Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Follow YOUR path... Not someone else's!

There is so much "help" and "advice" out there which is just plain confusing most of the time.  When you have a decision to make in your life and you start researching what to do, you end up finding a lot of stuff that just makes things worse.

WORLDLY ADVICE
As a Christian the worldly advice is easy to avoid.  Well, sort of anyway.  It may take a while but when you take the time, and make the effort, to measure the world's advice against scripture... well it does not take long to figure out that it is usually anti what the Lord would encourage you to do or which path to take.

FRIEND'S ADVICE
This is a tough one.  Firstly, your friends speak from a variety of experiences that colour their opinions and advice.  They may have gone through what you currently are going through and their choices were good ones, for them, or maybe not such good choices, but the results are not yet there for all to see, if ever.  They may encourage you one way or another based on their hurt, which is not objective.  They may even use scripture to back their choices and decisions up, but even that can be subjective because if you try hard enough, you can get a scripture to fit your desire.  And even more confusing, their advice based on their choices may have been perfect for them, but their circumstances, however similar, are not your circumstances, nor necessarily where God is leading you.

WOMEN IN MINISTRY'S ADVICE
This for me is becoming a bit of a "thing".  Not because I believe that they are not giving good solid biblically based encouragement and advice... Its more to do with what are they doing in their lives. I'm finding it difficult to define my issues with certain ministries right now so I won't get into it here.   Mostly it boils down to what they say in their ministries is not necessarily matching up to their lives.  Their personal lives are not my concern but what worries me is that these women are in a position to speak into the lives of us regular women and are examples that we look up to and respect... and then... their lives are just as chaotic as ours and no different!  They seem to not have the victory they preach we can have!  The scripture they expound, they do not practice... or push through...

Urgh, I know I am confusing matters here.  Lets just say, be careful to measure what ANYONE in a ministry position says, against God's word.  If it measures up, good!  If not, thats not advice you want to follow.

GOD'S ADVICE, His WORD!
And finally, the ultimate authority, God's word.  Now, usually I go to the word last!  Horrifying I know.  I tend to exhaust all other avenues first and then think, well, what does the word say? Nope!  The word is where I should start at and then evaluate any other advice alongside what I think scripture might be telling me.


I was tussling with something!  And I looked to see what the world was saying and doing!  Hmmm, that one was easy to eliminate.  Definitely NOT Godly or even moral advice!  Then I looked closer to home.  What were my friends saying and doing?  Confusion reigned supreme as they were resolving similar issues differently!  This just confirmed for me that everyone's ideas, circumstances, and choices are not the same, nor will ever be a "one size fits all" scenario!  So I travelled in my quest to hear what my favourite women in ministry were saying.  Well, truth be told, some say one thing, but their lives say another, or because of their choices and circumstances, the word they preach is marinaded in their experiences which I suppose is completely human, but is it necessarily what God's word is saying....???

Isaiah 30 v 1-2:  Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin. Who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice."

Rom 12 v 2:  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

So, eventually one comes to the final authority on all things.  God's word is so clear on certain issues and this really helps to put what one is struggling with in perspective.  It may not resolve your issue, but it will certainly resolve whose solutions and advice you should definitely NOT listen to.  Also, the point which I felt the Lord made clear to me in all this chaotic thinking is this, what might be His answer for you, is not necessarily His answer for me!  I have to lean into Him, so He guides me onward on my path.  To try step out onto your path can lead to hurt, misunderstandings, misguided steps and confusion.

I read a statement yesterday that helped me in all this, "Stop trying to figure it all out, Trust God".  Now, that is simplifying everything truly, but sometimes we do complicate matters if we open too many "windows" at one time in our hearts and minds!  The world, your friends, and all other sources of advice can become very noisy.... Shut them all out and press into God's word!  It IS the only path you want to follow...

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 29 May 2017

Simplify - Sweetie Pie!

I think it would be an interesting exercise to stop one day, have a cuppa, and consider all the many different facets that make up who you are!  God has made each person to be an interesting mosaic of functions and giftings and quirks.


I have found that I have been trying to separate all those different facets of my life into neat little compartments.  For example, I LOVE photography.  That does not mean I am professional or good at it!  I consider myself a happy snapper 😊.  So I have an instagram account for that.  Then, this past year, I have been crocheting up a storm and loving it.  So, as not to bombard my "friends" on facebook and instagram, I started a different instagram account.

Now, I am a pretty private person.  So, although I want to incorporate instagram into my blog, I want my blog to be solely about, well, what my blog is about, and not my dog, my day, what I'm crocheting today, etc, so.... you guessed it, I had (briefly) an instagram account for my blog.  (and I still manage an instagram account for hubby's business).

Twitter, I had one for the blog, where I linked up with like-minded bloggers and a personal one, where I connected mainly with close friends and family.  Facebook, yes I have my own page, also one for my blog... but I found I stopped putting too much Christian stuff on facebook, none on instagram... I wasn't being true to all that I am in Christ but splitting up the different sides of me.

I started finding it all so annoying, posting this particular thing here, that particular thing there.  Avoiding putting this here or that there.  I was starting to compromise!  Not on the content of my various social media outlets, but in what I was NOT putting there.  I was starting to try please man.

Gal 1 v 10(a):  Am I now trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? ....

I was beginning to be fearful of offending someone who does not believe!!!! Really!!! I felt awful.  I would rather seek God's approval over man's any day but I had been losing the plot.  So, the thought came to mind.... Simplify!  Be you!  Be the you I created you to be!  In one space, as a complete facet!

So, I decided to simplify.  I deleted all instagrams but my personal one.  Moved the business one to hubby 😋.  Twitter I let go of end of last year so project simplify had started already 😊.  And I have decided to post all the Christian stuff I love and share it like I did before, along with my photos and crochet, and any other facet of me that comes to the fore lol!  Of course, being that I am private, one facet you will never see anywhere on social media is my dirty laundry 😜.  I feel so much better about being the "me" God created me to be.

Ladies, does this resonate with you?  If not, that is cool!  I personally think it is the world's way to have us so busy doing stuff and over-complicating our lives without even realizing it, that simplification seems foreign.  But, oh the relief to just be me!


I know that I have over-simplified things.  We are far more than what we can do, we are mothers, wives, Christians, leaders, doers, helpers, servers, etc.  But I think the point I am trying to make is keep it simple and real, and grow that really well, for the glory of the Lord.

God bless
Tracy


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

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