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

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

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

Every Knee Shall Bow…

I am currently taking a class on Romans; the Book of Romans is said by many to be the single greatest work within the Bible. God inspired apostle Paul to write to the Romans from the Greek city of Corinth in AD 57. Paul had never been to Rome when he wrote the letter to the Romans, though he had clearly expressed his desire to travel there in the near future (Acts 19:21; Romans 1:10–12). Paul begins with our condition which is most easily visible in the world today…the sinfulness of all humanity.


Today, let us look at Romans 1:18-19, in these two verses God makes known an exciting and simple truth. See if you can discover where I am leading you as you ponder over these scriptures in several versions.


The NASB says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”

KJV “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” (placed it in their spirit)

Now look at it in the MSG verses 18-23 “But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such cannot see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So, nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.”

The NIV says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”

TLB says “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, evil men who push away the truth from them. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts.”

Finally, let us make this even clearer, the TPT Translations puts it like this, “For God in heaven unveils his holy anger breaking forth against every form of sin, both toward ungodliness that lives in hearts and evil actions. For the wickedness of humanity deliberately smothers the truth and keeps people from acknowledging the truth about God. In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart.

Here it is the truth laid out…we are spirit, our heart, conscience, instinct, are proof. In the above scriptures the following words are used to also confirm our knowing of God, evident, made plain, embedded. All these words reveal to us an overwhelming truth…who we are, our position and that we are supernatural spiritual beings and there is only One True God and He, our Creator was existed before you were born, He placed this knowledge within you, within your spirit. Ok, one more time, we are a spirit who knew God before we came to earth; placed in our mother’s womb, created by God and in His image that’s right our spirit is what is in His image. He also gives us eyes to see all that He created in nature. All humankind and everything in nature is God’s creation…therefore EVERY KNEE shall bow…WOW! Bottom line NO one has an excuse. Those who are non-believers, atheists and the like they just prefer to ignore this magnificent truth that we are His daughters, the Daughters of the Most High God, spiritual beings created with His purpose not yours or mine.
Your Sister in Jesus Christ, Love, Laurie

Not Today Satan!

Have you ever caught yourself going over a situation again and again? Be it positive or negative you just cannot let it go…It even is affecting your decisions, possibly a relationship. Your emotions are tied to these thoughts and often result in an action you later regret. Satan has many tools in his arsenal and here are a couple of them.
Reasoning – repeated discussion, wondering, daydreaming without Godly wisdom.
Rationalizing – justifying your behavior or another’s behavior or thoughts in order to avoid truth; this is the devil’s substitute for confession and repentance.
Manipulation – to control or influence a situation or person unfairly or unscrupulously, using a mixture of truth and lies to achieve a self-driven result.
The Bible is truly clear that we must be careful how we spend time in thought…do not dwell, in the end nothing positive comes from lingering thoughts.
James 1:5-8 says “But if any of you lacks wisdom(Godly clarity and understanding using it wisely), let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach(disapproval, criticism), and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting(unable to fully accept God’s truth), for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded (lukewarm with one foot in and one foot out) man, unstable (mentally and spiritually unbalanced) in all his ways.” Personalized NASB
Have you noticed that every time you replay a situation it becomes foggier not clearer? The devil is a master of twisting truth, corrupting our memory, justifying the wrong motives, persuading us to make a worldly, flesh driven decision instead of a Godly decision. That worldly decision may feel good for a moment or even longer, but it soon leads us farther away from God and more into the world. God has given us examples in His Word how Satan used reason, rationalizing and manipulation in order to cause two women to make decisions contrary to God’s Plan, the good news is God already knew and He had an eternal plan that could not be corrupted by the devil.


Let’s look at Genesis 3:1-6
Verses 1-3 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’? “The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”
We as believers must be aware that Satan can disguise himself and that he knows God’s Word and he will weave his purpose into God’s truth to confuse and corrupt us. The devil starts a conversation with a question to start Eve’s mind reasoning.
Verse 4 “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan again engages Eve knowing well how much God’s loves her and Adam tempting her by saying “You surely will not die!” Here comes reasoning, rationalizing and manipulation in one statement, “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Satan knew Eve as well as he knows all of God’s children. We do not have all the answers, yet our mind desires those answers. God warns us that we are incapable of that knowledge, our minds can’t fathom. Romans 11:33 says “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” I believe that knowledge we so desperately seek will be given when we are reunited with our Forever Father in Heaven.
Verses 5-6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
The Bible does not say how long it was before Eve tasted of the fruit however my gut tells me she spent some time reasoning the why not and what ifs. Rationalizing how good it would be…how her relationship with God would change because she could see and understand everything He does. Now the manipulation kicks in Eve wants Adam to taste as well, they may have even reasoned together, notice that it says “her husband with her”, so he was at the tree watching her taste and then he tasted for himself.
We all know the outcome from this event, Satan cleverly used reasoning, rationalizing and manipulation to bring sin into the world.


Now let us look at Abram and Sarai, but first a little background on the two of them. Abram and Sarai were in their 80’s at the time God shared his promise of descendants with Abram. He and Sarai had been married for many years and I believe that they were faithful to one another and Abram did not desire to take another wife or take his wife’s maid servant as was a custom in order to provide an heir.
In Genesis 15:5-6 God gives Abram a promise. “And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
Time passes, Abram and Sarai are still without children let’s look how Sarai takes matters into her own hands through reasoning, rationalizing and manipulation…Genesis 16:1-6 ”Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.”
Reasoning – Sarai thought I am to old and God has made this promise. Surely God means for Abram to take my servant?
Rationalizing – After all it is a custom to provide their husband as many heirs as possible, some men even take more wives. At least I do not have to share Abram he has not chosen to have other wives. Hagar is my servant this won’t be so bad. Remember, up until now Abram and Sarah as far as we know had been faithful to one another…so in that moment the devil had deceived Sarai by putting thoughts of reasoning and rationalizing in her mind. Verse 3 tells us it was ten years before Sarai sent Hagar into Abrams bed. How difficult those years must have been as she reasoned and rationalized her plan?
Manipulation – Verse 2 says “Abram listen to the voice of Sarai.” This is an important statement because we see here that Abram had not spent time reasoning and rationalizing how these heirs, his descendants as many as stars would come. Sarai manipulated Abram into taking Hagar to bring about an heir.
There is a price to be paid when we step out of the will of God…to reason or rationalize our way to get what God has promised or what we believe God wants for us, sadly to get what we want. In verses 4-6 we have a glimpse of the price Sarai paid. The relationship with her maid servant was damaged, Abram’s response also hints upon the tension between all three of them.


The devil frequently steals the will of God from us due to reasoning. He injects wrong thinking and emotions into your mind so that you cannot focus on what the Holy Spirit is speaking to your spirit. God tells us to be on guard continually watching and discerning our thoughts, “make every thought obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5, James 1:22 says “be doers of the Word not just a hearer.”


Dear Sisters in Jesus Christ, there is only one way to keep our mind full of Godly wisdom, Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore (make it so) I urge you, sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy (devoted) sacrifice , acceptable (pleasing) to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (praise and glory for all God is doing). And do not be conformed (copy what others do) in this world (your flesh, emotions), but be transformed (be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is(with our mouth and lived out in action), that which is good and pleasing to God in every way.” personalized NASB


If our relationship with Jesus is a growing and an intimate one, our goal must be to let our spirit (which is stronger, supernatural) be in control of our mind. This can only be achieved if our spirit is in tune with the Holy Spirit and listening to the voice of God daily. Victory and freedom come when we recognize the devil’s tools and fight back using everything we have in Jesus Christ.


Proverbs 3:5 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”
Blessing, Laurie

Cooperate with God’s Refinement

Hebrews 12:10b says, “He disciplines us for our good so that we may share in His Holiness.”

Correction in scripture is sometimes described as troubles, tribulations, hardship, or discipline. I do want to make it truly clear that God does not bring hardship upon you.  You live in a fallen world, trials and tribulation as spoke of in the Bible will come despite all your efforts to avoid them.

God uses your life circumstances to refine you.  Do you ever find yourself asking God why me?  Many times, these circumstances are because of something you have done, our choices, behavior, wrong thinking, selfish desires and motives.

Read Isaiah 53:2-5  written hundreds of years before our Savior Jesus would be born…God reveals His plan.  He knew all along that it would take a Savior Jesus Christ, His very Son to save you from yourself.

“The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field.  There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look.  He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.  One look at him and people turned away.  We looked down on him, thought he was scum.  But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.  We thought he brought it on himself,  that God was punishing him for his own failures.  But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!  He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.  We’re all like sheep who have wandered off and gotten lost.  We have all done our own thing, gone our own way.  And God has piled all our sins, everything we have done wrong, on Him, on Him.  (Isaiah 52:2–5 MSG)

What is God’s purpose in discipline?  What blessings can you expect when you surrender to it?

Hebrews 12:5-10 says tell you what you need to complete the tasks He has for you.  He is preparing you for something better more valuable to Him!

“In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So, do not feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, do not shrug off God’s discipline, but do not be crushed by it either.  It is the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.

God is educating you; that is why you must never drop out. He is treating you as dear children. This trouble you are in is not punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline is not much fun. It always feels like it is going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” (MSG)

Hebrews 12:13 says that your behavior must be refined by Him for His work to be completed in you…”make straight paths (obedience and love) for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint (lacking self-control), but rather be healed (controlled through obedience to God’s Holy Word).

Now let us visit Romans 8:26-39 (paraphrases are my revealed understanding)

26 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; (1. The Holy Spirit strengthens you.)

27 He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  (2. He teaches  you to pray accurately.  3. He prays perfect prayers through and for you.)

28 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. (4. All things work for your good as you pray, love God, and desire His will)

29-30 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (5. You are destined to be like Christ…living here and now a resurrected life.)

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (6. Since God is for you, who can be against you or ultimately do harm to you? What do you need to overcome?  What lie must be broken and truth revealed?)

32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (7. God provides everything you need.)

33-34 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (8. God, the Holy Spirit will show you where you have made a mistake, but He does not and will not continue to beat you up…repent and receive that freedom…stop remembering, let go.  Speak the Word of God out loud…the devil is a liar!)

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (9. God loves you! He desires a personal relationship with you!)

 36-39 Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (10. Nothing can separate you from His love! You are His child loved and valued above all of God’s creation. Your past, your freedom comes through Him conquered through Him because of His love for you. 11. Nothing can separate you from His love!  You are deeply rooted and grounded by His love!)

These days have an air of uncertainty however, my sisters in Jesus Christ you should know without a doubt who you belong to and that nothing can separate you from God! Praise and Worship your SAVIOR TODAY WITHOUT HESITATION! Do not let the devil distract you from your purpose and God’s will for you!

Blessing, Laurie

The Lord’s Prayer

women kneeing in prayer

Recently I had the honor of sharing with a group of women.  As I prayed each day prior to the day, the Lord began to speak to me about giving them insight to the Lord’s Prayer as given in Matthew 6:9-13.  I felt the Holy Spirit say give them a new meaning, one they can use when journeying deeper in their relationship with Me.  I call this a Jesus Habit. Prayer and studying God’s Word are a true level of connecting with Him in an intimate way.  It’s important to attend church or a Bible study to gain insight from others, however, your quiet personal time with God will bring new meaning to your relationship with Him.

Read Matthew 6:9-13, take note of my comments and write ones of your own as God speaks to you.  There is meat in these scriptures.  Use this as a guide in your daily prayer time.  I would like to say, don’t let others or the devil make you feel as if you have failed if you do not hold to a specific time of day or a hard rule of when and where to seek God.  He is always with you.  So whenever and wherever works! The point is just do it!

One more thing, get a Bible! Don’t relay on your phone, tablet or iPad, even a computer.  There is nothing better than the written Word in a tangible printed way.  Write in the margins, add pages using some of the new techniques used by art journalers. Let your Bible express your love for Jesus.  As your relationship matures your Bible will reflect that relationship, or provide a history of your journey, no electonic device can show your love better.

v6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” 

Intimate, private relationship with God – praying and studying His Holy Word alone grows your relationship with Him.  Empty platitudes spoken in public prove  nothing but expose your pride.

v7-8 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” 

Do not be meaningless, repetitive, God knows your mind and heart’s motive. He knows before we ask so be honest. Come surrendered and humbled, lay yourself open before your Lord.

v9 “Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” 

Recognize His Authority, Who He is, the great I AM. Then declare His  Holiness… Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord for the whole earth is filled with His Glory.  Isaiah 6:3

v10 “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” 

Acknowledge the need for God, and the need for all people to know Him, we have a responsibility in representing Him to the world through our life and in spreading the Gospel with those we encounter.

v11 “Give us this day our daily bread.”

We are depend, so make our-self dependent on God for all things.  Acknowledge that only God can give you what you need…physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Matthew 6:33 says “seek Him first, His Kingdom and His righteousness and you will receive all you need.” 

v12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

God forgives us of our (debts) sin, through this we have an example of forgiveness for those who hurt or sin against us.  We cannot claim God’s forgiveness if we harbor anger and unforgiveness towards  others.  Ask God to continually and daily to reveal any bitterness we may hold in our heart.

v13 “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the   kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” 

God does not tempt us with evil,  James 1:13 says “Let no one 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.“ Ask God to guide you and give you discernment.  God will deliver you from evil when we stand in God’s strength and authority based in His Word.  James 4:7  tells us to “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.”  Finally have confidence in God,  I Corinthians 10:13  confirms God is there for us, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 

This afternoon of sharing turn into an amazing day of lives changed through God’s Word.  I am but his empty vessel, set on a course of sharing truth, and the life changing experience found in living and serving the one truth God…Jesus Christ!

Be Blessed,

Laurie