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When Having Faith Hurts (And we don’t get the outcome we desired).

What do we do when having Faith hurts us? I’ve experienced the devestation of not having the outcome I believed I woud have (after believing, with all my heart, for something to happen.) What I see is, God honors my Faith, but my timing isn’t always the same as His. 
I used to stand outside my door every single day (praying in the morning) believing for a bigger house. The house we lived in at the time was so small, it literally felt like you had to “go outside to change your mind.” Prospect House outside 2017.jpg
This house was 643 square feet (total) including the porch area, and when my kids came to visit, we didnt have room for everyone to sit around the table.  
At Christmas time, we sat in a circle, as if we were in a tee-pee, and the coffee table became one of the chairs. It was a small, small, very small house, and we lived in it for several years. During that time, God taught me to be thankful, while having faith at the same time for “something more.” 
     Now, we live in a double wide mobile home, which is a blessed home to us, but probably “lost its’ value” according to the world. However, we love it, and consider it an answer to prayer! We had to adjust our faith to receive this house however, because it wasn’t exactly what we were believing for. There really is a balance between “not giving up on your faith” and staying surrendered at the same time. 
God did honor our Faith, but he also had us make some adjustments in the process of having Faith. By his Spirit, he challenged our thinking. Isn’t that what a good Father should do? 
This is our house now: garage
  
     God is smarter than we are, and it’s not that we should just “give up on having faith” nor should we just say, “Whatever will be will be.” God commends (and honors) people who have faith. Do not shrink back! (Hebrews 10:39). 
Laura Grace, Author, Grace to the Rescue, Grace to Grow, & Dsyfunctional People. 

 Hebrews 11:35 “Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 

3These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” 
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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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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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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

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Con Artists & Church….Stuff nobody wants to talk about ……

It happens. If I were to tell you every story I have personally seen or heard where people fake being a christian, take advantage of the church (time and time again) with no remorse or repentance (or willingness to change) You’d be appalled.

I have been faced with a plethora of reactions when I say “Hey “There are con Artists” Watch out! Some say well You have to love ALL the time turn the other cheek……

“Well that’s not our business,” They say, “We just have to love, and be kind like Jesus said or did.” Really? He let the people sitting at his feet listening to him go hungry for three days (was it a fast?) He told a woman asking for healing for her daughter the children’s bread was not for dogs! There is no record of Jesus gathering his disciples together and saying “Come on boys, we’re going to hand out free meals today to everyone in the leper colony!”

I had a woman tell me (recently) that she tried to help someone (got burned) and after she’d helped this person ranted at her (she didn’t help enough apparently) and I have also experienced this myself.

When I was a property manager, I remember a couple who got the church to pay their deposit and rent, and moved in. They didn’t have a very good back ground check but hey, the church was helping, so we overlooked it in the interest of good will and charity. After all isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Love our neighbors? Jesus indicated brethren first and be wise (as serpents) but somehow that goes unheard by many as our examples of great humanitarians loom before us as “the great example” of how we should be.

This couple moved in, wrecked the place, made a mess that would make your hair curl, soiled carpet, ruined floors, stains, grease debris that cost the owner literally thousands to repair. They moved out owing two months rent, as it was never paid, and their promise to pay was not kept.

I’ve met people who say “Just go to the church for help,” there is a network of people who do this, and go from town to town, place to place, leaving damage, debris and sorrow in their wake. The people who get burned often feel God let them down somehow, or they just decide never to help anyone again and develop a ‘no trust” standard.

This is so sad (to me). Do we really need these extremes? Help everyone or help no one?

I know it’s hard to decide if someone is “worthy of help.” After all we do have the example of Jesus saying “Judge not” and there is this nugget:

“To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. ” Luke 6:29

But see you have to LOOK hard at the whole picture here. Verse And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. Verse 31 of this same passage says:

“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” 

Do you want God to just let you be a con artist? Hurting everyone as you go? Leaving a trail of destruction in your wake? Certainly the disciples were not like this. I want God’s correction don’t you? SO see the whole counsel of God is not to just let someone rape you financially and take all your goods over and over again. And sit and cry and say “God did this to me.” I was Just obeying his word!

I don’t have time to tell you all the passages about being wise (in proverbs) It saddens me that people who don’t study the bible allow leaders (who are setting some bad examples by the way) direct their paths, (instead of learning from the Holy spirit for themselves).

I too followed their examples at one time. I gave and gave and thought “Well God would reward me” and grieved the heart of God in the process. He wept for me. Every time he tried to bless me, I thought I had to give it all away. I allowed con artists to (literally) steal from me, thinking it was God’s will. If you are a person LIKE the disciples Jesus was talking to YOU WANT Corrected. Right? (if you are being a con artist?)

Don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade Or get discernment! You won’t be less in the Kingdom of God you’ll be MORE. More able to help those God wants to help…..

Less foolish and less fooled..Not deceived! Til next time; -Laura Grace

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“It’s not all about you!” What to say to some who never seem to get enough (attention) or whatever else ……..

Ever had one of those days? Someone you are trying to help (or encourage) just never seems to get enough? Reminds you of kids (at times). I compared it to geese (so long ago) as I was feeding some geese, and as I ran out of bread, (which I now understand you should not feed them bread) but in any case they surrounded me, got closer and closer, and one even tried to bite my face!

RESCUE POSTER call for help

The bible compares a fool and his folly, to being met by a bear robbed of her cubs. 

Proverbs 17:12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.”  
MAYBE THE BEST THING is to say nothing at all. 
Honestly, a person who will not listen to reason, who does not care what God (or anybody else) thinks, Who has decided they are wise or right in their own opinion, My bible says also “there is more hope for a fool, than for him.” 
This is not a person you should be taking advice from, or following. It’s not a person who should be in charge of you, or one you should even submit to. Even Abigail (in the bible) though she did it in a reverent way, went to meet King David and obey God, even though her husband was foolish, and was going to bring trouble upon the whole family. King David was so impressed, he married the woman.
Proverbs 26:12 “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope for a fool than for him.”
It’s a snare to be caught in the snare of a fool’s words or a fool’s folly.  Consider these words from Jesus who WAS before Proverbs was even written: They are words penned by the Holy Spirit to God’s servant upon this earth: 
“Proverbs 6:5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler. “
You can be snared by words, or promises you should not have made.
Another passage of the bible says to free ourselves from vows, that should never have been made. See, we need to look at the whole (entire) bible not just the parts we want to read Or hear right now. The whole Bible. All of it.
Jesus IS His word! 
The more we know of his word, the better we will know him. The Better we know him, the better he knows us and has fellowship with us. 
                   So love? Yes! Being snared by those who don’t love God? NO! 
Did you see anyone allowed to take Jesus Down from who he was to please them or their folly? NO WAY No how! 
We should not do it either. Father God please keep us in your wisdom! And Grace!
Amen