Faithfulness

It has been several days since I have been in my refuge, the room I have in my house where I seek God’s presence, pray and study.  Our home has had family here and the littles brought germs with them, my husband was the first to catch the bug which appeared as a cold, and then I felt the symptoms invading me as well.  I never really got congested but my head felt full.  I found myself just sitting and staring at the TV, unable to get myself inspired to do anything.  My husband will tell you that I am a busy person who always sets out with a plan daily of things to accomplish and yet for the last couple of weeks I just could not get moving.  I will also say that retirement can be challenging, you have more days to do “stuff” less “money” to do them and so you find yourself saying “that can wait.”   A frustrating place to be…my foggy head, lack of motivation and no real deadline to make me move.  And yet there is something is there not?  There is God.  The True force behind the “why” of everything.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to not believe, to not know that I am His child, to live without purpose in the fourth quarter of life.  This is where faithfulness comes in.  And so, in my stupor I will say “Yes God!” I will call upon my Father to help me rise up and get moving…I will remain faithful!

The dictionary defines faithfulness as the concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances. Faithfulness is adhesion, allegiance, attachment, commitment, constancy, dedication, devotedness, devotion.  Faithfulness comes from a place of trust and loyalty.  The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is a confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  Faithfulness requires us to submit our ways to God, it means that even when are physical body is failing us we keep saying “Yes God.”   Even when something we hoped for, someone we thought would extend an invitation, an opportunity dissipates into thin air we continue to say, “Yes God”. 

I receive a newsletter from the Assemblies of God quarterly and in the fall issue an article about faithfulness caught my eye, it’s simple truth lead me to share these thoughts with you and so I extend a thank to Donna Barrett, author.  It spoke to me right in the midst of my funk (for lack of a better word), encouraged me to stay the course, do my best and give God all the praise.

King Saul had it all, selected by God when the Israelites asked for a leader.  Set up as King, he had wealth, wisdom, and looks but most of all… he had God on his side.  So, what happened?  Simple put he let the distractions of this world blur his vision, congest his mind.  In a nutshell, he become unfaithful to God.  Scripture says, “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of her, and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore, He killed him and turned the kingdom over to David, the son of Jesse.”  1 Chronicles 10:13-14NASB 

Every person in the Bible, every situation is placed there with purpose by God, to warn us, to teach us how to navigate life on planet earth.  With that being said, Saul is given to us as an example of what can happen when we take our eyes off God and put our faith in things of this world.  King Saul made three mistakes.  Let us look at each of these and see if you and I are vulnerable as well.  

  1. DO NOT Look to the World for Guidance

Saul stopped seeking God for guidance, consulting a medium instead. In today’s world you and I do this when we let popular opinion guide us.  On social media we look to see how many “likes” we get to affirm a thought or decision.  Any information source you seek before or more than God is just a modern-day medium.  God’s Word is the ultimate guide, the internet provides a multitude of information that can be spun, miss quoted, and edited to sway our decision in the wrong direction.  I know I find myself saying “let me google that to see what is said concerning that”, now please let me say that we my husband and I have consulted the web on home repair, which item might fit our needs best and it can be a wonderful resource.  Even in studying God’s Word, the internet has thousands of amazing articles and other sources for us to build our faith.  You and I need to put God’s Gospel first, more than whatever version of truth is presented to us at the moment.  I find Philippians 4 as a source of comfort and guidance.  His Truth is still the Truth, even if no one believes it.  A lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it.

  • DO NOT Compare

Saul’s second mistake was comparing himself to others especially to David. 

1 Samuel 18:7-9 tells us, “The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”  Then Saul became very angry, for this lyric [b]displeased him; and he said, “They have given David credit for ten thousands, but to me they have given credit for only thousands! Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David with suspicion from that day on.”

This song of celebrated victory caused Saul to become jealous of David.  It rendered he unable to escape the comparison trap.  He saw David as a rival instead of acknowledging him as someone Saul had mentor and sharing in the victory.  Embracing the truth that together they were a winning team.   How would this scenario have changed if Saul had recognized his jealousy and brought it before the Lord in repentance?

I used to find myself begrudging other sisters in Christ who knew more scripture, who’s prayers were more elegant than mine, who I thought reached a higher level in their faith than me, friends who’s relationship appeared closer.  But as I have grown as a believer, God has shown me that I have value in Him, my own unique value that He has grown in me.  Even my marriage, in my friendships they are unique and God has taught me not to compare with others.  Comparing ourselves to others in any respect leads to jealousy, losing sight of who you are, or your value in God’s Kingdom.  Once again social media is a trap in this area, it has become today’s tool for unfair comparison.  Unfair comparison and jealousy feed off one another and result in a never-ending vicious cycle.   The way out is to be faithful to God with who you are and what He has given you.  DO NOT let the enemy lure you into the comparison trap.

  • Be Honest with Yourself

The worst kind of deception is self-deception.  Saul began lying to himself, believing those lies and then lying to those around him.  The lying thought in your mind is a prelude to sin in action.  In 1 Samuel 13:7-14, we find Saul disregarding God’s instruction to wait for Samuel…we see Samuel confront Saul as to why he did not wait for him as instructed.  Here comes the excuses.  When Saul disobeyed God and kept some of the plunder, he justified his actions as recorded in 1 Samuel 15:7-15.  This pattern of excuse-making starts  with self-deception.  An excuse is nothing more than a lie wrapped up in rationalization.  Who we are and what we do are connected, it might be said that our action verifies our character.

A person’s character is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as, “Your character is your personality, especially how reliable and honest you are. If someone is of good character, they are reliable and honest. If they are of bad character, they are unreliable and dishonest.” Even the world identifies that we are subject within our character to good and evil.   The sinful nature you and I were born with is found within our character.  However, there is good news in that God has given you and I a spirit within us, along with the Holy Spirit to overcome the sinful nature “bad character” within us.  As we look to God remain faithful to His Word our character is refined into the image of Jesus Christ as spoke of in scripture.  This is lifelong process well worth all our effort.  The apostle Paul reminds us that there is a constant conflict, a battle within us that must be surrendered to God. He tells us in Romans 7 that this struggle is real and that it continues even though Paul himself  teaches and speaks God’s Truth at every opportunity.  For me this is an inspiration to not give in or give up. 

In closing, Saul allow his character to be compromised by putting is faith in the world’s view instead of God’s.  Once he took his eyes off God, sadly Saul began making decisions based in the world and self-deception, he became lost to God’s Truth and suffered eternal consequences.

“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught.  You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.  You have been taught the holy Scriptures for some time now, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.  Cling to this truth, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.  It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.  I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when He comes to set up His Kingdom:  Preach the Word of God through what you speak and in action. It must be your lifestyle to represent His Truth daily no matter the circumstance you find yourself in.   Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.  Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching.  In fact, it is now upon us.  They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.   They will reject the truth and chase after myths.  But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.  Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord.  Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”  2 Timothy 3:14-4:5NLT personalized

Blessings, Sister Laurie

Life Compass

We all are His Child looking to Him our King Jesus to guide us. Open the door!

Our life compass is our heart.  It is divided into three parts, our minds (where our ideas, and desires live), our emotions/feelings (they react on what your mind is thinking), will (this is where we put into motion what the mind desires and how it feels).  It tells us who we are and dictates what we believe and how we live.  It can be void of self-control therefore it is in our life compass that we set a course in the direction of what we want and what we desire.  Without Christ it is like a runaway train with an engine out of control.

The Bible says “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Proverbs 4:23 NASB  It might be said “it is said our hearts are the wellspring of our lives and is driven by what we desire, it from there your life finds direction.”  The truth is we are creatures of desire and what we desire rules our life. 

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21AMP, “for where your treasure is, there your heart…your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers will also be.”   The power of the heart leads us into how we will live.

Unfortunately, you and I believe that right thinking will lead to healthy living, so we pursue our quest searching for the right technology, the right diet, the right practices even the right doctrine but the problem is when we try we are unsuccessful.  Everything in the world today is telling us get all the world has to offer, it says the key to fulfilling your desires can be found at the touch of your figure on Amazon, YouTube…

The real problem is we do not know how to love…we love the wrong things, or we love the right things wrong.  Our right love happens disproportionately, God clearly tells us Kingdom First, love Him first.

Matthew 6:33NASB , “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.”

“And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  Matthew 22:37NASB

WE MUST DESIRE HIS KINGDOM, HIS LOVE AND HIS WILL ABOVE ALL ELSE!

We have access to the best Christian life and yet we set our thinking on what we do not have, our hurt, frustration, the lack of and so we find our focus inward.  We sooth our condition with things of the world instead of allowing God to comfort us.

In the movie, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, Harry Potter finds a magical mirror, this mirror shows you what your deepest desire is…Harry stands before the mirror and he see his Mother and Father who are dead, his entire family is dead.  You see, Harry was an orphan, and he has had a dreadful life, rejected and unloved.  He has a deep desire to belong, to be loved in a family.  Ron, his friend now looks in the mirror, He see a champion at school leading the Quidditch (I had to look the spelling up)Team to victory.  Ron the youngest in his family felt invisible, like a loser, he wants to be a winner. The reality is both Harry and Ron are looking to belong, to be loved, to be valued.

Now, I ask you if you could see in the mirror what would you see?  What is it that you want more than anything else?  This is an important question…what you want is what you love and what you love is what you really worship.  What you worship speaks to what you desire.  What you worship is what is defining you right now!

Let us look at Paul’s life for it is there we find the answer to the struggle.  God knew we would grapple in the same way and so He had Paul record through inspired Word Pauls’ witness.  Paul struggled with this we see it when Paul says…”“I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.  It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.   I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” Romans 7:13-25

Later Paul writes to the church at Philippi these amazing words for us to embrace with all our spirit and heart…” Yet all of the accomplishments that I once took credit for, I’ve now forsaken them and I regard it all as nothing compared to the delight of experiencing Jesus Christ as my Lord!  To truly know him meant letting go of everything from my past and throwing all my boasting on the garbage heap. It’s all like a pile of manure to me now, so that I may be enriched in the reality of knowing Jesus Christ and embrace him as Lord in all of his greatness.  My passion is to be consumed with him and not cling to my own “righteousness” based in keeping the written Law. My only “righteousness” will be his, based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—the very righteousness that comes from God.  And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and become like him in his death.  Only then will I be able to experience complete oneness with him in his resurrection from the realm of death..” Philippians 3:7-11TPT

YES GOD!, This is what I hunger after, So let you and I put ALL our desire into knowing Jesus Christ!

One last thought this revelation Paul has had came from God lips to us as well and so…Let us keep moving forward!  “I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose for which Christ Jesus laid hold of me to make me his own.  I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however, I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.  I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.  So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them.  And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion.   My beloved friends, imitate my walk with God and follow all those who walk according to the way of life we modeled before you. Philippians 3:12-17TPT

Heavenly Father, Help these women reach for you God, let them humble themselves before your throne and offer repentance for any sin that stand between You and them.  God help them rise in their desire for you and gasp hold of everything you have for them.  For who can defeat us, hold us back God when we have Your Son, the Great Advocate, King Jesus fighting for us. In your Holy Name Jesus!  AMEN!

Dear sisters, “May Yahweh give you every desire of your heart and carry out your every plan as you go to battle.”    Psalm 20:4TPT

Blessings and Merry Christmas! Sister Laurie

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

All We Need God’s Grace

As I open my Bible I am drawn to Philippians 2:12-14MSG which says “What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God Himself willing and working at what will give Him the most pleasure.”

 Paul had just reminded the church at Philippi what Jesus had done on the cross and he is encouraging them to not forget but to live out this Truth that God saved us and is at work in us.  We must ask ourselves are we totally living the supernatural wonder of our salvation in our words and actions? Do we talk about being a Christian, yet our lives do not reflect this truth? Why are we unsuccessful in sharing our wonderful Savior Jesus with others?

We are called to show the Truth by our lives, not just tell the Truth by our words.  There is that old saying that “talk is cheap”, this can be truly seen in the body of believers today.  We come and hear the Word of God spoke on Sundays yet the minute we leave the parking lot we become discontent because the car in front of you is not moving fast enough or on their phone.  We are an frustrated, unsatisfied people grumbling when the server at breakfast doesn’t refill the coffee soon enough.  We even twit or post our grumbling on social media.  Social media has become a platform for discontent and grumbling, there is no consideration for how what we say and do will affect others.  So now we don’t only voice our negative opinion to the person next to us at church, the market or any gathering we spill it out there on the web for all to see! We must become aware that when we attend church, gather with other believers God’s presence surrounds us with beauty of God’s Words, our worship, the pastor or teacher’s lesson, yet if we are harboring a grumbling thought or share a negative opinion it undermines the power of the gospel, in fact it inhibits the work of the gospel even in social media.

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts?  You lust and do not have, so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3NASB

We have lost our moral compass…we are selfish, self-indulgent, self-centered, and self-pleasing only seeking what makes the minutes in our day work out the way we want. Ouch!  This is brutal truth…we grumble, argue, blame, and complain…having it our way at any cost.  We hear people say, “It’s just the way I am” as they selfishly walk through life.

1 Peter 2:12MSG  tells us “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life in your neighborhood so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when He arrives.” 

We find ourselves like the people of Babel wanting more, Genesis 11:4 says, “And they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let’s make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of all the earth.” They believed if they could build a tower as high as God they could attain importance, a title, a throne as mighty as Gods in power unable to be defeated, in essence to be just like God. How incredibly sad that they didn’t understand that God was with them working in them…if they would only open their hearts (spirit) to Him, they could not see the beauty of our creator and how His love for them was enough.  These people did not have to build a tower; they could have experienced a wealth and security far more enduring then found in a building made of rock.  An eternal, everlasting wealth in a personal relationship with God. 

God saw today coming, He gives a warning to us found in Philippians 2:14-16NASB, “Do all things without complaining or arguments; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding firmly the word of life, so that on the day of Christ I can take pride because I did not run in vain nor labor in vain.”

Superficial, shallow things of the world will never satisfy our hearts (spirit) because this spirit we have within us, placed there by God is supernatural and hungers for God’s supernatural provision.  It is here we find God’s grace, as the song says  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”.

Psalm 2:11 personalized tells us  “Serve the Lord with reverence, devotion and rejoicing in wholehearted delight…that is hold firm and celebrate with trembling”. This trembling also spoken of as fear  is “feeling the awe” this awe is experiencing, is knowing God’s Truth intimately, embracing His freely given grace.  If we can get hold of His mercy and love it becomes very difficult to hold on to our grumbling and angry attitude.  God is looking to perform divine heart surgery on your troubled and discontented heart. This is where grace is found in the Great Physicians hand…my dear sisters in Christ let God through His loving touch apply the grace needed today!

Blessings, Sister Laurie

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

Friendship

Friendship is a precious part of life. Real joy comes from friendships established with Jesus Christ at the center.  Much like marriage God has a plan for true friendship.  God put it on Pau’s heart to l write to us in Philippians about the significance of God centered relationships. Our friendships should be a reflection of our relationship with Christ.

Today, social media has changed the face of relationships, instead of personal interaction…sharing a coffee or meal, watching a movie, taking a walk or just quietly sitting together enjoying someone company our relationships have been reduced to how many likes our post, tweet, photo receive.  Social media is a platform to create a fantasy, a false you.  How many of you have observed someone creating an untrue image, an exaggerated condition, even a totally made-up situation to gain attention. People are using social media to hide what’s really happening, they filter their photos so that people can’t see their true self.  Suicide has risen because people have become isolated using social media to express some of what they are feeling yet those responding somehow are unable to decipher their true desperation, their feelings of hopelessness. We answer with an “I Care” emoji, or even “I’m praying for you” these empty responses are so swallow without any true cost.  Texting is causing indifference and further isolation.  There is a price in godly relationships…time, comfort, even financial at times. What if when that distressing tweet, post, text came to your attention you got in your car and showed up?  It is in our nature to gather, have physical contact, true affection, pray together, share our sorrow…this is friendship.

Before we take a look at Paul’s opening words in his letter to the Philippians let me share a little background about this intimate letter of love and friendship.  Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians while he was in prison, he had visited and established a church in Philippi among the gentiles which within itself is one of God’s miracles, Paul was a Pharisee before coming to Christ and the people in Philippi were gentiles so a relationship between these two was very unlikely in fact gentiles where seen as unclean. Yet God’s love and truth broke the social barrier creating a deep love for these people in Paul.  True friendship and love between believers cannot been attached to a worldly perspective.

1-2 Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does! Philippians 1:1-8MSG

Paul understands the value of friendship, he recognizes how the relationship he has with God and the tangible friendships…better said love and affection he shares for those dear friends in Philippi have sustained him during his imprisonment and trial.  Our love for Jesus should be reflected in our friendships.  This is why, it is so important to gather and fellowship with other believers only they can fill the need for friendship as God designed.  When we have a friendship with someone which is like minded in their belief in Jesus, it deepens our relationship with God and allows our true beauty and purpose to emerge.

It saddens me greatly when I see bitterness and misunderstanding between believers, how can we possible say we love God and yet hold grudges, offense and jealousy in our hearts.  The answer is we cannot.  I urge you my sister to seek out broken friendships and mend them.  Start praying that God might lead you and if a softening is needed that the Holy Spirit would work in both of you.

Sometimes guilt or shame is holding you back from forgiveness.  These are two very different feelings; guilt is focused on something we have done, while shame focuses on the person…self.  Shame says something is wrong with me.  As women shame is fed by a misconception or confusion tied to our identity.  It is a constant feeling that we are not good enough.  This is bound to a worldly perspective, a lie of the enemy, an experience.  Shame is an epidemic effecting everyone…it is everywhere, every nation, every culture it is related to addiction, depression, violence, homosexuality, bullying, aggression, eating disorders, suicide and more.

The righteousness we find through Jesus Christ is the antidote for shame.  Shame is the opposite of righteousness. Look at what shame did for Adam and Eve, filled with shame they, hide from God, covered their bodies, they felt they had to protect themselves from God.  This is Satan’s trap, a weapon shrewdly used.  Shame has destroyed the beauty God intended for friendship, fellowship, intimacy with God and people. BUT God has given us the fruit of righteousness that is to be “right with God”.  Isaiah 32:17-18 says “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.  Then my people will live in a peaceful surrounding, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.”  This kind of life and friendship is available to us right now.

Now think of your relationship with God…If your relationship with Him is fractured how can you fully embrace and receive what He did for you on the cross? How can He help you mend and restore broken relationships?  How can you love and sustain godly friendships? Right now, go before your Heavenly Father and ask Him to forgive you and reveal hidden shame that is affect your ability to love as He loves you.  Speak with confidence and proclaim who you are in Jesus, immerse yourself in godly music, fellowship, study, and prayer.  Give the enemy no room to corrupt who God says you are.

Dear Sisters…Paul prayed this prayer for his friends, his brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and now I pray it for you my dear sisters in Christ Jesus…”So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11MSG

Blessings, Sister Laurie

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

Examine Your Foundation

First a little background for those who may not know me personally…I was not raised in a Christian home, in fact, my adopted parents were atheists who lived in the world and embraced a belief system which was extremely self-gratifying. I am a Born-Again Believer; I make this point because I will be talking about how our foundation in life dictates how we think and live.  I don’t remember ever discussing the existence of God or the meaning of this life other than how important it was to have money, live high, have power and reputation within your community.  This reputation was tainted with a worldview of wealth and position.

The long journey of casting off, surrendering my belief system or foundation built from my childhood and adult life experience has been long.  God has never given up on me and so today I celebrate the new foundation God is helping me build based in truth.  I wanted to share this with you because I make this point…IT IS NEVER TO LATE…God is waiting for you sweet sister!  He wants to establish a foundation of truth under you that will redefine you and give you an identity in Him.  Complete deliverance is what I am speaking of…Freedom from your old life!

Daniel had a foundation built on Godly principles, it is here we find how his foundation in God stood the test and kept Daniel from harm.  Daniel was a young man with Godly character and integrity.  Read Daniel 1-2 for details.

Daniel’s foundation is available to us if we allow God to work within us.  Sisters it is not too late to break the destructive patterns in your life and embrace Godly truth.  We know that the patterns we establish early in life, whether good or bad, will impact our future decisions.  Our choices direct the lives we lead.  These patterns form our foundation.

You and I must begin this journey of freedom by taking the scalpel of the Word of God in hand…”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.

Begin by asking yourself these simple questions; Are you keeping your word? Do you hold grudges, speak negatively about those around you? Do you finish what you start? Are you easily distracted? Is your gaze on what is instructive and positive or destructive? Only you and God can answer these questions truthfully. Now is the time to let God reveal His truth about the condition of your foundation, ideas, attitudes, and behaviors that do not line up with God’s Word.

Remember, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.   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.  As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

Most of the time wrong thinking, believing a lie keeps us from the peace spoken of here.  God has given you a gentle spirit, one that is not anxious, that has ability to live God’s truth as you journey through life.  Let these words encourage you.  Here are some practical steps to growing, redesigning your foundation according to God’s way.

  1. Discipline yourself to do two necessary things you do not like to do every week.
  2. Fix your eyes on a clear, specific goal.
  3. Study the “whys” behind God’s commands.
  4. Write out the promises you have made and take responsibility for all your actions and emotions.
  5. Monitor and adjust the motives behind your actions.
  6. Tell the truth no matter what the cost.
  7. Live the truth even when it is not popular…are your words gratifying God or man?
  8. Align yourself with a woman of God who you can be accountable to in every situation.

In today’s world we must be woman of God who are deeply rooted in God’s Truth and trust in God, not vulnerable to polluting ourselves with pride and lies.  Like Daniel we must be a people faithful and trustworthy, a servant of God. Who’s love for God pours out from every cell within our bodies. Remember you are who God’s says you are and not the world…loved, valued, unique, beautiful, with purpose, designed by the creator, the daughter of the Most High King.

Here is a prayer to help you in your journey…

Lord, give me insight into what makes a healthy, effective woman of God.  Make me sensitive to Your Spirit and show me the areas in which I need to grow and develop.  Show me those in my life which speak Your Truth and help me to distance myself from those who do not.  Help me represent You in every situation.  Rebuild my foundation God, I give you permission to use the scalpel of Truth to do surgery on my mind and spirit.  As you reveal attitudes and beliefs that do not reflect you God help me to let go and invite Godly thinking in.  I desire to have my mind, body and spirit transformed by your truth God so that I would reflect you with every breath I breathe.  AMEN

Sister Laurie

The Battle is Real…Put on Your Armor

Today, I wanted to revisit the armor that God has provided for us to fight against the powers of darkness in today’s world.  But before I get into that let us also look at a well know battle between a boy and a giant, read 1 Samuel 17.  Focus your attention to verses 38-40,  “Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor.  David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.  He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.” 

Notice how Saul’s armor and sword did not fit David.  David would have surely lost the battle if he tried to fight Goliath with someone else’s armor.  This is truth for all of us, God has given each of us our own personal armor to be worn at all times.  It is especially important that you do not compare your armor “relationship with Jesus” to others around you.  Everyone’s relationship with God is unique, just as you are uniquely created by God. As you draw closer to God through worship, prayer and studying His Word a deeper level of surrender happens and the Armor of God develops within you.  It is important that you fellowship with other believers because as scripture tells us “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17  Please know that it is just as important that you do not compare or judge another’s journey with Jesus because the devil will spin it for his purpose. You may find yourself thinking, “I will never be as good as…know as much…pray as well”.  We must also be incredibly careful to not let pride interfere with the fit of our armor. The devil uses comparing and judging our fellow believers to slow down and even damage out relationship with God. Instead learn, rub up against those you admire, let them speak life into your personal relationship with Jesus.  Praise God for what He is doing in the lives of those around you as well as your life.

TIP: When you study God’s Word, know the background of the scripture, who is God talking to, find yourself among the recipients. God wants to put you right in the scriptures, when sin is revealed He is always faithful to show you a way back. God is a mighty Hope Dealer!

Now let us look at what God’s says about your personally designed armor and how it will protect and guide you in your journey with Him.

Chapter 6 of Ephesians opens with and continues in verses 2 through 9 admonishing us on our behavior as His children. He speaks to us with love yet encourages us to self-examine our ways. God further through the next 8 verses instructs us on who we are fighting, how he operates, and He then lays out how we should be clothed in the Armor of God through which we are able to war against the evil of this world and live victoriously in Jesus Christ.

Verse 10 – Finally (listen) BE STRONG “Dunamis Power” in the supernatural Holy Spirit for it  prevails, it conquers – we find it in Him alone. The Amplified version says, “be strong in the Lord draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him and in the power of His boundless might.”

Verse 11 – Put on the full Armor of God

Not just what you think you need… put on ALL God is providing.  Stand firm not being moved from the truth of Jesus and what has been done on the cross, this is God’s complete protection against the devil’s attempts to destroy you. The devil openly schemes – he plots using  underhanded, tricky, sneaking, a large-scale systemic plan to capture you and destroy you and your future.

Verse 12 – Remember who you are fighting (wrestling – intimate, up close and personal) take in an account our flesh, mind, wrong thinking, generational mindset  or those currently around you, physical circumstances, they are ALL just tools of the enemy, it is satan’s plan to lie, steal and destroy.(John 10:10)  The primary wrestling arena is not here on earth – but is a spiritual battle fought in our mind and spirit the consequences are suffered in our flesh, you must ask yourself where is your focus? Is your thoughts, actions coming from your spirit or flesh?

When we look at verse 12 we find God has broken down of the evil forces out to get you into four divisions in satan’s kingdom; “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood contending only with physical opponents, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly supernatural places.” AMP

1. principalities (rulers) – fallen angels, his highest ranking rulers

2. powers – those given authority to execute the will of those rulers

3. world forces – who walk in the darkness of this age (right now) with or without spiritual blindness being used by satan to carry out wicked deeds, people who are in authority and use that authority to carry out satan’s plan

4. spiritual forces of wickedness – earth bound demons who are satan’s servants who do his bidding, these also can include those in 1-3, wicked enemies as a whole who are moving through the earth looking to torment you – looking for entrance/strongholds/sin/an opening.

Heavenly places speaks of a place which encompasses all spirit beings.  One place of this area is where God’s throne is…where God sits with Jesus and all of God’s angels also exist.  There is a dark side as well in this spiritual place where satan and his evil spirits exist.  The heavenly places, sometimes spoken of as realms are a mystery for us, to profound to understand but we get some limited understanding from God’s Word.  There will come a time when we will no longer exist in the flesh but in this spiritual place.

Verse13 – take up the full (whole, complete) Armor of God, for strength and knowledge in order to stand firm (spoken again Verse 11) now also further described as happening in this evil day.  It is our responsibility to dress for the battle.  Are you willing to do everything necessary to fight?

Take up ,  put on , stand firm speaks of the work required by you in order to fully arm yourself, this scripture also tells us this armor must cover us completely, nothing left exposed, not even a thought left free roaming able to be corrupted.  Take Note: Whenever God uses the same words in this case “stand firm” it is because He is either issuing a warning or He wants us to pay close attention to what He is saying.  This stand firm is vital to our relationship with Him and our survival her on earth.

 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.” We must be fully equipped using  everything God is providing, Romans 13:14 says,  “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

Verse 14 – Standing firm  (therefore – consistently) we are required to wear the armor of God… Belt of Truth(having girded your loins) is the truth spoken over us and about us by our Heaven Father it directly confronts the lies that our enemy wants us to believe.  Builds confidence in God’s words over us, a resolve to live by truth.  This truth holds everything together, we must love “truth”, there is no other.

Girt is defined as all over, fasten, securely, sealed.  Today the world would say truth is relative to whatever you are feeling or are involved in?  The world says make up your own truth, if you believe it then it must be true.  The devil slyly tells us the lie of “if it’s not hurting anyone else go ahead indulge yourself.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 tells us “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.“  Romans 1:25 also says “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature(flesh) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.”

Verse 14 – Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness (defined here as what was done on the cross through to blood of Jesus.) When Jesus died on the cross your sins, they, all of them, every single one, was not only forgiven but washed away. Stand up and stand firm, right posture, be confident, cleansed, made free, whole, delivered, assurance…live it, walk in it, claim it! If you do not you are missing out…from this grows peace, joy, restoration.  This breastplate covers our chest and shoulders it protects our heart, and spirit.  Many times when sharing a word, I encourage women to build their Spirit up in the truth of God so that it is stronger than their mind and that only then will they be able to make Godly decisions and fully walk in the truth of Jesus Christ.  Proverbs 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”

Verse 15 – having shod (perfectly fit, custom, labored) your feet with the preparation of the gospel ofpeace…readiness (fully prepared, fitness, eager, awareness) in any circumstance knowing through Jesus we will be taken care of NO matter what our eyes see, and ears hear.  Ready to fight for truth and ready to receive God’s blessing, ready to go where He sends you, your feet are fitted to carry you the distance through Jesus….2 Timothy 4:2  “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. “ Our readiness comes from knowing God and His Word, Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Verse 16 – in addition to all (above all), taking up Shield of Faith extinguishes the “flaming” arrows (put an end to forever, annihilate, finish off, terminate, cease)

Isaiah 54:17 says “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will prove untrue. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me, ”declares the Lord.” 

Acts 16:31 “They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing (testimony/teaching), and hearing by the word of Christ.” You are justified and proven by God…your identity, whole being.  When two or more put their shields together they form a wall.

vs17 – Take Helmet of Salvation is knowledge that we have been rescued, our salvation is through faith, our sins no longer counted against us, not only our pasts sins, but those today and in the future when we repent in humility, God sees our motive and our heart. We look forward without fear for the day we are taken home to be with God.

1 Peter 1:13 says “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

the Sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, instructions for life, the ultimate   offensive weapon uses to aggressively protect you with a clear strategy .  A gift from God to know Him personally, intimately.  His Word gives you all you need to understand and fully receive God’s great love for you, it teaches us how to live for Him and receive all the benefits of that life now on earth.

Jesus declares the power found in God’s Holy Word when He was being tempted in the desert “It is written” each time He was tempted by satan.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing 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.”

Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

Through His Word comes the power to wear and live fully protected.

Verse 18 “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”

This is the last piece of the Armor of God, just as important as the other pieces it is to be used by all of us.  Peter used the gift of tongues in bringing the truth of Jesus Christ to a crowd of 3,000 on the day of Pentecost. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to the disciples and told them to wait for it.  He has promised it to us as well.  Just as we desire to have every other piece of Armor we should hunger after this amazing part as well.  Read Acts 1-2 and Acts 15:7-9 for a closer look at this amazing gift.

Everything God works in you starts from within and manifests outward.

Divine physical healing starts from within you not in the physical realm, but it starts within you by FAITH in the spirit and it manifests outwardly as physical healing.

So does your gift of speaking in tongues/your personal spirit language with God it begins within your spirit and the Holy Spirit within you. 

When you were saved you received the Holy Spirit, however there is a release of the spirit that you must ask for.  This release is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, is about the release of the Holy Spirit from your spirit to your soul to your body.  The gift of speaking in tongues is the overflow of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.   Jesus said “out of your bellies shall flow rivers of living water”  At salvation we receive Holy Spirit , at baptism we release Him…This baptism of the Holy Spirit is separate from Salvation.  It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us which is our helper and comforter, helping us to walk in the will of God and complete the work God puts before us. When that Baptism has reached from the Spirit to the soul, the body then manifests physically as vocalized by the sound that you hear that’s when the overflow has reached our physical body as speaking in tongues.

If you have asked God for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, sought it out in earnest but you have not received the gift of speaking in tongues that does not mean the Holy Spirit has not be released in you. 

Let’s look at a couple of scriptures to gain a better understanding…

I Corinthians 2:9-14 says that there is a fellowship between the spirits and that they communication spirit to spirit. No one knows the Father like the Holy Spirit and no one knows you like your spirit (your mind can be deceived).

1 Corinthians 14:2 tells us that when we speak in tongues we are speaking to God not man.

1 Corinthians 14:4 “One who speaks in tongues “edifies” himself… meaning “edify” to be strengthens himself, builds in, personal, intimate with God.

 Romans 8:26 says “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”  When we pray in the spirit the Holy Spirit himself prays for you.

1 Corinthians 12:10 says “and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.”

The gift of tongues maybe our mightiest weapon against the forces of darkness.  There is much more to learned about this piece of the Armor of God, I pray God will illuminate this truth to you.  I will leave you with this question…Why would you not want all God has for you? Every piece of His Armor for you!

 Blessing,

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

Input > Output

Becoming good at anything in life requires something from us.  The same stands for a personal relationship with Jesus.  Becoming a friend of God takes desire, time, and energy.  You are His child, yes, His creation, your spirit placed within your mother’s womb was done with intention.  You parents were by His design.  When you look in the mirror you are exactly what God choose for you, all the physical characteristics were handpicked by God. A Zebra’s coat of black and white stripes is unique, their hairy coat and stripes would not work on hippopotamus who spend much of his time in the rivers of Africa.  We are much like those beautiful creations in that God made us unique and prefect for His pleasure.

I digress, this writing is not about your freckles, dark brown eyes, or any of your other physical qualities.  I want to share with you my thoughts about being God’s friend and sharing the things He loves and standing against the enemies of God.  Can you feel inside yourself, that yearning, that empty feeling that hungers for meaning? That hunger and yearning comes from your spirit, your soul that is longing for God.  Because we are His, God gave us an appetite for His truth and to walk in His ways.

The question becomes how then? It is a process, each of us must go through it, many times I compare God to a slow cooker, we must simmer on God details only then will we receive and enjoy all God has for us.  On our own we are a microwave set on high, wanting the finished, perfectly cooked in minutes.  To feed this hunger you must intimately connect with God, you must learn to honestly share your feelings with Him, trust His leading, care about what He cares about and desire His friendship more than anything else in your life.

I am leading a Bible Study right now with a group of ladies, and we are encountering God through the book “Purpose Driven Life”, by Rick Warren. Almost 20 years ago when I was first searching for God beyond salvation, God lead me to a group of women who were about to begin this book.  This book forever changed my life.  It is a gateway to the truth of who we are and how God desires a personal relationship with His children, that includes you!  Throughout this writing today I will be quoting from this book and sharing the truths God gave me.

The title of this writing in an amazingly simple way states that our input must be greater than our output.  What you fill your life with is the input and the result is seen in your output, where you spend your time, money and energy is the result.

Let us talk about what that friendship, relationship with God should look like.

  1. God requires complete honesty. Adam hid when God called to him in the garden, not because God did not know where Adam was but because God wanted Adam to be honest with Him. (Genesis 3:9)  God does not expect you to be perfect, but He does require you to be completely honest.  This honesty is seen throughout the Bible; prophets, leaders and disciples openly share their complaints, dissatisfaction, and fears with God.  God encourages us to share every concern. It is perfectly OK to ask, “Why God”.  David, Abraham, Jeremiah, and Job all questioned God.  In each situation, God listened and because of their candor, lives were saved, David would be called “a man after God’s own Heart”, Job would express his bitterness, yet God called him “his friend.” God is looking for transparency in our relationship with Him.  Rick Warren says, “God listens to the passionate words of His friends; He is bored with predictable, Christian cliches.”  You must be honest with God, share your true feelings…honestly…not holding back.  God uses everything in our lives for good, much like Joseph. When you harbor resentment toward God over your appearance, background, unanswered prayers, past hurts, and other things you are holding God at an arms distance.  Many people blame God for something that another person has done.  When you allow an emotion or hurt to separate you from God, a stronghold begins to form, and this prevents our spiritual hunger to be satisfied.  We start looking to satisfy it somewhere else.  Expressing your feelings and thoughts honestly to God is the first step toward the next level of intimacy with God.
  2. Faith is a choice. Faith is unseen meaning that you cannot go down the store and buy some.  Faith is where the intangible meets the tangible. Every time you trust God when you cannot see a result or do not understand, you deepen your friendship with God.  Jesus made it clear that obedience is a condition of intimacy with God.  He said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14  Faith is obedience, they go hand in hand, you cannot be a true friend of God if you cannot follow is direction.  Rick Warren tells us  “We are close companions and have special privileges, much like that of a king and his inter court however they still had to obey the king’s commands.  God is our king, and we must follow Him.” Your obedience must be out of love.  Many Christians today have caught the ride of faith and obedience on the back of their parents.  They not only do not have their salvation, but they are also no friend to God.
  3. Value what God values.  As a friend do you value what is important to that friend?  How much more should you value what is important to God, your Forever Father and Best Friend.  The more you know God what is important to Him becomes important to you.   In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul said “The thing that has me so upset is that I care about you (people in Corinth) so much—this is the passion of God burning inside me!” David felt the same way when he spoken this “Passion for Your house burns within me, so those who insult You (God) are also insulting me.”  What does God care about most? You! As well as all His children!  That is why Jesus came, to save His most precious creation, made in His image…YOU! God suffered as He put His Son on the cross…what a sacrifice!  To be a friend of God you must see all His children through His eyes, counting each as cherished as the next.  Friends of God tell others about Him.
  4. Your desire to be a friend of God MUST BE more important than anything else.  David passionately desired to “know” God. This word ”know” means “intimately”. This desire to know God above anything else cries out with words like; hungering, craving, thirsting, aching, wanting…you were born with this inside you, your spirit longs for God and His Truth.  When you do not make Him your “one and only” the world and the devil replace it with selfish sinful desire.  Psalm 27:4 says “Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else:  I want the privilege of living with Him every moment in His house, finding the sweet loveliness of His face, filled with awe, delighting in His glory and grace.  I want to live my life so close to Him that He takes pleasure in my every prayer.”  “Your love means more than life to me.” Psalm 63:3

The truth is you are as close to God as you want to be.  He is right here, right now, beside you…waiting for you to say, “Here I am Lord.”

This relationship is not only ongoing it is eternal…what you do right now, tomorrow, and next week are opportunities to know God…how much more amazing will it be when you leave planet earth to embrace the living God in your eternal home if you already know Him!

Jeremiah 29:13 says “When you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you will not be disappointed.”

Start now, pray this through your day, “Dear Jesus, more than anything else, I want to get to know you intimately, I want to experience everything You have for me!”

Be Encouraged and Blessed,

Sister Laurie

I wholeheartedly recommend you take the 40-day journey found in Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life”.

Overcoming Doubt

No one is immune to doubt. It can and does happen to us all. You’ve just got to know how to handle it when it comes.   Let’s look at the life of John the Baptist for answers.

Jesus said this about John the Baptist,

“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matthew 11:11

John was greater in the sight of Jesus than Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, or any Old Testament character you can name. Yet John doubted the most important thing of all by questioning whether Jesus was really the Christ.

While John the Baptist was in prison he became so discouraged that he asked two of his disciples to go to Jesus and ask Him if He really was the Christ.  This amazing man of faith was lost in doubt and unbelief.

Think about who John was. He was separated unto God and filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in the womb. Luke 1:15 

It is believed he lived in the desert near the Dead Sea with the Essens, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were a people who were super-legalistic who practiced many rituals of self denial. He certainly had not lived what we would call an easy life. He was described in the Bible as wear animal skins and eating locust.  John was separated and focused on his purpose.

His entire life was committed to preparing the way for the Christ. John is the one who saw Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29.  John shared the truth of God with thousands of people from many nations declaring, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2

John would see the Spirit of God descending upon the Messiah in bodily shape as a dove. That came to pass when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.

There are many scriptures that tell us John had zero doubt.

“I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” in      John 1:34. In Luke 3:16 he said, “but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” And in John 3:30 he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Jesus responded to John’s disbelief and doubt….”look at all that has happened….see the truth of who I am and believe!”

This is the same thing Jesus is saying to you…look at all I have done and what is written in the scriptures and have faith.

Don’t let the devil lie to you and blind you from truth…dig in, for “It is written” those powerful words that Jesus spoke to Satan.  Those are our words now….

Don’t be fooled by the world…our need for something tangible, something emotional we can feel.  Overcoming doubt is not about feeling better; it’s about getting back into faith that only comes from the Word of God.

Romans 10:17 says “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

You must stand strong, immerse yourself in God’s Word and know that this battle is won on a spiritual level. 

In 2 Peter 1:12-15 Peter writes Jesus will always bring you back to remembering who  He is through His Word. He left us this Word because He knew we would face doubt in our flesh.

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

The Scriptures are more sure and faith building and doubt destroying than if you and I were witness to seeing the risen Christ or hearing an audible voice from heaven! Why?  Because the Truth of God Word is always with us, to study, meditate and pray through.

The only sure way to overcome doubt is to place your faith in the Word of God and depend on that more sure word of prophecy. Don’t allow your five senses to dominate your thinking. You must come to a place to where God’s Word is more real to you than anything you can see, taste, hear, smell, or feel. When you’re in doubt, refer back to the Word of God just the way Jesus told John the Baptist to do. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Facts say you are here, sitting in this chair, struggling because of your decisions, wrong thinking, SIN….truth is God is right beside you waiting for you to activate your faith by standing on His Word which activates His ability to bring you the deliverance you so desperately desire.

Blessings, Sister Laurie

No Matter What the Storm… Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Take Jesus’ Hand TODAY!

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

God inspired every Word with you in mind…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Blessed, Sister Laurie