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Who am I accountable to?

Letter #20: Letting Go and Avoiding Strife

     My Dear Children,

     I woke up this morning thinking about how when you were younger, I had to avoid people who did not agree with me, to stay focused. When I say people who did not agree, I mean those who were very vocal about what they thought I should be doing.

    Moms, Grandmas, and others can be formidable forces in our lives while we are raising children. It is hard to stay focused when you have people giving you unsolicited advice all the time.

     I cannot speak for anyone else, but I know when I was younger, I was very insecure and very scared about being a parent.

     I felt like I should not be trusted with this great task and found the weight of responsibility that was placed upon my shoulders quite staggering.

     When I was younger, before I gave my life to Jesus, I used to go out and drink when I had a chance to do so. I wanted to kick up my heels, forget the problems and responsibilities, and had no idea how to do that without going out to party.

     The problem with that, was that the next day all the problems were still there and were even more difficult to handle with a hangover.

     I suppose people go at drug or alcohol addictions in all kinds of ways. I have heard success stories because of meetings, treatment, having God help, and sometimes even all three.

    I am not the most focused person in the world, but I could see to go forward and have the life I wanted to have, I was going to have to let go of things that hindered me.

    The very hardest thing for me to let go of was people.

     It always seemed so selfish to leave people behind, and I never wanted to be a selfish person.

     Whenever I think of letting go of people who are hindering me, I always get this picture in my mind of people drowning in a giant sea, and me standing there letting them wave their arms begging for help, while I walk along the beach ignoring their cries.

     There are for sure, many people in this life who make not-so-healthy decisions and continually want someone to bail them out of the problems that follow.

     About the time we let go of those people, we have the ones who come along and want to change our minds about our goals, and most everything we believe.

     Ultimately, I have one person I am going to have to explain myself to, and that’s God. I always have that in the forefront of my mind.

With Love, Mom        

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What I really think…….

“What I really think” has changed a lot through the years. Do you really want to hear about it? Let’s go! When I was in the Air Force, I had a Captain tell me “What he really thought” that everyone should go to college. I remember saying, “Well, if you had two people offering to fly your airplane, one with College, one with experience who would you choose? He said “I”d rather they had both college and experience, to which I said “But you have to choose.” (Guess what he chose?)

I used to think college was not important, until I went to school. I used to think because my preacher said everyone had to tithe, I should preach that too. Until I met a friend who got very upset with me and said “I give where God tells me to give” And she did not appreciate my 2-cent input. I used to think my Mom was too strict, so I started out not hardly disciplining my child. Until she tore my chair apart, wrecked all my cassette tapes, and poked holes in my waterbed. Then I decided discipline might be important. 🙄🤔

I used to think the government should pay for everyone who wanted to get by for free, until I found out when I was on assistance how humiliating it was. I used to Judge those people, and say they should get a job, until I experienced the absolute desparation that goes with no car and no babysitter who is reliable (and so on). I used to believe everyone should have food stamps forever, until I watched my own bank account dwindle to nothing from giving everything away, and having people mad I could not give them more. It was then I realized, “Hey, this has to be a team effort!”

I used to think a lot of things. That everyone should go to church every time the doors were open. That was before I found out what it’s like to be broken and hurting, and have someone say “You should have been here last week!” (Making me feel like I wish I didn’t come today!). I used to think a lot of things. I thought if you gave love, grace and mercy to someone, they would always appreciate it and you’d always reap what you sow. The truth is, I think different about some things because of what I have experienced. I used to think if you loved someone enough and did enough for them, they would eventually love you back.

I thought if you were big enough to say “I”m sorry” Maybe they would eventually say it too- (when they hurt my feelings) But none of this is the case.

I have noticed there are givers, takers, and learners. The learners can learn to be givers, or takers They have to decide which one they want to be. Truth be told, God is a giver!

I hope and pray no matter what happens to me, I will always choose to be like him.

God gives what is undeserved. I was asking something of him today and said “I don’t deserve this, but…………” (and asked of him, my request).

Now, I’ve been serving him a long time, but I still do not DESERVE anything! Everything I have is by his Grace. Every blessing, every success, every single thing! and for this Father I PRAISE YOU! Thank you for your Grace on my life! Help me give it as well as I’ve received it Father. AMEN

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8.

…..Laura ❤

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Letters to My Children

an excerp from the new book I am writing.

My Dear Children,

     I want to start with a passage from 1 John that means a lot to me: 

“I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.” 

      Here lately, I have had just about enough of the opinions of men. 

    The year is 2021, and it seems like there is an all-out war going on and it all has to do with peoples’ opinions. Whether it has to do with social injustice, who should be president, whether to mask or not mask (or get vaccinated). 

     It started quite some time ago and snowballed from there. 

     I can remember when I was young, seatbelts became law, car seats for children, and then you did not see any more metal slides in the parks, (too dangerous). 

     The list goes on and on, but the truth is: Children and adults are still finding new ways to potentially injure themselves. The laws cannot keep up. 

     I think God is okay with having different points of view. 

     Imagine a world where someone decides purple is the perfect color, so everyone is required to paint the house purple. Every kitchen must be orange, every bathroom must be pink. None of us would like that, would we?

     In the book of Acts, the disciples got together and decided to reduce the laws down to three things. “Don’t eat food sacrificed to idols, don’t eat anything strangled, and keep yourselves from sexual immorality.” (Acts 15:20). 

    They said this was good, as they did not want to cause trouble with the Gentiles turning to God. See, Jesus had made a big impression on them all by standing up to the Pharisees. He talked about their many laws and how hypocritical it all was, as they did not keep all those laws themselves. 

     He called them hypocrites, and said they pile burdens on people they are not willing to help them bear. 

     There is a fine line between authority and control. Nobody knows if they will abuse power until they are given that power. In my own life, I have deleted people from social media and other places, simply because they did not agree with me.

     That behavior is childish, selfish, and not God-Like, but I did not get convicted until after I’d already done it. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “Is that how you would like to be treated?”

     In My perfect world, nobody would be grumpy, everyone would laugh at my jokes, and think everything I said was perfectly wonderful. I do not like being around drunk people, so I would probably outlaw drinking. 

    I do not like the color, orange, so if I were King (and had no discipline) I might be tempted to outlaw that color, so I never have to look at that color again. 

    Unfair, you say? There are people I know who like “off-color” jokes and I do not enjoy them. I do not care for a lot of cussing, sarcasm, or humor that puts others down.

    Still, if I made a law against all of it, would that be truly fair? 

     God spelled out his laws in the bible, but all it did was show people they could not keep them all. They needed a savior because they could never keep all those laws. 

     Now back to opinions. An opinion is what we consider to be right or wrong. 

    God tells us to be right with him, we need to first accept we are saved by Grace, and then we begin to learn from him how to walk out of our sins and walk into his ways.

     I think most everyone would like to be “the sin police” and go around pointing out who is sinning or not sinning. Our human nature is to judge, be prideful, and especially prideful when we have achieved certain things by our own blood, sweat and tears. 

     Nevertheless, in this passage in 1 John it starts out saying, “If you cannot love your brother who you can see, and claim to love God, you are a liar.”

     When I became born-again the first thing that happened to me is I loved other people of God. My heart was changed.

     I do not believe this passage means your brother in the natural or just any person we meet. When you are born again, you love other people who are born-again and of God. 

     Why am I saying all this? I think because our opinion should be this: “I Love you.” If we do not agree, it is okay. 

     Anything else is from the evil one. He is the one that is causing all this division. 

With Love, Mom 

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Let’s Not be Pharisees

I am just talking in plain English, here. A very long time ago I was reading through my bible (Just reading all of it) and saw how mad Jesus was at the Pharisees. (see Luke 11) and I thought “How can I avoid being like that?” I thought about it deeply (I kind of felt sorry for them). I realized okay they knew God’s word but they did not KNOW God and they did not personally understand how the word applied to them, Personally. 😌

They didn’t get why God even sent his word! They missed the heart of the matter, entirely. (HIs Love!). Because they did not know him (or his love) they used God’s word to beat people down. They were so set in their ways, they thought Jesus (the son of God) was a blashemer for healing people (and setting them free). Oh they were full of pride! My goodness sake! And it could happen to anyone (you, even me) if we are not careful. 🧐

So That’s when I started saying “I need you to make your Word Real to me Father. “if you don’t” I said, I can never be a witness for you.” I saw that everyone is supposed to be a witness. (Who is Christian). Now I ask you, how can he make his Word real to you if you do not experience NEEDING HIM For something? I”m sorry about the trials but that’s where we learn MORE of who he is (to us) personally.

Love you all! Let’s not be Pharisees. ❤

-Laura

Luke 11:46-54 46Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. 47“Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. 52“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” 53When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54waiting to catch him in something he might say.

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Matters of The Heart ……

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

When you got saved (born again) and gave your heart to Jesus, he gave you a new heart. This New Heart (Part of your Soul) Is tender. God wants to plant things in it.

A heart can be broken, which is why God said He will Heal the Brokenhearted (and bind up their wounds) Psalm 147:3

Your Heart is like soil. God wants to 1.) Heal it 2.) Wants you to gaurd it 3.) Give it to Him

There are over 175 references to the Heart, in the bible. It is not the same as the soul, but it is part of the soul.

God talks about Trusting him (with all of our heart) Letting his wisdom go (into our Hearts) Planting his word (within our heart).

It is pretty serious business.

A broken Hearted person might have difficulty receiving God’s word, unless it’s about Healing.

So often, we get hurt, and say things like “I am not going to trust anyone again (with my heart). It hurts to have it broken.

What we need to realize is, God is the only one that can be completely trusted, with our Hearts. If we have put someone else before Him in our Trusting, He wants to correct that, as well as heal us.

We cannot spend our lives upset with people who handled things wrong. I can tell you a list of people (and go on all day) about how many have hurt me, hurt my heart, said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and were not the perfect counsellor that God is. He has never mishandled my heart. Not even once.

If I trusted my heart to the wrong person, I need to take accountablity for that. And they weren’t always out to get me, either. Some are mean (malicious) and take great delight in hurting others. Some do not think it through, or pray about what they say. Every case is different. So let’s not over-react when someone did not intend to hurt us.

When I find I have been guilty of that my own self, I go to God and ask him to forgive me, and “Put a gaurd on my tongue” and a watch on the door of my lips. I am then inviting him to rebuke me when I get out of line. This is part of growing.

Please understand that growing the word of God in your heart can take years to come to fruition. If you let the wrong teachings or sayings into your heart, you may wind up speaking death to a person, when you meant to speak life.

It’s no wonder God said to be merciful, forgiving, gentle, and kind. He knew we would be hurt, as well as hurt others, as we learn and grow.

No one is the exception to this. Being a new creature means you have a new beginning. We still need to choose what we plant in our hearts, and what we say to others and how we say it.

We have all been guilty of misjudging and mishandling others.

The quickest way out of your pain is to realize this, forgive the offending person.

Ask for Healing (God will grant it).

Most importantly, Go before God and ask if His word has just wounded the soil of your heart going in (because if think about it, a seed going in wounds (breaks) the soil……….)

If the words the person spoke were untrue, pull it out of your heart and discard it, and replace it with the word of God. Get the weeds out, remove the rocks………(See Matthew 13).

Take Responsibility for what you allow into your Heart.

What does God say about You? It’s what he says, that truly matters. But you have to decide that for yourself.

Much like Gardening, there are no short cuts to a vibrant, God-Filled heart. We know HIS words are LIFE to us.

with Love, Laura

My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:1-5

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Reflective……..

We should never give up.

Always forgive…

give people another chance unless they deliberately abused us

and I am not perfect

Just because I try to be good does not mean that I am.

I am only Good if God puts his goodness within me….

All the rest is striving (to be good) and it proves nothing

The Only Goodness I have is what he plants and waters within me

By his Spirit and in his Love

Laura Grace

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Those Problems you Face……..(and frustrations)

Tearing your Hair Out? Frustrated today? Let me ask you something, if tearing some hair out would solve the problem, Would you do it? I know I sure would!

Have you ever been in strife with someone over a fundamental issue? I sure have.

Here is the definition of Strife: Angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues. Conflict. God says not to do it.

We disagree about politics, how to raise children, how to run the church. Strife gets into marraige, relationships, friendships. Strife is everywhere! And it is doing great harm, to the people involved in it.

The more we disagree on, the more likely we will have strife and chaos. I was listening to a sermon yesterday about “submitting to one another.” How Does that work, if we hold every one of our opinions so dear that we will never bend, never to listen to someone else’s viewpoint, and never back down?

In Fact, James says: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3

OH, I see! “Blessed are the Peacemakers!” We are now back to Matthew 5, and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

So, how does this mysterious, yet Holy Peace Happen, without compromising our dearly held beliefs?

Very often (in the interest of Peace) I just keep my mouth shut. I can vent (to a friend) I can pray, I can re-assess my beliefs and decide if they are truly worth fighting for.

This is what I do to try to get the Anger and Strife OUT of my conversation.

I look at my motives. Why am I really arguing about this? Is it really necessary? Am I really helping anyone? I will not back down about my beliefs that were revealed to me by God (His Word) but I do not have to “Make Anyone”agree with me either. He does the convicting. The Convincing. He is God.

How Do you rid yourself of anger? What makes you angry (and why?). Do you have control issues? Fear? Is your anger truly righteous? These are things we need to find out. (Seek, and you will find?)

Do we have to be world changers? On the contrary, we were called to be seed-sowers and waterers of God’s Word. That means look for some “Good soil” to plant in. No strife. Even God will not “Force us” To change our mind…….

Personally, I don’t like to live in strife. I would rather walk away, take a drive, be by myself, and have long talks with God. There are some people however, who seem to thrive on it.

My suggestion is, if you are angry and want to strive, Let it go, before you have a heart attack, high blood pressure, or wind up with road rage.

People who are full of strife (and envy) are not the healthiest people on Earth. You can win an argument, but lose the war. You don’t have to win. You don’t even have to prove you are right.

Fools give full vent to their Anger. Righteous People look for a chance to plant (and water) Gods’ Truth.

If your advice is so great, (and of God) people who seek it as treasure will find you. If they don’t believe HIS truths are a treasure, they probably won’t listen to you anyway.

What is there to strive about? Nothing! Be at peace with what you believe, until the time comes you are not, and seek God’s wisdom about it, and ask for more information. Be part of the solution.

PS: Not being at Peace with your own beliefs, is an indicator you might need to do more seeking.

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Don’t let them cheat you out of your prize…..

Vain Philosphy (by Laura Grace)

Take heed lest there will be anyone taking you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the principles of the world and not according to Christ. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” -Colossians 2:8

Assuming what scripture means, quoting things without knowing how they are supposed to be applied, generalizing and assuming to understand what “the Love Walk” really means.

One of the worst things to realize is when you come to understand a lot of things that were taught to you were not the words of the Holy Spirit to YOU personally. (#1) and #2 that well-meaning bible teachers taught you wrong and you taught other people wrong because of it.

Here’s one that was taught to me “That Only certain people” have discernment. We all can and should have discernment. For years I thought I didn’t have any, and had to rely on someone else for it. Here is another: Churches will say “if you are here God sent you here!” How can that be? How do they know this? It’s a nice thought but not always true, and it can hinder you from following after the Holy Spirit if you let that go into your heart.

There are some enemies God will say to show love and others he will say TURN AWAY. Some he will say help them others he will say “Let them alone” For awhile or possibly for good. satan uses vain philosphy to trick you into NOT walking after the Spirit! Galatians says to walk by the Spirit- and you are not under law.

We want recipes because it is EASIER than taking the ingredients God gave you in his word- and baking the cake HE tells you to make. We want formats, to be on auto-pilot because it is EASIER and less scary than following after God.

We make mistakes and use it as an excuse to go be like everyone else because we missed it. God says “GET UP AND TRY AGAIN!” He doesn’t want us eternal babies, having to have someone else wiping the snot off our nose and carrying us around in a backpack or pushing us in a stroller! It takes guts to learn to walk in the Spirit you will Fall down, scrape your knee and say ouch. Now, stop letting anyone cheat you with their vain philosphies and religious platitudes. Jesus paid the price for your mistakes! Like a good parent, God will pick you up and help you try again.

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The Testimony of the Little Pink Car…..

2014 Chevy Sonic Purchased in ND

Car Testimony:

God prompted me to post this so here goes.

In 2014 we were making good money in ND and my Jeep started to fall apart. It needed a tire rod, Had a lot of miles, I didn’t trust it on long trips anymore. I LOVE Jeeps so Tim said I could get another one. I wanted a Jeep Liberty. We went shopping one was 17,000 and high miles and didn’t ride nice. Another one when we got there the guy promised to hold it, but did not (I offered money down)

We had one frustration after the other, and In my heart I knew that vehicle was overpriced for what it was. People have always said “God wants you to have the desire of your heart” But I’m not sure I was aware of what the desire of my heart REALLY WAS. My brain wanted a Jeep Liberty I thought they were cool. I thought I would ‘Feel cool” driving one…..

I also had a fear of small cars because my dad called them “death traps” and never wanted me to have one. After the last Jeep debacle we stopped at a dealership I had said “I GIVE UP LORD” I guess I’ll fix my Jeep and be content.” …..

We walk into this dealership, and see this pink car marked down from 19,000 to $14,000, brand new, and 7000 miles on it only. It had pink lipstick on it Underlining the price.

The guy said ‘It’s a nice car” I said “I don’t wanta puddle-jumper” He said “drive it”..…..

I drove it and I was amazed! It had so much power and get up and go! More so than any vehicle I’d ever owned. We bought it I felt like God was saying “yes yes yes” (God my Father who isn’t afraid of little cars)

I have driven this car almost 100,000 miles now it went to 103,000 today. I have put 1000 in it only for a timing belt, we did the brakes, it needed a battery. 100,000 miles and never once had to use the warranty for anything!

It does great in bad weatherm it gets almost 38 mpg on the highway……today a clerk from the gas station came out and said “I just have to ask you, did you buy that car cause it’s CUTE or because of the mileage?

I said “Neither’ and told him the story.

And that my dears, is the story of how my Father knows best! And he is so kind to me! with Love, Laura

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The Pity Party……

Psalm 88: 14 Why, O LORD, do You reject me? Why do You hide Your face from me?…”

I had a short Pity Party today, not a very long one. It involved some tears, a few reeses’ peanut butter cups, 2 cookies and some staring at the wall for a time. Nobody was impressed, certainly not me. I had my reasons. Many of my friends would say they were good reasons. But that doesn’t change the fact that pity parties do not help.

After awhile I looked up some meme’s under the category “Pity Party” and was amazed at what I saw. Apparently, hundreds and thousands of people besides me have had one, chastized others for having one, or sat around inventing meme’s about them. I even found a song about it.

By the time ate the treats, walked around, and read the meme’s, Having a Pity Party didn’t seem like such a hot idea.

See, I like to write about overcoming. I love to share how I’ve overcome so you can overcome.

But there are days even I have a struggle doing that.

Elijah had one of those days, when he prayed to die. “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 1 Kings 19:1-4.

I’m sure a lot of great theologians have talked about why Elijah got that depressed. He isn’t here to tell us, so I”m going to guess having Jezebel threaten to kill him after he did a big Faith showdown on Mt Carmel (and saw victory) was just too hard to take. I think He must have realized at that moment there would always be trials, for the rest of his life.

That’s kind of how I was feeling today, tired of trials, day after day, fighting the fight of faith and wanting to just give up.

It’s not what we should do, but we just feel like doing it, sometimes.

The truth is, we CAN give up if we want to. You have that freedom. LIke the child who lays down in the store, refusing to go any further because they can’t have the cereal they wanted, we can choose to pout for a time. We look silly while doing it, we get nothing for our efforts, and God is not impressed.

I kind of picture him saying, “Are you done now?” (Looking at me with concern and hope that I’m over it.)

Yes, he loves us so much! (He really does). When we are ready to talk about how to really solve things permanently, make some changes that lead to different outcomes, and learn to be more content within ourselves, God is going to be right there with great ideas for us. “Father, forgive me for settling for a pity party when I could have had your wisdom sooner……

“I ask you to give me wisdom on what to do next Father God. Help me make choices that lead to fruitfulness, Happiness, Joy and laughter. In My heart, I know this is what you want for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

By the way, God showed up- and had another assignment for Elijah.