83 posts categorized "Keeping Perspective..."

February 01, 2012

He Works While You Rest...

Night PhotoHappy Wednesday, 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 leave a comment, share 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 the winner for January. Drum roll please...

Kathy Miller, congratulations! Email me at: info@susielarson.com with your mailing address and I'll get your gift card in the mail to you. Thanks everyone for posting on my blog!

Now on to my topic...

I've been working my way through the Gospel of Mark and something caught my attention recently. Read this little passage:

Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. (verses 26-27)

The seed represents the Word of God. When seed is planted in good soil, it produces a great harvest. To have good soil in your heart is to have a great atmosphere for growth. If you look at the previous paragraphs in Mark chapter four, you'll notice that Jesus addresses the different reasons the Word doesn't take root:

  • Seed on the footpath (and unguarded heart) ~ Satan comes and takes it away
  • Seed on the rocky soil (no spiritual depth) ~ Troubles come and they fall away
  • Seed among the thorns (distracted by worries, enticed by riches) ~ The lesser life makes them lose their way

And yet, when seed is planted in good soil, a miracle of multiplication takes place! Great soil yeilds sometimes thirty, sometimes sixty, and sometimes even one hundred times as much as was planted!

When we plant seeds of God's Word into the lives of others, and we don't see a result at first, we must not lose heart. When we plant seeds of faith for God to move mightily in our midst, and then we water them with the Word of God and the promise of His faithfulness, we can rest in God and trust the growth process to Him.

When we hold on to faith, we don't have to keep digging up the soil.

The striver struggles with the unseen process, can't quite accept that most change at first happens beneath the surface. But the one who rests in the knowledge who trusts God is who He says He is, they know that God can bring forth life from the smallest faith seed. They know that in due time, life will push through the soil, and reveal itself to a watching world.

There's something so powerful about a heart at rest, a heart set fully on the faithfulness of God.

When we lay our head on the pillow at night, God still works. When we carry out our daily duties and entrust our unfulfilled desires to God, He carries out His plan for us. When we cease striving because we know He is God, He steps up and shows us that He truly is God.

It's important to plant seeds of faith in the soil of your heart. It's important to sow seeds in the lives of others. It's important not to forget that God's promises are true for you and for those you touch every day. And how wonderful to know that as you entrust your whole life to Him (as well as the countless seeds you sow), He is working and continues to work on your behalf.

Jesus is an active and engaged God and He does His best work on behalf of a restful heart. Rest in Him. He's fully invested in you.

~Until next week.

 

January 18, 2012

Believe the Best...

Glorious MorningHappy 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 or story, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and friend! 

Now, on to my topic...

We all go through seasons in life when we feel especially vulnerable and our insecurities feel close to the surface. During such times it's easy to misread people and situations. 

A trusted friend suddenly seems disloyal and distant. A co-worker pulls back and seems to be spending time with someone who doesn't like you. You walk into church and nobody seems interested in talking to you. Your pastor walks right by without noticing you. You no longer feel like you have your boss's favor.

When one or more of these scenarios happens in a short amount of time, it's easy to connect the dots, draw certain conclusions, and then react accordingly. Just recently I talked with someone who had a number of 'dots' out there. He had some legitimate reason for concern, but deep in his soul, he sensed that God was telling him to believe the best about others, not to jump to conclusions, and to continue on with doing the right thing.

His response was exactly right and at the end of the day, the little mishaps fizzled to nothing. Imagine if he would have taken the bait, gotten big and reactionary with his friends and co-workers, and stepped out of the authority and assurance that he had in Christ Jesus. 

We may have some real 'dots' out there, just begging to be connected, but that doesn't mean that the picture actually exists or is an accurate one. We need the mind of Christ not to draw wrong conclusions.

From now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view (2 Corinthians 5:16).

I cringe when I think of how many times I assumed people had bad motives when they didn't, or I assumed they we're mad when they weren't. Thankfully, many of those times, I kept my feelings to myself and brought them before God and found my footing once again. Interestingly enough though, I learned that in many of those situations, those people we're enduring their own struggles and would have greatly benefited from an extra dose of grace and love (which comes out of fullness; reactions, on the other hand, come out of emptiness).

We all tend to misread people and situations when something in them resembles a past painful experience for us. We must take responsibility for our actions and reactions, and we must pursue deep inner healing so that our past no longer has the power to diminish our current perspective and relationships.

Remember too, the enemy overplays his hand when it comes to our unhealed areas. He prowls around, just looking for an opportunity to magnify a problem or skew a perspective. His goal is to get our eyes off of God and onto our fears and hang ups. He wants our past to keep speaking to us. He wants our wounds to perpetuate themselves. And he wants us stuck in the prison of an earthbound perspective.

You've probably heard me say this before, or read it in one of my books, but it bears repeating. If the devil can get us to live in reaction to our circumstances rather than in response to God, well, then, he has succeeded at stealing our joy and robbing us of the abundant life to which our souls are heir. 

Determine to believe the best in others this week. Even if their motives are off, you stay in the shelter of the Most High God and declare, My salvation and honor depend on God alone. HE is my mighty rock and refuge (Psalm 62:7). Determine too, to believe the best about God. He has your best interest at heart every single day. Even if your circumstances scream something different, refuse to draw a conclusion that disregards God's promises to you.

For the Believer, the only conclusion that matters is the one God has come to regarding us. We are worth everything to Him. We are loved, called, equipped, and chosen. We have everything we need and then some.

Have a blessed week~

 

December 28, 2011

Look Forward...

BeautifulGreetings, Dear Friends, and a Happy New Year to You!

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 or insight, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend! 

As most of you know, I have a radio show,Live the Promise with Susie Larson The program now airs 6 days a week! Join us every weekday from 2:30-3:00 CST, and on Saturdays from noon to one, KTIS AM 900, on the Faith Radio Network, or listen online at: www.faith900.com We've had some amazing guests and some powerful dialogue. Hope you can join us!

Also, I want you to have the inside scoop. Be sure to check my Facebook page for a heads up on my weekly giveaways (that way you'll know when to call for a book you may want). I'll also post daily questions and may read your comments on the air.  

Now on to my topic...

As the year 2011 draws to a close it's a great time to pause and thank God for the mercies He has shown us. Each and every morning this past year, new mercies greeted us because we needed them. Each and every night His faithfulness met us right where we lived. God has been faithful. We are still standing!

I'm always amazed when I hear movie stars say that they've lived with no regrets, because I have lots of regrets. With all of my heart, I wish I could say I never hurt another soul, I never uttered words that should not have been spoken, I never had a betraying thought, and I never got so busy that I missed my child's smile.

With everything in me I wish I could say that I've been grateful every day of my life that I have a roof over my head, fresh water to drink, a family who loves me, and a God who never fails me. I wish I could say that I've never been impatient with distracted drivers, or that I'm always gracious to rude people. Oh, Lord, I wish I were more like you! But I'm just me - someone whom God renews and redeems in deeper ways every single day. Oh, how I love Him so!

When the Lord told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and that his wife Sarah would bear a son in her old age, she laughed in disbelief and then tried to cover it up. But how is she remembered in the New Testament? As someone who believed God.

If you are a follower of Christ, your sins are forgiven. The regrets from 2011? They're covered in the blood of the Lamb, buried in the sea of forgetfulness! God remembers them no more! They are put out of His sight, no longer your burden to carry! Isn't that amazing?

What's even more amazing is what He remembers about you from 2011; He remembers every time you smiled at someone even though your own heart was breaking. He remembers when you laughed and played with your child while inside you were concerned about your finances. He remembers that you gave sacrificially to those who have less than you. All of these things are written down in the Book of Life - His book of remembrance of those He loves and has saved. Even when you talk with your friend about faith, He writes it down (see Malachi 3:16). 

Do not let the enemy remind you again of your sins, mistakes, and missteps from this past year. If you are in Christ, you are new creation! There is therefore NOW NO CONDEMNATION for you who are in Christ Jesus.

Forget what lies behind and look forward with faith and hope and thanksgiving! 

We are more than conquerors because of Christ in us! I don't think I'll ever fully comprehend His gift to us. But I am grateful nonetheless.

~Until next year

 

December 14, 2011

Take a Moment to Marvel...


MarvelGreetings, 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. Most of you know this already, but for our new visitors, I want you to know that each month I giveaway a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So leave a post, share a story, and maybe you'll win a treat for you and your friends.

Now on to my topic...

Today...this week in fact, I ask you to pause and do a little marveling. Ponder right now, who God is and what He has done for you. Read this great excerpt from my 'Believer's Commentary':

"The converted person boasts in the Lord - not in his own character or achievements. When we understand the gospel of grace we realize that we did all the sinning and He did all the saving. So our boast must be in Him alone." (p.596)

We did all the sinning. He did all the saving. He is good to us every single day. Even when we don't notice it.
What does it mean to marvel?
To marvel means to: be amazed, be surprised, be astonished, be awed, stand in awe, wonder, stare, gape, be dumbfounded, be flabbergasted. 
Let's look at scene right out of the Word of God:

Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep.  And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it. Then God was right before him, saying, "I am God, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I'm giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they'll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. Yes. I'll stay with you, I'll protect you wherever you go, and I'll bring you back to this very ground. I'll stick with you until I've done everything I promised you."

Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, "God is in this place - truly. And I didn't even know it!" He was terrified. He whispered in awe, "Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God's House. This is the Gate of Heaven." (Genesis 28:10-17 NLT).

It's so easy get sucked into the rat race of life and completely miss the idea that there are angels all around us; encamping around those who fear the Lord; serving and assisting us; going with us on our journey through life. 

We are not alone. Not even a little bit. Far greater are those who are for us than those who are against us. May the eyes of our hearts open up this holiday season; may we be more keenly aware of God's divine presence all around us. May we understand on a deeper level the resources and assistance to which we have access. Imagine. God, there for you, pulling for you. The Son, interceding for you day and night! The Holy Spirit nudging you, correcting you, convicting you, assuring you - all for your benefit. The angels, assisting you, cheering for you, protecting you. You are someone important! 

Yesterday I had a number of heavy things weighing on my heart, when all of the sudden Selah's Christmas song, "Joy!" came on the radio. Instantly my perspective lifted and my heart swelled with joy. I hopped out of my sink (oh, um, that's where I sit to do my makeup), and I started dancing around my bedroom. I was doing a happy dance. The Marvel Dance. 

Try it today. Put on a great song. Look up. Make yourself smile (I don't know why, but this does something for the soul), and do the Marvel dance.

In quieter moments, marvel with your heart's perspective. Be amazed; be astonished; wonder and stare at the story of the Christ-child and be in awe that He would hand Himself over in such a vulnerable way. For you.

Regardless of the state of things around you - marvel today because you are surrounded by a host of heavenly angels cheering you on; hear the noise in Heaven; they're all talking at the same time! But there's harmony because they all want the same thing for you: To live in the light of God's presence, and to walk out the divine, world-changing call on your life. Marvel at that thought of it. 

Smile today. Keep Smiling. Dance today. Keep Dancing. Marvel today. Keep Marveling. 

Until next week~

PS - If you haven't signed up for my quarterly E-zine yet, you might want to. My next issue comes out on January 15th and I have a stack of fun books to give away! Here's the link: Susie's Website

 

November 22, 2011

Pausing to Thank Him...

Flame

Happy Wednesday, Friends! Susie Larson here...

And to those visiting, 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 insights, bless lots of folks, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.

Now on to my topic...

The holidays are before us. And it's about this time every year that our motors run on overdrive. We keep that pedal to the metal until the morning of January 1st. We wake up with an empty tank, iron eyelids, and heavy feet, and we wonder how the last month and a half sped by us in such a blur.

Well, not this year! 

Let's decide together to pull over to the side of the road on occasion and enjoy a sunset or watch the trees blow in the breeze. Let's take a few extra minutes to chat with a friend or enjoy a cup of coffee. Let's make it our practice (for the next couple of months especially), to pause, give thanks, and enjoy the incredible gifts that surround us.

Why? Because we can. 

Here's an excerpt from my book 'Embracing Your Freedom':

"What an exorbitant privilege to hop into the car and drive to a coffeehouse for a $4 cup of coffee. What a treasured freedom to decide whether or not to go to bed early. Taking our kids to the park, enjoying a day at the beach, devouring Christian books, praying in broad daylight, watching back-to-back movies on a cold, rainy day; all of these priceless gems make us rich indeed.

Has your holy tenacity waned a bit? Begin by thanking God for the blessings you enjoy and the land you currently possess. Walk the boundaries of your home and count every square inch a treasure. Look at the pictures on your wall. They're yours. Trace the outline of the windows that allow you to look out where the birds sing and the sun shines. If you have children, place your hand on their heads and whisper a prayer of thanks. Next time you go to church, look around. Be amazed that you are free to come and go as you please. Notice your portion of land; be thankful for it. Simply by expressing your gratitude to God out loud, you'll bring courage to your heart and strength to your soul. When you start counting your blessings, you'll feel the wind in your sails once again." (pp. 25, 31). 

This week, make it your practice to notice all of the freedoms you enjoy. You can go to Bible study, or to the health club, or to the coffee shop, or even to church, without fear for your life. You are not bound in chains or owned by a vicious slave driver who pushes you relentlessly day in and day out. You have a life. A beautiful, free life. Yes, there are flaws in the fabric, sure there are trials to overcome, but step back - as often as you think of it this week - and marvel at your freedom. Give thanks to God. He's so very good.

And as you do it, you'll say, "Give thanks to God. Call out his name. Ask him anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what he's done, spread the news of his great reputation! (Isaiah 12:4 MSG).

~Until next week...

 

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. 

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

September 28, 2011

God Sees, God Responds...

God on the water 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, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend! Thanks and bless you!

Now on to my topic...

Some time ago, I had a conversation with a friend about her journey through the wilderness. It's been a slow and sometimes agonizing passage for her. The thing is, if she didn't love and fear God, she could take a few steps to the right and land herself on the fast highway that leads to a counterfeit version of her desires. But truth be told, that would be her way, not God's way. And above all, she wants God's highest and best will for her.

As she shared about the weariness in her steps, I leaned in, grabbed her arm, and said, "Listen to me, friend. Your sacrifice of praise and your sacrificial obedience have not gone unnoticed by God. There is NO sacrifice you could make to Him that will not met with a totally disproportionate response of His great love, and grace and provision! Any gift you give, any offering you make, and initiative you take to obey Him when it costs you, will be responded to in ways you cannot imagine. He is a disproportionate God! Understand your wealth in Him. Though you feel the pain of this sacrifice now, get a vision for the response He is preparing for you!"

I felt especially inspired to share that with you today as well. 

Some of you are making huge sacrifices for His Name's sake. Some of you could easily grab for yourself a counterfeit version of something He has promised you, but ultimately, you want to wait for God's best for you. Do it, my friend. Wait for God's best and see if He won't absolutely blow your mind with His goodness, His grace, and His attention to detail. 

If at all possible, get your eyes off of what it's costing you right now, and lift your eyes to the Heavens, your unlimited supply. If you're lacking in strength or perspective, get alone with God. Spend extended time camping in His presence. Open your hands to receive more of what He so lovingly wants to give. Remind yourself of His Word and His promise to you. Strengthen yourself in Him by reminding yourself who you are TO HIM! 

There is no gift you can give, no prayer you can pray, no act of obedience that you can initiate that will not be met by overwhelming love, provision, goodness, grace, and power. You may not see its evidence right away, but it is there, affecting change, making a difference, and moving mountains. One day your eyes will see it. So know it now. Stand on the faithfulness of God now. Today. Believe Him for big things. Entrust your cares, your sacrifices, and your gifts to Him.

There is no better, no safer place than with Jesus. And, you'll not receive a better return on your investment of trust, time, and talents. God is in the business of exponential, over and above, beyond our wildest dreams, kinds of answers. Your everything is safe with Him.

Open your arms wide. Look up. Trust Him. He is good and He is crazy in love with you!

~Until next week.

 

September 21, 2011

3 Perspectives That Stir Up Fear...

Cottageinthewoods 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!

We've had a couple of great shows already this week. On Monday we talked about spiritual warfare with Leighann McCoy and on Tuesday we talked about living purposefully with Priscilla Shirer. Both were excellent interviews. Check 'em out if you need a spiritual boost! You won't be sorry. 

Now on to my topic...

I've recently come through a pretty tough battle. I won't say that I'm all the way to the other side, but I definitely have my feet under me once again. Praise God.

I've brushed myself off, straightened my shirt, and combed down my jacked hair. Now that I have my wits about me again, I can clearly identify three perspectives that gave the enemy permission and access to stir up my fears to the point where they eclipsed my faith. Perhaps they'll resonate with you as well.

Perspective #1 - Remembering Our Fears: The enemy knows all about our past fears. He knows what parts of those memories still serve as triggers for us today. All he has to do is to get us stirred up with a present reality that connects us to a past fear and he can spin us around so we won't know which way is up. 

The answer? 

Remembering God's Faithfulness: We remember and recall the many ways God has already come through for us. We pause to reflect on the countless times we worried for nothing because God held us close. We declare that God has been faithful and He'll be faithful again! 

Psalm 143:5 ~ I remember the days long ago. I think about all You have done. I think about the work of Your hands.

Perspective #2 - Seeing Our Circumstances: The enemy wants us to fixate on our earthly circumstances to the point that we lose sight of our heavenly Father. He wants us so situation-aware that we forget that we have access to heaven. Of course we need to acknowledge our circumstances. But when we lock down our gaze on the things that worry us and stir up our fears, and we do so without considering the power and the promise of God to save and intervene, we give the enemy paved access to overtake our perspective. His goal is to convince us that we are at the mercy of our circumstances. Thank the Lord, we are not. 

The answer?

Seeing God AMIDST Our Circumstances: If we look for Him, He will be found by us! May the eyes of our heart open up so we can know the depths of His love, the riches of our inheritance, and the power available to us right here and right now. No circumstance can diminish who we are and what we possess. No scenario is beyond God's ability to redeem. May we see calvary mounting on our behalf. May we see that God in our midst is mighty to save! 

Psalm 27:13-14 ~ I remain confident of this: I will SEE the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Perspective #3 - Envisioning Our Worst Case Scenario: This is exactly where we'll land if we embrace the first two perspectives. When we mull over past fears and stare long at present circumstances, the natural outcome will be to envision our worst case scenarios. What then? We step into the enemy's trap and get turned upside down. Too much blood goes to our head and our emotions rule the day. And, we lose sight of God and miss a perfectly good opportunity to please Him with our feisty faith.

The answer?

Envisioning Our Future With Hope: Scripture tells us that God causes all things to work together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). His plan is not to harm us but to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). God is able to do above and beyond all we could ever dare to ask or hope or dream (Ephesians 3:20)! So we must at least dare to ask and hope and dream, don't you think? 

1 Peter 5:10 ~ So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

So there you have it, three perspectives that stir up fear, and three perspectives that stir up faith. On what will you fix your gaze? On Whom will you put your trust? May we all look up and declare, If God is for us, who can stand against us?

You're right. No one. Nothing. Not a thing. 

We possess all in Christ. Thank you, Jesus.

~Until next week.

August 30, 2011

Blessed, Beloved, and Beautiful...

Sunpeek 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 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.

Now on to my topic...

Recently I interviewed Sheila Walsh on my show and we talked about God's profound love and commitment to us. He is our Defender and Deliverer. He is our Shelter in the storm. Every minute of this interview was packed with power. If you missed the show and want to catch the podcast, click here.

I'm not sure what kind of day you had today. Mine was mostly good. But tonight I took a one-two punch to the gut. Not literally, but emotionally and spiritually. One punch connected with my sense of security and provision, and the other, my sense of belonging and acceptance. I didn't get the 'wind' knocked out of me; I didn't even cry, but I definitely felt it in my gut. 

Have you noticed how when the enemy attacks us, he mostly goes for three specific areas? He tries to make us question God's provision, protection, and promised purpose. Think about it, he attempted to do the same thing to Jesus, but to no avail. 

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter four, verse three, the devil tempts Jesus to prove His relationship with God by turning stones to bread. Jesus was hungry. And vulnerable. Yet, He refused to grab for Himself in reaction to His need. When the enemy presses in hard in attempt to stir up our fears, we must remember that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus! May we follow His lead and say 'NO!' to our fears and to the enemy's taunts and declare with our heart and our words this truth from Ephesians 1:3 ~ 

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 

Next the enemy tempted Jesus to take an un-appointed risk to see if God really would come to His aid. But Jesus refused to put God to the test. At times we'll feel vulnerable and the ground will shake beneath our feet. At such times it's tempting to take things into our own hands and then ask God to bless the mess after the fact. But we are beloved of God - which means we are under His charge (called to obey) and under His care (called to trust). To trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus , than to trust and obey (old hymn). 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge HIM, and He will make your paths straight. 

You are Beloved of God. He's got you.

After the enemy tempted Jesus to wonder about God's provision and protection, he took a few jabs at Jesus' destiny, tempted Him to take a short cut, around the cross, willing Him to accept a less-than-kingdom. The devil was after Jesus' destiny because if he could get to Him, he could get to us. Yet Jesus had His eye on the prize: us. We were the joy set before Him. We were why He endured the taunts of the devil, endured the cross, and triumphed over sin and death. We are His cherished and precious treasure. That makes us beautiful. 

So the next time the enemy tries to topple you with threats about your security, your identity, and your worth, put him under your feet. Take the authority given you by Jesus and follow His example. Just say, "Get out of here, enemy! You tried this with Jesus and you didn't succeed! And because He was victorious, I am victorious. I am blessed. I am beloved of God. And that makes me beautiful."

Stand strong, my friend. We posses all in Him.

~Until next week.