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Saturday, May 4, 2019
TODAY’S LITTLE LETTER FROM LARA

Dear friend,

When I left New York City last year after doing streets ministry there for 6 months, I was 100% certain I would never see New York City again. It had been an extremely hard, extremely expensive, and extremely uncomfortable 6 months of ministry work, and I was totally convinced when the Lord led me to leave for my next location on the road for Jesus full-time, that I was done. In my mind, I was like the Israelites being freed from bondage in Egypt, and I was totally sure the Lord had set me free to never return.

Oh, how foolish, how fooled, how disillusioned, how prideful, how judgmental, how fearful, how comfort-seeking, how lustful, how self-seeking and self-serving can be the flesh! I had actually convinced myself the Lord had spoken to my heart that I had served my time in New York City and would move on with my ministry work – in other, easier, cheaper, more comfortable locations. Oh, not so!

By the Lord’s grace, He has humbled me, made me His willing vessel, His devoted servant, so in love with Him I don’t want to say no to Him no matter what He tells me to do. And I have answered His call for me to return to New York City and New Jersey to do more ministry work there – a joyful YES!

Scared sometimes when I think about it? Overwhelmed at the thought of it at times? Wondering if perhaps I’ve lost my mind when I consider it all? Oh, be assured I have a long, long way to go and grow in my faith, in my relationship with Christ, in learning to deny my self, to die to self, and to joyfully, confidently, faithfully, victoriously follow Jesus forth in life and ministry.

But this I know for sure. I no longer live in surrender to my feelings, to my wants, wishes, and ways. I no longer live for me. I live for Jesus. And when the Lord tells me to do something I don’t want to do, or am afraid to do, or feel totally overwhelmed by, I say yes because He is Lord – and place my trust in Him to carry me through it all.

If God is calling you to do something and you’ve been hesitating, holding back, resisting, even rebelling, please humble yourself before the Lord and no matter your feelings, say, YES! Yes, friend, I encourage you to say YES to the Lord – in love for Him, in obedience to Him, for the glory of God almighty in Christ, AMEN!

Love in Jesus’ name,

lara

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TODAY’S DAILY INSPIRATION

Lord Have Mercy!

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7

“Thank you Lord for the mercy you’ve given me and the mercy you’ve given me for others,” I prayed.

Wow. I hadn’t planned to pray that prayer. It had seemingly come out of nowhere. But then, that’s not really true. It had come from my heart. A thankful heart. Thankful for both things I prayed to the Lord about.

First, for the mercy the Lord has given me and continues to give me and will continue to give me which is unbelievably astounding when I think of how far short I fall of His glory day by day. For the mercy He gives me because He died on the cross to pay my sin penalty and was raised from the dead so all who believe in Him as Lord, turning our hearts and lives over to God and His ways, are forgiven and given a forever relationship with the Lord.

Second, for the mercy He gives me that is to be used to be merciful with others when they need love, patience, compassion, sensitivity, forgiveness, grace, care, kindness, tenderness, etc.

Mercy is something we don’t deserve, you know. But God in His magnificent love gives it to us when we come to Him with true sorrow over our sins and a desire to turn from them and to learn to live for Him instead of to continue on living in sin for ourselves. By God’s love and grace, He gives us mercy!

And mercy is something sometimes we think others don’t deserve because of how they hurt us and fall short in our eyes and lives. But love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy are something we are to give to others anyway because God commands us to love, forgive, and to be merciful!

Where do we receive mercy? For ourselves? From God! For others? From God! He is the source of the mercy we need!

So let’s go to Him to receive it for ourselves – and to receive it so we have it to lovingly give unto others.

Hallelujah for God’s mercy! Thank you Lord! Lord, have mercy! AMEN!

TODAY’S 365 BLESSINGS

365 BLESSINGS is a devotional book the Lord has led me to publish piece by piece even as I’m writing it rather than waiting until it’s in print to share it. Please join me & be blessed as I write my latest book…!

Blessing #40

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”” John 14:21

One thing for certain about God’s blessings is they keep coming and coming – and coming. They are not just seemingly endless, are they? They are endless! After all, God is everlasting! So then is His goodness and greatness and all that He is and does and all with which He blesses us! Look at these two verses with me, friend. What do you see? Those who keep the Lord’s commands love Him. Conversely, those who love the Lord keep His commands. Then what? We who obey Him receive God the Father’s love and Jesus the Son of God’s love. And? Really, there’s more? More than what’s already so amazing? Yes! Then Jesus will manifest Himself to us. How? The Spirit of Christ lives in and through those who follow Him! Utterly breathtaking, isn’t it? And as if that’s not enough, consider this. Jesus manifests Himself to us in that His Spirit lives inside us, AND Jesus will manifest Himself to those of us whose lives are committed to Him FACE TO FACE FOREVER. The greatest manifestation ever – the Lord presenting Himself to us in His full glorious magnificence – will NEVER come to an end! Isn’t it something how prone we are to focus on our physical blessings when the greatest blessing of all is Christ Himself in whose presence we will live FOREVER! Glory, glory, glory to the Lord! AMEN!

TODAY’S THE CROSS DEVOTIONAL

God Doesn’t Want Me Anymore“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:5-11

If you’ve ever thought God doesn’t want you anymore, you’re not alone. I am the first to admit I’ve had thoughts just like this one. That God surely is going to give up on me – or already has. That God can’t use someone like me. That God has forgiven me one too many times – or way too many times. Surely He’s done with me. That God has better people with better lives and better behavior and better obedience than mine and surely doesn’t want to waste His time with me. That there’s no way I can go back to God to plead for forgiveness given I’ve fallen again into the same sin I desperately want to leave behind once and for all. Surely I’m not alone. Am I?

Someone I know used to say, “I thought my sin outweighed God’s capacity to forgive me.”

No sin can outweigh God’s capacity to forgive us except the sin of not turning from our sins and believing Jesus is Lord and died on the cross to pay our sin punishment and was raised from the dead, truly devoting our lives to God and His ways. Why does this sin of unbelief outweigh God’s capacity to forgive us? Not because God can’t forgive us. But because when we don’t turn from our sins and turn to God through faith in Christ, then we can’t receive from God the forgiveness He so much wants to give us!

One of my greatest struggles in ministry through the years has been believing I can’t possibly go forward in my ministry work when I’m so incredibly imperfect. When I struggle with sin day by day – just like the rest of us mind you!

Friend, it’s wrong to think God doesn’t want us anymore when we believe in Jesus as Lord, are doing our best to follow Him, and have struggles along the way. God does want us. He wants us in His forever fellowship – so much so that that’s why Jesus Christ died on the cross for us and was raised from the dead!

The devil wants to keep us from going to God when we need a fresh outpouring of God’s forgiveness and mercy. He wants us to stay in the darkness into which we have just fallen. He wants us to believe God won’t forgive us. That God doesn’t love us anymore.

But God wants us to turn away from our sins, not to turn away from Him! And when we do fall, He doesn’t want us to stay in our sins. He doesn’t want us to remain in the darkness. He wants us to come running to Him with true sorrow we’ve sinned against Him so we can seek and receive His forgiveness – and His strength and comfort as we learn how to faithfully follow Jesus day by day and to learn how to leave our sins behind.

If you’re struggling, friend, don’t believe the lie God doesn’t want you. What He wants is for us to have remorse we have sinned against Him and to come to Him so we can be washed clean through the blood Jesus shed on the cross for us and to keep going forward – following the Lord, day by day, and forever!

God wants us, He wants us in His fellowship, He wants to love us and be loved by us, and He wants us to walk in His ways as He grows us in His image and draws us ever closer to Himself.

Be encouraged, friend, if you’re struggling with sin. That’s the nature of humankind, isn’t it? But how we deal with it makes all the difference. We need to not stay in it. We need to run from it – and to run into the loving merciful forgiving glorious everlasting embrace of the Lord most high, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, God almighty, the Lord Jesus Christ, hallelujah, AMEN!

TODAY’S SERVING JESUS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE

My Faithful Follower Friend“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27

“I’m afraid to become a follower,” a dear friend basically told me a few years back. “I’m afraid of what the Lord will ask of me.”

She was confessing to me that she had been a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ for quite some time, but that she had never truly wholly committed her life to Him. Oh, sure, she did the Christian thing – on the outside. Prayed. Read the Bible. Went to church. But in her heart, and in her actions, she was not sold out to Christ.

I am astounded at how the Lord has grown her since that day. She is virtually unrecognizable in her relationship with the Lord – and in her service to the Lord and to others. Watching God transform her has been utterly beautiful – and blessed. For this same woman who back then was a mere acquaintance has not only become a beloved friend and sister in the Lord – but has become a dedicated servant of Christ. She will be the first to confess she still has such a long, long way to go – as we all do. But oh, how far she has come by the strength of Christ!

What does this have to do with serving Jesus in our everyday lives? Remember, she was afraid of giving her all and all to the Lord. She was afraid of what He would ask of her. She still struggles with fear like I do – and like so many of us do. But no longer does she bow down to fear when it comes to how she relates to the Lord – and to how she serves Him.

She opens her heart to the Lord’s voice and leading, she does her best to sense how He is leading her – and she serves diligently and daily. How so? I couldn’t have imagined back then in that conversation that she would become the woman of Christ the Lord would place in my life to walk alongside me as faithful Christ follower, faithful friend, faithful sister, and faithful co-laborer in the work of Walk by Faith Ministry.

Friend, if we really want to demonstrate our love for and obedience to Christ in our service work to God almighty, we need to not hold back. We need to not let fear or pride or selfishness or anything for that matter hold us back from giving our all and all to the Lord. From dedicating ourselves utterly to Him. From as someone essentially told me years ago, being willing to go anywhere to do anything to say anything according to the will of the Lord for the glory of God.

Another person long ago helped me to see there is a difference between a believer in the Lord and a follower of Him. A follower is sold out to Jesus, don’t you think, willing to forsake all and holding nothing back.

Are you a faithful follower? Are you totally devoted to Christ? Are you afraid of what God will ask of you if you give your all and all to the Lord? Give Him everything, friend. Surrender it all. Make the sacrifice day by day. Be entirely the Lord’s. Love Him, and serve Him, with all you are. For the glory of the Lord, friend, AMEN!

LATEST MINISTRY UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST

Yesterday, I received the tremendous miraculous blessing from the Lord of hearing from a very kind, generous, giving hotel manager who learned of my ministry and felt compelled to help me in knowing I am working hard for the Lord Jesus Christ in my ministry work for Him. I was given a warm welcome at the hotel he manages just outside New York City in New Jersey where I will soon go to continue forth in my ministry work in New Jersey and then back in New York City once the Lord leads me to housing there. The Lord has placed on my heart NOT to use New Jersey simply as a stepping stone to stay there while looking for a place in New York City, but to consider it an opportunity to minister to people in New Jersey as well.

Considering I have recently made the long trip from the Florida Panhandle where I was for four months to the Appalachian region of Virginia for a night and then West Virginia where I have been blessed to spend much time with the Lord and to minister to many here, this is a big venture forth especially considering the big challenges in weeks past as I prepare to set off again on the next leg of my journey on the road for Jesus.

Please keep praying if you’re led for me, the ministry, the ministry’s special needs doggies whom the Lord continues to use continually to introduce me to people to talk to about Him, and for the numerous hearts and lives of those to whom I am blessed, humbled, honored, and privileged to minister both near and far.

In Christ’s most wonderful love,

lara

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