Monday, 30 January 2017

Their Free will - Your destruction? or Your perfection?

Has anyone ever asked you, "why me?"  Have you ever asked, "why me?"  The answer to both for me is yes.  I have often wondered "why did that happen to me?"   "I didn't deserve that", or "why did You allow that person to hurt me God?"   "Did I do something wrong?"

There are lots of those questions floating around the world today!  And, how do you answer someone who asks you the same things?  How do you explain away their pain?

There is no easy answer out there.

But.... God....

This morning I read Hebrews 5 in my quiet time.  The writer is trying to show the audience of that time that they had priests who prayed for them, who made sacrifices on their behalf for their sins, etc.  But that now there was Jesus!  The High Priest, who made Himself the ultimate sacrifice, who died on a cross at the hands of man's free will, so that you and I have salvation and so that we never have to make sacrifices again for our sins, as He has done so on our behalf.  The writer was trying to explain that Jesus is so much better than any priest.....

These verses jumped out:  Heb 5 v 7 - 9: (7) who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, (8) though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (9) And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

What did I get out of this?  Well, firstly, we all know the story of Jesus praying so hard for God to remove the suffering He was about to endure, from Him.  But that even if He didn't, He would be obedient because, well God is God and He knows best.  The thing that comes to mind here, is that I do not ask for something from anyone, including the Lord, if I do not believe that there is a hope that they can or will answer my request, whether it be for something or help or whatever.  Jesus must of had a hope that God could remove this suffering from Him....

Secondly, He chose to be obedient whether God removed it or not.  We all know that God did not remove this ultimate suffering from Jesus.  But what, for Jesus, was the result of that obedience?  On the surface it was death.  Death of His flesh, right?  But in reality, His obedience led to Him being the author of salvation for anyone who obeys Him, anyone who chooses Him.  Anyone can come to the throne of grace, become sons and daughters of the Living God, because of Jesus' obedience. There is an ultimate way to God, through the death of Christ on the cross, for anyone's salvation.

His obedience led to the salvation of many, and still does.

So how does this relate to us being hurt badly by someone?
Sometimes we think that God allowed this horrible thing to happen to us and it confuses us as to why He would allow such a terrible thing to happen.  I think, its more that God has given man free will on earth and He allows that, He allows man his free will, and in allowing man his free will, others get hurt.  BUT.... and this is a big BUT!  I believe that what man does not realize is that God uses that free will for the good of those against whom that free will was used, not only for their perfection, but also for another's salvation.

Let me clarify.  Joe Soap wanted to hurt you, use you, abuse you, for whatever reason be it his/her own hurt or whatever, their goal was to hurt you.  You, like Jesus did, can ask God to remove this suffering from you which we all know He can, but sometimes He chooses not to.  Why?  Because He allows this hurt not only for your perfection, your growth, your ultimate salvation, He uses what has been meant for your destruction to save you and many others.... Joseph understood this, and he went through awful stuff too.... Gen 50 v 20:  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 



And this leads me to another aspect of this suffering or hurt you (me, us, we) have experienced.  God has given man free will.  God uses that free will ultimately, to achieve what He has set out to achieve and that is yours and my perfection/purification and salvation, and for anyone else who wants it.  But, the devil also thinks he has dibs on man's free will.  He thinks he can use man's free will to wreak havoc and destruction in your life and mine.  Sadly, he gets it right many times.  We see people hurt who cannot fathom why, and in that hurt they hurt themselves more, or they hurt others and a vicious cycle of hurt becomes the norm.  BUT... if we hand that hurt to God, He uses it for our good and ultimately the good of someone else who has been hurt and needs God as much as we do.

In conclusion, why did God allow this awful thing to happen to you?  You didn't deserve it!  My answer to you is this, He allowed man free will, and in that you got hurt by someone undeservedly.  But, you now have a choice.  You can give that hurt over to God and let Him use it for your good and turn your hurt into a testimony which will help others, or, you can wallow in that hurt which gives the devil licence to continue to let it fester within you for your destruction anyone else he can reach with your hurt and pain.

That is where our free will comes in!  That is where we can, like Jesus, in obedience, allow God to turn our hurt and pain into victory for ourselves and anyone we can help experiencing the same hurts and agonies.  I hope this has been an encouragement for you today, to hand your hurt over to God.  Let Him use it for your good and the salvation of many others as both Jesus and Joseph did.

God bless
Tracy

PS:  The above giving of our hurt to Jesus, leads to another great aspect of obedience.... Forgiveness.... {watch this space}

Monday, 23 January 2017

How is your Heart?

In the past few weeks as I have been around other people and family I haven't seen in a while, I have had this feeling of being left behind spiritually... and it has made me hungry for the Word.  It has made me aware, this feeling of being left behind, that I need to knuckle down and start clinging to the Word again.

If I had to sum up where I am at the moment, I feel my heart condition is currently the result of 9 years of intense emotional upheaval brought about by a family saga/drama that resulted in much hurt and pain, and still, separation with some family members....

Follow this up with +/- 3 years of a scary emotional journey as a parent, which has recently ended in victory in Christ and has brought me to my knees with much tears, joy and relief.  I am so humbled by God's mercy and grace...

Follow this up with a heart hardening thought life, and what do you get?  One heart in need of God's tender mercy and grace.  

I am determined to start doing the right things to correct this.  One, we are trying to get into the very healthy habit of GOOD church attendance!!!!  Secondly, my quiet times need more depth and consistency.  Thirdly, I have got to daily, hourly, by the minute if necessary, renew my mind!

This morning I read Psalms 125:

(1) Those who trust in and rely on the Lord [with confident expectation]
Are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but remains forever.
(2) As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.
(3) For the sceptre of wickedness shall not rest on the land of the righteous,
So that the righteous will not reach out their hands to do wrong.
(4) Do good, O Lord, to those who are good
And to those who are upright in their hearts.

(5) But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways [in unresponsiveness to God],
The Lord will lead them away with those who do evil.
Peace be upon Israel.


The first thing to catch my eye is that I need to trust in and rely on the Lord because to do so, I would be like Mount Zion, unmovable.  Right now, I believe I love the Lord, and would never leave Him, but my heart feels cut off from those around me.  No, I want my heart to be soft and pliable so that my love for my nearest and dearest shines through, and doesn't seem unavailable to them.



The second thing to catch my eye is verse 4:  Do good, O Lord, to those who are good
And to those who are upright in their hearts.

I want the Lord to do good to me, but how can He if my heart is hard and not upright?!  That caught me right between the eyes!  I need to work on my heart condition.  

Sin separates us from God, but I believe too that a hard heart deafens our spirit and mind to God and if He should speak to us, would we hear Him?  I would like to think that I would do everything I could to make sure I can hear Him!  So, that means I need to work on softening my heart, let God renew in me a new heart, with a new attitude, and a right way (God's way) of thinking!

Psalm 51 v 10:  Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.

Matt 6 v 21:  For where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.

I want my heart to be filled with Godly treasure and the only way to do that, is to focus on God, put Him and His word first in my life, start my day and end my day with Him.  

What is the condition of your heart?

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 16 January 2017

Do you Know God's Will for your Life?

In church recently, the pastor mentioned how we as individuals often ask what is God's will for our lives.  This was not the theme of the service but the following scripture and the pastor's breakdown of it has been floating around in my brain and spirit for days now... I kind of love it!

1 Thess 5 v 16-18:  
(16)Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 
(17) be unceasing and persistent in prayer
(18) in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
(underlining, italics and bold print all my additions for empasis)

God's will for us is:
  • rejoice always
  • delight in your faith
  • pray unceasingly and persistently
  • be thankful in EVERY situation, and
  • continually give thanks
It really is that simple.


Its when doing the above that God is able to speak into our hearts, work in our hearts and minds and lead and guide us.  Proverbs 16 v 3 speaks on this:  Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.
(underlining, italics and bold print all my additions for empasis)

This post is short and sweet.  But it leaves much thinking to be done and I feel, relieves one of trying to figure out what God's will is for us.  His word says, rejoice, pray, be thankful, persistently, always, in all situations, this is His will for us, and in doing so, He guides us to line our thinking up with His.  No pressure on us to figure it out!  Be encouraged by this!

God bless
Tracy

Saturday, 31 December 2016

My "One Word" for 2017

I have been simplifying my life.  Getting rid of unnecessary junk, using leftover wool to make something useful, tidying the odd cupboard slowly but surely.  Throwing away broken stuff, giving away stuff we no longer use, but that still can be used, etc... I am doing the same thing with my blog.

I decided to delete myself off twitter.... lots of followers, and following lots of people but I never give it any attention... Just a time-waste for me.  I am contemplating leaving Facebook too......or instagram......?!?

I cannot let go of my blog though but I do want to get back to what it was originally intended for.

When I first started blogging it was a journal of sorts, but as I linked up with so many like-minded women over the years it was about encouraging others and being encouraged.  I have sort of lost the plot this last year!  I have lost my footing and instead of offering some encouragement, I have offered none!!!!  👀 NOT good!!!

So, to refresh my memory, the following are My Blog Goals
  • 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.

Isaiah 50 v 4(a):  The Lord God has given me the tongue of a disciple and one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.  

This scripture is my goal for my blog!

So, in my attempt to streamline things in my life and thus in my blog, I have removed some pages, removed stuff I never use, and decided to focus on those things that are important to me.  Like encouragement!  I love encouraging others, and have found that very hard in 2016... Not sure why, but my goal for 2017 is to bring "encouragement" back!

Having said all of the above, I have decided on my "one word" for 2017!

Consistency!

Yes, you didn't see that one coming hey! 😉


I find that I am not consistent in going to church, reading the word, reaching out to others, eating healthily, exercising, blogging, etc etc... Now, I am not trying to change the world or myself overnight.  Just one thing at a time, and to achieve consistency in those things, one at a time.  Starting off with the most important of all these things, spending time in the Word!!!!  Refresh, renew, restore, daily!

In line with my word, for now my scripture for the year is as follows:

1 Corinthians 15:58:  Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].

So, this is my word for 2017.... what is yours?

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 28 November 2016

Introspective Much?!

I haven't blogged much this year.  Its not because I don't have much to say.  Its more that I'm not sure how to put it all out there on paper.

There have been quite a few challenges this year.  And, quite a few victories.  I have been so humbled by God's faithfulness and His grace and mercy.  Yet I am unable to speak on it.  I have been devastated by stuff that has come to light and yet overwhelmed by God's hand in salvaging, healing and causing growth and completion in things.  Even so, I am unable to speak on it.  I have been frustrated by the lack of loyalties shown by those who demand loyalty.  I've been struggling to not let that stuff impact my connection with people, but truth be told, it has....

I was reflecting on my word for 2016, and for a minute I could not remember what it was.  Truly!  I had to go to my blog to check.  Ah yes, Choice!  It has been a really interesting word to delve into.  I have come to realise how much choice matters in my life.  It has been a learning curve to realise that my attitude is a choice.  Okay, I knew that, but I don't put it into practice much.  I am trying to be more mindful of my attitude in situations and then choose a right attitude.  I have grown enough to choose how I react in a volatile situation.  I am learning to keep quiet or walk away, or not take offence.  Not easy though is it?!

I'm an emotional eater!  I eat whatever the emotion! 😋 I'm finding it very tough to choose not to be like that.  Easy to say, "just do it".  I suppose it is so ingrained in me to use food as a weapon against or reward, for myself.  I'm trying to choose life in this area and not death!

I have found relationships changing this year.  Old ones I have fought for, new ones I am grateful for.  Appreciating those who accept me the way I am.  Letting go of those whose interest in me is not genuine.  Struggling through some that are exhausting but worth it.

I've decided to figure out who I am and try to hang on to that, and not let others squash it or change to make them happy.  God made me a certain way for a reason and although I never had much of a problem speaking my mind, I have found in the last few years I have lost myself and have wavered in being "me" because I have not been sure who "me" is.  That search is on, and who I am in the Lord is coming back to life, and with the Lord I will figure out what He wants me to do and how He wants me to serve.


I think not truly knowing who I am of late might be why I have backed off from social media and my blogger friends.  I watch, observe, but I don't participate.  Not even with close friends.  I have withdrawn but not to have a pity party 😝.  Its not until now that I am realising that stepping back has been about rediscovering myself and being true to myself.  I can't just say stuff to be heard, I want to say stuff because I mean it, or it means something.  Its also hard to encourage someone when you don't believe it yourself.  So, I have had to push through in my own understanding of things, so that encouraging others comes from a place of truth and belief.

This year is nearly over and although much has changed, and much has stayed the same, I can truly say I am choosing to hang on to what is good and let go of what is not.  God willing, this time next year I will have grown more in all these areas.  It is a journey, a race.  The win is in running it, not in winning it!  I choose to run it better, not faster!  I choose to stop and smell the roses once in a while.

Proverbs 3:5–6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.

Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

Philippians 1:6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

2 Peter 3:18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.


God bless
Tracy

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