Friday, May 23, 2014

God is With You [Right Now}

Hello friends! 

This passage compiled by a friend, Jeff Lawton, needed to be shared. It really spoke to me and I pray it does to you too! I love you all, xo Laura

How many times have we heard the cry, “Where is God?” in the midst of suffering and tragedy? Some people think that God has abandoned them, but God is always there. His name, Jehovah-Shammah, means “God Is There” or “God Is Always Present.”

In Ezekiel 48:35, the Lord shared with Ezekiel a vision about the future of Jerusalem and said, “And the name of the city from that time on will be: the Lord is there”. God’s presence is with His people. God is ever-present among us. As Christians, God dwells inside of us: “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people’” (2 Corinthians 6:16). 

As a believer, you are a temple of God. Live your life knowing that God is present with you and within you at all times. “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). You are not only the Holy Spirit’s dwelling place but also a living testimony for Christ.

No matter what obstacles or heartaches you face, God is with you. You can trust in God’s presence, both now and in the future. His love is unconditional, and His faithfulness is unwavering. Just as the Lord told Joshua, “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).

God is there for His children in every moment of every day. He will never turn away from you, and will remain present with you always. What crisis are you facing today? What illness is wearing you down? What need is consuming you? Share your heart with Jehovah-Shammah. He is there for you and wants to hear your concerns, fears, and anxieties.

  Matthew 28:20
  ...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Being Grateful {All the time}

Good morning friends! I was inspired by a fellow blogger about giving thanks in all circumstances.These past two weeks haven't been the best because of this awful cold and lingering cough. BUT I still have a whole LOT of stuff to give thanks for every single day. 

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"
 1 Thessalonians 5:18

All the time, I am grateful for having God's word. 

I love this quote "Visit many good books, but live in the Bible" - C.H. Spurgeon.  Amen. 

And my husband. He's pretty cute. (And...He will kill me when he finds this picture :P) 

And my family. My silly little niece Samantha, I miss her!!

And my grandma's sweet hand written notes.

And sweet friends that come to have pancakes with you all the way out in Deland!

And Barnie's Santa's White Christmas K-cups... and a little light whip cream on top!

And good movies.... Do you want to build a snow man?

And I have to add these guys because they are so darn cute sometimes!

I pray that all of you will take a minute today and thank God for the many blessings He gives us.

And I will leave you with this little reminder for today....

 "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." Lamentations 3:23

Love always, Laura Xo 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Baby in a Manger

Hello my brothers and sisters! I just finished going through the gospel of John and boy was that fun. I am going to go back and read it again after I finish Luke. Speaking of Luke, that is my new book of choice. I decided to read Luke because it is SO detailed. I really want to fill in the gaps or missing parts that were a bit vague in John.

So, I know it is not {[Christmas]} but after reading Luke 1 and 2 I found myself marveling at the differences in the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus the Messiah. It's pretty remarkable to see how God wanted John's arrival to be revealed at the center of the Jewish nation, but he picked for Jesus to be born in a manger. Another interesting point revealed to me - John was the son of Zechariah, a priest and his mother was also highly looked up to. Jesus's parents, Mary and Joseph, were just average Jewish people.

Truly, Truly, I say to you,... (Yes, I am using Jesus's awesome words!) it's in the birth of Christ that God's majesty is truly shown to all. I mean, if you really think about it, God's one and only son was born in a stable where animals were put. Could you imagine what was inside and not just that... but how it probably smelled? Mary and Joseph were told by a innkeeper that there was not enough room for them. Yet they both pressed on! They were faithful that God would take care of them no matter where they had to go.  [Are we like Mary and Joseph? Or are we like the Innkeeper? Do we not have room for Jesus?] These things that happened TRULY show the grace of God and His great love for US people regardless of our social ranking. Jesus, the savior of the world, came here humbly and lived a life of complete humility as a faithful servant of God and man.

A few other things that really stuck out to me in Luke Chapter 2 was the praise from Heaven, the shepherds and Mary. With how humble the place that the Lord was born, it still brought forth the presence of Angels.  AMAZING....

After Mary gave birth to Jesus this is what happened:

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2: 8-15

Could you imagine what those shepherds felt like when this happened? I mean really, this is incredible. So much is happening here after the birth of Christ. All of heaven is beyond JOYFUL for Jesus has came into the world to complete God's work. Jesus's arrival is so big that it arouses pure joy inside the hearts of the shepherds to go out and tell everyone the great news. Even when the shepherds return to the manger they begin to worship God [Luke 2: 20 "The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."]

Mary sat in the manger, deeply thinking about these things [Luke 2:19 "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."] All of this that is going on has Mary very attentive. Shepherds are worshiping God because of her Son and all of Heaven is rejoicing. I don't know about you but Mary is one pretty awesome woman to handle this!

My prayer for you all is to remember the significance of the Birth of Christ, right now, not just on Christmas. It's a time to be joyful e v e r y d a y... because Jesus was amazingly born into our world and conquered death for ALL of us!! Amen, amen, amen! Have a blessed day everyone, praying for you all. Xo - Laura

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I was blind, but now I see!

Good morning everyone! It has been a little while since I have written on this blog. Most recently I have been writing for a website called 5 Minutes for Faith. It has been such a blessing to be able to put my writings about the Lord and what he is doing in my life on a platform that more people will get to read. My next post will be on April 8th, so please check it out or go to 5 Minutes For and check out the website right now! It's awesome.

In my personal studies, I have been really diving into John. Sometimes you don't know why the Lord is calling you to read a particular book [I certainly have no idea why I picked John] except for I felt like God wanted me to know the gospel - like a pro! Not sure if I am a professional anything, maybe with God's grace and mercy I am a decent writer but I am not a theologian or bible scholar by any means! But God is good, and he speaks to everyone through his Word, especially those who seek after him with their whole heart (Jeremiah 29-13, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.) Man, I love that verse. So reassuring and true.
After reading John Chapter 9 today, God revealed to me more about his mercy and love through healing a man who was born blind.

Reading through the gospels we see and learn that Christ healed many different people. Through healing, Christ demonstrates his desire to want help us in desperate cases and how Christ pours out his grace on sinners. 

It is so cool to notice that although the blind man in John 9 could not see Christ...Christ saw him. This points to how if we experience anything by the power of God it is not because of anything we did but because God knew us first.

Another thing I want to point out is John 9:2-3. "His {Jesus's} disciples asked him. 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' {Jesus responded} "Neither this man nor his parents sinned...but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

God is good all the time and all the time God is good. That quote I pulled from the movie "God's Not Dead" {which I HIGHLY suggest going to see}. But it came to mind after reading John 9: 2-3. We might not understand why God allows blindness into the world or anything of that nature but as Christ points out it's not always right to point back to sin as the culprit. Sometimes circumstances like this one are made for God's glory and for God to finish a bigger work that was meant to be done {or is currently doing} because God is good!

Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." John 9:39. Christ wants to open the eyes of all of us who are spiritually dead and show those who think they can see that they need him.

I pray that all of you take a minute or two today to pray and give God all the Glory for your life. I pray that you read John Chapter 9 and allow the holy spirit to work in you and show you new things. I want to leave you all with this verse and I challenge you to think about it throughout the day and see how powerful God truly is...ready? Ok!

"The kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:21  

Thanks for reading, God bless you all!! Xo - Laura

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thanks be to GOD for 2013

2013: The most favorite year of my life {so far!}

I guess if I had to start this post with something, the greatest word {or maybe I should say NAME} I could begin it with would be Jesus. He has truly inspired me this entire year and there have been people (many people) along the way showing me more about Jesus than I ever knew. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I have it all figured out because I most definitely don’t! But I think I am well on my way of finding my truest self in the Lord All Mighty. So thank you Jesus for being there for me this whole year and teaching me more about myself and what I am in You.
The greatest gift:
As I mentioned up there ^ … : ) Jesus has shown me what life is supposed to be about. Why we should live every day to glorify Him and to live our best walking in the Spirit. It is a daily, no; second by second challenge to walk in the Spirit. As it reads in Galatians 5 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” but as you read those things aren’t they pretty AWESOME  but so hard to practice sometimes? For me the answer is a definite yes! But I’ve been inspired by the Holy Spirit, my fiancĂ©, family, friends and church body to be striving for this daily. It’s been and is one of the hardest but best challenges of my life; and I can attest to say it is truly changing me into a Godlier woman and drawing me closer to Jesus.
A true love:
As I embark on this next journey of my life with my wonderful partner in crime and soon to be husband, I am learning that love is not peaches and cream {all the time}. It’s wonderful when you find your soul mate and yes I used that word. I believe in that word just like I believe that Jesus my Lord and Savior. I do believe that God has made someone perfect for me. But part of that perfectness He has created is {here we go a little quote from one of my favorite movies “Up”} “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” Come on ya’ll! That’s exactly how God loves us because of his precious son Jesus Christ! True love, therefore, has its up’s and down’s but it doesn’t fail and it’s one of the most beautiful, most amazing things I have ever experienced!
Why church is important!
I hate not being able to go to church more than once a week {on Sundays} right now. But it wasn’t always that way for me. I use to be an occasional church goer – which works for some people, just not for me. I found out this year, after attending church every single Sunday, that I grew tremendously in my relationship with God. Honestly now, I feel like going to church is just part of who I am. It doesn’t feel like a place I should go on Sunday mornings, it feels like a place I’m honored to be in. The community of believers is a beautiful, if not THE  most beautiful, place I have ever experienced in my life. One the most lovely, breathtaking thing that I occasionally get to experience during worship is this. The band stops playing its instruments for a couple seconds and the congregation continues to sing. It’s in those moments I can feel the heart of the church, it’s like I can feel it beating through the vibrations of people’s voices. It’s those moments, when all of life’s distractions melt away, and I feel like the church community is singing to God in praises of pure joy. It’s honestly a bit hard to describe, I hope you got the idea! A church can be anywhere though, as it says in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” I am so lucky to have found such a wonderful church community to be a part of. I truly hope and pray for all of you out there to find a church home or even just a small group to where you can grow in your relationship with Christ.
Merci beaucoup!
Thank you to all of the wonderful encouragers in my life, some of you might not even know that you encourage me! One of you, I won’t name specifically, said in a post this year I try to wake each morning & say "Good Morning LORD! I choose JOY today!" I love you!  Man, did this encourage me! How simple and true it is that if we choose God – EVERY.SINGLE. MORNING – He won’t fail us! So, thanks to this person, God knows who you are!  I will continue to pray for you and all of my encouragers, friends, family and the world!
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
{{That’s one of my fiancĂ©s favorites ^^ : ) }}
I could write a novel on everything I learned in 2013 but I will save that for the history books {I’ve always wanted to write one!} I think we can all learn from each other’s experiences and spur each other on! To my fellow bloggers out there, keep it up! It’s fun to read and share with others who love words and have the God given talent to write! Don’t let your gifts go to waste; you never know who is reading and who could be one step closer to opening the door to Jesus!

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20
That’s all for now, may God have ALL the glory for my post and may God use it to encourage you to draw closer to Him! Xo* Laura

Friday, November 29, 2013

{Thankfulness} Because I needed to remember!

Just a few things I'm thankful for!! Jesus!! Rocky, family, friends, churches, babies, little Samantha, sunsets, mountains, air planes, birthdays, cakes, grandmas, kittens, squirrels, hot chocolate... So much!!! Thank you Lord!! Try making a list of pictures reminding you why you have so much to be thankful for!! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Practice Patience

Hi guys, I'm back. Hopefully I can start posting regularly again! Here's something that really helped me this morning - I hope it does for you as well. Thanks Jeff Lawton for always putting these devotionals together!

 For the believer, patience is built upon the absolute, unshakable belief that God is sovereign. We can be patient because we know we are not forgotten nor forsaken by our heavenly Father. Patience is the result of knowing that God has every detail of our lives under control. Nothing escapes His eternal care.

One day your loving Savior is coming back for you. Remember, your ultimate destination is heaven. Therefore, don’t get hooked by Satan’s bait and begin treating this world as your real home. If you do, you will find that you are becoming more impatient with the aggravations of life.

James gives us examples that spur us on to patience. First, we must understand some of the basic rules of farming (James 5:7). A farmer does not continually dig up the seed he has planted in order to check its growth—if he did so, he would never have a harvest. Likewise, we must trust God’s timing in our lives. Just as the farmer waits for His crop, we must wait on God to complete His work in our lives. This takes patience! James goes on to tell us that even Job had to endure a fierce trial. However, he knew that God had a wonderful plan for his life, and he refused to deny the Lord.

There will be times when we feel like we are in a holding pattern in our lives. We long to move away from our difficulties, but God wants us to wait and to learn how to be patient. If you find yourself feeling impatient with your circumstances, look up into the glorious face of the Savior who loves you and has a great reward for you.

James 5:7

7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.