Monday, March 31, 2008

A PIECE OF MY HEART...take courage and fear not!


1 CHRONICLES 22:19 "Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."

I already had something written that I wanted to share with you today, but God seems to be changing my direction. Look for "LABEL READER", my original post planned for today, at a later date.

I was awoken in the night, with a deep burden on my heart and all day today I have not been able to shake this feeling of great heaviness. A heaviness that griefs my spirit to weeping. Have you ever experienced such a heaviness, a heaviness that you are not sure exactly what the cause is but you know you need to pray and intercede?

I was awoken out of my sleep last night, from a dream where I found myself at the airport. There were several military soldiers there. They were all dressed in their fatigues and slung over their shoulders were their duffle bags. The soldiers were standing on one side of a guard rail and on the other side of the rail stood their loved ones. There were young men reaching over the rail, holding tightly to their young brides. A Mother reached over to kiss her young child, possibly for the last time. A Mother and Father, with arms interlocked, praying over their son.

What I observed was the bravery not only from the soldiers leaving to go overseas for an extended time, but the bravery of the ones they were leaving behind. Tears were shed, laughter could be heard, and well wishes from everyone. It was the bravery I witnessed in my dream that stirred my heart. Once the soldiers were out of sight, I witnessed the heartache in the faces of the Mothers and Fathers. I saw the fear in the Wife standing there holding the hand of her 2 year old son. I shed a tear as I watched a young daughter waving and throwing kisses to her Daddy even after he was out of sight.

BRAVERY. Oh yes, those of us left behind are fighting a fight of bravery as well.

I then woke up from my dream. But my heart is breaking today, maybe it is the anticipation of my own son leaving for overseas in just a few months, I want to be brave on that day I see him off. My heart is griefed today as I think of the many other women who are left behind to carry on the bravery in their hearts and their homes. I prayed a special prayer for you today, I don't even know who you are but I prayed that God would calm your fear and that you would know that you are not alone.

I have a new blogging friend that is doing a great ministry as she reaches out to military families, in particular military wives. She is married to a military chaplain and has created a prayer support group for military families. I encourage you, if you have a loved one in the military, whether overseas or here in the states, that you check out her prayer group and join us as we intercede for one another. You are not here for more info!

"Say to those who are fearful-hearted, 'Be strong, do not fear!' Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come, and save you."

Be strong and be brave my dear! God is with you always.

and that's a piece of my heart today,

Blessings, Laurie

Friday, March 28, 2008




Thank you for joining me for this weeks devotion. It is my prayer that your heart will be challenged and changed today as we meditate upon Gods Word!


Not all anger is bad. Anger in itself is not sinful. It is what we often do when we are angry that is sinful. Consider the tool as we all know as a hammer. In the hands of a carpenter, a hammer is a tool of construction, but in the hands of a maniac that same hammer is a lethal weapon! Anger is like that cannot manifest by itself until we allow it to build us or break us.

What is anger? defined as a feeling of extreme displeasure, hostility, indignation or exasperation toward someone or something. This past week, in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked the question, "Which describes you when someone is angry with you..." The top three responses in that poll were:

1. 38% of voters said they are much like a BOOMERANG, shooting anger right back

2. 22% polled voted that they are like PISTONS, too much friction and they shut down

3. 16% voted that they reacted like a SANDCASTLE, their anger flattens them like a wave

Regardless of how you express your anger, it is the result of the anger that can be destructive! There are great people that can do great things but the result of their anger causes great damage. For example: Bobby Knight, a winning college basketball coach was a dynamic coach but his violent outbursts during games and in the media spotlight cost him a job and it caused damage to his character as well. Another example: Alexander the Great! A great conqueror in history; he could conquer nations but he was unable to control his anger. On one occasion, his impulsive rage led him to kill one of his generals.



"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (26) In your anger do not sin - Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (28) He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (29) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

We need to recognize that anger in itself is not sinful, but that our anger has an underlying thought or feeling that rises to anger. Think of the last time you were angry...what was the feeling of anger caused by? Was it a feeling of being hurt? Or rejected? Were you being manipulated? Or ignored? Perhaps you were taken advantage of or an expectation was not met. Was your character being questioned? Were you attacked either physically or verbally? Did you feel like your efforts were unappreciated? Were you made fun of?

Now, we see that anger is triggered by something. In order to better manage our anger, lets consider what are healthy and unhealthy ways to do that:


  • INTERNALIZED ANGER, this is anger that is never expressed.

A common statement of someone who is internally angry is, "I'm not angry, just frustrated." or "I'm not mad, just disappointed."

A person who has displaced anger has a potential for a delayed explosion. It is here that the potential for resentment, bitterness and hatred will reside. A person with internalized anger may want to "keep score" to the one they are angry at. A wife may explode at her husband, "That is the third time you have done that this week and I am tired of it!" Guess wasn't the third time that got her angry; she was bothered the first two times but she oppressed it.

  • EXPLOSIVE ANGER, is uncontrolled fury which can be manifested in verbal and/or physical abuse

Explosive anger damages self-esteem, trust and can destroy relationships. Exploders anger is usually vented by screaming, cursing, condemning, name-calling, sarcasm, humilition, criticism or threats. Exploders many times blame their victims for their anger and often times they will minimize their outbursts by saying, "I'm just blowing off steam" or "I'm just getting something off of my chest".

PROVERBS 29:11 "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."


  • ASSERTIVE ANGER, productive or constructive anger

Assertive anger has a goal of solving problems and restoring relationships. "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (Eph. 4:26) Paul is talking about keeping short accounts! He is telling us to deal with our anger and crisis PROMPTLY and EFFECTIVELY. If anger were like a fire, Paul would be saying "drown it with water", because to leave it burning is like inviting it to spread and do more damage.

EPHESIANS 4:27 "Do not give the devil a foothold"

Assertive anger is not saying we, as Christians, will not become angry or have anger spewed out onto us. Allow God to help you to break free from the grip of anger and the destruction that comes along with it...bitterness, criticism, hurt, name-calling, etc. You do not have to stay mad, in fact learning how to let God change your heart will give you the power to love others more and then you will be able to handle difficult situations with courtesy and with wisdom, and not with such a ball of fury!

Be blessed today as you meditate on God's Word,

Love, Laurie

To help you be an overcomer in this area of anger...meditate upon these scriptures:

PROVERBS 14:17 "A quick tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated."

PROVERBS 16:32 "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."

PROVERBS 20:3 "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel."

PROVERBS 29:11 "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."

1 CORINTHIANS 13,4&5 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

EPHESIANS 4:26&27 "In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."

EPHESIANS 4:31&32 "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you."

COLOSSIANS 3:8 "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips."

JAMES 1:19&20 "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."



Please vote in this weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL. The question is "What would you miss the most if you were required to relocate to another city?" YOUR OPINION REALLY DOES MATTER!


JIM ELIOT - " Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."


PSALM 91:2 " I will say to the Lord, 'You are my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

THEN SINGS MY is well with my soul


"Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."

Some of my blogging friends have been sharing special songs with me. My friend over at signs, miracles and wonders started up the Saturdays, CLICK HERE to see what it is about. Christian music is a great way to express worship and praise to our Lord and Savior! Many times when I have faced difficult times and a very dark hour, music has lifted my soul.

Yet, on other occasions when I have yearned to draw nearer to God and I just wanted to basque in His presence, Christian music has elevated me. One of my all-time favorite hymns is "IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL". And my all-time favorite artist is David Phelps. I can put in any CD of his and find myself "lost" in Gods presence.

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL ministers to me as I reflect on the story behind the words. The words inspire me to know that there is nothing that I can go thru that can take away from the safety of my Heavenly Father's arms.

It is in His arms that I truly find that

Watch the video and see if you aren't ushered into His presence,


Blessings, Laurie

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


1 Chronicles 22:19 "Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."

Thank you for joining me today as I share a piece of my heart. It is my prayer that your heart will be strengthened today!


This past weekend, I was helping my daughter color eggs for Easter. There are great “easy to dye” kits available now for coloring eggs. I like to do it the old fashion way, with the vinegar and dipping the eggs in several different colors to make a unique masterpiece.

Eggs are a very complex dairy product!

Have you ever considered how fragile the egg is? If you are not very careful with the handling of the egg, the outside shell will crack and the inside yolk will be a mess. Luckily, we did not experience this during our egg coloring adventure.

With a little bit of work, the egg can be transformed. The runny yolk in a matter of minutes can be changed into a more solid yolk. This transformation allows the handling of the egg to be less fragile.

It amazes me how the dying (or coloring) process turns the egg into something beautiful. Have you ever wondered why we color eggs? I thought about that this past weekend, as my daughter and I transformed these fragile eggs into something beautiful. Dying the hard boiled eggs reminded me how EGGStoaordinary being a child of God is...


  • People are fragile (just like the eggs)

  • Like the messy yolk in the egg, we make choices at times that create messes in our lives.


  • Just like the egg, it is the dying process that creates the beauty....

  • The dying process that transforms us is the death of Jesus on the cross.

  • Once fragile (like the egg) we now are transformed(thru Jesus sacrifice).

  • NOW.. We are a new, beautiful masterpiece!

ROMANS 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and pefect will of God."

Isn’t that EGGStraordinary?

And that’s a piece of my heart today,


Saturday, March 22, 2008

"INESCAPABLE CRITICISM"...mach 22 weekly devotion


A cartoon in a newspaper depicted a Cowboy speaking to his horse, “Well, you’ve been a pretty good ole gal” The Cowboy continued, “reliable, not as fast as some.” The second frame of the cartoon showed the horse interrupting and responding, “I SAID I wanted a feedbag! Not feedback!”

Whether we want it or not, people seem quite ready and even anxious to give us feedback. It would be great if feedback was always positive, but often times it is negative and critical.

Author John Steinbeck was criticized about one of his novels, and he responded, “Where were you when the page was blank?”

As long as we live in relationship with others, we will face criticism. The key is to learn to manage the stress of it. No amount of wealth and power will protect us from criticism. Even the President of the United States, who is one of the most powerful men in the world, is criticized.

In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS, a poll was taken asking “Who gave you your recent dose of criticism.” The top three poll results were found:

1. 33% of voters were criticized by a FAMILY MEMBER
2. 26% of those polled said a SPOUSE criticized them
3. 13% said their BOSS recently criticized them

It appears that we cannot escape criticism even from those closest to us.

· No amount of goodness or holiness will shield you from negative criticism.
Jesus was criticized!

· People will find fault in spite of your pure motives and willingness to sacrifice for their best
Fault was found in Apostle Paul by others!

The Apostle Paul discovered three ever-present judges. We face the same critics as Paul did:

This is anyone whose opinion of you carries weight. This can be a parent, child, friend, pastor, boss, coworker, spouse, etc. For Paul, the first critic was a collection of church members in Corinth.

You may be a soft judge or a hard judge, but you will check in daily to accomplish the job of self-evaluation.

God is holy and all knowing. He is full aware of your flawed behavior, thoughts and motives. He also knows when we have been falsely accused or unjustly criticized.

“Men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. (2) Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (3) I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. (4) My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (5) Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”

It is easy to ignore the criticism of your enemies, but much tougher to accept the critical feedback of those on your team. If you find yourself facing criticism from those around you, here are some suggestions to avoid an angry response:

Don’t be upset every time someone criticizes you. It is not a disaster.
Don’t shape your behavior just to prevent others from criticizing you.
Don’t reward the angry outbursts of others. Ignore them when they yell at
you, but be very attentive when they speak reasonably.
Don’t be intimidated. Speak up and say, “Please talk to me reasonably.”
Be kind and loving. Just because someone is angry at you does not mean
you have to be angry back.
When there is truth in criticism, admit it. Do not lie and defend yourself.
Give others the right to be angry with you sometimes and do not be shocked
and offended when it happens.

Paul weighed the Corinthians’ criticism against his own conscience. Paul knew he was completely committed to God and he knew that his motives were pure. When we encounter criticism, regardless of the message and source, we should analyze it for truth. Paul’s honest look inward led him to declare a verdict of innocence but he was wise and mature in recognizing that he was not the final and most accurate judge.

If we strive to be like Paul when it comes to the critics in our lives, we will recognize that God is our final and ultimate judge. Sometimes the complete verdict of those who have wronged us will not be revealed to us in this life.

(Vs. 5 “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”)

You may have people in your life that second-guess your character and even criticize your behavior and performance, but the One who has the authority to condemn us has extended us grace. (Jesus was judged in our place)

Romans 8:1 “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.

It is my prayer that you will accept the truth that God is all-knowing and the final judge when it comes to the criticism in your life, whether it is inflicted by yourself or others.

I would love to hear how you overcome criticism in your life. Thanks for checking in on this weeks devotion. I pray it has challenged your heart today. Have a great week!

Blessings, Laurie

Please vote in this week’s poll, your opinion really does matter! Please answer the question, “When someone is angry at me I am …..”

RICHARD BRAUNSTEIN“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.”

1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A PIECE OF MY HEART...a unique obituary


1 CHRONICLES 22:19 "Now determine in your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God"

I saw the most unique obituary the other day. On occasion I will look in our local paper at the recent deaths. Never, have I seen an obituary like this one:


JESUS CHRIST, 33, of Nazareth, died Friday on Mount Calvary, also known as Golgatha, the place of the skull. Betrayed by the apostle Judas, Jesus was crucified by the Romans, by order of the Ruler Pontius Pilate. The causes of death were crucifixion, extreme exhaustion, severe torture, and loss of blood.

Jesus Christ, a descendent of Abraham, was a member of the house of David. He was the Son of the late Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth, and Mary, His devoted Mother. Jesus was born in a stable in the city of Bethlehem, Judea. He is survived by His mother Mary, His faithful Apostles, numerous Disciples, and many other followers.

Jesus was self educated and spent most of his adult life working as a Teacher. Jesus also occasionally worked as a Medical Doctor and it is reported that He healed many patients. Up until the time of His death, Jesus was teaching and sharing the Good News, healing the sick, touching the lonely, feeding the hungry, and helping the poor.

Jesus was noted for telling parables about His Father's kingdom and performing miracles, such as feeding over 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and five fish, and healing a man who was born blind. On the day before His death, He held a Last Supper celebrating the Passover Feast, at which He foretold His death.

The body was quickly buried in a stone grave, which was donated by Joseph of Arimathea, a loyal friend of the family. A boulder was rolled in front of the tomb. Roman Soldiers were put on guard.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that everyone try to live as Jesus did. Donations may be sent to anyone in need.

What is unique about this obituary is that there is more to tell. The grave that Jesus was buried in could not keep Him. Three days after His burial, Jesus rose from the dead and today He sits at the right hand of our Heavenly Father.

JOHN 14:3 "I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

Have a blessed RESURRECTION Sunday!



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A PIECE OF MY HEART...all in the family

1 CHRONICLES 22:19 "Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God"

Thank You For Joining Me Today As I Share From My Heart. It Is My Prayer That Your Heart Will Be Strengthened Today!


Growing up, I remember watching the TV hit “All in the Family”. (Archie, Edith, Gloria and Meathead) Each character on the show had a unique personality. Today I wanted to share something in particular about two of the characters…Edith and Archie.

One thing Archie was known for was NOT being an encourager. Archie was not the best example of what a husband should be. I remember two comments he would often generate towards his wife Edith ... “DINGBAT” and “STIFLE”. Archie would tell Edith to “Stifle” when he wanted her to be quiet.

Have you ever had someone speak discouragement to you? Did the discouragement “stifle” your spirit? I recently had someone speak words that discouraged me, the tone they used also caused my spirit to “stifle” or in other words, I felt shut down spiritually.

Whenever I watched this sitcom show, Edith was portrayed as always having a sweet spirit. No matter how much Archie put her down, she had good things to say and had an encouraging spirit. She was always putting others before herself.

This past week, I observed an “Edith” in action. I attending our state youth talent competition (Fine Arts) where several of our youth from our church competed. (WOW! What talent our young folks have!!) Over 30 students from our youth group competed, the 60+ from our church that attended amazed me with their attitude of support for one another. One of our students, whom I have known for several years, displayed the sweet and encouraging spirit that I say Edith Bunker had. I observed Sam more than one time encourage the other competitors in this competition. Sam is a very talented and gifted musician. I love to see her sing, it is more than just having a good singing voice, she has the charisma and the aura of Gods spirit in her when she sings. I watched her as she sat down after presenting her song in the competition. She did not sit down with an attitude of “I nailed it”, or “Look how good I can sing”, instead she sat down in the front row and encouraged the next contestant. Following Sam’s presentation was another student from our church, to my knowledge this was the first time for this student to perform and sing. What I observed is Sam smiling and urging this other girl on with an encouraging look and gesture of "you can do it"!

Sam is a modern day “Edith”, she is an encourager. I pray that today I can encourage someone and not stifle them. How about you?

My prayer:
Dear Lord, help me Lord in the words I speak and the tone I use. Lord, help me to not stifle someone’s spirit, or their dreams or their attitude. Lord I pray that I will strive to be an encourager to all those that I meet. Lord, that those around me will not only hear me speak encouragement, but that they will see a heavenly aura thru me. AMEN

That is a piece of my heart today!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

THE QUESTION WHY...March 16 weekly devotion

??????ASKING THE QUESTION WHY??????????????

So many times when my children were young, they would ask me WHY? Mom, why is the sky blue? Mom, why don't fish have feet? Mom, why do I have to eat broccoli? WHY, WHY, WHY!

We, as children of God also find ourselves asking the question of why. God, why are thousands killed in earthquakes? God, why do innocent teenagers have to be gunned down in their schools? God, why are precious children abused each day? WHY, WHY, WHY!

WHY is a natural question that many of us will ask in the midst of a crisis. We as humans are compelled to make sense out of our world. We want clarity! We want answers! Unsolved mysteries may make a great novel but when it comes to our lives...we want solved mysteries!

Last week in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS poll, I asked voters to vote on how they felt in a recent difficult or tragic experience. The top three responses in the poll stated this:

1. 54% of pollsters said they felt GOD'S PRESENCE WAS GIVING THEM STRENGTH
2. 16% felt that in their difficulty, GOD MUST BE TRYING TO TEACH THEM A LESSON
3. 8% said that GOD MUST BE TESTING THEM

Asking the question of WHY is not something new. Even people thousands of years ago were asking this same question. We can see this happening in Luke 13...

LUKE 13:1-5
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. (2) Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? (3) I tell you, No! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. (4) Or those eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them - do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? (5) I tell you, No! But unless you repent, you too will perish."

This passage in Luke 13 would seem to me to be the perfect setting for Jesus to answer the question of WHY, however, He declined to. Instead he gave us a closer look at two different kinds of human suffering...EVIL and AFFLICTION.

EVIL SUFFERING: suffering at the hands of another
(examples: abuse, murder, rape)
Pilate inflicted this type of suffering on the people in Luke 13:1

SUFFERING OF AFFLICTION: suffering that is not caused or inflicted by others
(examples: natural disasters, famine, accidents, illnesses)
The fall of the tower that crushed the 18 in Luke 13:4 was an affliction

A closer look at this passage in Luke shows us that life's most tragic experience is NOT human suffering or victimization. In fact, according to verse 3 and 5, Jesus says the most tragic experience is perishing and facing eternity without God! The circumstances surrounding our death may be tragic but the power to choose Christ is still in our hands...


Isn't one of the benefits of being a Disciple of Christ to be exempt from suffering and crisis? NO! Look at the sufferings of Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 11:23-27 and 12:7-10), if anyone because of faithfulness and obedience could expect exemption from suffering, it would be Paul. But yet he suffered greatly, greater than most of us ever will.

Suffering will relocate you both emotionally and spiritually! It is indeed life changing. Dorothy of Wizard of Oz had the best description of what suffering is like: "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto". The suffering in your life is like a tornado that picks you up, shakes and spins you and then deposits you far from where you started.

If you are in such a state of suffering, here are 3 DO NOT'S of suffering that will help you be an overcomer...

1. DO NOT expect immunity from suffering
I read about a German Theologist who was asked about his first visit to America. He was asked to give an impression of Christianity and Christians, Helmut Thielicke responded:

"American Christians have an inadequate understanding and response to suffering"

JAMES 1:2-4
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (4) And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."


2. DO NOT demand to know WHY the suffering occurred
Sometimes we think that eventually we will understand why, and when. Seldom, is the WHY question ever answered. We are much like the people in Luke that were questioning Jesus, we are not looking for facts but rather for reassurance and comfort. Asking WHY is an emotional question.


3. DO NOT require the suffering to be eased immediately
As Christians, we often times put God on "probation" because we feel like He is not doing His job of preventing or at least bringing quick relief from our suffering.

"Christ offers hope, not relief, in the middle of suffering, and He commands us to pursue Him even when we would rather stop and look after our own well being." - LARRY CRABB, Christian Psychologist


Are you asking God the question WHY? No matter what suffering you have endured, or about to endure, God does not want you to stay the same! Three "G's" to remember in your crisis... is alright to mourn and cry! God's love, forgiveness and peace!
GIVE...give back to God by sharing with others the love, peace and forgiveness that you have found in Him during your suffering!

It is my prayer that this week as you reflect on the crisis or the difficult tragedies in your life that you will GROW and GIVE BACK.

Have a GROWING week!


Please take time to vote in this weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS. This weeks poll asks about who gave you your recent dose of criticism. Please vote in the poll because your opinion really does matter!

DWIGHT L MOODY " God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves."

PSALM 95:2 "Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A PIECE OF MY HEART..."the danger of being hungry"


Thank you for joining me today as I share my heart. It is my prayer that your heart will be strengthened today!

1 CHRONICLES 22:19 "Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."


Today is day 12 of the 21-day DANIEL FAST that our family has been doing along with many others from our church. I went to the doctor yesterday and really noticed what eating fruits and vegetables can do for a girl when I stepped onto the scale. Yippee...I lost weight!

Even though losing weight is not the reason for doing this fast, it is definetly a side bonus! As I thought about what I had lost, I was reminded that the hunger that I feel throughout the day has NOT been lost. I still have hunger pains, and I still have cravings and temptations. This week, God has reminded me that there is a DANGER OF BEING HUNGRY, and I need to be watchful as the tempter tempts me and wants me to lose something greater than food cravings.

MATTHEW 4:2-4 "After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.' Jesus answered, 'It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."

The evil one, the tempter, had a goal to destroy God and anything He loved. Satan saw a perfect opportunity to attack Jesus. He saw Jesus was isolated, there were no friends to warn Him and there were no supplies or food to keep Him strong. For forty days and nights, Jesus fasted. He faced the vulnerabilities of exposure and hunger. The accuser nagged and harassed, but waited until the right time - THE FORTY FIRST DAY - to use his most deceptive tricks.

The tempter sneered. "Ah, you must be starving. If you really are the Son of God, you could make these desert stones into bread. Why don't you?"

Jesus sensed the sham. "God has said, 'Man cannot exist only on bread.' My food is God's truths." Jesus trusted in the goodness of His Father and in the timing of His provision.

Chocolate cravings are one thing, but there are hungers that take such a hold that they leave you exposed. The tempter waited to tempt Jesus at the END of His fast, that is what the enemy does...he looks for opportunities of our greatest vulnerability.

So, when you have reached the limits of your hunger, and find yourself drifting into the arms of compromise, remember Jesus in His wilderness. God had us in mind when He sent Him to face intense conditions and temptations.

There is a DANGER OF BEING HUNGRY, but I am thankful that God has provided us a way of escape.

1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 " You can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, He will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it."

That is a piece of my heart today......Laurie

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A PIECE OF MY HEART..."Ordinary Christian"

Thank you for joining me today as I share my heart. It is my prayer that your heart will be strengthened today!

Recently, my husband completed the process for his ordination with the Assemblies of God. This has been a goal of his to accomplish for the past several years. We have friends in Missouri that also serve as Assemblies of God pastors. They have a daughter the same age as our daughter and because of the distance in miles between us; the girls like to keep in touch via computer and text messaging.

Anna, our daughter, was so proud of her Daddy completing his ordination test and interview that she sent her friend in Missouri the following text message:

“My Daddy is becoming ORDINARY

We received a call from our pastor friend, telling us about the text message his daughter had received. Laughing, he knew that Anna must have meant “Ordained” and not “Ordinary”.

Funny as that sounds, it has caused me to reflect if my walk with the Lord is considered “ordinary?” I looked the word ordinary up in the dictionary; it has a meaning of no exceptional degree or quality. Oh my! EXTRAORDINARY is what I want to strive for in all that I do for the Lord.

Extraordinary people do extraordinary things…
(a few to consider:)

* a poor orphaned Jewish girl became Queen of Persia (Esther)
* a shepherd later won battles for Israel (King David)
* a fisherman used by God to write 5 books of the Bible (Apostle
* a 99 year old woman gave birth to a promised child (Sarah)

Ephesians 3:20
“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”

Do you know an EXTRAORDINARY CHRISTIAN doing extraordinary things for the Kingdom? I would love to hear their testimony!

That’s a piece of my heart today!

Sunday, March 9, 2008



"A room without books is like a body without a soul."

If you have ever taken a look at your Bible, or any good book, magazine or newspaper, you will notice one thing that they all have in common, MARGINS: you will find margins on the top and the bottom of the pages, along with margins set on the right and the left.

If you ask me, margins are not exactly the most effecient use of space of the paper. However, if you eliminated the margins, you could get more words on the paper but margin-less pages would be very difficult for us to read, and our brain would need to take some kind of a break.

People are sometimes like a MARGIN-less book. We often eliminate the margins in our lives (or boundaries). We fill our schedules up from top to bottom and side to side. The result of a margin-less Christian is having an active, but exhausting life. I have found that busy families usually have little time for each other or for God!

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS poll, I asked the question: "What area of your life do you feel overloaded with responsibilities?" The top three answers to this poll are as follows:

1. 76% polled said their overload in responsibilities is with their IMMEDIATE FAMILY

2. 52% polled said it was from their CAREER/WORK that they feel overloaded

3. 11% polled said their overload of responsibilities came from CHURCH or OTHER.

We ALL have demands in our lives:

- Demands of being a Wife, a Mother, a Sister or a Daughter.
- Demands from our boss or co-workers.
- Demands from ministry or church related things.
- Demands of community involvement.
- Demands that are out of our control, such as paying taxes, paying bills.
- Demands that we all put on ourselves!

Some of us are feeling the stress of demands put on us because of our position (maybe mentioned above). Too many times we conflict our DEMANDS with our RESPONSIBILITY.

* as a wife, you have responsibilities to your husband
* as a mother, you have responsibilities to your children
* as an employee, you have responsibilities to your boss
* as a church member, you have responsibilities to your church
* as a softball coach, you have responsibilities to your team

These are all responsibilities NOT demands. However, what happens many times is the stress of excessive demands will trickle over into our responsibilities. When we begin to feel overwhelmed, details begin to fall through the cracks and needs (or responsibilities) go unmet.

In the book of Exodus in the Bible, Moses encountered the need of setting margins. Moses, serving as Judge for the people found himself surrounded by people from morning to evening. One day, the Father in law of Moses came and asked him, "What is this you are doing for the people?" Moses replied, "the people come to me to seek God's will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decree and laws" (Exodus 18:15,16)

Moses recieved great counsel from his Father in law, (look at 18:17,18) Moses Father in law replied: "What you are doing is not good." (18) "You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone".

Moses had to set some margins (boundaries) so he could concentrate on the responsibilities that he had to the people and not the demands! If you need margins in your life to ease your overload, here are 3 to begin with:


(Exodus 16:26, 27) "Six days you are to gather it (manna) but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any. (27) Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none."

Thousands of years ago, even before we were born, God recognized the need for margins. God did NOT design manna-less Sabbaths to frustrate people. Instead He was teaching them and illustrating for us that some people cannot accept margins even when offered. Even today, people are reluctant to stop working even for a day.


One of the reasons for stress overload is that we take on too much and that is when we begin to feel sluggish. This is the point that responsibility and demands gets crossed! The demand of overload not only impairs us but now it impacts others. It begins to impact the ones that we have responsibilities over.


(Luke 5:15,16) "The news about Him spread all the more, so that the crowds of people came to hear and to be healed of their sicknessess. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."

There are few jobs that are more consuming and draining than ministry. If Jesus, the Son of God, recognized the need for solitude and retreat, why do we as Christians think it is optional?


It is my prayer that this week as you look at the pages in your life, that you will recognize where you need to set margins (or boundaries). Have a LESS DEMANDING week!


  • YOUR OPINION MATTERS: Please take a moment to vote in this weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS Poll. Your response and opinion to "Which response describes your feelings of the most difficult or tragic life experience that you have faced?" REALLY does matter!


"Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God." - William Carey


"Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."

- PSALM 27:14

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A PIECE OF MY HEART..."Jack and the Beanstalk"


Thank you for joining me today as I share from my heart. It is my prayer that your heart will be strengthen today!

1 Chronicles 22:19 "Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."


The strangest thing came to my mind earlier, it was the folk tale of "Jack and the Beanstalk". You know the childhood story of little Jack who planted his beans, and up sprout a beanstalk that grew so tall. Jack climbed and climbed until he reached to the top, where a giant with many treasures was found. When the giant smelled Jack, he would say those famous words, "FEE FI FO FUM".

I was thinking about my recent visit to the doctor and how at times this past week I felt like Jack, up ontop of that beanstalk, facing my giant. Giants come in different shapes and sizes for all of us. For me, it is awaiting the results of a biopsy and other tests I have had done. (fee fi fo fum!!)

Have you ever been where I am today? Feeling like you are ontop of that beanstalk, face to face with your giant and wondering if God is going to rescue you from what seems like a fairy tale.

I am not sure what the outcome will be for me, but I do know that Jack scurried down that beanstalk and removed his giant by chopping down the plant. Some of us need to RUN from our giants, and get down to the root and plant seeds of the hope of God, seeds of God's strength, seeds of the peace of the Lord, and seeds of the love of God. These are the seeds that will allow us to overcome the giants in our lives.

I am reminded of another story of a giant. This one is in the book of 1 Samuel in the Bible (chapter 17) The giant is Goliath, whom all the armies feared and there was nobody who could come against Goliath and be victorious. David was just a lad, but when he heard about this giant Goliath, he said I will go. And with no weapon or armour, David faced this giant. With just a reach into his pocket for the stone he carried, he slung his sling and BAM! hit that giant square in the head and Goliath fell to the ground dead!

So what was this weapon David used? What power did that stone hold? The power is the same power that is available for you and me as we face our giants...the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Hand of God.

2 Samuel 22:2-4 "The Lord is (laurie's) MY rock, and (laurie's) MY fortress and (laurie's) MY deliverer; (3) The God of (laurie's) MY strength, in whom (laurie) I will trust; (laurie's) MY shield and the horn of (laurie's) MY salvation, (laurie's) MY stronghold and (laurie's) MY refuge; (laurie's) MY Savior, You save (laurie) ME from violence. (4) I (laurie) will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I (laurie) be saved from MY (laurie's) enemies. "

David's faith is what conquered that giant. That is the kind of faith that I desire today. How about you?

That's a PIECE OF MY HEART today,

Love Laurie

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A PIECE OF MY HEART..."can and cannots!"


Thank you for joining me today as I share from my heart. It is my prayer that your heart will be strengthen today!

1 Chronicles 22:19 "Now determine in your mind and HEART to seek the Lord your God."


Today, my family continues on the DANIEL FAST. There are several people in our church that began this 21 day fast this past Sunday. Today is DAY FOUR. If you are unfamiliar with the Daniel Fast, it is a fast that you can eat fruits and vegetables, drink 100% fruit juices and water ONLY. My husband and I and our 2 children who are left at home with us, all decided that as a family, it would be neat to do this together.

It is by a great miracle that someone has not been physically harmed yet. It is amazing to me what "sugar" and "caffeine" does to a person and even more amazing than that, is what it does to a person when that person is WITHOUT it. ha ha

For the past four days, our 12 year old daughter who has never done a fast of any kind before, has talked alot about the foods that she CANNOT have.

"I CAN'T have Fruit Loops?" (whine whine)

"WHAT! I can't put ranch dressing on my salad?" (whine whine)

"Can we just go to McDonalds this ONE TIME?" (whine whine)

Yesterday, partly because I have had NO sugar for four days and partly because I just got tired of hearing it...I told her to STOP COMPLAINING. And God so gently reminded me that we (I) often times have a complaining spirit. I whine when I CAN'T have something when I want it, I complain and whine when I CAN'T see what lies in the future. We live in a FAST world food, drive in pharmacies, drive up banks. The computer has enabled us to even shop right from home. Life is made easy for us! We don't slow down long enough to wait upon the Lord.

Sometimes we are much like the Israelites were. Always complaining about something! The Israelites failed to see that every problem, every disappointment and every difficulty was a test of faith and also an opportunity for them to trust God to supply their every need.

NUMBERS 11:1 " Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp."

What a great reminder to me this morning that when I have a complaining spirit ...God hears it and it displeases Him! Even when I CAN'T see past my situation, I will trust in the Lord!

That's a piece of my heart today,

love, Laurie

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


A PIECE OF MY HEART is a new segment of my blogging experience. Many of my blogging friends are enjoying the WEEKLY DEVOTIONS, but have said that they wished I posted more often. A PIECE OF MY HEART will be the place to check for my thoughts, ponderings or whimsical funnies of recent happenings in my heart! I do hope that you will check in at the WOMEN TAKING A STAND blog more often! The weekly devotions are posted every Sunday and it encourages me and all my blog friends if you post your comments, thoughts and testimonies. It is my prayer that your heart will be blessed by reading this blog!

Come back and visit soon,
love Laurie

Monday, March 3, 2008

PASSING ON THE LOVE...thanks Cheri

Blogging has created so many new Christian Friendships for me and I always love seeing how God is using other women in their circle of friends and family. I was recently honored to be passed the E award from my new blogging friend Cheri. I thought you would all like to see what she had to say about my blogpage and also see what this EXCELLENT BLOG AWARD is all about.

This is Cheri's posting:

Passin' on the love...
My real life friend Carol, at sheep to the right, gave me this award quite some time ago. First, I would like to say thank you Carol for giving this to me. It has taken me some time to pass this along because everyone I would have sent it to already had it. So, I took awhile, waiting to find just the right person.I did! I am passing on the love to my new friend Laurie. You can find her over here at Women Taking a Stand. I came across her blog by way of her CWO interview this past month. What I love most about her is the way she takes a certain point and follows it through to the end. Her words are wise and I learn something every time I go to her place. So, here you go Laurie... I just wanted to say thank you.Don't forget to pass on the love when you find something good to share!

You can check out Cheri's blog at


love, Laurie

Sunday, March 2, 2008

"LOST RING" March 2 Devotion


People often think of grief or loss as the result of the loss of a loved one. But, grief can come from any kind of significant loss. It may be from the death of a loved one, but it could also come from the break-up of a marriage, or the result of being robbed, or from things such as the loss of a job or a loss of an item that has sentimental value to a person.

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS, the question was asked, "in the past five years, what kind of loss did you endure?" The results showed that we all have endured losses to one degree or another. The top three losses were:

1. 46% of voters had a loss of a relationship thru death

2. 46% of voters experienced a loss of health

3. 38% of voters experienced loss of a relationship thru separation. (which could be a break-up, a divorce or relocation)

Anything that a person loses that is near and dear to them will cause grief to some degree!


Have you ever lost something?

Recently, my son Jordan lost his class ring. At the age of 17, this class ring was one of very few valuable, precious possessions that he owns. This ring was an investment for Jordan! This particular ring that he wanted cost far more than what we were willing to pay for it. Therefore, Jordan had to work and save to pay for this ring.

Many of us have made investments; we have invested time, love and finances. Yet, we have suffered losses!



Grief is a normal mechanism that God has given us to help us deal with losses in our lives.

Even Jesus suffered grief!


When Jordan lost his class ring, he had a variety of feelings. Frustration... because he could not find the ring, and then fear set in as he thought about having to tell us that he had lost his very expensive ring!

What feelings have you experienced in your loss?


Grief does not just "go away". It is not like a bad cold that you just have to get over! You don't get over grief, in fact, grief is what helps you get THROUGH your loss.

Grief is much like a cut finger, it will heal but only after a period of time. A cut finger will sometimes leave a scar, our losses we endure will also leave a scar even after some healing has taken place.


Jordan searched and searched for that lost class ring for several weeks before finally telling us that he had lost it. We were just sick about his loss and disappointed in his carelessness, but we had to accept what we could not change.

In our losses, we need to accept our loss as well as the scars that it may leave


A couple of months had passed since Jordan lost his ring, but one day his shop teacher at School came to him and said he thought he had something that belonged to Jordan. IT WAS JORDAN'S RING! The teacher had spotted something shiny in the driveway of the shop, after digging a little further and pushing the dirt and mud away, it was discovered that the shiny thing was indeed Jordans lost ring. After some cleaning and polishing the ring seemed to not have one scratch on it. AMAZING! No telling how many vehicles ran that ring over in the driveway.

The loss in your life is genuine!
It is real!
and it hurts!!

Sometimes it cannot be changed, however, once you accept your loss God can use you and use your loss to minister to others. Acceptance and forgiveness now moves you into the REFINED stage. Just like Jordan's ring, the dirt (or the anger, remorse, bitterness, stress) is washed away with the love of Jesus and now you become a precious jewel that God can use!

In the book of Job in the Bible, we see that Job was a man that endured alot of loss, but yet he chose to not blame God and to continue to have faith.

Job's losses were great:

* Job 1:15: he lost all of his servants (his workforce)
* Job 1:16: he lost all of his sheep (his means of income)
* Job 1:19: he lost all of his children (his family)
* Job 2:9: he lost the belief, confidence and trust of his wife

In all of this, I love what Job 1:22 says:
"In all of this, Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong"

What losses have you endured?
Have you become refined and polished?

It is my prayer that this week you will ask God to help you in your loss and become the beautiful jewel that He can use!

Have a POLISHED week!

love, Laurie

YOUR OPINION MATTERS: Please vote in this week's poll, "In what area(s) do you feel most overloaded with responsibilities". Your opinion really does matter and most likely your opinion will show up in next weeks devotion!

2 PETER 3:9
"The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."


"Let us not be surprised when we have to face difficulties. When the wind blows hard on a tree, the roots stretch and grow the stronger. Let it be so with us. Let us not be weaklings, yielding to every wind that blows, but strong in spirit to resist." -AMY CARMICHAEL