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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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Moldy twinkies and cheese from heaven

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The Moldy Twinkies and cheese from Heaven:

I was just telling my husband about these Modly Twinkies we got one time from the food bank. Oh, they didn’t mean to do it I’m sure but I still remember almost taking a bite, to discovery there was mold on the bottom.

We’d had a fire, we got a food box from the food bank, and while I was grateful for the help what a disappointment it was! Horrors!

It wasn’t long after that, my young son was asking me about cheese (he really loved cheese, you see) we’d been through so much, lost almost everything we owned in that fire, including some recent Christmas gits that meant a lot. I had to say to my darling boy, “I’m sorry honey we don’t have any cheese.”

it’s hard to tell your kids you can’t do anything about anything, when your hands are tied and you can’t do anything about it. It’s heartbreaking, in fact. They look up to us, we’re supposed to have the answers. 

I prayed outside (with tears) “Father I know this is a really dumb prayer, but can we please have some cheese!!?? I”ll never forget that day, or the next time we went to church a lady walked up to me and said “this is going to sound really stupid but, would you like some cheese?” ……..

               I stood there, dumbfounded. Then I started to cry. 

See, she didn’t know me. She felt this nudge to offer, but her brain probably said “Why would she want some cheese?” I”m pretty sure she was amazed when I started weeping and declared, “I just prayed for cheese!!” ……

That was the first time I remember God doing something for me (in answer to prayer) that was not NEEDED but it was just his love saying “Hey, I’m here, I heard you!” …..

Now when my brain says “Why would God do that for you?” (as I pray) I remember……

                                 the cheese blessing. 

Blessings and love to you all, Laura Grace, Author, speaker, Minister in training.

Peace! 

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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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Building With God #2 When bad news comes: Fighting in faith, and becoming a son and daughter of God.

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“I shall come forth as Gold” (Job 23:10)
 
He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7
What do you think (or say) when you hear “bad news?”
A Faith Person does not just stick their head in the sand
They are not “unrealistic.”
They don’t deny what is…….
They just deny it’s right to stay.
If an enemy comes up to you and says “I”m going to beat the stuffing out of you,” You are either going to tremble and prepare yourself for a beating ….Or, you are going to think quickly what you can use for a weapon to fight him off.
Maybe you’ll shout “DAD” “Dad, Dad DADDDY ” Or, kick him in the solar Plexis. You’ll either submit to God and fight (in faith) or you will wave the white flag and accept defeat.
It starts out with a bad report: (Your account is over drawn, you lost your job, your health is at risk) and then it goes to thoughts of “You” being homeless, dead, bankrupt, and broken.)
“You will not be put to Shame,” (Isaiah 54 shouts.)
“You will not be disgraced!” (the Prophet speaks further)
Now you have a choice. Believe that, or believe you are doomed.
In 2 Corinthians 6, after saying light should not agree with darkness, and not to consult with idols, says to not touch what is unclean, nor agree with Unbelievers.
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corn 6:17-18) NKJV
Prior to this, what is unclean is described to us. We are not to agree with idols, or be unequally yoked (with unbelievers). It says: You are the temple (And should not fellowship with darkness, and lawless persons) hmm …..
Something to ponder, and meditate on, right?
Fighting the Faith of Faith, along with you, dear Brethren,
with Love, -Laura Grace
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I die daily…..

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Dying Daily- and God’s power to raise you up

I do die (daily). By this I mean that I let go of my (selfish) ways and let go of the outcome I desired.

I may hope to convince someone to see things my way but if they won’t: “I die to it.”

Every time I choose to just let it go, Pray about it, give it To Jesus instead of taking things into my own hands (because Of God’s word) I may not be applauded by the masses, but I am right with God.

There is a pastor who said to me: “Meekness is being at rest from the un-rest of your self-will.”

If we don’t see manipulation as a sin, we won’t stop doing it. But if we do see it, we will be face with ta choice: Keep doing what your flesh “feels like doing” or just let it go. (die to it!).

Praying for others who have let us down, frustrated us, hurt us, attacked us, or whatever else (I believe) helps take the sting out of this “death to self” that goes on when we let go.

It’s admirable! If you have been upset, agitated, angry at someone (and maybe for a JUST cause) And you choose to let it go, just because God Said (vengeance is mine, overcome evil with good, bless your enemies, and so on) You will be rewarded. Your reward is you have overcome, sin does not have dominion over you, because you have chosen God’s way (over your own). Not only that, you will be led in paths of righteousness, and God will produce the Fruit of righteousness within you.

I know the world often says: “nice guys finish last.” If you are just trying to be a nice guy to impress someone maybe that’s true. However, if you do something out of obedience to God, wanting to honor his word, you are promised a greater outcome. Dying to self is painful, but trust me, His Resurrection power will lift you up (into him) And his Power will sustain you (and keep you alive in Him).

 

1 Corn 15:31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

Romans 6:14-18 1For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. with Love, Laura Grace

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Insulting Grace…..

 

What “insults” the Spirit of Grace is when you recieve Grace for yourself- and won’t give it. We all get upset with others at times- but Father please, help us always remember we are saved by Grace, and help us to always forgive quickly and remember that without even the grace of a great upbringing- We would be “no where” fast. Help us Father, to dodge abuse while at the same time maintaining a stance of Love Mercy and Grace.

In Jesus’ name! (amen)

Hebrews 10:29 “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” Matthew 10:8 …..

“Freely you have received, freely give” (in other words what you received by Grace, do not take credit for it as if you achieved this on your own.) Let us always remember Lord,

the very high price you paid to save us …..and may we always freely give, what you have given to us Father …..and Amen. -Laura Grace, Author, Grace to grow

CROWN