Monday, August 31, 2015

I Want to Be Frustrated With God


Last week I wanted to be frustrated with God.

I’ve grown tired of one-step-forward good days being followed by three-steps-backward bad days. And I want to know why.

Why God?

I told God I was frustrated with Him. And as I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes, I asked Him, Where are You?!?

At that moment I saw new purple flowers had bloomed on the African violet that sits in my kitchen window. Five perfectly formed violet flowers with tiny yellow centers…and I saw Him there.

It’s not where I’ve been begging to see Him, but it’s His beautiful work regardless. And, it reminds me that His ways are not my ways, and His time isn’t mine.

I want to be frustrated with God, but somehow I can’t be. My emotions say I am, but my head and my heart refuse to agree. Because I know better.

I know it’s what the enemy wants—for me to think God is not for me, but against me. That assumption can happen quickly when discouragement and anger grow.

I look at the purple blooms and realize it’s not God I’m frustrated with, but rather life and our humanness.

It’s illness and disease.

It’s strained and broken relationships.

It’s trauma and tragedy.

It’s that we often turn to God as a last resort, instead of our first thought.

I don’t understand His ways or His timing, but it’s not for me to know. He’s working on things I can’t even imagine, and I can only see what surrounds me.

What I know is I believe in miracles and the impossible…because that’s where God works.

I know I believe in Hope because I believe Jesus died for our sins and conquered sin and death when He rose from the grave.

I believe Jesus is Hope.

I want to be frustrated with God because He knows and sees it all. He is in control.

But, it’s really life and this world we live in that I’m discouraged with.

I know I can’t be frustrated with God because He does know. He sees what we’re going through and He cares. He is in control, and through Jesus, there is Hope.

In Christ,
Laura 




Friday, August 28, 2015

Heart Cleaning

Earlier this year I did some spring cleaning, and as I did, I realized it's not just the stuff around us that piles up. 

It's the stuff on the inside too...things like 

...regret we keep reliving 

...anger we won't let go of 

...and unforgiveness towards others—and ourselves.

I am honored to be featured this week in LifeNotes' Find It Only Here On Friday Series. Would you please join me there? It's where we're doing some Heart Cleaning.

 *****

Beginning Sept. 7, you're invited to join me for a 6-week online study on Danise Jurado’s new book Fulfilled…Learning to Live the Life God Promised.

For more information, click on the Fulfilled Study tab at the top of the page (or click here).

You can find Danise's book on Amazon (both paperback and e-book).

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Free Images.com/Broom Shadow]

Linking up with Everyday Jesus, Blessing Counters, Faith Filled Friday, Weekend Whispers

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

There is Strength When Light Exposes the Darkness


I recently heard a presentation in which the speaker compared digital photos to pictures taken with a camera and film. Instead of instant images, the roll of film remained in its own little container until it could be developed in a darkroom. If the film was exposed to light, the pictures would be ruined.

The speaker stressed…the film could not be exposed to light.

And it made me think of Satan, who thrives in the darkness. It’s where his lies take root and grow like weeds. He loves the dark, and he wants us there with him.

Because when the schemes of the devil are exposed to light, they are ruined. The light enables us to see him for what he is—a liar.

I can imagine Satan marking his plans with a warning label…Do Not Expose to Light!

For Satan’s evil plans to work, they require the cover of darkness. And we live in a dark world.

But God…

I'm excited to be sharing with Deb Wolf at Counting My Blessings today! Please join me there to continue reading.

In Christ,
Laura

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fulfilled {Book Review}

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20NLT

Fulfilled. What does it mean? And how do we live a fulfilled life?

This world promises a lot, and then it tells us to work harder to achieve it. But no matter how hard we try, or how long we work to live a fulfilled life, we can’t—not through our own power, and definitely not through the world we live in.

Only God.

Only God can keep the promises He makes…and He has—in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Only through Christ can we live a fulfilled live.

In her new book Fulfilled…Learning to Live the LifeGod Promised, author Danise Jurado dives into what it means to live a fulfilled life in the midst of darkness, fear, anger, loss, addiction, doubt, and hopelessness. She shows us, through Scripture, that a life fulfilled is not only possible through Christ, but that He is waiting for us.

To continue reading, please join me at LifeNotes...

Note: 


In Christ,
Laura


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Find Him


I’m joining the Five Minute Friday community with Kate Motaung this weekend…5 minutes, no rewriting, and a one word prompt…
Find

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29 NIV

But if from there...

From my lousy day, from my sinful behavior, from where I've wandered from God and gotten lost.

...you seek the Lord your God,...

Because we've never strayed so far that we can't cry out to Him.

...you will find Him...

And He promises that He will never abandon us.

...if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

I wonder...do I? Do I look for God with all of my heart and soul? On those days when I can't feel His presence, could it be because I'm not totally focused on Him? Not with all of my heart and soul?

Lord, You know my days are scattered and hectic. I struggle to quiet my mind and settle my soul, and when I search for You, I confess it's in the midst of my to-do list. Father, please calm my spirit and help me to focus solely on You, so that I can truly seek You with all of my heart and soul. And when I do, I know that I will find You.

***

Congratulations to the winner of the signed copy of Fulfilled by Danise Jurado and the Fulfilled bag…­­­Angie!

***

In Christ,
Laura 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Living a Fulfilled Life (and a Giveaway)

It’s been awhile since I last hosted an online study here. You know, life. It sometimes gets in the way.

But lately, I’ve been thinking about it…maybe it’s God whispering in my ear “It’s time.” And not by coincidence, I received an email from a woman asking me to think about doing another one.

Even when we don’t realize it, there is a need for community. {Tweet this}

Then, I received a copy of Fulfilled…Learning to Live the Life God Promised by Danise Jurado, and as I read it, I knew…it’s time. I going to read this book again, and I’m inviting you along with me.

Beginning,the week of September 6, we’ll begin a 6-week study of Fulfilled. Each week, I’ll post my thoughts on the reading and pose questions for reflection. Read at your own pace and visit here to interact in the comments section.

(There’s no need to sign up for the study, just plan to join us here each week. However, if you’d like to receive the Fulfilled blog posts in your email inbox, sign up to “follow by email” in the right side bar.)

Fulfilled releases on August 25, but you can preorder on Amazon now, and I’m told the e-book will be available this week. (Yay!)

Why do I like this book?

Author Danise Jurado shares openly about her own struggles and how she grew in her faith throughout challenging times. It’s not a candy-coated, tied up with a bow, type of book. (You know, the preachy sort.) Sometimes, we have to hear what we don’t what to hear. {Tweet this}
“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t remember any of her prayer. The word “slothful” just kept ringing in my head. At first, I was offended by this response. I wasn’t a lazy person! Then, I realized that she was right. Although I was diligent in other areas of my life, I had become lazy, and yes, “slothful” in my personal time with God.” (Fulfilled by Danise Jurado, pg. 33)

See what I mean? I wanted to gloss over this as I read it. Like Danise, I was defensive. Which usually means there’s a nugget of truth to it.

Despite there being some parts I don’t necessarily want to hear, it’s an easy to read book with some exercises for moving forward. (See the forgiveness homework in the first chapter!)

You can read more about author Danise Jurado and her book Fulfilled at her website: Danise Jurado, and on Amazon. (By the way, Danise does a weekly giveaway! And 50% of the proceeds from Fulfilled are being donated to The Dream Center in Los Angeles.)

To kick off our new online study on Fulfilled, I’m giving away an autographed copy of Fulfilled, along with this Fulfilled bag.

Leave a comment saying why you’d like to read Danise’s book, or simply say “I’m in!” if you’re planning to study with us. I’ll randomly choose and announce a winner Friday evening, August 21. (Winner must reside in the U.S.)

In Christ,
Laura 






                                                                        

Friday, August 14, 2015

Playing Fetch


Our new kitten plays fetch. Yes. Really.

This morning, as I repeatedly tossed her favorite stuffed mouse across the room and she brought it back to me, ready to run again, I had a few thoughts.

1 – She’s so cute!

2 – She has a lot of energy for 5:15 a.m. (She woke me up to play, so it’s a good thing she’s so cute and loveable.)

3 – It doesn’t matter to her that she’s a cat playing fetch.

She doesn’t know that the game of fetch makes me think of dogs in the park. Nor would she care because, you know, she’s a cat. Cats aren’t known for conforming. They march to their own beat. They don’t care what others think.

Wouldn’t that be nice? To not get caught up in what others think. To not be told we can’t do something because we don’t fit the mold. To not wear the label someone tries to pin on us.

It’s not a bad thing to be an individual and not care what others think.

It’s good—very good—to be who God made us to be. To value the skills and talents He has gifted us with. To not let others stop us from trying new things, no matter whether we fail or succeed.

If we stop trying, how will we know what we’re good at or what we love to do?

If she hadn’t brought that little brown mouse back to me, how would we know that fetch isn’t just for dogs?

In Christ,
Laura