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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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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

 

 

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Building in God #7 What is a Steward? Am I a steward of something? (read and see!)

TREASURE BOxFather please help us today to see what you see (In your Spirit Father) in Jesus’ name, amen” 

So we are on part 7 now, (building with precious things) which is based on 1 Corn 3:12, that we should build with gems and gold (VS wood hay and stubble) if we want what we build into our lives to survive (the storms) and fires and floods.

Being Fire Proof! What a concept eh? I want to be (how about you?). 

So what is a steward? Someone trusted (or in charge of ) something. Now, we do need to know if God has assigned us to this task. Our Job (we prayed for) now we are a steward of that. Our Home, our children, our dogs, cats, birds, even hamsters! Everything we are in charge of we have become a “steward” of that task.

God says if you are faithful with a little, you’ll be trusted with more (and more and more). Here is some scripture on this: 

  1. There are stewards of the mysteries of the gospel (1 Corn 4:1) 

  2. There are stewards over us, for a time until we mature (Galatians 4:2) 

  3. Stewards should be faithful or they can lose their jobs (1 Corn 4:2) 

  4. We are all called to be good stewards of something (1 Peter 4:10) 

  5. Laborers are Stewards so are Ministers. (Matthew 20:8 and Col 1:25) 

I did not include the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1) who almost lost his job! When I write my blogs I normally do not include a lot of scripture as God has called me to Speak plainly and exhort (vs detailed teachings) but what I say always comes straight from the word of God as it’s base (or source). We need to realize not only is God watching our stewardship, but it benefits US to have a job with Him In His Kingdom! 

As in the show “Touched by an Angel” (which I dearly loved) we are all on assignment from God to be steward over something (or many things). These assignments are important. Our children, our dogs (cats) our homes and our jobs, as well as school studies God has assigned us to, people to pray for, meals to cook, money we have been given, and yes, ministries we manage and over-see, are all equally important to God. It’s all Stewardship. 

So what’s the message? (you may ask?) “Stay at your posts!” Do it Faithfully! It will not only benefit others, but yourself as well. Precious gems take time and heat to develop, and as you stay faithful to what God has given you, the goal of building in the spirit with Precious things comes into play.

The goal is not for someone to be impressed by your life (as in others and their praise of you) but are you building things that will survive the storms of life? This is what matters most!

This is important, my friends! How can Jesus say “Well done, good and faithful servant,” If we are not good stewards over what he assigns to us? 

I do hope this helps you “stick to your guns’ about Building on the Rock! And realizing that yes, in the long run, yes it is worth it to ‘do things right” in Jesus! You do have Time It’s not all for nothing! You will Stand when others cannot stand. so stick to it! 🙂 with love and blessings, 

 

Laura Grace, author, Grace to Grow, and pastor in training, Grandma, mom, and steward of many things. Peace! 

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Building on the Rock #1 Your Prayer life

Prayer 1.jpg

Good Morning! God has something great for us today! (Let’s pray) 

Father I ask you in Jesus’ name. Please get me closer to you! Help me hear from you! Please cause me to have that “relationship” that everyone is always talking about, with you Father…..In Jesus’ name we pray. amen” 

In Timothy 1 Paul says (to Timothy) “FIRST of all…” Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men…..” 1 Timothy 1:1

I have asked the Lord for years now, cause me to do thy will, cause me to say what you want me to say, cause me to do my part, and when I get to heaven, I want you to say, ‘Well done.”

I see that the plan of How-To-build-wisely is threaded all through the old and new testament. As I sought on how to build he let me know “FIRST” Is your prayer life.

When we pray about (all things) we are choosing the pearl of great price (God’s wisdom) over our own. I know a lot of people say make “sure” It’s in the bible, but ….

One time my husband was asking God to speak to him and he was touched to add transmission fluid while he was out of town. It was low, and no indicator light came on to tell him.

He said “I”m so glad the Lord showed me that!”. He was seeking really hard for God to “speak to him.” and I know we all wonder, will he tell me great things today? Maybe I”ll write another book of the bible (like Daniel, or Isaiah!).

And tell me……WHERE in the Word of God is the word tranmission Or even “transmission fluid?”” Not there! Did he get deceived, I wonder? 🤨🤓

Surely as we pray, we do not leave ourselves off the list. Every week I see answers to prayer (every week!!!) Why? Because I pray every week! Do I think I’m too stupid to make decisions without God? Can’t I just “function” without him?

Sure I can (to some degree) but see now doing it all myself would be that “wood, hay or stubble” he was talking about. it’s the easy way, and seems like less trouble, takes less time.

isn’t that why the pig chose the straw house? It was easier?

(to be continued) Laura Grace

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Building of God……And in God (Introduction)

God wants to Build (our house) Will be let him? Will we participate?

Cooperate? Take it seriously?

He has me studying about this right now. it must be important.

“O you afflicted one,Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires.

I will make your pinnacles of rubies,Your gates of crystal,And all your walls of precious stones. ” Isaiah 54: 11-12

Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.”

Proverbs 24:3 “Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established…..”

1 Corn 3:10 “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.

14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

So how do you think we “build with precious things? Any takers? Feel free to share. I love to hear what others are hearing from the Lord about this.

rock on ocean me.jpgrock in ocean

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:” Matthew 7:24 

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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