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Building #10 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?

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“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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Building in God #4 What is Worship?

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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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Christmas Story #9 Angels on the Tree

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Christmas story #8 Angels on the Tree

I wanted angels on the tree, 
and actually prayed for this, you see……..

A friend of mine loaned me hers ……
12 lighted angels…..stem to stern

So I’d just sit and look at them, 
Both Looking forward, and “remembering when” 
I thought of angels, anouncing his birth, 
And I thought about, how much we are worth.

That Jesus would come,for little ol’ me 
and help me have angels……upon my tree.

 by Laura Grace

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Angels We have Heard on High, Sweetly singing  o’er  the plains
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Christmas Story #7 “When I lost the rent” (A Christmas Miracle)

12 days extraI was running hard as usual (It was Christmas time!). I wanted to send gifts to Mom and I had friends and family I was wanting to bless at Christmas, and of course, my children.

Maybe God in me- just wanted to turn what the enemy meant for evil out for Good (like in Romans 8) where it says “all things work for the good for those who love God (and are called to his purpose).

You see, I’d already learned that Christmas was some strange concoction of compromise, that there are pagan traditions “mixed in” and Santa is a saint plus a fun poem “brought to life” and yes, opportunists make the most of it, telling our kids they have to have all their dreams come true, in order to be happy (so they can sell a lot of Junk) and none of it is out of love in their heart, it’s greed for money! Yes, I know this.

My heart however, is focused on my children, who have all the wonder and joy Christmas can bring, and I just want to see their lit-up faces, and deep down I am just happy we have one day a year set aside for giving, and being a blessing, and an excuse to “Deck the Halls” and celebrate family, and life!

This is how I see Christmas. I CHOOSE to see it! How is it different from how God looks at us? He sees potential, he sees an opportunity, to make the most of, to show forth his glory. 12 days 7.jpg

Anyway, this Christmas, I lost the rent money. I was in a store (crowded) and had a hundred things on my mind, and left the rent somewhere, or it dropped out of my purse. When I went to mail it after I got home, I realized I’d lost it in the store, or in the parking lot, but either way, it was gone.

I went into a panic. I started repenting for Christmas shopping. I cried. I prayed. I was in fright! Images of telling my kids we are homeless flashed through my mind. How could I be so stupid?

I called a friend, and asked her to pray. I was crying. THANK GOD she believed in Grace, and not chewing my butt or saying something like “You shouldn’t have been Christmas shopping, that’s evil!”

I had already thought of those things. The devil is big on condemnation when we are already down.

She prayed “thank you God you love Laura, she is your child, you will take care of this.” And she said it with confidence. I thought Man “someday” I want to pray with confidence like that! And Faith God will provide! I had already called the store, they had not found anything.

Hours later, I get a phone call. “These people came in, they had found your money order on the floor hours ago” (she said) and just returned it.” She said, “I wonder if they tried to cash it, and couldn’t so they brought it back.” I thought “yep, probably so.” But if they meant to steal it, why did they finally return it? I may never know! Did God bug them, send an angel? All I know is for me THAT was a miracle!

You know it might have been the year of the view master! I have no idea. All I know is, my heart was full that year. The rent was paid. By the very Grace and power of God.

And this miracle caused me to love him More……….

And I prayed to be like my friend. And I believe I am (like my friend) Praying with Grace!

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corn 9:8

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Christmas Story #5 Replacing Mom with God and becoming an elitist

12 days 5There was a time I replaced my mom with God.

She knew it, I knew it, and I know now, it wasn’t the same thing as putting God first in my life.  It was a form of giving up (on our relationship).

I sent her Christmas cards and gifts every year, and she did the same for me. We stayed in touch, told each other “I love you” but we both knew, there was a big chasm between us. I will call it “the great divide.”

I really love my Mom. And she really loves me. We had had our trials through the years, and both of us have felt misunderstood, hurt and even trampled at times, by the other. Now we are on a path to restoration. She lives closer, so now we can talk more, and I find that communication in person is far better than what we could ever achieve by letter, or even on the phone.

I think a lot of people try to give their kids what they did not have (growing up) but many do not see how that can make parents feel a little rejected. In making different choices and not holding to what we are taught, it is kind of like saying, “Your way is not the right way,” whether we say those words or not.

My Mom taught me to write thank you cards, and appreciate every gift I was given. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” was a favorite saying, and one I never quite understood.

As a teenager, I did not understand money being tight, nor did I have any idea how very hard it is (or can be) for parents to come up with Christmas money to “make our dreams come true.”

In the show “Little house on the Prairie” we see how grateful the kids are for a tin cup and a piece of candy, but at that time in history, most were poor (out on the prairie) and only a rare few had more than their daily bread. As the prosperous 80’s came forth, then the 90’s, kids were not so grateful for “less,” for the most part. The continual message was, “If they love you, you will get what you want.”

Television shows depicted “all your dreams coming true” at Christmas (Miracle on 34th street is one example) those who have sponge type personalities like myself, well we took it all to heart. “All my dreams can come true, and I’m sticking to it!” was the motto of many.  Even something as simple as that, can become an idol.

How do I know? Because, I did it (at one time). If my dream of getting just what I want for Christmas (or any other time) leads me to stomp on people’s hearts, trample them down, and cease to care how they feel, well “Houston” we may have a problem.

Mom sent me boxes every year, but this one Year I recall, she really outdid herself. She sent a pond with a bear skating on it, (I still have it do this day). She sent grand gifts, a card that played music, all kinds of (wonderful) things.

Man, it hurts to admit this but, I had my eye on what others (in the church) had by this time, and I was fully gone into the ‘all your dreams can come true” mentality. I-will-Prosper-thinking (big time!).

I wasn’t very thankful (as I should have been) for the love that she put in those presents.

I was fully gone in my elitism, (Holier than thou) because I went to church all the time, and she didn’t.

I had my eyes on those who had more (and I was going to have it too!).

I believed if she really loved me, she would get me exactly what I wanted.

What I am trying to say is, I was bad at honoring my Mom, and in my quest to follow Jesus, I stopped listening to her.  Nobody wants to admit they have become an elitist, partial-Pharisee, or holier-than thou in their attitude.

The especially “spiritual” seem the most prone to resisting correction, unless it comes straight from God himself. The truth is God can even use a donkey to rebuke us. (Story of Balaam, Numbers 22:28).

I still loved her, but how could she see it? I rejected almost everything she had taught me to be.

We can’t change the past, but we can be restored.

I think the biggest key to seeing restoration of our own soul(s) is to realize we continually need changing, healing, and sometimes even “attitude adjustments”.

Like the story of Balaam and his donkey, we can be all fired sure we are on the right path, but sometimes we are really fighting God as he directs us toward the one thing we don’t want to do to receive our healing. Getting humble. Humble hurts! But it’s worth it my friends. Sometimes we just need to stop and realize; it wasn’t all them. Look past our own hurt and see “it takes two to tango.” With Love, 

-Laura Grace

Jesus talking to the Pharisees  

 But, you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother.” Mark 7: 11-12

Ephesians 6:2 “. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

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