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When Jesus went his way……..(In response to the religious people of that time.)

     In Luke 4, there is an account of Jesus standing up and saying he was sent to preach good news to the poor, heal the broken hearted, and all the other Prophesies about himself declared by Isaiah in Isaiah Chapter 61. Although this was good news, for the religious people of that day it was not good news at all. In fact, when Jesus was finished saying who he was, and what he was sent to do; they were so filled with wrath they tried to throw him off a cliff! 

     Religious spirits is not a type of spirit I see Mentioned in our bibles. There is a spirit of fear, there is Jealousy, a person being filled with wrath or rage (called vessels of wrath), but I do not see anything called “a spirit of wrath,” Mentioned in our bibles. 

     It’s funny how those who say they would never add to what is written in the bible come up with some Lulu’s as far as “types of spirits,” such as a spirit of nicotine (stuff like that) but in any case……..Jesus did not cast a devil out of a single Pharisee that I know of. He did not say; ‘you religious spirit, be gone from me right now!!” He had to dodge them until his time came, and he already knew they would crucify him and that for him, was no big secret. I think a spirit of Anti-Christ may be at work on a religious person, but I’m not so sure there is a “Spirit of Religion” per say. 

     In any case, the crux of this message is to say; “Whenever you get Joy in the Lord and all happy over what God is doing in your life, and when you are rejoicing, singing and happy about it all (AND FULL OF JOY, a KINGDOM BLESSING), and someone comes along and has to straighten you out with their big bible knowledge; looking at you as if you were some wayward rebellious kid with no clue: chances are you have encountered a religious person. Why did they want to kill Jesus and throw him off a cliff in Luke 4? 

     They didn’t mind Jesus speaking, so long as he seemed to agree with their view of the Old Testament Law. There interpretation was God was out to punish everyone who broke his law (sinned) and he was not out to redeem anyone without THEIR advisement. They liked their job standing in for God, and they were not about to give it up. Like satan, they had become so full of themselves, that even God himself was not welcome to be Lord over their lives. They probably could not bear to think they had been wrong all of this time, and the conviction they felt was interpretted as evidence Jesus must be an imposter instead of realizing they themselves were not right with God. 

     So, they went after him, and eventually had him nailed to a cross. Jesus did not stop preaching the gospel (good news) just because they didn’t want him there. He went and preached it somewhere else, where his words were welcome into good soil, and people would rejoice over these gospel seeds he was planting in their hearts & minds. 

     So what did Jesus do about religious people who raged against him? He died for them too and died at their hands. However, even after he was raised from the dead and his disciples reminded them of what they had done, they wanted to kill his disciples too! 

     Religiousness brings pride, self-rightousness, love of power, and all kinds of evil things that have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. So I ask now what are we portraying to this world in need of Jesus? Religiousness? Or true love for God, who redeemed us and sealed us by his grace (unmerritted un-earned favor?). Laura Grace 

Luke 4 (He went his way) read this with me…………Jesus ministering

16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

 

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, noprophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. 30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”

 

 

 

 

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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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Broken Noodles…….(a teaching about sacred cows, and how we do stuff)

spaghetti casserole

My husband informed me the other day, he doesn’t like it when I make spaghetti casserole. He said my spaghetti is good, he loves it but the breaking of the noodles just ruins it for him somehow. I love Spaghetti Casserole! This caused a big dilemna, because most of the time i do things “his way” but not this day. 

Don’t we all have a preference on how we do things? Some of us do, some of us don’t! In terms of spiritual food, some like teachings on discipline, some do not. Healthy food like Broccoli, Asparagus, whole grains, fruit, (and the list goes on) are not the cup of tea for some, but they are necessary to a healthy body. If you don’t like one, try to find one you do like (Fruits, Vegetables, all of it). 

It’s sad to me, that a lot of medical professionals have given up on counselling people to eat healthy. They know they won’t, so they just prescribe a drug (instead) hoping to keep them alive and going. Sometimes it’s the same in Christianity. We know people do not want to HEAR certain teachings so we pray and hope they’ll be okay. 

However, Most of us who’ve been studying the Word (of God) for very long, know that some things are necessary in order for a person to grow, stay healthy and even thrive as a Christian. 

I was pretty upset with my husband (I must admit) because I usually do things “his way” but in this case, spaghetti casserole was the way to go, in order to be efficient. I only had so much time to cook this food, and I am juggling a lot of responsibilities right now. I found myself (as a servant) Torn between should I have done it his way? Or not? 🙂 It’s a silly fight we had (and yes, it was almost a fight!!!). 

I have no idea why, but it’s human nature we get used to something (being a certain way) and in his case it sounded so understandable “Well I like your spaghetti the way it was.” 

HMM how many things are we like this about church? “I liked the songs we sang before” or “I liked the way that other pastor did it” Or “I just like it when we don’t have so long of a prayer time, or that long of a sermon, or this, or that (or the other thing). This is the sort of “striving” Romans 1 and 1 Timothy 6 mention the wrong kind of striving, while Phillippians 1:27 tells us what we SHOULD be striving for in the Body of Christ. 

We should be striving to have FAITH together (and stand strong, as one!) Instead of striving over what our little preferences are in terms of “FOOD” and how it’s prepared. 

Food is food! We need it to live! (spiritually and in the body). 

My husband’s a good guy, and I do love him dearly. He believes in being in the light and not mincing words about things. Therefore, when I said ‘I just wanted you to say THANK YOU” and eat it! “I make lots of food the way you wish me to, this time, I did not.”

And he did understand that, but see, I had the problem! I was worrying about whether or not I was being a great servant (or not) instead of resting in confidence over my decision to make “Spaghetti Casserole.” IN CHURCH we have got to be careful as we listen to teachings about “being a good servant” or even “being a good wife’ Or “being a great Pastor” and remember that THERE IS BALANCE In all things.

Don’t allow a teaching to become a sacred cow in your life. It’s good to learn about things,  but the moment we make it into a Sacred Cow (This is how we always Must do things!!!) Then it’s on it’s way to becoming a doctrine of men (and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!). Be careful! Staying on course is good, unnecessary dogma is NOT good! 

Why? Because we need the freedom to Move and BE and Walk by the Spirit of God! He will show us how to get something done “in a pinch” but if we get all stoic and stuck in how we do things, we may end up just that: Stuck! Not going forward! Refusing to eat because we decided we do not “Like something’ to be done that way. 

 

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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 #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!