My Great God

My Great God
This is what the Lord says:"Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord"- Jeremiah 17:5

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I have hit the ground runnin!

So I have been in school for 2 weeks and I love it! I am in over my head in homework, but I love my assignments! So I figured why not just post some assignments that I am majorly benefiting form, maybe you will too? In my New Testament class, I have to outline Romans to Revelation. These outlines are segmented and assigned to us. So I have posted one outline. I would love your feedback... call me out if I'm a heretic... Or just pray for me. =) The Lord is so good. 

“I am my own worst Enemy”
Romans 7:14-25

            Paul understands that he has a battle raging in his heart. He knows he has been given life by the spirit, yet at the same time he carries around this “body of death” since he is still in this unredeemed world. Paul laments over his sin revealing his true desire to please God by not sinning. He acknowledges that because of his flesh nothing good dwells in him, he doesn’t have the ability to carry out the good he wants to do, and that he keeps on doing the evil he doesn’t want to do. Any believer can relate to Paul’s cries since He is simply describing the very fight between the flesh and Spirit.
            This battle is not to be fought alone. The soldier needs a deliverer. Left to us, every believer would live as if he was captive. The flesh is natural for all men to live according to. No man can deliver himself from the enemy since every good thought is followed by evil. This world is wicked and every man is wretched. Man does not conquer the enemy within before coming to the deliverer. Man needs a deliverer from the enemy within (himself). This deliverer is Jesus Christ, the Lord! The deliverer doesn’t promise relief and immediate rescue resulting in an easier existence; his deliverance is given through Jesus’ gift of forgiveness. Our minds are made new and the battle rages on against our very own flesh for the glory of Jesus Christ.

             Sinfully, I am a legalist at heart. I love to think that if I win the battle of my flesh that I will earn more favor with God. I fight the battle in my own strength thinking that I can and that I have to be the one to do it. This is my flesh poking its ugly head at me disguised as humility. This pride is seen when I am so disappointed by my sin.  I actually think I can fight this battle on my own. Meaning, I think I can show myself my own sin and figure out how to stop doing it. This is a fundamental lie I believe. As I try to kill sin by my own “goodwill” it leads to a rollercoaster of self-righteous pride. Swinging from superiority pride by choosing to do what’s right and then to pride of inferiority if I don’t choose what is right.  Scripture reminds me that I am saved by grace, period. I am also sanctified by His grace. He is the bridegroom that initiates and pursues His bride.
The Lord is constantly reminding me that I am not in control, nor is the battle of sin about me. This self-centered way of thinking, even thought it’s about the battle of sin, is sin in and of itself.  Since when is overcoming sin all about making me look better, feel better, and improve my life? My motive for killing sin has been all about me, making my life easier. This leads me to repent because Christ is not being worshipped, I am. Paul delights in the Law of God, because he loves God! He knows Jesus and understands the massive cost Christ had to pay to redeem Him. That no matter what he does, good or bad, he cannot separate himself from Christ’s love. All merit earning is thrown out the window and grace is all we live by. How was it that my name, Laura Stone, got brought us in the Trinitarian conversation before time began? What freedom I have to live for the pleasure of my Savior.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's been a while...

I have obviously not written on here for a few weeks.. OK, a month.. and I have no good reason for the absence other than the thought that I am not running the marathon anymore, and there nothing that big going on in my life. Within the last 4 weeks, a few people have asked why I haven't posted anything lately. My response was horrible and unclear. So I have decided to keep posting what the Lord is teaching me even though now my finish-line is unknown by me. He's definitely working!!
              Whats great about the Lords timing is that it is perfect! In just two weeks I was planning on doing the marathon, but I will obviously not be running  it but my dear freidn Amber will be!!!! She has endured, she has put in the effort and discipline to be able to run. I am so proud of her. Her humility shines whenever I ask her about her training. (And when i ask anything else about her..she is just a humble servant of the Lord) She is running 26.2 miles in a few weeks but she exudes a tenacious, uncompromising zeal for the Lords glory. She knows the Word of God, she loves Jesus, and she is a huge example to me of what a selfless, teachable, servant is. Amber humbles me without a word. Don't get me wrong, when she does need to use words she humbles me too because she is right! She is only right because she quotes the word of God! Seriously people! What a treasure I have in my sister Amber. What a blessing and major benefit to have her eyes in my life and my eyes in her life! With all that said, I get to cheer her on with her husband Kevin out in Arizona in a few weeks. Pray for her, pray the Lord will be glorified by her attitude and mine!
Other than the running info, 2010 is over! The Lord has been so kind to me. He always is! Specifically, in answering prayer. i have been praying along with my parents for direction with life. Not ministry or moving away.... but with work and desires. Praying for the Lord to make clear the path he wants me to follow him down. And to remain faithful and dependent. This was hard only because my flesh fights to know everything all the time! To sit and wait on the Lord to reveal His will and not fear, this is my fight. With time and prayer, He revealed at his perfect timing. i needed to learn all i was put through to get me to where i am thinking today.  I am planning to go to The Master's College to do the One Year Bible Institute starting in just a few weeks. I long to know the Word of God. I want to know Him! This is a gift from my parents to allow this and to support me. Who am I!? What a stewardship I am given and going to be given. =) Pray the Lord keeps me faithful...makes me thankful... and humbles me resulting in perseverence, hope, and joy. To sum it all up... I want to be a worshipper 24/7..

I find my heart prone to think that I, being a woman, need to make myself attractive, becuase if i dont then i will miss out or end up alone, unhappy, and disliked. This sounds crazy I'm sure.. (I promise I still take showers) but let me explain. I am tempted to think that I have the control of you people! That i can make you be attracted to me or not be attracted to me. (Im talking about physically, personality wise, spiritually.. all of it) As if I posses the power within me to control your thoughts! HA!! For instance, like it is up to me to make myself  "beautiful" and in order to get the right guy to like me...and if i dont, there is no way he will like me. "I must contribute!" SO STUPID RIGHT!! Paul Washer said in a sermon i just listened to that "Sin is insanity" why would some one ever really think like me. I can't explain how my own brain works, let alone how yours does! What arrogance I am harbouring to think like this automatically. The gospel is OVERWHELMINGLY NEEDED by ME!!

My own thoughts condem me. If it were not for the gospel I am hopeless! Through worship this week the Lord has shown me a glimps of his mighty power. The power of His word, the trustworthiness of His own word. I have it!! Why do I not love it like the Psalmist in Psalm 119!? I long for his word to be my delight. To be my comfort and to be my one true aim to know. My thinking, my attitude, my very thought process needs major changing. And the Lord is so kind to tell me how to do it! Psalm 119 is covered in it. SEEKING THE LORD through his word, will change me. This "change" I desire (and any other Christian) means changing my pursuit... my affections. Only the Lord can change this! To be wholly Christ! I sit and think.. wow.. what would it be like if I, Laura Stone, was wholly about the Lords work, thinking like Christ and unsatisfied with anything but Christ. What would it be like if I was a NORMAL Christian! How attriactive would He look to this world! I have never loved the Lord my God with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind. Never. Yet I claim to love him.

I went snowboarding with a dear friend Erin today. I was faced with my frailty. Sitting, suspended mid mountain on a dinky lift, stuck. The lift had stopped and I sinned. I feared big time the pain and inconvenience of falling off a lift and breaking bones ( I didn't think I would just die, that would be too great!). This led to distrust so fast. I am not saying that it would be unkind for the Lord to break my bones and make my life really inconvenient. He totally can and be perfectly kind! I'm saying that I sinned big time because my heart was obviously not set on trusting him if that were to happen. He is the only Sovereign Lord, right!!! What a fool I am to place my trust in "horses and men" or in my case, machines and teenagers manning the Lifts at Snow Valley. The same heart. One moment praising Him for his greatness seen in the vastness of creation... to then distrust and practical atheism!! I am absolutely dependent on Christ and HIS work on the cross. I have no control. I cant control my safely, i cannot control my future, i cannot control who likes me and who doesn't.  I long to learn how to lean. As Dolores Michaelson always tells me... I am a worm and cant control anything, I just like to think I can.

Friday, November 26, 2010

This Blog is about a race!

The purpose of this blog has been radically changed from what I intended it to be about. I initially wanted to write about the training process of the foot race in Arizona and hopefully encourage those reading that the Lord provides strength yada yada yada...AND He did, He was so evident! But in the Sovereignty of the Lord the purpose is so much more eternal. Maybe not SO different...but I am no longer doing the Arizona marathon and my heart has completely changed. I have LOVED the accountability the Lord has made this blog to be throughout the 2 months that I was intensely training. The physical training was not in vain. I want to continue to write about what the Lord is teaching me in this race of faith. It is a race, and by the grace of God I intend to beat this body till the finish line.
Yesterday was thanksgiving. I have SO much to be thankful for. From the list of what i am given to the list of what i am not given. I walk by grace and mercy. As we went around the table talking about what we are individually thankful for, the Lord pulled another scale from my eye to show me(at the right time) how much i do not deserve to be in my earthly family but more importantly how much i don't deserve to be adopted into the family of my Maker! I arrogantly walk through life with an attitude of entitlement. What a horrible associate in my heart! I Love to think I'm lovable and that I deserve things in life. What a freakin lie!! What have I made happen in my life!? NOTHING! I never chose, I never created, I never, nor will I ever, be able to control or know all things.  I read through Job 38-41 today and by the kindness of the Lord he revealed to me my heart.. and its deceits.Who am I to tell God how he should act!? To tell him that I know the perfect plan for my life, and be discontent till He gives it to me. What blindness and arrogance I am prone to. OK enough of my ranting.. you see a glimpse of my wretched heart. I am so thankful for GRACE! But thankfulness has to be an act of worship in my heart.. or else my heart uses it as a way to puff me up. Our thankfulness must be directed to a person! I'm not just thankful to some ambiguous thing. I am thankful to God!! All good things come from His hand! A very cool friend of mine came over for thanksgiving and he said he was thankful for trials. What a heart  I long to have that says that. That sees trials as a means of grace in a believers life. And like he said, in this we can rejoice. Like Romans 5 says, trials produce in me hope that doesn't disappoint! SOLID!!! I'm the queen of fearing disappointment!! I was humbled as i listened to friends and family talk about what they were thankful for... we are all thankful for things that we haven't had a part in. Thankful for gifts given, desires given, people given..all by my precious Heavenly Father!
I just came back from a run and had lots of time to think. I listened to Rick Holland preaching on Proverbs 5. Talking about the seriousness of fighting the associates in my heart. Thinking through what sins that i coddle and protect in my heart. What do i "let slide" in this fight? What am I strapping to my back before i run up the mountain towards holiness? Talk about conviction, I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit and his active work in my life, I hope you are as well. Praise be to God for His forgiveness and the forgiveness of others.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Unexpected Conversation!!

Now if you have been reading my blog you know i have been having funky knee pain and i have been praying about whether or not it is really wise to keep pushing it. Its been about 3 weeks and no real clear answer until now. Due to various "reasons" (totally from the Sovereign hand of the Lord) plus many conversations, Amber and I have decided to hold off on the Arizona Marathon and pray about doing the LA marathon in March. Now we are thinking of doing the 1/2 in Arizona, but not sure yet.So we are still going to moderately run but not crazy pushing. It is just so cool to me to see how the Lord has revealed his will in this specific area. I totally thought it would be hard to tell everyone that i have decided to not finish the goal i initially set out to accomplish.. Now obviously this was covered by my fear of man.. I was afraid of what you people might think of me. Would i be a loser, failure, weak sauce, quitter, baby, a fatty.... you may laugh but this is real thoughts that go through my silly mind! Once again, the lord is faithful through time in his word and through sermons and godly peoples influence... he is so kind to show me how desperately I need him and i don't need everyone to think of me how I think of if i have a right view of myself. HA!! I believe a lie about me, i ain't no thang!! The bible tells me so.. so why am i longing for people to tell me lies!!! The fear of man is a straight up joke! Jesus is to be feared alone!
 He is my audience and he is already pleased with me because of what Christ has done for me. That my name, "Laura Jean Stone" (Question:what happens when you get married.. is Laura jean Stone written or my married name?? Just a stupid thought) anyyywayys!! I'm chosen!! I'm picked, I'm wanted, I'm beautiful, I'm taken, I'm making my eternal husband smile...ONLY by the blood and Resurrection of Jesus Christ!! I am these things because Jesus SET his very specific love on me! i was the target when i didn't want to be!! ( and so are you hopefully!!) The approval of man seems so disappointing when compared to my heavenly father. I obviously lose my focus, i get distracted with my own lusts and worldly desires and i deceive myself daily into believing that this world is my home. What freedom the Lord freely gives in knowing him! I have been studying Romans 5 and i cant help but tell you how thankful and peaceful it is to trust in Jesus... i have access to my maker, I live in joy that nothing can extinguish... that trials only fan it into a bigger flame. I beg the Lord to humble me to continually see my need and dependence on him as i seek to discipline my mind. I need to know my bible more because we all know i need to keep changing and there ain't no other way this stubborn selfish heart is going to change apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. He needs handle bars on my heart to direct me, these handle bars are his word.

Funnnnny story... THIS MORNING!!! OK i see this guy almost every morning i go to the gym.. I'm wearing headphones so i never talk to anyone. So i finish my workout and go to the drinking fountain and he walks out too. He asks how far i ran and I'm telling him a bit about the race i set out to do but am unable due to my knee. He was interested and told me how he does marathons yada yada yada.. and i smile and walk towards the door.. He follows me and i ask if he was done with his workout and He said no... he just wanted to talk to me. ( i tell you this because the LORD is so in control an so soveregin its sometime s funny) soo he then asked if i wanted to get a cup of coffee sometime. I said "ya know what, I'm going to be honest with you... You are probly not going to like me after we start talking" he was kinda shocked and asked why. I explained why by saying " I'm a christian and i absolutely love my savior.. (inserted gospel) and if this is not your passion in life,you will not like me. So maybe you should rethink this question."  Now by the grace of God i got to talk to him about his soul...He grew up catholic and seemed very unaffected by the gospel. Now what was sweet was that i told him I loved him enough to tell him the truth and wanted to see him in heaven. he laughed and said you do!?!!? and i said the most loving thing to do is to give you the answer to why your here to fix your greatest need! he agreed on that. We talked about the Lord and how Holy he is and how sinful we are. This was all in the stairway of the gym!!! hahahha!!! After 15 minutes i had to go, and he said well thanks for loving me and ill think about what you said.. I said I would pray for him and have my friends pray for him. i encouraged him to read john and 1John.. So we will see. But all this came about because I have been training for this race!! I love the wisdom of the Lord and his plans!! I want to live in His will and be a Christian anywhere.. Pray for GT. (That's his name)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Turbo Turtle"

Literally about to write this blog before I go to work!
I am the fastest turtle. This is a very good analogy of the pace I am running at. I am very fast for a "slow" runner. But you know what, this is ME! I give it my all every time I run, even if its not all that much. I know i am working hard at pushing myself to "win it" each run. Whats the use at doing anything unless you do it with all you got. This is all I can do. So praise the Lord he has let me run today! Praise Him for his kindness to me in giving me his word, giving me sermons that put His word in my mind giving the Holy Spirit handles in my heart to direct me to do His will. I listened to John MacArthur's sermon on the "Power of the Word of God in a Believers Life". SHOOOOT!!! You have got to go listen to it! He was explaining the text in Matthew 6 about the word of God being like a sword. The Greek word explains that the sword is not a long heavy sword, but its discribed as a dagger. That it is only effective if used in a very detailed way. To kill someone with a dagger you must go for the key spots on the body that would kill someone, not their pinky toe! so he went on to convict me by correlating the truth of the word needing to be used in the heart of a man in such a detailed way. we must KNOW it, not just heady, lofty facts... but we must know detailed scripture that pertain to each temptation in our mind and life. I cant possibly live by truth I dont know... I cant possibly love someone i don't study. (My husband doesn't even know how excited I am to study the way I don't know who my husband is..haha But Lord willing!!) Through this run today, I was driven to thankfulness. Honestly, aren't you? We have been given the very word of God, His presence. smokerydots_turbo-turtle
                                                                I can't believe I found this picture... HAHA!

This is a little taste of our weekend.. He is such a gift!

I have been going through something in my life that is driving me to pray. HOW SWEET OF THE LORD TO GIVE ME THIS TRIAL!! Driving me to beg for the Lord to make my desires His. While at the same time he is teaching me how much my life is not mine. This is freedom people!!! My expectations for my life may very well not be his plans for my future. I have had to repent and confess my selfish, self-centered expectations that i have put on the Lord. This is not faith, I am so tempted to distrust his care in my life. As if he would want to make me do, live, or even marry someone to punish me. HA!! This is not the true and living God!! The one true God is out for His own glory and HIS GLORY IS MY GOOD. Do I believe this, willing to unclench my grip on this "ideal" lifestyle, body, status and walk in faith? Is faith IN the creator of the universe, sustainer of my life, the giver of my breath that hard or disappointing to trust?? I'm jacked up if i believe I know better than Him. I'm so humbled to think about how much i sin against him. How unbelief and doubt are where I am prone to sin. Do I really believe Heaven is where i belong? I cant let my voice give evidence to that in my life, you gotta look at my life, look at my checkbook, look at my calendar, look at me alone in my closet.  Do you see Jesus, or Laura stone? I must decrease, Christ must increase! All in all, it was a great run this God be the glory..

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What's the real goal...

This has been an interesting week. I know the Lord's will for my life is my sanctification. I started this blog so i could show you how evident Christ is in my life and how great He is!! Thus far it has been super positive while being hard, but i want to be faithful to still proclaim Christ when it is seemingly negative and my sin is ugly. So here ya go...
Now to give you all a brief background, I have been having weird knee pain... pain i have never ever experienced before. So after talking to a few studly runners, they encouraged me to slow my pace down and ease into training even slower. So i have been and the knee pain is better (not completely gone, but better) As i am having to slow down i am feeling so ashamed, like i failed because the initial goal to qualify for Boston seems to be very UNrealistic. I have been praying and asking the Lord for clarity on what to do. Knee pain, unattainable goal for my body right now, not wanting to injure myself for life...yet sticking to a goal no matter what, being a woman of my word.. all these thoughts have been flooding my brain. As of this moment, He has made it clear to change my goal. To not kill or injure myself to qualify, but to beat my last marathon time. I have been contemplating the thought of running the half instead of the full. In my arrogance i don't want to quit because i have committed to finish the race! (To the Lord, myself, family, friends..specifically Amber since we are training together)  At one point I had a complete peace about the decision to do this marathon. BUT I also don't want to quit at this because its getting really hard, that's why we set keep going and never stop until we reach the mark. I'm wrestling with this because I don't want to be a fool. I have loved the training, the Lord has been teaching me, encouraging me through his word through the hours i get alone with him running.
Just finished this with Carly Brannon. I HIGHLY recommend it!

I know my body is feeble and weak...(I know I'm not old) but this time around my body is responding differently to the training. haha...So the Lord, in His kindness, has brought to my mind the issue of contentment. Accepting the way the Lord made me and not trying to be someone I'm not. Lets be real guys, I ain't no long distance runner. No one would ever guess that about me, and that is totally fine! I have been told i have more of a sprinters body type if anything. Not that I'm a sprinter.. haha.. But I have always longed to look a differently than i physically look at any given moment. I constantly let myself live in the belief that i must always be changing.. loosing weight, toning up, etc. IN ORDER TO be affirmed, accepted and admired by what I have done to achieve this "look". As if looking a certain way would get me married, friends, status, respect.. whatever! There is no rest in my mind with this issue EXCEPT from the belief and honest acceptance of my Sovereign Lord hand crafting me JUST HOW HE WANTS ME to be for HIS GLORY. And for me to actually believe that His glory is for my good.

So with this being a sinful tendency in my heart, it just kind of adds to the questioning of doing this full marathon.WHY!!! I am not saying i have committed to bail or to stop training yet.. The Lord hasn't made his will clear in this exact decision yet. So i write this to beg you to pray for me. I want to honor the Lord so badly in this. I want to be so OK with whatever it is he has planned. His plans are so not my plans sometimes.. and i want to be teachable to my Lord and eager for His will to be done no matter how radical that may change my circumstances. But this is not my tendency, I fear man and I fear being alone, unloved, and undesirable. All of which my Lord offers to me in Him. I am humbled even as i am typing about my self centered thinking even. But I ant to be honest with you in hopes to encourage anyone reading this to seek the Lord while He may be found and to worship the one person we are created to worship. It comes down to a battle of what will I worship. Me... or my Creator!
This is my dirty rotten sinner heart, but I am forgiven and I am so thankful I can even run for the glory of God. Please pray and let me know any thoughts! i would love to hear your comments.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Not my will, but Your will be done!"

The Lord is so kind to me!!! He allowed me to hurt my knee in order to test my faith. So I could see my heart!I know He is in control, I know He alone is sovereign, and I know Christ-likeness is my GOOD!
I ended up taking 3 full days off of running due to the abnormal shooting pain in my knee. An unexpected detour in my plans are definitely times where my fears love to show their ugly heads. I was tempted to (yet again) sulk in my "failure" (or having to pull back) and totally disbelieve the Lord is who He says He is. I gave into self pity and have had to repent and act contrary to what my flesh.. that person who was lazy, people pleasing, selfish, dead to spiritual things and unmotivated by Jesus...but have since  been saved and changed from. When i wake up in the mornings my flesh is ready and waiting to punch me in my face.
So with all that said.. you now know a bit more about my personal struggle with pride and Independence... pray for me to be quick to repent and constantly leaning! As of Wednesday, my knee has been totally fine!!! The Lord took away the pain!! Granted , I have ha to slow down a bit... but that doesn't hurt. So i did my mid week longer run yesterday and i did my cross training today. I was listening to John pipers sermon on "How to kill sin". Let me tell you, it was soooo practical! At the end of the message from practically the whole book of Romans, his application was to murder the flesh with the sword of the spirit. Christianity is about killing. Killing MY flesh. Sounds lofty, and churchy... so he continues to say how we actually do this. We obviously use the sword of the spirit (the word) to conquer our sin, and in the moment that simply means we recount and BELIEVE the bible, the great promises of God!!! I must choose to not be hostile towards God but to believe God! To believe whatever the bible says. This stresses the importance of knowing and living in and loving the Word of my God!!! I grow in sanctification the same way i got saved!!!! This was so encouraging to my heart today, so thankful for the word and so eager to get into the word. Ps. 90:12 My days are numbered here. I want so badly to kill my sin of laziness, to kill my desire for self indulgence (or comfort) and to live in the reality that I live in His watchful presence! (Even when I run!!)