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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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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 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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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.”

12 days 6

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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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Relationships Series #5 Control part 2 “The behavior police’ (Galatians 3)

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Relationships #5 Control (Part 2). The Behavior Police
 
They’re out there. “The behavior Police.” You just got saved or you decided to renew your relationship with Jesus, he’s loving on you, and you’re all on fire for him. You’re in love with him! You have returned to your first love. I am happy to report I am in love with my saviour again (Jesus) and I have no intention of letting anyone rip me from his arms, ever again.
 
There was a time (I well remember) when I was not ready for the stuff that happened in church. I thought it was always a safe place, a happy place, full of people who love Jesus.
 
Not always so. (Not always). sometimes there are people in there who just GO to the building and don’t KNOW Jesus (see 1 John) and on FB there are people like that also. they think they know him, but they don’t. If they DID they would not get in the face of one in love with Jesus with their pointy little finger, scolding you, telling you how you better SHAPE UP and do things right!
 
We don’t need to be scolded by those who are NOT our parents. One household runs different from another. It’s the same with God’s people. God has a plan for EACH Person and unless YOU Heard from the Holy Spirit you don’t Know God’s plan for Them!
 
Maybe they aren’t called to make the cookies for the funeral dinner. Maybe God led them to lead someone to Christ last Sunday instead of going to church. Maybe they are tired and God told them to rest. They belong to Jesus! (Not to you!).
 
What did Jesus say to Peter “Feed my lambs” HIS Lambs not YOUR lambs….!! Hmm…and they know HiS Voice! and should be encouraged that they know his voice! Not told to sit and be still in your little military school! 😐
 
We are not in a man-made religious army here. We are grafted in by Faith, receiving from the life giving vine (Jesus). Have you ever looked how a plant operates? Dead stuff is pinched off and new life streams into the new leaves that are growing. 🌱🌳
 
Soon the plant blossoms as it stretches toward the sun. All it needs is water, light, good soil to grow in, and everything must be attached to the vine. We don’t walk up to plants and “Scold them” into submission! We should look for ways to encourage others to stay in the vine and keep on growing (IN Christ Jesus).
 
I want so share a large segment of Galatians. It’s worth reading again and again. A reminder to stand firm in the Faith that first brought you to Jesus (and not be dismayed by the Behavior Police). Laura Grace
 
Galatians 3
 
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth,[a] before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
 
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”[d] 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
 
The Law Brings a Curse
 
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
 
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”, 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”