L.G. Westlake's Blog

January 22, 2021

The Door

“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:7-10

“I am the door,” is one of the seven “I am” statements found in the book of John.

This has been the hardest “I am” statement of the seven for me to relate to.

A door?

But if we set the stage by context, it’s easier to understand Christ’s claim. This is the passage where Christ spits in the mud, places that mud on a blind man’s eyes, then tells the man to go and wash himself. Doing as instructed, the life-long blind man receives sight. His neighbors, perhaps perplexed and perhaps in shock, neighbors take the previous blind man (PBM) to local Pharisees looking for an explanation. Seems the “how” was more important than the rejoicing over the man seeing his world for the first time.

Because it was the Sabbath and evidently giving sight to a blind man on the Sabbath was a Pharisaical no, no, the spiritual leaders claimed that Jesus could not possibly be a man of God or sent from God, because He broke (in their opinion) the Sabbath law … get this… by healing this man. The PBM and the Pharisees get into a back and forth about whether or not Jesus is who He claims to be when the PBM finally lays out the truth: Jesus is from God. The Pharisees take offense at this lowly and uneducated man’s statement and puff up their holy-robed chests. The PBM is immediately dismissed.

On the street, Jesus hears about the temple scuttlebutt and goes to find the PBM. He tells PBM that He is the Son of Man and to believe it. Jesus then reveals that He came to the world so that those who do not see will have their eyes opened. He meant this in more ways than one.

The blind man is one of those living, breathing metaphors that teach us how Christ is the cure for Spiritual blindness (and false teachings).The puffed-up Pharisees lurking nearby, and probably looking for opportunity to build a case against Christ, scoff at this statement and ask, “Are we also blind?”

This is where Jesus changes the conversation to a discussion about sheep gates and doors.

Seems disjointed but wait.

Jesus tells these Sabbath keepers that He is the door to the sheep’s pasture.


And he says all that came before him are thieves and robbers.

Uh oh. The Pharisees claimed to be the spiritual leaders and final word on spiritual situations long before Christ came along. Is he calling … accusing … these respected men … of being robbers?


Staying in context here, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees and accusing them of being thieves and robbers — those that have stolen sheep from the precious fold with their twisting of the law.

The thieves, he claims, have come to kill, steal, and destroy. Considering that throughout the New Testament, we’re warned time and again against false teachings, this is a serious charge against men who were considered the spiritual authorities of the day.

In Jeremiah 23:1, the prophet tells us that faulty pastors come as wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Christ echoes Jeremiah’s sentiment when He calls Pharisees thieves, robbers, and destroyers.

The battle against false teachings is not trifle. It is major warfare. We will see that Jesus calls himself The Truth in an upcoming blog, so anything He calls false is in direct opposition to all that He is.

In these latter days, it seems thieving wolves have entered the sacred sheepfold, toting false teachings that threaten to destroy our lambs. We have religious leaders accepting, even promoting, all kinds of anti-biblical principles in the name of unity. Other gaining religious fame tout tolerance and acceptance of lifestyles that oppose what Christ taught. It’s slick. Hardly noticeable because letting “you do you” is easier than calling sin sin.

It’s easy to drift into a “what’s the harm?” mentality. But these little altercations, according to this exchange between Christ and the accepted leaders of the day, prove that unless the teaching is pushed through the door of Christ, which is the doctrine of Christ, it is a false teaching. As the door, He is the doctrine.

Now I can relate.

Truth is not relevant. Truth cannot be twisted, watered down, hidden, or ignored for the long term. A day of reckoning approaches. The revealing day of Truth is speeding towards us. Truth is Christ and nothing else. Cling to it! Make darn sure that your doctrine is Christ’s absolute Truth doctrine. Check all teachings and proclamations by so-called prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers through the Word, which is Christ, which is Truth. We know in the last days, deceivers will come (it’s the first warning sign Christ gives His disciples in Matthew 24 that the latter days are wrapping up).

Mind blowing stuff, I know, but let us pray and claim Truth during these dark, deceptive days!
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Published on January 22, 2021 14:57

You're In the Story

Luke 1:5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the division of Abijah. And his wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

In Exodus and Leviticus, we are introduced to the four sons of Aaron (Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar) the beginning of the priestly line of Levites. The oldest two were killed by supernatural fire from the heavens after concocting their own brand of incense that had not been sanctified by God, and therefore, disobeyed God. This, as many of the facts found in the Old Testament is a forerunner/shadow of Christ’s sacrifice. (You are sanctified by Christ’s blood and not the work of man). The other two, younger sons of Aaron offered a sanctified sacrifice to the Lord but did not follow the commanded ritual completely. They, however, escaped immediate judgement.

More foretelling that we are saved by Grace and not works. (Eph. 2:8-9)

There is lots of history and shadowing surrounding Aaron’s sons, but did Aaron have daughters?

In the Christmas narrative found in the book of Luke, we see that yes, Aaron had daughters and Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, is a descendant from one of these women.

The nameless daughters of Aaron show up in the Gospel story.

Luke makes a point of letting us know that both Zechariah and Elizabeth are descendants of Aaron, making their future and long-awaited child a priestly-blooded son fit for serving in the temple before the Lord.

But John, as the Angel Gabriel explained to Zechariah, will be a different sort-of priest.

As a priest, he didn’t wear the jewel-adorned priestly garments. He wore camel hide. As a priest, he didn’t eat the reserved priestly portion of meat from sacrificed animals. He ate locust and honey. As a priest, he didn’t enter the temple to burn incense before the Lord. He burned hearts with truth in the desert beneath the blazing sun.

Radical John prepared the people for the coming and not-what-was expected Messiah.

I love this. It is no accident that John the Radical is linked not only to his father’s lineage, but also to his mother’s purposeful line.

Think about this: One of those nameless, ordinary women — whose brothers were making history – was selected to be mother who would train up children, who would train up more children, who would train up a mother, who would train up the priest that would rip apart tradition and open hearts for the coming Messiah.

Behind the scenes and without fanfare, ordinary women and men quietly made headway in God’s storyline for mankind.

Do you sometimes feel like a nameless daughter or son in the background?

Wait! A story is in process. An unexpected purpose lies ahead.

While the Christmas story is about the birth of our Savior, I love, love taking a deeper look at the ordinary people surrounding this glorious triumph.

Aaron’s daughters are given this beautiful nod in the Gospel story.

And you, my friend, have a nod coming, too. Doesn’t this give the words wait upon the Lord renewed fervor?

I cannot wait to meet these women in heaven. And likely, they cannot wait to meet you and me.

I anticipate, with great joy, hearing the story of generations preparing for the Messiah. I anticipate, with growing excitement, hearing how nameless people have prayed us through many miraculous moments, and how the ordinary turn out to be the extraordinary who showed up, sacrificed, and quietly gave their all to the Lord.

We are each a thread in a tapestry story woven by the Lord.

Take heart and be courageous for you have a God-sized nod coming.

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Published on January 22, 2021 14:51 Tags: daughters-of-aaron

August 28, 2019

A Writer's Apology

I’ve hosted a plethora of emotions when it comes to Quest for the Life Tree (QFTLT), the first book I penned. At the time I wrote it, I’d never had more than a high-school level creative writing course and the entire novel happened by accident or what I’d like to believe, by providence. In a whirlwind of blunders that I can see when looking back, I was encouraged to propose this book to a hybrid publisher. Within 24 hours, I had a contract in my hand. Knowing not what was behind door number one—the mysterious portal to the publication industry, I opened it and stepped right into the twilight zone.

I won’t go into every misstep, every high and every low of my writing journey, but I will say it’s been an adventure. Actually, the desire to capture a reader and catapult them into a new place of thought or action has become more like an addiction. (If you’re a writer—you get that.)

But back to QFTLT. To my jaw-dropping amazement, soon after making its rounds through the publisher’s editors and marketing department folks, QFTLT was deemed one of publisher’s Feature Titles and top eight books of the year. What? How did that happen to a debut author? The publisher then hand carried QFTLT to Barnes and Noble buyers in New York and QFTLT entered the very small percentage of books that every make it to the shelves of a major-brand, brick and mortar bookstore. Not that this has anything to do with success. There are e-book novels out there that have been read by thousands upon thousands of readers who’ve been inspired by the words they’ve devoured. But the initial success of QFTLT created this little false hope in my heart. I thought this was going to be an easy ride to the top of Mount Accomplished Writer.

It was no ride, but a rigorous climb. Soon after its release, a few readers gave me more than a little constructive feedback on QFTLT. One reader returned the book to me with her red-penned edits on practically every page.

What? But I thought…the publisher…was responsible for finding every typo and grammar oops. Turns out if I write it, I am ultimately responsible for the content. All of it.

And then came the first bad review. That reader wrote that the book was a heavy, choking sort-of allegory.

Heavy? Choking? I considered it a deep, allegorical experience. Had I overwritten it?

Unseasoned and naïve, I let the opinion of a few determine how I felt about my own work. I tanked. Seriously, I tumbled so low I decided I couldn’t possibly promote this horrible piece of work. I gave up on QFTLT, enrolled in creative writing classes and conferences, and found myself at a drawing board. I say “found” drawing board instead of “back to” drawing board because I didn’t start this journey at any board. My first novel was birthed in my heart where the Holy Spirit abides, not at a white board full of publishing-house standards.

I left QFTLT on the shelf of humiliation and moved on.

In the last few years, I’ve worked with editors, coaches, critique partners, and two literary agents. I’ve written four more books—books that have been edited to near death, plotted and replotted, scrubbed of my quirky voice, and passed around to every top-tier publishing company out there, all the while pretending that QFTLT didn’t exist. I feared that first, poorly written novel would hurt my credibility.

Sometimes the characters in QFTLT call to me from the dusty shelf I banished them to. There is more to their story, they say, not caring that I misspelled their names, or dropped a quotation mark from their passionate battle cries.

For nine years I’ve looked the other way whenever I’ve come across a QFTLT positive review or request for the sequel. For nine years, I’ve worked hard to create newer, deeper characters while QFTLT warriors yearned to get back to fighting for their king.

They don’t deserve my embarrassment. They, after all, created the first step in this journey of storying. This book deserves to be read by whomever desires to do so.

This is my public apology to the characters, myself, and to the readers who couldn’t get past the typos. I also apologize to that tender Holy Spirit who so often nudges this clueless fool. I am sorry! I own up to my work, quirky and passionate as it is.

QFTLT’s publisher went belly-up but I’ve put this book back on my website. It can still be bought through Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Quest-Life-Lau...

If you decide to give this book a read, thank you in advance. If you’re a reader that is distracted by a few mistakes, hold on, I have books that are polished up nicely coming your way. And to every writer that has sent his or her work out into the world and had some of it boomerang back to slap you in the face, I feel your pain. But remember, opinions are a cheap commodity because everyone has plenty on hand. Don't let them have more value than they should.

Keep going. Keep writing.

By the way, I do have another book coming out. Watch for it in 2020.

Living the dream,

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Published on August 28, 2019 20:25 Tags: writing-mistakes-publishing

March 21, 2018

Lessons de Africa

Going back to work with an international Bible ministry, I’ve been reminded of the year and a half we lived in Equatorial Guinea working with a Bible translation project in process there.

My reflections ignited a myriad of emotions as I recalled our ten-year-old son surviving an acute asthma attack while staying in a village that had no medical resources. We could only pray. And pray we did, into the cloudless night, begging God to put breath in our child. God’s answer that night was “yes.”

Then a long-forgotten fear gripped my heart when I saw a vision of our eight-year-old daughter carried, like a rag doll, unconscious into a medical facility. Again, we prayed and again the Lord’s mercy fell upon us. She left the crude hospital three days later walking out on her own two feet.

Sometimes, the answers to our prayers were “no,” and other prayers went, we thought at the time, unanswered. But living outside our cultural norms where our daily work was to survive, we became dependent upon prayer in a way few living in the Land of Luxury (USA) will ever experience.

Alongside a developing prayer life, we also learned many new life lessons—some of a physical nature but most bore a spiritual complexion. We rose each morning with the neighbor’s crowing rooster to the relentless class of equatorial village survival.

The lessons were so many, I’m sure some have gone dormant—lulled to sleep by my dreamlike, western lifestyle.

But recently one of these lessons popped into my mind, like the first popcorn kernel bursting from the heat of a microwave. It happened when I heard a media evangelist talk about the poor and their need for a stronger faith. My blood boiled and then pop, a picture of my kitchen in Equatorial Guinea exploded across the screen in my mind.

In the kitchen, I remembered, I had a pantry. Well, sort of. Open shelving hung above the counter and those shelves were stocked with canned tuna, instant oats, flour, sugar, and imported oils (I never did figure out how to cook with the local palm oil).

Let me back up and explain why my kitchen pantry is what I thought of when the evangelist suggested that if one finds themselves poor, then one is not giving his or her faith muscles a proper training.

Early on in our tenure of third-world living I found myself amazed by the spiritual maturity of the Christian Africans working with my husband in translation work. These simple-living souls had little opportunity for “formal” education, much less advanced theological studies, yet carried a weighty faith. Their spiritual and proverbial responses to my cultural groanings would leave me in awe.

Or twist the knife of conviction deep into my heart.

They suffered under a tyrannical dictator and most had little in the way of material means.

And me, well, I had a pantry.

The faithful Guineans I knew didn’t have the luxury of shelves stocked with food. They began each day with an empty plate and they began each day expecting God to fill it. Give us this day our daily bread were not words prayed as a corporate, spiritual exercise in church, but words my new friends lived by.

I must be honest and tell you that I have never asked the Lord to feed me on a daily basis. I’ve viewed the Lord’s example of prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) as a bigger, general prayer that covers a host of life’s disruptions.

I have had the faith to pray for big bold healings, interventions, and personal dreams. I’ve prayed the Lord move across the world through His Word, and that He bring peace to Jerusalem. I’ve told demons to get lost. I’ve prayed without ceasing for my children. But I’ve never headed out to lunch without money or credit card and said, “Give me, Lord, the food I need to eat now.”

That prayer requires a kind of faith that is fashioned through knowing God as Provider, Master, Keeper. It’s not a side of the Creator that is called upon often enough by those of us living in the Land of Luxury.

Do you understand how the media pastor’s words were an electromagnetic wave blowing up my brain like a bag of corn kernels?

I’d seen the faith of the Christian poor. It was big.

It is big and here is what Jesus says about it:

Blessed are the poor in spirit (those who recognize their need for God’s Spirit, for their spirit is lacking the ability for eternal life), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn (who know the depravity of man and are troubled by it), for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek (those who need God, daily, to survive), for they shall inherit the earth,
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (that know what it is to live under the rule of the unrighteous), for they shall be satisfied.

There’s so much to learn from an empty plate.

There’s so much to miss with a full pantry.

May we make spiritual judgments from our need and not from our abundance.

And Lord, may I come to you for my daily bread.

Emptying your plate,


PS There’s another lesson de Africa I remember but this one is from the muddy market streets teeming with entrepreneurs loaded with goods from the jungle and buyers quibbling over costs.

The best pineapples are covered in flies.

Go figure that one.
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Published on March 21, 2018 13:07 Tags: building-faith, faith, the-poor

February 26, 2018

Palm Beach and Prisons

When having tea with a new friend in Palm Beach, Florida, I was reminded of a certain verse of Scripture. I’ve meditated on James 1: 1-4 for three days now.

Let me start at the beginning. I work for an amazing ministry that sends me out to meet with the people who invest in our international work. I have the privilege of getting to know and working with some giants of faith, those who understand the urgency of the Great Commission. I consistently walk away from a donor brief with insight into what the Lord is doing in the world today. I’m telling you, I am blessed to do this work.

This meeting in Palm Beach was no different.
I’ll call my new friend Jessica. Sipping tea and looking beyond the sun-kissed tourists lounging around the pool and elaborately draped cabanas, Jessica’s gaze fell on the turquoise-blue waters of the Atlantic. “It is beautiful here,” she said.

Then she told me of some ugly places she’s seen.

Jessica explained that the Lord has allowed her, in small part, to see some of the hard-to-understand cruelties of life. Jessica is a lawyer who works pro bono for impoverished juveniles caught in the prison system. She’s wondered around the bowels of earth, the place where those who have been devoured by Satan now dwell. And she goes there without compensation.

I’m not kidding.

There we sat, at the Four Seasons Hotel, no less, and talked of boys who had little hope for a future. Boys caught in a vicious cycle of evil.

I shared one of my own stories. I’ve seen prison. I’ve had a child dwell there.

That’s when Jessica mentioned James 1: 1-4 to me. She reminisced that life is full of trials, and there’s no escaping this truth this side of eternity.

Powerful. Powerful reminder of God's work.

When I returned from my travels, I looked up notes I’d written years ago on these exact verses. There, I found that I’d mined four nuggets from the waters of truth flowing through the book of James. Here they are:

1. When I am in a trial, I am in by God’s design. (Acts 17:26)
2. When I am in a trial, I am under God’s keeping. (Psalm 121:3)
3. When I am in a trial, I am under His training. (Isaiah 64:8)
4. When I am in a trial, I am in God’s timing. (Acts 17:26, again)

When the Lord pulls me away from sunny shores and drops me into the ashes of this world, it is by design. And that, is beautiful.

Trials prove the Lord righteous and trials prove the Lord trustworthy.

How, you might ask, does all this talk of beautiful beaches and boys in prison come together in James 1:1-4? Here’s my answer: the world our Holy God created is a place of immense beauty and peace but has been marred by the work of an evil force. As children of God, we experience both extremes.

This is why the Great Commission is so very important. We must go into the bowels, along with Jessica, and share the beauty of the Gospel. Share our trials. Share our God.

Eternity is coming.

I pray you consider your trials as God’s design. And I pray you’ll not stop with your inward reflections, but outwardly share these truths with those who have not yet heard the lovely truth of God’s salvation.



Got a little something from my spiritual ramblings? Please like me on FB @LaurieGreenWestlake

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Published on February 26, 2018 09:32 Tags: james-1, trials

December 20, 2017

Crushed Olives

I had the chance to sit on a patch ground on the Mount of Olives in a garden facing Jerusalem. The story of Gethsemane - Christ taking Peter, James, and John to pray the night before his mockery of a trial ensued - came to life in a tangible way.

I’m not sure that I sat in the exact spot where Jesus, three times, beseeched his closest disciples (human-flesh friends) to pray with him. But considering there are only so many positions you can take on the Mount of Olives to look down upon Jerusalem, I got the gist of the view and what happened that extraordinary, yet woeful night two-thousand years ago.

The experience chilled my heart. In a holy way.

A Messianic Jewish teacher recounted the story for me and the others gathered there. His breath quickened as he spoke of Jesus climbing his way up the rocky hill to the olive grove. His arms flailed about as he described Jesus sweating blood. His eyes brimmed with tears as he spoke of Judas’ kiss.

Reading the Gethsemane story in black ink on cream-colored, fine paper is a privilege I don’t take lightly. Thank God, He has given us the Scriptures. But hearing someone who knows the terrain and understands ancient Jewish culture tell the account is like no experience I’ve read. God speaks in pictures and the picture of Jesus praying in the garden surrounded by olive trees is a visual lesson the Jews lived out every day in the land of abundant, fruitful groves. I found a treasure buried in the story of the ordinary, Jewish olive garden.

Did you know that in the days of Jesus, an olive grove was called a garden? That an olive garden would always have an olive press within it? The night of his betrayal, Jesus took the disciples into an olive-garden word picture that foretold of the coming hours.

The word “Gethsemane” means olive press. Jesus and his three amigos went up to a clunky, rock, olive press to pray.

Here’s a look at what would typically happen in Gethsemane at harvest time. After beating his olive trees with a stick so the fruit would fall to the ground, the gardener would carry his olive-laden baskets directly to the nearby press. Presses were always built within the grove because the baskets of fruit were too heavy to carry up and down a mountain. At the press, a heavy stone would roll over the olives, pressing down upon the black berried fruit to extract oil. The pressing process took place three times, wringing every droplet of oily goodness from the tiny fruit. Then the oil was bottled and sold, primarily, as lamp oil. Olive oil is how they lit their homes and the temple courts in those days.

It’s no coincidence that Jesus chose an olive grove as a place of prayer that fateful night.

It is more than happenstance that the method for getting fruit from the olive tree was by beating the branches so those little black balls would plummet to the ground. (Does “I am the vine and you are the branches” ring true here?)

It is not by chance that Jesus asked the three disciples with him to pray three times, for three times he was pressed.

It is by design that olive oil was used to light lamps all over the world.

Jesus compared Israel to an olive tree. Paul tells you and me that we’ve been grafted into this magnificent, yet strange-looking shrub.

The imagery here is fantastic.

I walked back down the Mount of Olives that day smiling, knowing that where Jesus sweat blood among his little olive trees and sleepy disciples is where he’ll place his feet again. Soon. And on that day, the very mountain of His burden will be split in two, redeeming the story of Gethsemane.

If you’re feeling like a tiny olive that's been beaten, hurled to the ground, then crushed under the weight of a burdensome stone, take heart. Your sweaty mess is lamp oil that illuminates a world for a Christ.

God gives us extraordinary lessons from the ordinary things in life.

Faith really does come by hearing.

‘Till all have heard,

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Published on December 20, 2017 08:09 Tags: gethsemane, oil, olive

July 9, 2017

A Lack of Wings

Someone once told me that after their grandmother died, she became a beautiful angel in heaven. This gal had been raised in the church. She’d even attended a private, Christian college.

Her background allowed me the space to address that little hiccup head on.

“You’re a sweet gal,” I said. “But your theology is off. Your grandmother may well be with Jesus and doing some awesome stuff, but she was not created as, nor ever will be an angel.”

My friend looked at me wide-eyed then blinked. Cute as she was, I had to explain the difference between humans and angels. I don’t say “had to” in the context that it was a chore I begrudgingly took on. I say, “had to,” because I felt if I didn't share the truth, this gal may come to believe all sorts of fallacies. We’re so capable of following the trail of heresies, Jesus often referred to us as sheep - animals with limited brain capacity who will follow any-old path to self-seeking greener pastures.

I am passionate about doctrine. I get asked “why” all the time. Recently, after railing against the current, and popular notion that God’s creation account in Genesis is not a literal, six-day description, a friend asked me, “What does it matter? What does that have to do with salvation?”

My answer? Everything. Every-thing.

Doctrine matters. So does grace and grace abounds where our doctrines are often wrong. But the Scriptures warn us to be sleuths when it comes to uncovering the truth from the Word of God because in the last days, false teachings will be so slick, so attractive, we stand the chance of being deceived. This results in our heading out to deceptive, green-looking pastures.

I’ll write on the creation account and why that matters in another blog. Today’s exposé on false teachings about angels allows me to start slow and build from here.

Those who know me well know that I can’t stop myself sometimes. My brain goes into overdrive when I hear obvious, false and sometimes just silly theology. Recently, after learning I was a Christian, a new friend set out to defend her own, made-up, theology which was a blend of new age and Hinduism (defined as Syncretism). She wrapped up her aggressive discourse with a “After all, God loves everybody, and that’s what Jesus said.”

You won’t believe what Scripture blasted through my brain as soon as those words came out of her mouth. “Jacob I loved, but Esau, I hated.” Romans 9:9-13.

Don’t freak out. I didn’t quote this verse to her to convince her she was wrong about Jesus’ love for mankind. I believe that Jesus died for all, loving all, wanting none to perish. But, the Esau Scripture blew up my brain and I was forced to do something with it.

Which is the point of doctrine. We are forced to examine the parts of the Bible that ruffle our feathers, make us squirm, and don’t fit into our feel-good-God boxes. Doctrine matters because it forces us to look at just who God says He is. Which is sometimes quite different from who we want Him to be.

"But really," Laurie, I can hear you ask. "What harm is done if a few biblically illiterate believers think we become angels when we die?"

This innocent-looking little hiccup alters God’s redemption story.

Jesus didn’t become an angel in order to reconcile fallen angels back into a relationship with God.

That privilege was given to man alone.

Christ put on flesh and bone to become like one of his lowly human creatures. Humans are redeemed. Angels are not. This is radical and so mind-blowing, even angels are fascinated by it. (1 Peter 1:12). As we should be.

Doctrine keeps us looking at God’s revelations about who he is, and away from our own, limited reasoning skills. Holding to doctrine is taking a stance on God’s Word. To say I want to be doctrinally correct is to say, "I am a created thing and my creator has revealed all of himself to me through the Word (which is also Christ, John 1). And as a created thing, I am in subjection to the Creator. Even when it doesn’t make sense to my wee, little brain."

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

In this blog, I’ve taken a very simple, misunderstanding to illuminate the need for sound doctrine. In coming blogs, we’ll look at more complex, often debated Bible passages that get twisted around and used to create fake beliefs about God and His purposes.

I don’t have mighty angel wings. But I do have fingers and I type away, fighting against the fake dogmas looking to pull you and me away from truth.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” our human king explained. The question is not “Does doctrine matter? The question is, “Do I believe the Word?

“And the Word became flesh…”

Till More,
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Published on July 09, 2017 09:55 Tags: angels, doctrine, false-teachings

June 21, 2017

Live From Heaven

Hebrews 4:12 is one of my favorite Scriptures. This passage proclaims that God's Word can do miraculous things inside of you. It's not just a book to enlighten us (although it does), but it is a tool that defies the laws of matter.

Taking a brief look at this profound passage, we learn an outstanding truth about God's Word.

Let's review the context before digging into this amazing proclamation.

Evidently, a chance that we could miss God's rest exists, even if we believe we follow Christ. In the passages leading up to 12, the writer of Hebrews has given us an historical example of this by reminding his readers that many of God's followers (following Moses) sinned in the wilderness after being led miraculously out of slavery in Egypt.

The people of the great Exodus saw enormous miracles before and during this world-changing event, but when these eye-witnesses got to the wilderness - when things got tough - they forgot God's promises. As a result of unbelief, thousands died, never entering rest (The Promised Land). This is a picture of a salvation not grasped; not fully believed. Entering rest means entering God's eternal salvation - both a literal and figurative place far from the curses of the earth.

It’s hard to imagine how any one who witnessed the plagues pummeled upon their ruler (pharaoh); or had an Angel of Death pass over their little mud-brick house; or see a body of water part down the middle and roll out a red carpet could come to a point of disbelief.

But it happened.

If these miracle-seeing, freed people can lose their trust after experiencing these mind-bending events, then so can you and/or me.

But living in the age of Grace, God has given us the ultimate weapon of defense in our salvation. His Word.

The written Word has a power that protects us from the unthinkable.

It is:
1. Living – it has breath and blood. It’s alive just like you.
2. Active – it is in motion, never stagnate. It’s moving you places even when you don’t notice.
3. Sharp – it can alter you. It’s a tool God uses to cut away the excess baggage we carry around and it cuts into our lives to expose the sin that lurks there like a cancer.

What it does:
1. Pierces – when we ingest truth, that truth penetrates our belief system and exposes our sin; reveals our unbelief
2. Judges – the book laying on your nightstand is able to judge you: your heart, motives, actions, desires.

The living, breathing, and chosen way God has decided to reveal himself is through Jesus, who is the Word. (See first chapter of John where that’s explained) And the Bible is a representation of Jesus for us today. When we interact with this representative, this shadow of the real Savior, we build a defense against the death-inducing, rest-defying unbelief the writer of Hebrews spent thirty-something verses talking about.

Live from Heaven, the Word of God reveals a Living God and revalutionizes the walking dead.

It's like we receive a free mental and spiritual upgrade every time we read the Word.

I try to imagine what it will be like in the coming days when I’m with the Flesh Word having coffee in his office, or hanging out by the throne one afternoon.

I want to hear him say, “Well done my faithful servant, Laurie.”

But I also want to hear Him say, “Hey, every time you read me, I did some pretty awesome work in you, Laurie. Loved those times we spent together, me working in your heart and changing things.”

How cool would that be?

We've been warned that in the last days that false teaching (2 Timothy 4:3-4) will lead many astray, just as false teachings weaved through the camps of Israel during the Exodus. The only defense against these deadly theologies is to know the Living and Active Word.

Defend your greatest treasure - your salvation.

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

written by:
Laurie Green Westlake
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Published on June 21, 2017 07:13 Tags: active-word, hebrews-12-commentary, living-word

July 8, 2016

Virtue, Where are You?

It seems our society crumbles and evil pervasive as our nation’s leaders lose sight of their primary objective to serve the people, allowing them to be the shining city on a hill. The format of our democracy does not put leaders above us, but rather among us. In the United States of America, we govern ourselves and we once governed with virtue. It seems that virtues are lacking today and the proof is in the upcoming candidates selected to run for the office that should be the most virtuous in the world, the office of the president of the United States of America.

I have found myself perplexed as our current candidates spew crude remarks, spin tragedy to promote their agendas, lie to cameras that put their words before the nation, and fight to keep a position that was intended to be a temporary, sacrificial assignment. And there are no consequences that we require of their childish, selfish behaviors. It seems to me the quest for power has trumped (no pun intended) the quest for righteousness.

I am concerned.

The Preamble to our Constitution states, “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

We the People. When the constitution was written, “We the People” consisted of men and women who had lived under an unjust monarchy and suffered beneath the weight of religious oppression. But these pioneers were overcomers and in their new land, they held a unique allegiance to a faith that had prepared them for the future. For most who had braved the journey to wild America, the Bible provided a moral, self-governance manual that made survival in a new land possible.

Historians agree that the founding fathers of this great nation respected the Christian values found in Scripture. Even those who were not professing Christians understood that in order for the exciting and revolutionary idea of a new democracy to work, a moral compass would be key. The virtue of the rugged American people made the idea of a free nation possible. Even Ben Franklin, a self-proclaimed Deist who dismissed his Christian roots wrote, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”

Our leaders need to be reminded of the assets of virtue and the consequences of evil. If evil prevails, we will all lose, including those who altered laws and watered down God’s truths.

In Eric Metaxas’s recent book, IF YOU CAN KEEP IT: THE FORGOTTEN PROMISE OF AMERICAN LIBERTY, he reveals the spirit of our founding fathers’ beliefs. Metaxas cites John Adams who wrote, “The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue.”

Metaxas also cites French historian Alexis de Tocqueville who recorded his observations following a visit to America forty years after the constitution was created: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

In his book, Metaxas also explains the premise of “The Golden Triangle” that was woven into the fabric of society and culture of the people who dared to govern themselves when the Constitution was written. The triangle’s sides are freedom, virtue, and faith. Freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, and faith requires freedom.

How true.

Today, “We the People” are military servants, the Black Lives Matter, police officers, evangelicals, the hipsters, the liberals, the conservatives and the tea sippers. We are the millennials, gen exes, and the last of the baby boomers. We are the parents, sisters, brothers, and children of those who have lost their lives protecting our freedoms and those who have lost their lives to senseless tragedies that multiply at alarming rates. We are the rich, the poor, and the middle-of-the-roaders that make up the “people” charged with keeping the most powerful and yet fragile government in the world as a beacon—a beacon shining it’s light for the glory of God.

I recently heard Duck Dynasty’s bearded leader speak at gathering of concerned conservatives. He spoke more like a prophet than a billionaire hunter. I made many notes, surprised at the convictions that stabbed at my heart. He read Scripture that warned of a wrath to come if we continued to leave God out of our nation. After talking about how one of our country’s major political parties had removed God from their national platform, he said, “If the Republicans take God out of their party, I’m going with Him [God].” He then prayed and walked off the stage.

Phil Robertson is going to follow God, not a political party. But his statement told me that if anything is honoring God, even a political view, it is good. We follow God and sometimes we follow Him into a political arena which I admit was a weird concept for me. I’ve tried to keep my political views about capitalism and not Christianity because I’ve seen lots of Christians get passionate about their politics while living luke-warm Christian lives. But once I read what our founders believed as they formed a new and terribly risky government, I realized that politics is not left or right, but about honoring God with our nation.

In the past two hundred years, bold, virtuous America has been a help to millions of people and bold, virtuous America has been the center of evangelism and great commission work around the world.

But today, I woke up to discover that twelve police officers in Dallas had been shot and five had died after recent incidents where police in other areas were involved in questionable shootings. This after the tragedies in Orlando, San Bernardino, the beheading of Christians in the middle east, the slavery of children stolen in other countries, and on and on.

Virtue, where are you?

And yet, virtue is in us. It may not outwardly surround us, but it lives within those who follow the Lord and His Word.

We must live our virtue. We must crawl out of our comfortable fox holes and engage in spiritual battle at every level of society. We must be like those wildly brave men and women who first dared to govern themselves in the beginning of our fragile republic under the banner of a virtuous Christ. We will be mocked, ridiculed, or even persecuted, but let not our hearts not be troubled, for our Savior wrote: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (Matthew 5:11)

Campaign for virtue. Protest for virtue. Speak out to congress, senators, local officials, churches, and any group you are associated with. To be silent is to support the darkness that creeps upon our society.

We must talk about God and His will for the people that make up this nation and the world beyond.

And vote for virtue.

Don’t sit this election out even though it seems we are without virtuous options. Research, read, and know to the best of your ability the person you are selecting to lead this fledgling nation founded for God. To sit this presidential election out is to crawl back into your comfortable foxhole and say, “I won’t fight unless God gives me what I want.”

Be brave. Trust God. Newsflash here: God is on the throne. He hasn’t been removed so vote like you know He is in control of our nation; of all the nations. Because He is in control and He is watching.

Because we remain one nation under God.

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Published on July 08, 2016 12:36 Tags: politics, virtue, vote

December 5, 2015

You Can't Handle The Truth

When I watch or read the news lately, I feel like the commentator, the writer, or the political force behind the information given sends me a subliminal and ugly message that says "You can't handle the truth." As unbelievable lies spill, like sing-song nursery rhymes, into my ears, I can just see Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men clinch his jaw, curl his lips, and belt his declaration into the courtroom, "You can't handle the truth!"

Actually, I can. I can handle The Truth.

The Truth is a person (John 14:6). One I love and am devoted to. And I know Him well, as Truth has revealed Himself through powerful and historical writings called the Word.

It has occurred to me that if one does not believe in The Truth, one must be comfortable with the Father of Lies. Perhaps this is why today's global leaders, and some leaders operating on a smaller scale, promote agendas that attempt to suffocate Truth. To them, Truth is vague, unfamiliar, and intimidating. And to them, lies are concrete, controllable, and agenda pushers.

To know The Truth and be set free by it (John 8:31) one must be ready to give away human logic, self perceptions and self rights. This type of self-denial blows a lie-believer's mind. Giving up the treasured "self" opposes everything they've been taught.

Look at this way: if a lie-believer were to lay down his life to follow Christ, there would be no throne to sit upon in his or her carefully built kingdom of self.

I'm not surprised that lies abound today. Over and over again, Christ warned of a coming deception (see Matthew 24) that would lead many astray at end of this age (If talk of the end times scares you, take heart, a glorious new age is close at hand).

I can handle the Truth and I must. It's a call to every believer living today.

Live brave.

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Published on December 05, 2015 10:36 Tags: end-times, lie, truth