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…..nor give place to the devil…..(A message to the church) Eph 4:27

MEN IN A lot of people think when it comes to faith, that I have faith by sticking my head in the sand. Not so. 

Many years ago, a small passage in Ephesians seems to jump off the page at me. “Nor Give place to the devil,” (Ephesians 4:27 NKJV). 

Like the men in black (if you’ve seen the movie) there is always “something” trying to destroy us at any given time. Always. 

James and the other Apostles would not have said “Resist the Devil” if there was no devil. He is the master of fear tactics, lying, coming against God and making false accusations about our Father in Heaven. He is “the father of lies.” In John 8:44 Jesus spells this out for us quite clearly.

He lied to the disciples, and made them fear for their lives when Jesus was crucified. That’s why Peter denied Jesus (three times) “Fear.” 

Fear is why people don’t want to pray in Faith (They might look stupid) and fear is why so many do not stand against the status-quo. As a woman pointed out at a meeting last night I went to “Sheep are dumb, they follow each other into the danger.” (Paraphrase) 

I pondered this passage many times in my life: “Neither give place to the devil,” and it occurred to me that even though the danger may be real, and even though there may be testimonies of all the bad things that could happen to me, I have to choose and decide once and for all whether I will believe God’s word, or whether to believe the lies of satan that are arrayed against me. 

“Fear” really is a liar. Yes, there are times we must be cautious. No, we should not go where angels fear to tread, or just run out and try to defy gravity without being armed with the Word of God and his presence. At the same time, we have to realize that literally thousands of lies are probably coming at us, every single day. 

There are testimonies of those who have not stood on God’s word, and had a bad outcome. Think back with me to the bible, and how all those people did not go on to the promised land, along with Moses. Why? Because they feared they were doing it all in vain. They had to get past their unbelief, but they refused to do it. Moses could lead them to the waters of God (so to speak) but he could not make them drink it. 

That was a decision they had to make for themselves. 

I choose to find out (from God) what is his voice and what is the devils. Because my friends, there is a devil. And Jesus is not going to do ALL the work for us, nor is he going to make all the decisions for us, that only we can make. 

It was his voice speaking way back in the Old Testemant: “CHOOSE” (Life or Death). to this day we choose what voice we will listen to. Please don’t decieve yourself. God wants to speak to you today. (John 10:4). First we pray for ears to listen and ears to hear. We pray to have a sheep nature, and accept him as our Shepherd, and the bishop of our souls. 

I am encouraging you today: There is a devil. Don’t give place to his lies in your mind and heart. If you don’t know what is God or what is the devil, ASK GOD For his input! Pursue him like Jewels! Listen for him like he’s a treasure! This is what I have have done, and will continue to do. -Laura Grace, Author, Grace to Grow 

 

 

 

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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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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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Forgiveness & The “I love you” Project….

I LOVE YOU PROJECT The other day, (a week ago to be exact) I was having a really hard struggle. I didn’t know why, I just knew I was upset over just about everythingFrom A psychology view point it kind of looked like PTSD. From a spiritual view point, it appeared I was just touchy, or having anger issues. 

Because I am a preacher of seeking God and growing, I didn’t diagnose myself. I sat down and said “Father what is wrong with me?”

When I asked, I really expected an answer. God spoke to my heart. 

“You are in danger of being in offense, you need to forgive some people,” (He said). 

Not only that, he said a spirit of offense was trying to take me, he impressed on my soul.  I was baffled. “Okay so what do you want me to do, Father?”

This passage in Proverbs 18:19 came to my heart as well.

A brother offended is harder to win than a strong cityAnd contentions are like the bars of a castle.” 

My Impression was, if I didn’t do what God said, He wouldn’t be able to lead me. So I complied and said, “Okay, what, and who, Father, for I do not know (who or what?)”.  From there he led me to about 25 people and events, and I said them out loud and verbally forgave them (or the incidents) Sitting in my chair.

I also prayed it would be forgotten, and I would remember it no more. I released them all and I prayed to be clear of any offense, that would keep me from moving forward, with God, as well.  I made myself accountable to one other person.

Mark 11:25 says if we do not forgive, God does not forgive us. I have always wondered about that passage of scripture. What? You mean you take back the forgiveness you gave me Father? Nope. It’s more like this: Deliberate sin blocks out God. Ever feel like you are stuck? Stuck in fear, stuck in anger, or in my case “STUCK” in unforgivness. AND I didn’t even realize it! No wonder we need God. (every single day of our lives) and we need to seek him (first) and walk by His Spirit in Jesus’ name! He keeps us from stumbling or being stuck, but he is the Leader!

SO Follow the Leader! (His Spirit) and you will do well. 1 John 1:7 (see the word IF)

After this he led me to buy cards that say I LOVE YOU! (I will be sending them out to people as he has directed.) Stay Tuned for the results of this directive! 

Laura Grace, Author, Speaker and Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Peace! 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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