More than Blood, I Am in God’s Family

For many years I felt separated from people, friendships, and family.  I just did not fit in with my adopted family.  In my thirties, my need to belong sent me on a journey to find my birth family, my blood.  Fortunately, God left that door wide open and with a little effort and time I was able to meet most of my family.  Here I was now amid my birth blood family and relatives and yet that empty, alone feeling was still there. Please do not get me wrong they were very loving and welcoming. It would be several more years before I would put my finger on this deep sense that there is more, to understand why our earth family and relationships do not fill the void.

There is a spiritually longing to belong; as we search and look for answers we discover our true family and identity belongs to God.  You will find that many times your spiritual family will be the ones to give good consult or stand with you in a storm with more love and understanding than blood relatives.  This is a Biblical truth.  Matthew 10:34-35 Jesus plainly teaches,  “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I came to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; God has given you more than enough when you are spiritually born into His family and your desire to belong or fit in are centered in Him.”  His Word is a roadmap to knowing your position as His child and that you can journey with Him by your side. 

You have a true family name;  “See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to you, that you would be named and called and counted a God’s child! And so, you are!”  1 John 3:1 AMP personalized

You are part of God’s family and know completely that your true identity is found in God; “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape your life because you love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored. Embrace the original and intended shape of your life found in Him. After God made that decision of what you, His child should be like, He followed it up by calling you by name. After He called you by name, He set you on a solid foundation with Himself. And then, after getting you established, He by your side to the end, gloriously completes what He had begun.” Romans 8:29 MSG personalized 

“and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” 1 Corinthians 3:23 AMP

As God’s child you have intimate relationship with your Forever Father; “Through Him (Jesus) you also have access by faith into this remarkable state of grace in which you firmly, safely, and securely stand.  Rejoice uninhibited in your hope and the confident assurance of experiencing and enjoying the glory of your Forever Father, God manifested in His excellence and power.” Romans 5:2 AMP personalized

Because you are God’s daughter, you have an inheritance; “Celebrate with praises the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has shown you his extravagant mercy. For His fountain of mercy has given you a new life—you are reborn to experience a living, energetic hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  You the daughter of the Most High King are reborn into a perfect inheritance that can never perish, never be defiled, and never diminish. It is promised and preserved forever in the heavenly realm for you!”  1 Peter1:3-5 TPT personalized

Your membership in God’s family “has its privileges”; “And because you really are His daughter, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your heart, crying out, “Abba! Father!” Therefore, you are no longer a slave to this world, but a daughter; and if a daughter, then also an heir through the gracious act of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:6-7 AMP personalized

TRUTH: “ Since you are his daughter, everything He has belongs to you, for that is the way God planned.”  Galatians 4:7b TLB personalized

There is so much God has given you here on earth your training ground for eternity.  I challenge you to seek and experience all God has given you while you await going home.  Your spiritual family will also be there with you and so they should be very important to you. Invest in them and they will in you, pouring out the love God has given you not what the world would call love but His Love.

Ephesians 3:14-15 Paul says, “When I think of the wisdom and scope of His plan, I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God—some of them already in heaven and some down here on earth.”

Let us talk more about the inheritance here on earth…God promises to meet your needs, do you find yourself looking over those needs hoping for worldly, material items? Philippians 4:19 says “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Jesus Christ.”   If you and I can grasp our spiritual inheritance, then through God all our daily physical needs will be meet as well.   Further understanding found in Matthew 6:25-34.

Pastor Rick Warren says in his book, “Purpose Driven Life” that you share in the fortunes of God, here on earth we are given…”the riches of His grace, His kindness and patience, we share in His glory, wisdom and power, lastly and vital… we are able to experience His mercy.”

“So overflowing is His kindness toward you that He took away all your sins through the blood of His Son, by whom you are saved.”  Ephesians 1:7 TLB personalized

“Don’t you realize how patient He is being with you? Or do you not care? Can’t you see that He has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” Romans 2:4 TLB personalized

“And He has a right to take others such as you, who have been made for pouring the riches of His glory into and to be kind to you so that you personally can see how very great His glory is.” Romans 9:23 TLB personalized

“Oh, what a wonderful God, Forever Father you have! How great are His wisdom and knowledge and riches!”  Romans 11:33a TLB personalized

“That out of His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of His Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 3:16 TLB personalized

“Your life once expressed the evil within you, entertaining wicked thoughts and giving into selfish desire. You started out bad, being born with evil natures, and were under God’s anger just like everyone else.   But God is so rich in mercy; He loved you so much that even though you were spiritually dead and doomed by your sins, He gave you back your life again, when He raised Christ from the dead—only by His undeserved favor have you ever been saved.”  Ephesians 2:3-5 TLB personalized

You are moving toward and becoming more like Christ everyday as you pursue Christ with all your heart.  This change is happening now so that you might experience and walk this earth as His child, bringing God honor and glory.  This is why He has given you a helper in the Holy Spirit, so that you might taste and see the goodness of God right now, no waiting.  Paul tells us, “Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others.  For we know that we will receive a reward, an inheritance from the Lord, as we serve the Lord Yahweh, the Anointed One!.” Colossians 3:23-24 TPT

Dream now of how much more you will receive when you step into the presence of God on the day of your homecoming.  The Bible says, “And God has reserved for His children the priceless gift of eternal life; it is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” 1 Peter 1:4 TLB

I am excited to be in God’s family, to walk beside other believers and watch their faith grow and how your Forever Father uses each of us to bring the lost before Him so that they to can receive the gift of an eternal relationship with Him.  I am no longer alone but part of something supernatural, spiritual, and eternal; daily I look and find the blessings He has for me.

Hebrews 2:11 says, “Jesus and the people He makes holy all belong to same family.  That is why He isn’t ashamed to call them His brothers and sisters.”

Be Blessed, Sister Laurie

I Am the Apple of His Eye

Keep me as the apple of the eye;  Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:8

God gave me this verse this morning as I was contemplating who I am in Christ Jesus.  How I am His alone and in this earthy life we are call to respect, honor, and obey Him that is to truly fear the Lord our God.   I wanted to break this verse down for you so that you might meditate on your position in God’s Kingdom as His daughter, the Daughter of the Most High King. 

I might add what it means to be his daughter by the definition of the word daughter which means; His offspring, out of Him, His descendant, His progeny, and His inheritor.  Amazing, to be His unique in every way…

In the scripture the words “Keep me” suggests that we never want to lose our position, we are asking God to prevent any situation, circumstance, or person from separating us from God, a position we already hold and one that we should value more than this life here on earth.

“Apple of the eye (His eye)”, see your reflection in God’s eye, not as you might think of yourself or how others see you for in the big picture those do not matter only how God sees you matters.  Young’s Literal Translation says, “the daughter of the eye”.  To be the apple of His eye is to walk in beauty, to be loved more than any of God’s other creations,  you are His chosen, His favorite, the center of all God has created, God’s focal point in the universe, He is proud of you, you are cherished, you are loved, precious in His sight, you are of great importance to Him and so He keeps His eye on You!  You must see yourself as He alone see you!  You are already the Apple of His eye, for you to understand and walk in that position you must grow your relationship with Him, through His Word, daily worship and through fellowship with other believers.

“Hide me” from my unseen and seen enemies for they are your enemies God! In you God we find all the security we need, our confidence comes from You and not the world. Who are our enemies?  Sweet sisters, your enemies are anything that would separate you from God, things that do not bring Him honor, spirits and principalities (Ephesians 6:12) that would cause you to lose sight of your Forever Father and God.  They would lie and tell you that what Jesus did on the cross was not for you…remember John 10:10 “the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy”…

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The word sober here refers to being ready, watchful, knowing truth of how the devil might ensnare you.

1109739.DAWNOFHOPE

“In the shadow of Your wings” Oh God, yes we receive this supernatural protection only You can provide, it is so powerful that we need only step into the shadow of Your wings, there sisters we are protected and provided for…it is there in just Your silhouette God that we are safe.  Father God, you are wooing us there to come closer to You when we step under Your wing we can rest like never before, it is refreshing.  Let this knowledge, this rest lift you sisters into the heavenly places, there you are nurtured, your broken spirit restored.  It is here you experience His marvelous kindness, and you are completely free.

This is my prayer for you today! To encounter all God has for you and to know that you belong to Him.  Blessings,  Sister Laurie

You Were Made for a Reason

If there was no God, we would be “accidents”, the result of astronomical random chance in the universe.  There would be no purpose or meaning or significance.  There would be no right or wrong, and no hope beyond you brief years here on earth.  Some might say so live it up! However, we know deep down there is more and our life here on earth has eternal meaning. 

Right now, this place is the book cover, the title page created by God for our earthly life. I am going to personalize the words C.S. Lewis writes at end of the Chronicles of Narina, “For this is the end of my story…But for me it is only the beginning of the real story.  All my life in this world…has only been the cover and title page: now at last I am to the beginning of Chapter One of the Greatest Story, God’s Story of who I am, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and in which every chapter is better than the one before.”  Yes, Jesus I embrace this glimpse of my forever story.

God made you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning!  You discover that meaning and purpose only when you make God the reference point, the center of your life.  The Message Bible Translation paraphrases Romans 12:3 “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us.”

This poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:

You are who you are for a reason.

You are part of an intricate plan.

You are a precious and perfect unique design.

Called God’s special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.

Our God made no mistake.

He knit you together within the womb,

You are JUST what He wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones He chose,

And no matter how you may feel,

They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,

And they bear the Master’s Seal.

No, that trauma you faced was no easy.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">And God wept that it hurt you so;And God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that into His likeness you would grow.

You are who you are for a reason,

You have been formed by the Master’s hand and rod.

You are who you are, beloved,

Because this is a God!!

Remember, you are His Child, His Son or Daughter of the Most High King! Let your voice sing Praises to your King! 

Blessing, Sister Laurie

These thoughts were inspired by God’s Holy Word and the book “Purpose Driven Life” by Pastor Rick Warren.

Only God’s Refreshment Quenches Our Thirst

“He Leadeth Me Beside the Still Waters”  Psalm 23:2  We get so caught up in the world, our circumstances that we become distracted from the one place we can find the refreshment we are all desperately looking for.  David understood that only by the Good Shepherds leading can our emptiness, yearning and spiritual appetite be nourished. The Passion Translation puts it like this…”The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.  I always have more than enough.  He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.  His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.” Verses 1-2  That “quiet brook of bliss” is found only in God, no amount of money, career recognition, accolades of physical or mental achievement, will satisfy the void, the empty place in our soul. Instead of going to the source we try drinking from the manmade watering holes of the world only to leave us unsatisfied. You see, the world is full of seemingly delicious delights however they are only a fleeting empty attempt to fill our supernatural spiritual soul.

As look back on my life…I have traveled, shopped, tasted the finest food and drink.  These were all wonderful experiences, walking along the Seine in Paris, along many other adventures. Countless hours in the gym, dieting, spending money on my physical appearance believing that would help me surround myself and be regarded by the beautiful people, maybe even accepted and loved.  Yet, I still found myself facing the same hollow, empty and unfilled thirst within.  Even being a mother…left me aching for something more, oh please believe me I love all my children and my grandchildren however you see when your child reaches an age of spiritual thirst and you are lost to it as well, your ability to guide, love, meet their needs become lost, those once special moments of joy turn to frustration, disappointment, many times dissolution.  But I digress from where this blog is leading…

Jeremiah wrote of the result “For My people have committed two evils: They have abandoned Me, the Fountain of Living Waters, to carve out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns…that do not hold water.” Verse 2:13  In my mind a picture is forming of broken lives, shattered hopes, lost dreams…withered souls…full of empty despair.  And so, this hunger becomes broken families, relationships, sordid excesses. Our need to quench this spiritual thirst becomes an entrance for Satan to destroy what only the Good Shepherd can satisfy.

The Good Shepherd is where that thirst can be quenched, where contentment is found. Throughout the Bible God and Jesus are called the Shepherd and for good reason.  We are so much like sheep. Let me explain, did you know that if  sheep are thirsty and clean, refreshing water is not available they will drink of dirty, parasite infested puddles.  You see, a thirst like ours needs the constant guidance of the loving shepherd who goes to great lengths to protect and provide the life giving water for his sheep.  Our Good Shepard…leads us through His Word to the living water.  This is the ultimate provision…Jesus made it clear that our thirsty souls can only be satisfied, content by drawing on Himself. 

Matthew 5:6 AMP says “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.”  Jesus spoke boldly to those in attendance that last night with His disciples “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” John 7:37 KJV  Jesus knew what we would face, the wanting to satisfy our spiritual soul…He tells us “drink”, “take in”, “to accept” and yes there it is “to believe”.  This belief moves from an idea of truth, to confidence in truth to a growing “knowing faith” in who Jesus is and who we are in Him.  This restless thirst is sated only in Christ and a personal growing relationship with Him.  Our earthly bodies, possessions and relationships are a fleeting part of who we really are, we are spiritual beings, God’s children, chosen, loved and cherish by the One True God, who cared so much for His creation…He sent Jesus, His Son, to lead us to the living water.

Drink Today! Let the Good Shepherd lead you to the “Brook of Bliss”, Worship and be Refreshed…

Further study of Psalm 23

This most powerful Psalm is used so many times at the end of one’s earthly existence, yet I find that it is life giving in so many ways.  I have written it out for you here to explore on your own. Please explore for yourself the goodness of God found in these six verses recorded by King David a man by God’s own words who had “God’s Heart”.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I will not be in need.

Meaning: My identity is found with Him, I belong to Him, I declare that my Shepherd, God Himself supplies me with all I need.

2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.

Meaning: He is the place of rest for my body and spirit, He refreshes and renews my spirit. I have drank of His Living Water so I live without fear.

3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For the sake of His name.

Meaning: He brings the spiritual healing needed daily to my inner person.  Through His guidance I am made righteous in His sight to live for His purpose and pleasure alone.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Meaning:  This life on earth is not easy but my Father, my Shepherd is with me always, His continual protection I receive, and I listen for His instruction making my flesh and mind obedient to His Truth. I am quick to repent and seek forgiveness.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.

Meaning: He is my Hope in every situation, my Provision for my hunger, He fills all emptiness and fights for me, I am His Creation, In His image, and I am sanctified that is set apart, loved, and marked by You God as Your Child. Because of this my joy overflows and my heart is full of Your Love and Mercy.

6 Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life, And my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever.

Meaning: All this pouring out completes my life, gives me purpose, directs my life, I know Your Love Father, my Good Shepherd and I surrender to live in Your Will FOREVER!  AMEN!

There are many ways to explore and soak in these beautiful words, one way might be to find confirming scripture to each verse. Pray these scriptures over yourself and add your name wherever possible.  Our God and His Son Jesus our are Good Shepherds together with the Holy Spirit we can live out our lives with wonder and expectation…

Blessings,

Sister Laurie

No Mountain Climbing Here!

Woman Standing At Kitchen Sink Washing Up

I read this uplifting little article somewhere about how our relationship with God is different than that of men.  It inspired me to write about our position as women in God’s Kingdom.  Sweet Sisters in Jesus Christ we hold such an important position as daughter of the Most High King.  We are nurturers who encourage and bring cozy, heartfelt love full of God’s truth to a broken and hurting world.  Have you ever noticed how in the scriptures men are always going up into the mountains to commune with the Lord? Yet in the scriptures we hardly ever hear of women going to the mountains. 

Why, because these women were too busy keeping life going; they could not abandon… babies, meals, homes, fires, gardens, and a thousand other responsibilities to make the climb into the mountains! We have confidence that God knows exactly what your days are like because He beautifully describes them in Proverbs 31.  We daily touch on or see to most of this amazing woman’s life responsibilities in our own homes and workplaces.

Many days I find myself feeling like I am never “free” enough from my responsibilities, there is never in a quiet enough space for me to spend time with my Lord, my King; I find myself just repeating “Yes God” as the moments, days and years go by.

The woman who wrote the original little article put it like this…“That is why God comes to women.  Men have to climb the mountain to meet God, but God comes to women wherever they are.”

God is there as we stare into our refrigerator or cupboards scavenging for one more meal to cook for our family before payday.  1 Kings 17:12-16 “But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no food, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks so that I may go in and prepare it for me and my son, so that we may eat it and die.”  However, Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said. Just make me a little bread loaf from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘The bowl of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil become empty, until the day that the Lord provides rain on the face of the earth.’” So, she went and did everything in accordance with the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil become empty, in accordance with the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.”  I remember as a young mom, asking God to supply food for my children, money for the electric bill, even in my immature understanding of God…He provided.

God is there with us at our love one’s sick or deathbed. Luke 7: 12-15 “Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her.  When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her and said to her, “Do not go on weeping.” And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!”  And the dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.” As women we find ourselves crying out to the Lord, we travail for those we love whether they are ill, lost to the truth of Christ or have passed.  Jesus sees every hardship; this woman is already a widow and the loss of her son would bring even a greater difficulty.  So as scripture says,  “Jesus gave him back to his mother.” Each of you can recount a time when we are lost to our emotions, worry and fear have set in however, as we reach for God’s Word; He is faithful to bring the comfort we need, perfect and just for us. I will never forget when I received the news my son had died; all I could do was go for my Bible and hold it close. Only God could bring the comfort needed to see me through those difficult days.

He hears our cries to have our own children, Hannah asked the Lord for a child in 1 Samuel 1:14-20. “It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him of the Lord.” She wanted nothing more than to be a mom.  She suffered for years with infertility, and her desire to have a child of her own was affecting every part of her life. An earlier verse says she was suffering under a despairing spirit.  In your circle of influence, you know at least one sister in Christ that as experienced infertility. However, in that same circle you can speak of the goodness of God who heard the cries and spoke  “Go in peace and may the God of Israel grant your request that you have asked of .”

Even at the empty tomb, Mary was the first to witness Christ’s resurrection, she was there because she was doing the womanly chore of properly preparing Christ’s body for burial.  Matthew 28 recounts the amazing details of that day. There was no mountain climbing, only her desire to serve her King and there He was risen, revealing truth and encouraging her.

God does indeed come to women where they are, when they are doing their ordinary, everyday work.  He meets them at the wells as we find in John 4:4-30, where they draw much needed water for their families, homes, for their kitchens and gardens.  The Samaritan woman was so important to Jesus, He had a divine appointment to meet her that day.  In that encounter her life was forever changed, and her circle of influence was increased as she spread the “Good News” God’s Truth, the salvation message to everyone in her village.  She wanted everyone to experience the forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love Jesus was bringing to her that day.

Every woman in the Bible has a journey, unique and challenging; along the way these women of the scriptures found themselves face to face with Jesus. We are like them, we must draw upon their stories and allow God to teach us, refine us.

So, look closely do you see Jesus in the little things, the big things…yes He is there.  We need to thank God that He meets us, and we must stop complaining! Who wants to climb a mountain anyway? The fact is you do not have time to spend in the mountains with God.  Guess what, He is there in the mountain of dishes or the stained sport uniform that you need to ready for your child’s game tomorrow…sing out, pray, and worship your King right there! Or maybe you need to listen…quietly reflect.

Remember, God comes to women. He knows where we are and the burdens we carry. He sees us, and if we open our eyes and our hearts we will see Him, even in the most ordinary places and things.  He lives. And Jesus is using a time such as this to speak to women around the world. 

Blessings, Sister Laurie

Let Us…

The book of Hebrews is dear to my heart.  Many of the scriptures found there are ones I frequently find God leading me to.  The writer or I should say the person who moved by the Holy Spirit to record all that God spoke in Hebrews is unknown.  Yet in here we find such clarity of who Jesus is and how He is truly the way if we are to enter God’s Rest.  What I am saying is our relationship and pursuit of Jesus will lead us to a place of rest. Jesus is the caregiver of this amazing place of rest. This place of rest is for NOW to be experienced HERE while we live out our earthly lives.

The first 3 chapters of Hebrews give us a complete revelation of Jesus Christ and why He is “better than”.  I love God’s description of His son in The Passion Translation verse 1:3 “The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature—His mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of His spoken Word.  He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took His seat on the highest throne at the right hand of the majestic One.”  The “better than” speaks of His supernatural abilities, the power of Jesus, the undeniable Son of God,  over the prophets and God’s men of old.  Jesus is the language of God.  The Bible says that through history we received only small glimpses, as God “builds one Truth upon another.”

Now we have a fuller picture, almost complete or maybe I should say one we can grasp at this time.  I notice that as we move closer to God’s destiny, the revelation grows, our ability to understand our position and God’s Kingdom becomes clearer. Within this richer understanding our responsibility grows in being the Truth to the world through our testimony.  “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Revelation 12:11  It is the faithful testimony of Jesus that has the power to destroy the works of the devil as demonstrated in your and my transformed life.

Let us now move back to the place of God’s Rest, this inheritance was unavailable to Israelites when they left Egypt because their unbelief held them captive to sin, sadly until they died in the desert.  Now God is calling each one of us to His perfect place of rest.  It is through our faith that we enter TODAY! “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden (doubt, fear, have unbelief)  in your heart.” verse 4:7

 God says “Let us make every effort” in verse 4:11 then He gives us the opportunity to remove any hindrance in verse 12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone, and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.”

What is key is that first God already sees it all and then second you MUST allow God to do His work.  I know I have spoken this before that God is a gentleman and will not force you to have faith. God is the great physician, a skilled surgeon, He will expose what need to be removed and will help you remove what must go.  It is my prayer that you continually allow God to remove and expose so that you may enter and receive the nourishment you seek, there is nothing more satisfying than Jesus and His Truth, it brings the rest and comfort to journey forward.  His love covers us fully verse 16 says “So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.” This weakness is all around us, God’s children suffer under the weight of devil’s destructive way.

This rest you seek comes from not being milk fed but having maturity in Christ to be nourished by all the Truth (cuisine) found in God’s Word verse 6:1.  This is where we receive the promised rest.

Hebrews is a book of “Let Us” you see my dear sisters in Jesus Christ, we are the “us” united in this great love.  In my spirit I feel that you today need to embrace one or more of the “Let us” found in Hebrews, this is how you will enter God’s Rest.

“Let us come closer to God and approach Him with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from Him.” Verse 10:22

“Let us cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises!” Verse 10:23

“Let us discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.” 10:24

“Let us not pull away and neglect  meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward.” 10:25

“Let us rid ourselves of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.” 12:1

“Let us fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because His heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be His, He endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!.” 12:2

“Let us be thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights His heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe.” 12:28

“Let us, then arise and join Him outside the religious “walls” and bear His disgrace.” 13:13 “Let us know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10

“Let us continually offer up to God a steady stream of praise sacrifices—these are “the lambs” we offer from our lips that celebrate His name!.” 13:15

Blessing, Sister Laurie

Please find these scriptures have been personalized and taken from both the NASB and TPT translation.  Other thoughts have been provided in part through my current studies, “New Testament Survey”, Global University, Springfield, Ohio.

Step into a Deeper Relationship with Jesus Christ

Remember what brought you to Jesus…

Praise lift your voice to the King, who is He call Him by name and glorify Him in words and song.

Hebrew 12:1 says “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Remember how He saved you, specific instances, ask yourself “What would have happened?” ”What could have happened?” Testify to what God has and is doing.

Proclaim His Goodness…

Proverbs 27:5 “Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Your lovingkindness remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.”

Psalm 31:19 “Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Your lovingkindness remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.”

Psalm 145:7 “They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.”

Revelation 12:11 tells us “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

Commitment to Reading God’s Word

Live your life by the Scriptures.  Every word spoken by other believers and Christian leaders alike need to line up and be proven by scripture. Do not let a false word detract you from God’s truth.

Galatians 1:6-7 warns us “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”

Again in 2 Peter 2 we read, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

There will be scriptures that build you up in the knowledge and truth of Jesus Christ. Many will be unique to you and your personal relationship with God.  These life scriptures should become those that you journey with daily.  Call them to remembrance with every thought or challenge and remember them every day in every moment.  Make sure there is a scripture about God’s power and goodness.  When we speak scripture with our voice and within our thoughts the work of the devil is destroyed.  There is nothing better than God’s Word to send the devil running. What are your go to scriptures?

Here are a few of mine…

Romans 8:38-39 “nothing can separate me from the love of God.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 “take captive every thought making it obedient to Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 4:8 “whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and praise think on these things.”

Hebrews 4:12 “ Word of God is living and powerful, discerner of the thoughts of man, motives of the heart.”

Proverbs 18:21 “death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Keep growing in Christ

We should be constantly moving toward Jesus Christ, that is to say our relationship should never stand still.  Do you know Him more today than yesterday? Has he shown you something new about His Kingdom, Your position in His Kingdom?  The more we discover God and all the good things He has for us, we gain strength in His truth to overcome whatever this fallen world and darkness brings at us.

Rick Warren in his book “Purpose Driven Life” making it clear that it is not about you. We were created for God’s pleasure.  The amazing part is He wants to have a personal relationship with you.  The NLT translation of Romans 5:10 says “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.”

The key to this friendship with God, is not changing what you do, but changing your attitude toward what you do.  What you normally do for yourself start doing for God, whether it is daily life eating, working, exercising, even making the bed. How about time you spend helping those around you…family, co-workers, friends those you meet while shopping, taking a walk are these moments self-motivated or servant motivated. There is a kingdom way of looking at your life, just as Jesus came to serve so should we.

Another way to keep growing we must be in continued conversation with God. I love this…Rick shares one way to do this is with “breath prayers” throughout the day, speak a few words, a simple phrase, (not like the ones you may say under your breath in frustration) I mean like “God I know you are with me.’ “Thank you God for your goodness.’ “You will never leave me.” “Help me trust You.” Or simply “Yes God.” Declare your position in His Kingdom “I am the daughter of the Most High King.”  In fact, start using these instead of the others you tend to use in those frustrating moments God is there too.

What breath prayers can you come up with?

Finally, we are called to love people

This means not just your family.  I know it can be difficult, but the truth is we do not have to love their behavior or hair style.  Those are fleshly things, we are to love them on God’s level, deeply through action and prayer.

Ask Jesus to give you His eyes to see them as He does.  In Hebrews 10:23-25 we are told how to put this into action, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;  and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

Life is short, I am in the last third of my life and the first two went by so quickly.  I confess I did a poor job of representing Jesus back there but God is good, He quickly forgives and forgets what was and looks to now and the future. In his Word He encourages us by example.  Through the Holy Spirit living in us He will inspire us to action and help us overcome our wrong attitudes, exchanging them with those He has given to us know as the fruit of the Spirit.

The Passion Translation of Galatians 5 beginning in verse 13 Paul lays out this truth and even warns us.  I have included it here for you to meditate upon.

“Beloved ones, God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit. But don’t view this wonderful freedom as an opportunity to set up a base of operations in the natural realm. Freedom means that we become so completely free of self-indulgence that we become servants of one another, expressing love in all we do.  For love completes the laws of God. All of the law can be summarized in one grand statement: “Demonstrate love to your neighbor, even as you care for and love yourself.”

But if you continue to criticize and come against each other over minor issues, you’re acting like wild beasts trying to destroy one another!  As you yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self – life.  For your self – life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder him from living free within you! And the Holy Spirit’s intense cravings hinder your old self – life from dominating you! So then, the two incompatible and conflicting forces within you are your self – life of the flesh and the new creation life of the Spirit.  But when you are brought into the full freedom of the Spirit of grace, you will no longer be living under the domination of the law, but soaring above it!

The cravings of the self-life are obvious: Sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior.

Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their “freedom” for these things[i] will not inherit the kingdom realm of God!

 But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:

joy that overflows,

peace that subdues,

patience that endures,

kindness in action,

a life full of virtue,

faith that prevails,

gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit.

Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

Keep in mind that we who belong to Jesus, the Anointed One, have already experienced crucifixion. For everything connected with our self – life was put to death on the cross and crucified with Messiah. We must live in the Holy Spirit and follow after him. So may we never be arrogant, or look down on another, for each of us is an original. We must forsake all jealousy that diminishes the value of others.

Notice how the last couple of verses points out a challenge to our flesh as we live in the Holy Spirit, God knows we have the weakness of pride, so He reminds us to be careful and not let the characteristics of pride manifest in you as you serve the King.

Thank you Jesus that you lived among us and left your Holy Word for us to carry on with, loving and sharing the gospel to those we encounter.

Be Blessed dear sisters Love, Sister Laurie

Trust God

I know you are saying, “Sister Laurie, How can you say that, you don’t know what I am going through”.  Today, I want to talk about how you can trust God.

First, I want to address who Satan is and warn you that he is out to destroy God’s people and the beautiful earth God has given us to live on. Satan has done a great job at watering down who God is.  He has very cleverly planted lies all over the world that cause people to question God’s existence or believe that if there is a god he does not care about us. The reason the devil is able to do this so well is because he himself knows God’s Word.  The devil operates on the fringe of God’s Word, using just enough to get you thinking and moving in the wrong direction.  God has issued a warning in scripture…

John 10:10 says “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

1 Peter 5:8 clearly tells us to be ready “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Even now as you are reading this…the devil is positioning himself and stirring up a counterattack, to cause you to question this writing.

“Right now, in the name of Jesus and in the authority given to me as spoken in God’s Holy Word…I cast out spirits that would bring doubt to you and that God’s Holy Spirit would fill you with His truth. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen”

Now, we have prayed, we have identified the enemy…let us get back to God’s Truth.  How do I know God is real? How can I trust what the Bible says? I will humbly try to answer these basic questions, please understand that throughout God’s Word, the physical and spiritual world these questions are answered in many ways I am just touching the tip of truth.

The Bible is the Word of God because of its scientific accuracy.   Physical evidence is found in the Bible. God tells us that “He [God] stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.” Job 26:7  How did Job know that the earth hung in space before the age of modern astronomy and space travel?  The Holy Spirit told him.

The scientists of Isaiah’s day did not know the topography of the earth, but Isaiah said in Isaiah 40:22; “It is [God] that sitteth upon the circle of the earth”.  The word for “circle” here means a globe or sphere.  How did Isaiah know that God sat upon the circle of the earth? Or that the earth was round? By divine inspiration.

The Bible is historically accurate as well.  Daniel 5 tells us of an incident that left physical proof that still exists today. 

Belshazzar hosted a feast with a thousand of his lords and ladies.  A gruesome hand appeared wrote on a wall. The king asked for someone to interpret the writing. Daniel was found and gave the interpretation. After the interpretation, “Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Daniel 5:29

Over time Historians basing their opinion on Babylonian records, claimed this never happened. The last king of Babylon was not Belshazzar, but a man named Nabonidas.  There was not a record of a king named Belshazzar.

 In 1853, an inscription was found on a cornerstone of a temple built by Nabonidas, to the god Ur, which read: “May I, Nabonidas, king of Babylon, not sin against thee. And may reverence for thee dwell in the heart of Belshazzar, my first-born favorite son.”  From other inscriptions we learn that Belshazzar and Nabonidas ruled together.  Belshazzar would later say that Daniel would be the third ruler.

The Bible is an account of the One True God, His son Jesus Christ, the history of God’s people and it is written for everyone…

 1 Peter 1:25 says: “But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” It’s truth and power are live and active today just as it was when God first inspired those men of God to record it. 

Further God tells us how it was recorded…“and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17

The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”

Later, around A.D. 63 Peter would write, addressing us still today “to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”, these powerful words of truth. “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:21

Are you feeling more confident? God is real! The Bible is God’s Word to you and me. Through His Word and the Holy Spirit within you, YOU CAN TRUST GOD.  For me trusting God was a journey, a fight.  As I have shared I came to the cross damaged, trusting God had to be a decision…I had to and still today cast every thought and lie the devil continued to tell me out.

The word “trust” is defined; a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Having confidence, the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone…being dependent, rely on. The Bible defines “trust” in Hebrew  “batach” meaning; refuge, secure, be bold or confident, assurance, hope.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

To truly trust God we must humble ourselves, not as easy as it sounds.  The word “humble” is not popular today! Everyone is seeking to be acknowledged or should I say, “stand out”, our role models are those with the loudest mouth, Hollywood, politics, surely not JESUS or God’s Word. 

1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  These verses come just before we are warned about how the devil is looking for those he can devour.

The word “humility” is defined; having or showing a modest estimate of one’s own importance; to live with dignity; the quality or state of being worthy. Disposition: the tendency of something to act in a certain manner; something that accompanies or is collaterally connected with something else. To understand your position, purpose, to rein in or curb accordingly, to have a sensitive nature.

To be humble takes trusting God for direction, being connected to Him and pursuing the worthiness God bestows on His children. We find our real worth and identity in God.   Having a servant heart willing to say, “it’s not about me the life I seek is found in trusting God”.

How do we get there? I have not arrived, but I am working on it daily, by developing a habit of learning to trust God at all times, in every area of my life.

Trusting God is simply believing that He loves you and knowing He is good, He has the power to help you, and He wants to help you.  As believers we are called to trust God in ALL things but many times, we are more like unbelieving believers. We trust those we see on TV or read about in the news more than we trust God and His Word.

In John 15:5, Jesus says that apart from Him, we can do nothing. We need to lean on Him for help with everything in our lives.

Maybe you attend church each week, however by the time you get home, the world is closing in and you try to do it on your own.  You sink back into complaining about how hard it is because you are trying to do it all on your own leaving God out!

We MUST put God first in our lives. He wants us to put our confidence and trust in Him, all the time, in everything. Trust even when you do not see results, Trust even when everything and everyone around you is telling you something else.

I put up all kinds of walls and roadblocks through my life because I had been hurt and I hurt others as well. I thought, if you do not ask anybody for anything or open your heart to them, they cannot hurt you. I thought I will make my own way, I will make my own decisions because I cannot trust anyone.  If I am going to crash it will be me driving unfortunately, my kids and others I loved were in the car, so they experienced the hurt and brokenness within me. This wrong thinking just kept me from trusting God.

Trusting God is a decision, a habit that takes practice. Somedays we just need to declare our Trust in God!  We can build that trust by knowing what the Bible says. God’s Word gives us confidence as we study it, our mind is renewed, the goal is to no longer think the way the world thinks, we need to think the way God thinks!

Romans 12:2 says “And do not be conformed (listen or act according) to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Make God Habits in your daily life. First, what your eyes see, and your ears hear will affect your ability to see and hear God.  My life began to change when I stopped listening to music or watching movies/TV that had worldly content (i.e. secular, above PG). Today, social media plays a huge part promoting worldly ideas. Do not be fooled the devil uses ALL forms of media to drag us down and destroy us.

Second, find time in your day, even while driving in the car to talk to God, start by thanking Him, praising Him, then acknowledge your need for Him, ask Him to forgive you, then surrender it all to Him…Psalm 51:10 says “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in me.” Sometimes simply saying “Yes God!” can get you moving closer to God and send the devil running.

Third, give God your best, if you blow it…start over, do not let the devil speak lies to you.  Every thought needs to line up with God’s Word. Many times, I think what would God say about this?

Fourth, reach out to other believers, find a woman of God to mentor you!  God tells His children to be disciples and then to reach out and disciple. Find a home church and GO! It is that simple, you will be changed guaranteed!  This is how God works, through the Holy Spirit, through His Word and through His church…other believers.

Joyce Meyers says “When you go beyond what you want, what you think and what you feel and do what the Word and the Spirit of God tell you to do, you are able to develop good habits and break bad ones. You come to a place where the blessings of God – His righteousness, peace and joy – overflow in your life.”

Everything changes when we discover who we are in God’s Kingdom.  We are His children, His creation, made in His image for His purpose! Yes, you are valued and loved by God. You my sweet sisters are Daughters of the Most High King.

Be Blessed, Sister Laurie

No Matter What the Storm… Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Take Jesus’ Hand TODAY!

Every word within the Bible is there with a specific purpose.  It reveals God’s love for us, gives us advice, teaches us about consequences for our decisions, provides hope in what looks like a hopeless situation and so much more. 

God inspired every Word with you in mind…

2 Timothy 3:15-17 tells us “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

I love that God tells us that “from childhood” yes, He is saying you always knew that the Bible is God speaking to you.  This is true because remember we are spiritual beings and within that spirit is God’s truth there when you were still in your Mother’s womb. See Psalms 139:4 and 139:13.

 2 Peter 1:21 further gives us the truth of all scripture “for no prophecy(Word from God, Scripture, Bible) was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

I want to encourage you to meditate not just on this next bit of Scripture but to firmly know in your mind and spirit that God’s Word is for you completely. 

That being said…Please read Matthew 14:24-33.

When the wind swept down from the hills and whipped the Sea of Galilee into a treacherous storm, the disciples found themselves in a fight for their lives on the waves. Then Jesus – as He so often does – came walking through the swells and impossible waves as living peace. When the men in the boat saw what their eyes told them they could not, Peter must have been so compelled by this display of power, that he cried out to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s really you, then have me join you on the water!” And Jesus did not say no. He did not scold Peter for having the audacity to think he could join Him in the miraculous, instead he invited him in. “Come and join me!” As long as Peter’s faith rested on the power of Jesus, he joined Christ in miraculous power. He did what people should not be able to do.

Then, the waves got his attention. He began to believe the ‘ridiculousness’ of it all; his mind let seeming logic begin to break down his child-like trust in the Jesus that stood right in front of him. As Jesus lifted him from the place where he sank, I can hear Him speak these words with the gentleness of a friend, and the disappointment of a coach who saw full potential denied. “What little faith you have! Why would you let doubt win?”

A dear sister in  Jesus Christ, Michelle Loss wrote that amazing description of that day on the sea and how Jesus took Peter’s hand and gave him the confidence to keep moving forward.

She further shares this amazing word of encouragement… As she read Peter’s experience, “the Spirit whispered, “The invitation still stands.” Jesus is still inviting us to join Him on the waves. To let our hearts fully believe in the power of Christ to allow us to partner with Him in the miraculous. To remember that Jesus bought and paid for a royal inheritance, a promised land, and the power of the Holy Spirit for each of us. Now. The temptation to look at what we think we understand, to let the impossible waves crush our faith, will always be waiting along with Christ’s call. But eyes that are fixed on Jesus, enable our feet to move. To see our advocate standing peacefully over the chaos, calling to us, “Come and join me!””

This is true today for you and for me, no matter what the world looks like, the chaos, the repeated violence, the lies we hear daily which have lulled many into a state of fear and uncertainty.  We have a King and a Kingdom to which we belong…Have NO Fear! God is with you!

Be Blessed, Sister Laurie