Not a Test God!

If you are anything like me, you do not like tests!  I get nervous, palms sweaty, if it’s an oral test or having to answer a difficult question from a teacher or other person in authority I get really nervous.  Even when I am confident of the answer, suddenly…I am speechless, and I cannot find the right words.  For me, a test is confrontational, and I just do not do well.  All that being said, the Bible speaks about God’s testing. As a believer and follower of Jesus…you will be tested…no two ways about it!  So let us talk about testing and how in life we all will be tested, ALL meaning even the non-believer, new believer and what you might call the mature believer.  I want to stop right there and clarify the new and mature believer…we are all in the same boat, sailing to our eternal destination.  I know I have touched on this before and it is extremely important to not put labels on ourselves or others.  We are all moving in the same direction, mature believers do not have all the answers.  They, just like the new believer must study, look, ask for help, pray, and seek for answers in God’s Word.  Once you have been born-again, became a believer…you have total access to your Heavenly Father, and He is the same for every believer.  Mature believers struggle, face troubles and testing just as the less experienced believer.  Now let us move on…

Tests are designed to demonstrate knowledge and point out areas for improvement.  In math or history, a test will show a persons ability and help the student know what areas need further study.  God tests His children in the same manner.  Here is where many times you might find yourself confused. When ministering, I have heard more than once someone say God did this to me, caused this illness, tragedy, loss, situation, or circumstance.  I want to make this perfectly clear…GOD DOES NOT CAUSE ILLNESS, TRAGEDY, LOSS, UNFAVORABLE SITUATIONS OR CIRCUMSTANCES. In His Word, God tells us there will be difficulties. Matthew 6:34 says “ So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Also “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.” And then in John 16:33,  “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.” John 14:27 NASB  Throughout the Bible God shares stories about His people and their troubles, always God also shows them the way out.

It is in these times that God reveals what you know and what you have developed within your heart.  Every situation is a teaching moment…a process in your life.  In fact, without His testing, there is no opportunity to grow and become who He created you to be.  It is in those times that you are strengthen so that you might use this strength for His purpose.  More is happening than the circumstances you find yourself experiencing, God is working behind the scenes.  When you look with the right perspective, you will find God bringing out His character in us or revealing that you have a deeper need of His influence. James 1:13 reminds us, “No one is to say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.”  The more often you understand and respond to God’s priorities, the closer you will come to the fullness of all He has designed and purposed in your life.

Looking at the three types of tests…

The Test of Servanthood

As a believer you are all called to the life of a servant.  You demonstrate your love for God by loving and serving others. This love is expressed when you put your personal desires aside for the benefit of others.  Personal sacrifice is part of this servanthood, giving of your time and resources within healthy boundaries…this is not a part-time position but a lifelong pursuit as a believer.  You must be ready when God calls on you.  The most difficult test of servanthood is when you are treated like a servant, maybe you feel that you should have received recognition or possibly you are mistreated “persecuted” while serving. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10 NASB  Here you must check your motive…in today’s world you may find yourself having a selfish view, the world is focused on individual rights and rewards, pride clouds your ability to serve…God’s view is you serve without return. Knowing you serve a loving Father is more than enough. 

There are many biblical examples; Ezekiel spoke to God’s people many times through embarrassing ways, Noah suffered under years of ridicule as he built the ark and warned people of what was coming, Hosea married and remarried a prostitute despite what those around him must have thought and in spite of her unrepentant heart.  These and others demonstrate that the test of servanthood is designed to reveal the level of obedience a believer will offer.  

Your servant heart is evidence of a believer willing to go and do as God has asked, leaving your personal comfort and desires to meet the needs of others. 

The Test of Sacrificial Love

Love is a concept confused by its multiple uses.  For you love might be a flood of emotions, warm feelings or possibly a decision of commitment despite your emotions.  Perhaps love has lost all meaning, it seems unattainable or able to satisfy the cravings of your broken or troubled heart.  The world may have confused your thoughts concerning love however here you see that the love required of a believer is sacrificial.  God will develop this love in your heart if you allow Him through testing.  The test of a sacrificial love comes when you are confronted with a command to  action from your Savior.  Love can mean many things, but love that has a price is clearly sacrificial love.  In the life of a believer there will be many choices that oppose the world.  There will be a cost in this love…a financial, deep emotional requirement, and hard-fought forgiveness are some of characteristics of sacrificial love.  Paul speaks of denying himself, you will be called upon to deprive yourself of things others pursue happily. Other times you will be called to forgive and extend love to those who certainly do not deserve it.

There is a distinctive difference between sacrificial love and unconditional love, but they flow from the same heart.  Unconditional love is love without strings attached, love offered freely and not base it on what someone does for you in return.  Sacrificial love focuses on the one giving love and the length that person will go to maintain that love.

Abraham’s trip to Mount Moriah with his son Isaac found in Genesis 22 is a significant example of the test of sacrificial love.  Abraham had to have been traumatized by the possible outcome of this journey. How could God ask such a thing?  Abraham may have been thinking the price is to great or unfair! This raises the question how could he obey, how did he?  While the Bible does not give details to his emotional struggle we know it was tremendous.  You get a glimpse of how Abraham was able to obey in Genesis 22:12 with an angel’s observation,  “now I know that you fear the God”.  This fear is the ultimate form of love and trust in God.  God was Abraham’s greatest focus and priority, and obedience to God’s commands…even the ones that did not make any sense.  Like Abraham many times this test will come without the desired explanation or understanding.  You may feel thoughts of overwhelming unfairness, defenses are raised, and rationalizing happens.  We know the outcome, God stepped in and stopped Abraham’s act of obedience.  Generations to come will and are continuing to be blessed because of it.

Do you remember in the Bible where Jesus asked the rich young man to sell everything he had to follow Jesus?  Most likely that will never happen for you.  Yet some of you who are reading this right now maybe experiencing that very thing.  There maybe consequences that have put you in the position of losing everything and yet I am confident that if you respond with that same “fear” God will restore the loss…His way NOT yours.  The truth is that what God has for you is much bigger when you take the step of faith in sacrificial love. 

What you are unwilling to part with moves into the place of God and begins to control you. Yes, people, places and material things that become obsessions are idolatry in its clearest expression.  Anytime you say no to God and choose something or someone else, you sow seed for future destruction, and you take a clear step away from the God who called you His.  The more you cultivate a giving spirit, the more easily you can give what God requires. Now listen, I am not saying to give everything away…but if you have trouble responding with compassion and self-sacrifice in times you are confronted with an opportunity to meet a need, you will not be able to give sacrificially when God calls upon you.

It is important to avoid the attention of others when you give, only then will you shutout the pride that causes you to desire to hold on to what is yours.  Be intentional in your giving, not careless.  Knowing the price and choosing to give on purpose brings the experience to a place of worship. Remember I am not speaking of finances alone, there are many opportunities to give in serving others.

The Test of Faithfulness

Faithfulness is bound in constancy and dependability.  It is the choice to remain steadfast regardless of the changing circumstances. God’s faithfulness is demonstrated in the constancy of His love regardless of your worthiness or actions.  Simply…God still loves you and is extending His hand to you when you are right in the thick of sinful choices or behavior.  Your faithfulness is demonstrated in the constancy of your obedience regardless of your understanding or comfort.  It is remaining faithful despite your circumstance or situation, having the confidence that God is there right with you…the test of faithfulness is in your reaction.  Your faithfulness is evident when you look to His promises no matter what the world says, believing God will provide a way.  Joseph is an amazing example of faithfulness…more than thirteen years of near-death experiences, suffering and imprisonment and yet his faithfulness never faltered. In the end God restored his family, bought abundant provision for not only Joseph and his family but all of Egypt.  Joseph did not  know what God was doing yet he remained faithful.

How do you react, were does your mind go and in what does it dwell?  How do your emotions and behavior reflect your faith in God?  This is the test…where is your trust?  Look at Simon Peter, he allowed the confusion and his emotions of Jesus’ arrest to test his faith and he failed three times…however later when he had the opportunity Peter jumped out of the boat to reach Jesus and ask forgiveness, this act was an opportunity for restoration. God uses your circumstances to teach you the hard lessons of faithfulness.  The Israelites are a great example of God’s love and faithfulness, over and over again they separated themselves from God by complaining and seeking after selfish desires instead of trusting God.  He will let you experience the consequences of your choices to help you discover how completely unsatisfying they are. God never gives up and He will never give up on you!

You will become consistently faithful by using the commonsense God gave you, having a biblical plan for daily living which includes finishing what you start, keeping your promises and giving of your resources when no one else sees. You must have a plan when faced with a challenge, start now by removing anything you sense that could get in your way.  In other words, when objects that breed unfaithfulness are eliminated, you have limited your choice to faithfulness in times of crisis.  Faithfulness starts with faith.  You should aggressively build your faith…understand what it means to fear God and call upon the Holy Spirit to help you walk in a path of obedience.  Faithfulness is tied to repentance…you are faithful when you are quick to turn from wrongdoing and ask God to forgive you…seeking His help in resisting sin.

In closing remember…passing the tests of servanthood, sacrificial love, and faithfulness begins by knowing who you are in Christ, committing to follow God and allowing Him to reign over every part of your life.  Those who do not live to give God glory will not experience the lasting freedom and peace He is offering.  Do not let pride stumble you in serving others…Paul would not allow people to worship him, he reacts strongly, pushing away the moment in no uncertain terms (read Acts 14:8-14).  Be careful what you attach your heart to.  Do not be afraid to love what you should love, and how you should love, but do not choose to love what is unworthy of eternal attention. When faithfulness is a priority in your life, it will be easier to respond faithfully in times of crisis.   Finally, surround yourself with others who are on the same journey, cultivate your faith and relationship with God by surrendering daily to His Ways…from the place of surrender God can and will work in your life.

Romans 8:38-39 AMP tells you “For I am convinced and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt… that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the unlimited love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings, Sister Laurie

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 

God’s Truth vs Opinion

Opinion is at the heart of conflict among believers.  These opinions quickly undermine harmony and dull our relationship with God.  Unfortunately, many times church doctrine has be written with the same opinions or possibly what I am going to call nearsighted understanding.  To have nearsighted understanding means that an individual embraces some of God’s Word and dismisses scriptures that do not line up with their personal opinion.  The truth is God’s Word is Truth and we can neither add to nor take away ONE Word found in God’s Word. God speaks through people His inspired and trustworthy Words.  Within His Word we find Holy Truth…recorded by God’s chosen disciples, prophets, apostles, or the Words of Jesus Himself documented by those that knew Him, eyewitnesses.

 2 Timothy 3:15-17 MSG  says “We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You will do well to keep focusing on it. It is the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it is not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.”

 We must also look at 2 Peter 1:21 TLB, “No true prophecy comes from human initiative but is inspired by the moving of the Holy Spirit upon those who spoke the message that came from God.”

God knows us so well, after all we are His creation.  He even knew that we would take His Word of Truth and try to put our own spin on it.  In order for all of God’s children to live in harmony we must recognize that each of us are on our own journey with God and that it is God’s desire that we accept one another  Romans 15:7.

In Galatians 5:15 MSG,  we receive a warning, a critical spirit is dangerous, “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you do not use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That is an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? ”  This freedom is found in God’s Word…His Words not ours…this Love is God’s Love…not ours.  We fall short when we try to mix our opinion, worldly belief and love with God’s Way and Truth.  It is so important to walk continually checking our eyesight and making sure we are seeing clearly through Jesus’ eyes and not our own. We must embrace all God’s Word not just the scriptures that we like or that bring an answer we want to hear.

No one and no opinion must ever be lifted higher than God and God’s Truth.  Three of my life verses come to mind here:

“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.”  2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB  Ask yourself this question daily…does my thinking, opinion, decision making process, belief, and action line up with God?

“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.”  Philippians 4:8 NASB  Where do you find your focus, thoughts, and emotions?  Every sinful desire begins in our mind, we must keep our mind in check with God’s Truth.

“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.”              Hebrews 4:12 NASB Are you daily allowing God, using His Sword of Truth to separate worldly opinions and attitudes to be surgically removed from you?  This takes surrender to God’s Word and His Word alone.

Only when we are surrendered to God can we love one another and be united in God’s Truth, and be the one body,  God has called us to be…Ephesians 4:3 tells us “ make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” We also know…”For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another.” 

In Romans 14 cultural differences or opinions began to cause conflict among the believers.  These opinions were outside of God’s Word, the fundamentals of salvation and behaviors the Bible commands or condemns are not disputable matters. In other words, God’s Word is not to be disputed, you are God’s child, and we MUST embrace ALL of His Word.  It is without an expiration date; it is active and living today just as it was when God gave it to us.  We MUST NOT let  nonessential issues, cultural differences, and personal opinions destroy the fellowship God has given us with one another, love for one another centered in Jesus Christ.  That love I am speaking of is not denominational, cultural or tradition…it is embracing God what binds all believers into one body.

“So warmly welcome each other into God’s family, just as Christ has warmly welcomed you; then God will be glorified!”  Romans 15:7 TLB personalized

Blessings, Sister Laurie 

More Than Conquerors

More Than Conquerors

Romans 8 speaks boldly about our position in God’s Kingdom, many people say it is their favorite because it encourages, strengthens, and builds them up.  The Holy Spirit is spoken of here more than in any other chapter of the Bible.  Personally, I  agree with those who cling to the Truth found within the power filled Words. Freedom is at the heart of the Holy Spirit’s work in us.  2 Corinthians 3:17 confirms this Truth “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”

My struggles to live the Christian life in my own strength has been both frustrating and disappointing.  That allusive victory spoken of in Romans 8 is completely unattainable on my own.  It has taken many years to reach the end of myself and truly allow the Holy Spirit, who is the promised “Helper” to begin the necessary work in my spirit. I praise God for His unending grace and mercy as I surrender to the Holy Spirit, who continues to enable me to be victorious in my struggles and at the same time empowers me to pierce enemy territory with God’s Truth. This is victorious living…God wants us to focus on the victories giving Him ALL the praise and glory!  Even now as I am writing, going over my class notes on Romans it is God that inspires me through the Holy Spirit working in me. I pray my understanding of these scriptures will inspire you as well to go deeper, relinquish more of yourself and acknowledge that freedom comes through your relationship with the One True God.

Right now, are there difficulties in your life?  Dear Sister, let the Spirit remind you that “Jesus, who died and was raised to life is at the right hand of the Father interceding for you” Romans 8:34.  Let these Words of Truth fortify your spirit by assuring you that “in all these things (your current situation) you are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you” Romans 8:37 personalized.

Let us look at Romans 8:28, the NASB version says,  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Within this scripture there are five declarations of your position as God’s child and how God through His Son, Jesus Christ has already conquered your enemies and promises to work ALL things: situations, circumstances, even consequences out for His purpose in your life.  Take note of how Paul begins the scripture “And we know”, as believers God has revealed His Truth, it is not unknown but KNOWN, revealed with certainty and now here in 8:28 these five certainties about God and His faithfulness are declared.

  1. God works in the lives of His people. Just look at the Old Testament, story upon story…situations that seem impossible and yet there is God working, intervening for His children.
  2. God works for the good of His people.  Jesus told the disciples that he would have to leave in order for the Holy Spirit to come…it is through the Holy Spirit we now are enabled to do the same good that the disciples did.  That same good that Peter spoke to Cornelius and his household.  Like Paul, Peter begins his message with certainty, “You yourselves know the thing that happened throughout Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
  3. God works for the good of His people in all thingsAll things includes all circumstance, all situations, all consequences, Psalms 23:4 confirms “ Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” You  may not understand everything that happens or that your circumstances will be without pain.  But as Joseph said to his brothers, “ As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.”  God will if you allow Him to use those troubles to benefit His Kingdom and purpose.
  4. God works for the good of those who love Him.  This is God’s promise to His children who love Him, who seek His direction and follow in His Ways  I can testify with conviction that we are all a work in progress, do not let the enemy’s lies keep you from receiving the good promised. What a comfort to have the certainty of God’s good working even when you cannot see or understand.
  5. God works for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose.  God tells us in His Word that He does not want one of His children to be lost.  The Bible at its core is a story of redemption for all God’s people. God did not send evil circumstances into Joseph’s life; but He foreknew that these troubles would occur. God worked each struggle out for good, positioning Joseph and ultimately fulfilled His purpose in Joseph’s life “to keep many people alive.” Genesis 50:20   When you came to Christ, with a repent heart and made Him your Savior the “calling” is confirmed.  Therefore, you can stand with certainty that He has a purpose for your life, and you can be assured that all the days of your life prior to your salvation has been reconciled and will be used by God.

God has an ultimate purpose in working all things for your good, this good will bring about a change in you, you are right now being transformed by God’s Truth and your desire to love God.  Romans 8:29 MSG says “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him. After God made that decision of what His children should be like, He followed it up by calling people by name. After He called them by name, He set them on a solid basis with Himself. And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun.” WOW! How powerful and beautiful…We are more than Conquerors!

“Friends, let me go over the Message with you one final time—this Message that I proclaimed and that you made your own; this Message on which you took your stand and by which your life has been saved. (I’m assuming, now, that your belief was the real thing and not a passing fancy, that you’re in this for good and holding fast.)” 1 Corinthians 15:1 MSG

Blessings, Sister Laurie

The Five Senses and God

God carefully constructed you, with His creative finger He mixed your DNA perfectly.  He placed your spirit within you, you are the daughter of the Most High King. Psalm 139:13-18

In “The Message Translation” of Roman 8:18-27 a beautiful picture of creation and our position is revealed,  “That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

The birth pangs (groans) are the result of two factors; First, we are subject through our five senses to experience a fallen world. Second, these senses also provide an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.

 There are many scriptures about guarding the gateways of our five senses, yes, we must become well versed in this protecting and taking care to not let the devil and the temptations of the world sidetrack us.  We were created to experience God’s goodness through our five senses.  On your own meditate on the following scriptures and the amazing power within us to perceive God through our five senses.

Eyes:  Matthew 6:22 says “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 13:16, Luke 11:34 ESV

Ears:  Luke 11:28 says “But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!.”  Proverbs 20:12, Romans 10:17, Psalm 94:9, Luke 11:28, Matthew 11:15 ESV

Touch:  1 John 1:1 says ““That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.”   John 20:27, Genesis 3:3 ESV

Taste: Psalm 34:8 says ” Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 119:103, Matthew 5:13, Hebrews 5:14 ESV

Smell:  2 Corinthians 2:14-15 says “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”  Psalm 115:3-8, Ephesians 5:1-2, 1 Corinthians 12:17,   Genesis 27:27 ESV

You and I must be sure our five sense serve as instruments of righteousness and not instruments of wickedness.  Let us look at how God intended for us to use the power behind our physical body to encounter God’s glory.

  1. Guide our eyes.  May our vision witness the glory of the Lord and all His creation.
  2. Monitor our hearing.  Let our ears be fine-tuned to hear His voice.
  3. Control our tastes.  Feast on the manna that being His Word which He has provided.
  4. Watch our touch.  Lay hold and embrace the treasure found in God’s grace.
  5. Train our smell.  Crave only what is true and that will enrich our souls.

Yes, these are gateways to our spirit.  Through these gates pass the tangible and ideas of the world.  They are ties to our environment.  Place a sentry, God’s Word, at every gate. Watch, listen, consume, touch and be drawn by only that which will edify your spirit. Be sure your five senses serve as tools with kingdom purpose and not captive to the devil and a fallen world.

1 John 1:1-4 ESV says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Remember: God’s power will keep you.  His Spirit will fill you.  His wisdom will guide you.  His authority will enable you.  His love will protect you.  His peace will lift you.  His provision will sustain you.

Romans 8: 39 in The Passion Translation says, “There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!”

Be Blessed,

Sister Laurie

JesusTruth 3/25/2021

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

Unlocking the Truth of Becoming Christ Like

Let us look to the scriptures to understand fully how we are called to be Christ like and the fulfilment of the words found in scripture, “we were made in His image”.  Genesis 1:26 says “Then God said, “Let Us (united decision) make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over (be responsible for the care of) the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth.” NASB

Like God we are spiritual beings, we are immortal and this earth suit or tent we currently dwell in will fade and wear out.  At that point, we will step into the intended existence God created for us.  If you have read any of my previous writings you know that according to scripture we have everything we need, supplied by God to live here on earth and then step into eternity confident of our position in God’s kingdom.  God did not create us to walk around in fear wondering what will happen to us here and in eternity…He left His Living Word to guide and prepare us.

God gave us an intelligence, problem solving, a rational spirit which when submitted to Him will control our flesh.  Notice how I did not give those words of knowledge to your brain, instead they truly belong to your spirit and that supernatural spirit should be in command of your entire body and mind. God has given us the ability to discern between right and wrong, that is a moral consciousness (our spirit) which allows us to have a personal relationship with God, accountable to Him.  This relationship is an option but without it your spirit will remain dormant, unable to guide you…this must be a priority…to accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, recognize his sacrifice of coming to earth, suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection, once that truth is believed…you must ask Him into to your heart and to forgive you of all your sins.  I would be remiss if I did not make this truth known to you.

Little girl opens the door to the light in darkness.

Most of us believe our mind is in charge but scripture tells us that our mind is vulnerable to the world and can be manipulated by the enemies of God, namely Satan.  Therefore, we must arm our spirit with every truth available and with the help of the Holy Spirit move through this chapter in our life with intention, focused on what our spirit says.  Simply our spirit must be bigger and more powerful than our mind and flesh. 

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.”  If we are working together with God, He will examine and clean up our flesh…”For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of mind and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NASB personalized  The picture in my mind is a fine scalpel, cutting away the diseased flesh and actions (sin), then heated it cauterizes the wound, supernaturally healing it, so that what is left is the restored creation of God.  This is a continual process throughout our life here.  It is known as God’s refinement. 

God clearly tells us in His Word that we must take on His character and attitude.  Rick Warren says in “Purpose Driven Life” that “God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development.  He wants you to grow up spiritually and become Christ like.”  Rick also puts character and personality into perspective.  “Becoming Christ like does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone.  God created your uniqueness, so He certainly does not want to destroy it.  Christlikeness is all about transforming your character.”

This character and all it’s attributes are already wired within your spirit and a relationship with God orchestrated by the Holy Spirit will empower you to walk in your earthly body, representing our King without fear, boldly living for Him expressing His character in a fallen world.  Here is the heart of this writing, God’s character in you waiting to be released…

Giving His character within you full authority will change your outlook and when you find yourself in tough circumstances His character will give you the hope and encouragement to make it through. As you embrace God’s character and set it free within you there is a reward tasted and a glimpse of every one of God’s promises made real.

Here are God’s Character traits as recorded in His Word.

Matthew 5:4-12 Known as the Beatitudes…  The Passion Translation says,  “What delight comes to you when you wait upon the Lord! For you will find what you long for. 

What blessing comes to you when gentleness lives in you! For you will inherit the earth. 

How enriched you are when you crave righteousness! For you will be surrounded with fruitfulness. 

How satisfied you are when you demonstrate tender mercy! For tender mercy will be demonstrated to you. 

What bliss you experience when your heart is pure!  For then your eyes will open to see more and more of God. 

How blessed you are when you make peace! For then you will be recognized as a true child of God. 

How enriched you are when you bear the wounds of being persecuted for doing what is right! For that is when you experience the realm of heaven’s kingdom.  How ecstatic you can be when people insult and persecute you and speak all kinds of cruel lies about you because of your love for me! 

So, leap for joy—since your heavenly reward is great. For you are being rejected the same way the prophets were before you.”

God’s character expressed as the Fruit of the Spirit, is revealed in Galatians 5:22-23, “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.” TPT

1 Corinthians 13 speaks of the love within our spirit earning to be released, beginning in verse 4 “Love is large and incredibly patient.  Love is gentle and consistently kind to all.  It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else.  Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.  Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor.  Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense.  Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong.  Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others.  Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.  Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away.  It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent.  Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten.”

 Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away.  When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways.  For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all.  So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.

2 Peter 1:5-7 TPT puts God’s purpose for our life into perspective, “So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love.” 

Let us go back to 1 Corinthians 13 with closing thoughts…God inspired Paul to write these words just prior to revealing the character of love found in God and also hidden within your spirit. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 TPT  “If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I did not express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal.   And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains,[d] but have never learned to love, then I am nothing.   And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value.”

God’s warning us about our focus and where we get affirmation…is it built on the emptiness of pride, material things or found in serving God?  God wraps the truth of Godly love in 1 Corinthians 13 like a sandwich made of stale bread. The key to express God’s character of love is found in the center, just like our spirit is found deep within our flesh.  He closes with these words telling us to grow up and stop looking to satisfying our flesh and find every answer…verse 9-13, ”Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away.  When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways.  For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face.  My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood.  Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all.  So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” TPT

Here is the truth of God’s character location and that He intends for us to set it free within, bring freedom not only for ourselves but for all the captives.  “Since these virtues are already planted deep within, and you possess them in abundant supply, they will keep you from being inactive or fruitless in your pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately.” 2 Peter 5:8 TPT

Thank you God, that within us is all we need to live here and train for the future, to share your love with the lost, to seek and find you…thank you God for the freedom from sin paid in full through Jesus and the sacrifice He made for all Your children.

Blessings, Sister Laurie

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.

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“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