Wealthy in Love

Today my sweet sisters in Christ Jesus I want to explore with you Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi found in Philippians 2:1-11.  The church was experiencing many of the same challenges you and I face as believers.  Conflict, unforgiveness, pride, selfish ambition, vain conceit, dislike, and false teaching had found it way into the church. 

Paul opens his letter in this way… “Therefore, if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ as there certainly is in abundance, if there is any consolation, comfort, support of love, if there is any fellowship that we share in the Spirit, if there is any great depth of tenderness, affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love toward one another, knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ.” Verses 1-2 personalized  Paul is pleading with them to resolve the tension and seek to heal any brokenness found.  He says if that can be accomplished it will make his joy complete (verse 2).

Paul further describes the condition of the church with these words “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit through factional motives, or strife, but with an attitude of humility being neither arrogant nor self-righteous, regard others as more important than yourselves.  Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”( verses 3-4) 

Put simply you cannot claim to love God and dislike, hold bitterness for others.  The question arises “Why do people do the things they do?”  I believe that we have not fully comprehended the suffering and sacrifice Christ made for us…that day on the cross in which supernatural love was poured out for us…Loving others is so costly only Jesus’s costly love for us can move us to bear the cost.  Jesus has a radical love for us! This love is so profound, so expense…it is a mystery so deep we can only know it in our spirit!  If we can grab hold of this love, we will be so rich in love we will be forever changed, unable to dislike or hold bitterness.  In our humanness…our mind and body cannot ever understand!  This love is spiritual and supernatural! When we step into this love it is spiritually supercharged.

I want to try and bridge our lack of understanding by helping you and I to understand exactly what Jesus did that day.  Most of us can easily say these words “Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me” however that is so limited.  The depth of Jesus’s love for us is revealed on the cross not so much in the physical suffering but in how society looked at this form of death.  What does it cost for God to love us? We know He sent His only Son to earth for the purpose of leading us in knowing God and restoring his relationship with us, revealing who we really are and redeeming us through Jesus’s death.  Philippians 2:6-8TPT says “He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize.   Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant to be exploited. He became human!  He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient.  He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!”

The cross was consider to be the most degrading form of death, the people of Jesus time saw crucifixion differently; the Jews saw it as being cursed by God, ultimate insult, shunned;  the Romans used it much like the Mexican cartels today who hang their victims in a public place as if to say “don’t mess with us”;  the Greeks saw it as humiliating, scandalous, disgraceful, further evidence that God could care less about humanity; to all it was an abomination, degradation, torture fit only for a slave. There is no other death in which the individual’s life could be destroyed that has the same impact and yet Jesus took the weight of the world, the sin and suffered this for you and me.  I don’t know about you but just writing these words is making me nauseas and tearful.

What great love…I will never fully comprehend while I walk this earth.  This is where love is revealed…we must let this revelation lead us into understanding how much we are loved and redeemed by a risen Lord.  And for this reason alone…verse 9-11TPT says “Because of that obedience, God exalted him and multiplied his greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names!  The authority of the name of Jesus causes every knee to bow in reverence! Everything and everyone will one day submit to this name—in the heavenly realm, in the earthly realm, and in the demonic realm. And every tongue will proclaim in every language: “Jesus Christ is Lord Yahweh,” bringing glory and honor to God, his Father!”

You see, the Father, the Creator of us all acknowledges what Jesus has done for love!  We are rich in love!  And so now I leave you with this question can you love as He did?  Philippians 2:5 leaves us with these words…”And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.”

Blessings, Sister Laurie

This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Love by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India.  It is available on RightNow Media.com

The Armor of Light Our Only Defense

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!  We as believers have a tremendous responsibility in how we speak and interact with others. Before I begin my next writing God has given from Romans 13; I want to address a situation I was witness to yesterday, in fact two situations.  Unfortunately, each of these situations happen with the same believer who I know well and regard as a sister in Christ.  I know she had best intentions however we must be ever so careful with our words.  Our tongue can do the devil’s work!  Let me explain…

First Situation:  During a Sunday morning greeting around a cup of coffee at church a young woman who is a growing believer approached a sweet sister in Christ with a typical greeting.  The usual “How are you?” was exchanged.  This young woman had recently stopped dating a man, who had followed her to church a couple of times.  The concerned sister started a deeper conversation, fishing for details…well-meaning but the result left the young woman in anguish.  You see this young woman’s marriage ended several years ago.  The relationship was a violent one, abuse and drugs were a huge part of the marriage.  This young woman spent years broken and held captive in this relationship.  Over the last 5 years she has been delivered from her traumatic past.  She is now walking in the light of Jesus full of hope.  Somehow the conversation got around to the fact that she was divorced, the sister began down a path that divorce was breaking a covenant with Moses, negatively speaking she pointed out how this young woman needed to seek reconciliation.  Without knowing the details or what this young woman has been through this sister now becomes God’s judge and convicts this young woman with her words.  I might add mixing biblical truth with condemnation.  Do you see what I am getting at…WE MUST BE CAREFUL WITH OUR WORDS?! I believe the sister was speaking out of her flesh and not out of her spirit. We must always speak out of love and ask God to give us words of encouragement no matter what the circumstance.  Fortunately, I caught the tail end of the conversation and the young woman now crushed, privately asked me to clarify and pray with her.

Second Situation:  I attended a prayer meeting and one of the prayer requests was for us to pray for a woman who son had served in Afghanistan and was killed in action several years ago. The woman bringing the request was a family member.   Based on what is happening over there currently, all the grief of this loss has come back along with the sense that this young man sacrificed his life in vain.  I want to say that this scenario of someone suffering loss and how we as believers in our effort to bring comfort fail.  I have heard this question asked so many times…”Was he a believer?” “Was he or she saved?”  What difference does this make? Can you see how these questions can send the one asking for prayer down a dark road, dwelling on where the loved one is now?  Does that change the way we pray for those loved ones hurting in their loss?  Definitely Not!  Even if the family members are not believers God still is working and will still bring comfort. Can you see how distressing this can be for the person asking for prayer?  Once again be careful what questions we ask and how we respond when loss is involved.  This is a time when little words can be spoken and listening ears are needed.  Offer prayers of comfort.

Ok, thank you for listening I pray you carefully consider my words. I will get off my soap box…

Romans 13:12-13TPT says “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So, we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes. And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon. We must live honorably, surrounded by the light of this new day, not in the darkness of drunkenness and debauchery, not in promiscuity and sensuality, not being argumentative or jealous of others.”

Today I want to talk about the darkness spoken of in these verses.  Last week I offered words of encouragement and with intent spoke of the urgency of  this hour. Verse 12 continues this thinking because for we are closer now, this moment to meeting Jesus face to face closer then we were this morning. Right? Think about that…does that inspire you?  The darkness of living in this fallen world will soon end for believers! Hallelujah!

Let us move forward and see what God is now teaching us…Verse 13 is a warning to put aside certain behavior, put your seat belt on the Truth is about to challenge you;

Depending on your translation you might find…

Rioting KJV, gluttony GNV, carousing NASB or orgies NIV in the Greek “komos”  letting loose, carousal, binder, binge, spree.  This might mean overspending, loss of self-control in behavior or speech. Excessiveness or greedy, unreasonable.

Drunkenness KJV, GNV, NASB and NIV in the Greek “methe” use of an intoxicant, intoxication, that being any kind of substance, a condition of disgrace.

Chambering KJV, GNV, sexual promiscuity NASB, sexual immorality NIV in the Greek “koite” cohabitation outside of marriage, aggressive infliction, perversion of God’s design for intimacy.

Wantonness KJV, GNV, debauchery NASB, sensuality NIV in the Greek “aselgeia” licentiousness, recklessness, lasciviousness, carnality, shameless behavior, pursuit of physical sexual pleasure, lust.

Strife KJV, GNV, NASB, quarreling NIV in the Greek “eris” to quarrel, wrangling, bickering, contention, rivalry, an unsavory, immoral desire for power or control.

Envying KJV, GNV, jealousy NASB, NIV, in the Greek “zelos” unfavorable zeal, malevolence, resentfulness, indignation, mistrustfulness, a strong and relentless desire for what belongs to another

Why am I defining these undesirable behaviors? They are common in this day, even we as believers must examine ourselves and motives regularly.  Let me paint a picture of how this warning must be taken seriously and how we as believers must teach our love ones the dangerous traps hidden here.  During the spring in America, there is a common practice among young people primarily college age to travel during spring break and gather with other young people.  Often this is a time of reckless abandonment to all that is decent.  Romans 13:13 captures much of the conduct during this week…it has been hailed as a time for “the rite of passage”. Passage of what? Innocence and purity? It is a time of relentless evil and awful indulgence.  What a price is paid by the participants…the shame and regret they carry long after.

The Spirit pleads “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23ESV

Again, the Holy Spirit cries out to us…”So, beloved, since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent and make every effort to be found by Him at His return spotless and blameless, in peace that is, inwardly calm with a sense of spiritual well-being and confidence, having lived a life of obedience to Him.”  2 Peter 3:14AMP

This obedience is for you and I, to protect us and prepare us for the future.  Paul says in Ephesians 5:27TPT Jesus in coming and here we find a picture of how He desires to find us…”Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? To surrender yourselves to God to be His sacred, living sacrifices. And live-in holiness, experiencing all that delights His heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.   Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.” 

Let us stay as far away from sin as possible…”But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for nor even think about gratifying the flesh in regard to its improper desires.” Romans 13:14AMP

Right now, examine yourself…how can you be ready, are you properly dressed, completely immersed in our Lord Jesus Christ…How can you clothe yourself in the radiance of Jesus Christ?

There is a fork in the road one way leads to the world and instant gratification that only satisfies for a moment…do not delay take no detour choose the other route… put on the Armor of Light, Jesus Christ!

  Sister Laurie

Let Love Be the Defining Quality in Your Life

“So, let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat, drink, or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.”

Romans 14:19-21 MSG

Romans 14 speaks about how as believers we should make every effort to walk in love.  Here in verses 19-21, we see a wonderful example of using every encounter with others to love and live out our relationship with Jesus.  In the Greek translation the word “diokein” is used which translated “make every effort” or “to pursue”.  We should actively pursue peace and seek to build others up in order to bring about something which does not yet exist, that is the Blessed Hope, also known as the Rapture. Titus 2:11-14 tells us that our main pursuit in life should be to complete the work Jesus began so that He can return and bring an end to the forces of evil now operating on earth.  “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present age,  looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, eager for good deeds.”

Are you a stumbling block for others?  Verse 13 tells us to “Make up your mind not to put any obstacle in your sister’s way.”  This is love lived out, are you participating in behaviors or having an attitude that drags others into wrong thinking or clouds their ability to be delivered from Satan’s grip?  Maybe you have been delivered and you yourself find arrogance and pride welling up because you have walk out of your sinful past.  Do others see you as being better than them based on your attitude? There is sin attached to that way of living and thinking.  Jesus tells us we must remain humble at all times, knowing that you are not the one who redeemed you BUT your freedom and redemption comes through Jesus Christ alone.

Food was being used as an example in the main scripture because many of the new believers were of Jewish heritage and pork was consider unclean and could not be eaten, it also speaks of wine in other translations as well.  Obviously, if someone is working through their deliverance from alcohol, as a believer we should honor that deliverance by abstaining from any alcohol to help encourage them. This also speaks of words we speak, attitudes or any behavior not honoring our Heavenly Father.  As the scripture says “Don’t eat, drink, or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.” Romans 14:21 MSG

Many times, the taming of our own flesh is challenged as we are called to “build one another up”, promote spiritual growth…Romans 15:3-6MSG says “That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever He will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!”  Let Jesus be your example!

Jesus welcomed each one of us when we came to Him in faith…regardless of ethnic origin, cultural background, or position.  Union with Jesus Christ overrides differences and forms a common bond among believers.  When we accept one another we glorify God.

“Owe nothing to anyone except to love and seek the best for one another; for he who unselfishly loves his neighbor has fulfilled the essence of the law relating to one’s fellowman.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and any other commandment are summed up in this statement: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor it never hurts anyone. Therefore, unselfish love is the fulfillment of the Law.”  Romans 13:8-10AMP

“Owe nothing to anyone” in other words “no debt” this was spoken in regards to being diligent in paying taxes, tribute, honor and  respect they are to be paid in full.  However, there is a continuing debt to be paid out…the debt of love.  And that needs to be seen in every opportunity.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” sums up the entire law…how can you love when you gossip or speak ill of another person, maybe you are jealous, covet or have unforgiveness still corrupting the work Jesus wants to do in your spirit. 

So how then can you activate “love” or in other words express your faith.   Here are six ways that will help you activate Christ like love in your daily life.

  1. Invest your life in others.
  2. Be careful to give ONLY Godly advice as well as be an excellent listener.
  3. Bring the best out of people through affection and encouragement.
  4. Forgive…be willing to forgive even when there is no repentance.
  5. Make the world a better place by acts of kindness.
  6. Intercede daily for those you encounter in prayer before the throne of grace.

Every opportunity, every encounter will fail if your motive is for selfish gain…let me explain.  Many times, we give of our time and finances in expectation of a return, we see opportunities as investment with an earthly return instead of a kingdom return.  Seek the love of your Heavenly Father, every investment here on earth will see a heavenly return.

That hurting sister that you prayed for who you tirelessly share Jesus with…will greet you with loving arms in Heaven, as Jesus welcomes you home!  Make it then your life’s pursuit, your “love walk”…receive these words…“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-3ESV

When the trumpet sounds…may you and I be known…for the love we demonstrate to others!

Sister Laurie

Waiting

A couple weeks ago I shared with you my sweet sisters in Jesus Christ, how the crippled man at the pool in John 5 spent years waiting for his healing.  For this man much of the waiting and frustration he experienced was of his own doing…his attitude kept him from the miraculous healing God had for him.

Waiting is a part of life, and the Bible teaches us how we wait has a lot to do with our relationship with Jesus.  Here in this writing, I would like to share with you some insight on how in the process of waiting our faith is exposed.  In other words, waiting causes us to encounter many different emotions, we get to know ourselves better.  So, you might even say waiting can be a test of our faith and the importance you and I put on our relationship with God. 

There is a direct link to waiting, our faith and our obedience.  In  Isaiah 40 the final verses tell us  “He gives strength to the weary, and to the one who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord.  Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

Now I am not speaking ONLY about waiting for your prayers to be answered, I am speaking about the everyday waiting we do. Traffic lights, test results, airplane flights, vacation, Amazon orders, checkout lines, and doctor’s appointments; the list goes on and on.  How handle the wait speaks volumes about our relationship with God.

As believers we are called to respond as Jesus would in ALL things including waiting.  To help us the Bible teaches us 6 principles for living with a Kingdom perspective daily.

  1. Remember God is sovereign, no matter what we see and hear in this world…He is the ultimate authority. “All the inhabitants of the earth are of no account, but He does according to His will among the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can fend off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” Daniel 4:35 To more clearly understand this read https://newcreeations.org/sovereignty-of-god/
  2. We must trust and depend on God.  Psalm 9:10 tells us “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, Lord, have not abandoned those who seek You.”
  3. Spend time with God daily, make God part of your day.  The more we know God the clearer we will hear His voice and see Him working in our life.  Prayer is a huge part of this relationship, talking with God, simple words wholehearted spoken to Him about your life and those around you…Pastor Rick Warren uses “breathe prayers” throughout the day to privately connect with God.  Throughout the New Testament we see Jesus leaving the crowd to be alone with God, uninterrupted.  “But as for you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
  4. Be expectant, know with all your heart that God is listening and that He sees what you are going through, the joy and the tears…there is a well-known saying “garbage in…garbage out” what you allow in your body, mind and spirit will directly affect your relationship with God.  ”And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure, it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.” Mark 11:24
  5. Obedience even when it seems impossible. When you do not understand remain obedient until understanding comes.  This is faith lived out. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves.” James 1:22
  6. God has given each of us gifts and talents to do the work of the Kingdom.  This work expresses our love for God.  We keep moving forward, keep pursuing Jesus NO MATTER WHAT.  Romans 12:4-8 “In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we are talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we would not amount to much, would we? So, since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.  If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.”

Now you might be thinking what does this have to do with waiting?  Whenever you or I find ourselves waiting in any given situation it becomes an opportunity to show our love for Jesus and one another.  The emotions that are stirred up during the wait express how we feel about God…is He a priority or a weekend duty? Or even forgotten during these times?  I pray for you it is the first.  Our reaction in any given situation reveals our faith.  Jesus tells us that we will have a variety of emotions and feelings given to us by God. It is when those same reactions, feelings or emotions do not reflex our position in God’s Kingdom we leave ourselves wide open to the devil’s plan to destroy us and our relationship with God. 

Some of you are facing much larger waits…the same applies to these seasons as well.  God gives us a very clear example of how when we wait on Him…He is faithful to send the help we need. Daniel fasted as an offering of obedience for 21 days while waiting for God’s help.  An Angel of the Lord answered Daniel in this way…

 Daniel 10:12-13  “Then he(an angel of the Lord) said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I (the same angel)  have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia (the devil) was standing in my way for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael (the guardian angel of the Lord), one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia(the devil). ”  Try inserting your name instead of Daniel and make it personal…God is fighting your battle and He is sending the help you need today…it is on the way so hold on!  In the meantime, God is asking for obedience before understanding.  Why not start today…

There are 3 scriptures I frequently use to remind myself of who I am in Jesus and how I need to react in any given situation.

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

I pray these words minister to your heart and that you use your waiting time to reflect the truth and love of Jesus Christ!

Blessings, Sister Laurie

Thank you to Pastor Jesse Jamerson for his thoughts on waiting last Sunday, much of which I have used in this amazing truth about waiting and the opportunity it brings.

Look Behind You

Psalm 23:6 KJV says “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

Wherever you go, the people you encounter, the physical work you do, the words you speak, even the way you sit, walk, run, or move leaves a mark. In other words, how you live each day leaves a legacy of who you are and what truth you embrace.

The great psalmist, David knew exactly what he was saying when he compared us to sheep and called our wonderful Heavenly Father our Shepherd.  Sheep can and will ruin and ravage the land almost beyond remedy.  But in bold contrast they can, be the most beneficial of all livestock if properly guided by their shepherd…leaving the land beautiful, rich, and healthy.

In ancient literature sheep were referred to as “those of the golden hooves” simply because they were regarded and esteemed so highly for their beneficial effect on the land.

In the 6th verse of Psalm 23 David says that “goodness and mercy will follow you ALL the days of your life.” However, there is a cavoite to that…ONLY the sheep who follow the Shepherd will leave that legacy behind them.

What does that mean? The sheep who follow their Shepherd, allow Him to speak into their life, listen and move where He directs, surrenders to His will and follows His purpose; they will leave behind them something worthwhile, productive, beautiful and beneficial to both themselves, others and to their Shepherd. 

Close your eyes right now and see the land as the Shepherd sees this land and sheep He tends…Where they walk the land is fertile and weed free.  It continues to reproduce the work of the Shepherd and is seen as beautiful, rich and abundance…green pastures, clean and clear water in a running stream safe to drink deeply…lush trees to rest under.  The new growth gives way to new fruit, delicious and beautiful and all that encounter it hunger and thirst for the abundant goodness available. All are welcomed, valued, and loved here by the Good Shepherd.

Now a question comes to me….there is no room for excuse…I claim to be a daughter of the Most High King and so I must acquest that is other than by inheritance… I have been purchased at a great price…supernatural blood shed so that I can follow my Shepherd, look behind myself and see all that God has done through me. 

As I look more questions form, a deeper surrender is needed and so I also ask the same of you…

Do I leave a blessing behind me? Do I leave a trail of sadness or of gladness behind? Is my memory, in other people’s minds, intertwined with mercy and goodness, or would they rather forget me altogether?  Do I deposit a blessing behind me or am a nuisance to others?  Is my life a pleasure to people or a pain?

In Isaiah 52:7 a picture of one who leaves a godly legacy is revealed, “How beautiful on the mountains, in all the land are the feet of the messenger bringing good news, breaking the news that all’s well,  proclaiming good times, announcing salvation, telling all the people of the earth, “Your God reigns!” MSG personalized

Sometimes we must ask ourselves tough yet simple questions…

Do I leave behind peace in lives…or turmoil?

Do I leave behind forgiveness…or bitterness?

Do I leave behind contentment…or conflict?

Do I leave behind flowers of joy…or frustration?

Do I leave behind love…or resentment?

Some people leave such a sorry mess behind them wherever they go that they prefer to cover their tracks. When making out a list of people…relatives and friends…do you write their names with joy and excitement looking forward to enjoying their company or is there a hesitation as you recall your last encounter or conversation?  How about where you work, do you avoid some people? How do others see you?

For the true child of God, the one under the Shepherd’s care, there should never be any sense of shame or fear as you encounter people from your past or present.  Why? Because there you have left a legacy of uplift, encouragement, and inspiration to others.  For some of you I know this is tough…harm has been done however no situation is to big for God.  He promises to restore what the locust have eaten. (Joel 2:25-27)  Patience and waiting on God is key if this applies to you.  There can be nothing stopping you now…as you live in the care of the Good Shepherd.

There was an amazing man of God Dr. David Livingstone, who was a missionary in Africa (1813-1873), who’s good and kindly acts were always blended with mercy.  So often people he encountered were harsh and vindictive…yet his compassion and tenderness were always evident.  He found forgiveness for others despite their behavior and offered God’s mercy.

I must ask myself and you must do the same…is this my attitude to other people? We must ask God to help us; Psalm 19:13 NASB tells us  “Also keep your servant back from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; then I will be innocent, and I will be blameless of great wrongdoing.”

Do I sit up on my pedestal of self-pride and look at others in a condescending manner or do I identify myself with them in their dilemma and allow the goodness and mercy God overflow onto them?  Are my eyes critical?  I know with all my heart that Jesus has and continues to extend goodness and mercy to me!  In fact, this overflow is purposed to lead others to Him.

Now that we belong to Jesus and He is our Shepherd we must also consider these words, “So roll up your sleeves, get your head in the game, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Do not lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You did not know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”” 1 Peter 1:13-16 MSG

Finally sweet sisters, Jesus looks upon our lives in tenderness for He loves us deeply.  He sees the long years during which His goodness and mercy have followed you and I without slackening.  He longs to see some measure of that same goodness and mercy not only passed on to others by us but also passed back to Him with joy.

Our Shepherd longs for our love to be demonstrated by what we leave behind…how we love proof that we love Him and this overflowing love happens because HE LOVED US FIRST!

Blessings, Sister Laurie

This writing comes from my thoughts and insight while reading “A Shepherd looks at Psalm 23”, by Phillip Keller.

Living with an Unhealthy Heart

Last writing dear sisters I spoke of having a healthy heart.  Today I wanted to share with you how living with a heart that has been damaged keeps you from the freedom God is offering all His children.  You were created to live a full life with purpose, confidence, love, with the strength…not let the littlest offense send your mind and spirit reeling.  Once again I want to remind you of the connect between the mind and spirit or what the Bible refers to as your heart.  Your heart is where your true self is revealed, where daily decisions and actions are born.  This means each of us must let our spirit be in charge, it is our spirit that is in communication with the Holy Spirit. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, you are the daughters of God.  For you, my sister have not received a spirit of oppression leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as His daughter by which you cry out, Abba! Father!  The Spirit Himself testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God.” Romans 8: 14-16 NASB personalized   Remember, your spirit must become bigger than your mind because out of your spirit flows the passion and power of God through the work of the Holy Spirit.  A healthy heart grows and flows forth for the purposes of God’s Kingdom and benefits all those God puts in your circle of influence.

There are three types of damaged heart each has its own characteristics however they can work with each other building strongholds in your life that does not allow God’s Truth to reach your spirit. These strongholds reside in you mind and block the work God wants to do within your heart. That is why living with one of these wounds or a combination of them will bring broken relationships and strife into your life. An unhealthy heart will not only devastate the work of God in your life, but it will have an effect on those you love. This is a battleground, the devil works to hold you captive in unforgiveness, bitterness and self-focus, let us look closely at these three hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to identity areas in your heart that need housekeeping and healing.

The Wounded Heart

You will face hurt and disappointment, mistreatment and criticism in life, there is no getting around it. Your past and your ability to forgive plays a huge part in your heart condition.  As a woman you were wired to nurture and love, be the strong one emotionally.  But many times you find yourself coping in your own strength, suppressing feelings, or denying disappointments even abuse. Emotions that are neglected will resurface, in the form of a wounded heart.  If these emotions are left untreated wrong thinking becomes a way for bitterness to form.  Bitterness or hidden anger toward someone who has hurt you is compromising your heart health, that hurt will slowly move into hate and will change how you react to situations based on past experiences. “Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings. Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.” Hebrews 12:15 TLB  Neglecting the wound gives the devil entrance remember sin is crouching at the door. 

Right now, your saying…I am not wounded, I have forgiven them…yet you live guarded, with your own armor, suspicious of people or the motives behind their actions. Is that you? Do you trust? The wounded heart battles paranoia unable to experience kind efforts from others.  Another evidence of a wounded heart is fear or deep anxiety.  Unresolved hurt or anger will lead you to expect more of the same.  The smallest failure of another individual opens old wounds they hold you captive and unable to move forward.  Unresolved pain does not diminish with time, rather strongholds become larger within your heart making a healthy relationship with God and others impossible.  

How then can I be free of the hurt I feel, the bitterness and anger I have been holding on to?  Carefully choose a woman of God, find a safe place, and let your story be told, let your emotions vent.  God cannot heal what we fail to give Him! Yes, God was there, and He saw however we need to share it with Him.  Here is where forgiveness comes in, the only true way to move past even the most horrible hurt is through forgiveness. “For if you forgive other people for their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14 NASB Only through forgiveness can you stop bitterness and hate from withholding what Jesus did for you on the cross.  Jesus gives you the ability to forgive because He forgave those who crucified Him and you as well.  This is not up for negotiation…forgiveness of sins and forgiveness of what other have done to you goes hand in hand. The choice is yours and so it takes willingness on your part.  Some people like holding on the hurt, it becomes a platform for attention, an excuse to hate.  Sadly, the damage caused by holding on keeps you in broken limbo.  Your ability to forgive is essential in the healing processing, no matter how difficult you must lay those hurts at Jesus’ feet and forgive those who have hurt you. Ask God to heal your heart and then declare that healing over yourself.   When you have a healthy heart, you are not careless or naïve in your view of people, but you are open and able to believe the best about others’ actions and motives.  Dwelling on the hurt, reliving the circumstances or experience allows the devil to continue to fuel your wounds.  If you find yourself in this situation I strongly suggest reading “Battlefields of the Minds”, by Joyce Meyers.

The Hypocritical Heart

A hypocritical heart is one that fails to achieve honesty in view of itself. It focuses on the faults of others while at the same time ignores their own situation or sin. Luke 6:42 is well known for its description of hypocrisy “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”   This heart condition is more concerned with how things appear then what is going on inside. It hides behind a mask, there is a disconnect between what is seen and what is true this leads to a destructive heart condition. Many times, this heart condition attaches itself to a wounded heart, ignoring what is brewing inside, pointing the finger elsewhere.  A focus on the failings of others reveals your hypocrisy. The hypocritical heart engages in gossip…spreading less than kind words about others.  Jesus suggests that the right response when we witness another’s sin is mourning, not private satisfaction.  Heart check right here!  Is that you? Something like, “It’s about time Sally got caught with her hand in the cookie jar” said with a smirk.  Love does not desire the sin to be magnified or the punishment to be without mercy. The Bible commands us to guard and evaluate our own heart.  If you fail to do so or focus greater energy on evaluating others, hypocrisy is in full bloom.  One easy way to identify hypocrisy in your own heart is by taking inventory of your life.  On Sundays at church, in public, or at home…are you the same person? React the same? Is there a hidden part of you? Ouch!  For those of you who are Moms your consistency speaks volumes, if you “put on” an act at church your children will see church, see Jesus as their Savior as nothing more than shallow or unreal.  It is your responsibility to represent Jesus to your children with consistency and love in every area of your life.

The first step in healing this heart condition is humility. We must take an honest look at our life; we must humble ourselves and acknowledge our wrongdoings before any process of healing can begin. Repentance is key.  Many times, this repentance must be made to those you have hurt or gossiped about.  You cannot hold back…those negative words spoken about another must be forgiven.  A healthy heart does not allow embarrassment or shame keep it from offering a heartfelt apology.  You must adopt a habit of self-evaluation based in God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit work within you to expose wrong thinking.

The Greedy Heart

A greedy heart has the desire for one’s own benefit. Luke 12:15 NASB warns “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed.”  As a sister in Jesus Christ, your heart must be void of greed.  Another way to describe a greedy heart is to say it is self-focused or selfish.  The Bible defines greed as a form of idolatry, revealing a love for things of this world, setting your priorities on self-satisfaction and recognition. The greedy heart focuses on things that cannot truly appease; wealth, popularity and power are illusions as they cannot fill your need to be satisfied. Your temptation to have what others enjoy can be surprising powerful.  The greed or your pursuit of self-gratification can quickly become bondage, blocking your ability to be sensitive to God’s purpose for your life.  Idolatry is a clear violation of God’s first and most significant commandment.  You, my sister must not let anything interfere or hinder your devotion to the One True God, your Heavenly Father.  He made this commandment first because it touches every aspect of your life.  When your focus becomes inward or upon worldly aspirations God’s position in your life becomes out of focus.

Healing such a heart begins with confession; acknowledging the greed which opens the way for God to remove it. What is important to God must become your guide.  When you take the “me” out of a situation and look to honor God it changes your position, there is a shift, a newfound sense of worth.  Your true worth in found in God and not in the mirror or acquired goods of this world.   God has the right to supreme leadership in the your life and to the unhindered devotion of the your heart.   When your devotion is centered on God, He provides safety and protection. God is asking you to make Him first in your life, when your focus, thinking, and desires belong to Him you will be satisfied.  Nothing else in the world has the lasting, supernatural power that your devotion to God brings.  You were born with a hunger that only is satisfied through your relationship with God.

Expose right now, what is hiding in your heart dear sister. Become sensitive to those things that can bring sickness or destroy your heart.  The symptoms of these three heart conditions hide in the dark places of your life, you must expose the negative experiences of your life and allow God to heal them.  You have come so far in your relationship with God.  He is calling you to go deeper…the Holy Spirit within you is working with your spirit to bring healing.  Through God’s Word the Truth is revealed…With God you can face the past, heal the wounds, say no to wrong thinking, close the door on feelings that do not line up with who God says you are…His daughter, the daughter of the Most High King!  Today! Proclaim your position…you belong to the One True God, loved, valued, worthy to do the work and live a life full of purpose. 

“Create, begin the process in me clean and purify my heart, make it healthy according to Your standard, focused on You God, I ask You My Loving Father to renew and remove, to do the work necessary so that my spirit would be steadfast and positioned to receive all that You have for me so that I am able to serve You and fulfill the purpose You have given me.” Psalm 51:10 personalized

Blessings, Sister Laurie

Healthy Heart

Our heart or better known as your “mind and spirit” will shape your relationship with God, people, and the choices you make in your life. Everything proceeds from the heart.  It is our true self, revealed and lived out daily.  Jesus works through your heart giving you the ability to live for God’s purpose.  God intends for all His children to work out of their heart, sharing in  different ways all He has done for them through Jesus Christ.  In my current studies, it is said, “The believer, yes, you my sister must allow the beneficial traits of the heart (in this case spirit) to emerge unhindered, while cleansing your heart (mind) from those attitudes and ideas that can be destructive.”

 For me this means we must let our spirit be in charge, it is the spirit that is in communication with the Holy Spirit. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the daughters of God.  For you, my sister have not received a spirit of oppression leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as His daughter by which you cry out, Abba! Father!  The Spirit Himself testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God.” Romans 8: 14-16 NASB personalized

 I often say,  ”Your spirit must become bigger than your mind because out of your spirit flows the passion and power of God through the work of the Holy Spirit.”  A healthy heart grows and flows forth for the purposes of God’s Kingdom and benefits all those God puts in your circle of influence.

There are three attributes of a healthy heart let us take a closer look at these three elements and how they work together so that you and I will be enabled to live our life full of purpose and love as God intended.

The Thirsty Heart

Matthew 5:6 tells us “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” The hunger and thirst speaks of what do we have our attention on…is it positioned to see the world through Jesus’ eyes?  How does someone become hungry and thirsty? Our hunger was always there! We are spiritual beings and we long for an intimate relationship with our Creator.  It begins when we acknowledge that only through Jesus and the redemptive love in His death and resurrection for you personally.   As we recognize His love…come into an understanding of the sacrifice made and embrace without question that we were dead spiritually and near death physically.  How many times can you say if not for God I would have…  It is at that point we fall in love with God igniting a passion to know Him, our hunger and thirst is revealed. This “righteousness” simply stated is “to be right with God”, only through this position we realize who we are and that only God can fill our emptiness, satisfy our spirit and bring our flesh under control.

Having a thirsty heart is an important part of the supernatural ministry God desires to pour out through His children. If we thirst for God, He is able to work His purposes in our lives without hindrances. When our heart is thirsty we are able to maintain the right perspective on our daily life, God’s purpose for us becomes central in how we live.

The Repentant Heart

“Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19 We must be quick to repent, only with a heart that has been forgiven can we receive a fresh filling through the Holy Spirit. When we confess wrongdoing and choose to turn away from it, God is able to help us experience the born-again life spoken of in His Word. It is ONLY through repentance (taking responsibility) can we experience the abundant life Christ came to give. Being a woman after God’s own heart is not being a sinless person, but a repentant one. There are several examples in God’s Word about how repentance allows God to restore the broken, bring freedom to the captives. David is an excellent source for understanding how powerful a repentant heart can be. David’s pursuit of restoration found in Psalm 51 is an excellent example of how a repentant heart rebuilds our relationship with God and leads us back to a “right standing with God.” When we work from a repentant heart, we surrender ourselves and allow God to do protective work in our hearts which allows us to not hold on to sin that works life-long destruction. Even now you and I face temptation daily however when we hold tightly to a repentant heart with the help of the Holy Spirit we can overcome and become victors in Christ. A repentant heart is cultivated by going back to the beginning. What is your first true experience of Christ…identify the confession of sin, your repentance. Did you have a clear sense of your unworthiness and failures? Was it in this moment you came to the end of yourself realizing without Jesus you could not continue? Were you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Living in chaos? Look back, see clearly the impact sin has had in our life and the consequences. This is where you see how forgiveness of sin is vital to your heart health. This reality and knowing your need of Jesus, holding tightly being absolutely dependent on Jesus, His Truth and Love will help you maintain a heart of repentance.

The Teachable Heart

Many times, when I am ministering, I conclude with asking the attendants about the relationships in their life. Self-examination is necessary…do you find yourself isolated? Do you have a continually need to be right? Are you able to see the fruit in another believer and receive direction from them? Who speaks God’s Truth into your life? Are you accountable to a woman of God who looks to God for direction in her life? Careful selection is required and accountability a must! A healthy Heart requires fellowship with other believers, believers who are pursuing God, you know, those that have that same hunger and thirst to be right with God. You should know by now where I am headed…a teachable heart is reflective of a humble heart. If you find yourself unable to be taught…there may be a stronghold full of hurt guarded by a wall of pride. This MUST be brought down! An unteachable heart will find itself lost to God’s Truth…weak and prey to the devil and temptation. A teachable heart can only grow out of a humble heart. We must acknowledge that this journey we are on is a continual learning experience, arrival happens when you trade in your earthly body for the one God has prepared for us to wear through eternity. If we are not growing in our relationship with God, we are stagnant, God calls us to a constant forward motion.

A healthy Heart is evidence of God working from the inside out. A part of the heart (our spirit) He desires to build is a thirsty, repentant, and teachable. Such a heart knows it desperately needs God, His presence, His grace, and His direction. One last thought…pride works in the opposite direction. When a person’s hunger is for selfish gain, and feels she is above the need to confess wrongdoing, that individual is headed toward a colossal fall. Only with a humble heart can your hunger and thirst be satisfied; can you fully surrender to your Forever Father and receive all He has for you…Right Now!

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” Colossians 3:15-17 MSG

Blessings, Sister Laurie 

You are Susceptible!

James 1:12 says “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Right now, let us ask God to help us understand this persevering thing, which is to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty. “God help me understand how to recognize and overcome temptation. To embrace Your truth in my life.  Reveal to me the spiritual tools necessary to defeat the attacks of the enemy. Amen”

Temptation is defined as “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.”  Well, that is definitely clear enough…so how do we fight temptation?

Temptation is a prelude to sin, how we react and who we call on for help makes all the different in the world. There is a pattern to temptation, how it gets our attention and then puts evil desire into our mind.  This evil desire turns into sin.  Sin is an action word the dictionary says it is a noun, but to me a verb is a better definition.  A verb is defined as “a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence” see where I am going?  Sin has movement and it starts with a thought, our mind dwells on the temptation until we can no longer resist.  Temptation is often a short cut, an escape, or a desire to get revenge.  Many times, our genuine desire to be accepted and loved creates an unhealthy temptation to feel pleasure which leads to sin.

God gave us a hunger and thirst to have a personal relationship with Him, Satan corrupted that hunger and thirst into a “shortcut”, this is how Adam and Eve were deceived, the garden was not enough…they wanted more…to be more like God.  They did not understand that they already were “made in His image” the closest and most highly cherished by God.  In this deception temptation was born.

The first thing you need to understand that no one escapes temptation.  Temptation is Satan’s primary weapon to destroy you. In John 10:10 God warns us “The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy”. We cannot stop there we need to continue to the end of the scripture because freedom is found in those next few words, “ I (Jesus) came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Today, I want to help you and I tune up our skills of recognizing temptation and then stop it dead in its tracks…reaching out to Jesus who is the great Overcomer.

God knew temptation would be part of our life, our ability to resist would need His help, the help of a Savior.  So, God turned temptation into an opportunity.  God wants us to see temptation as a stepping stone to spiritual maturity, not as something that keeps you captive.  Many times we think temptation starts in our circumstances, in fact, it starts in our mind. Many times the circumstance or better said consequence comes later.  God warns us in His word several times, here in Mark 7:21-23 we clearly see, “For from within, that is out the heart (mind) of men, come base and malevolent thoughts and schemes, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries,  acts of greed and covetousness, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained conduct, envy and jealousy, slander and profanity, arrogance and self-righteousness and foolishness (poor judgment).  All these evil things, schemes and desires come from within and defile and dishonor the man.”

Satan uses doubt and deception to raise up temptation in your mind.  He has studied you, your emotions, your body language, and he is very clever.  Satan twists our human nature which is to control, compete and win into wrong thinking or sinful action.  The Bible says he is the “father of lies” John 4:44, he simply changes God’s truth by a word or two to get you questioning God.  The devil’s desire is to keep you from walking in God’s truth. 

So, what do we do now that we have a clear picture of temptation and how it leads to sin in our lives?  Here are some facts to help us see God’s Truth:

Fact One:  No matter how mature you become as a believer temptation will always be there.  Do NOT let the devil make you feel ashamed or guilty because you are tempted. 

Fact Two:  Consider temptation as a compliment, the devil only messes with those he knows carry weapons to destroy him. The real truth is the devil fears us way more than we should fear him, we have God on our side he lost that honor long ago.

Fact Three:  Be realistic, you will never be able to avoid temptation completely, you cannot stop the devil from making suggestions, but you do NOT have to act on them.

Fact Four: Know your weakness, your vulnerability and the minute your mind starts dwelling on something unhealthy turn to Jesus, His truth…”Be sober well balanced and self-disciplined, be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion fiercely hungry, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 AMP 

Fact Four: Get your emotions under control, speak life into yourself “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” Proverbs 18:21  Life is messy, but God never leaves you hanging!! Get your thoughts under control,  2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy negative thoughts and behaviors. We destroy the lies, opinions and every lofty attitude raised against the knowledge of God and make every thought obedient to the truth of Jesus Christ.” personalized

Fact Five:  When temptation comes, just CRY OUT for help to God…judge your thoughts and emotions against God’s Word…have your life-giving scriptures ready to speak in your situation. Jesus faced the same temptations we do, He met them head on be saying “It is written”, this truth belongs to us as well…God’s Word will set you free.

Fact Six: We have confidence, know who you are in Jesus…you are His, created in His image.  You are loved valued and cherished by God more than any human possible can…His love for you should overwhelm you completely, cover and protect you no matter what is going on in your flesh and circumstances.  We live in a fallen world, be you don’t have to be fallen.

Fact Seven: Have patience with yourself, God’s work in you does not happen in a microwave, God uses a slow cooker…transforming you into this amazing, unique and powerful child of God. Claim your position, commit to think Kingdom thoughts and not worldly ones that will just fade away.  Let Hebrews 4:16 AMP sink in “Therefore let us with privilege approach the throne of grace that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy for our failures and find His amazing grace to help in time of need an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment.  Ask God for the power to do the right thing, make the right decision and then EXPECT Him to provide it. 

“No temptation regardless of its source has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to resist, but along with the temptation He has in the past and is now and will always provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP

Blessing,

Sister Laurie

According to Your Will God and Star Wars

Greetings, in the Name of Jesus! I wanted to quickly get this out to you before the new year. There have been many prophetic words spoken about the coming year. Simply stated in 2021 there will be a reckoning for the church and believers, and there will be those who fall away. So, we must be ready, vigilant and we must not be distracted by the world, our families or others that would tear us from God’s mission.

See Luke 12:51-53, Scripture says that families will be broken apart by God’s truth.  People we love will fall and stray even fight against one another.  Let God’s truth spoken in His Word be your guide and do not be dismayed.  The armies of Gideon were reduced by God several times because God needed the strongest for the battle.  He knew that the weaker would drag His chosen away.  Deuteronomy 20:8 says “Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, so that he does not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart!’” See a thinning of God’s people is coming. 

The more time we spend with God, the easier it becomes to hear His voice.  As we spend time, worshipping, study and talk with God, we begin to recognize His voice immediately and we can differentiate between God and the enemy.  As we seek Him we are empowered by His truth.

In the movies, books, and animated features “Star Wars” there is a “Force” that the Jedi use to defend the innocent and destroy evil. It is defined in “Wookiepedia” as “The Force is an energy field created by all life that connected everything in the universe and was known by a variety of names throughout galactic history. The Force was created by life, and therefore, resided in all lifeforms. The Force is the basis of various religious organizations such as the Jedi Order and Sith Order, among others.” This fictional story speaks of how all the universe is connected, which is true because it was created by one creator God. We hunger for the unseen and hold on to a truth that is in all of us and for some to be yet revealed. Like the “force” in Star Wars we all are born, connected to something spiritual in nature. The light sabre for me represents the Sword of Truth, it battles to work in us and through us revealing God’s truth and destroying the lies, sinful desire and God’s enemies around us. Hebrew 4:12 tells us “For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

I know you are thinking why is she talking about Star Wars. We all were born to hunger and thirst for God because we are spiritual beings created by Him. Therefore, we are captivated by stories of supernatural beings, supernatural heros and enemies. Star Wars like many other science-fiction, fantasy movies and books address forces bigger even supernatural compared to our human flesh or what we see with our eyes, there is a part of us that is born knowing that our bodies are a tent or vessel carrying our spirit. Writers have been forever trying to put this unseen truth into words when God has already supplied us with all the “stories” and the real truth found in His Holy Word, the Bible.

All the hunger, thirst and longing we are born with should tell us that we do not belong here, therefore we must not be fooled by the distractions of this world.

Genesis 32:24-30 tells us about Jacob spending time alone with God. Jacob got away from everything and everyone to seek the Lord.  During that time God visited him.  By separating himself He was able to experience God intimately.  He wrestled, pondered, meditated, dreamed, and asked for God’s will and blessing.  Through those alone times with God Jacob was changed forever physically and spiritually.

“For on the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; He will hide me in the secret  place of His tent; He will lift me up on a rock.” Psalm 27:5 NASB God offers His protection and strength to rest and resist the world.

Ephesians 4:23-24 tells us, “Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please Him and be truly holy.”

Many times, as I am ministering I challenge those in attendance with these words, “I guarantee that you will be changed if you study God’s Word in fact, I challenge you to experience God by reading His Word and praying His Word over yourself. If your mind is filling with negative thoughts or memories, dwell or romanticizing your sin, selfish desires, past experiences, or trauma; I further challenge you to carrying your Bible with you everywhere and when you are under attack open your Bible and read His Truth, declare it over yourself until you feel the Holy Spirit cover you with truth, peace, and God’s love. Go further by speaking the Bible out loud and telling the devil his will not destroy what God has for you.” I have witnessed deliverance and miracles over addiction, nightmares, anxiety, and physical ailments by simply carrying His Word with you wherever you go and speaking God’s truth over yourself. There is POWER is God’s Word…

In the World there are many distractions to keep us from experiencing God’s “force” in our life. God has enemies and they want to drag you down, destroy God’s creation made in His own image, that’s you however, God gave us all we need to resist and even war against His enemies.

Ok, now here is where we must confront ourselves, I personally am not very disciplined, in fact, I struggle with authority and it is only through God that surrender is possible, by His Holy Spirit working within me. It’s not easy, discipline is not easy when you have always chosen the path of least resistance or allowed the wrong people or things to have authority over you. Many of you may be so lost to this world that right now you are struggling to even grasp these words. Ask God for help, take responsibility for your life and reach out to women of God for help. Men of God if you are a man.

James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God. But resist (oppose) the devil, and he will flee from you.” NASB

Oppose means “disapprove of and attempt to prevent, actively resist or refuse to comply with (a person or a system).”

Examine yourself, it’s time to grow up…”Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT

Jeremiah 31:21 tells us “Set up signposts to mark your trip home, Get a good map (God’s Holy Word).  Study the road conditions.  The road out is the road back, come back dear daughter, child of God, come back to the Lord your God.” Personalized NASB  Remember, a transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!

Our identity was always meant to be found in Him, not the world, for the world is dying and eternity is calling each of us.  2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if the earthly tent (human bodies) which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

“And so, dear sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let yourself be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 personalized NLT

Live ready, be prepared, do not be carried away by this world’s delusions, they belong to Satan…they are dead things, hunger for God’s Living Truth.

Pray with me right now, “Father, I want to do Your will.  What do You want for my Life? I have dreams, ideas and I lay them at Your altar, show me God those that line up with Your will.  All these dreams and ideas I want to do are for You and Your Kingdom.  I thank You for Your perfect timing, I am trusting You God for guidance and I know You are right beside me.  Thank you for the sacrifice You made by sending Your Son, Jesus, so that I might encounter You with confidence, knowing my sins are forgiven.   I declare my position as Your daughter, the daughter of the Most High King.  AMEN”

Blessing, Sister Laurie

Secrets, Shame and Abortion

Secrets, Shame and Abortion

 “We must each fully embrace how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.” Hebrews 9:14-15 MSG personalized

Strap yourselves in, this is going to get real, the kind of real that you may have brushed to the side, swept under the rug, voiced an opinion, or harbored strong emotions. Right here I want to say that there will be those of you who stop reading at this point or maybe in one of the next paragraphs,  it may get to tough or real however, I encourage you to take this journey of truth with me.

I need to get some statistics out of the way so that we can really see how abortion in the United States is destroying all of us.  I was sick to my stomach as I was gathering these numbers from reliable sources. So here we go…

Reported Abortions from 1970-1979 were 7,977,611, the female population ages 15-44 in 1979 was 41,857,686 or 19.06% of the women had abortions during the 70’s.

Reported Abortions from 1980-1989 were  13,283,150, the female population ages 15-44 in 1989 was 58,512,473 or 22.7% of the women had abortions during the 80’s.

Reported Abortions from 1990-1999 were 16,633,105, the female population ages 15-44 in 1999 was 49,554,764 or 33.57% of the women had abortions during the 90’s.

My findings were supplied by the Abortion Surveillance Organization and the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC as well as the population numbers through PopulationPyrimad.net and USGOV.org.  Note:  A small percentage were women who had multiple abortions or were out of the age range however the numbers do give us a picture.

A  further break down of these numbers reveal a greater number of people who have been affected by abortion in the United State during 1970 through 1999. Let me be clear why I choose these years and age groups.  These women are you and I today, you and I fall into one of three categories we are the daughters, mothers, or grandmothers.  We are the ones who have suffered in silence.  But this number is much larger let me explain. For every abortion there are at least five people who are involved not including the pregnant woman or her unborn child. There is the father to consider, the confidant, other family members, the doctor, the nurse, even other staff members.  Abortion touches way beyond the woman and the unborn child, it is like a pebble thrown into a pool having numerous ripples carrying a horrible secret and shame.  All of that being said can we agree to multiply the number of abortions by six and see how many people have really been affected. Let that sink in…

The Secret…as you shop in the grocery store, sit in your favorite spot at church, attend a movie or sporting event; look around…there is a very strong likelihood that you are very near at that moment to someone who has had an abortion and it’s a secret shrouded in shame.  This is an all-consuming situation that is affecting everyone lives. 

The woman who had the abortion is the victim (yup! I said “victim” every single one of them), you see behind every abortion is a woman who had to make that decision.  Every story and circumstance are unique, yet the bottom line is the woman carries the secret and the shame. The procedure is a violation of her body and the killing of an innocent child, both are a complete defilement of God’s design. 

Here are some scriptures to support how every child is by God’s Design…valued, loved, not a mistake and created to live with purpose.

The Old and New Testament confirm why God created the world and us.

Isaiah 45:18 God’s Word Translation (GWT) says “The Lord created the heavens. God formed the earth and made it.  He set it up.  He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited.”

Ephesians 1:4 (MSG) explains how the earth was created for us “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.”

There are many passages that speak of how God is our Creator and Father, each one of us He set in motion from the very beginning, here are two of my favorites.

Psalm 139:15 in the Message (MSG) translation says “You, God know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”

Psalm 139:16 in the Living Bible (LB) Translation says “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”

Other verses speak of how “He knew the sound of your voice before you were born” and “He (God) breathed life into you.”

No matter where an individual is in their relationship with God, every person knows that we belong to something greater, we embrace the knowledge that every human life matters, every unborn child is more than important, that baby is precious and a gift NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. This is why, abortion operates in darkness shrouded in secrets and shame.

The secret causes the victims to display many of the symptoms associated with PTSD.  Abortion and PTSD share this description “A soul injury, an overlooked, unassessed wound that separates one from their own sense of self.”

The word secret is defined as “not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others; something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others. The skeleton in the closet; a discreditable or embarrassing fact that someone wishes to keep unknown.”

I cannot express to you more clearly how much I am 100% against abortion (the killing of innocent life). It has to STOP!  As women we need to create a better, safe place where a woman can come and be encouraged, helped financially, physically, spiritually, and emotionally when they find themselves carrying a beautiful new life unexpectedly.

Now take it back a little farther to the root of the situation…intimacy belongs in the marriage bed between one man and one woman, not before!  God has a design for us, a plan and every detail of His plan is found in the Bible. We destroyed His plan when man decided to call it sexual intercourse as if it was a function, sport or game instead of a precious gift to be shared, the “knowing” of someone is one way it is expressed in the Bible, for “two to become one” another.  The price of intimacy outside of marriage and the painful results are well documented by God in the Bible.  God knew how man would twist this precious gift and that is why He clearly explains His plan to keep intimacy a sacred gift within a covenant created by God.

Right now, I would like to address any unmarried woman as clearly as possible…First, a man who wants intimacy before marriage does not respect you and will never be the man you are looking for. Second, you do not have the “sexual desires” of a man that is a lie made up by men to fulfill their sinful desires.  God also explains this plainly in His Word, just read the Song of Solomon.

I know you are probably thinking…who does this person think she is, she does not understand. BUT I do and I will say this…I know on a very personal level every sentence, action, emotion along with the price paid, the life lost to man’s wickedness the idea that it’s permissible for  man to murder innocent unborn life. Please stay with me…keep reading.

The shame…let us talk about the symptoms associated with shame and abortion.

I found this statement from the National Library of Medicine. “Many women experience long-term emotional, spiritual, psychological, and interpersonal difficulties following abortion, including complicated grief, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and relationship disturbances. Guilt and shame play important roles in generating and concealing post-abortion symptoms.”

There is a great brokenness physically, spiritually and emotionally when a woman finds herself contemplating abortion, that’s when the secret and shame begin.  She does not set the appointment or enter the “clinic” smiling and confident…NO…she is broken, lost, bitter and disappointed in herself that this is where that day is heading.  Little girls play with baby dolls for a reason…God wired us to be the one to carry His gift of new life and to raise, nurture those children.

I cried for days after finding out I was carrying a child, unmarried, my mother said these words of encouragement to help “it’s just blood, cells, tissue”, “you are not capable of being a mother”, “this baby is better off not being born”. The shame and guilt overwhelming…my decision…how did I cope, I shoved every emotion, every dream down deep inside…like blowing out a bright candle cutting the wick so short it can never be lit again, my life changed forever…the path was one of self-destruction. 

Pro-Choice would say “it’s your body so it’s your choice” that right there puts all the shame and  guilt right on the woman. Abortion should never be a choice; should never enter a woman’s mind. Pro-Choice is man’s way of trying to justify their sexual habits and the killing of unborn children.

Those who suffer from post-abortion PTSD experience a disconnection with life. The shame will manifest itself into one or more behaviors, there is NO maybe…we find ourselves self-destructive, suicidal, victims of substance abuse or eating disorders, depression, extreme anxiety, suffering complicated grief, self-loathing, destructive relationships, even anger and violent behavior.

This is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike, each woman must come to grips with her decision, the death of her child at her own hands. There is a natural emotion to grieve the loss of life however in abortion those emotions are suppressed.  Women feel they have no right to grieve because they were the ones who made the decision.

The non-Christian woman might be able to bury her decision and death of her child for a period of time.  However, the truth is her conscience is built on God’s truth.  She will still suffer, there is grief to be dealt with along with shame.  She might find temporary excuses, distractions, however, her life will take a different course, who she is, her self-image, self-esteem will be built upon her decision and the death of her child.  Anger, resentment, empty self-righteousness, over-achievement, stress, and anxiety, numbness take over, her life will spin out of control.  Society will not see it, blame will be laid at her daily commute, finances, disappoint in her career, relationship issues to name a few.  She will eventually seek help to cope with life based on man’s acceptable fixes which may or may not address the true root of her physical and emotional state.  Self-help books or counseling lead to even a bigger sense of social separation and she reaches to medication eventually substance abuse.

The Christian woman will experience all the above and even more than the woman who does not know Christ.  She has the Christian community who unknowing continue to condemn her.  She seeks absolution outside of her church family, if she even has the strength to seek.  You see, she knows that forgiveness is found in the blood of Jesus but not this…Christians are really good at ranking sin (wrong doing) from one to hundred. Scripture tells us that all sin is equal. She has listened to the lie whispered to her by Satan, possibly for many years, about how her decision and abortion has no forgiveness available.  She gathers enough courage to seek out help within her church, unfortunately she witnesses the look of horror and condemnation on the well-meaning Christian she has finally reached out to.  This is the hard truth in today’s church. 

For me it took over 30 years to gain the courage needed, I had sought forgiveness at the cross after I became a Christian, but the damage done, the shame and guilt remained.  The devil had done a work and I had punished myself experiencing most of post-abortion PTSD.  So many years lost to self-loathing…

Through the love of some amazing women, I began to embrace God’s truth about forgiveness and sin.  I know that God sent them to me when I was ready to forgive myself and accept His forgiveness.  It is not an easy journey and I had to stand my ground as Satan tried over and over to destroy.  Scripture was so key.  My life verses of 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8, Hebrews 4:12 were my go-to every time the devil whisper lies. I had to allow God to cut the damaged flesh thinking vulnerable to Satan’s voice from my inner man, my God given spirit.

Today, I stand with confidence given through God and His forgiveness.  I walk in His righteousness, His daughter, restored and free. There is still the pains of guilt a consequence of sin BUT more importantly there is hope that in my forever home my child is waiting.  In fact, my story is now His story and He has given me to courage to speak His truth about secrets, shame and abortion from personal experience.

In closing, while researching for this blog, I stumbled onto an article written about women suffering under the weight abortion and how we as a church can help.  The article called, ”Post-abortion Counseling” by Julie Ganschow, link can be found below.  Here I have included some profound truth which I could not have said better…

Her article written in 2017 opens with this staggering truth…It is estimate that 43 percent of women under the age of forty-five have had an abortion. One is six women in the evangelical church.

Her article ends with these words of hope and our responsibility…

Bringing Gospel Hope. Along with watching the negative things that we say, we also have to actively bring gospel hope to her. Romans 8:1 is very clear that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So we have to point her to Christ, to the freedom that comes in His forgiveness and His work on the Cross.

We can also turn to passages in the Psalms, particularly ones like Psalm 32:3–5, David’s response to his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. David says, “My body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me” (NASB). What a beautiful illustration of how a post-abortive woman feels. This guilt is weighing on me constantly. He continues, “My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” Many of these post-abortive women express this idea that they are so burdened by this that it destroys their strength. It consumes them.

But then David says, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’” And then, here’s the hope: “You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Even with murder and adultery, sexual sin and taking the life of another, his sins were forgiven. God provides restoration, and He provides freedom in Christ. We have to communicate these truths to hurting post-abortive women.

Ultimately, we desire healing through Christ for each post-abortive woman. In our awareness of the very real effects of abortion, as well as the impact of our words on these women, we have the opportunity to love them and point them toward Christ. As pastors and caregivers, we can point them to the One who brings true hope and true healing, but we must do it with grace and compassion rather than judgment or condemnation.

Find the whole article at https://www.careleader.org/post-abortion-counseling/

Blessing, Sister Laurie