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You Can’t afford to be Offended

Me 2015.jpgI want to share a little over a week ago God Led me to forgive some stuff. After I did it, I realized how many people I had let down in my life time. That was God’s Grace (TO ME!). I have to wonder,if my forgiveness allowed the Holy Spirit to reveal more to me about myself, and lift the blinders from my eyes.

We All have expectations of people.

Some is based on how we are raised, how we understand the bible, or whatever else. People can feel they are offering the help they have to offer, and you rejected it (or them) and I mean to tell you what, there are SO MANY THINGS the devil can (try) to turn it into an offense, I simply cannot list them all here. 

I’ve had people reject what I had to say when I thought it was God’s will I said certain things. It hurts, because we think we are giving a gift, and it just got rejected. If it happens 100 times, we may be at risk of getting offended. You’d be suprised how many people have “rebuked me” when I talk about Growing In Christ.

There are some who believe getting saved leads to this “instant Jesus pudding” and we automatically grow, without any real participation on our part.

Growing in Grace is a message that is balanced, and between the “Auto Pilot’ thing and the “being under law” mentality. Growing up IN Christ is a sensible and sound message, but not a popular one.

Therefore, I am delivering a word God asked me to deliver …..and yet those who seem to have the pulpit do not always agree. Does it stop me?

NO! It will not! And, I must not get offended. If I do, I will ruin myself.

I”m so glad when people tell me things like, “I waved at you, you didn’t wave back”. So many times, I just did not see them wave at me!

There are times people forget, don’t hear us, or do not understand how important something is to us. (really). Don’t fall for the “all about me” mentality. It’s a monster! ME MOnster.jpg Cartoon by Jeff Larson 

Yes, there are times people have been little snots, but it’s not all that often. Most of the time when people hurt us, it’s quite accidental.

The important thing is that remain “not offended”. If I’m not, I can go foward in Christ.

Proverbs 18:19 says “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

Don’t put your walls up. It’s just not worth it to miss out on what God has for you next.

Laura Grace, Author, Grace to the Rescue and Grace to Grow, available on Amazon.

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Overcoming…..How do we do it?

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I’ve never liked physical exercise, nor been into sports.
 
Therefore, the athlete analogy in scripture didn’t do much for me until I read 1 Timothy 4:8. Now there is a scripture I can get my teeth into! 🙂
 
I can and do, understand the need to overcome obstacles in this life for there are many of them. We say we have faith for something “someone” bars the way. We (as christians) do too much of this “well it must not be God’s will” (type thing) giving up too easily. A Major part of our walk is to OVERCOME!
 
In fact, I would say that’s the biggest goal. Didn’t Jesus say “fear not I have overcome?” and saying in a nutshell, if I did, so can you?
 
Yes indeed, He did.
 
Christmas a lot of times is just overcoming obstacles, and I didn’t realize it until just now. God didn’t send it, (Christmas) people came up with it.
For many it’s an obstacle course.
 
It’s either an opportunity to get upset, or a chance to let God produce love, generosity, more fruits of the spirit, and whatever else he’d like to do IN US at Christmas OR any other time in our lives.
 
That’s all trials really are. Opporunities to Overcome.
Oh, so THAT”S why he said rejoice (when you have a trial)
It’s your big chance to overcome!
And you don’t even have to sign up for the Olympics to do this! 
 
YAY!!! I can Get the Gold! Go for the Gold! Hurray Hurray! And yes LORD, I will do it! Be with me I pray! as I go and JUMP over all these spiritual hurdles I face today!
 
cheering you on!
Your partner in this life in Christ Jesus!
 
Laura Grace
PS (Here’s the scripture I told you about!) #overcoming
 
“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”
 
1 Timothy 4:8 by Laura Grace (Author) 
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Christmas story #12 Sorrow at Christmas time ……..

 

“Sorrow at Christmastime”

I know for many, Christmas is a very hard time. Family members, spouses who have passed away……

Many are missed and many are grieving (and not celebrating) at Christmas time. I know this to be true.

I don’t believe in just waving a wand and saying “Be Happy” to those who are in mourning.

My Purpose in writing these messages was to offer some hope, encouragement, and to remind myself (and you) that God is good despite the disapointments over Christmas.

For many, it’s just a really hard time.

We all have the choice to look past the hurt, pain, disappointment and suffering, to see Jesus in the midst of everything. our government, a bad job, Financial stress…..

I Have suffered too. (and still do) and cried many tears (and it will happen again) but I still say “God is on his throne!”

With Jesus, there is always hope. He always seems to find a way to give hope to the hopeless, and to all who call on him.

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses.” Psalm 107:28

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Christmas Story #11 Gifts (and Benevolent Benefactors)

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 “Gifts” (and benevolent benefactors.)

According to Gary Chapman, author of the five love languages, one love language is gifts. This means for some, they feel loved to get them, and often it’s how these people express their love

Through the years, I have been both the giver and receiver of many gifts, and when I took this test (from the book) I came out with Gifts being my #1 love language. I loved this book because it helped me understand myself and others. Some feel the most loved if you mow the lawn or “help them” with something. some feel loved with a hug (Physical affection) others would rather you keep your hands to yourself! LOL

It’s not right to assume what WE think should make others feel loved WILL make them feel loved. Or that it “Should” because we decided what is what. That’s just a little presumptious.  I don’t see in the bible where God says there is ONE way to love. I see many types of expressions of love there, Including gifts. 

I know “they” often say it’s more blessed to give than receive.I have been the giver and the receiver, and I have to say: Gifts that are answers to prayer are especially special. They are all great but times when I needed food or the electric bill paid, or my kids needed coats, (and I was praying about it) Wow those 
items showing up were just “WOW” Moments!

I can’t possibly list all the things that have happened for me through the years, not without writing a whole book about it! (Hmm, that’s a thought!) I don’t think any story at Christmas tells it better than the movie “Scrooge.”

For Tiny Tim (and for all the other Tiny Tim’s of this world) Benevolent Benefactors truly do make a difference. 

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Christmas story #10 God’s suprises

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I haven’t been able to be around my mom at Christmas for years now. She lived 8 hours away in a real foggy snowy and cold place, it was just not possible to go there for Christmas.

I didn’t put this in my books but many years ago in 1989 I moved away so my ‘ex” could have a fighting chance of over coming substance abuse. He was not succesful but we did this to help him and well, years and years and years of family time were lost as a result. I remember she cried when we moved away.

It’s just such a blessing to get to see her, have her homemade goodies and share the Joy of Christmas with the person who taught me to love Christmas from the time I was young. A couple of years ago I thought “I’ll probably never get to see Mom at Christmas again” And wow here she is. In the same town!

You just never know.

Merry Christmas Mom, I love you  Laura Grace, Author “Grace to the Rescue” 

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Christmas Story #9 Angels on the Tree

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Christmas story #8 Angels on the Tree

I wanted angels on the tree, 
and actually prayed for this, you see……..

A friend of mine loaned me hers ……
12 lighted angels…..stem to stern

So I’d just sit and look at them, 
Both Looking forward, and “remembering when” 
I thought of angels, anouncing his birth, 
And I thought about, how much we are worth.

That Jesus would come,for little ol’ me 
and help me have angels……upon my tree.

 by Laura Grace

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Angels We have Heard on High, Sweetly singing  o’er  the plains
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Christmas Story #8 You don’t have to have money to be generous……..

12 days extra extraChristmas story #8 Jesus is real. I testify!

One of my Life changing Scriptures is found in Jude 22 “And on some have compassion, making a distinction. 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”

If someone comes to me with a problem they are going to get the word of God, Prayer and Jesus! The way I see it, if they don’t want him they aren’t ready for help. And if they won’t receive him I can’t help them either. Now you know. I am radical!

The bible says a generous person will prosper. Now I don’t care so much if it’s financially but I Know it makes our soul prosper. We don’t have to have money to be generous. We can give our time, our love, a cookie, or even a prayer.

I met a guy one time in a housing project, he asked me to pray for him during Christmas time. He was “having such bad thoughts” he said.

After we prayed, he brought me a painting he had painted and said to me “I have to give this to you!” It was a nice painting.

I said why? “Because”, he says, ‘I just know I will feel better if I do.” 
He gave me this gift and as far as I know he was fine after that.

I don’t know why he was compelled to do that, but he was having murderous thoughts and it was scaring him. When He told me, it kind of scared me also. 

I just said “LET”S PRAY!” I know who the counsellor is. His name is Jesus! 
You don’t need a minister license to represent Jesus. All you need, is faith If you don’t have any start today praying on little things, and read your bible!

Oh I forgot to tell you why he asked me for prayer! Everywhere I go I talk about Jesus. I don’t even remember how it came up, but as people oten tell me, Nobody can be around you long without Jesus coming up! (Good!) 

I either drive them crazy or they ask me questions OR they run away! Why would we not tell the reason we are okay in this world? If hearing about Jesus drives them crazy, they are not ready for him. Yet. 

Jesus is still the answer! so get your brave shoes on and next time someone has a problem, offer to pray with them. And if you need help. Ask me for prayer! I will be happy to pray for you and I won’t judge you. Jesus is not some picture on the wall to me or someone I was ‘told about” He is REAL! And he loves you!  and thank you those who pray when I ask (You know who you are!) and I love you very much.

With Love,

Laura Grace

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

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Christmas Story #7 “When I lost the rent” (A Christmas Miracle)

12 days extraI was running hard as usual (It was Christmas time!). I wanted to send gifts to Mom and I had friends and family I was wanting to bless at Christmas, and of course, my children.

Maybe God in me- just wanted to turn what the enemy meant for evil out for Good (like in Romans 8) where it says “all things work for the good for those who love God (and are called to his purpose).

You see, I’d already learned that Christmas was some strange concoction of compromise, that there are pagan traditions “mixed in” and Santa is a saint plus a fun poem “brought to life” and yes, opportunists make the most of it, telling our kids they have to have all their dreams come true, in order to be happy (so they can sell a lot of Junk) and none of it is out of love in their heart, it’s greed for money! Yes, I know this.

My heart however, is focused on my children, who have all the wonder and joy Christmas can bring, and I just want to see their lit-up faces, and deep down I am just happy we have one day a year set aside for giving, and being a blessing, and an excuse to “Deck the Halls” and celebrate family, and life!

This is how I see Christmas. I CHOOSE to see it! How is it different from how God looks at us? He sees potential, he sees an opportunity, to make the most of, to show forth his glory. 12 days 7.jpg

Anyway, this Christmas, I lost the rent money. I was in a store (crowded) and had a hundred things on my mind, and left the rent somewhere, or it dropped out of my purse. When I went to mail it after I got home, I realized I’d lost it in the store, or in the parking lot, but either way, it was gone.

I went into a panic. I started repenting for Christmas shopping. I cried. I prayed. I was in fright! Images of telling my kids we are homeless flashed through my mind. How could I be so stupid?

I called a friend, and asked her to pray. I was crying. THANK GOD she believed in Grace, and not chewing my butt or saying something like “You shouldn’t have been Christmas shopping, that’s evil!”

I had already thought of those things. The devil is big on condemnation when we are already down.

She prayed “thank you God you love Laura, she is your child, you will take care of this.” And she said it with confidence. I thought Man “someday” I want to pray with confidence like that! And Faith God will provide! I had already called the store, they had not found anything.

Hours later, I get a phone call. “These people came in, they had found your money order on the floor hours ago” (she said) and just returned it.” She said, “I wonder if they tried to cash it, and couldn’t so they brought it back.” I thought “yep, probably so.” But if they meant to steal it, why did they finally return it? I may never know! Did God bug them, send an angel? All I know is for me THAT was a miracle!

You know it might have been the year of the view master! I have no idea. All I know is, my heart was full that year. The rent was paid. By the very Grace and power of God.

And this miracle caused me to love him More……….

And I prayed to be like my friend. And I believe I am (like my friend) Praying with Grace!

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corn 9:8

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Christmas Story #6 “A viewmaster disaster”

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Christmas Story #6 (12 days of stories) ” A Viewmaster Disaster”

(Sigh) It seems I’ve been telling on myself in these stories. That wasn’t the plan! Maybe God’s plan, but not mine! Anyway it was the 90’s, can’t remember what year, and the man of the house lost his job (again). I tried to shelter my children.

They really had no idea the fear, the chaos or the level of fright I was dealing with. I didn’t want them to know. No child should have to know they are in danger of being homeless all the time or having no dinner, or no Christmas present.

So, I prayed and found this viewmaster with Slides for 5.00 at St Vincent and I probably Told my son “God Provided” and made it sound like the thing was “a gift from God.”

YES I was a good mom. I prayed with them daily, I was faithful with all my heart to be a mom, but hey, I was learning myself! and I try as I might I still made mistakes. Blaming God for this gift WAS a mistake. It was almost detrimental to his Faith system.

So Thomas ripped into the view master all excited (From God! It must be special) and when he saw that viewmaster well he was pretty disappointed. okay VERY Disappointed! And, he cried.

Man I felt terrible. Like the worst mom ever!

Others in “housing projects” who often lied about their income, (and I know they did) bought their kids Play Stations and big ticket gifts at Christmas time. Not so with us. It was God provided, or it didn’t happen other than the sweet benevolence of others.

So how does this turn out for Good (Romans 8) you might ask?

For one thing, when I get someone a gift such as recently for the Kids at Browning, I really THINK about what I am getting. will they like it? Will they enjoy it? Or am I passing off my old time ideas of what I THINK They should like?

 I loved my view master as as kid. my son grew up in a totally different generation. I have to say I would not get excited about a tin cup and a penny either (as some did many years ago). I would say thank you, but I wouldn’t be ecstatic or anything! The Little house on the Prairie children were having a different experience when Mr. Edwards Gave them that “tin cup!” God gives perfect gifts in the perfect timing, and in the perfect way. I would have been off saying “I got you a view master” and leave God out of it! There is more than one layer to this presentation by the way………:) 

In My Zeal to lift up Jesus as the King of Christmas, I failed to see I was misrepresenting God. I don’t think he “chose’ to give my son a gift that brought him to tears. Let’s face it poverty is hard on a kid. (it really is) It produces Character, it can be very GOOD for them, but it’s still hard. by the way…….. Many years later (2007?)

I got him ANOTHER viewmaster as a joke gift at Christmas! He was able to laugh over it Good sign! He came out with Character! Oh the Joy of having children with Character! Who Can abase or abound! And that my friends, is a result of prayer, Faith, and God’s Grace.  

Merry Christmas! Stay tuned for more! -Laura Grace

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”      James 1:17

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Christmas Story #5 Replacing Mom with God and becoming an elitist

12 days 5There was a time I replaced my mom with God.

She knew it, I knew it, and I know now, it wasn’t the same thing as putting God first in my life.  It was a form of giving up (on our relationship).

I sent her Christmas cards and gifts every year, and she did the same for me. We stayed in touch, told each other “I love you” but we both knew, there was a big chasm between us. I will call it “the great divide.”

I really love my Mom. And she really loves me. We had had our trials through the years, and both of us have felt misunderstood, hurt and even trampled at times, by the other. Now we are on a path to restoration. She lives closer, so now we can talk more, and I find that communication in person is far better than what we could ever achieve by letter, or even on the phone.

I think a lot of people try to give their kids what they did not have (growing up) but many do not see how that can make parents feel a little rejected. In making different choices and not holding to what we are taught, it is kind of like saying, “Your way is not the right way,” whether we say those words or not.

My Mom taught me to write thank you cards, and appreciate every gift I was given. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” was a favorite saying, and one I never quite understood.

As a teenager, I did not understand money being tight, nor did I have any idea how very hard it is (or can be) for parents to come up with Christmas money to “make our dreams come true.”

In the show “Little house on the Prairie” we see how grateful the kids are for a tin cup and a piece of candy, but at that time in history, most were poor (out on the prairie) and only a rare few had more than their daily bread. As the prosperous 80’s came forth, then the 90’s, kids were not so grateful for “less,” for the most part. The continual message was, “If they love you, you will get what you want.”

Television shows depicted “all your dreams coming true” at Christmas (Miracle on 34th street is one example) those who have sponge type personalities like myself, well we took it all to heart. “All my dreams can come true, and I’m sticking to it!” was the motto of many.  Even something as simple as that, can become an idol.

How do I know? Because, I did it (at one time). If my dream of getting just what I want for Christmas (or any other time) leads me to stomp on people’s hearts, trample them down, and cease to care how they feel, well “Houston” we may have a problem.

Mom sent me boxes every year, but this one Year I recall, she really outdid herself. She sent a pond with a bear skating on it, (I still have it do this day). She sent grand gifts, a card that played music, all kinds of (wonderful) things.

Man, it hurts to admit this but, I had my eye on what others (in the church) had by this time, and I was fully gone into the ‘all your dreams can come true” mentality. I-will-Prosper-thinking (big time!).

I wasn’t very thankful (as I should have been) for the love that she put in those presents.

I was fully gone in my elitism, (Holier than thou) because I went to church all the time, and she didn’t.

I had my eyes on those who had more (and I was going to have it too!).

I believed if she really loved me, she would get me exactly what I wanted.

What I am trying to say is, I was bad at honoring my Mom, and in my quest to follow Jesus, I stopped listening to her.  Nobody wants to admit they have become an elitist, partial-Pharisee, or holier-than thou in their attitude.

The especially “spiritual” seem the most prone to resisting correction, unless it comes straight from God himself. The truth is God can even use a donkey to rebuke us. (Story of Balaam, Numbers 22:28).

I still loved her, but how could she see it? I rejected almost everything she had taught me to be.

We can’t change the past, but we can be restored.

I think the biggest key to seeing restoration of our own soul(s) is to realize we continually need changing, healing, and sometimes even “attitude adjustments”.

Like the story of Balaam and his donkey, we can be all fired sure we are on the right path, but sometimes we are really fighting God as he directs us toward the one thing we don’t want to do to receive our healing. Getting humble. Humble hurts! But it’s worth it my friends. Sometimes we just need to stop and realize; it wasn’t all them. Look past our own hurt and see “it takes two to tango.” With Love, 

-Laura Grace

Jesus talking to the Pharisees  

 But, you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother.” Mark 7: 11-12

Ephesians 6:2 “. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

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