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Building #10 The Measure of Spiritual Maturity. What does it mean to be “Grown Up” In Christ? And how do we know if we are (and if others are?)

GROWING TREE ROOTS I don’t know about you, but I’d like to have a grown-up for my leader. Many people aspire to be leaders, coaches, teachers, and the like; but they are not always qualified. 

I said, they are not always qualified. 

How do we know if they’re qualified? What do you think would be “God’s measure” of maturity? have you ever thought about that one? (I have). 

We’ve all heard the stories of how someone wasn’t “picked” for the team. I was one that nobody wanted on their baseball, football, or even volley ball team! I was not good at it. I didn’t want to be good at it (bad enough) to practice.

I let go of even trying long ago, because guess what? I didn’t care! (about sports) enough to put my heart into learning, practicing, and becoming great at it. 

I did, at some point, need to stop whining and admit to myselfI don’t want this bad enough to do the hard work.” Step #1 to Growing and Maturity: Admitting the truth about ourselves in the light of God’s Truth! 

I’m sure out there “somewhere” there are ministries that choose their leaders by their maturity level in-Christ, but I don’t think there is many. Sad to say, the mainstream church world often makes their selections based on willingness, an outward appearance of maturity, faithfulness to church services, and attending bible school and colleges. The main goal is often raking in more bodies (to fill the pews) and not growth and maturity for the ones who are in those pews. 

They have board members who look at the resume’, pray about it, and make their choice as to what they think is the best candidate for the (open slot) or job.

So, if you were picking a leader, or a pastor (of a church) what would be your measure for maturity? 

I make that decision every day of my life, when I decide who I will listen to and who I will not (listen to). Ephesians 4 says God gave us Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets and Teachers to help us come to maturity (in Christ). 

I learned a long time ago, a person who is blind will lead me into the ditch. A person who is not mature will not help me get mature. I want a leader who is stronger, wiser and more mature than I am. 

Therefore, if I do not listen to someone’s advice, it doesn’t mean I am rejecting them, personally. I simply learned (a long time ago) That listening to Jesus comes first. To put anyone’s council above His, is a form of idolatry. 

Am I perfect? No! Have I made mistakes? Yes, I have. But my heart and mind are set on the words “Take my yoke upon you” (Words of Jesus) “and be yoked to me.” (Matthew 11:28). 

The Lord is my Shepherd (primarily) and everything else is subject to him. 

Years ago I sat under a minister for a time (online) and hardly anyone understood why. It was because of his Testimony.  A testimony (for me) is the true measure of maturity. Not what school they went to, not how many days they warmed a pew in the church. 

I”ve met many who attended church for 30 years, and like a submarine, nothing seemed to really get INTO their hearts. They are no different today than they were 30 years ago, other than knowing how to speak christianese. 

Like a tree, a testimony is a measure of how much work God has actually done in a person’s life. Are they born again? Filled with God’s spirit? Have they walked in the fruits of the spirit and learned to walk by the spirit of God? Have they cried out for, and received wisdom (from above) and not relied on the wisdom of man (and his ways?). Are they tried and true? 

It’s out of balance to say we don’t need anyone but God and it’s out of whack to say we only need church, and just follow along with whatever supposed “leader” comes our way. It’s unhealthy to gather around someone who just “says what we want to hear” and it’s foolish to assume every person in a leadership position was put there by God. If that were the case, Paul and Jesus would not have wept over flocks being deceived by wolves in sheeps’ clothing and they would not have interceded with tears over those being “led astray.”

Did you know Jesus cried (and wept) for those that would not listen to him? That was more serious to him than starving children or the physical suffering of humanity. Why? 

Because: He knew if he could successfully save the human soul (and we would listen to him) all the rest would be taken care of. God’s wisdom leads to us being “alright” in the Spirit first, and then in the natural. He wants us healthy (Spirit, Mind, and Body!). He wants us mature, which means we have grown up INTO his Headship.

I would dare say this means “We’ve God the mind of Christ” in all things. 

To get the mind of Christ, we have to continually give up our own ways of thinking. We have to push out the voices of the immature, the unsteady, and the godless and faithless, and INCLINE Our ear to the word of God via His Spirit. 

So here’s my standard on whether I will listen to you (or not). What is your Testimony? If you don’t have one to overcome with, how can I follow you? 

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelation 12:11 NKJV). 

In conclusion, if you have found a church that truly has a loving, parental heart to see you Grow (UP) IN Christ, stick to them like glue! If you can see they love you, and want you to grow, stay put! If they have other agenda’s, face it and pray, and ask God for a church that helps you get where you need to be. This is my advice, and I believe it is sound. LOVE yourself enough to get good spiritual food. 

Put your Spirit and Soul First, and the rest of you (body) as secondary. This is what it means to love not (your physical life) Unto Death. You put it under, and put it second to your growth and development in Christ. Enough said! -Laura Grace 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Building #9 The Miracle of Fruit! and being out from under the curse..

FRUIT HAPPY 2Did you know producing fruit in your life is actually a Miracle? I remember how before I gave my life to Christ and received becoming born again, I didn’t like people much. In fact I had a whole lot of hatred, animosity, judgement, and even bitterness in my heart. 

After I got saved, I could FEEL the love of God rushing up out of my very being. At that time there was a song by Dallas Holmes “I got love, love, love in my heart, I got peace like a river, that never will part……..” (Love in My Heart, Dallas Holmes).

Anyway, I would sing that song and I really MEANT IT For the first time in my life. It was something I could feel, I could grasp it, and I WANTED to go run out and bless people who had hurt me, or who didn’t show love to me first. Why? Because The Love of God was SO REAL TO ME It just flowed out of me. I wanted to ABIDE IN HIM! 

Abiding in Jesus in the Vine is GOING to produce fruit. You don’t even have to worry about it! He will trim off the dead branches and be your Vinedresser.FRUIT HAPPY 1

(John 15)

Producing Fruit is also the evidence the CURSE is broken. Jesus said he became a curse for us. In Matthew 21 he curses a fig tree (for not producing fruit). it withers and dies shortly after that. I believe that story is not only about the power of our words but also it’s an outward manifestation of what happens to us if we are not IN HIM. Without him we will wither (and die). 

Jesus doesn’t want us cursed, and he paid a heavy price to REDEEM us from the curse of the law. Just like when you redeem a coupon, you have to receive it, grab hold of it, and literally cash it in with Him! YOU Have the power whether or not to utilized what He did for you. See in Deut 28 when he talked about them being blessed (Fruitful) WITH HIM and cursed WITHOUT HIM It’s saying exactly the same thing as John 15. In the gospel the shadow is just eliminated, but it is actually saying the same thing!

From the very beginning (Gen 1) God said “be Fruitful!” Not just in spirit, but the Body as well. (one comes before the other, you see?). To be fruitful we must live in the right environment with the Lord. IN HIM! Any man-made, phony balogna, MFG Fruit is not what Jesus was talking about. He alone can make us fruitful! Our part is to give up our own ways, and surrender to Him, and his work within us. 

A Passage about being Fruitful: (2 Peter 1) 5 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

by Laura Grace, author, Grace to Grow, Grace to the Rescue, and more …….https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Grow-study-guide-Rescue/dp/197333187X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518201916&sr=8-1&keywords=grace+to+grow+by+Laura+grace

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When your give a dang gets broken….. Jesus sticks up for you! And the sin of unjust criticism………..

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I’m going to be transparent with you today. Sometimes if I have given (and given) all that I have, and someone gets critical about how I did it, There is a point where I just want to give up on giving at all. There is a song about it and it basically says “My give a dang is broken.”  In the world of biblically-correct Christians, it’s not okay to say that. Leaders go through it (at times) pastors of all kinds, even Mom’s who love their children dearly, experience this phenomina. Pastors and Moms have something in comnon too: They don’t dare say so “in front of the children.” 

I won’t go into the reasons, We’ll just say some days “it all adds up” on us until we reach the tilting point or boiling point, as we may call it. I took it out on someone who did not deserve my wrath (and it’s happened before) All because criticism when I have given it all I’ve got, tends to send me through the roof at times. 

The passage “God loves a Cheerful Giver” was going through my mind. I decided I was not cheerful, so maybe I should not have given at all. Maybe I should not minister at all! I was about to give up, when Jesus came on the scene with his rivers of Living Water and Mighty flood of revelation! 

He said to me “It’s what it cost you” that is getting to you.” And then “Criticism under that cirumstance, is a sin.” 

The story of the widow’s mite came to mind. “She gave all she had to live on” Jesus said and not from her abundance, but she gave all she had.” (Mark 12). 

I know what Jesus is talking about here. I had a friend who typed me letters of encouagement with braces on his hands, because the pain in his hands was so bad he had to wear braces to do it. I just had someone tell me of a gift they are sending that cost them “all they have.” If you’ve ever given your last minute, your only day off, your only 5.00, or given up your only vacation to do something nice for someone else, you know exactly what I am talking about. Smug little sinners with no clue say things like, “Well You should not Martyr yourself!” or they might use a different passage of scripture (God loves a cheerful giver!). 

I have a friend that works full time, and even on weekends at times, but she uses what little free time she has to post helpful scripture on the internet. She Loves Jesus and she gives ALL she has to live on (her wee bit of rest time sometimes) to bless others. When I see someone going on her FB wall having to “correct her” with their “Opinion” I wish I could go and say, “What is your problem?” 

My aghast response to their treachery, is not so far from How Jesus sees it. (He told me so!) However, he also lets me know that he sees every thing we give, and why. 

When someone gives all they have, their last day, minute, breath, or even dollar, (in his Name for his purpose) he sees it, and he commends them for it. Why did Jesus commend that woman? Because, he wanted to get a point across about giving it all (and what it means to him!). Anyone who unjustly criticises those who are giving it all, are sinning against Jesus himself, not just that person. 

Now I ask you? How many people are supposedly “anti-bullying” and yet unjustly criticise the Lord’s servants, who are giving it all they’ve got? So now, what to do about it? GIVE AS UNTO JESUS and let the geese that bite you on the nose after you have helped them, go find their own bread. We need to be about the Father’s business, and doing what he has said to do! 

Later Jesus told his disciples “When you enter a house, speak peace to it and if they do not receive it, your peace will return to you.” Whatever you have done for others will be returned to you………No labor of love is in vain. (Jesus’ promised us this). 

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 

So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12:41-44

 

Laura Grace, Author, Grace to Grow

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Building with Precious things (Continued)

POOR FROM DUST.jpg

I’m going to tell you why I posted this. I used to live in housing projects. We suffered years of poverty I still have the records. Living on 8,000 a year or less even 6,000 a year (a family of four) and I used to quote this scripture “He raises the Poor from the Dust” …….(Psalm 113) 
 
And I’d say “AND IT”S TRUE FATHER” I believe you! Years later, things have really changed for me, and they have. 
Every time I have plenty of toilet paper, I am thankful. And, When the bills are paid, and I don’t get shut off notices I say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU…..experiences like that you never forget all your life! Ask those who went through the great depression……..They just never forget what it was like 🙂
 
I can talk about building on the rock with Precious things, because I had the storms that took everything (and I barely escaped) and finally I got tired of it and said; “change me change me change me” ….people bailing you out will never change things. 
The change must happen from within! We need Soul healing and restoration! We need God to CHANGE US to think LIKE HIM!
 
Amen? 🙏🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
 
The Loving kindness of God WILL LEAD someone to repentance if they have a heart after God in the first place such as “They want to know (the truth). Others will take and take and get mad at him when he wants them to learn and grow up and sometimes Will Basically tell God Where to stuff it and walk away….
 
If you read the book of Revelation, some will NEVER repent. They will curse God no matter what (and blame him for all disasters). I know a lot of people think I don’t understand love but I do. I will walk with someone to the end of the earth If they are just struggling to understand God. If they don’t care, and spit on him, and want nothing to do wtih Him, I’m gonna work with those whose hearts are crying out to him. I wasted so much time on those who did not care (to know) the truths that can make them free. No more! It’s called Co dependency or it could be called strengthening the hands of evil doers. (Bad idea!)
 
God’s going to have a church that speaks the truth once again, not molly coddling those who want nothing to do with Him. The excuses have to stop, And God will show and reveal “who is who” and what is what.
WE NEED God’s Wisdom! WE NEED His input! This is not a game.
 
Those who “poo poo” on all this will have the outcome of their (Own) ways. and last thing: Don’t Worship Angels or anyone but God. They are simply fellow servants with you. #worshipGodonly #blazingglory #choosingGodoverothers
 
“Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he [stopped me and] said to me, “You must not do that; I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers and sisters who have and hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God [alone]. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy [His life and teaching are the heart of prophecy].” Revelation 19:10 (When John saw an Angel)
Peace and blessings! Laura Grace 
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The all about me people (by Laura Grace)

GROWING TREE ROOTS.jpg

The All about me-people!

by Laura Grace:

We’ve all met them …….
at least once or twice
they want to be naughty
and pretend to be nice

It’s all about them, every time, every place
If they are not happy, they get in your face.

Now I know we forgive them (and pray for them too)
But honestly sometimes, what can we do?

We see them coming, we want to hide!
When we’re having a blessing, they’re along for the ride.

But when we go through a trial ……
THEY run and hide!
They wait til it’s over
and then they come back
It’s all about them (again) 
And that, is a fact!

They will drain you 
and pain you 
and flat “wear you out” 
use you
abuse you
and fill you with doubt

Now you are wondering “did I fail to love?” 
Nope you did not! And here’s help from above!

If they won’t take God’s wisdom, 
It’s not up to you 
to save them from folly 
so take heed what you do!

Let them go my sweet child 
Let them go with a prayer 
gather the wheat 
and uproot the tare

I”m sorry this happens…..
And I know that there’s pain…..
But God is the saviour 
and You: “Pray for rain”

Let them grow up,
They must suffer the pain 
You Need to Grow! 
Now, Soak up the rain! 
Grow in the sunshine
Bask in God’s love!

And my child this is: 
Your help, From Above!

Please don’t feel guilty …….
they are making a choice

Now you, please make yours
and don’t lose your voice!

#grace to Grow (by Laura Grace)

Grace to Grow (the book) Is now available on Amazon WITH Study guide included

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Grief and Pain (no, you are not stupid).

tears and sorrow

Having Grief and Pain (You’re not stupid!) 
One thing I’ve not been known to ever do, is to call people’s 
feelings stupid (or dumb, or even wrong). I’ve learned some 
times the hard way our feelings should not dominate us, but 
at the same time, I know we have them. Grief comes in many 
forms, and sometimes people who can’t cry get very angry 
instead. Maybe they won’t cry because someone said it’s 
stupid, or maybe because it embarrasses them. 
You won’t catch me telling you there are right or wrong things 
to grieve about either. These ideas such as “There are starving
children somewhere” so be grateful for your plate of liver” or 
platitudes such as: “Well at least you are alive, or if one of your
children died, you still have the other” do not really help people 
feel better. Do they? Not very often. I would say mostly, not. 
People hire therapists in part, because they fear telling friends, 
family, and yes even pastors at times, their deepest thoughts 
and fears. They have grief and want to get over it. Sometimes 
the grief “seems to be” over something stupid. The fear that 
someone will call them stupid, makes them want to hide. 
“I AM SO STUPID!” (I have said that myself) When I am very 
frustrated for giving that person another chance (and they did 
that to me again!) Or I dared to dream, and now I’m disappointed
(again for the 14th time, or even the 100th time). 
I should never say that but, I have. Why? Why do we chastize our
selves like that? 
#1 We see others getting over it, so we think we are failures
#2 We think our grief is “stupid” to begin with. (not important). 
#3 We don’t understand where this grief is coming from or even how to stop it. 
Therapy sometimes goes too far in perpetuating our grief, (getting 
us to feel sorry for ourselves, which can lead to depression) 
God tells us to “be of good cheer” but sometimes, we can’t. We 
are sad. We need to cry. It’s called grieving. 
King David danced, but he also wept about sin and disappointment. 
Jeremiah wept over the sins of God’s people. 
Jonah got depressed because God did not destroy Ninevah after he 
delivered a word that it would be destroyed. Job got depressed too. 
I believe part of soul-healing is talking about it. Whether you talk to 
God about it, or someone else. Ministers like TD Jakes talk about their
soul being torn, ripped apart, dreams going out the window, and feeling
like God didn’t care (for awhile) about their pain. This is why people love
to read their stories. They can relate. 
We need teachers and we need prophets, but we need pastors too. 
Pastors tend to be nurturing people. They love and tend to the sheep. 
If they are not this way, perhaps they should not have been pastors. 
But in the world of men, There are not any paying postions for a lot 
of the other ministries (which is sad). They are forced to ask for money
continually, because nobody offers them a home, or a paycheck. 
Those people have dreams too (you see) And it’s a heart to reach the
lost, the hurting, the broken, and the dying. They can’t get there without
someone’s help. I just put one of my dreams on the Altar, because unless
God sends a way to provide for it, I just can’t do it anymore. 
It’s called “Authoring books” to reach the hurting. I can’t afford what it costs anymore, so I have to stop. My paychecks are like .01 (last quarter) for this endeavor. I’ve been doing it for 7 years now, and it pays nothing. And it’s okay but it still hurts to have dreams come to an end. I have to stop now. Until God provides for it. If he doesn’t, oh well! I will still love him just the same. 
And no I don’t want sympathy- but I have some grief right now. God will 
surely bring me out of it too. He always does! He is faithful! I have faced many disappointments in my life. And I will live through this one, too. 
As a minister and a child of God I find that “letting go” is one of the most 
painful things I have ever experienced. Letting go of what you know is bad
is hard, but letting go of something you thought was good is even harder. 
I am reminded of the following scripture in regardes to self-preservation. 
When you are done grieving, consider putting it all in God’s hands. 
We really are better off to put our lives in the Lord’s hands and say “Thy will 
be done, thy kingdom come, on earth, as it is in heaven.” Amen. 
Today is November 1. Happy Author’s day. I just layed my 7 year Journey 
of writing books at the Lord’s feet. 
Matthew 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it.  Peace out (for now) Laura Grace 
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When Giants Have to Fall…..

giants Good Morning! 

Facing any giants today? Monsterous Fears Maybe? 

You know, this may suprise you but …people don’t just wake up one day and realize “Hey I’m a giant slayer!”

Even those of us who DO stand up to those supposed “powers of darkness” had our days of fear and trembling, shaking and quaking, and wondering what to do next. Maybe King David was blessed in that, he did not have to listen to the news on TV every day, and hear about how many stood up to a giant and got killed in the process. See: We have it easier than David in someways (we live in New Testament times) but in other ways, we have it harder. Life was simpler in the days of King David, but the choice has always been the same. Trust God, or not Trust God. 

I do not mean idly sitting by, watching to see what God will do next…….

I’ve been writing messages for months now, as I face my own giants. I have faced many, in my time. 

This time, it was cancer. Oh yes, the big C. The name of the giant is different, the victory over it is the same. One day we will all face that last giant (death) And when God decides it’s our time, we’ll see that one defeated too, as we enter heaven forever, rejoicing. 

after King David slayed the giant, he faced a bigger one. Saul’s Jealousy and Rage.

Before he became King, He was chased around by Saul, who was so upset at David’s Victories, his own realization his time was short (as King) that he wanted to literally murder David. David’s men begged him to kill Saul, but he would not do it.  

I could talk for hours about how I came to the conclusions I have (about Faith) but you wouldn’t likely read it all (unless I write another book) and I don’t have time. What I will say is this: “The Holy Spirit” Has a lot he wants to teach you……

Will you take the time? The other thing is: Becoming a Giant Slayer takes time. David was out in the fields tending the sheep, meditating on God’s truths and principles. He was prepared for his day in the sun (and the days in the dark as well.) I don’t care what the giant’s name is, the answers is the Same. GOD! 

If you looked out the window and saw a stray dog molesting your child, you would grab whatever you could, run out there, and beat the thing half to death. GET OFF MY CHILD! 

When we face ANYTHING that threatens to destroy us the answer is the same……..

SATAN, GET OFF MY CHILD!!! In Jesus’ name! What weapon you use hardly matters. David used the one he was most comfortable with (A sling and a stone). Maybe your weapon is prayer, declarations …..speaking VICTORY SINGING …….What matters is to have a heart like David and realize “WHO ARE YOU DEVIL” TO torment the people of God? WHO ARE YOU (sickness, cancer, premature death, lack, poverty, etc) WHO ARE YOU OH MOUNTAIN? (to stand in the way of God?). 

As giant slayers…..we may have different styles. The important thing is: do we understand this concept? GOOD GOD (Very Good Father) vs BAD DEVIL (who hates us)

WHO wants to kill, steal and destroy? Not God! 

Jesus said: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”
John 10:10 
 
Father make them giant slayers today (all of your People Lord God) Let it get in them once and for all YOU have given us all we need in you to defeat every giant! in Jesus’ name! Amen   Laura Grace Author, Grace to the Rescue series