Blessing Upon Blessing

Our Lord truly is faithful to His word. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, the Lord asked me to make some great sacrifices and to trust Him with the outcome. It’s been quite a journey and He has continually blessed me in numerous ways throughout the process. The enemy has tried many, many tricks along the way – but none have prevailed.

My new church has been a true blessing. More importantly, I’ve been able to be just as much of a blessing to them as they have been to me. And isn’t that what we Christians are called to do, being a blessing to others? Our church itself is also being blessed by the Lord in many ways, while many of us within the church are being spoken to about many more blessings to come in the future.

Personally the Lord has continued to speak encouragement to me, instruct me and heal me while I stay close to Him. And, true to His word, I was blessed with being hired….at the very place that He said I would be back in December! I was so ecstatic when I got the news that I immediately fell into tear-filled praise. I was so thankful that the enemy had not been right when he kept threatening me with being unemployed for an extended amount of time; as was the case the last time that I was unemployed. And I immediately heard the Lord speak into my heart, “Of course I wasn’t going to make you wait that long. The last time that you were unemployed, you were still lost and not yet mine. You now live under my grace.”

We truly do serve a great and loving God!

~ Rebecca Laurasia

Advertisements

Can spiritual wilderness ever be beautiful?

I’ve been in the spiritual wilderness before. I think that most, if not all, of us have. We may refer to it by different names, dark night of the soul, a season of winter, etc., but they all mean generally the same thing. A time of spiritual darkness, confusion, upheaval, distress. But it’s not always earth-shaking. Sometimes the disruption is minimal. We may experience a “down period” where simply leaning a bit more into the Lord is enough to get us through. And other times the disruption to our lives is anything but minimal. A leap of faith and complete surrender to the Lord is required in order to get through. In the natural, it is nearly unbearable to endure, there is no comfort to be found and everything about it is ugly. I am in that type of spiritual wilderness right now. I am learning though that when we walk through such times with God, and not try to do so on our own, it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’ve had to make major changes in my life that have required complete surrender and trust in the Lord. Something that I had thought I was pretty good at. I’ve realized though that I actually wasn’t. Through hindsight I’ve realized that this has been coming for quite some time, but things really started setting up for this and rolling forward last November. I was embroiled in an extremely unhealthy situation/relationship that affected two major aspects of my life (my job and spiritual life) which, on a subconscious level, I knew that I should’ve gotten out of a while ago. Fear, self-delusion, uncertainty and, yes, a lack of trust in the Lord all prevented me from making a move.

But then things changed without me knowing it. It was no longer a matter of God wanted me to move for my own sake; He required me to move in order for me to fulfill the purpose that He has for my life to help others. And so, He revealed many things to me about the reality of my situation and my own true level of faith. He began urging me to leave both my job and my church in full faith that He would provide for me on both fronts. And then, after a few weeks, He came right out and told me to do so.

You should know some things about me…First of all I am an anxious person. I have been diagnosed with both Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and panic disorder. I’ve also experienced the trial of being unemployed and continually job-hunting for a 9 month stretch in the past. On the flip-side of that, I’ve also been miraculously blessed financially by the Lord on more than one occasion. Our fleshly minds don’t remind us of those things when trouble comes though, do they?

Another thing is that the story of Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water with our Lord is very dear to me. It’s always been close to my heart. And I’ve often said that if I were put in that situation I would get out of the boat without hesitation and walk right to Jesus. Now here I was completely surrounded by a raging storm on all fronts with the Lord calling me out of my boat and to Him….and I was terrified.

The enemy knows exactly what our weaknesses are, what strongholds he has within our lives and what buttons to hit within each of us individually in order to get a quick reaction out of us. And when God moves within our lives he is always quick to follow….when he doesn’t try beating God to the punch that is. That is exactly what he was doing to me. Every day I was almost continually wracked with anxiety and fear. I started having panic attacks again. Then something happened that hasn’t occured for me in quite some time…I began to fall under demonic oppression.

I knew that things were getting too far out of control and I needed to stay as close to the Lord as I possibly could. So that is exactly what I did. He continued to speak with me and reveal things about my situation to help me, but to my dismay He also continually asked me to step out in faith and sacrifice this relationship for Him. I am blessed in that He has surrounded me with amazingly supportive people throughout this too. Then one day He straight up called me out on the situation. In my heart I heard, “You’ve always said that you would get out of the boat and come to Me. I’m calling now. Are you going to trust Me and come?” That was difficult to hear, but it made me realize the truth of how much I was allowing fear to block my faith.

In His kindness, God took care of the issue of finding a new church before I fully made my sacrifice. That was a blessing and encouragement that He knew I needed to truly start healing the spiritual damage that making this sacrifice is going to heal. For that I am deeply grateful to Him. I resolved to get out of that boat and walk head-first into the raging hurricane no matter how much fear the enemy stirred up within me. And stir he did! But I was also constantly being blessed with relevant scripture and teachings for what I was going through.

Actually going in and doing what had been asked of me was probably the most uncomfortable and one the scariest things that I’ve ever done. But just like in Solomon’s case, the Lord had a surprise in store. I sacrificed my job, church and (I had thought) the dear relationship connected to those two things. But amazingly, though the relationship has changed in every way, it was not a required part of the sacrifice. It was not killed and utterly removed. It is damaged and needs lots of healing, but as soon as the sacrifice was made the Lord started healing a large part of it in order to facilitate forgiveness.

I should have known since Jesus is a healer and restorer. However if I would have known that going into this it wouldn’t have been much of a sacrifice on my part. Just as with Solomon, God didn’t really want to sever the relationship; He wanted to know that I intended to trust Him and obey when He asked me to sacrifice it to Him.

Ever since things have been much better. In fact, it was almost 48 hours before I had any sort of anxious or worried thought! (Which I quickly dispelled by quoting scripture aloud.) That is amazing for me! I am still unemployed and waiting for the Lord to open whatever doors He intends for me to walk through in regards to a new job, but I am thriving in my new church and I have never been closer to the Lord. Doors are opening to help with various parts within my new churches ministries – which has been a calling of mine for years!

And, best of all, others can see and have commented on the difference. They are seeing the Lord and His peace when they look at me – even though, in the natural, I should probably be stressing like crazy in my job search. I’m not though. And I can tell you that’s not me; that is the Holy Spirit within me. So (while it’s true that I am still in the spiritual wilderness) I can honestly tell you that if you trust in the Lord, stay close to Him and allow Him to walk you through…the wilderness can actually be a quite beautiful place sometimes.

I will be posting in the future about the details involved in all of this, including the revelations that the Lord has given me regarding the particular sickness that afflicts my previous church.

~ Rebecca Laurasia

The Greatest Christmas Gift…Emmanuel

This year has been a tough one, especially recently. The Lord has been helping me to break through some long-term strongholds, which is never easy. Thankfully the Holy Spirit has been very present with me and helping me along because heaven knows I’ve not been able to make any headway with these strongholds in the past on my own. But that is exactly why the Lord has sent the Holy Spirit to us; to be our counselor, our strengthener, our teacher, our comforter.

My faith is also being tested in powerful ways right now. There are two specific areas in which anxiety, worry, stress and even full-on panic itself has typically reigned for me instead of faith. In one of these areas I have been doing amazingly well at trusting God and leaving things in His hands. Because of that, though the enemy is doing his best to keep throwing obstacles in the way, things have been turning out well. And I thank the Lord every single day that He has been helping me to grow my faith in such a way.

Things have not gone as well in the other area. That in and of itself bothers and confuses me. How can I trust Him so completely in one area, experience the blessings that are occuring because of that faith and still have such trouble trusting Him in another area? He wants me to trust Him and I truly want to trust Him, so what is that all about? This has all brought condemnation into the mix from time to time as well. The Lord is always quick to remind me that condemnation never comes from Him though, and so it passes rather quickly.

So yes, I’ve been struggling. But in that struggle I’ve also been focusing on the Lord. And what better time to do just that? What better time is there to focus on the fact that we are never alone than Christmas? This time of year we look forward to gathering with our loved ones and honoring them with the perfect gifts. And that is exactly what our Heavenly Father did for us so long ago. The Lord left heaven to gather with us here on earth and honor us with the most perfect gift…righteousness and salvation. And that gift never gets old. It never rusts, it never breaks down. It is always there for us, should we choose to accept it. That gift is ever-present, which is why we call Him Emmanuel – “God with us”.

Please take some time tonight and tomorrow to sit quietly and invite the Lord to make His presence known to you. He is always with us, but He uses a soft voice and we often miss His presence due to the hustle and bustle of our lives. To help you in doing that I invite you to take a few minutes and watch this video from Hillsong United as they perform their song “King of Heaven”.

~ Rebecca Laurasia

“If you’re Christian, stop fearing hell!”

*This is a re-post from my old blog* 

 

I know that it’s been quite a while since my last post. I hope that you’re all doing well & have been enjoying God’s blessings. To say that life has been hectic for me would be an understatement. However the Lord has impressed upon me to at least touch on this subject for the time being. However I know that this is something that I’ll be discussing quite a bit in the future.

The topic of hell, & whether or not Christians are subject to it, is something that the Lord has been urging me to study for some time now. I know that is largely due to many people, especially within my church, incorrectly teaching otherwise. And admittedly, the more that I study & learn about the topic, the more it aggravates & saddens me when I am told differently. To be perfectly honest, I find it offensive towards Christ Himself when someone insists that anything that we do could ever supersede His greatest work of securing our salvation & righteousness. We, as Christians, are no longer subject to the Law. We live under grace, through Jesus Christ. To believe otherwise only hinders our growth & relationship with our Lord & Savior. He conquered hell for US. It certainly didn’t do it for Himself because he wasn’t subject to hell until He took on OUR sins. And I’m sure that He didn’t do it just for the fun of it….I mean who even want to visit hell for any amount of time? He did it so that, by following & trusting in Him, we would not be subject to it or even need to fear it. Honestly this terrible misunderstanding in regards to His grace & the full extent of exactly what it is that He has accomplished for us is possibly the greatest malady within the Body of Christ.

As I mentioned, I know that I’ll be writing more on this topic in future posts. But please if you are a Christian who still fears going to hell, or more importantly a Christian who teaches others about the possibility of still going to hell, take the time to watch this full-length sermon by Pastor Joseph Prince called “Actively Possess Your Forgiveness in Christ”. It will help you to understand the full ramifications of what it is that He did for us by dying on the cross in our place.

 

~ Rebecca Laurasia

An Unexpected Miracle In A Time Of Trouble

 

My family is currently weathering a storm. My elderly mother has had long-term issues with her coordination and staying upright. In fact she has fallen at least 200 times in the past two months according to my father, who is her full-time caregiver. This past weekend a disturbing twist was added to all of this…she is now blacking out when she stands. The doctors have discovered that shortly after fully rising to her feet both her oxygen levels and blood pressure levels are bottoming out and causing her to black out. As of yet, they can’t tell us why.

 

At this moment she is in the hospital awaiting surgery because it turns out that the last time she fell she actually broke her back. Of course, I am praying for and declaring scripture over her in full faith throughout it all. Even if the doctors cannot figure out what the issue is the Lord already knows. And while my mother’s issues have been first and foremost in my thoughts through all of this, while speaking to my father today I became aware of a completely unexpected miracle that occured at the height of this storm. A bit of background is required for the sheer scope of it to be understood though.

My father has always been a firm atheist. In fact, I’ve even known him to be an angry atheist. He has often openly ridiculed believers. I’ve known him to enjoy engaging in religious discussions with people just so he could argue with them and “prove them to be illogical”. He dislikes and does not trust clergy/”religious people” because he thinks that they are always trying to push their beliefs onto others. And, sadly, in some instances he is right about that. But I digress, he’s a true hardcore skeptic. Even so, there have been instances in the past when the Lord has blessed me through him without him even realizing it. I wasn’t thinking of any of these things as he explained to me exactly what had happened when my mother broke her back, but that all changed as he spoke.

 

He had heard her fall in the bathroom and could tell that she had hit something hard. As he went to open the door to help her it didn’t budge. He called out to my mother telling her that he couln’t get the door open, but she didn’t respond. He listened closely and only heard the same gurgling noise she had made the first time that she had blacked out and fell the night before. He knew from the sheer noise of the fall that she likely could have hurt herself severely and now he knew that it was her unconscious body that was up against the door. My father is an outdoorsy veteran and knows exactly why you aren’t supposed to move someone who may have possibly injured their back and/or neck, and yet here he was with no other option. The bathroom window was too small for him to fit into, but he had to get in to help her. Now I know my father. And while I’ve not seen him in that exact situation before, I’ve seen him in similar ones in the past. His usual response is to start cursing….God, the circumstance, whatever. And so that is what I expected him to say his reaction was. But he didn’t.

 

I listened as my father, who has always sniggered at anyone and anything “religious”, told me that he froze in fear and started pleading “Jesus Christ, please don’t let me kill her….please don’t let me paralyze her…Jesus Christ PLEASE don’t let me kill her!” Eventually he worked up the courage to very carefully push her limp body aside as he got the door open enough to get to her. She came back around and, aside from a sore bottom, appeared to be fine. Happy that she seemed unhurt, but still greatly concerned about her new fainting spells he immediately took her to the hospital. That is when they found out that she had, in fact, broken her back. He truly could have paralyzed or killed her by moving her, but he hadn’t. I know why that is. Even though he had always mocked and ridiculed believers in the past, he sincerely cried out to the Lord in his desperation and the Lord answered him.

 

When I called to check in with them and see how everything was going I did not expect to hear anything like that. But when I heard it thankfullness to the Lord hit me like a freight train. I’m believing for Him to heal my mother and He is showing that He can heal much more than just the issues that I am thinking about.

 

~ Rebecca Laurasia

 

Get Out of God’s Way

 

Planting the seed of faith in others is a wonderful thing and is something that we, as Christians, are called to do. And yet sometimes this task can take a very dark turn, both for others and even for ourselves.

 

Planting a seed is something that is done gently. We don’t flick a seed into a hole, stomp dirt over the top of it, and then proceed to oversaturate it. The first two actions could crush or otherwise damage the seed, while the last will choke and kill it. In regards to the natural world of literally sowing and reaping seeds most of us are aware of this. And the Lord used parables of our natural world, like the parable of the mustard seed, just so that we could understand Him.

 

We plant the seed by speaking about Lord Jesus and sharing our testimonies of what He has done for us. Not by forcing our beliefs on others. Not by screaming “I’m right and you’re wrong” to others.

 

We tend the seed by showing Jesus’ loving example to others by how we live and conduct ourselves. Not by “bible-thumping”, nagging, intimidating, or (most especially) scaring people into coming to the Lord/Church. Those things are all ways for us to try and make the seed grow within others. Which, whether we realize it or not, makes them works of the flesh. The fact of the matter is that it is not our job to make the seed grow…that is God’s job alone. As the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:6 – 7

 

 

“I planted, Appolos watered, but God (all the while) was causing the growth. So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but (only) God who causes the growth.”

 

So why is it that so many go about planting and/or tending to the supernatural mustard seeds of faith within others so terribly? In my experience, it is mostly caused by self-righteousness whether the person is aware of it or the enemy has fooled them into being blind to it. It’s almost as if they see it as a scorecard rather than an act of love. “This is how many people have brought to the Lord.” Sorry but…nope. The shepherd seeks out His own lost lambs. We do not hand the lamb to Him.

 

If you are a person who employs such methods I ask you to please pray to the Lord and ask Him to clarify for you, through the Holy Spirit, that what I’m saying here is true. There are many people who are hurt and actually driven from the love of Christ through such methods. I know because I was just such a person for many, many years. And I thank Lord Jesus every day that, though man and the enemy, twisted the message of His love for me He never gave up on finding me for Himself.

 

And there is another reason for people to not use the methods mentioned above. One that is very damaging to the person using them, as the Lord revealed to me last night. If you allow yourself to believe that the growth of a seed you have planted in others relies upon you, then you leave yourself wide open to attack from the enemy through condemnation of “not having done enough to save that person”.

 

If you are a person who is being tricked and deceived by the enemy with such condemnation remind him that it is not any of us who do the saving; it is Jesus Christ alone who does. And then make a conscious decision to get out of God’s way & let Him do what is only His work to do.

 

~ Rebecca Laurasia

Hello & welcome back….to all of us!

Life can and has been very hectic for me. I hadn’t realized just how much. And, while I was promoted to the head of my department some time ago, I hadn’t realized just how much work had been getting in the way of my time with the Lord. He was still close to me whenever I remembered to spend some time with Him, but those times had certainly been less and less. And over the course of these past two years I have dealt with the ramifications of losing my focus on the Lord numerous times. Our enemy doesn’t hesitate to strike when we do this; and, unfortunately for us, he does everything that he can to distract us from the fact that our lack of focusing on the Lord is what is leaving us open to his attacks. 

Writing has also been something that I enjoy trying to do. I’m good at thinking up characters and ideas, but haven’t had much luck in getting them written down in a “story-telling format”. That is something that I’ve struggled with for a while now. Recently I was trying to iron out some plots wrinkles when I suddenly heard the Lord speak into my heart, “Why haven’t you written about Me lately?” The question wasn’t asked angrily or in a condemning way, but rather amusedly. In fact, it was almost as if I could see a smirk on the Lord’s face when He asked me. Nonetheless, it was as if a thunderbolt had hit me. 

Now the Lord and I had recently been spending a lot more time together again when He suddenly asked me this. The past year or so at work had been full of nothing but chaos and trouble. Personal relationships that had once upon a time been strong and beneficial were now weak, toxic and damaging. I’m really not kidding when I say that the enemy had found a way to wiggle himself into the situation and had set up an enormous stronghold. I nearly quit my job outright on more than once. Not wanting to make such a drastic decision without consulting the Lord I would pray continually about it and was always either told to wait or was met with silence. So I waited.

Well a couple of weeks ago the Lord finally gave me my answer: step down out of your position at work. Having been more than fed up with everything that had been going on there for far too long, I didn’t really have too much of an issue with that idea. Telling the boss was something else entirely however, as this was the very personal relationship that has been so damaged. I also knew that this decision was going to add enormous pressure to him which was not something that he needed either. The Lord kept insisting though and said to not worry about my bosses’ reaction. That was between the Lord and him. Fear is a very real thing though. And, while I knew that the Lord was right about this being the decision that I needed to make, the prospect of actually doing so was a gut-wrenching one. But then the Lord put into my heart, “Are you going to listen to a man over Me?” As soon as I thought of the situation in that way I knew that I had to submit to God’s will. My boss is a man of God, but he is also just a man. Therefore my best interests are not always first and foremost in his mind. Such is not the case with the Lord. While what He was asking me to do was scary and uncomfortable I knew that it was going to be for my best, or else He wouldn’t have asked me to do it.

And so, that is exactly what I did. The meeting was very uncomfortable, but we survived it. And the Lord has been blessing me ever since I’ve done what He asked of me. My faith has been renewed, my anxiety has dropped enormously, my studying has been revived and my time with Him has increased in spades. One of the biggest blessings that has occured happened the day after I stepped down. I was flipping through the TV channels and my eyes fell on one that I had never noticed before. The Hillsong Channel. My heart leaped a bit. Hillsong Church puts out my absolute favorite worship music. It has often pained me that there is no branch of the Hillsong Church anywhere near my area to attend. Could this truly be a channel put out by Hillsong Church that was being piped directly into my house? I held my breathe and clicked the select button on my remote. And of all their wonderful shows to be on at that very moment “Worship by Hillsong” was playing! I immediately got to my feet and began to worship. Then, as always happens when the Holy Spirit hits me, I began to weep as His love washed over me. I’ve watched the channel almost exclusively everyday since and it has helped me to once again fall so deeply in love with our Lord Jesus Christ that I could never thank them enough. So I pray for and declare blessing over their entire team every single day. 

The Lord and I are working on some very serious issues at this moment in my life right now. (Which I will be blogging about.) The Holy Spirit has been helping me along in amazing ways though. And in answer to the Lord’s question about why I haven’t written about Him lately I have decided to re-organize and breathe life into this blog once more. It is dedicated to His amazing love, so I’m not at all surprised that it was His love that inspired its’ resurrection. 

~ Rebecca Laurasia