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A Gift…

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In this new season of marriage (to an amazing man, I might add ūü§ó), the Lord is stretching and growing me in significant ways, and I couldn’t be more grateful.  Though I could share many different facets of “learning,” the one that is top of mind is the recent gift that my Father gave me on Easter Sunday morning….

Over the last month, I wrestled with a lack of peace and some uncharacteristic agitation in both my thinking and actions.  I was tired on a regular basis (thinking it was jet lag from a trip back to the US) and I truly couldn’t seem to get to the bottom of it.  In that place of confusion it seemed to me that circumstances and interactions with certain people were causing my agitation. However, the truth was that I needed a revelation from Jesus of my own heart–the part of my heart that I could not clearly see.

The Saturday before Easter, I was so discouraged that I finally started asking Jesus to help.  I know He was just waiting for me to ask so He could pour His grace over me.  I went to sleep that night, and about 2:00 am he woke me up.  As I was laying there, I received a revelation of two words–“scorn and disdain.”  He told me that I was fighting a spirit of “scorn and disdain” and that they were rooted in pride and that I needed to repent.  Wow!!  I knew I didn’t come up with that!  

I cannot tell you how grateful I was (and still am) for the gift of repentance.  I truly didn’t know what to do or where to turn, and in His absolute love for me, He showed up with the gift of His conviction and repentance. I almost couldn’t wait until morning to confess, repent and be done with this thing!  

Easter Sunday morning dawned clear and bright and I had the amazing gift of celebrating the reality of the cross and the power of repentance that was bought through Jesus’ blood as I kneeled with my husband before my Father the King and repented, receiving grace…His amazing and unlimited grace.  

Joy, energy, clarity of thought and peace returned instantly after my repentance, and it was only then that I realized how much energy had been wasted in living with the sinful mindset that I was operating in.   

Repentance…what a gift…one that I want to receive and embrace every time as an amazing gift from my Father who loves me more than I can even imagine.

Faith Book…

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These last 6 years have been a school of faith in a deeper way than I have ever known before.  In my journey with Daniel, the Lord spoke to me repeatedly so many different ways, asking me to continue to pray, believing that He had Daniel for kingdom work and for me even though there was absolutely NO INDICATION that this would ever happen.  In fact, there was every indication that it would NEVER happen!

In 2013 (right after Daniel walked away and broke my heart) the Lord prompted me to keep a picture “journal” of God’s revelations to me, affirming my stand of faith every step of the way.  Little did I know that it would be a collection over 6 years.  If I would have known, it would have led to despair, I think.  SO many times, I thought I was out of my mind to continue on with this journal, but every time I would pray, I just knew that I didn’t have the freedom to walk away.

The week before our wedding, I finished our book of faith–a collection of @ 475 photos in my picture faith journal–each one with an explanation of God’s speaking to me during the 6 years of my faith journey.  What an amazing “Divine Review” with Jesus I had leading up to our wedding as I finished this book.

Here is a sample of the faith book pages…

He is SO faithful.  He keeps His promises. His word to me never changed.  He is the “promise maker and the promise keeper and He finishes what He began.”

What a joy to present this book to Daniel on our wedding day.  It will forever be a “stone of remembrance”–of our God, His word, His faithfulness, and my/our school of faith.  

There is great value in keeping record of our God, His word to us, and His journey to fulfillment of that word.  Journals (of all sorts) have generational power to testify of the greatness of our God and inspire faith in others!!  If you have never kept a faith journal individually or as a family before, it’s always a great time to start!

“How great is our God…sing with me how great is our God.  How great, how great is our God!!!” 

His “Songbird”….

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I LOVE to sing, not because I am good at it, but because the Lord constantly seems to be giving me a song…

Growing up at home, we only listened to Christian radio (A shout out for Evie, Amy Grant, Steve Green, Larnell Harris, and Sandy Patti! ūüėÄ) and classical music. ¬†Friends laugh at my limited music¬†repertoire including only¬†two genres–except for¬†Barry Mantalo’s¬†“Feelings” and “You write the songs that make the young girls cry.” ¬†Those were on the 8 track demo¬†that came with our stations wagon. ¬†I secretly listened¬†to it while Mom and Dad were gone.¬†ūüėā”

I laugh, but I am actually grateful. ¬†The¬†Lord speaks to me in song–in prayer times, in the morning, in the middle of a conversation. ¬†There’s a lot of music He has put in to draw from and very little “interference” music. ¬†I even¬†found out a couple years ago, that my middle name “Linnette” means “songbird.”

In the last few years, I have seen Him speak to people in transformational ways through song. ¬†Last year on several occasions¬†I sang something He brought to mind, and someone cried, another received¬†a picture,¬†or a sense of God’s love.

It’s not like I have a great voice. ¬†I don’t. ¬†There’s nothing to take credit for. ¬†It’s HIM!

Right before Christmas, I was at my church and a woman I have never met before from our prophetic team (people trained and tested by mature believers who have the gift of prophecy)¬†gave me a “word.”

She said she saw me with a guitar, asking¬†me if I sang. ¬†She continued by saying that she sensed¬†that I was called not just to sing but to change atmospheres. ¬†ūüė≥ WOW!!! ¬†Jesus has the¬†power to change hearts/atmospheres, and He can do it through His¬†songs!!

Shortly after that, I felt prompted¬†to try out for our church worship team–for the first time in my life. ¬†Last Sunday was my first Sunday. ¬†What an incredible joy it was to look out over His body and sing–sing because He has called me to, because He wants to change atmospheres.

Our team in unity felt called to “sing” in the first service for healing. ¬†My friend with cancer and pain was at that service. ¬†She texted me Monday afternoon to say she had her first night of no pain on Sunday night, and it has continued.

That’s just one example, but praise Jesus that He has the power to change things–ANYTHING. ¬†Nothing is impossible with Him. ¬†He is my Father…The KING!

“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name…”,

Two Worlds…

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Living between two worlds…both a joy and a challenge…

This season of my life has served as an incredible reminder of what it is to live between two worlds. ¬†As a follower of Jesus, I am always an “alien and stranger” on earth, but some seasons highlight this truth more¬†than others.

While in the US, I fully give myself to the joys of family, friends, familiar surroundings, and known activities/traditions. ¬†Even in the midst of that joy,¬†there is¬†sometimes an ache that a whole realm of my life is¬†unknown to those around me while¬†still very, very present in my heart and mind…South African friends, new traditions and activities that I have grown to love, new experiences that have broadened my sense of the King and His world.

On the flip side, while in South Africa, I give myself fully to wonderful friends, new experiences, and kingdom work that brings great joy. ¬†However, there can¬†sometimes be an ache at the¬†lack of a¬†sense of history, the knowing of my “roots”, and the familiarity that can only come with time.

One world often excludes the other and yet also enriches the other in unseen ways.  It is both a strange and beautiful experience.

In a fresh way I am realizing all over again¬†that I am not a citizen of earth. ¬†My true citizenship ¬†is secure in heaven and doesn’t change. ¬†I am known there¬†FOREVER and fully, and there is a shared history with friends that dates back to the foundations of the earth and has everything in common through Jesus.

There is one King. ¬†He is eternal and doesn’t ever get elected or dethroned. ¬†I have a home that has been built with my specific desires and being¬†in mind from which I will never¬†have to move…built by One who knows exactly what I need.

He has visited and been a citizen of both places, and He knows all aspects of my current worlds.

In this season,¬†I am so grateful that Jesus is “the¬†sure foundation of my times. ¬†A rich storehouse of wisdom, salvation and knowledge….” ¬†He¬†is my source of joy and hope¬†as I transfer from one world to another, belonging totally to each in different ways, but often feeling a bit abnormal in both because I really belong to another world all together–an eternal one!!

Signature :: Laurie

Spring and Michael Phelps

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Though in the US, we are headed into fall at the moment, in South Africa, we are in the midst of Spring which means Jacaranda trees here in South Africa (the beautiful purple that you see in this photo).

Spring is a yearly¬†reminder that the way things are does not mean it is the way things will be. ¬†Resurrection is possible. ¬†No matter how long “death” has reigned, life can break through and change EVERYTHING–forever.

I love the picture of “spring” in the story of Michael Phelps that Louie Giglio recently painted during a¬†message at Passion City Church. ¬†This story and Louie’s message both inspired and touched me.

I’m including it here for any of you who might want to listen or watch too!

Listen¬†8/14/16: “Past Forward”
Watch¬†8/14/16: “Past Forward”

Abraham must have had bad days too…

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January of this year started one of the greatest adventures of my life….

Though adventures of faith and travel have seemed to be a part of the Lord’s plan for me for a long time now, it’s never been quite like this…believing God for big and¬†impossible things…for individuals, for nations and for the kingdom…all while living in a country that is not my birth country….DRIVING on the other side of the road…only getting direction one little step at a time…flying “blind” so often…faith…”the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things NOT SEEN!”

Abraham is so esteemed for his faith. ¬†I have looked at his life often over these months/years. ¬†He was 75 when he first received a promise. ¬†By 85 there had still been no movement on God’s promise, though he had moved to the land that God promised to give him. ¬†At 85, a “substitute” plan was introduced by Sarah, and Abraham accepted it–causing strife for centuries. ¬†Abraham seemed content to receive Ishmael as God’s promised son until God came again when he was 99, assuring him that the promise of a son was STILL active–24 years later–and would happen in a year. ¬†And…it did…and Sarah laughed…I have to believe Abraham did too.

Romans 4 says, “Against ALL HOPE, Abraham in hope believed…without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead…being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised.” ¬†¬†I wish I had more details of the daily struggle of the 24 year lapse between the promise and the fulfillment, but, alas, not much information on that front. ¬†I bet it was hard. ¬†I bet he struggled. ¬†All God tells us about, though, is that he had faith–he believed GOD and not what he saw!

So, in the midst of impossible situations, I choose to stand with Abraham, with Hebrews 11 people, with my Grandpa, a man of great faith. ¬†It sometimes feels crazy, but¬†I face the facts, and I choose faith…I am FULLY PERSUADED that God has the power to do what he has promised (Can you hear me preaching to myself? ¬†A necessity for¬†this¬†journey!¬†:-).
My faith¬†pleases Him, and I want to please Him. ¬†He is worthy of…my love, my faith, and my life,

Signature :: Laurie

Love…

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Love…

I have been learning about love lately…His love…a love that never fails, never gives up and never runs out. ¬†This lesson is long,¬†hard…and rich. ¬†Truth lessons worth holding on to often are…

A favorite refrain of our God¬†seems to be, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. ¬†His love endures forever.” ¬†This¬†phrase reverberates in the Psalms,¬†was proclaimed morning and night in the temple,¬†is a battle cry in II Chronicles, is prophetically proclaimed in Jeremiah, and will¬†reverberate around His throne at the wedding feast of the Lamb.

“FOREVER” is a very long time for love to endure,¬†with LOTS of patience in it (#1 in I Corinthians 13–God’s love list). ¬†My own love endures…until I get tired…until I am rejected…until¬†I am not treated well….

In my journey lately,¬†I am realizing again how much I need Him to infuse me with¬†His love. ¬†HIS¬†love¬†ENDURES forever…it¬†never fails, never gives up and never runs out…not ever…. ¬†HIS¬†[perfect] love also casts out FEAR… fear of rejection,¬†fear of tedious and indefinite repetition, fear of¬†death to self….

This life of love is¬†impossible¬†without Him, I must say. ¬†Pride wants to come to¬†all my “love” parties¬†accompanied by the rigid bodyguard of¬†Self-Protection! ¬†Part of my sharing in the sufferings of Christ is to love like He loves me–sacrificially and completely. ¬†No pride. ¬†No self-protection….Freely I have received and freely I can give.

Hosea experienced that.  Paul experienced that.  Jesus IS that.  We share in the sufferings of Jesus so that we can also share in the glory of His resurrection.

His “forever,” enduring love brings resurrection¬†(I Cor. 5:17)¬†…makes things new…makes me new…makes others new.

So today, in the same Spirit of¬†David’s appointees Heman and Jeduthun at the gates of the temple (I Chron 16:39-42),¬†I give thanks to the Lord,¬†proclaiming with my life that:

“He is good and His love endures FOREVER!” ¬†¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lPdtqgouCc

Signature :: Laurie

“Let there be light…”

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This picture is a story that had its start almost 2 years ago now…so hold on to your seats as I share one of the “mysteries” that I am still in the middle of…

I was getting dropped off at the airport for a trip to South Africa by a dear friend, and as I was getting luggage out of the car, she said to me, “I have been praying for you, and somehow I think the Lord has a job for you in South Africa. ¬†I saw a stream of light go from the top of Africa all the way to the tip as I was praying.” ¬†I was surprised and¬†told her I would be praying about her words, as I know she seeks¬†the Lord and listens well.

About ten minutes later after checking in for my flight, an elder from our church called¬†to pray with me about my trip. ¬†His small group¬†was studying light and Jesus throughout the Bible, and before praying he shared their discovery that when¬†God said, “Let there be light” he then¬†designated the sun to “rule” the day and the moon to “rule” the night. ¬†It seemed to them that light and authority were connected as they studied this. ¬†Revelation states that in heaven there is no light, as Jesus is¬†the only light–i.e. the only authority. ¬†Interesting…

It seemed like I was getting some sort of progressive revelation–one conversation right after the next. ¬†Somehow the light from the top of Africa all the way to the bottom may have something to do with the authority of Jesus’ reign and rule. ¬†I was¬†chewing on this as I boarded my first plane.

I sat next to an engineer who was headed to Italy¬†and he asked me where I was going (South Africa). ¬†He pointed to¬†the Delta flight magazine, saying South Africa was highlighted on the front of the magazine that month and maybe I should read it. ¬†(Incidentally it should be noted that I had been flying with Delta regularly for about 17 years at this point, and I had never seen South Africa highlighted in the magazine.) ¬†I started to read…

The article highlighted 5 cities in South Africa, one of them being¬†Johannesburg. ¬†In Joberg, the article highlighted a place called “The Maboneng Precinct,” a vibrant urban renewal project in a very dark and historically dangerous part of Johannesburg. The article¬†stated that someone (a developer I think) said, “Let there be light and there was light…in downtown Johannesburg.” ¬†I about dropped the magazine, as it was the 3rd reference to light and South Africa in the last 30 minutes…very mysterious, but I was definitely paying attention now!

I arrived in Joberg and¬†headed¬†to “the summit” for J-life African leaders¬†outside of Joberg. ¬†The¬†J-life president¬†opened the first session of the summit by sharing that¬†the prayer team who had been interceding over our time had gotten a picture of lightning bolts emanating out from South Africa into the rest of Africa. ¬†Once again, I just about fell off my chair. ¬†¬†What is the Lord doing here in¬†South Africa and Africa with light/authority? ¬†What, if anything, does it have to do with me? ¬†Crazy…

Well, that’s the mystery part of it. ¬†I still don’t know the answers to all of those questions. ¬†I seem to be on a personal journey, receiving revelations for each individual step as part of some bigger plan that He alone¬†knows. ¬†Faith…the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

Back to the¬†Maboneng Precinct (the picture above)…. ¬†After this¬†strange trip full of “light,” I really wanted to see this place–to taste and see for myself, even following it on Facebook for the last 2 years. ¬†In¬†August, my South African friends Sego, Gina and Smiley took me¬†to see the Maboneng Precinct. ¬†As we were walking around this really cool Urban renewal area right in the middle of this devastated area of Joberg, I kept asking the Lord what He wanted me to see or hear. ¬†The message I seemed to hear repeatedly¬†was…

“I can put light and life ANYWHERE. ¬†It doesn’t matter how dead or devastated it seems, I am LIGHT and I am LIFE.” ¬†(Ezekiel 37)

The mystery of my journey of “light” continues…

I proclaim, along with our Father, “Let there be LIGHT!” ¬†May He reign and rule in South Africa and on the continent of Africa as He does in heaven!

Generations of Blessing

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“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty…” ¬†Psalm 145:4-5

This Psalm was on my heart as I prepared to pray a blessing at my brother Jared’s wedding–a joyful celebration of grace!

In preparation for the blessing, I¬†gathered Bibles from my Grandpa Bell and my Grandpa Doden as well as my new sister-in-law’s grandparents, as both sides have a rich heritage of faith in Jesus. ¬†This¬†stack of our grandparents’ Bibles sat on a chair in the middle of my parents and Whitney’s parents during the wedding.

As I blessed Jared and Whitney and faced that¬†stack of Bibles, I saw¬†in it a beautiful picture of God’s faithfulness. ¬†He promised that He will show love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands, and He is faithful to His promises. ¬†In the midst of battles and struggles of our different family members, this is a promise that we claim and remind Jesus of often as we pray together on our Tuesday night family-wide prayer call.

That picture also brought such gratefulness in my heart for the faithfulness of our grandparents and parents who have sought the Lord and talked to us about their journey with Him.

I have the honor and privilege of investing in the same way with children coming behind me, some within my family and some within the broader family of Christ.  How I pray that these kids will know and testify for themselves that Jesus is GOOD, and that He is big enough to do ANYTHING!

That’s what I believe and am talking to them about these days, even in the midst of my own¬†battle for faith sometimes!!

Believing Him for¬†a thousand generations…

Signature :: Laurie

A Reminder…

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Sometimes I just need a reminder…a reminder that He is present…a reminder that He never leaves me or forsakes me…a reminder that He is good and that His love endures forever.

Last week was one of those weeks, and He sent me several reminders–some with more “drama”¬†than others.

After getting texts from friends one¬†morning with pictures of a rainbow, this scene greeted me as I walked out of our ladies’ Bible study that night. ¬†I actually gasped when I saw it. ¬†The picture doesn’t begin to capture the full beauty of that sky. ¬†I called¬†back to the Bible study girls to “come out here fast” as He was showing off and I didn’t want them to miss it!

IMG_1195

We all stood there in awe for 5 or 10 minutes as we watched Him paint…paint His love, His faithfulness and His goodness across the sky!

That may sound cheesy or¬†romantic to some, but I take these gifts¬†personally because I think He gives them to me personally…if/when I have eyes to see.

He loves me, and He tells me to “proclaim His love in the morning, and His faithfulness at night.”

The bookends of that day–a rainbow in the morning and the glorious sunset at night–reminded me of His love for me in the “dark”…and of my own need to proclaim what I know to be true in my head though sometimes need a reminder of for my heart.

“You are good and your love endures forever!”