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Paper Dolls & Cookie-Cutter Christians

paper dolls 2

I was thinking about God not staying in his box this morning, and trying to think how to describe my Christian Life! Instantly I thought about Paper Dolls. If you remember them you are probably a little bit “Over the hill” (Like I am!). 

I had some paper dolls as a kid. The clothes were cut out and put onto the paper doll, which was usually made of cardboard. They were cool, but if you would have ever had a paper doll smaller or larger than the clothing, none of it would have fit. 

Thankfully, God doesn’t design clothes like the ones made for paper dolls, and expect us to fit even though we do not fit! Sometimes we feel like we need to be trimmed to fit the clothing man has designed for us, because it doesn’t quite fit, and we look funny! What fits YOU may not fit ME! But that doesn’t mean I’m defective. 

I”m sure when someone (like me) stands and quotes a scripture like the one below, it seems to cause rebellious rabble rousers to say YEAH! And bible teachers to cringe.  Do we get what God is saying here? Paper dolls

And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’  (Matthew 15:9 NKJV) 
There are actually several scriptures where Jesus warned about doctrines of men, or even our lips honoring him, and our hearts being far from him. Was he getting on our cases? Does he not love us anymore? Sure he does! He is not MAD at you. He’s trying to help. 
When we thought “Dad” was mad at us as kids, we tended to want to hide, or run in terror. When we are scared (of God) we cannot even hear what he wants to say. Such is the case with many who read this scripture. 
No God’s not on our cases. He just wants us to see that if we have a one-size-fits-all teaching and Sunday sermon, and ways of doing things, and bible studies that are formatted in a way that does not FIT everyone and we try to say; “Make it fit!” We are acually harming the very people we hope to love. God will adjust the teachings and methods (To fit the doll) not cut down the doll to fit the clothing. See? Because his word is written in such a way that his clothes will fit everyone (who desires him) 
God has Grace on upon us. Peter did not do what James did. Paul did not do what John did. They didn’t go to meetings and get in one accord by saying amen to the pastor and that was all there was to it! They all grew in Grace (And into their spiritual clothes- which God designed for them!). WE don’t have to feel like wretched weirdo’s because we are not the right size For the one-size-fits-all teachings of men. 
God wants to speak to YOU Today. Not JUST through your pastor. 
Teachers? Be willing to adjust the teaching (if need be) as the Holy Spirit leads you. 
Don’t be so rigid. This is not “Military School” it’s the living growing entity called…
    “The Body Of Christ” 
thanks for pondering with me; 
With Love, Laura Grace 
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What does it mean to “abide in the vine?” A little sermon on John 15

VINE JOHN 15What does it mean to abide in the Vine?

For the last week I’ve had songs about abiding in the vine going through my head and spirit. What does this mean? (I used to ask myself). In 1 John we are told if we abide in him we will ask (and it shall be done). So abiding in the vine has something to do with covenant as well. It’s not automatic. It’s a decision we make to live in and with Jesus, in all that we do. 🙂

Some want to keep him in a box, let him out when there is difficulty or troube, and do their own thing the rest of the time. We CAN Do this but it doesn’t mean we should! Jesus is pretty clear in John 15 and does not mince words with us when he said:

” Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

John 15:3-8 NKJV

If we abide in (LIVE IN) Jesus we will know his will for us.

This is why our prayers will now be answered- because we have asked him how we should pray! To not live in Him sets us up for great failure, and the devil will use every opportunity to say, “See? God was not with you?” He never stops, he is a little opportunist for evil and despair. If you want Victory in your life, aim to live IN the vine IN Jesus! Let him be your teacher, instructor and guide.

Church is fine but it’s not THE Answer. Abiding in the Vine is the answer. Church is where you hopefully find people with answers but that is only if they have become his disciples and are growing in him. If they aren’t they won’t have any answers because: “APART FROM JESUS THEY CAN DO NOTHING.”

This is the word of the Lord and, it’s all true. Laura Grace, Author, Grace to Grow 

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Being Real & Giving God the Reigns

bEInG REAL.JPG

I like the saying “Be Real” but it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be! Is it? If you are real with the wrong people, watch out! And you don’t always know who you can be real with, and who you cannot be real with. And by the way WHAT IS REAL? 😮😃

Say, now that’s a good question (isn’t it?) What is real to you? What is real to you, may not be real to me! What is real to me, may not be real to you! God is real to me.

Not because of someone telling me about him, because I’ve experienced him! How do I know that? Because too many things happened in answer to prayer that could not be explained any other way. The odds were “Against’ me” so many times (and I prayed) and God took care of me, provided, and it couldn’t be “Just luck” because nobody is that lucky! Did things go my way?

NOPE! Did I always like my situation (no, again) were things just hunky dory all the time? NO!! Here’s the thing, I asked him to provide he does. Now sometimes he gave me what I wanted, and sometimes he didn’t. sometimes I had to eat beans when I wanted some macaroni. other times i had to wear clothes i did not pick for myself. (but, beggars can’t be choosers!)

It’s hard to explain to people there is a time to be content, a time to pray for wisdom, a time to believe for God’s BEST and a time to let it all go and pray for someone else instead. There is a time to love your enemy and a time to be silent or let them go. There is a time to “overcome evil with good” and a time to “resist the devil” (even if it’s in a person) and he has to flee.

There are times for this and times for that. Times to be sad and grieve, times to say wow I’m really frustrated and have your friend just hug you.

it’s called WALKING by The Spirit! the disciples followed Jesus so do we! we get up and say “Holy Spirit “LEAD ON” and he does! (Lead us, I mean). How do you explain that to anyone? WE just KNOW it’s him because “things work out” and we don’t know how! (as we are not in charge here, GOD IS) WHy? Because we GAVE HIM THE REIGNS! I”ve seen lots of people say they gave God the reigns but they didn’t. I have said I did and didn’t! when you do you KNOW because stuff starts to happen that could only be God!! so GIVE HIM THE REIGNS on that thing you can’t fix, change or do anything about! He can keep you! He can help you! don’t try to control everything! Let it go and go do something else! YOU gave it to him. Trust me he never forgets a thing (I’ve seen this time and time again!)

PS “Give God the Reigns” on how real you should be too. Not everyone can handle it. 😉

WIth Love and affection for you all, Laura Grace #beingreal

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Building with Precious things …..#12 Taking Risks & The resistance of the faithless when you do……

Risk: “A situation involving exposure to danger.” RISK.jpg

I have taken a lot of risks in my life time. I did before I met Jesus, and I did it even more “after” I started to know him. Jesus always seemed draw people out into situations that involved Risk. Risky business! (this serving Jesus!) to be sure. 

I know one of the many things God has called me to do, is exhort people to do just what it says in Psalm 118:8. “Trust in God, not in Man.” Is it easy (to do?) certainly not! It’s not hard at all if someone agrees with me, but if they don’t? Man, that can be difficult! 

I am not a person who loves to fight, argue, or debate. I don’t thrive on that kind of stuff. Therefore, if someone is all upset with me (about my faith stance) I find myself saying Okay Father what is this all about? What do I say? How should I handle this? 

I’ll give you an example: When my kids were young, we often had situations where my spouse quite his job (every year or every few months) I was the stay at home mom for the most part, as I could not And I mean could not find a babysitter for us both to work. I figured it out it was cheaper for me to stay home, than to pay a baby sitter for 2 kids and make at that time, 7.00 per hour. We had ONE car. When my spouse worked I had to stay home as nobody was going to buy us a second car and babysitting was amost 5.00 per hour at the time for a good one. No “Welfare” would not help. 

So then we were poor, and could not buy what we needed at times. People would hear about it (some from church) and help but then I got lectures. “You need to work too” they said. Not one of them offered to babysit, (on a regular basis). If I worked and my spouse stayed home, the kids were not safe. They told me about “Man’s help” such as government programs.

They said I could ride ‘The shuttle bus” but when I checked on it, it didn’t work for the days I was scheduled to work. So I would say “I”m trusting God” and it would lead to going to whatever provision he gave me. I was at risk and my kids were at risk and when God would provide, people would say “What are you going to do next time?” Next time? I was hoping there wasn’t a next time! But, there always was a next time that I had to trust God for something. 

You see I HAD read my bible. I read in Revelation “I counsel you to buy from me gold” (Revelation 3:18) and I PRAYED FOR THAT to happen “I want Gold Father more than I want anything else, Gold from you! Gold from Heaven!” (Read Rev 3:18). 

So now, when I tell people what I went through, and how God provided, I get this attitude at times from people. “Shaking their heads” and anylizing my decisions back then. 

Faith makes people feel threatened. Having FAITH In God makes some very uncomfortable.

Sometimes it’s jealousy, other times they are just skeptical. Every time I stood for a miracle, I felt others were watching me as if it were some spectator sport. 

Some did follow my example, but for the most part I got this “Let me know how that goes for you attitude.” When I came out okay, they thought I was just lucky (perhaps). 

Nobody is going to get a Testimony without a test. We aren’t going to have miracles without taking risks, either. I can’t make anyone listen to me. As the years tick by, I find that many have grown cold to such possiblities (Miracles) because they think it only happens on the television set, and maybe those preachers are just doing some magic trick to bring in money (for themselves). 

God’s not going to do things on our terms. He never has, and he never will. HE calls the shots about how, when and where, and our part is to trust him. 

There are times having faith (for that miracle) is going to seem like “more trouble than it’s worth.” At times it seems silly to believe for one, when all you have to do is go along with the staus quo, and nobody will think you are too radical, too wierd, too crazy. 

Still, the mandate is the same. Psalm 118:8 “It’s better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man.” that means “even yourself.” 

Why is it better? Because when you need to believe for a miracle, you’ll have had some practice and experience at it. pray with me if you dare. “Father I want to have a testimony of GOLD in my life. GOLD (of faith) that can come only from you. I want some precious testimonies to build on the foundation of your Holy word that I am saved, but now Father I want something more…….Please help me to achieve this in you. IN Jesus’ precious name…...amen. 

 

 

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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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Building #8 What is Integrity?

INTERGRITY 2

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9 “…In teaching, show integrity” Titus 2:7 

What is integrity? It’s doing the right thing when nobody is watching. It’s having a moral compass or having ethics do to things the right way (according to God). The old sin nature it to just “see if we can get away with stuff.” 

The best example of integrity toward ourselves I can think of, is the story of the three little pigs. The three little pig story shows us the end result of either cutting corners, taking the easy way, and so on and so forth. What I do not see is the brick building pig having an argument with the other two on “the best way to build.”

He did not have time for it! 

In this series, we are talking about building things that will stand the test of fire and flood. Wood, Hay and Stubble they will suffer loss (1 Corn 3:12) so we are not talking about your eternal salvation here, but making wise decisions toward God. 

People always want to know (It seems) “What’s in it for me?” Having integrity may not produce instant gratification or results. Like the Three little pig story, you may not “SEE” a house very quickly, when you are doing things one brick at a time. In the end however, you will see a fire proof house. 

Integrity produces trust worthy ways in us. It may take a long while, but we will soon see people trust us, believe in us, and would trust us with their very lives, all because we have proven we have integrity.

I am sorry this process (seems) to take so long, but it’s worth it in the end! Proven integrity, and the willingness to walk in righteousness through thick and thin, is necessary to building a house that will stand in the storms. Not only that, if we want to be an effective minister for Jesus, We can’t really help anyone without a solid place to stand.  Let them build their house of straw…..(If they want to) it’s not going to stand, so do not worry about it. YOU do the right thing for you! 🙂 

I leave you with this thought, as we ponder why so many tell us “hypocrites’ Go to church…….Let’s not be one of them.

Please Father! Fill us with integrity! and the desire to press on, and believe it’s all worthwhile. Amen! Pastor Laura Grace 

INTEGRITY