Dear friend, ………. The Lord has led me to a level of courage and boldness in life and ministry that I didn’t think possible for a woman with a background of brokenness and shyness as great as mine, but to Him I give the glory for He leads me continually into the lives of others with messages both verbally and in writing to bring praise, honor, and glory to His name. This boldness comes with a great cost, friend. Rejection, ridicule, hatred, and persecution can result when we’re totally sold out to Jesus. But all of this pales in comparison to the blessedness of belonging to Jesus forever and to having the privilege of telling the world about Him and helping people to find and forever follow Him. Please give yourself utterly to the Lord Jesus Christ. Not just in word. But in action also. Including in boldness. Be courageous. Turn from your sins. Believe in Him as Lord. He who died on the cross to pay our sin punishment and was raised from the dead. Surrender yourself totally to God and His ways. Receive His forgiveness and the promise of forever life with Him. Receive the gift of His Holy Spirit who lives inside His followers. Live to please, honor, and glorify Him. Don’t hold back. Give Him everything. All of yourself. There is nobody, and nothing, more precious, wonderful, lovely, beautiful, and glorious in the universe than the Lord and having the promise of being with Him for all of eternity! I encourage you to ask yourself if there is anything you are holding back from Jesus. If there is, it’s time to make the full surrender. Be entirely His. Today. And tomorrow. And every day into forever! Love & blessings, lara
THE SHOVEL STORY………. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19……… ‘Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.’ Psalm 145:3 I hate cold weather so much and have become so incredibly sensitive to it that I actually can get full body goose bumps when it’s about 72 degrees. So imagine how I felt when the Lord made clear He was sending me back for another season of streets ministry in New York City. The last time I was here, He sent me out of the city just before winter to a warmer climate for streets ministry there. But this year, what will He do? Only He knows. Yesterday, I noticed an enormous winter snow shovel in a trash pile where workers near where I am staying were preparing a storefront for new occupants. I asked if I could have it. The last thing I want to spend money on this winter if the Lord keeps me in New York City is a shovel! The worker not only said I could have it, but he kept it inside the storefront overnight because I had forgotten to pick it up at the end of the day. Friend, whether or not I ever use or need this shovel, I am reminded of the love, kindness, goodness, care, tenderness, patience, gentleness, graciousness, generosity, sacrifice, and preciousness of almighty God the Father in heaven. It was as though He were saying to me, “Daughter, no matter where you are, I am there with you.” It was as though He were reassuring me He will not leave me by myself not anywhere not ever. No matter the season, no matter my circumstances, no matter my location, so long as I am in the will of the Lord Jesus Christ, I can rest assured the Lord will provide all I need to be best able to love, worship, serve, and glorify Him and to enjoy His forever fellowship as Lord and Savior – right down to a winter snow shovel! I encourage you to open your eyes to the beauty and majesty and goodness of the Lord all around you. And, if you have turned from your sins, put your faith in Jesus as Lord who died to pay our sin penalty and was raised from the dead, sincerely committing your life to God and His ways, then His very Spirit lives right inside you! How magnificent, how beautiful, how glorious, how splendorous, how giving, how perfect, how powerful, how almighty is the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Savior of the world, Father, almighty God, Jesus the Christ, AMEN!
Blessing #80………. “I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.” Psalm 145:1-2 “My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.” Psalm 145: 21………. If you do not yet have a personal forever relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, you might see these scriptures and think the last thing in the world you would want to do is praise and bless the Lord literally forever. But rest assured, when you admit you’re a sinner in need of the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from your sins, place your faith in Him as Lord who died to pay your sin penalty and was raised from the dead, and genuinely dedicate your life to Him in words and actions, and grow daily in your relationship with Him, you will come to understand how incredibly exciting these verses are! And what an amazing, amazing, amazing blessing it is to express your love for and to the Lord for eternity! The more I follow the Lord, the more I seek Him, the more I obey Him, the more I read the Bible, the more I know Him, the closer I draw to Him and Him to me, the more I hunger for Him, the more I chase after Him, the more I desire more of Him, the more I serve Him, the more I learn of Him and from Him, the more I fall in love with Him, the more I thirst to demonstrate my love to Him, the more excited I am to have the opportunity to praise and bless Him forevermore! May the same be true for us all!
THE CHRISTMAS TRAGEDY…….. “They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.” Psalm 145:7………. Sometimes children on Christmas day go running early in the morning to the Christmas tree, start scrambling through their presents, go tearing through the wrapping paper, rush through opening their gifts, run off to enjoy whichever gifts they like best, and almost immediately forget the love, goodness, and generosity bestowed upon them from “Santa Claus” whom we know to be their parents. Sometimes, friend, sadly, even tragically, that’s exactly what some of us adults do when it comes to the love, goodness, and generosity of God almighty. The Bible verse above is a powerful reminder for us to “utter” – or speak – the “great goodness” of the Lord. And not to just speak it, but to REMEMBER it! One step further, we can even SING as we REMEMBER and speak aloud of God almighty’s goodness and greatness and righteousness! The Lord warned the Israelites not to forget Him when He delivered them from bondage in Egypt. But He tells us in the Bible that countless people through the course of history have done just that. They have forgotten Him. Let us believe in the Lord. Let us follow the Lord. Let us live for the Lord. Let us praise and worship the Lord. Let us speak of the Lord. Let us remember the Lord. Let us glorify the Lord, oh yes! AMEN! And let us draw ever closer to the Lord in our personal, day by day relationship with God through faith in and a forever commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ! AMEN!
THE COST OF SERVING JESUS……… “From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:17-21………. The apostle Paul is an amazing example of being fully sold out to Jesus. Though many of us including myself who serve the Lord don’t pay a price nearly as high as he did, there are three words in the scriptures above that I believe are key in serving Jesus with our whole hearts and lives. HUMILITY. TEARS. TRIALS. We must be humble before God and others. We must repent when His Spirit convicts us we have not been. We will likely have tears at times as we learn daily to die to self and live for Christ. We will face trials but can find love, hope, peace, joy, strength, wisdom, mercy, forgiveness, fellowship, and comfort in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us serve Jesus with our whole hearts. Let us humble ourselves before the Lord. Let us pour out our hearts and tears to Him as we draw closer and closer to Him. And let us seek Him and rest in Him and take comfort in Him as we go through the trials of this life. And, friend, let us glorify the Lord through it all, AMEN!
The Lord is opening so very many doors in ministry right now that I’m humbled beyond measure, astonished, excited, and a little bit daunted when it comes to trying to envision how I’m going to keep up with it all. Of course, I will only keep up with any of it and glorify God by going forward in HIS WILL in HIS LOVE in HIS WISDOM in HIS STRENGTH for HIS GLORY!…….. As the Lord opens more and more doors in ministry, as He leads me through those doors and into the unfolding of His will as I live and breathe to love and glorify Him and to tell the world about Him, please pray for me as His Spirit leads you! Thank you! love & blessings, His blessed daughter & servant, lara
“I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”” Psalm 40:8……. “You can pretend you didn’t hear me because you don’t want to hear what I told you,” the Spirit of God spoke to me. “Or you can accept you heard me and put your trust in me and go ahead and do what I’ve told you. I will not give you any further instructions until you submit to me in what I’ve already given you.”…. I knew immediately I had a message. For me. And you. For all of us really. For all of us humans. For those who care to read this and to hear. And do. Sad to say sometimes we seek the Lord with all our hearts for wisdom and instructions in some area of our lives – but we don’t always want to hear how He answers. We beg Him to tell us His will – but then we resist what we hear. Because the truth is we want Him to tell us what we want Him to tell us. Friend, the Lord was warning me that I needed to not turn away from what He had told me. He had already told me twice in fact. The first time, I had resisted Him. The second time, I wanted to turn away. Where would I go from there? I knew what I needed to do. I needed to submit to the Lord and carry on. Continuing to seek Him and humbly yielding myself to whatever He wanted me to do going forward. And you? Are you seeking the Lord? Are you listening? And, friend, are you doing? Please don’t turn away from God and His will. He will give us the strength to hear Him, and He will give us the strength to obey. The psalmist in the verse above expresses DELIGHT in obeying the Lord. Let us strive to have the same heart in following Jesus! AMEN!
Blessing #79…….. “…Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” Psalm 144:15……… Oh, what a blessing it is to be happy, isn’t it? And this verse tells us that we will be happy when we have a million dollars, right? And when we marry the person of our dreams, right? And when we can take vacations to beautiful places several times a year, right? And when we get out of prison early, right? And when we get an apartment and no longer live on the streets, right? And when we lose just the right amount of pounds to look beautiful in a new outfit, right? And when we get a delicious meal at the new restaurant down the block, right? We may well be happy when any of these things happen. But there is no happiness that can possibly compare with the happiness – and love, peace, hope, and joy – that comes with being given the promise of forever fellowship with Jesus Christ as Lord instead of spending forever apart from Him in hell and the lake of fire. And we can’t buy that happiness. Jesus Christ paid the price for us when He died on the cross to pay our sin punishment and was raised from the dead so all who turn from our sins and believe in Him as Lord, truly turning our lives over to God and His ways, are forgiven and given everlasting life with Him! All happiness based on this present world is temporary. Happiness based on having a forever relationship with the Lord is forever! Hallelujah! A beautiful, beautiful everlasting blessing! The happiness of being with Jesus forevermore! Oh, hallelujah!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16……. “We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19……… “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1 Decades ago, as a young person, I was so excited to come back to the United States from where I was living abroad for a little while to surprise my beloved Mom at a big birthday surprise party for her. I had the perfect dress I knew she would love, and I was perfectly ecstatic at the prospect of surprising her as I would be among the many guests at a really fancy hotel party my Dad had organized for her. Oh, the joy I experienced to watch how delighted she was to see me as she threw her arms wide open and came rushing toward me to give me a hug. There was only one problem. My Mom looked over my shoulder and saw someone else dear to her who captured her attention so much so that she rushed right past me to joyfully hug that person instead of me her daughter. For as long as I can remember, despite the fact my Mom does love me, and despite I love her exceedingly, she has made plain and clear that I am low down on her priority list and come after everything and everyone on her to-do lists. She normally squeezes in a few hours for a precious few days a year to see me, squeezes me into her schedule for phone calls after she has taken care of everything else important to her, and in one way or another, this is how it has always been. This, coupled with a tragic, incredibly painful family situation, well, you can imagine the scars I bear from decades of hurt and sadness. I was kicked out of my family decades ago as a result of talking about something that happened long ago. Though I now am blessed with some contact with a few family members, it is limited and fragile. And, yes, every day of my life, even when I am not overly conscious of it, deep within, given how dearly I love my beloved family, I hurt. Why do I tell you this? For pity? No! Because I have a message for you. We all have our hurts in life, don’t we? And we probably have all experienced rejection to one degree or another. But there is an intimate, personal, unconditional, unfathomable love so amazing, so astonishingly beautiful, lovely, wonderful, exhilarating, joyful, peaceful, rich, vibrant, passionate, kind, fulfilling, healing, life-giving, life-changing, generous, inspiring, and passionate that any hurt we have experienced in the way of the imperfect and fallible love of humans pales in comparison. And that is the love of the Lord Jesus Christ whose love is so phenomenal that He died on the cross to pay our sin penalty and was raised from the dead so all who turn from our sins and believe in Him as Lord, truly devoting our lives to God and His ways, are forgiven and given a forever relationship with the Lord. And, each and every day and forever, the Lord loves His followers with a love beyond comprehension, a love beyond measure, a love beyond anything we can possibly imagine, a love for us with which no love on this earth can possibly compare! Do you know the love of Jesus personally? Do you know the Lord is available to His children night and day? Do you know He does not go running past His children with His arms wide open because the person across the room is more important to Him that we are? Do you know He always has time for us? Do you know He doesn’t have to squeeze us into His schedule? Do you know He is delighted when we want to spend time loving and worshiping Him? When we want to be in His presence? When we hunger and thirst for time alone with Him? When we yearn to be with Him? Oh, how Jesus love His followers! Are you His?
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Phil. 1:6……….. I talked to a person in ministry one day who shared with me a struggle with believing he was worthy of serving the Lord in the capacity to which he believed he has been called because of wrong choices he had made along the way. Though he did not elaborate, I believe he was most likely referring to his history of sin. I could totally relate. Especially because as desperately as I would love to be sin-free, I still have my struggles……. There have been times in my years in ministry particularly when it comes to how I have treated my sweet beloved ministry doggies when I have lost my patience that I have believed with all my heart I shouldn’t be in ministry, I shouldn’t serve the Lord, and that I don’t even deserve to be alive! There have been other times I have unintentionally hurt people – and this has broken my heart when I so yearn to love and bless and serve people rather than to harm them in any way! And, oh, most of all, to think of how I have hurt the Lord in my wrongdoing! My friend, the Lord doesn’t use perfect people to serve Him. None of us is perfect. He uses imperfect people who believe in Him as Lord whom He perfects by His Spirit through His Word along the course of our journey following Him. And because He uses imperfect vessels, all the glory goes to Him not us. What we must do is repent when we sin, yield ourselves to His Spirit as He grows us in His image, and lovingly, humbly, faithfully surrender ourselves to Father God as His children and as His servants – as His vessels for Him to pour His life into and through us! AMEN! Serving Jesus in our everyday lives isn’t about us and how good or bad we are and how much we can do for Him and how well we can do it. It’s about the Lord and how glorious He is and how anything good we do is in Him, through Him, and for Him. To God be ALL the glory, AMEN, yes, AMEN!