3 posts categorized "Strengthened in the Lord"

March 16, 2011

Know Who You Are!

Light Through the Trees

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 or story, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend!
One more quick note: Hop over to our Faith Radio webpage. I post a blog there more than once a week. Plus, we have some POWERFUL shows for you to listen to! And, with one click of a button, you can share a show or blog post with a friend. One of my favorite recent shows this past week was with author and theologian David Timms. Click here to listen!  (you'll love his Aussie accent and his deep love for Jesus).  If the link doesn't work, just check out my show page and scroll down; David was my guest on March 10th. 

Now on to my topic...

One day while reading 1 Samuel, chapter 15, I was intrigued and unsettled about King Saul's decline. He started out as a strapping, handsome, capable, unassuming young man with a respect for the things of God. But he evolved into a prideful, insecure, hasty, territorial leader who valued his opinion above God's direction, and this led to his demise. 

In one particular instance, God had commanded Saul to destroy a town because of its utter wickedness. Saul only partially obeyed. And when confronted by the prophet Samuel, Saul was full of excuses, and even threw his own people under the bus by telling Samuel it was their fault. 

Let's read Samuel's response to Saul (from 1 Samuel 15:17-19):

And Samuel told him, "Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The LORD has anointed you king of Israel. And the LORD sent you on a mission and told you, 'Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.' Why haven't you obeyed the LORD? Why did you rush for the plunder and do exactly what the LORD said not to do?"

Saul had a wrong view of himself and of his importance. And so often, we commit the same sin. When we underestimate the call on our lives, we begin to value our opinion more than God's. We then elevate our emotions, our territory, our wants, and our desires way above our mission and our eternal significance on this earth. 

And what was Saul's response?

He initially denied his disobedience (ever do that?), made excuses (how about this one?), and blamed his fellow comrades (yup, I'm guilty). 

But when Samuel refused to let Saul get away with his side-stepping, Saul finally came clean. Let's read his response because it exposes his wrong thinking:

Then Saul finally admitted, "Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the LORD's command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded...

When a person loses sight of their value and their call, here are some of the side effects:
  • Low level of obedience
  • Pride and insecurity 
  • Fear of other's opinions 
  • Loss of eternal perspective 
  • Loss of the fear of the Lord  
We must understand how VALUABLE we are to God and that we are DIVINELY CALLED to listen to His voice, to obey Him moment by moment, to change the world for His Name's sake, and to bear fruit that lasts long after we are gone. 
We are treasured in God's sight. We are equipped with all we could ever need to do great things. We are covered by His promises and guided by His precious Holy Spirit. We know His voice and we follow Him.
When we see ourselves as God sees us, we will:
  • Walk in a holy confidence (a knowledge that we are something special to God)
  • Walk in a holy dependence (a knowledge that apart from God we can do no good thing) 
  • Embrace a Kingdom passion (a heart to build God's Kingdom and not our own) 
  • Embrace a Calvary love (a heart that grows in its capacity to love others)
May you remember once again how important you are - because you were designed and called by God. May you hold loosely your emotions, your opinions, your territory, and your imagined rights, that you may cling tightly to God's promises and His place in your life. True humility is simply having a right view of ourselves in light of eternity. We are small; we are nothing without Him, but everything to Him.
Have a blessed week!
Oh, and if you haven't signed up for my FREE quarterly E-zine yet, you might want to! Every few months I email out an E-magazine that offers some great book giveaways from my fellow author friends, a devotional, book recommendations, great quotes, and a prayer to send you on your way. My next Ezine releases on April 15th
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March 17, 2010

Hardened Confidence or Holy Confidence?


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. In the month of March I will give away a gift card and a couple of copies of my new book, "Growing Grateful Kids."  So share a story or an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and friend (or maybe you'll win a copy of my new book)!

A Quick Note:

I am thrilled to announce the release of my next book: Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places." Let me tell you, I am excited about the message in this book. If you have children at home (or grandchildren you want to influence spiritually), order a copy today. I do believe this book will equip you to parent from a spiritual perspective (but it's loaded with lots of practical application). You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be inspired and encouraged (that was my goal, anyway). :) 

Now on to my topic...

Today I am battling a bug and feeling pretty miserable. But last weekend I had the privilege of serving and ministering to thousands of women at the Nat'l Hearts at Home Conference. I always love meeting new sisters in Christ. We had a great time together! I spoke on two topics: Growing Grateful Kids and Becoming an Uncommon Woman (based on a couple of my books).

One of the key points in my Uncommon message is this: true identity is always linked with humility (and visa versa). For the Christ-follower, identity and humility must be inseparable in our lives. Holy Confidence and Humble Dependence are defining factors for us as Believers.

When we go through painful relational conflict, we may be tempted to look down and to become self-aware, but even in that place, we must remember who we are. We must hang on to our identity in Christ. And thanks to Him, it's a settled issue.

When we get to step up into places that seem way out of our reach, high places that only God could orchestrate, we must hang on to humility, knowing that it's only by the grace of God that we get to do such things. 

When we go through those raw and painful seasons that make us feel vulnerable and exposed, we remember who are - even there. We hang on to identity.

When we are wronged by someone who is as wrong as the day is long, we hang on to our identity and we thoroughly embrace humility.

Here's where it's tempting to go off track. When someone wrongs us, the devil tries to bait us with self-righteousness which quickly leads us down a path of spiritual blindness and a hardness of heart.

I've known people who have an air of confidence about them, but truly, their boldness comes from a hardness of heart that declares, "I don't care what people think!" 

Maybe they've been hurt enough in the past that they decided to build a wall around their heart and their emotions. Nothing is going in, nothing is going out. In their hardness of heart, they stay separated from people, inoculated from the jabs and sneers of unkind people, but also, unaffected by the pain and suffering around them. 

As Christians, this cannot be an option for us.

Holy Confidence goes much deeper than this self-serving survival mode. Holy Confidence connects us to the very heart of the Father. He defines us, He fills us, He saves us, and He restores us when life bruises and beats us. He understands. 

Holy Confidence is defined by tenderness, openness, caring for others while entrusting yourself to God. Holy Confidence declares, "I can care deeply for you without worrying what you think of me. I can take risks with you, be vulnerable with you, and give sacrificially you, because you can never define me. Jesus already has."

We can never truly love people the way Christ has loved them until their opinions of us matter less to us than God's opinion of us. And He is perfectly in love with us. Isn't that great news?

May we get free from the bondage of others' opinions so that we can get on to the business of loving others the way Christ loves them! A noble pursuit indeed. :)

Until next week~

July 14, 2009

Firm Footsteps...


Greetings, Dear Friends!

And to those visiting, I say welcome. I'm back from vacation and back in the game. 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's card comes from Startbucks. So leave a post, share a story or insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a cup of java for you and a friend.

Now on to my topic...

In my book, "The Uncommon Woman" I wrote about how we all have 'solid ground areas' in our lives where we walk with a measure of holy confidence. God has wired us or refined us in such a way that we can function in certain realms of life without feeling insecure or self-aware. In fact, in these places, we know we have something to offer. 

But we also have 'sinking sand' areas in our lives where we're not so sure of ourselves, or where we resort to insecurity and self-awareness. It's in these places where we trip up with our words at times, or we mistake others' intentions, or we perceive things differently than they actually are.

What are your 'sinking sand' areas? 

Do you struggle when you go home for the holidays? Do you find yourself slipping back into dysfunctional old ways? Or does the ground feel unstable beneath you when you are out with other women? Maybe you become self-aware at church, or at work, or at your child's school. 

What are we to do with our sinking sand areas? Should we avoid them altogether? 

I'd say a resounding NO!

The Bible says that God makes our way perfect. He arms us with strength. He makes our feet like the feet of a deer and enables us to walk on high places. God makes our footsteps firm and He clears the way ahead of us (*See Psalm 18:29-36).

We must trust Him and follow where He leads. But we also must deal with the stuff that rises up in us when we walk in uncomfortable places. Here are some of the ways God makes us 'able' to walk on high places and makes our footsteps firm:

  • He heals us from past wounds ~ We must give Him access to those painful memories that repeatedly trip us up. He will replace the lies with truth, the pain with joy, and our repetitive weakness with continual strength.   
  • He delivers us from our fears ~ We must be willing to follow Him to the places of our fears. He will only ask us to take a step at a time and He'll be with us every step of the way. As Henri Nowen once wrote, we must 'let our love for God override the fear we feel for ourselves' (my paraphrase). 
  • He assures us of His love ~ As we spend time with Him and as we trust Him with our fears, we find Him faithful. The more we let go of worldly assurances to place our trust in God's provision, the more we will know in the depths of our being that we are loved, protected, and provided for. Proverbs 9:10 tells us, "Knowing the Holy One results in understanding." The more we know Him, the more we understand the depths of His love. 
  • He leads us with great wisdom ~ Jesus knows us intimately and leads us with profound wisdom. He leads us at a pace that we can keep and He's patient with our missteps. He uses every trial to make us more like Him. He gives us ample opportunity to please Him with our faith, and He offers fresh mercy when we default to fear. He knows how transient we can be and He's made provision for our weakness. He's not surprised by our frailty because His strength is perfect for us. What love! What wisdom!

Instead of avoiding realms of life that make us feel insecure and self-aware, may we run to the Father, embrace His healing and restoring work, and then walk forward unafraid. We are designed to go from strength to strength, from glory to glory. God is always after in increase in our lives. 

Be blessed and stand strong!

PS ~ If you haven't signed up for my FREE Quarterly E-zine, you might want to! Four times a year (today is one of those days) I email out an E-zine filled with good things (book giveaways, devotional thoughts, great quotes, book recommendations, ministry updates, and a prayer to send you on your way). Here's the link:

Be blessed! Until next week~