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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 #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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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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Dodge the Stampede!

BUFFALOs.jpg

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Stampeding (When someone “stampedes’ your blessing)

I just feel led to share this today. If you saw a herd of buffalo about to stampede the church building, you would shut the door, holler for Help……And keep them OUT would you not?

A stampede of fools is like a herd of buffalo. There are those who have this “gang mentality” and you cannot LOVE them out of it. You have to get out of the way. Shut the door! Keep them OUT Of your heart and your mind! Do not allow them to trample everything God has put inside your heart (as you open your heart to their treacherous doings!) ….

It’s okay in this case to stop TRYING to love, and just shut the door, get out of the way……Let them stampede on.. 

For those bent on foolishness there is no other way. Do you think you can stand in the face of a buffalo herd and keep it from Trompling you? No!

Then stop and think about what you are doing before you try to deal with these “stampeders” in the realm of the spirit! Get out of the way! They will not respond to your loving words (and not even to God’s words)

for right now…..you’ll just have to let them go..

a now word (Laura Grace) Author, Grace to the Rescue, Grace to Grow, Grace to Soar 

 

He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. Prov 13:20

The wise shall inherit glory, But shame shall be the legacy of fools.Prov 3:35

The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness Prov 15:14

A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness. Prov 12:23

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Christmas Story #4 “the Cabbage patch doll”

12 days 3.jpg

12 days of Christmas “Story #4” Cabbage Patch Doll.

When My daughter was 4, almost 5, she really wamted a cabbage patch doll. I believed in God, but I had not given my heart to God (yet).

Anyway, I got her one, and well remember the ridiculous way people acted, shoving each other in store to get one, buying more than one and re selling them for double the price (or more). It was ridiculous. cab patch

On top of that hers got stolen, (in church no less) and that was the end of the cabbage patch doll. I have happier stories to tell you, but I must admit this was during my years of darkness.

I tried to find happiness in my own way, worldly things, and I was not a happy person.

I still loved Christmas lights, but I was convinced at that time in my life, if I only had more money I would be happy.

It wasn’t true. I’ve had more, I’ve had less. Happiness doesn’t come from how much we have (or possess) and certainly the cabbage patch doll turned out to be a very fleeting thing.

I am reminded of the book of Ecclesiasties, where the preacher said he obtained everything he ever wanted, and learned it was all vanity (and chasing after the wind). it’s a blessing to know God Loves us “through it all” even when we have wasted some of our time on vain pursuits. He loves us! so much! He is just happy to see us coming down the road…….coming home……

He doesn’t wait to chew us out or say “Done being stupid?” 
He just grabs us, fixes a big feast, and rejoices over us with singing and tears of Joy! What a great Father we have! “Our Father” who is in heaven (watching for us to come down the road to him!” ……with Love, (til next time) -Laura