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4 posts from September 2011

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.

September 14, 2011

Certainty in Uncertain Times...

And to those visiting, I say welcome! 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...

How are things going in your life? Does your life 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 time, God used fleeting circumstances to strengthen my frame, my roots, and my sense of purpose despite the ever-changing world all around me.
Whenever I walk through such a season, I grab my 'helmet of Salvation' and pull it on just a little tighter. I ask God, "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 several passages from Scripture 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 such a balancing act, we'll be miserable and we must not expect to receive the wisdom God offers for our current need. Why? Because even if He is speaking wisdom to us, it wont get 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.


September 07, 2011

He Will Keep You...


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 folks, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.

It's time to announce the winner for August: Tammy Steiner, congratulations! Just send me your mailing address and we'll get your gift card out to you within a week. You can contact me through my website: www.susielarson.com 

Now on to my topic...

Anne Graham Lotz is my guest on today's show. Anne is a voice crying in the wilderness, calling God's people to wake up and to prepare a way for the Lord. She is convinced that her generation is the one that immediately precedes the return of Jesus Christ. And this isn't just a 'feeling' or a hope-so kind of thing. Anne studies prophecy, watches the social, spiritual, and economic climates, and she makes a compelling case that it's time for God's people to wake up and look up! 

Jesus said that the coming of the Son of Man will be like in the days of Noah. People will be eating, drinking, and partying right up to the end, with no sense of their impending doom. Anne writes, "There's something drastically wrong with a culture that goes about everyday activities oblivious to God...In a similar way, our generation seems to have no fear of God or awareness of our accountability to Him." 

She further writes (speaking to the state of our nation), "God's past blessings do not mean that He will keep you safe at present or in the future. Your hope is not in the local or state or federal government. Your hope is in the Lord alone. With all of your know-how and your go-to-it innovative, creative ideas, you cannot predict your future or secure your future. God holds your future, and you need to get right with Him."

These are sobering times, and we need to be awake and alert to what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to the Church. Are we weak, though we say we are strong? Are we lukewarm though we pretend not to be? Or do we daily fan the flame of our first love devotion to the One and Only Savior of the world? 

We cannot keep ourselves, we are kept by a living, loving God, who patiently wills that all would voluntarily come to Him by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. But the clock is ticking, prophetic world events are piling one on top of the other. God is who He says He is and He'll do what He said He'll do. But oh, how He loves His own!

Are you running a mile wide and an inch deep? Are you more focused on a trivial task list than the coming of our King? I know I am sometimes. Yet, we live in unprecedented times. If we--as God's saved and beloved ones--don't live focused, passionate, and purposefully, who will? 

Will we be found ready? Or will we be distracted, unprepared, with a lamp half full of oil? 

Just how do we live with a constant state of reverent readiness? 

The answer is right here in Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let's run with patient endurance, the race set before us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who, for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the Father. Let us consider Him who endured such scorn from sinful men that we might not grow weary, and lose heart. 

Remember, we're not kept by perfection or performance, we're kept by faith in Christ alone. 

Never have we been closer to the return of Christ as we are now. It's quite possible we or our children may see Christ return for His bride. May we live faith-filled, focused lives, tossing aside the trivial, embracing the substance of Scripture. May we reach out to those who are partying and shopping and living as though they have all the time in the world. 

I'll leave you with this passage from Jude 1:23-25

Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

~Until next week