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November 02, 2011

Afraid You'll Mess Up?

Backyard FallHappy 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 share a thought or an insight, bless lots of folks, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend!

It's time to announce October's winner...Sheila! (I don't have your last name but you regularly post here). Congratulations! Just email me your mailing address and I'll get your gift card in the mail. Email me at: info@susielarson.com - Thanks and bless you!

Now on to my topic...

Several years ago I showed up to speak at a retreat (and I can't believe I'm about to tell you this) with the wrong speaking notes. Right away I noticed decorations and brochures covered with seeds, clearly displaying a 'rooted and grounded in Christ' theme. And my heart sunk to my toes. I prepared for a deeper life, deep waters theme. How did I mess this up? 

Withtout boring you with too much detail, I had back to back retreats at the time, and my contacts for both weekends had the same first name. Somewhere along the line, my emails from the other contact ended up in the wrong event file. 

Sure I had fasted, prayed, prepared, and even had my intercessors praying for the event. So why didn't I discern that my theme didn't match their theme? 

When the leaders came into the sanctuary, I dropped to my knees and begged forgiveness. I said, "You'll never believe what I've done..." I proceeded to explain my blunder. Thankfully the leaders of this retreat feared God, loved Him so much, and trusted Him completely. They pulled me up to my feet, wrapped their arms around me, and said, "Bring the message God has given you! We want to hear it." Bless God for such wonderful women! 

We had a powerful weekend. God healed a woman's back after a long battle with back trouble. Women met God. His power moved mightily in our midst! I stood in awe of God and in the faith of these women. I delivered a 'deep water' message surrounded by seeds, trees, and plant decorations. Simply beautiful. 

The other day while reading in the Gospel of Matthew I noticed something powerful. Jesus had just faced off with the Pharisees and Sadducees (who, by the way, hated each other but came together because of their mutual disdain for the Savior). These guys demanded a sign, a miracle to prove He was God. Yet Jesus had nothing to prove to them and would do no such thing. Even so, their hard hearts stirred up Jesus' love and concern for His disciples.

Once the disciples got in the boat and pushed off shore, they realized they'd forgotten the bread. Jesus, still mulling over His conversation with the Pharisees and Sadducees cautioned the disciples to guard against the leven of the Pharisees and Saducees. 

I know myself so well. I would soooo respond the way the disciples did. Here's their basic response:

"We forgot the bread. He's talking about the bread. He's mad that we forgot the bread. How could we forget the bread?" 

Can you just picture Jesus breathing a heavy sigh, titling His head and saying, "Really? You think this is about the bread? Weren't you with Me when I multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed thousands both times? Do you really think that your little mishap will ruin our day? I've got lunch! What I'm saying is, guard your heart!"

The Pharisees were keepers of the law, the sin police. They put all of the emphasis on their ability, their capacity to be righteous. The Sadducees on the other hand, blended with the godless culture and embraced their freedom to do as they pleased and to manipulate their faith to match their lives.

Now let's apply this to us:

Jesus calls us to guard our hearts and minds - with all our hearts and minds! May we, not for a minute, think we can add to what He's already done. He saves us by His grace. Anything we do from there is in grateful response to His amazing love. We can't jump high enough, run far enough, or give enough away to add to what He's already done. And praise God, when we trip up, forget the bread, or prepare for the wrong event, His Spirit more than surpasses our need. In fact, it's in those weak places where His glory shines brightest. He expects us to mess up and He's already made provision for us.

Regarding worldly Christianity, it's everywhere. And those who blend with a godless culture because of their misunderstanding of their pricelses blood-bought 'freedom' in Christ, will not have the strength to stand in these latter days. And, like Lot of the Old Testament, they'll lose their credibility among the lost because they've lived amongst them for too long. We need to reach out for and love the lost, but too often we use that 'call' to live like them as well. God forgive us! 

Jesus says to guard against the influences of legalism and worldliness. Don't spend too much time worrying about doing it all right every minute of the day. Scripture says time and time again that it's God and His Word that work in us to make us more like Him, that we might act just like Him.

Oh, how I love Jesus. Don't you?

~Until next week. 

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Comments

Darlene,

Thanks for stopping by. So glad the post encouraged you! Blessings in Christ to you!

Sheila,

So happy for you! And good for you for stepping out and asking for a mentor. May the Lord fill you up in ways that you don't expect. And may He knit your hearts together that you might be a great blessing to one another. Way to go! ;)

Susie,
I'm trying, one more time, to reach out for a mentor. At church Sunday, God put a woman into my heart. I've asked her to pray for me and be my mentor. She said she would. Pray this is of God and that He will bless this. Thanks for your encouragement and willingness to be used by God.
Bless you and your ministry.
Sheila

Sheila,

Bless you and thanks for stopping by. Glad you won the coffee too! Your card will go out this week! Blessings in Christ to you~

Beverly,

How many ways was I encouraged by your post? Let me count the ways!!! Truly, thank you for your kind and encouraging words, for your testimony of how you're drawing nearer to God, and for your sweet and sacrificial gift to the Lord. God bless you back - in many ways - for the ways you blessed me today! May we walk in the fullness of His grace today!

Dear Hannah,

So glad you stopped by! Don't we all need those grace reminders from time to time? I know I do. :) May God overwhelm you with a fresh revelation of His love and grace. Where would we be without Him? Bless you!

Kathy,

Ha ha. That's why the Sadducees are always so sad, you see. :) Ha ha. Dumb humor, I know. Bless you, my dear!

Jill,

It was SO nice seeing you face to face at Rise & Shine. You are such a dear, humble woman of God. May He give you new dreams, new visions, and a fresh dose of faith to speak them out, walk them out, and receive all that He has for you! Bless you, dear one!

Dear Wick,

You are so right. We so easily default to our efforts, our abilities, and even our inabilities when really, our focus should be on God's ability and His promise to supply where we lack. We are never without help or hope. We're so very blessed! Bless you!

It's always a good reminder to let go of our own abilities and preparations, and depend on what God has in store. :) Thanks!!

Susie, this reminds me of your words about self-awareness at Rise and Shine. Oh it is so not about me!! God can even use our mistakes, heard it said that He will use my mess to make a message about the Mess-iah!!! So true!! Just minutes ago I read this quote from Ann Voskamp, "I’ve been appointed to be a disappointment so I can point others to the one who will never disappoint.” We must cling to Him and He will carry us through!!

Amen again!
I knew about the Pharisees, but not the Sad guys...

Thank you, Susie for you practical and applicable post! Too often I find myself trying to do everything "just right"...the freedom of grace was such a needed reminder today!

I also wanted to add...not sure who said this - it might have been Beth Moore - or it might have been you or any other number of gifted teachers. We do MESS up - and that is why He is called MESSiah!!!

Thank you, Susie for your servant heart (along with your servant mouth and fingers and mind). Such a wonderful truth. I was encouraged by a guest you had on Live the Promise recently about the power of God's Word. He suggested reading Psalm 119 - outloud, 8 verses everyday. I started adding that to my daily focused time with God and am believing God's Word to work in my life all the more. BTW - I also recently made a financial committment to FaithRadioNet by doing an online bi-monthly donation - it is truly a small gift of gratitude for the abundant blessings received.

Amen to your blog today, Susie.

God help us. We're nothing without Him.

Thanks for the coffee too! :)

Awesome Post, Susie. It really puts everything into perspective--just what I happened to be needing. Thank-you!

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