All posts by laura

Christmas Countdown 2019….Day 11

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Have mercy…I am looking at all that needs to be done and wondering how in the world it is going to happen…how about you??

But we are pressing on with Luke 11 today and since all of us are short on time (or maybe it’s just me? ha!), I am thankful that my reading eyes rested on the line that gets me every time I read about the way Jesus describes our prayers.

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He starts with a parable about a man who has late night guests and discovers there is nothing in the house to feed them and they are hungry.

So he goes to his neighbor’s house and in an act of boldness bordering on rude, he begins knocking and calling out that he needs to borrow some bread.

The desperation of the need to feed his guests drives him to the point of caring little what he is doing to his reputation in the neighborhood as he continues to knock and cry out.

Jesus tells those who are listening that the neighbor will finally relent and open his door, just to make him go away.

I am quite certain given the full context of Scripture that Jesus was not encouraging us to pester God so much that He gives us our answer so we can go away, but it gives a picture we can understand here in our every day life about the truth that persistence does pay off.

It shows us how the desperate need of another that may burden us and cause us to go again and again and again in prayer…even when our knuckles begin to bleed a bit as we pound on the door one more time…is heard and understood.

And Jesus follows this with an assurance that if a neighbor will get up out of bed to lend someone a loaf of bread…if a father gives a child a snack instead of a snake when he says he’s hungry…

and He points out that the neighbor is just a tired human being who wants his friend to go away and the dad is not a perfect father but even he knows how to take care of his child…

so how much more will our good, good Father answer us when we cry out.

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Andrew Murray has written a wonderful book called The Ministry of Intercession based on this particular parable if you are looking for some good post-Christmas reading material, but the part about all of this is the promise of ask, and it shall be given…seek and you shall find.

We can jump on that promise and really start asking for some stuff but here is the kicker.

Because Jesus ends all of this with the “how much more”…how much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.

How often do I beat on the door for a need and forget that what I need…what my family needs…what my friends need…what this world needs…is the Holy Spirit?

Ask and He will be given…

Seek Him and He will be found…

What a great promise <3

Christmas Countdown 2019….Day 10

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We are just two week’s away from Christmas Eve. 

How does that land on your heart? 

If you have been making the effort to “dwell” during this Advent, you may be tempted to let panic seep in. 

Suddenly I am aware of things I haven’t purchased and exactly what letter I stopped on in our address book.

I don’t know what we will have for dinner after returning from services which we also have not nailed down details on attendance of said services. 

We have one tree standing expectantly awaiting being decorated by the contents of three green plastic tubs.

And the ornaments that I have faithfully written need to be painted on every to do list since October remain rather plain and brown and still in the original packaging tucked away somewhere. 


Kidding. 

I know where they are…they are in the sack with the last half of the cards…sigh…

But I have managed to read some Christmas stories to the kiddos and we iced cookies yesterday, though it was a rather raucous event from which I am still healing. 

And so we move on to what really matters, right? 

Day 10 of our journey through Luke.

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And as I read through three versions to make sure I wasn’t adding anything to the text, all I can say is Jesus was not too concerned about marketing the gospel in a one size fits all way. 

He sends seventy-two disciples out, two by two. They are sent to the villages where He will be going soon…that’s at least 36 villages and yes, I had to use a calculator. It doesn’t say they didn’t do several per group so wow…

Their mission is focused – they are not taking vacay clothes and are not googling local restaurants. This is not a social networking event. 

They are to make their way straight to the town, undistracted by those traveling that path. 

They are to enter a home and if they are received, they are to bless that home and if the home does not welcome them, they leave it. 

If the whole town rejects them, they are to “shake the dust off their feet”…in other words, take nothing from that town and move on. 

He pronounces some pretty serious judgment on those who reject Him and then He frees the 72 and all of us from getting all dejected when we are rejected because of Him.

My followers, whoever listens to you is listening to me. Anyone who says “No” to you is saying “No” to me. And anyone who says “No” to me is really saying “No” to the one who sent me.

Luke 10:16 The Message

This is both a huge burden and release of responsibility for a disciple.

On one hand we are asked to go wherever we are sent, traveling light in a material-driven world, for the purpose of ministering both the good news of the kingdom of God and healing. 

Which means we need to understand and know what that good news is and how to articulate it, not to mention having grasped the power of the Holy Spirit to bring healing and deliverance to those we encounter through the likes of us. 

The release comes when we realize that we have nothing to fear. 

He equips us and…

we have been set free from the extremely cumbersome weight of worrying about what others think of us. 

As ambassadors for Jesus Christ, if we are accepted in our ministry…it’s because He has been accepted. 

Glory! Praise Him! 

I don’t have to keep performing at a level to maintain success…it is His success and I am simply the conduit for someone to see and know Him.

And if the ministry I do is rejected, it is Him who stands before me and while I may weep that someone is missing out on the greatest gift ever, I don’t take it personally because it was never me I was trying to promote. 

What better time to proclaim the Kingdom of God than Christmas? 

I pray for opportunities today to extend the conversations about the holidays to the Holy…to highlight the Christ of Christmas in all I say and do <3

Christmas Countdown 2019….Day 9

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Good morning and happy Monday! 

It is gray and dreary here on the prairie and my plans got switched up a little so I am once again tapping out this note in a somewhat rushed fashion, but it is only because I lingered long at the table this morning and took time to come into God’s Presence because I do what I tell you to do. 

The best way to celebrate this season of Advent is to make time in the very busiest season for the main thing. Over the years I have learned that none of the other stuff will be done with a right heart if I don’t do this thing well each day. 

While I do believe first thing is best, some mornings it just cannot happen so on those days, take it along for your lunch break or make sure you sit down in a quiet place before you go to bed. There is time in our day for this focusing on God’s Word thing. 

It’s not “I need Jesus and coffee”…it’s “I need Jesus” and I am thankful He doesn’t mind me sipping from a mug or three as we spend time together <3

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Today as I read Luke 9, there was a theme that stood out to me and it may be because I have been fighting this virus …or several consecutive viruses…for really too long. 

I noted that in the opening verses of the chapter, Jesus gathered His newly appointed “Twelve” and commissioned them before sending them out on their first missionary journey. 

“Summoning the Twelve, He gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. Then He sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”

Luke 9:1&2 *capital H added by me*….CSB

We are told in verse 6 they traveled from village to village proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere.

Verse 11 says:

He welcomed them (the crowds who followed Him), spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

We see Him take authority over a demon who has made a child unwell since birth and teaching His disciples the element of determining the way to deliverance through fasting and prayer. 

I once made a hospital visit and as I struggled to find a place to park I thought about the impact a ministry of healing enacted through all followers of Christ would have on the hospitals and pharmaceutical companies…doctors, nurses, rehab facilities.

If you heard a loud gasp just now it would be coming from some people I love dearly because I happen to know and be related to and love some of the best in the health care industry.  

But think about it. 

Sickness is big business in our country.

Think how different the landscape of our communities would look if we, who follow Christ, just went around proclaiming the kingdom of God and healing everywhere. 

Blows the mind, doesn’t it?

I have been in places where people prayed over someone and they were healed. 

I have served on prayer teams where lumps were prayed over and when the test just before scheduling surgery was done, no lump was found. 

And I have prayed fervent prayers for healing and watched that precious one slip away to Jesus while we shook our heads and wondered how we will keep putting one foot in front of the other as we continue the journey without him or her. 

I have prayed myself and others through a health crisis and watched as God did amazing things to grow our faith and character and compassion…and then bring healing.

I have no answers today but many questions. 

If all that matters is heaven, why would Jesus heal?

He wants us to walk healed and whole here on earth…but then….

If health and wholeness matter, why don’t our prayers “work” every time?

Have we missed it as Christians?

Is it our lack of faith or our ignorance in how to pray?

And we also know that death will eventually come to all of us until He returns so where are the lines drawn?

My eyes rest this morning on my life verse taped to the bottom of this computer screen. 

Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous thing that you could never figure out on your own.

Jeremiah 33:3 The Message

I have questions and He has answers and it is in walking with Him and talking with Him and listening that I learn and grow. 

Like the disciples in Luke, I get it right sometimes and then I turn around and blow it. 

I stumble and He catches me and helps me up and we continue on.

I am learning and growing and praying that I will increase in faith to believe Him and to believe and live what He taught me. 

I am asking Him to show me where I am falling short in just acting in faith and where I am needing to understand His ways are higher than ours.

It is in the questions that we have to stop and listen for His answers and to seek His heart over our own understanding.

Be blessed, fellow traveler, as we journey onward <3

Christmas Countdown 2019…..Day 8

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It is the Second Sunday of Advent and I woke early and spent much time in front of these little candles relishing the quiet and the gift of extra moments to just dwell. 

The desk calendar by our computer has this phrase this morning…

“The greatest thing your heart can experience is God’s presence.”

So true and this is my breath prayer for all the people I love. To experience God’s presence.

And if your eyes happened to land on this page here today…whether we have officially met or not… then you and all you hold dear are also included in that prayer, my friend <3

I could have shared any number of thoughts from the many accounts of Jesus’ activity recorded in Luke 8, but I have a note jotted down in the margin of the page in my Bible and it is dated January 1 of this year. 

The basis for the note is the closing section of Chapter 7 but since it is Sunday and a day of rest, I hope you don’t mind if that is all I share with you.

Verses 36-50 are Luke’s version of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus with her most precious possession and her tears.

I simply wrote on the first day of this year…

Lord, I have been forgiven much. I love much. Break open my broken heart to love more. 

Be blessed in whatever this Second Sunday of Advent brings your way knowing …. you and I have been forgiven much. 

Let’s love out of the knowledge of this <3

Christmas Countdown 2019….Day 7

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Happy Saturday morning! 

Our house is abuzz this morning because Rachel and Zach collected on a birthday gift and had a date night and we had the Fab 4. 

My brain is a bit fuzzy from lack of sleep and answering all manner of questions as I “Lola! Look!”…every two seconds.

But before we break out the donuts and milk I am going to send you my thoughts gleaned from a quick read of Chapter 7 this morning. 

I am really loving reading this Gospel and hearing what you all are getting out of your daily reading so thank you for the comments. 

As I was reading this morning about the healing of the Centurion’s servant, quickly followed by the random raising of the widow’s son in Naan, I had to back track and double check my take on these two stories. 

Of course in past readings, I have always marveled at the kindness of this Roman soldier and we know his faith was commended by Jesus as an example. And I have often meditated on the astounding fact that the widow didn’t even ask Jesus to do this miracle.

It wasn’t in her realm of possibility. 

She was just going along with the rest of the people to bury her dead son and Jesus saw her pain and out of compassion, He raised him up from the dead. 

But the thing I noticed this morning and had to double check was that there is zero mention of either the Centurion or the widow becoming followers of Jesus. 

There is no indication that this Roman was even a believer. 

Yes, he believed Jesus could heal, but did he know He was the Son of God? We don’t know.

The Jewish leaders who came to ask Jesus to help him only note that he loved their nation and  had built them a synagogue. 

There is no indication the widow even was aware of who Jesus was or even a declaration after the miracle that she now knew He was the Son of God. 

And so it is quite poignant that the next portion of this passage is from Jesus’ cousin John. 

John, who had also been a miraculous conception, and had given his life to preach the gospel of repentance. 

John who had paved the way for the Messiah…who also happened to be his cousin. 

John who had been a passionate follower of God and His ways and who had said of himself he was not even worthy to tie the laces of Jesus…languishes in a prison at the whim of the crazy King Herod. 

And he sends his people to ask…did I get this wrong? 

I thought you were the Deliverer but I am not seeing it here on my behalf. 

It grips my heart. 

We have seen this, haven’t we? 

People who do not follow Christ ask for pray and we pray and their child is healed while ours continues to battle the cancer.

Followers who serve and give generously are laid off of their jobs while someone else who has no interest in our invitations to the various events our church has arranged to make it easy for someone to test the waters of the church just takes another great vacation and seems to have it all.

We pray for the young pastor’s wife to conceive and grieve another miscarriage with her while all around us others seem to be bearing multiple children who are not even wanted.

And we have to look hard at those first 23 verses of Chapter 7 and begin to let it sink in. 

This Kingdom of Jesus is an upside down Kingdom. 

He never has, nor will He ever, play by our rules. 

Following Him is not some easy formula that once you have it figured out you are good to go. 

If you struggle explaining Him it is because He cannot be explained. 

If you question where He is in your life, you join the ranks of all the saints who have gone before you and who walk alongside you as we pave the way for the ones yet to come until He returns. 

And only then will we understand and know what we have believed by faith. 

In the meanwhile we will continue to follow Him faithfully, bring Him into every setting where are feet walk and proclaim Him even if He is rejected.

To mold our life to His example instead of trying to make Him fit ours <3