God’s Call ~

Jesus Calling devotional-“…A life of praise and thankfulness becomes a life filled with miracles…” I loved this line. It sounded musical to me. Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” – This verse hit home to me today. This is a season of constant busyness. Emotions and stresses rise in adults especially, because there is pressure to make the Christmas experience a meaningful one. It is hard to see other Christians bicker and stress out about little things. Everything has to be perfect for them to be close to Christ. I have been this way before and it made me feel awful inside. I want to encourage all of us who call Jesus as our Saviour, to remember this verse during Christmas. We are called to peace, not frustration. May we all relax, take a deep breath, and surrender our days to the Lord, giving thanks and praise to Him for everything even if it is different from what we were expecting this season. And let’s be committed to be peaceful in our hearts. God promises “miracles” when we follow His ways. The miracles are joy, peace, love, hope… How wonderful to be filled up with these characteristics during the Christmas season. What a testimony to the love of Christ. And we will be able to defuse anger, stress, resentment, frustration, worry, and hopelessness in others around us. What a beautiful thing. Let us give the gift of peace ~

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Being Honest ~

September 4th, 2011 – Journal Entry

Me – God, I’m tired and a bit grumpy. It is 5am. Why did I wake up this early? I feel anxious about going to the Christian Musician Summit. I am making scenarios in my mind. I am also getting sucked back into using the computer. What should I do?

Holy Spirit – Why do you watch the news? Don’t you realize I am in charge of everything? Every time you read the news your anxiety goes up. You don’t need to know about all that goes on in the world. You can only take so much information. Save that storage space for Me. Fill it up with good and noble things. My grace is sufficient for you. (I was reading the news online the evening before. I woke up with all of the latest events swimming in my mind and it was also getting me worried about the other things coming up in my life)

Holy Spirit – The more information you take in, the more judgmental you become. Rest in My love for you. Rest and know I am taking care of you. Thank you for coming to me when you did. And noticing there needed to be a change in your heart. There is so much fighting for your attention. That is why it is important to come to Me first and hear from Me. Then everything will begin to make sense around you. You don’t need to be afraid Lara. I am with you. I know your future. Everyone dies. (this was a great fear of mine coming back up to the surface) Remember I am taking care of the details. I am taking care of you. Rest and know I love you and I want what is best for you. It just takes trusting in my love for you. You are My child. I would never hurt My child. Take heart I have overcome the world.

Me – So life just needs to be simple then?

Holy Spirit – You can find Me in the storms and in the peaceful times. Strip life from the distractions and you will find Me more clearly.

My Distractions:

1) The news
2) Reading everyone’s posts often
3) Keeping myself busy without stopping for a long break
4) Daydreaming
5) Being lazy
6) Worrying about what other people think

I am craving something to comfort me, like a coffee or tea

Holy Spirit – I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus Calling devotional – “Worship Me by living close to Me. This was My original design for man, into whom I breathed My very breath of life. This is My desire for you: that you stay near Me as you walk along your life-path.”

Holy Spirit – Why don’t you sit at your piano and sing to Me. I love it when you sing to Me privately. It is so raw. It is from your heart. Don’t worry if your songs will be a success. They are beautiful expressions of your love for Me. I miss them. Please sing for Me, Lara.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Good Morning, Lara ~

August 31st, 2011′ Journal Entry –

Holy Spirit – Good morning, Lara. Spend time with Me. (I had my calendar out first thing)

Jesus Calling, ” I am developing your ability to trust Me, to lean on Me, rather than on your understanding. Your natural preference is to plan out your day, knowing what will happen when. My preference is for you to depend on Me continually, trusting Me to guide you and strengthen you as needed. this is how you grow strong in your weakness.” inspired by James 4:13-15; Proverbs 3:5; Isaiah 40:28-31

James 4:13-15 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.”

Holy Spirit – I have shaped you and molded you in My image. Take one day at a time knowing I will guide you. Do not worry. Trust Me. Sing songs to Me; spiritual songs. They bless Me. Work on your craft, your piano; your writing; your singing. Lara, I am going to use you, but you need to be ready. You are not ready, but you’re close…’I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ I love you. I want your full attention. Walk with Me and I will give you peace. Now go love your children and be kind to your husband. Do not worry; trust Me.

September 1st –

Me – I really don’t know what to say God, so I will listen.

John 8:12 “…I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jesus Calling, “Seek Me with your whole being. I desire to be found by you, and I orchestrate the events of your life with that purpose in mind…My continual Presence with you is an absolute promise.” inspired by Deut 4:29; Hebrews 10:23; Psalm 145:20

Psalm 145:20 “The Lord watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.”

Deut 4:7 “You don’t have to swim oceans or ascend into heaven; you just have to understand, believe, and obey the word God has given.”

(I love that!) Plus, with Jesus, we are offered grace when we mess up or fall short, because we will fall short of doing this all the time. We are human. That is why it says in the bible that we are free. Why are we free? Because we have grace covering us. The heavy weight of the constant pressure of doing good and obeying is lifted off our shoulders. Jesus is walking with us daily to help us get through every and all situations we experience. Does this mean we can do anything we want and if we say sorry to God and get His forgiveness and grace we will be okay? No, not really. You see a heart that is humbled and that is grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice, wants to obey and wants to do good. It is an outpouring of gratitude for what God has done for us. He loved us even when we were still doing what we wanted; being selfish and striving for self gratification (sin). How did He do that? It is hard for me to feel love towards the people who have hurt me in my life sometimes. But God loved us still and gave us a chance to be with Him through Jesus’ blood on the cross. What an awesome selfless love. Jesus didn’t sin at all. He was the perfect sacrifice. He took on all of our sin when He died so that we can live without guilt.

Because of my “networking fast” I have realized how great His love is for me. I have learned how precious it is to spend time with God each morning. I don’t want to miss it. Now sometimes I get a wild hair and start whining, but it is me who misses out and I feel it for the rest of the day.

God loves you! I encourage you to let Him love you and show His love to you. When we give our lives to Him and believe in Jesus, we trade our selfishness, stressed out, guilty lives for a forgiven life; a do over. God begins to mold us as clay, shaping us into the people God intended us to be. He doesn’t ask us to strive to do this on our own; no. By walking in His Presence daily, We begin to shine like stars because of His work in and through us, not because of our goodness. When life starts to get difficult He offers us strength and the ability to get through it when we ask Him. I don’t know about you, but that is an awesome trade off. That is why I love following Jesus. I am humbled He would reach out to me. No day goes by when I do not feel loved for who I am. What a gift! And He offers it to you too! He doesn’t have any favorites. He loves. And those who receive His love, receive a wonderful blessing ~

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

God Answered ~

August 29th, 2011′ Journal Entry –

Last night I read somewhere that God wants us to give Him the quietness of each morning so we can be tuned in to His voice and His presence throughout the day. I have been waking up very tired lately. I prayed if God wanted me to do my devotions in the early morning before the family woke up then would He wake me up at the right time with energy. I fell asleep at 9:30pm and got up at 6:00am without feeling tired. Here I am now sitting on the kitchen chair with the sliding glass door open to let the cool, fresh air in. It is still a bit too dark to sit outside. I at least can feel the coolness of the morning. I hear the birds chirping and cawing to one another, and the traffic of workers already racing to their jobs. Thank you God for waking me up with energy.

Holy Spirit – You are My child in whom I love. You brighten up My day when I watch you play. Be yourself, Lara. Enjoy your day. Enjoy what I’ve given you. Enjoy, enjoy. For life is short.

Me – What else?

Holy Spirit – Read Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling Devotional – ” Demonstrate your trust in Me by sitting quietly in My presence. Put aside all that is waiting to be done, and refuse to worry about anything. This sacred time together strengthens you and prepares you to face whatever the day will bring. By waiting with Me before you begin the day’s activities, you proclaim the reality of My living presence. This act of faith-wait before working-is noted in the spirit world, where your demonstration of trust weakens principalities and powers of darkness. The most effective way to resist evil is to draw near to Me. When you need to take action, I will guide you clearly through My Spirit and My Word. The world is so complex and overstimulating that you can easily lose your sense of direction. Doing countless unnecessary activities will dissipate your energy. When you spend time with Me, I restore your sense of direction. As you look to Me for guidance, I enable you to do less but accomplish more.” inspired by Luke 12:22-26; Ephesians 6:12; Proverbs 16:3

Luke 12:22-26 “…since you (humans) can’t do this simple, little thing…” (which is adding one hour to your life. Simple? Little? That would be incredible if we could do that! Shows how small that is to God and implies He does much, much greater things.)

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.”

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

The Relationship Grows ~

My relationship with God was beginning to grow more and more. I was longing to go to Him first with my worries and problems and thoughts. I was looking forward to starting my day with Him before everyone woke up.

August 26th, 2011′ Journal Entry –

Jesus Calling (devotional) – “Trust Me in the midst of a messy day. Your inner calm, your peace in My presence need not be shaken by what is going on around you. Though you live in this temporal world, your innermost being is rooted and grounded in eternity. When you start to feel stressed, detach yourself from the disturbances around you. Instead of desperately striving to maintain order and control in your little world, relax and remember that circumstances cannot touch My peace…Seek My face, and I will share My mind with you, opening your eyes to see things from My perspective. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid. The peace I give is sufficient for you.” inspired by John 16:33; Psalm 105:4; John 14:27

Me – I can’t be perfect (I was very burdened by this. I wanted so much to be a good follower of Christ and be a good mom and wife and friend and housewife etc..)

Holy Spirit – No you can’t, but My grace is sufficient for you.

Me – My kids were my identity (They were now in school together for the first time)

Holy Spirit – Jesus is your identity

Me – I am sad God. Our kids are off in school. They are growing up so fast. I miss them. My identity is in Christ. What does that mean?

Holy Spirit – I will show you what it means. Walk with Me.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

40 Day Media Fast Begins ~

August 8th, 2011 Was the first day of my “so called” fast. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if God would speak to me and reveal all of life’s many secrets or if it was all in vain. Deep down I knew I would get something out of this time, but just wasn’t sure what it would be.

Now the Saturday before I thought I heard God’s voice ask me “If you can’t rest when you have the time to rest, how will you rest when you are busy?” I was pretty sure that was Him which helped me be obedient when I heard His voice again.

At 6:45am that Monday, God told me with the same voice, to get up to do my devotions. I resisted and said,’When am I going to get enough rest?’ He said, “I am your rest.” So reluctantly, but being obedient and open, I got up and went outside. I felt His presence with me and He continued to talk to me.

I also read from my Jesus Calling devotional and wrote in my journal everything that stood out to me from that day’s entry such as…”I speak to you from deepest heaven. You hear Me in the depths of your being. Deep calls unto deep. You are blessed to hear Me so directly. Never take this privilege for granted. The best response is a heart overflowing with gratitude. I am training you to cultivate a thankful mindset. This is like building your house on a firm rock, where life’s storms cannot shake you. As you learn these lessons, you are to teach them to others. I will open up the way before you, one step at a time.” (inspired by Psalm 42:7; Psalm 95:1-2; Matthew 7:24-25 in the bible)

What is interesting is that in the days to come I referred back to this again and again, underlining that which was speaking directly to me through God’s Spirit. I hold this Jesus Calling entry very dear to my heart.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

I’m Back ~

I have been trying to figure out what to say after being away for over a month.

I basically took a “networking” fast for 40 days that started in August. It was an incredible experience that made me think I might have received a window into what it must be like to be in rehab. God showed me how much He loved me. He peeled away the yucky sin that was holding me back. Ouch! He showed me what it meant to have a peaceful heart. There is so much to write about… It is going to take me some time to formulate it all into words. I want to be able to share what I discovered here on my blog.

Let me begin by saying I had come to the end of myself while I was on vacation with my family. I was tired of being concerned about my new EP all the time. I didn’t want to constantly be on the computer answering emails, networking, promoting, etc… That was becoming more of a priority then my dear family. I knew I had a major problem when my daughter cheered in the car as we were heading out on our vacation, when I told her I wasn’t going to be bringing my computer on our trip! During our travels I looked at Brian and said I was burnt out. I had never really been burnt out except with the kids of course. It scared me. I was starting to become afraid of being fearful. I knew what I was going through was a spiritual battle. Brian listened patiently and suggested I take a 40 day fast from all of the networking and internet and seek after God. He is such a wise husband. = ) So when we got back from vacation that is what I did.

I started by finding a journal specifically for my fast where I could write about my quiet times with God. I wanted to be raw and honest with my emotions and with my conversations with God. I also made it a point to read a great devotional my dad gave to me called, “Jesus Calling,” by Sarah Young. She takes a different approach to the typical devotionals I had read. She writes them as if Jesus himself was talking directly to us. She refers to scripture at the end of each devotion. It amazed me how much God spoke through those each day.

I am going to stop there for now. The next time I write, I hope to share some of what He revealed to me worts and all. I hope you will be inspired and encouraged on your journey through this life as you read my blogs. I believe with all my heart that whatever God has done for me, He will do for you. He does not have any favorites.

Til next time…Be blessed

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes