Insider

What happens when I just…write? When I let the words flow and I don’t stop it, edit it, evaluate or nitpick?

This.

When I’m not trying to make anything fit a certain formula, or adhere to a level of doctrinal impressiveness? I study, but I’m no scholar. I’ll likely never impress you and that’s OK. It’s not why I’m here. My life is about glorifying my Savior and King.

After writing about my “temple”, with Hanukkah ending, I’ve been left wanting more. Perhaps something different.

Something.

It’s as if a statement was being made and the period at the end was missing. God isn’t through with me in this season yet. He had something else to say.

I spent time in prayer early this morning, feeling a heaviness. A burden. As I was praying through and crying out for my family and other’s needs, I understood something. The Spirit fit a missing piece-with great precision-in me.

Outsider.

That’s what my husband and I have felt. These past few years we felt it intensely. Circumstances and certain people reminded us of it. Or so it at least felt.

You’re on the outside. You don’t fit here.

I inadvertently was walking through my life trying to discover where I fit. Where I belonged. Where home was.

Who are my people? What do I need? Should I need? What do I want? What does Abba desire for me?

I searched and searched.

Maybe if I just fix this, change that, do this better, say this differently then I will be promoted to the title I’ve wanted more than anything.

Insider.

I fit. I belong. I’m OK now. I’ve arrived enough.

But then God called out to me. He gave me a name I never heard Him say before.

Laurel. My daughter. The Insider.

I was never as detached as I felt, and He was (and is) holding me close. And everywhere I go there are people feeling the same way.

This is a bit different than how I normally write. I’m sorry if there’s a disconnect. But I just got something huge, in the stillness of a regular Monday.

Laurel. Daughter of God. Fearfully and wonderfully made with purpose. Called to tell others to come.

An Insider.

Luke 14:23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.

My Temple and Moshe

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, ” I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘ I am has sent me to you.'”

Moshe: to pull out/draw out (of water)

On this last night of Hanukkah, God gave me a gift. I heard a message at church that hit right to the core. This is where I want to close my “temple” series.

Moshe. Moses.

That was the word I was given to write on. I immediately thought of the name meaning: to pull out/draw out.

Let me just get right to it. There’s greatness in you God wants to draw out.

Yes, YOU.

Underneath the insecurity, frustration, discouragement, disappointment, and doubt is something beautiful. The Creator wants to use you and the gifts and talents He’s given to you. But you have to let Him. You must surrender.

If you’re like me, then you’ve been your own worst enemy. You’ve made some big mistakes. You’ve wept in sorrow. Cried out from the depths in anger. In doubt. You wrestled with God until your hip is out of joint. Now you’re limping. Then someone comes along and beats you with your crutches.

Where’s my blessing? Why me?!

Everyone around you seems blessed. Some you don’t think deserve it are being rewarded. Does hard work pay off? Does God see your faithfulness? Does He really care about you as much as someone else?

Your beginning doesn’t have to be your ending. Your right now doesn’t have to be your future.

Regardless of your past, your weaknesses, or the flaws you try to hide is something special. There’s a diamond forming through the pressure. Some of you might be a hundred carats. But trust me, there’s treasure in you. God put it there. It needs to be drawn out.

You are not the basket you were thrown in as a baby. You are not the mistake your parents said you were. And you are not a failure because you’ve been rejected. You are a child of the Most High, and His strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Some of you need to say, “I can write that book, speak that message, sing that song, organize that, paint it, invent it, fix it, serve them, make someone’s life better because I AM goes before me.”

Tonight, I’m taking care of my temple by walking in faith, not sight. I’m choosing to see the greatness God can do through me when I’m yielded to Him. Even when I’m limping.

I pray that you see past your past. And your present. See the future with hope. You serve I AM. Nothing is impossible for God. You can do what He calls you to do.

Let your light shine bright. Rededicate your temple and let God draw out your greatness.

Exodus 3:4‭-‬7‭, ‬10 ESV When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

My Temple and Perspective

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

My husband had a birthday yesterday. He mentioned to me with some sadness that few reached out and remembered. One friend in particular he thought would have, and didn’t. The previous year I tried to throw him a birthday party. It didn’t work out. I felt his pain.

Earlier today I saw a couple of posts regarding those that are dying. My personality type likes to really process things and feel them deeply. During this season, I have been praying that my words would be His. I would speak what honors Him and what will bring life and healing to others.

What do I say?

This is the question I’ve been facing. When someone is facing rejection, grief, loss, need, suffering or death-what should you say? I’m a talker, so I usually feel the necessity to say something. Wisdom is knowing what and when to speak. But at times the words just don’t come. I’m learning that what God has to say is always more important than what measly insight I can dredge up.

So I spoke, and am speaking the Word, keeping my eyes on the prize.

What I told my husband, and I tell myself too, is to keep praying and keep loving others. For this is what it comes down to…

It’s an eternity thing.

This life isn’t endgame, and if we doubt, the Holy Spirit is given to us as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:4-5 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

The little things can really hurt. Something forgotten or overlooked. A sharp word or cold glance. Something breaking or getting lost. But I’m realizing now, more than I ever have before, how short life is. I have literally been weeping in prayer for unity in the body. We waste time over things that truly don’t matter.

Forgive, often and quickly.

Forgiving has been the biggest lesson I’ve learned. True forgiveness. It’s easy to say, and many do. It’s harder to walk out. But for me, in looking at eternity, it isn’t difficult anymore. When we fully get the revelation that “so we will always be with the Lord” it changes us. Permanently. And it totally revamps how I live my life.

  • This is stressful right now, but so will I always be with the Lord.
  • This hurts, but so will I always be with the Lord.
  • This seems impossible, but so will I always be with the Lord.
  • I’m angry, but so will I always be with the Lord.
  • I have a need, but so will I always be with the Lord.

This perspective has helped me get out of emotion and “now” thinking into logic and “spirit” thinking. Whatever in this moment is going on in your life, God knows it, He loves you, and He’s bigger than it. He’s an eternal God calling us to an eternal focus and vision.

Tonight, I’m taking care of my temple by keeping my perspective on eternity. No matter what…so will I always be with YHVH.

1 Thessalonians 4:14‭-‬18 ESV For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

My Temple and Bravery

Luke 12:12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

This is a blog I’ve wanted to write for a while, I just didn’t know when or how. The Lauren Daigle interview and controversy breathed a new perspective on a word I’ve been chewing on for quite a while…

Bravery.

2 Maccabees 6:1 Not long after this the king sent an old man of Athens to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their fathers, and not to live after the laws of God:

The Bible has wonderful promises. One that isn’t often talked about is persecution. The Kingdom of God is opposite the Kingdom of Darkness and this world.

This world says, “Survival of the fittest. Every man for himself. Do what feels good. Follow your heart. Each person has ‘their truth.’ There is only relative truth.” But the Word says different. Sooner or later, believers will find themselves in a position where the mindsets clash. Someone asks us a direct question. We’re asked to do something against our conscience. Peer pressure. Temptation. God forbid, something worse. When our faith goes on trial, what will we say? What will we do?

Be bold.

The book of Maccabees gives accounts of bravery. Righteousness in the midst of depravity. Persecution. Martyrdom. Believers in western culture don’t face anything like that. However, there are still times when standing up for truth will cost.

I fear that the Lauren Daigles are too many. There are many loving, called people of faith who are afraid to offend. They are more concerned with their following than following Him. I’m not going to attempt to say I know Lauren’s heart. I don’t. But I do know that taking strong stances for truth comes with a price.

We all, at some point in our faith journey, need to decide who we truly serve. There are no fences. We’re either all in or not at all.

Tonight, I’m rededicating my temple by saying to God, “Give me the strength to be bold for you. Help me profess truth when needed, no matter what.”

2 Maccabees 6:1‭-‬6‭, ‬8‭-‬9 KJVA Not long after this the king sent an old man of Athens to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their fathers, and not to live after the laws of God: and to pollute also the temple in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of Jupiter Olympius; and that in Ger´izim, of Jupiter the Defender of Strangers, as they did desire that dwelt in the place.

The coming in of this mischief was sore and grievous to the people: for the temple was filled with riot and reveling by the Gentiles, who dallied with harlots, and had to do with women within the circuit of the holy places, and besides that brought in things that were not lawful. The altar also was filled with profane things, which the law forbiddeth.

Neither was it lawful for a man to keep sabbath days or ancient feasts, or to profess himself at all to be a Jew. Moreover there went out a decree to the neighbor cities of the heathen, by the suggestion of Ptol´emy, against the Jews, that they should observe the same fashions, and be partakers of their sacrifices: and whoso would not conform themselves to the manners of the Gentiles should be put to death. Then might a man have seen the present misery.

My Temple and Health

1 Corinthians 6:20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

I’ve been very quiet about this, with only two people knowing. But I have been struggling physically in recent months. I believe it’s due to hormonal changes from aging (when my benefits kick in I’ll formally get it checked.) Some symptoms require a lot of resolve to function in. In fact, I was out today briefly and had to pull over in a parking lot from vertigo. I closed my eyes, said a prayer, and waited for it to improve. This got me thinking about my health.

Take care of your temple.

I got off course in eating healthier. I’ve been making some convenient, quick, easy, and unhealthy decisions regarding my diet. And that has to stop. I believe God as Yehovah Rapha or healer, but we must do our part too. God is so faithful, but we can’t make foolish choices and expect to be bailed out of the consequences.

I’ve been going to some kind of church for over 20 years. And I can testify, most really love their food-especially sweets. Something God has been showing me is the importance of and purpose in fasting. It was used to petition to God in desperate times, in repentance, and in drawing near. Some manuscripts include fasting as a means for increasing faith and spiritual authority.

Matthew 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Mark 9:29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

What we put, or don’t put, in our bodies matter. It’s not just physical health, but emotional and spiritual too. It’s why I’m particular about music choices, and why I virtually never watch television or movies. There’s some clean, wholesome entertainment out there. But I’ve personally found entertainment (especially in excess) to be a poor substitute for God’s joy and peace.

Many use the performing arts or “fun” as a way to check out and escape life. And I get it. Believe me, I do. I need a good laugh or something lighthearted from time to time. However, too much of it has us feeding our flesh a lot more than our spirit. That leaves us unhealthy. I’ve been there and done it. Life isn’t meant to be lived zoned out; it’s meant to be done deliberately with passion and vigor. We must feed our spirits daily with the truth of the Word and in His presence through prayer.

Right now, I’m taking care of my temple better by making healthy choices in all areas for my well-being. I’m through with excuses and cutting corners. Of course there’s grace and mercy. But I’m refusing to spend this journey just trying to get by. I want my temple to thrive. Glorify my King. I hope and pray you do the same.

Joshua 1:8 ESV This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Isaiah 53:5 ESV But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

3 John 1:2 ESV Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

My Temple and Worship

John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

I spent tonight at my women’s group, finishing up our study on worship is a lifestyle. I don’t have a lot to say on this as it seems pretty self explanatory. But, few actually live this. One personal goal of mine is to live with worship as a lifestyle and to “practice the presence of God” as Brother Lawrence did (referring to the book with the same name.)

What is worship?

I learned long ago it’s a lot more than songs. It’s where our focus is. What we think about most, exert our energy in, spend money regarding, and put physical effort into determines what we worship. For some, it’s themselves. For others, it’s someone or something else. Money. Attention. Appearance. I want my life-in every area-to point to God and glorify Him. But I’m human and the spirit and flesh are at war.

What is the music of my life? What song does my words and actions sing?

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

My spiritual worship is to present my body as a living sacrifice. One without spot or blemish. One that is holy and pure, that pleases God like a sweet aroma-in spirit and in truth. With my whole being, His way.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing

How do I get there?

I seek Him wholeheartedly, and live out His word in my life. Each day, I talk to God. I read His word and make Him my focus. I am sensitive to His leading and I obey it. Simply put, He is my everything. My focus is on how to please my Creator and bring Kingdom rightness to every situation.

My worship determines what controls my life.

Tonight, I’m cleaning up my temple by looking at worship afresh. It’s a lot more than songs. I’m reminding myself that my focus is my worship. What are you worshipping? If it’s not YHVH, it’s time to rededicate that temple.

Exodus 34:14 ESV (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord , whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God)

Psalm 96:9 ESV Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!

My Temple and Transformation

Acts 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me.

Today, I saw a post and comment that really provoked thought. It said the following…

People who never change will also never want to admit that you have.

I agree, but there will always be people in our lives who want to keep dragging us back to our past (real or imaginary) so that they can hold it over our heads. People who are changing themselves, they won’t be inclined to do that because they know that we are not static in our lives. We grow more like Messiah, IF we are truly His disciples.

This got me chewing on conversion, transformation, and God’s lordship in our lives.

Saved people are growing more like Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

In looking at my temple, I asked myself two questions. Am I changing? Am I recognizing when others are too? I find it sad when professing believers keep reminding someone of their past, as a way to judge them and keep them indebted. But then, I’ve been there. I admit it. Unforgiveness that turns into bitterness causes this. The bitter heart can’t help but show itself in the tongue.

Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

If Saul can become Paul, why can’t we change too? Even the worst of us. Either we are the new creation in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17) or we are still unredeemed. If I am refusing to admit someone’s growth and transformation, I put my own in question also. Unless there’s strong evidence, the skepticism I proclaim says God doesn’t or can’t change us. Then the spotlight turns on me.

Am I changing?

If I’m becoming more like Messiah, I know firsthand the Spirit’s work. If I’m not, how will I even recognize it? I’ve learned that we tend to criticize what we don’t (or don’t want to) understand. But there’s something deeper.

In the times when I refused to acknowledge or couldn’t see God’s work in another’s life, it was connected to my own pride. I “knew” something and they didn’t (and needed to.) The control felt like justice. It wasn’t until I understood God’s character better that I realized my sin and repented.

So, tonight, I am cleaning my temple by embracing God’s convicting and transforming power. And I’m choosing to see it in others. I serve a God of miracles. The greatest of which is what He does in the human heart. My heart.

Ephesians 4:17-24 ESV Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Acts 26:15-17 ESV And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you