50 posts categorized "God Reminders..."

January 25, 2012

Your Presence...

Hipstamatic Dock and BoatGreetings, Friends!

And to those visiting, I say welcome! Susie Larson here...

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. And, I LOVE it when you encourage each other on this blog! So please feel free to post a word of encouragement when you feel so inspired.

Now on to my topic:

I've been praying about what to share with you today and the thing that's most on my heart is the whole idea of presence.

As I walk through the grieving process, I find myself remembering certain things about my dad I never realized I'd treasure so much. I remember sitting on the couch, working on my homework and having my dad walk into the living room, put on an Elvis Presley or Andy Williams album. He'd take me by the hand and stand me up so I could dance with him. We'd sway back and forth and he'd twirl me a time or two. We'd giggle, then minutes later, I'd sit back down to do my homework.

The reason scripture says that it's better to go to a house of mourning than a house where there's a party is because losing a loved one causes you remember what's important: people and God. When you go to a party, the mentality is "consume now, pay later."

It's a gift to remember how brief life is. It's a precious treasure to remember that life is a gift, and that the more we love, the less we'll have to regret.

What can we give others so they will know God's love? We give them our attentive presence. We look them in the eyes. We love them right where they live. And we point them to the Truth of God's love. We refuse the curse of a hurried, skim-the-surface kind of life. And we determine to send our roots down into the soil of God's marvelous love, so we'll have plenty to give to those we meet along the way.

May we determine to be present with those God puts in our presence. May we be so in tune with the Father's love that they can easily grasp how wonderfully He loves them.

And may we ourselves, camp long in God's presence; long enough to remember that He adores us with an ever lasting love. He offers us the riches of His love and every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm (See Ephesians 1). He invites us into His presence that He may impart more of Himself to us.

We have access to God's powerful presence because of Christ's victory on the cross. We can walk in His presence as we live here on earth (See Psalm 116:9). He is an ever present help in times of trouble; fully engaged with us every step of the way. He laughs when we're funny, and aches for us when we believe a lie. He always has our best interest at heart and He makes a way when there seems to be no way.

Scripture says in Psalm 16:11 ~ In Your presence the FULLNESS OF JOY is found. Think about that for a moment: in the Lord's presence, we find spilling over joy, an abundance of peace, and everything good.

We tend to make everything a task, but it doesn't have to be that way. The sacred moments are those that compel us to celebrate life, to embrace God's greatness, and to be in awe of His goodness. God's great gift to us is His attentive presence. He breathes life into our weary soul that we may live full and powerful lives. 

May we be as present with those we love.

On the day of my dad's burial service, my boys, my daughter in law, my husband, and I scurried around the house to get ready for the service. We pressed our clothes, the guys straightened their ties, the mood felt somber. Suddenly, my oldest son Jake flipped open his laptop and played a bebop 'dance with me' song by a British girl band. The fun upbeat song instantly changed our mood. In a matter of seconds, we  were dancing around the kitchen, clapping to the beat, and celebrating life. God gave me that wonderful moment with my sons and hubby, right in the middle of a painful day, and I'll always cherish it.

Maybe you celebrate life in a different way. No matter; may your sacred moments not escape your notice. May they not get away from you before you've had a chance to embrace them, enjoy them, and thank God for them.

May we all live constantly aware of God's presence in our midst. May we give others (especially our husbands and children) the gift our presence. And may we splash in pools of blessing right in the midst of our very important and busy days.

Sieze those sacred moments because those are the ones you'll remember.

~Until next week.

December 07, 2011

Make Room For Peace This Season...

Dinner TableHappy 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 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 November...and the winner is..."Wick". Congratulations and thanks for your posts! (email me your name and mailing address and we'll get your card out within the next week. My email is: [email protected]

Recently I had Ann Voskmap (author of the runaway bestseller, "One Thousand Gifts") on the show. We had a powerful conversation about giving thanks and about making sacred space for Jesus this holiday season. If you need a soul lift-me-up, listen to this show. I promise you, you'll be blessed by this interview. Here's the podcast link.

Now on to my topic...

A while back I had a great conversation with my sister. We talked about our bursting-at-the-seams task lists along with our desire to enjoy a better pace, a deeper peace, and a few sacred pauses this season. I'm not sure how you do it, but I'd like to share a few ideas that have worked for me over the years.

Remember, the holiday season only lasts a few short weeks. Typically we cram in our already crammed schedule, a bunch of parties, an 'ought-to' cookie exchange that we don't particularly enjoy, and a handful of other activities that make us more tired than joyful. 

Now granted, maybe a cookie exchange is the just the thing that brings you joy. Well, then, that's the very activity you should make time for in your schedule.

But, as Believers in Christ Jesus, as followers of our Most Sacred King, we must make room for HIM this season. We must not be at the mercy of the commercial craziness all around us! Just how do we engage in a better pace, embrace a deeper peace, and pause long enough to marvel at the works of God?

Here are a few ideas...

Postpone: Chances are, you've made for yourself an impossible task list this holiday season. Are there engagements you can postpone until after the holidays? Are there tasks that can wait? Can you make a few calls and create a little more room in the Inn this season? I encourage you to do just that.

Plan NOT to have Plans: Right now, before the month gets away from you, mark of at least one (better yet, two) nights a week where you plan not to have plans. Let your children miss practice, tell your church committee you need to be home this week. The world will go on even if you miss a meeting or two. Of course, you want to fulfill your responsibilities to others, but if those responsibilities take you away from Jesus, you might want to make some adjustments sooner than later. I promise you, you won't regret making extra room for Jesus this holiday season.

Practice the Pause: Every chance you get, stop in your tracks and take a brief moment to pause, to be still and know that our God is the One and Only, the True Almighty, the Lover of our Souls, and the Maker of Heaven and earth. Look around you and see His handiwork. Embrace the gift of living in a free country where you can lift your hands and praise Him in public, without fear for your life. Sit by the Christmas tree with a cup of cider and exhale; thank Him for your warm home and comfortable bed. Practicing the pause is excellent for your health and even better for your spirit. Cease striving and know that He is God!

Determine now to make room in your life, in your heart, and in your holidays for the Prince of Peace. I promise, you won't be sorry!

So, what do you do to make the holidays a sacred season? I'd love to know!

~Until Next Week

 

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 19, 2010

Evidence of Our Christianity...

BeautifulPath  

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 post, share an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a fun treat this month!

I am thinking of changing things up on my blog and posting shorter pieces twice a week rather than a longer piece once a week. Let me know what you think of that idea...

One more fun piece of information:

Post a review of my new book, "Growing Grateful Kids" on Amazon and enter to win a 4GB I-Pod Shuffle! 

Now on to my topic...

It's been an eventful week thus far. My mom was taken by ambulance to the hospital due to some heart issues (she's okay now), and my brother in law and nephew were in a horrible boating accident leaving my brother in law seriously injured. For the Believer, tough times always remind us of our moment by moment need for Jesus.

The other day as my son and I drove home from the hospital, we talked about the day when Jesus returns. I said to him, "You know, there are plenty of people who think they are saved, but are not. There are plenty of people who expect to be taken up who will be surprised to be left behind. The Bible says that there are even those who performed miracles in Christ's name, to whom Jesus will say, "I never knew you." 

Read Matthew 7:21-23 from the Message paraphrase:

"Knowing the correct password—saying 'Master, Master,' for instance— isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' And do you know what I am going to say? 'You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here.'

Very sobering, don't you think?

Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that we are saved by GRACE, and that it's a GIFT of God and not a result of works, so that not one of us can brag about it. We are saved by grace, but the authenticity of our salvation is proved by the fruit that comes from our lives. And we don't produce 'more fruit' by cranking out a bunch of good works that make us look like good Christians. We produce fruit to the extent that we abide in the Vine. Daily, moment by moment nourishment from our Life Source is what gives us life and grows fruit that through us, nourishes others.

My heart breaks to thinks of the millions of people who, by association, consider themselves Christians. They go to church, they may even be involved in church activities, but their personal lives bear no evidence that a living-breathing Savior resides within compelling them to cultivate an atmosphere of growth in their lives. 

What are the fruits of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control. And further evidence that we have a thriving-intimate walk with a loving Savior? An ever-increasing sense of gratitude and humility.

For the truly saved, there is an overwhelming sense of what we've been saved from, and of what we've been forgiven. If we are loosely casual with God's unfathomable offer of forgiveness, then we are not clear on the depths of our offense or the weight of our debt. Because if we truly understood the eternal significance of our sin, we would be overwhelmed by the eternal significance of God's gift to us through Jesus Christ's finished work on the cross.

As we grow in Christ, we become increasingly grateful for His forgiveness. Why? Because the more we understand His greatness, the more apparent our nothingness becomes. And in understanding our insignificance apart from Christ, we become overwhelmed that Jesus would want to make something significant of us in spite of our human nature. Truly amazing.

The longer I walk with the Lord, the more grateful and joyful I become. The more I learn about my Savior, the more I am overwhelmed that I get to be associated with Him. Even though His purity exposes my carnality, it only inspires gratitude because His goodness swallows up my badness.

Oh, my heart aches for the multitudes who consider Jesus a casual acquaintance. He didn't come to us on those terms! 

May our lives bear the evidence that the Savior of the world lives and breathes through us! And may our ever increasing passion for His presence, His Word, and His concerns shout to the world that Jesus lives and He lives in us!

Have a blessed week~

PS ~ I'll be on a much-needed vacation next week but I'll be back the following week. Thanks for your patience. Bless you.

March 11, 2009

A Clear Past...

BeautifulPath

Greetings, Dear Friends!



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 gift card to someone who posts on my blog. This month I'll give away a gift card from Starbucks, so leave a comment, share a story, and bless lots of people!

Now on to my topic...

A couple of months ago I was praying my way through the 23rd Psalm, and you know how this happens, a certain verse came off the page and begged for a deeper look. Here's the verse:

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (v.26).

I pondered the idea of 'mercy following me' and and considered it a fresh blessing from heaven!

One of my favorite verses is Psalm 139:5 ~ You both precede and follow me, You place Your hand of blessing upon my head.

The Lord of mercy follows us, covering our our (repented of) missteps and mistakes with His grace. He picks up the broken pieces of our lives and makes a beautiful collage of redemption. Every sin repented of, every misstep acknowledged at the Cross, is covered in Covenant blood. It's wiped out.

So when you or I strain our neck to look backwards at our past mistakes, Jesus is there. And if we don't see Him there, we are not seeing clearly. We are seeing a distorted picture. A fake one, actually. Because in the light of God's mercy, our past has been altered! Our past has been changed!

It is forgiven. In Christ, I'm forgiven and so are you. 

God takes every horrible situation and makes something out of it. He shapes circumstances and people and redeems every lost thing. He goes before us and clears the way. He walks behind us and paves the disjointed paths of our past with a fresh covering of mercy.

Often when the enemy gets us to consider our past, he does so by singling us out and amplifying our mistakes in the absence of grace and mercy. For the Believer, this is a totally distorted picture. For the Believer, this picture is a lie. 

Everyone has a past. Everyone has said, done, and thought things they'd rather forget. We've hurt others. We've been hurt by others. We've sinned in ways too many to count. But the point is: ALL have sinned and fallen way short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Don't let the enemy single you out! 

Goliath tried to do that to young David. But David had the presence of mind to disregard those 'singling out' comments and shouted out, "Who is this Philistine that defies the armies of the living God?" In other words he was saying, "When you defy me, you defy the armies of the Living God! You will not pick me apart or single me out!"

Our strategy for standing strong against the enemy is to be strong in the Lord. We must not look at our pasts alone, with the devil, and a large HD TV (amplifying every mistake and misstep). Everything about that scenario is wrong. 

If we must look back, may we do so in the presence of love and grace and mercy, with God at our side, and amidst an army of Believers who have likewise sinned, but have been forgiven and redeemed. 

One redeemed sinner sends a thousand to flight, and two? Ten thousand! 

There's power in numbers and the mercy of God has our back! Praise be to God who always leads us in His triumph! As we dwell in the presence of the Lord from day to day, it becomes easier and easier to acquaint ourselves with His mercy, grace, and love. We are surrounded by His provision and forgiveness which is not so hard to grasp when we walk closely beside Him. 

Do not fixate on what lies behind you! Look forward to what God has set before you. Fix your eyes on Jesus and run the race marked out before you with focus, faith, discipline, and love. Miracle breakthroughs are on the horizon. 

Blessings to you this week~

PS - If you haven't signed up for my E-zine, you might want to! Four times a year you'll receive an email magazine with great devotional insights, free books from my author friends, great quotes, and great book recommendations. Here's the link in case you're interested:

January 28, 2009

Speak!

BeautifulPath

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 gift card to someone who posts on my blog. This month, one of you will win a $10.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble, 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. 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 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!

Oh, and PS - if you haven't signed up for my quarterly Ezine, be sure to do so! It's full of great stuff (book giveaways, devotional insights, book recommendations, great quotes, etc.) Here's the link:

January 21, 2009

Embrace Life...

Wendyandkids

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 gift card, and this month's gift card is from Barnes & Noble. So stop by, leave a comment, share a story, and bless lots of visitors!

Now on to my topic...

On Monday I lost a very precious friend. Wendy (pictured above) died of a heart attack. She was only in her thirties. Wendy and I met about 7 years ago when I taught aerobics at Life Time Fitness. She went from being an avid participant to becoming an amazing instructor. I absolutely loved this girl.

I eventually retired from teaching to go into ministry full time. I joined the YMCA near my home and was absolutely thrilled to learn that Wendy started teaching there. Wendy was my favorite instructor by a lot. Wendy had an electric personality and lit up a room the moment she stepped foot in it. She was hilariously funny and wonderfully caring.

After cycle class Wendy and I loved to hang out and work on aerobic combinations together. We'd laugh and jump around and then end up leaning on the bikes and talking about family, faith, God, and life. To tell you the truth, I am absolutely devastated by this loss.

The Bible says that it's better to go to a house of mourning than a house where there's a party.  Parties inspire us to leave our cares at the door - which we need to do from time to time. But houses of mourning remind us - on a very deep level - what is truly important. All of the peripherals fall by the wayside.

Thank you for letting me share about my friend. But there's a takeaway for you here too, I hope.

We have today and what a gift it is.

Embrace life today. Embrace the fact that you have breath in your lungs and loved ones who are still with you. Kiss them, hug them, and tell them why you think they're great.

Embrace God and His unimaginable love for you. Nothing can separate you from His love. And daily He pours it out, so stop amidst your busy, stress-filled day, and look up. Open your hands. God has something for you to do today and it may very well be off your radar screen. Surrender your task list and ask God for a better one. Be in tune with the Holy Spirit who whispers in your ear. Make your life count.

Give life today. Every chance you get, offer encouragement; offer a word of  hope; pray for peace. The Bible calls us to encourage one another - all the more - as we see the days coming to a close. Use every opportunity you have to offer life and a faith-filled perspective to those in need. Speak the truth in love. Forgive the grudge. Reflect back to others all of the great things you see in them. Be joyful in all things.

Receive life today. When others tell you the great things they see in you - receive their words. Embrace the blessings God sends your way whether they be in the form of a compliment, sudden clarity, a held door, or a free cup of coffee. When people compliment you, don't dismiss it. When your child says, 'I love you' slow down long enough to cherish those words, and the child who speaks them. Every day the Heavens pour forth speech and provision. Receive every shred of life God sends your way.

Believe in life today. You are called. You are chosen. You have a divine destiny written over your life. Believe it! Precious soul, you are far more important than you know. Believe that you are alive today for a very distinct purpose. Believe that you have access to the riches of Heaven to accomplish your divine purpose. Believe that what you do in this life directly affects how eternity will be for you. Believe that no one can diminish your value because God has already determined it. Believe that faith, hope, love, courage, compassion, and conviction are essential to the life of the Believer. Believe that today is a gift straight from Heaven, because it is.

Even if you feel sluggish or bored or weighed down by your cares, rise above it! Embrace life today with everything in you. Take in the sights and sounds all around you and be fully present, here, now, in this day. You have today. Don't squander it and don't miss the chance to live fully today. And remember, you are loved deeply.

Be blessed today!

Until next week~

PS - If you haven't signed up for my quarterly Ezine yet, you may want to. Four times a year I release an Ezine packed with good stuff (book giveaways, devotional thoughts, great quotes, and great book recommendations). Signing up is easy, click the link below:

Susie's Ezine signup...

January 07, 2009

Certainty in Uncertain Times...

GayHeadCliffs

Greetings, Everyone!



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 giveaway a $10.00 gift card to someone who posts on my blog. In honor of the holidays, today I'm giving away a $25.00 gift card from Starbucks. So stop by, share a story, leave a post, and bless lots of people with your insights. Maybe you'll win next month!

And the winner of the $25.00 Starbucks gift card for December is...Linda D.!!! 

Here's the clincher, you have to contact me before I give away next month's gift card. I wish I had the time to track you down, but I don't. Email me at: [email protected] ~ Congratulations!

Now on to my topic...

How are things going in your life? Do your aspirations and cares feel planned out, provided for, steady-Eddie, no problems you can think of right now? I didn't think so.

You'd have to be a rich person living in a mountain cabin with no access to media or people, and no sense of God's burden for the world to be out of touch with the uncertainty of the times.

I've been here before, this place where all appears up in the air, undecided, not-sure-which-way-the-wind-will blow. And each of those times, God has used fleeting circumstances to strengthen my frame, my roots, and my sense of purpose despite the ever-changing world all around me.

Each time I walked through such a season, I grabbed my 'helmet of Salvation' and pulled it on just a little tighter. I asked, "Give me an eternal perspective, here, Lord. What are You doing in my midst and how should I think about it? May the helmet on my head affect my thinking here on earth. The earth is Yours and so there's always more going on than meets the eye. Nothing escapes Your attention. I'm standing with You; help me to think like You." 

The amazing thing is, every time I ask for a higher perspective, I get one. And every time I'm faced with uncertainty, I eventually come upon a deeper peace, an inner strength, and a profound trust that God is who He says He is. I shall not be moved.

Let's look at a couple of verses that support this idea:

James 1:1-8
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance his fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.  

Count it all joy - in every trial - consider it an opportunity to be strengthened and prepared to stand for the days ahead! So let it grow. In due time, even in sparse times, you'll have all that you need. You'll lack nothing because your resources are the unlimited resources of Heaven.

If you need wisdom for your current situation, ask for it. God will not breathe a heavy sigh or roll His eyes because you feel in over your head. He is a generous God and He will gently and lovingly guide you through all of life's trials. In fact, He loves it when we ask for wisdom! It's a wise thing to do!

But we must make sure that our loyalties are not divided, that we are not double-minded, and that we not live with one foot of affection on worldly pursuits and one foot of affection on Kingdom living. If we attempt to, we'll be miserable and must not expect to receive the wisdom God offers for our current need. Why? Because even if He is speaking wisdom to us, it's not getting through to us. When our footing is unstable and shaky, the first place our eyes go is downward. When our footsteps are firm, we can look up and listen.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for God who promised, is faithful.

Romans 8:38
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. Death can't. Life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, or worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.

So you see, we can either run to and fro and grab quick, band-aid solutions to our problems (which are no solutions at all), or we can call on the Name of the Lord, knowing full well, He is the One who can keep us from falling. He is the One who supplies all our needs! (Phil. 4:19). He is the One who loves us dearly. And He is the One who hears us when we call out to Him.

Refuse to give way to a stressed out, uncertain mindset. That's for un-believers. Do you believe God is true to His Word? Then stand on it! Do not waver! Ask for wisdom! Get rid of the garbage in your life that messes you up and slows you down. Get serious about your walk of faith because the times call for it. 

Nothing is more powerful than a woman or man in step with the Living God. When others see peace and certainty reflected in your countenance, they will be drawn to the Jesus in you. And that was His plan all along.

Have a blessed week.

PS ~ My quarterly E-zine will come out again on January 15th (free books, great quotes, devotional thoughts, ministry updates, etc.) Interested? Subscribe by clicking on this link:

September 24, 2008

Love Heals...

BubsKneePillow

Greetings, Dear Friends!



And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.

I'm back from last week's publicity tour and I have to say, things went extremely well. I missed connecting with you though and I have a fun message to share today.

Before I get into my topic I have a little business to take care of. As most of you regulars know, each month I give away a $10.00 Caribou Coffee gift card to someone who posts on my blog. Next week I'll announce the winner for September. Remember, you have to claim your prize. I wish I had time to chase you down, but I don't. So if you see your name posted next week, be sure to contact me.

Also, on October 15th, my quarterly E-zine goes out to my mailing list subscribers. This E-zine is packed with fun information. From health and balance tips to great book recommendations. From devotional insights to a handful of fun giveaways. If you've not subscribed yet, do so by clicking the following link:


You'll receive the E-zine in October, January, April, and July. A couple times a year you'll receive a "Members Only" email offering great discounts on my books and CDs. 

Okay, now on to my topic...

About a year ago I blogged about a stray, abused dog my son rescued from traffic. In that post I wrote about the power of loving the weak and the call to to be more like Christ in this way. Check it out:


Anyway, when Jordan rescued, "Bubs" (a name he gave the dog after we tried every other name we could think of including Steve and Phil), he was scruffy, scared, and completely messed up. His nails were grown into a full circle. His teeth were black. He was filthy and without a collar. Whenever I reached up to scratch my head, he would shrink back in fear. Any movement made in his presence made him jump back and cower as if he was about to be hit.

(A little note: if you took the time to read the "Loving the Weak" post (which I love), you'll notice I referred to Bubs as a 'she' but we were more than a little wrong about that little point.)

Whenever I opened the sliding glass door for Bubs to go outside, he would shrink back, start shaking, and cry like a baby. Every. Single. Time.

I started to wonder if he had been slammed in the door or kicked out the door when it was time to go to the bathroom. 

Even now, when the storms rage outside, he trembles and cries in my arms. I have to wrap him in a blanket and hold him tight to get him to stop crying. My heart broke as I imagined him stuck outside on stormy nights. What a broken, wounded animal this was!

But boy, how have things changed for Bubs!

Just after we decided to keep him and care for him, we put about $350.00 into his teeth, nails, hair, shots, etc., etc. His whole appearance changed.

In the months that followed Bubs got perkier and perkier. He follows me around. Everywhere. I can't get up and take two steps without him right at my side.

My friend said that dogs know when they've been rescued and they're forever grateful. 

Bubs is definitely grateful.

What's amazing is that I can now open the sliding door just enough to let him out, and he'll bolt right through without a hint of fear! I used to have to open the door all the way and gently carry him out onto the deck. 

Now that Bub's feels safe, his funny personality has emerged. He makes us laugh every day. 

He still makes an occasional mess and sometimes smells bad. But he knows he's loved. 

Look again at the picture above. Now that dog has a good gig!

Just what does this have to do with you and me?

Well, I can think of several areas of my life that were once marked by fear, cowering, and shrinking back, and are now forever changed because of God's love and truth in my life

God's love heals.

He loves us. He wants to go to every deep, wounded, dark place, and shine His light there. He is intent on our healing and freedom. 

Read this great excerpt from, "Sparkling Gems from the Greek"

"...you can be sure that the 'agape' love of God wil never fail you or let you down. This love is constant, unchanging, and dependable. It is a love you will always find to be reliable and true--a love on which you can depend." (p.687)

When we're messy and when we smell bad, God loves us still.

When we're grateful and when we're growing, God cheers us on.

When we're afraid and we cower, God holds us close. 

When we cling to our fears more than the promises of God, we break His heart. And there is a point where those fears then, become rebellious.

It's for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free!

Just for good measure, I'll include one more picture of Bubs. Jordan 'super-tucked' him (something Kevin did for our boys every night when they were young).

BubsSupertucked

Daily, God pours forth a new measure of grace and healing. 

Slow down, look up, and open your hands.

Receive what He so lovingly wants to give you. 

Walk in a greater measure of wholeness today than you did yesterday.

Know and believe that God is up to great things in your life!

Have a blessed and wonderful week.

September 10, 2008

A Taste of Things to Come...

Newplaces

Greetings, Dear Friends!



And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. 

As usual, before I get in to my topic, I have a little business to take care of. Each month I give away a little treat (and every once in a while, a big treat!). This month, one of you who posts on my blog will win a $10.00 gift card to Caribou Coffee. Here's how you win: post on my blog and come back to visit. I'll announce the winner on the first Wednesday in September. It's important to note, if you're name is announced, you need to contact me in order to claim your prize. So pay attention and watch for your name!

Now on to my topic...

The other morning during my time of prayer, I lingered for a while on a passage from the Gospel of Mark, chapter eleven.

Jesus rode through town on a donkey. The people took off their jackets and laid them on the ground that the King of glory and His never-ridden donkey might walk over them. The crowds shouted at the tops of their lungs, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (See Mark 11:7-10)

What a humble picture of our Lord receiving praise from those who would later shout in favor of His execution. If we were on that donkey, we might have gotten quite a rise from being the object of the crowd's affection. Jesus had a clear perspective in good times and bad. In fact, several times in the New Testament it says that because Jesus knew what was in the heart of man, He entrusted Himself to no one.

Jesus entered Jerusalem and looked around. He assessed the state of things. 

The next day Jesus and His disciples were walking along and Jesus felt His stomach growl. He was hungry.

In the distance He noticed a fig tree with its leaves. Let's read the passage of Scripture:

"...He went to see if He could find anything on (the fig tree). When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And He said to it, 'May no one eat fruit from you again.'" (Mark 11:13-14)

This passage troubled me.

If it wasn't the season for figs, how is that the tree was expected to bear fruit? 

Seems a little harsh, doesn't it?

Well I did a little investigating and I found a delicious little nugget in one of my commentaries.

Hang with me and read what I found in the "Believer's Bible Commentary"...

"Fig trees in Bible lands produced an early edible fruit before the leaves appeared. It was a harbinger of the regular crop, here described as the 'season for figs.' If no early figs appeared, it was a sign that there would be no regular crop later on...There was a promise without fulfillment, profession without reality...Although the primary interpretation of this passage relates to the nation of Israel, it has application to people of all ages who combine high talk with low walk." (p. 1350)

If there were leaves on the fig tree, there should also have been some edible fruit.

If we say we are Believers, it means there needs to be fruit, growth, increase, and nourishment going in and flowing out of us.

These are sobering times calling for real faith and tangible results. 

God has given good gifts to His children. He has planted seeds in our garden. 

Have we cultivated an atmosphere for growth?

Are people nourished by the fruit of our lives?

Traveling around as I do, I meet many Christians of all shapes and sizes. Some take seriously this walk of faith. Others, run to and fro, trying to keep up with their many commitments, thinking they'll nurture their relationship with Jesus...another day.

Over and over in Scripture, we are instructed to be ready; to have oil in our lamps and a watchful eye on the times. 

Read this verse from Matthew 13:12...
To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them.

That verse haunts me when I pray for women on the go who have no time to pray.

We can't be luke-warm and survive. Jesus would much rather our yes be yes and our no be no. He'd prefer we be honest about the matters of our heart. 

If we truly are Believers, may our walk match our talk. May our lives shine His light. And may the fruit that comes from our relationship with Him, nourish many.

Father in Heaven, I pray for my fellow brothers an sisters right now. Help us to keep You first and foremost in our hearts. May our hearts beat in rhythm with Yours. Help us love what You love and do what You would do. May we make the most of the times, for Your Namesake. Amen.

I'll miss you next week. I'll be on a publicity tour but I'll post again the following week.

Peace to you~