Monday, 22 May 2017

Who Among us?

I was reading in Isaiah and in the back of my head, wondering all the time, how our God is going to provide for us in this time of drought in our city/province.  Things have gotten very serious for people whose business is related to water.  We, for example, are in the pool industry, and due to the bad drought conditions, our dams are basically at critical low to empty levels, we may not top up pools, we may not fill pools without a permit by the end of the month, the council appears to be drawing out approval of plans that are pool related, water has gone up in price substantially to discourage the overuse of it, so people are not buying pools, our industry (among others) is suffering....

Thus our incomes are suffering...

But God....

So as I sit here and read Isaiah, this is the scripture that took my breath away:
(Additionally, not only are we suffering from awful drought, our politics are in a mess, there is a lot of hatred and racial tension, and much poverty in and around our city but also our country is in a financial and political hotpot of corruption etc... For me this scripture spoke into all those things.....)

Isaiah 33 v 14(b) - 16:  (14b)... Who among us can dwell with that devouring fire?  Who among us can dwell with those everlasting burnings?
(15) He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises gain from fraud and from oppression, who shakes his hand free from the taking of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes to avoid looking upon evil.
(16) [Such a man] will dwell on the heights;  his place of defence will be the fortress of rocks;  his bread will be given him;  water for him will be sure.

My jaw metaphorically hung open.  Recently, I have been encouraged to, when reading the word, ask myself what do I think God is telling me.  So I asked myself, "Tracy, what do you think God is saying to you here?"  And I broke it down like this...


Who among us can live in these tough circumstances?
  1. he who walks righteously, does what is right despite tough times
  2. he who speaks uprightly, speaks good, positive things, sticks to the truth
  3. he who won't sink to fraud or oppress someone for gain, desperation does not lead to dishonesty
  4. he who will not take a bribe, no matter how desperate they are, or how attractive the offer
  5. he who stops his ears from hearing bloodshed!  I'm not too sure but I think this would mean don't get all involved and focus on the evil out there
  6. he who shuts his eyes to avoid evil.  I think in desperate times, people give up on themselves and sink to darker levels and accept things they shouldn't etc.  So, no compromise in what you watch, listen to, or do.

And the result of behaving as the man does above, in these tough circumstances?
  1. Such a man will dwell in the heights, (safety?)
  2. Such a man's defence will be a fortress of rocks (safety?), He will be safe from what is happening around him
  3. To such a man his bread will be given - he will be fed, his needs met
  4. To such a man water will be secure - he shall not thirst...
Isn't that astounding?  Actually, if we read the word of God often enough, and recount all the Lord has already done for us in the past, we should not be shocked.  We should definitely be grateful, thankful, and praise the Lord for His goodness.  But we should not be surprised!  

Recently I was stressing about a situation and as the Lord does, He came through for us at the last minute.  I was truly humbled, and amazed.  How He came through for us was not what I expected at all.  I remember telling the Lord, I am so sorry I doubted You.  You have NEVER let us down.  Why would You let us down now?  This time, I am choosing to trust the Lord no matter how things seem and in that, I have peace.  Sure, there is a little anxiety floating around there somewhere, but I try to speak to it with words from God's word:  He shall not leave us nor forsake us... He will make a way, where there seems to be no way.... He longs to show His grace and mercy toward us... He will not let us be put to shame, for His name sake...

I am so thankful for His word that encourages and holds me up.  He is my fortress and my comfort.  In Him will I trust.  Join me today as we journey forward in our walk of faith, trusting the Lord to provide for us, and protect us in all circumstances.

God bless
Tracy


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Set Free!

I would say for the last year I have been struggling with stuff I should not be struggling with.  My previous posts hint at that.  Rejection, resentment, anger, self-loathing, persecution complex, insecurity, mama guilt, etc etc etc!

And I have been delving into the Word, trying to absorb it into my very being, in the hope that it would change me from inside.  And truth be told, it has and does do that!  But, I think sometimes we hang onto all that baggage a little too tightly, and before we can walk forward, we are mired again, in the sticky mud of human emotions and oppression.

But... God....!

So, I'm sitting in the lounge feeling sorry for myself and decided to watch an episode of Robert Morris' ministry.  This particular section/session is called Set Free, and it was the last session of a series of which I had seen none.  Man, was I blown away.  He starts by saying he is going to pray for us all at the end of that session, for the release from all those things listed above and a host of others.

I'm thinking, okay, lets hear this out.  All I can tell you is that what he said, how he said it, and the prayer at the end, has changed me!  At the end, I stood alone in my lounge, hands in the air and prayed with him.  I prayed for the Lord to release me from all those things as he mentioned them... And can I just say, I felt, for the first time in a lonnnnng time, that I could breathe!  Really inhale and exhale and breathe freely.  Now I don't mean due to physical lung issues.  I mean spiritually, in my soul, heart released, joyful breathing!


That was a few weeks ago, and still I feel released of those things.  I make decisions because I have the confidence to stand for what I decide.  Stupid example, my hair was driving me mad!  But having cut it a year ago, and regretting it, I decided to grow it again, and stick it out, and go through that everyday hating-what-you-look-like-while-it-grows stage!  Once released... set free, I looked in the mirror and thought, "I want it short, I like it short, and that is what I am going to do"!  I literally climbed in my car, drove to the hairdresser and told her to lop it off!  And I AM LOVING IT!

Another example!  Because of things that have happened in this family, as a Mom I have been consumed by much guilt.  Guilt for things I had no control over!  How does it manifest?  In every decision that needs to be made with regards to my children.  And Praise the Lord, with prayer, encouragement from great friends, my decisions are beginning to be made from a guilt-free place and thus I am not easily manipulated into doing what is wanted, but make my decisions based on what is fair and right (in general, no one's perfect right?!).

Eph 4 vs 31-32:  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. (32) Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.

One thing Robert Morris says in this talk is that these things periodically attach themselves to us over time and we have to keep being aware of them and remembering all we are in Christ and to believe the truth of the word and not the lies of the devil.  Evaluate your heart!  Evaluate your feelings and if you find, when comparing what you feel with God's truth, you find they are lies, let them go, trust God to release you from those things and renew your minds daily with the truth.  I know that I spent A LOT of time in my head, repeating the lies until I believed them.  We have to capture those thoughts and replace them with God's truth.

God bless lovely ladies.... be encouraged, God will never leave you nor forsake you! His word says so, therefore it is so!

God bless
Tracy

Here is a link to the session I watched!  The Blessed Life - Set Free - Robert Morris I believe it will bless you big!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Time to get Real!

I haven't blogged much for a good part of 2 years now.  There are many reasons.  One is social media.  I think you get so sucked into it, its so easy, so informative, and you feel like you are linked in, connected.... but really at the end of the day, I just felt disconnected.  Secondly, I have so much on my heart to say, but I just couldn't fathom what to say, to say how I felt, and truly, its hard to encourage when a sense of hopelessness starts to tinge your every day thinking.  And add to that, becoming real and posting it on social media where some people could decipher through my vagueness for the sake of not hurting anyone, kinda put me off sharing....

The other day we visited friends, for a cuppa and a chinwag, and I wanted to drop something off that I had made her, and on our way out, I made a statement about not being able to cope with anymore "events" or hurt as I felt overwhelmed already, and I started crying out of nowhere.  Hard to hold it all in sometimes!  I mumbled my hurts and said among other things how I hardly blogged anymore, and she said, "No, Tracy, go write how you feel down, go let it all out!  Don't give it up, it helps you."

And so I started taking measures to, well, for lack of better words, get real in my life.  I decided to let go of those things that have become negatives in my life instead of positives.  Or at least change things so that the negatives are not what I focus on.

And because doing all that has freed up so much time, I now can start blogging about what I feel, how all this is helping me to grow, etc!  My posts are going to be more punchy!  Less smoothed out!  More fresh, more real!  And I feel good about that.  It reminds me of Psalms because David was so real.  He vented, and he praised, and he was still called a man after God's own heart.  I think sometimes as Christians we feel we have to be so careful and politically correct.  Now don't get me wrong!  I have no desire to offend anyone.  I just want to say it like it is for me, and I promise to read what I have written before I push "Publish"!  👀


I intend to remain true to my blog goals as well, which are as follows:
  • My goal is to be encouraging and positive
  • I want to journal what I feel God wants me to write
  • I will write my blog not desiring responses, but really grateful and encouraged to receive them
  • My blog is not about my day to day life, unless its to make a point in a message
  • If I can make someone smile, thats good too!
  • As much as I enjoy blogging, my family must not lose out because I'm glued to the computer
  • Most importantly, if I can point anyone to God and His word, I would have achieved my goal.

I'm currently reading through Isaiah and reading a biblical scholar's take on Isaiah at the same time. This scholar says how although much of what we read there is depressing and doom and gloom because of Israel's disobedience, the end goal, the thread throughout is salvation, restoration, and great joy. The point I am making is that although one of my goals is to always be positive, if by expressing how negative I am feeling, or have felt, if that leads to a positive outcome, a pointing to God, then I am okay with that.

Join me in taking the time to examine our hearts, ask the Lord to expose what is in there, and lets clear out the muck and replace it with God's goodness and love.

So, time to be real, dig deep and trust the Lord in the overcoming of tough stuff.

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 24 April 2017

Rejecting Rejection!

Rejection has never really been my thing.  I do not go out of my way to reject anyone, nor has the rejection of others bothered me much..... until lately....

I think because it seems to be becoming a theme in my life for the last 10 years and one rejection on top of another, however small and insignificant, after a big hurt kinda burns doesn't it?!

The dent in my armour is not rejection!  It is not what messes with my head and I will not accept it either.  One dent in ye olde armour is more than enough to battle with year in and year out.  I so don't need another.  So right here, and right now, I declare "I reject rejection"!

Whether someone rejects me on purpose or not, I will not make it my issue.  I am good enough and acceptable to the Lord as I stand, faults and all and although there is much growth and change that needs to take place, its not going to come from a place of rejection.

Now, having said that, maybe the Lord is trying to teach me something.  What though?  Is it that He wants me to feel secure standing alone?  Does He want me to feel contentment in the face of not being wanted (as apposed to being needed and used)?  Or is it simply just a little rejection along the way to inoculate me against a larger rejection to come?  Oi vey!  Whatever it is I lay it at His feet and I give it to You Jesus.  I do not accept this rejection!  And in the words of Joseph, prince of Dreams, the animated classic, "I don't need to know everything, just know that You know more than me and that is okay."


I'm still digging myself out of the rejection funk, but I know when its dealt with, I will be stronger for it and I will be content if someone, with whom I want to have closeness, does not want the same thing with me and I will use that opportunity to bless them, release them, and cultivate stronger relationships with those who do choose to spend time with me.

Psalm 34 v 18:  The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

John 1 v 11:  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
Jesus suffered much rejection - He surely and absolutely understands how we feel!

Romans 8 v 31: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?Yes, what others think of us is not nearly as important as what God thinks of us.

I read something the other day that says what others think of us is none of our business 😆!  Lol, so true!  Let us rather focus on what God thinks of us, and that is that He loved us so much He sent His only Son to die on a cross for us!  So much love you cannot smother with any amount of rejection and hurt.

God bless
Tracy

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Do Not Be Afraid!

Things have gotten a little tough around here.  There is a terrible drought, the worst for us in over 100 years apparently, and because of that, very strict water restrictions are in place.  Well, for us in the pool industry, thats a real business buster.  When people are not allowed encouraged to not install or fill pools, its a real downer financially.

Many people in industries for whom water is part of their business, car washes, doggie parlours, garden services, roof cleaners, window cleaners, and many more are finding the current lack of water a trying time.

Then there is our government!  Well, as I am not a politician, let me say very little on the issue except, we need God to intervene desperately!   We have plenty people of all walks of life, gathering regularly to peacefully show their unhappiness at all that is going on, and it is quite confusing as a Christian to know what is the right thing to do, what to participate in!  One thing I know for sure, prayer is ALWAYS the best option.  So, on the 22 April, we have had a call as a nation, to gather a million or more people in one place, a farm outside of Bloemfontein, to come together, to repent as a nation, to fall on our knees in our need of our God and King!  To pray for rain, both spiritually and in the natural, and for God to work change in our government!  We as Christians are so excited about this event.  As a family we won't be going, due to logistics etc but that does not stop us from praying with them, in our homes, in our cars, at the grocer, anywhere, anytime!

Click HERE for more info

The theme in all this for us as a country is "Its time!"  Time to come together and stand together as a nation before the Lord...  I am so excited about what the Lord is going to do for us and in us as a nation.... Watch this space people!  Watch this space! 💚

With all these things mulling around in my head, the worry of tomorrow (hmmm, not supposed to do that right?) I read the following encouragement on my instagram account from Esther Ministries :
To those who find themselves in the furnace today, not knowing if they can stand the heat much longer, remember that you are not alone in the fire! Do not be afraid! Take heart! You will not be harmed! You will come out of the furnace not even smelling of smoke.

"So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!" (Daniel 3:26-27)

Take courage! Even if the furnace is turned up 7 times, still you will be untouched by the fire. You have heavenly protection and angels surrounding you. You might not see it while you're in it, but as you come out, you and those around you will stand astonished at how you walked through fire and have not been burned. 

My encouragement to you in whatever it is that you face, you are not alone in that furnace!  God is with you and you will come through this without even the stench of smoke on you!

God bless
Tracy

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