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Straining gnats and swallowing camels……Matthew 23- “the warning”

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Matthew 23:24 “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”
SOMETHING GOD SAID TO ME Awhile back “They are building a church, but not my Kingdom, and it’s eating them up inside………” 
Pharisees prided themselves on how cautious they were, and how protective they were of God’s word. They were not aware of the pride growing subtly within them, as they prodeeded with no caution- as far as examining themselves, and their own hearts. They thought they’d arrived. 
We have some today- who protect the building of the church, and consider themselves to be supervisors (and experts) of God’s own word. 
They are so busy protecting themselves, shielding themselves, and building giant barricades to keep out evil, they fail to see the heart of God– behind every word Jesus spoke. 
Self-righteousness, Pride, selfish ambitions, greed, lust, (for power not just drugs or alchohol) Are very real threats to the human soul. Why else would Jesus (and his Apostles) warn about these things so much? “take heed to yourself” (The preacher cries.) 
Luke 11:35
“Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness”
In being so careful and examining things, the Pharisees missed the miracles. They missed (Out) On Jesus, the son of God. They missed out on everything God intended for them, and they were so sure (oh so sure) they were full of God’s light. He tried to warn them, but they were so focused on protecting themselves, They did not really hear him at all.
                                     They Judged Jesus’ ways. And, cross-examined him. 
If a drop of rain falls (on your head) and you needed that rain, do you examine it to see if it’s really rain at all? Or do you question where it came from? “He must be from the devil,” They said, for he did not measure up to the former words of God the way THEY Undestood it. The trouble is, they didn’t understand God’s word at all. Jesus was trying to show them, but they would not listen (or hear). 
When I pray for something I don’t care who (the answer) comes from. I expect Jesus can answer any way he wants to. GOD RAISES UP THE HEAVENLY ARMOR within us as we grow in Him and study his Word WITH The Holy Spirit as our guide. He does the work. He’s the Author and finisher of our faith (and our Salvaton) which is why all the glory goes to him, not to us! We aren’t going to be commended for how SMART we are we will be commended for having Faith IN HIM! 
Therefore, Pride has no place in us (or our hearts) there is no reason for any self =righteous Indignation. When we see ourselves becoming all angry about how we are not listened to or followed, we can see pride and/or self-righteousess has taken root in our heart(s). 
God spoke to me about some pride I had……in an area of my life. I’m so glad he did, and he has done it before, and I pray he will do it again! And yes I did something about it. I endured the humiliation so he can make me free! 
Pride you have to go! Self righteousness, you have no place in me! I Resist you satan! Get away from me with your lies and delusions of granduer! I ask you Holy Spirit to teach my heart. I ask you Jesus to purify my soul and cause me to really SEE you and hear you! 
IN Jesus’ mighty name, the name above all names. I dont care how much I suffer for it Lord I want YOU And only you! and only your living word! Cleanse my soul Father wash me clean! I renounce everything that is not you Lord! 
And by the way Pride doesn’t just go before the fall, it can possibly go before the great falling away…….so here’s your sign. Get rid of it! Ask God to show you if you have it! He will answer that kind of prayer! I Promise, HE WILL. 
-Laura Grace (Grace to Grow) peace! and amen
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Am I a Mutt? I think perhaps I am

cooper 2012 age 4
This is Cooper, He’s a mutt (and he doesn’t care) 

Who I am: Am I a Mutt?

Hi, Laura Grace here. I wish I could make this page “come alive to you” as I share what’s on my heart today. You know, I was raised Lutheran, studied the catechism to be confirmed (meaning I understood God’s word well enough to partake of the cup and the bread) but you know what? I didn’t know the Lord even after all that. I knew scriptures, but I did not know God. Oh, they are one in the same you say?

Who brings the word alive? Who causes it to become Living water to your soul? Jesus, that’s who! And how can we do that if we never let him in? “Okay Lord, I believe in you,” Many say, as they go on their way. Yes, THEIR WAY. And that’s what I did, for a long, long time. I went to a little Pentecostal church one day because I was feeling empty inside. They sang praises to Jesus, and clapped their hands. “PRAISE THE LORD!” I heard them shout. oh wow, I was amazed by this! What a sight to see!

Alas, I found out they didn’t think I was saved, because they prayed I would speak in tongues, but it didn’t happen when they thought it should. Want to know why? I wasn’t even SAVED YET! Which leads to the next portion of my mutt story, I DO BELIEVE we must be Born Again to SEE the kingdom of GOD TO SEE IT TO LIVE IN IT AND TO WALK IN IT. Maybe some get Born again without realizing it? I mean, don’t babies get born sometimes at home? Or did anyone tell them “Hey by the way did you know you were actually born? You didn’t just arrive here from a stork some magical day?”

See, there are so many things we experience, but never understand. God wants us to understand what has happened to us! He wants us to know where we are at with him, where we stand, and what he thinks about it all. He’s our Father! And yes, he wants you to know! But so long as we treat him as this distant unapproachable scary God (as in MT Sinai and a mountain burning with Smoke) we will never experience the new Zion, angels rejoicing, celebration experience He so desires for us. For a Christian, words like “Born Again” should not scare us. We should love and want to understand the WHOLE bible, should we not? 

Hey, I understand many are not comfortable with speaking in tongues, jumping around dancing, or worshipping with their hands lifted high in Praise to Jesus. I do. But I want to tell you, opening my mind and heart to my other brothers and sisters in Christ and their experiences, has surely enriched my life beyond my wildest imagination. I believe, like the Baptists, that being Born Again is important. I do believe we should consider and ask God about the bread and the cup and not be careless about it. I think we should be Spirit Filled too.

We THE BRETHREN (the ones that we are asked to Love) Must learn to at least try and like each other! (And move on to Love from there?) seriously! And do I ever go up to my dog and say “why aren’t you a doberman?” Why aren’t you a poodle? What’s wrong with you?” We are all just (gentile dogs) saved by Grace. Unless you are a Jew (the first people God went to) and you know why He did that? I beleive it’s because of Abraham! But that’s another story……..

I think we should open our hearts to consider Mark 16, and the idea of casting out demons, laying hands on the sick, and believing for them to recover. I think there should be order in the service and we should sing all kinds of hymns, and spiritual songs. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to bring myself to label myself with a certain denomination ever again. I have to face what Jesus has made me,

“I’m a mutt.” And I know He loves me, just as I am. If I can love my dog (who is also a mutt) how much MORE Does God rejoice when I come running to him, my face full of Joy, so happy to be His! Yep I’m a mutt. And I’m okay with it. Yes that’s me, a gentile dog, saved by his grace…..and I am so thankful! -Laura Grace 

PS There is more to this story (born again, Spirit Filled, testimonies, ) in My book Grace to The Rescue. Available on Kindle (Amazon) and soon to be re-released. 

Mark 7: 25 For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

28 And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

30 And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed. Hey wait a minute! didn’t he “cast out the demon?” No in this case –her faith caused the deliverance! hmm……”Don’t put God in a box” ….

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What being A Christian really is- and what it isn’t ….by Laura Grace

xangels 4It just happens I’m in bible college, and a class I’m in right now is called apologetics. It’s a funny name for it, since I make no apologies about what I believe, or why. 

This class helps us think about our Biblical worldview, what others believe, and challenges us to dig deep and see for ourselves why we believe what we do. 

Everything I am about to tell you is based on scripture. If you have a question about that let me know, I will provide all the passages. What I can tell you is I am a witness just like the disciples who followed Jesus

As a child I attended church. I heard all my life “Jesus is real.” When I was in high school I was a big time humanist. I was horrified at the world, the bullies, the mean people, the selfish people. I was a liberal, and very much a women’s libber, as well.

I was mad at God, and mad about injustice, which he seemed to do nothing about. I was apalled at conserative stances, and how christians could talk about love one minute, and throw people under the bus if they got food stamps, calling them “those who suck off the system” and take their tax dollars. For me that was the ultimate hypocrisy, to preach love one minute and be a “hater” the next toward those who were not so fortunate. 

I married badly partly out of pride. I was going to show those conservatives what was what. “HERE I”LL SHOW YOU HOW to love” I thought (since they were so bad at it and all). it didn’t take long to figure out I got myself in a real pickle of suds (and problems). Totally broken. Defeated. In the dark. It was a blessing in disguise. 

It wasn’t long before I found myself in a pile of failure. Baptists knocked on my door one day, asking if I was born again. “I’m a Lutheran” I said, and went to work and laughed at them for being so crazy. Later I was crying, upset, and a Billy Graham message captivated me. I HAD experiences with the presence of God (the Holy Spirit) prior to this. 

When I ran away in high school in defiance, My mom prayed, cried and gave me to God. She said she didn’t know what to do with me. WHEN I was watching Billy Graham I truly realized my sin. Pride. Anger. Unforgiveness. Defiance toward God and others. Judging. 

The Holy Spirit (Via Billy Graham and those that knocked on my door) caused me to see I had believed in Jesus but had not RECEIVED him as saviour and Lord. I saw he was the only way to Salvation. I saw I was a sinner, in need of help. I stopped saying in my heart “Well I’m not THAT bad of a person” and accepted him, gave him my life. I asked him to take over…………

After that, things changed for me. I went on a journey (30 years ago) It hasn’t ended yet. A journey of learning, (from the Holy Spirit) who IS my teacher. I’ve seen so many miracles I’ve lost track. I’ve seen God honor his word and provide for me. 

God is holy. I know this. He wants us to be Holy.  Why? Because if we are becoming holy (more like him) We are deeper in covenant with him. ALL we have is His, and all he has is ours. I’m not a liberal anynore, and I am not judging God for letting the world go to “hell in a handbasket” as they say. He gives us a choice. Me, You, everyone…..”choose this day” who you will believe in. God does not share his glory with any (other god) and he is not a humanist. He put us in the world, he can take us out if he wants to. He made us, created us TO BE HIS SONS (and daughters) 

IF we rebel like satan we are satans’s kids -not his. When I was in defiance, if I had died, I would have gone to hell, and I know that. Yep they were furious when Jesus said “your Father is the devil” (wanted to kill him, and did!!) I undestand now, to be a humanist is to defy God’s discipline, holiness, and who He really is. 

“HOW Dare you!” Their flesh said (to Jesus) How dare you not make us feel GOOD about how we are (in our sinful condition) How dare you convict us? Jesus was crucified because people were appalled he dared to say he was the only way. They wanted his miracles, but not his conviction. The Pharisees didn’t want either because they were already rich (and powerful.) They thought they knew God but they only knew his laws, and not his heart. They were full of pride. 

Well, the road or door to Salvation is to admit we are wrong, and God is right. There is no other way, and there is no other name by which Men are saved.

JESUS ….the name above all names. Jesus………He’s proven himself to me, time and time again. I didn’t take “Someone else’s word for it” I just heard the preacher and said Okay “make yourself real to me Lord.” 

He will rule and reign. Don’t believe me? Ask him! I dare you.

with love, Laura Grace  Author, Grace to the Rescue 

PS: Yes, I am born again. Filled with the Spirit. and in love with Jesus Christ