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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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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! 

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Building in God #4 What is Worship?

Prayer 3.jpg

Bob Pittman, a pastor in ND at a church we attended, used to pray every service “Help us Lord to honor you.” Today when I stepped into the church door, that’s what I prayed. That prayer struck me as a simple thing I can pray when I don’t FEEL like worshipping God.

When I have things i feel but shouldn’t say, When I’m hurting, when I am even a bit disappointed in how things are going right now……When I do not know exactly WHAT God is up to or why his answers seem to take so long…….

This is a prayer I can grab onto. “Help Me Father to Honor you.” 
It reminds me of B. Hinn who said he was called, but didn’t want to go and God told him to pray “Pray that you’ll be willing to be willing”

Sometimes the things God asks us to do seem staggering, or imposssible. Sometimes our friends or companions seems to make light of how hard the struggle is. Some days when you have taken many hits from “life in general” it’s a big effort to jut get out of bed, and keep doing the right thing. SOMETIMES we don’t know how to pray.

Some days we are just tired of having hope, and wonder if it would be better to give up, give in and wave the white flag at the devil and say Fine …….’just do me in” There are days I can’t even articulate how I feel-and I wish I DIDN”T HAVE FEELINGS!

But then, I”d be a robot. I would not feel love, or passion, or any of the wonderful things God wants me to feel. So in our grief, even in despair we can still Honor God with our Lips, and pray our heart comes in line with his. ‘Father, help me to Honor you”

It was the very best I could give today, and it led to exuburant an sincere Worship!!! thank you Father! thank you! you are my strength, you are my song. i will praise thee, all day long! And Worship? It’s telling God how much you love him! Right? Pretty simple 

Laura Grace PS. thank you Bob!

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When you’re taking a trip…..(A very important message about the road to heaven. )

TRip.jpg

We live in the knowledge age. Everyone wants to discuss what we should or should not be doing, and more importantly, what others should or should not be doing. Without a doubt it’s the most philisophical, debatable, and argumentive age we’ve ever seen. 

When I’m taking a trip, i hope I will plan (how much it will cost) and is there air in my tires? Do I have all the necessities for my journey? What route will I take? Where am I going to stay along the way, and when I get there? We all know if we don’t plan, it’s likely we could end up by the side of the road, sleeping in the car (or something) and then there is the big question: “Why am I even taking this trip?” 

Once we know that (and our passion for the trip is established) we might begin sharing with others what we are doing, where we are going, and why. 

I’ve encountered so much advice along the way, and I know people are trying to be helpful. “Take water and tools” they may say “in case you break down.” “Pray first” Or maybe they’ll say “You can’t afford that trip.” (How do they know?) or maybe they will share their trip, what they did, and how it was a much better trip than you are taking! 

It doesn’t matter, because if you only got one shot at your dream trip, would you let anyone take it from you? Would you let them waylay you, stop you, thwart you, or waste so much of your time you never even get there? I don’t think so! 

Funny how we would take something like a “road trip” so seriously and not ponder where we are going for all eternity. (and who we will see when we get there!)

I”m sorry, I can’t allow you to take me off course! I have a dream about doing things God’s way, learning from Him, Following Him and having him say to me when I get there “Well done” “Enter in” “Glad to see you my son (daughter). He gave me the route, the plan, and he has helped me to count the cost. I don’t have time to argue about it or debate with you about whether my plan is good or bad (according to you). My Father from heaven has spoken, and I must be on my way. 

Laura Grace            John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work”