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Sympathy vs Compassion is there a difference? Yes there is……

Sympathy is not the same thing as compassion. God showed me this years ago.

When Jesus fed the multitudes he was moved with compassion as they had not eaten for three days while listening to him so he said to his disciples “Give them something to eat” Prior to that he was moved with compassion to “teach them” 
Because they were like sheep, not having a shepherd. (They Had a sheep nature!)

They were listening to Jesus and Then HE felt for them. being hungry. He did not say ‘let’s go feed everybody in the world today” …… (I did notice this.)

…..Sympathy is different. Sympathy is not always a good thing. There are those who have given sympathy, and saw that it led to co-dependency, making excuses for someone’s bad behavior, and became a never-ending bottomless pit of helping someone will never help themselves, or even grow.

Some of those people who got burned by the sympathy mongers got burned very severely & learned to not give sympathy but got it mixed up it up with compassion, (a Godly quality) and now when God needs them to have compassion they cannot, for they are afraid they will get burned again.

When you are moved with Compassion by God to do something, you will know. You may find yourself like the disciples “HOW LORD am I supposed to do this? He will show you! You may even have a hard time doing it, and it may not be easy for you, but you will know when God is telling you to do something for Him.

You will know because he convicted you to do a certain thing. What you do is also up to him, not for someone else to decide or dictate. This is how we were made free to serve HIM and Made Free to follow after Him.

Sometimes the things he leads you to do may not be your desires 🙂

Martha and Mary were upset with Jesus for not getting there before Lazarus died, but the plan of God was to raise him from the dead. Are we in with God’s plan? Or our own?

If we sympathize with every sob story that comes along, our resources will be drained (our strength and so on) and we won’t be able to do what God wants us to do when we need to do it.

This is why praying is so important. “order my steps Lord” Help me walk by the Spirit, and show me what’s important today.”

This I do strive to do every day of my life. I don’t believe there are cut and dried recipes or formats on “how to behave” or the “right thing to do” according to some christian book for dummies.

We walk by the Spirit! Jesus did. And we ought to do this also. You will know in your heart when something is him. It may be painful, but in your heart, you will just know. 

Matthew 9:46, Mark 6:34, Matthew 18:27, Matthew 14:14

Laura Grace

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How Ministers feel sometimes (The question and answer committees)

Questions

It’s not that I don’t appreciate your help, and it’s not that I am snobby, or too spiritual, okay? It’s just that I am sitting here with a real big problem (that I don’t know how to solve) and am already battling in the spirit (With God’s help, of course) to fight off fear, worries, concerns, insecurities, and a myraid of other things. The last thing I need right now, is more stuff to worry about! 

One thing ministers do not often talk about (and likely battle alone, or with the help of a few mature commrades) is what I’ll call the “questions and suggestions” trial- that seems to happen every time they ask for prayer. 

Example: “Let’s pray for healing for_______” We pray. Person #1 approaches me and tells me how Aunt Hazel solved the very same problem. “Thank you,” I say. Person #2 tells me “Well you know they are backslid and haven’t been to church in awhile.” (I take note of it and smile). Person #3 tells me what healing video I should be watching (to help my faith) Person #4 Tells me about 3 others that need prayer for healing, Person #5 asks me if they have been to the doctor.

“Well, no I say, they don’t have insurance!” This leads to a big long conversation about help that is out there, which leads to me explaining why this person can’t get that particular help…….soon My mind is so clogged I forgot what the Lord just said to me about believing for their healing……..

Questions and suggestions and, not a single one of them asked GOD before they spoke ….. 

  Nope, they just said the first thing that popped into their brain. (Like Peter). 

So now I start to just ignore it all (and pray, and look to be so spiritual I am no earthly good!) It’s not lack of appreciation, but sometimes, we just don’t have time for it.

There are as many experiences as there are people (almost) and while some can be categorized, boxed up, and filed under “Help with______,” I have noticed the more possible answers I find (for any problem) the more stressed and confused I get! 

Continue reading “How Ministers feel sometimes (The question and answer committees)”

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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 #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!