Thursday, November 29, 2012

Finally Free Online Bible Study Starts Jan. 6

Plans are under way to start 2013 with a new online Bible study!


This 6-week study begins on January 6, 2013.

For more information on the study, click on the 2013 Studies tab.

To sign up for the Finally Free online study, send an e-mail to: laurajrath@gmail.com with your name and e-mail address, as well as your city and state. By signing up you will receive the weekly reading schedule via email.

Trusting, studying, and growing in God’s Word together!

In Christ,
Laura

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Judging Sin {Something to Think About}


Everyone has sinned.
No one measures up to God’s glory.
Romans 3:23 NIRV


How often do we judge others because they sin differently than us?

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,
Laura


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanks and Praise

Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.”

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank You for everyone You bring into my life—some for a life time and some only for a while.

Thank You for all that You provide for me—my daily needs and all the blessings You surprise me with.

I thank You for the gifts and talents You’ve given to me, and I ask that You would continue to guide me in where, when, and how to use them for Your glory.

And, Lord, I thank You for the ways You work in my life while I’m totally unaware
…all the unwanted situations You keep me from having to deal with
…the mountains You shrink into molehills
…situations that seem bad at the time, but turn out alright
…and all of the trials You allow me to go through in order to draw me closer to You.  

Love,
Your Daughter,
Laura
Happy Thanksgiving!
In Christ,
Laura

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Faith of a Child

Welcome! I’m guest posting at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church today where, as a congregation, we are reading through The Story. Today I’m looking at the first time God called Samuel, who was only a boy at the time.
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 1 Samuel 3:8b-9 
Did you catch that?
Samuel went back to bed. He didn’t question Eli on why God would be talking to him—a child.
Perhaps that is why I’ve always liked the story of young Samuel. It’s not long, but as I read it, I see his innocence, his obedience, and his unquestioning acceptance that God may indeed be trying to get his attention. Read more…
To read this entire post, please join me on the Gloria Dei blog, and feel free to leave a comment here or there so I’ll know you stopped by. J

When have you felt God speaking to you? Are you open to hearing from Him?

In Christ,
Laura

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When It Feels Like God is Silent

Welcome! I’m over at 5 Minutes for Faith today reflecting on the times in my life when God seems silent. Here’s the beginning of my post…
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10a NIV
Sometimes I just don’t hear Him. I know He’s there. But for reasons unknown to me, He’s choosing to remain silent.
I wonder if I’ve done something. 
I wonder if He’s testing me.
And…I wonder if, for now, the silence is okay.

Maybe there’s nothing more to it than knowing God is always with me, even when I don’t hear Him and can’t feel Him.
I keep talking to Him and spending time in His Word, and I know He hears me.
Maybe I’m like a child who learns to trust her mom is there when she calls to her… Read more.
To read the rest of my post, join me at 5 Minutes for Faith. And if you would, please leave a comment so I’ll know you stopped by!

In Christ,
Laura



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Modern Day Idols {Something to Think About}


Modern day idols...anything we put before God.

“Do not put your trust in idols or make metal images of gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.”
Leviticus 19:4 NLT

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,
Laura

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Will You Still Love Him?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our lower stories and God’s upper story. The lower stories are our day-to-day lives—families, jobs, paying the bills, the good, the bad, the joys, and the trials. God’s upper story is His grand plan of something larger—bigger and better than we can imagine—His eternal plans.

Sometimes, through prayer and looking back, God lets us see how our lower story fits into His upper story.  

Other times, life doesn’t make any sense at all. Prayers go unanswered, dreams die, and we don’t know why.

It leaves us with a question to wrestle with.

If the dream you’re praying for with all your heart is not answered the way you’re asking for, will you still love God?

The quick answer is of course I will.

But think about it. What are you praying for with all your heart?

A spouse?

A child?

A change in a particular situation?

For a child to come home or a loved one to come to faith?

Healing?

I don’t know what you may be going through, or if you’ve wrestled with this question. I have, and I can tell you, it takes continued prayer and looking to Him for all that I need. It takes laying down what I want and accepting God’s Will.

If you never find that perfect someone…

A child isn’t in God’s plan for you…

The situation does not change…

The child doesn’t return home or the one you’re praying for doesn’t come to faith…

If the disease and pain persist and healing doesn’t come…

Will you still love and follow Jesus?
Can you accept God’s Will in your life over your own?

More than just nodding your head and agreeing, will you tell Him?
Jesus, you know my prayers, my dreams, my greatest desire…I lay these before you now. If it is not in your plan for me to have __________, I will still love You. I will still follow You. If my dream dies and my prayer goes unanswered, I will not turn away from You. Even if __________ never happens, I will always love You. Amen.

This is our last chapter “Home…I Have a Future” in our study of Sheila Walsh’s book The Shelter of God’s Promises. Whether you’ve followed the study or visited on occasion, please feel free to leave any feedback you may have in the comments section.

 In Christ,                                                                   
Laura


Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Shelter of God's Promises-Wk 10

Here we are in the last week of our study of Sheila Walsh's book The Shelter of God's Promises. If you've been reading the book and/or following the study here on my blog, I'd like to hear feedback.

What did you think of the book and the online study? 
Was it what you were hoping for when the study began?

I'm planning for a new study to begin around the first of 2013. As soon as I have details, I'll have them posted here on my blog. There are many authors and books I've been looking at, but I love to hear of new authors and authors I may not be familiar with. Feel free to leave a comment, or email me, with any feedback you have on the study and your favorite Christian authors.

Have a great week!
In Christ,
Laura

Week  10– Nov. 4-Nov. 10, 2012
The Promise
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. – John 14:2 NIV 1984

Monday/Tuesday Read Chapter 10 “Home…I Have a Future.”

Wednesday/Thursday – Work on the Bible study for Chapter 10 (pgs. 203-204)

Friday – Spend time in prayer and reflection. Catch up on the reading and Bible study, if necessary.

During the week
·         Continue to journal your thoughts and make notes in your book. What has this study meant to you?
·         Visit Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith and Discouraged by Sheila Walsh.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

God Offers Us More

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 NLT

God says…

Keep on asking…because we’re going to go through this together. You and Me.

God wants to hear from us, not just when we’re asking for something, but about everything throughout the day. Yes, we can keep asking, but He doesn’t just give His response so we can be on our way. He wants to spend time with us.

I think there is a difference between what we think about “keep asking” and what God thinks, and the difference is where our focus is.

If I’m focused on my prayers and what I want, then I’m asking and asking for the purpose of getting an answer. Preferably the answer I want to hear.

But when my focus is on God Himself, He offers so much more than just answers. He offers a relationship with Him.

Moses experienced this close relationship with God. Even when God was so angry with the Israelites that He was ready to destroy them, Moses interceded for them.

Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”

But Moses tried to pacify the Lord his God. “O Lord!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand?...Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people!...”

So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people. Exodus 32:9-14 NLT

Moses didn’t pray for the sole purpose of getting an answer from the God he didn’t really know. Moses spent time with God—so much time that he knew he could ask God to change His mind. That’s not an easy thing to ask if you have to reacquaint yourself with God first.

In fact, Moses and God were so close, after God told Moses He would go with them, Moses made sure…and then he even asked to see God!

The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”

Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”

The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”

Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” Exodus 33:14-18 NLT

That’s a pretty gutsy request. But the relationship between God and Moses was so close God responded quickly and favorably. (Exodus 33:19-23) How close of a relationship did God and Moses have?

…the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Exodus 33:11 NLT

Moses didn’t keep asking God just because he wanted something. He was talking to a very close friend. He included God in all parts of his life.

That’s what God offers us—not just answers to prayer, but life with Him.

God says keep asking...because we’re going to go through this together. You and Me.

Thank you for visiting here today. If you’re following our online study of Sheila Walsh’s The Shelter of God’s Promises, we are in Chapter 9, “More…I Know There’s Something Better.”

Are you comfortable to keep asking? Where is your focus when you ask? If you’d like to share with us, please leave a comment.

In Christ,
Laura