 'hidden places' it'll produce rotten fruit and dysfunction, and will compel us to live in perpetual reaction to our fears. But when the light of God's Word shines in those hidden places, and when we give Him access to our souls to uproot the lie and replace it with truth, well then we suddenly have wisdom where their once was foolishness, clarity where there once was confusion, healthy function where there once was dysfunction. And that's one of the amazing things about the power of the Gospel. Jesus came to set captives free! There's no memory or experience out of God's reach. He is the Redeemer, Restorer, Healer, and one who establishes us beyond our wildest dreams.

Too often we feel at the mercy of our fears and our circumstances but we really aren't. We possess all in Christ. But we so easily forget who we are and what we possess because our circumstances and fears scream loud and they connect with lies buried with in us. Those buried lies compel us to agree with our present fears. That's why it's important to pay attention to over reactions and perpetual fears. Like my pastor said to me years ago, "Don't be afraid when the enemy stirs up your fears. Jesus is using that moment to reach into your soul, grab hold of that fear so you can see it and then He says to you, "You see this thing? I'm about to deliver you!" If we push it down, medicate, or plug our ears and run away, we miss a perfect opportunity to finally be set free.

At the end of our beautiful prayer time, one of my golden girls asked the Lord, "Jesus, show Susie how you see her." And wouldn't you know, I instantly had a picture in my mind of a Beloved Bride with a BIG sword. Ha ha. That made me laugh and rejoice all at once. 

I took that picture with me into my prayer time the next morning and I have to say, this picture is for all of us. Men typically don't identify with the 'Beloved' part of our identity but they must. We belong to God and are deeply cherished by Him. And to know this truth, changes everything. And women don't typically identify with the fact that as followers of Christ, we are armed and dangerous! But we are! You don't have to be mighty in stature to be mighty in battle. You can be four feet tall and send that enemy packing if you intimately know the greatness of God within you.

Know this today. You are unfathomly loved by your Creator. You are the object of His affection. And you are equipped for every battle. Get to know the armor that God has provided you (found in Ephesians). No weapon formed against us will prosper. Every battle the Lord leads us into is a winnable one. And nothing can separate us from His love. 

Wow. We're covered in every way. Have a great day.

~Until next week

October 19, 2011

Speak Life!

BeautifulGreetings, 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, and bless us all with your wisdom and insight!

Now on to my topic...

You've heard it said before, "Show me a man's checkbook register, and I'll show you what he cares about." Don't worry, we're not sharing check registers today, but I want to make a parallel statement: Show me what a person says, and I'll tell you what they believe.

More and more I'm learning the importance of and the power behind our words. Words are envelopes that carry powerful messages. Our words affect our circumstances, surroundings, and perspectives. Maybe you've heard me say this before but it bears repeating: Our words are seeds that bear fruit. Every time we open our mouth, little seeds drop to the ground and eventually produce fruit - sometimes rotten fruit, sometimes nourishing fruit. 

The reason our words are important is because we are important. We are messengers; conduits of God's grace. We have an important job to do during our time on earth. If we believe any less than that or if we think we are more than that in ourselves, our words will reflect those beliefs. 

Read this important verse: From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things, as surely as the work of his hands rewards him (Proverbs 12:14).

Think about it. If you have a full time job, you expect your paycheck at the end of the week. Likewise, we can expect that the words of our mouth will produce a result: they'll either bless or curse those in our sphere of influence. 

What's the answer? Spend time with God. Nestle in close and trade our unbelief for belief. Trade our anxiety for peace. Trade our doubt for faith. Get to a place where we are once again assured of God's promise to stand with us and provide for us in every season of life. 

From there, we get up, and we SPEAK!

Speak to the Mountains - Tell your obstacles to move into the sea! Does the enemy of your soul continually throw road blocks in your path? Speak to those obstacles and tell them to move! Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt...you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done (Matthew 21:21)

Speak to the Storms - Tell the storms to be still! Are you surrounded by chaos and confusion? God is the God of order! Speak to your storm and command order to return!  In Matthew 8, the disciples were in the boat with Jesus (who was taking a nap). The storm came and they called on the Lord (sounds like a good idea, no?), but Jesus wondered why their faith was so small. Jesus calmed the storm, but it would have pleased His heart for the disciples to do what He did. 

Speak to your Soul - Tell your soul to be at peace and remember the goodness of the Lord. Psalm 116:7 calls us to speak to that inner man when we are troubled inside: Be at peace (or at rest) once more O, my soul, for the Lord, has been good to you." God has been good and He'll be good again. He's a good God. Recently I interviewed Women of Faith speaker, Pasty Clairmont. She said the best thing, "I finally learned that our emotions have no brains. God created us with a will stronger than our emotions." Use your will to stand up to your emotions, to obey and trust in the Name of the Lord. Reflect on the many ways He has come through for you. Right here. Right now. Take a moment and say thank you for His faithfulness in your life.

Never underestimate the power of your words. They are a weapon in your hand. We'll be called to account for how we used this gift. Did we encourage those around us, or did we pick them apart? Did we talk about circumstances and people with cynicism or with hope? 

Dear Father in Heaven, Have mercy on us and forgive us for every ill-spoken word! Renew our minds, our hearts, and our perspective. May we leave every person and situation better than we found them. Fill us with a greater sense of Your presence that we might impart life and refreshment wherever we go. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Have a blessed week!

 

October 12, 2011

Not Seeing Results?

GayHeadCliffsHappy 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 an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend! 

One more thing...Four times a year I send out a (FREE) E-zine with lots of great stuff in it! I write an extended devotional, we give away a good stack of books from various authors, and share several ministry updates. My next issue releases this Saturday, October 15th. You can sign up at my website: www.susielarson.com 

Now on to my topic...

Do you ever get weary in doing good? Ever wonder when you'll see the fruit of your labor? Or maybe you wonder if all of your effort made any difference at all.

I've had a number of conversations recently with people who are weary in the waiting and I've wrestled with these thoughts in my own life. I knew that if I didn't open my hands and look up, I'd find myself tangled up in my thoughts and tripped up by a wrong perspective. After putting it all on the table and giving God room to speak to me, He led me back to a faith that stands even when my eyes cannot see. 

Scripture calls us to pray and keep praying, to believe and keep believing, to speak life, and keep speaking life, but eventually we want to see the results of our efforts, right? There's a little something in all of us that after we've exerted a certain amount of effort, we start to believe that God owes us something. Maybe we don't dare say that out loud, but if we're honest, there's a little card in our back pocket that we pull out when we've had enough. We hold it up to God and in so many words say, "But what about all I've done? What about all I've tried to do? Would it hurt You to come through for me? Can you give me something?" 

Even Job got there eventually. He was an amazing, righteous, godly man. But when he was pushed far enough, he pulled out the card. He listed his acts of righteousness. Who can blame him? He was a righteous man. But then the Lord spoke and Job covered his mouth. He declared, "Surely I spoke of things too wonderful for me."

Here's the thing. We are made righteous by God alone. Every good thing comes from Him. Apart from Him, we don't have a leg to stand on. And even as we grow in Him, we must find our secure footing on Him alone. How easy it is to shift our weight to our efforts, our recent righteousness, or our consistent faithfulness, but we must not. We live faithfully, because He is faithful in us.

In due time we will reap a harvest of righteousness, a breakthrough to our prayers, and blessings for our obedience, if we do not give up. His promises are true and so those principles are true. But those breakthroughs are determined by God's wisdom and timing. If we shift our weight onto our efforts and begin to expect something before its time, or feel entitled to something that God hasn't given us yet, we'll step onto a rug that the enemy can pull out from under us.

We are bondservants of the Most High God. He is overwhelmingly good to us. Still, we serve Him on His terms, His timing, and according to His highest and best will for us.

I've learned not to 'do the math' so to speak when I find myself in a weary place. When I consider all I've invested in a certain person or situation, and see no fruit from my faithfulness, I can so easily despair; and when I let myself go there, I get weak. At such times it's especially important to step back, to put a flag in the ground, and to declare the faithfulness of Almighty God no matter how barren the field might appear. 

The results belong to God. Diving timing belongs to God. Breakthroughs, increase, and seasons belong to God. Mine is to obey, His is to do everything else. 

If you're not seeing results, it's because you're not ready for them. Obedience in this place is first to submit to God. Then, resist the enemy's taunts to engage in despair, discouragement, self-pity, or entitlement. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (See James 4:7).

God gave us everything when He gave us His Son. He owes us nothing. He deserves our highest praise and our absolute trust. The faithful soul will put a flag in the ground and declare, "Though I can't see Him, I know He's with me. Though the barns are empty, I will praise Him. I know He'll one day fill them. Though my loved one's heart seems far away, I trust God will one day draw her near. I'm not moving from this place of faith. God will bring the breakthrough when He'll get the most glory and when I'm most ready for it."

Psalm 126:5-6 says this ~ Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

Galatians 6:9 says this ~ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

May we press on, in His Name!

~Until next week...

October 05, 2011

When God Moves, May I Respond...

Brisk Morning Greetings, Dear Friends! Susie Larson here...

And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose it 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! 

It's time to announce the winner for September: Darcee Zehm, congratulations! Just email me your mailing address and we'll get your gift card in the mail within the next week. You can email me at: info@susielarson.com - Congrats and thanks for posting on my blog!

A quick note: Four times a year I email out my Quarterly Ezine; next issue comes out on October 15th. It's free! If you haven't signed up, you can do so at my website. Lots of fun stuff in that Ezine. 

Now on to my topic...

Recently I read through the book of Acts and noticed something kind of profound, something that's still happening today. 

In chapter 14 we read about Paul and Barnabas in Iconium, preaching at the Jewish synagogue. Paul and Barnabas spoke with power and influence and the Lord our God was with them. Clearly, they loved God more than their personal safety. There was nothing self-serving about their ministry. Christ in them, was their hope of glory.

And as a result, Christ could trust them with His glory. 

God moved powerfully in and through Paul and Barnabas. And what was the result?

  • Humble, reverent earnest-God-seekers, responded to this movement of God in their midst. These sincere seekers were healed, encouraged, and saved. 
  • Rigid, pharisaical leaders stiffened up, got territorial and jealous, and viewed things from an earthbound perspective. These prideful unbelieving people stirred up trouble and tried to find fault with their supposed opponents. In fact, they wanted Paul and Barnabas dead. Yikes. 

Read this passage from Acts 14: 1-3

As Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against their brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of His grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. 

Even now, within the Kingdom of God, we have plenty of people building their own kingdoms. Maybe it's a kingdom of comfort, or association, or reputation. Maybe it's a kingdom of celebrity, or mega-status, or political correctness. 

But the Kingdom of God is always about Christ's saving work in our lives - moving and advancing to reach others with that same saving message.

The fact is, the Kingdom of God is ever moving, always flowing, and He is not interested in our fossilized methods, especially if they serve as obstacles to His presence. He wants us. He wants a living-breathing, freely-flowing relationship with us. He wants to move in us and through us and He reserves the right to disrupt our plans, our methods, and even our ideals in order to accomplish His other-worldly plans upon this earth.

Jesus didn't have a one-method way of doing things either! He healed people in a whole plethora of ways. He is not at all bound by the 'way we've always done it.' 

If Christ wants to move in our church or in our business or in our family in a new and fresh way, may we be the first to get out of the way and let Him have His way!

And what happens when we do such a thing? Fruit happens! Life happens! Power happens!

And how will people respond?

The sincere-earnest-Christ followers and seekers will be drawn to the fresh stream flowing from our lives, churches, and businesses. They will be nourished, healed, saved, and encouraged. Yes, Lord.

And the rigid-unbending pharisee? Well, they'll hate everything about it. They'll stiffen up; they'll find fault; they'll become territorial, and they'll turn into the sin police and watch for the slightest deviation from what they know to be right and true.

Now granted, we never want to deviate from the TRUTH. But in following Christ - who is the truth - we must know that He will lead us in ways we have not known before. He loves to do that and invites us to willingly trust Him, even if it disrupts our affection for appearing civilized and packaged at all times.

When God moves, may we move with Him. May we resist the urge to control our zone and to manage our methods. Let's put it all on the table and give God room to work.

Move powerfully in and through us, Lord!

~ Until next week