Friday, December 26, 2014

Strongholds of Life

Strongholds of Life
By Lanell Stuart

        My daughter was telling me about a house she bought (to resell). There were two fences side by side that held underbrush and trees of all kinds. As the man she hired began to clear the underbrush, he found that they had a stronghold on the fence, in the ground and surrounding area.
     We can find ourselves in strongholds of our life; a place where something annoys us to the point of distraction. There are many strongholds in our life that are negative. Those things that keep us captive from knowing God’s will for our life. Those things that keep us from being happy; that keep us from having a fulfilling life; that rob us of God’s best for us. We can take a curve in the road that leads us to distraction.
       We can drive ourselves into physical disabilities just by becoming too busy. We try to accomplish what God should be doing in our lives. Then life becomes so difficult to live that we give up in despair. Doubts can creep into our thoughts about how capable we are. Then we turn to God as a last resort.
      We may go through perilous times and our journey will be difficult but in the end God’s plan will be fulfilled. I would like to bring to your attention that our strengths can bring us to fulfill our lives for God’s glory. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves, we can be sure God has a plan for our lives. 
       We can turn to a friend and discover she or he is in more dire circumstances than we are. We finally come to the conclusion that we too, can overcome the circumstances of life when others are seeking their strength in the Lord.
      No one had more reason to complain to God about his circumstances than David, being anointed king by Samuel, God’s spokesman. Yet, King Saul would not relinquish his throne to the better and chosen one of God. Saul pursued David many years.
      Our own thoughts can make us strong or defeat us. Turning to the scriptures we see David saying, “…when my enemies and my foes attack me they will stumble and fall.” Verse three: “though an army besiege me my heart will not fear.” Verse one: “the Lord is my light and my salvation.”
     I can relate to these circumstances because my own health having failed me the past year. I see now that there are more dire circumstances others face. I am not feeling as sorry for myself as I once did. I am increasingly turning to friends to help me. Prayer is helping see me through some bad times.
     There is no answer to why God chooses to heal some and not others. But we must try to depend on God through every circumstance we face. Otherwise we would lose hope. Even when we face the New Year our hope is to lean more on the Lord today than we did yesterday. (Psalm 27:1-3 “The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?”)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Conforming To The Renewing of You Mind

Conforming to Renew Your Minds/2
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of you mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

It was a miracle when Jesus fed the 5,000 with two fish and 5 loaves of bread.
After which he withdrew to a private time of prayer. Then he walked on water toward the 12 disciples on a boat.  Peter’s faith was short, but I believe Peter remembered this incident later to realize his shortcomings.

Peter never bragged about his walking on water, probably he thought it showed his lack of faith not his strength of faith. I like to think of the strength of that faith not his weakness.

Peter was on the mount of transfiguration shortly after this incident. He was the first to speak when he saw Jesus, Moses and Elijah. On this sight Peter wanted to build a shrine but the shrine Jesus wanted was far greater than any tangible tabernacle anyone could build. Then, when God spoke, three leading disciples were afraid.  And what did God say? “Be not afraid.”

These are the things that can cause the renewing of our minds in Christ. These are the things that are for his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Patterns Of Life

Are you a pentagon, square or round? Which side of you do you see?
The pentagon, the five-sided shape.  There can be many sides to a person. One side can be the spiritual side, two can be the sunny-side, three the serious side, four the funny side, five the sad side?

Which side of you do you lean heavily on?  Are you a square, so serious that no one dare try to make you laugh? In contrast are you the jokester that no one can take seriously? Are you hiding from everyone the real side of you that tells the Jesus side of you?

I believe Jesus had a fun side. He turned the water into wine at a celebration. That would make anyone laugh.. He had a joyous occasion of telling the young man to pick up his cot and walk because his faith had made him whole. Yet, he became enraged when the people were using the temple as a disreputable business place.

Jesus had a sunny-side when the Lord came down on him and said, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well, pleased.” Jesus had “childish” side that loves little children as much as he loves adults.

Which side of a building will you lean toward? Are you well rounded or five pointed? Are you as round as you are tall? Do you stand tall at the mention of Jesus? Can you be joyous as well as sad?

Which side of you will you be showing when Jesus comes again? Let’s hope we will be joyous and spiritual at the sight of Jesus. Let’s hope we are healing someone with joy in place of sadness.
 PATTERN: ROMANS 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…. HEBREWS 8:5 …this is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 2TIMOTHY 1:13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Throughout Eternity

His voice rings out
Through eternity
In His presence I will be.
A sheep I am to thee,
I follow Him indeed.
He is ever mindful of my need.
In His presence may I ever be,
Throughout eternity.

By Lanell Stuart
January 2014

The Lord lifts the burden,
That we carry deep inside
He proves to us each day
His caring, careful ways.
His life will touch you
And turn your burden
Into stubble and hay
Just trust in His loving way.
By Lanell Stuart

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lost Pens

Looking for writing pens—I think I’ve spent one-eighth of my life looking for pens. It can’t be just any pen—it has to be the one that my daughter gave me, or the one I wrote my favorite poem with.
Other “stuff” too. You’ve done it before—you were sure you put that favorite blouse from last winter in that drawer in the guest room. Lo and behold—it’s not there now!
How many of us “look” for that special gift for that certain someone who has asked you to enjoy their birthday with. Nothing will do until you find the “perfect” gift.

What are you constantly looking for? That verse of scripture you were sure you knew? That story in the Bible that you thought was so familiar that you forgot the exact words?
How exciting to find those scriptures and recall the “true” story. Our memories elude us sometimes into thinking we actually know something, only to find through the years the story has faded or become twisted.
That’s why we read and re-read the Bible: to search for the truth for today. When we find the lesson for today’s verse we live in freedom. Like finding the object we are looking for. Eureka! We exclaim.
It was right where the Lord wanted us to find it at the right time in our life. It fits our life situation at present.
My friend when you find God’s word for your life today you have found a treasure far out-weighing any object you may find. You find he peace and tranquility that only come from diligent seeking.
Well, I found in my pen-caddy today about 20 pens. They all returned to their “home” somehow after months of wondering where they were. I simply forgot about that one pen and began collecting the pens I found throughout the day.
By Lanell Stuart

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Paul and Isaiah

Paul was raised in a strict religious environment. He came a long way from home to Jerusalem to the temple where he wished to “preach” or at least expound on the Bible. The bible, which was the first five books of our Bible, were his guide to life. He knew the religious leader, Gamaliel, a great teacher of the Jewish Law.

I never knew, before Beth Moore, Gamaliel told the religious leaders of the day to “Leave Peter and the apostles alone, if they are not of God, their beliefs will slowly die away and the people will stop following them but if they are from God you will  only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39 paraphrased)* Many of the religious leaders believed in the things Jesus taught, they just weren’t strong in their beliefs to want to give up their “status” in the “religious” community. 

Paul and Isaiah reflected greatly on the spiritual aspect of Godly things. They knew the Lord well.

How much time do we really read and reflect on the Bible or better yet, the things of God? How much do we know “about” the word verses how well do we “know” the savior?

I have been lax at really studying the Bible in my “Joy of Living” Class I take on Wednesdays. I manage to get the lessons done for the week. But, in the end, I wonder how well do I really “know” Isaiah?

Even if it is a kind of “rushed” study of the whole book, I can get a glimpse into Isaiah’s mind and life. (It is a long book.) He, like Paul was “close” to God. He loved the Lord, and I have to wonder, “How well did he know the Savior?”

How was it to live before Christ? Expecting Him any day. Knowing how He would come into the world as an infant and be raised as a human yet, Lord.

Did Isaiah wish He could wait till the Lord came into the world before he went to Heaven? Did he have aspirations of knowing the Lord and Savior as a human?

Probably like Paul, Isaiah came to know the Jesus, through God. It was a spiritual acquaintance. Paul however, came face to face with the Lord Jesus; Isaiah had a spiritual awakening with The Lord, God. However difficult it is to imagine knowing these two men, they were spiritual “Giants.”

I hope I can come to know Isaiah more in the months to come and really get insight into the people of God.
*Acts 5:38-39: Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fall. But it it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.) NIV
By Lanell Stuart

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Tangled Web

The Tangled Web

Have you ever been caught in a spider’s web? Ewe, we react, “How quick can I get rid of this thing!” It’s sticky and the more we try to resist the more determined it tries to stay on you.

Life can become entangled like a web. “Just stay away from me,” we tell Satan. The more determined we become to live for Jesus, the more determined he is to make you stay in a sad, miserable state of being.

We can become entangled with others lives to the point we just want “out”. But God is urging you onward. “Don’t give up on the unlovely. Keep loving them and showing them the way back to God.” I think that is what God would say to us. Remember you were once unlovely in God’s sight. Someone took the time to invest in my life to bring me to the a fullness of loving God again. Someone took the time to pray for me that I may be brought to the point of saying, “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation.” (Psalms 51:12, KJV) And it has been restored.

My web is unraveling, slowly. I am returning to Lord’s way for my life. Returning, to escape the spider’s web that promises rewards for my life, but never succeedsed.
The Lord is restoring to me the joy of my salvation. You also can obtain that reward through loving friends and family.

Everyone comes into your life for a season and a reason. We can learn through each incident in life. The Lord leads in mysterious ways, Paul announces in his word to the Colossians in Chapter one, verse 27. It says, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of the mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” God makes known the mysteries of our life, which is to know Jesus better.

He says in Ephesians 6:19, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
I pray you will not get caught in the spider’s web of deceit that promises rewards that are not there in the end.

The promises of grandeur and fulfillment do not lay in the promises of man but in the promises of God. Seek God and all will be added unto you. (My words paraphrasing from Mt. 6:33 NIV)

“Love the Lord with all thy heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
By Lanell Stuart