Friday, 30 September 2011

5 Minute Friday - Friends

Here goes:  unscripted, unedited (scary stuff):

FRIENDS:

Go through a hard time in your life and you will soon discover who your real friends are.  Over the years we have gone through some hard times and there are a few friends who have remained friends from the beginning.  They don't care if you spout angry words in hurt.  They don't care if you cannot manage to get a smile to your face, never mind one in your eyes.  They listen and listen and listen as you pour out hurt and frustration.


They're there when your finances plummet, when you don't know how you'll pay for the next meal and they don't think less of you because in the eyes of the world, you may have failed.  They're also there to celebrate with you when you succeed.  They're there even when people have lied about you and they are not sure what is going on, they are there because they choose friendship over stories.

Friends are brave enough to speak into your life, tell you the truth, babysit (you or your kids), help you to focus on something good and not on your problems.  They are willing to fill the gap when they can.


True friends are an awesome gift from God.
Prov 17 v 17(a):  A friend loves at all times... and
Prov 18 v 24:  There are 'friends' who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

To my long-term, life time, forever friends - you have enriched my life and I pray God enriches yours in abundance.
To all my new Bloggy friends - you have enriched my life with much encouragement and great spiritual wealth and I hope to say, many years down the road (God-willing) that we are still friends.

God bless FRIENDS
Tracy
(Phew - what a frantic 5(maybe more) minutes!)

Joining with Laura at Beholding Glory for:

and, The Gypsy Mama for:

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Thursday, 29 September 2011

James - Faith endures awaiting Christ's Return

James 5 v 1-6 is a warning to the rich and I believe its because when you have plenty, or financial security, you rely on that and not on Christ!

James 5 v 7-12:
Vs 7:  Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain


Vs 8:  You also be patient.  Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.


Because of our faith in Christ, we are to be patient while waiting for His return.

  • We are not to grumble against one another (vs 9)
  • Look at the prophets as examples of enduring whilst waiting in faith (vs 10)
  • Count ourselves blessed when we have endured, pushed through (vs 11).  The bible uses Job here as an example of endurance and how it all turns out for Job in the end.
Vs 12 tells us that our 'yes' should be our 'yes' and our 'no' should be our 'no'.  Basically, be people of integrity.  If you live like this, you will become known as trustworthy, someone people can trust with their hurts and concerns.  Someone with integrity!


So, for me, this slice of scripture tells me that if I have faith in Christ, I will patiently endure what life throws at me, knowing Christ will return, and to live with integrity while, well... living!

I hope this is an encouragement to you to exercise your faith by being patient and living with integrity.  Not easy, but God is our strength.

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Joan at Reflections of His Grace for:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

James - Faith produces Dependence on God

James 4 vs 13-17:

(13)  You people who say, "Today or tomorrow we can going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit."
(14)  How do you know what will happen tomorrow?  For your life is like the morning fog - its here a little while, then its gone.
(15)  What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that."
(16)  Otherwise you will be boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.
(17)  Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.


The thing that stands out for me is ONLY God knows our life and the length of it.  And its arrogant to say "I'll do this" or "I'm doing that" because we're boasting in our own strength.

So instead I try to say, "If God wills, I'd like to do this or that."  Why?  Because faith in God indicates my dependence on Him!
Are you plugged into God's word?

The other thing that caught my attention is vs 17 is that it is a sin if we know what we should do, and then don't do it!  That is a scary thought.  How many times have I known what to do and not done it?  This verse says its a sin.

Another section of James that needs to sink into the heart!

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Jackie at Adventures in the Ordinary for:

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

James - Faith produces Humility

James 4 vs 1-12

Lack of faith produces:
  • quarrels and fights, from desires for pleasure (vs 1)
  • wanting what you don't have, doing what you have to , to get it (vs 2)
  • wrong motives (vs 3)
  • friendship with the world - which is enmity with God, you can't have both (vs 4)



Vs 6:
 He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires.  As the scripture says "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."


Do you want God's grace?

Then you need to be humble, and
  • submit to God, resist the devil (and he will flee) (vs 7)
  • draw near to God - He will draw near to you (vs 8)
  • be remorseful for the wrong you've done (vs 9)
  • humble yourself before the Lord, bow down, and admit your dependence on Him (vs 10)
  • don't speak bad of one another (vs 11)
  • leave judging to God, who are we to judge another? (vs 12)

Great words of wisdom from James for us to mull over.

God bless
Tracy

Joining today with Shanda from A pause on the Path

Monday, 26 September 2011

James - Faith produces Wisdom

James 3 v 13-18

Vs 13:  Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
Your faith in Christ produces wisdom, Godly wisdom.  And Godly wisdom grows understanding.  And if you have Godly wisdom and understanding, then you WANT to do good works, for His glory and not your own.


Vs 14-15:  But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don't brag about being wise.  That is the worst kind of lie.  (15) For jealousy and selfishness is not God's kind of wisdom.  Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the devil.

Have you ever come across someone like that?  "I am wise, everyone says so", or "look, I am a person of discernment...", etc.  If you need to say so then, sorry, you are not!  That is not God's wisdom.  That is motivated by the devil.  God's wisdom does not brag about its good deeds.  God's wisdom is quietly strong and points attention to Christ, not his or herself.


V 16:  For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.
This verse speaks of self.  What I want, what I don't have.  This is not wisdom.

So, if we have faith, we will start to display God's wisdom - which is:
What fruit is your faith producing?
V 17:  But the wisdom that is from above is first
  • pure
  • then peaceable
  • gentle
  • willing to yield
  • full of mercy
  • and good fruits
  • without partiality
  • and without hypocrisy
God bless
Tracy

Linking with Jen at Finding Heaven for:

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Saturday, 24 September 2011

5 Minute Friday - Growing

Ok, firstly, I know its not Friday but this is the first time I'm doing this.  And secondly - ok, I don't have a secondly :)

The topic from The Gypsy Mama for this week is Growing, so here goes, no scripting, no thinking, just writing:

I've been growing lots of things this year.  I've grown peas, they were successful, I've planted out a herb garden and most of those have been doing okay.  We've got 6 sheep now, and I suppose they're growing.  I have this row of trees on my boundary wall, and as winter turns to spring, all their leaves are growing out and the green from new leaves is awesome.
The beginnings of my herb garden

I have also started growing a blog, and its flourishing and finding all you ladies has been amazing for me and I am learning new stuff daily.  Your testimonies, your insights, your feelings, your witness - it all has me GROWING.  I am thankful to God for His word, because in that, at the river of living waters, it is where I am growing the most.

That's it - my 5 minutes are up

God bless
Tracy

A bloggy award from Chelle



Chelle, from Chelle's Blog, has honoured me with a beautiful bloggy award.  Thank you Chelle, I so appreciate it and so appreciate you much more.  I am enjoying getting to know you better.

So now I need to pass this award on to some others and I am happy to do so.

When you get this...
Thank the person who gave it to you.
Copy and paste it to your blog.
Pass the award on.

I would like to give this award to people who I think use their pain to bring Glory to God ...

Carrie from Pain to Purpose
Lisa from Lisa Buffaloe's Blog
Shannon from Jesus and my Orange Juice
Jen from Rich faith Rising

Thank you, ladies for being a blessing to me

God bless
Tracy



Friday, 23 September 2011

James - Faith controls the Tongue

James 3 V1-12:

I found it very hard to decide what to use out of this passage as the whole section is excellent so I've taken the liberty of paraphrasing this section in the hope of getting ALL the juicy bits.  So here goes....

Vs 1:  Think seriously about teaching the word, because you'll be judged more strictly (why?  you're influencing people with your words - imagine influencing people incorrectly?)
Vs2:  We all make mistakes, but if you can control your tongue, you can control yourself in every other way.
Vs3-4:  A small bit controls a big horse, a tiny rudder controls a large ship
Vs 5:  So also the tongue - a tiny member - can cause enormous damage
Vs 6:  The tongue is like a fire that can ruin your whole life
Vs 7-8:  You can tame any animal, but no one can tame the tongue 

This is the most profound statement in these verses for me:
Vs 10:  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out the same mouth.  Surely, this is NOT right.

I see these verses as a HUGE caution sign.  We hold the power of life OR death in our tongue with our words.  I have seen how my words damage and I have been damaged by the words of others.  Taming the tongue is a bit like choosing truth over feelings - choose control (self-control - one of the fruits of the spirit) over expelling your feelings verbally.  You know, a bit of "think before you speak?"

I believe the heart is connected to the tongue and we should make it our business to start filling our hearts with God's word, God's attitudes, God's love, His truth - so that our tongue starts to "flap" with good instead of bad.

As always, my encouragement to you is get stuck into the word.  As it soaks into your heart, your tongue will also be influenced - for good and not bad!


God bless
Tracy

Joining with Laura at Beholding Glory for:

Thursday, 22 September 2011

James - Faith proves itself by works

James 2 v 14-26

Vs 14:  Dear brethren, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions?  That kind of faith can't save anyone.
I believe these verse are saying the following:  We were saved by grace through Jesus Christ.  Not by works, not by donations, not by your position in life.  It was an act of grace and mercy and love on the part of our father - a gift.

However,

  • because we believe, 
  • because we serve the one true God, 
  • because we have been saved by grace, 
  • because of our FAITH in Christ who died for us, we should do good works.


We should serve others, because of our faith in Jesus Christ.
We should help out, go the extra mile, be available for the things of Christ - because of our faith in Him.

Its not enough to just believe in God -
Vs 19 says:  Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.

We show our faith by doing good deeds in His name.

Like Vs 26 says:  Just as the body is dead without a spirit, so also faith is dead without good deeds.

My encouragement to you is to look for opportunities to do good works.  A helping hand, an act of kindness, serve another, a good listener, whatever it is - do it as unto the Lord - because of your faith.

God bless
Tracy

Joining with Joan at Reflections of His grace

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

James - Faith removes Discrimination

James 2 v 1-13

Vs 1:  My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.


Vs 9:  But if you show partiality, you commit a sin.


Vs 13:  For there will be no mercy for you if you have not been merciful to others.  But if you have been merciful, then God's mercy toward you will win out over His judgement against you. (NLT)

Discrimination, partiality, favouring one over another - it is all sin in God's eyes.  (I am not talking about tolerance of sinful stuff either - that's a whole other subject).  Its actually judging someone else as lesser than yourself which brings in pride.  Ooh, see how sin begets sin?  Vicious cycle!

God says we are to be merciful, love the unlovely, be gracious, be ambassadors for Christ.  So many Christians, myself included, give God a bad name.  We need to start changing that.  We can start by trying to see each and every person the way God sees them - His own, loved by Him!


A few years back there was an issue at school, one child bullying another.  Alas, our Christian school seems no different from any other.  I remember saying to another parent, "The problem is we tell our children how precious they are, how special, and that God has a special plan and purpose for their lives (all true, by the way), but we forget to teach them that so is every other child precious and special to God."

I think that summarizes these few verses!  Each person is special to God and He shows no partiality.  Neither should we.

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Jackie at Adventures in the Ordinary for

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

James - Faith obeys the Word

James 1 v 19-27

Vs 19:  Therefore, my beloved, let every man be swift to HEAR, slow to SPEAK, slow to WRATH.

Ouch!  If you are anything like me reality is:  quick to speak, quick to anger, slow or too late to listen!  Not good, Tracy, not good!


I read somewhere recently, "If you take the time to 'listen' you may actually learn something that you either did not know or something new about the person you're listening to!"  (keep in mind - I am not talking about "listening" to slander!)

Vs 20:  For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God!

Double ouch!  When I lose my temper I do not bring righteousness to God in any way, shape, or form!  And I damage my testimony!  If I hold my tongue, God will work in the situation and my behaviour would bring Him glory, and not shame to His name!

Vs 23-24:  For anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; (24) for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

By being doers of the word we are showing ourselves and God that we are adhering to, listening and absorbing His word which in turn, turns to action in visiting orphans and widows, etc,  and keeping ourselves from being tainted by the world (vs 27).  In other words, our faith in hearing God's word - turns us into 'doers'of His word - Faith in Action.  And we don't forget His word the minute we close our bibles!


My encouragement to you is to stick close to His word.  It will guide and protect you, yes, but also teach you and show you how to use what you learn in faith to be a blessing in His name for others.

God bless
Tracy

Joining with Shanda at A Pause on the Path for:

Monday, 19 September 2011

James - The source of Temptations

James 1 vs 13 - 18

Who tempts us?  Anyone....anyone?  Yes, its the god of this world.  He and his cronies know human nature well and who and what to use to tempt us!  BUT, don't make the mistake of thinking God tempts us!


Vs 13:  Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God";  for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
Vs 14:  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and entices
Vs 15:  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Vs 16:  Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Well, its loud and clear - do not be drawn away by temptations!  Quickly turn from them, don't allow your mind to contemplate or consider!  Turn away from it and turn to God and His word!  Replace that thought with the truth of God's word!  Don't allow that temptation to grow - because it produces death to your heart and soul and sometimes, your body!

God's truth!

Vs 17 says in contrast that every good and perfect gift comes from GOD!

My encouragement to you is, you will be tempted, see it for what it is and TURN immediately to God, don't give it any time to grow in your mind.

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Jen at Finding Heaven Today

Friday, 16 September 2011

James - The purpose of Tests

My bible has broken James' chapters into nice bite-sized bits with headings so I'm going to follow suit and borrow those headings to organise my posts.  So, here goes:

James 1 Vs 1 - 12 - The purpose of Tests

Vs 2:  Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.
Vs 3- 4:  Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (4) But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Ouch!  Its one thing to acknowledge that being tested is something to be counted as joy!  You could even say, "I must be on the right path for the devil to test me so."  Patience is a whole other issue.  Had I read this a few days ago my weekend may not have been so catastrophic.  I would have though this "testing" through and been patient (I can only hope I'd be :) ) and waited on the Lord to bring good out of it!  Instead - I exploded - out of hurt, frustration, failed expectations!  The devil knows exactly which buttons to push!  But I should KNOW that he is going to press buttons, right?!


Vs 5 - 6:  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him. (6) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting....

So, don't ask for wisdom if you don't mean it.  But if you do mean it - God says He gives liberally.


V12:  Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

We can't escape temptation, but God's word says He gives us a way to deal with it, He says we won't be tempted beyond what we are able and when we endure, He promises a crown of life!  What a blessing to hold out for!

My encouragement to you is to endure and push through those trials and temptations for the word also says - Joy comes in the morning."

God bless
Tracy

I'm linking with Laura at Beholding Glory for:

Thursday, 15 September 2011

A Journey through James


My next blog project is to make my way through the book of James.  I chose it because its not overly long and its very practical with regards to day to day living.  I hope you join me on this journey and enjoy it and learn from it as much I hope to.  I look forward to your comments and any feedback so please continue to do so.  Your encouragement brings me much joy.


And now to another blessing of an encouraging sort:

I have received the Liebster award from Marja at Fresh insights of ancient Truths.  Make sure to check out her blog here.  Not only is she an awesome blogger but an award winning author too.  Thank you Marja, you have warmed my heart and make me feel special.

I wish to present the Liebster award to 5 other bloggers. There are just a few rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
2. Give the Liebster Award to five bloggers and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And best of all – enjoy!

The Liebster award is presented to blogs with less than 200 followers, but definitely deserve more! So here we go, I picked from my blog roll:
  1. Kandi from Get out of the Boat
  2. Chelle from Chelle's Blog
  3. Denise from Refine Me
  4. Jenifer from Sweet blessings
  5. Stacy from Heartprints of God
Once again, thank you Marja for the honour and I hope my bloggy friends above receive as greater a blessing as I have.  You all inspire me.

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Joan today at Reflections of His Grace for:

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Judging Much?!

So, I live on a dirt road.  Only about 1km of it!  But I'm on this bit of road numerous times a day.  School and back, deliveries and back, shops and back, school and back - you get the picture :)

Well, in winter our roads are like liquid caramel!  My white car - always looks 1/2 chocolate (or maybe that should be caramel)!  In summer the road is very dusty.  The wind facing neighbours battle with the dust, so what do they do?  They WATER the roads for a longggg time, sooo, liquid caramel!

Ok, maybe not this bad!
Now, I do have my car washed once a week but invariably tomorrow its full of mud again.  The fact that I don't drive at a snail's pace might not help matters either :)


The point I'm making (yes, I do have a point) is that wherever I go someone looks at my car, looks at me (up and down mind you!) and make an assumption (I'm assuming...) about me!  My girls normally laugh at me having lots to say about how '"those people" are judging me' and 'I bet they didn't wash their cars last week'.  My standard response is usually "I'm having a sticker made that says 'my car is a reflection of WHERE I live, not HOW I live!'"

That point I was alluding to....judging others and making assumptions can be really easy.  It becomes a vicious circle!  Above, I speak of how I feel judged, but then in feeling judged, I judge right back!  Well, you know the saying "the buck stops here?" and "It starts or ends with me?"  Best I start making some assumption changes within myself first!

Matt 7 1-2:  Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged: and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

Can I just insert a big OUCH here?!


Leave judging to the Lord, oh, and next time you see a dirty car, think nice thoughts :)

God bless
Tracy


Joining with Jackie at Adventures of the Ordinary for:


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