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Traditions: Don’t get stuck (in them)

All the kids 2016
My Family……(some of them) daughter Carolee and family not pictured 

I”m going to tell you something right now that I have FIRST received for myself (through hard correction by the Spirit of God!)

A lot of traditions we have and hold dear, or “ways of doing things” are just that: “Things we hold dear.” When we get too stodgy or stuck on OUR WAY Of doing things, we leave little room for the Holy Spirit to move. When we gather with family how about saying “what do you want, Holy Spirit? Or “Jesus do your will in my family today……..”

Or “What is your will in my church today?” “do you want to do a new thing? Help me NOT TO GET IN YOUR WAY” (amen!)

I recently let go of a “tradition” it was very hard for me- but, it turned out good! (I let the Lord have his way!!)

I thought because I’ve been serving God for over 30 years, am filled with the Spirit have read the bible 7 or 8 times wrote books, sat at bible studies for years “I KNEW” certain things! 

But let me tell you something, we don’t KNOW what the Lord wants to do next unless we ask him! We need to stay fresh (who likes old bread?) We need FRESH Bread! FRESH anointing!

FRESH Ideas too! The generation coming up needs the gospel to be spoken to them in a language they can understand. i want you to remember something (And God showed me this too)

We who are over 50 are now “the older people’ that used to get on our cases when we were in our 20’s. Whatever traditions they had some were not so important to us. We need to remember our younger generation has ideas too…….

And some of them are very Good ideas! bless them! Set them free to work for Jesus and for the future that lies ahead…the patriarchs of old layed hands on their kids ‘and blessed them”

amen ..

Laura Grace

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…..nor give place to the devil…..(A message to the church) Eph 4:27

MEN IN A lot of people think when it comes to faith, that I have faith by sticking my head in the sand. Not so. 

Many years ago, a small passage in Ephesians seems to jump off the page at me. “Nor Give place to the devil,” (Ephesians 4:27 NKJV). 

Like the men in black (if you’ve seen the movie) there is always “something” trying to destroy us at any given time. Always. 

James and the other Apostles would not have said “Resist the Devil” if there was no devil. He is the master of fear tactics, lying, coming against God and making false accusations about our Father in Heaven. He is “the father of lies.” In John 8:44 Jesus spells this out for us quite clearly.

He lied to the disciples, and made them fear for their lives when Jesus was crucified. That’s why Peter denied Jesus (three times) “Fear.” 

Fear is why people don’t want to pray in Faith (They might look stupid) and fear is why so many do not stand against the status-quo. As a woman pointed out at a meeting last night I went to “Sheep are dumb, they follow each other into the danger.” (Paraphrase) 

I pondered this passage many times in my life: “Neither give place to the devil,” and it occurred to me that even though the danger may be real, and even though there may be testimonies of all the bad things that could happen to me, I have to choose and decide once and for all whether I will believe God’s word, or whether to believe the lies of satan that are arrayed against me. 

“Fear” really is a liar. Yes, there are times we must be cautious. No, we should not go where angels fear to tread, or just run out and try to defy gravity without being armed with the Word of God and his presence. At the same time, we have to realize that literally thousands of lies are probably coming at us, every single day. 

There are testimonies of those who have not stood on God’s word, and had a bad outcome. Think back with me to the bible, and how all those people did not go on to the promised land, along with Moses. Why? Because they feared they were doing it all in vain. They had to get past their unbelief, but they refused to do it. Moses could lead them to the waters of God (so to speak) but he could not make them drink it. 

That was a decision they had to make for themselves. 

I choose to find out (from God) what is his voice and what is the devils. Because my friends, there is a devil. And Jesus is not going to do ALL the work for us, nor is he going to make all the decisions for us, that only we can make. 

It was his voice speaking way back in the Old Testemant: “CHOOSE” (Life or Death). to this day we choose what voice we will listen to. Please don’t decieve yourself. God wants to speak to you today. (John 10:4). First we pray for ears to listen and ears to hear. We pray to have a sheep nature, and accept him as our Shepherd, and the bishop of our souls. 

I am encouraging you today: There is a devil. Don’t give place to his lies in your mind and heart. If you don’t know what is God or what is the devil, ASK GOD For his input! Pursue him like Jewels! Listen for him like he’s a treasure! This is what I have have done, and will continue to do. -Laura Grace, Author, Grace to Grow 

 

 

 

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The importance of knowing God- (the most important message in my heart)

Jesus weptOn the radio yesterday, I heard this preacher ask, “If you could preach one sermon only (before you die) what would you preach?” The question captivated me for some reason. 

I started pondering it, and realized if I could say one thing only, I would talk about the importance of knowing God (for yourself) and not just hear-say on what others have said about him. 

I believe what others say about God, should cause us to seek him out for ourselves.

“I heard” the restaurant had really good food, (we say), “Think I”ll check it out one day for myself.” Let’s face it, the quest to know Jesus (and God the Father) is a scary quest at best.

What if we hear wrong? “Make up stuff in our head, and call it God?” What if the voice we hear is not God? For we do know if there is God, then there is a devil! What if he speaks to us? Will we know the difference between God’s voice and his? 

And why should God even speak to me? And, what if he says something that disagrees with my pastor, my parents, my friends or someone else I look up to, or respect? 

I see, the safe route is to just go along with the program, trust that everything that happens to me is God’s will, and float along with a lot of great intentions. After all, God does know my heart, so he can just let me know if he wants to speak, right? 

I think we all know, deep down, we are supposed to ask Him. Talk to him. Not about every little thing we want today but, “The important questions.” If we really believe he loves us, we should not be afraid to ask. God sent his Son Jesus to die for us so we could still have the right to ask anything of Him.

What would please you most? That your children want your goodies, or they want to know you? Would you be pleased if they got to know you “from others” who claimed to know you? No. 

The parable in Matthew 25:26 reveals the seriousness of making assumptions. “Well Lord, I thought you were (like this)” Or “Like that……” …..

In John 4:10 Jesus told the woman at the well, “If you knew who I am, you would have asked for living water.” Matthew 7:21-23 contains a very stern warning from Jesus, which includes the idea if we didn’t do what he said, he will say he didn’t know us. He is talking to people who did “wonders in his name.”

Wow. I guess knowing him (and him knowing us) is pretty important. Beyond important, it’s crucial to our eternal lives.  (did you look up those scriptures?). 

On that day your physical body dies and you meet with Jesus (and you will, I promise), he is not going to say ‘what did the preacher say?”

He isn’t going to ask what your Sunday school teacher taught you, or what that book said, or this book said. He died a bloody awful death so YOU could know him and be reconciled to God our Father in heaven. 

The question is, after Jesus said that to the Samaritian woman, did she even ask for living water? We don’t know, because the bible does not tell us that information. We know she ran off to tell everyone about this man who knew all about her, but I don’t see a record for her saying, ‘Okay Jesus, please do give me this living water you are talking about!” 

John 4:42 says after the woman had told them about her encounter with Jesus, they went and sought him out. Then these people said, 

 “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ,  the Savior of the world.”

So the question is; Do you know God personally for yourself? Does he know you? Why or why not? (to both questions!).

Have we been taught the criteria for knowing Him? Or do we just follow along with everyone else, Assuming that we know him? Assuming that he knows us?

I challenge you today, the most important relationship in your life may be suffering from Neglect. And I also challenge you to do something about it. Right here & Right now. Talk to Jesus. He hears you. And make your prayers to him count for something other than ‘assuming’ what you ought to pray.

With Love, Laura Grace, Author and Ambassador for Christ. 

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV. 

 

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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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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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Overcoming…..How do we do it?

HURDLE.jpg

I’ve never liked physical exercise, nor been into sports.
 
Therefore, the athlete analogy in scripture didn’t do much for me until I read 1 Timothy 4:8. Now there is a scripture I can get my teeth into! 🙂
 
I can and do, understand the need to overcome obstacles in this life for there are many of them. We say we have faith for something “someone” bars the way. We (as christians) do too much of this “well it must not be God’s will” (type thing) giving up too easily. A Major part of our walk is to OVERCOME!
 
In fact, I would say that’s the biggest goal. Didn’t Jesus say “fear not I have overcome?” and saying in a nutshell, if I did, so can you?
 
Yes indeed, He did.
 
Christmas a lot of times is just overcoming obstacles, and I didn’t realize it until just now. God didn’t send it, (Christmas) people came up with it.
For many it’s an obstacle course.
 
It’s either an opportunity to get upset, or a chance to let God produce love, generosity, more fruits of the spirit, and whatever else he’d like to do IN US at Christmas OR any other time in our lives.
 
That’s all trials really are. Opporunities to Overcome.
Oh, so THAT”S why he said rejoice (when you have a trial)
It’s your big chance to overcome!
And you don’t even have to sign up for the Olympics to do this! 
 
YAY!!! I can Get the Gold! Go for the Gold! Hurray Hurray! And yes LORD, I will do it! Be with me I pray! as I go and JUMP over all these spiritual hurdles I face today!
 
cheering you on!
Your partner in this life in Christ Jesus!
 
Laura Grace
PS (Here’s the scripture I told you about!) #overcoming
 
“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”
 
1 Timothy 4:8 by Laura Grace (Author)