Thursday, February 14, 2013

Freedom to Choose

Every day, we have a choice—to go our own way or to follow Jesus. Neither way is easy.

Following Jesus means giving up what I want for what God wants.

It’s letting go of any control I think I have over my life and accepting God’s plan for my life. Even when I don’t know what the plan is.

To follow Jesus means I place my trust in Him, and not in myself.

It’s a struggle, though, because I’m selfish and stubborn, emotional and quick-tempered, and I like to be in control.

So, how do I let go of all that I am, and put my unwavering trust in God when I can’t see what’s ahead, and where I am right now is not so great? How?

Through Him.

I make the choice to follow Him, and then I ask for, and accept, His strength, His peace, and His love.

Every. Single. Day.
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
With my choice to trust God comes stability. God is the same today as He was yesterday, and will be tomorrow. He is my energy source. My foundation.

When I trust God, He keeps me grounded in Him. He gives me life.

But there is still the other choice—to go it alone, trusting myself and not following Jesus.

It means I live in my own strength; I’m in control of my life.

That’s the lie the enemy tells me.

But, being in control is an illusion. Life moves at a quick pace and temptation swirls around me. 

My strength and energy run dry.

I lean on others, but they are as emotional and ever-changing as I am.

There’s nothing solid to stand on. And life spins out of control.
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.” Jeremiah 17:5-6 NLT
Two choices. Neither easy.

But…

When I choose to follow Jesus and put my trust in Him, He enables me to trust Him more. I continue to grow in Him.

In the good times, God is there to celebrate with me. To cheer me on.

And through the trials, God is there to support me. He holds me up when the ground crumbles beneath me.

He strengthens me to keep going, and comforts me when all feels lost.

His love for me never changes.

Nor does His love for you.
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. Jeremiah 17:7 NLT
Thank you for joining me here today for the last chapter “Our Choice…Choosing Freedom Each Day” in our study of Finally Free by Kim Tabor. If you’d like to read the previous weeks, click on Finally Free label on the right hand side of the screen.

In Christ,
Laura

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Someone to Listen

Welcome! I’m over at 5 Minutes for Faith today…
As a mom, I wish I could fix all of the issues my daughter has to face.

The dramas of growing up and fitting in.
Learning to control her emotions and behavior.

Figuring out how to live in this sinful world.
But even if I could solve everything, I know it wouldn’t be what’s best for her because there are lessons to be learned.
What I can do is be there for her.

And sometimes, that’s what she needs most—someone to listen and let her know her feelings are valid.
She wants to be heard. She wants to know I’m there for her no matter what.
I can understand that—I want that too.
To read more, join me at 5 Minutes for Faith. And if you would, leave a comment. I’d love to know you stopped by.

In Christ,
Laura


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Finally Free Online Study - Week 6

Welcome! This is the last week in our study of Finally Free by Kim Tabor. If you've been reading along, thank you for traveling this journey with me. I hope it's been a blessing in your life.

Have a wonderful week!
In Christ,

Laura

Week 6: Feb. 10 - Feb. 16, 2013
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” John 15:16a

Monday/TuesdayRead Chapter 5 “Our Choice…Choosing Freedom Each Day”

During the week
Spend time in prayer and consider the study question and thoughts at the end of the chapter. (pg. 105)


What did you think of this study? Has it helped you in an area of your life?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Equipped Through Scripture

Welcome! If you’re reading Finally Free by Kim Tabor with us, we are in Chapter 4 “Empowerment…Becoming All God Intends Us To Be.”

My post is a little different today. There are certain things I need to remind myself of on a regular basis. So, I’m writing to myself and finding Scripture to cling to.

God works in wonderful ways…maybe this will bless you, as well.

It’s not about me. It’s about Him.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13

It’s not about what I can do. It’s about what He will do through me.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. Psalm 18:29

When I think I don’t have what it takes, He says that, through Him, I do have what it takes.

…may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. Hebrews 13:21

When I’m sure I can’t go on, He carries me while I rest.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28


For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing. Jeremiah 31:25

When I tell Him I can’t do this anymore! He says Yes, you can, I’m here.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

When I’m trying to trust Him, He strengthens me so that my trust will grow.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31        

When I complain This is too hard! He encourages me.

Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” 1 Chronicles 28:20

When I cry, God, I’m scared! He reminds me that He is with me always.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:8

What reminders do you need from Scripture? Will you leave a comment and share one?

In Christ,
Laura                              

All Scripture verses are from the New Living Translation.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two Brave Queens

Welcome! I’m guest posting for Gloria Dei Lutheran Church today. As a congregation, we are reading through The Story, a chronological abridged version of the Bible. The Story uses Scripture from the NIV and reads as a seamless story.

Periodically, I have been a guest contributor during this sermon series. Today I’m there talking about two queens in the Book of Esther—Vashti and Esther. (I’m cheering for both.)

Here’s a bit of what you’ll find…
And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14 NIV
One king. Two queens.
God’s upper story. Two lower stories.
God isn’t mentioned in the Book of Esther, and yet, He’s there weaving the lower stories together for His purpose—to save His chosen people from annihilation. Read more…
God is at work today—even when we can’t see it.

And who knows…maybe God brings us into situations—ones we don’t understand at the time—in His time and for His purpose.

To read more of my post, please join me at the Gloria Dei blog. And if you would, leave a comment. I’d love to know you stopped by!

In Christ,
Laura


Linking up today with Winsome Wednesday and WholeHearted Home.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Finally Free Online Study - Week 5

Have a great week!

In Christ,
Laura

Week 5: Feb. 3 - Feb. 9, 2013
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Monday/TuesdayRead Chapter 4 “Empowerment…Becoming All God Intends Us To Be”

During the week
Consider this:
            God not only sees who we are right now, He knows who we can be through Him.

What does that mean to you? Spend some time with God this week. Are you open to letting Him make changes so that you can experience all God has planned for you?