Monday 31 October 2011

Know your stuff!

I've always enjoyed doing needlework of some kind.  I'm not creative by any means but can follow a basic knitting pattern and have done many a cross stitch and candlewicking.  Its something that has helped me unwind, from when my girls were babies and even now on an evening as everyone settles down and spends family time together.

One of the results of these 'hobbies' is that I have lots of left over wool and a good friend of mine (yes, you Stefanie) got me involved in knitting for a project called Bless a Baby.  Well, the resulting blanket (to my  mind) was awful.  So the wheels started turning.  "What could I do differently that I'd feel more satisfied handing in?"  I was taught many years ago how to crochet blocks and as I still had wool left over I thought this would be ideal!

Well, as you can see, its far from ideal!  The wools are all different consistencies and makes, and my memory of what I was taught proved to be...shall we say... not quite on target!  Something was wrong!  I had the right idea - but the wrong tools.


So, I went to my local wool shop, looked for a simple step by step guide to crocheting, bought a bunch of wool of the same type, got the right hook (needle), googled some simple patterns - and - below is the beginning of a baby blanket I feel confident I can offer knowing I did my best.


While going though this whole process it occurred to me that we as Christians are sometimes like this.  We half-heartedly tackle God's word, glean bits of scripture from the pulpit and books and pass on this incomplete understanding to someone maybe seeking advice and answers.

We need to be more thorough, more at the ready, and know our tools.  So that when a question is asked of us - we relay the truth, in context, and with the right Godly perspective.  I know we are all growing and learning and none of us 'knows it all' nor will we ever.  But we need to be thorough in our understanding.  We need to seek out the context and Christ of a scripture so we correctly represent Christ.

Also, importantly, the more you know and understand, the less likely it is that you will be misguided.  If you KNOW the truth, a lie cannot affect you.

Go to the word, go to those who know the word, ask questions, learn and seek understanding so you can deliver your best for Christ!


Prov 2 v 2:  So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;


Prov 2 v 11-12:  Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, To deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things.

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Jen at Beholding Glory for:

and
Joan at The beauty in His grip for:


Friday 28 October 2011

5 Minute Friday - Relevant

Here goes: unscripted, unedited (scary stuff):

All I can come up with, with my head feeling ready to explode due to flu, is as follows:


Is the Old testament relevant to us today?
Yes - in that it points us to Christ, and shows how gracious our God is.  And all those beautiful stories show us that no matter how badly we mess up, there is hope - hope in our redeeming God.

Is the "law" relevant to us today?
Yes - in that it shows us our need of a Christ and a Saviour.  We cannot do anything on our own!

Is the New Testament relevant to us today?
Yes - People haven't changed and neither has God.  We have need of a saviour, Jesus.  And there is much in the New Testament that teaches us how to live our lives with Christ as Lord and Saviour!

Heb 4 v 12:  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


That's it,
God bless
Tracy

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama for:

and

Laura at Beholding Glory for:

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Winsome Wednesday - Encouragement

1 Thes 5 v 11:  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
I remember my mom telling me, "If you have nothing good to say about anyone - don't say anything!"  I think this still applies to us as adults.  Life is so busy, so full of trials, so painful sometimes.  We do not need to be adding to that by saying negative things to or about each other.


My encouragement to you is to be the sunshine in someone's life today.  Say something positive to the people you come into contact with today.  Do something good or helpful for someone today.  It not only encourages them, it encourages you.


Phil 2 v 4:  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.


God bless
Tracy


Bloghop Time
Please join with me today for Winsome Wednesday to encourage and be encouraged.  No particular post required, just maybe, if you have time, encourage another blogger on the list and hopefully you too, will be encouraged.  Look forward to seeing you here!







Tuesday 25 October 2011

Idols - Another perspective

In a previous post I wrote of how 'things' that steal our time from God are 'idols' in our lives and I believe its something we all have to work on.

Another form of idolatry is a spiritual form and a potentially more dangerous form.. Whenever I google something or go on facebook or gmail, I am bombarded with adverts to read my fortune or read my stars, or have my tea-leaves read or my palm - or whatever else it is that one can read to see my future!

???????
God's word warns us to keep away from this stuff:
Lev 19 v 31:  Give NO regard to mediums and familiar spirits; DO NOT seek after them, to be defiled by them:  I AM the Lord your God!


Ps 96 v 5:  For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.


Ps 97 v 7:  Let all be put to shame who serve carved images, who boast of idols.  Worship Him, all you gods.

We as Christians would be the first to claim that "we would never practice witchcraft" (insert look of horror here), but reading your horoscope, trying to find out your future through a fortune teller, trying to find something out from the dead, through a medium (a popular pastime on TV these days it seems),  all these things are witchcraft.
Trusting Him....one step at a time!
My encouragement to you is take your questions and concerns about your past, present and future to God.  He is the one who knows everything about you from before you were born until the time you die and before and beyond that.  Trust Him when He doesn't show you more than your next step - because He knows all your steps!
One step at a time!
God bless
Tracy

Linking with Shanda at A Pause of the Path for:


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Monday 24 October 2011

Idols - What are yours?

Let us not fool ourselves into believing that because we don't have little wooden, clay or metal religious icons, we don't have 'idols' in our lives!
The 'idols' in our lives are different today, but no less life-stealing and these 'idols' take our attention off God!


What are these idols?
  • For some of us its health and fitness,
  • maybe wealth and the pursuit thereof
  • For others it could be projects, hobbies, TV programs
  • Maybe things like sport, 
  • serving to the detriment of your family,
  • career ladder climbing,
  • Social media
All these are what steal our time from God.

The point is - if we are consistently or regularly giving up time with God and His word for 'these things' they are 'idols' in our lives.  If we are able to give these things up for time with God, we have power over them and not them over us.

Its about priorities, God first - then family, then church, then other stuff.  When we do things this way, somehow balance is achieved.  It is always a delicate balance, one to work on constantly - but seeking to do things God's way is always the best way to go.


My encouragement for you is don't let anything steal your time with God, don't let 'these things' get a foothold in your life.  Strive for balance - God's balance - in every area of your life!  I know its a daily challenge, but God's mercies are new every morning.

1 John 5 v 21:  Little children, keep yourselves from idols, Amen.

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Jen at Finding Heaven for:

and Joan at The beauty in His grip for:


Friday 21 October 2011

5 Minute Friday - Beyond

Here goes:  unscripted, unedited (scary stuff):


To be honest, thinking of something earth-shattering for this word seems Beyond me but here is what comes to mind:
What is beyond sin? - death
What is beyond salvation? - everlasting life in eternity with Christ


What is beyond forgiveness? - peace, hope, joy
What is beyond the present? - faith in the future


What is beyond pride? - a fall (flat on your face)
What is beyond humility? - God raises you up


What is beyond doing things in your own strength? - frustration, confusion
What is beyond trusting God to work in your circumstance? - victory


God goes way beyond what we could ever imagine or dream up.  His extra mile is out of this world:
John 3 v 16:  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus, going the extra mile!
Eph 3 v 20-21:  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen


That's what I came up with for my 5 minute Friday.  
God bless
Tracy


Linking with Beholding Glory for:

and The Gypsy Mama for:


Thursday 20 October 2011

Is the Bible for you?

Have you ever heard anyone say, "Yes, whats in the bible is good but was meant for those people and that time." I remember once giving a verse of scripture from Psalms for some encouragement and the guy turned around and said to me, "No, that was meant for David."

Not for today!

Well, I disagree and this is why:
  1. God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 8v13)
  2. People are still people and our problems, although in different times, are still the same, eg: jealousy, battles of the flesh, desire to be loved, desire for "things", insecurities, etc (Prov 30v5)
  3. God's word is tested, refined, true and pure.  (Isaiah 40v8:  "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands FOREVER.")
Heb 4 v 12:  For the word of God is LIVING and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
God's word is living!

So in answer to the question, "Is the bible for you?"
ABSOLUTELY, definitely, yes and amen.  The word is God inspired written many years ago, yes, but each and every word is meant as an encouragement, an exhortation, a warning, a teaching, a discipline, a guidance for each and every human who ever existed in the past, in the present and in the future.

WHY?
1 Pet 1 v 25:  But the word of the Lord endures FOREVER.

My encouragement to you - read the word KNOWING it was written FOR YOU!

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Joan today at Reflections of His grace for:

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Winsome Wednesday - Praise Report!

Ps 10v14:  Save me, so I can praise You publicly at Jerusalem's gates, so I can rejoice that You have rescued me.

What has God done for You?  How did He bless you?  Tell someone!  Your testimony could be a witness to someone, an encouragement.  Be careful not to brag about your blessing in a manner that causes others to stumble or be jealous.  There are those who will always read the negative into it but if you feel led, share what God has done for you!

I believe we go through things partly to be able to help others going through similar things.  You can speak into that because you have been there and God has given you victory in your circumstance.


Your testimony is for God's glory and will bless someone, giving them hope in Christ and His word.  Share it!

God bless
Tracy

Please join with me today for Winsome Wednesday to encourage and be encouraged.  No particular post required, just maybe, if you have time, encourage another blogger on the list and hopefully you too, will be encouraged.  Look forward to seeing you here!

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Tuesday 18 October 2011

The Past

An excerpt from "God Calling":
Do not dwell upon the past.  You make My sacrifice of no effect
That really got my attention.  We go to God for forgiveness, we repent and God says our sins are as if they never were.  We are forgiven because of His grace and mercy.  And, we no longer have to make some sort of sacrifice, because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice, His life, for our sins.

Looking back - traps you!
But, I know I battle to forgive myself or to let it go.  I look back too often and dwell on those failings and sins instead of doing as God has done, squashed my sin forever, they're gone, done and dusted!  I keep dragging them back to mull over.

God says in Phil 3 v 13(b):  ...But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.

The devil wants us to look back, to trap us in the past, because then he has a hold on us and we look backwards instead of UPWARDS.

Let us rather do as the Lord has done and leave the past in the past.  Learn from it, yes, but don't dwell on it. If you genuinely repented, God has forgiven!  Let us not do what the devil would have us do, focus on the past so we miss God's blessings in the present.

Look upwards - to Jesus!
If there is anywhere we should be looking its to Jesus.
Heb 12v2:  Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despising the shame, and has sat down at the right had of the throne of God.

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Shanda today at A pause of the Path for:

Monday 17 October 2011

What are you facing today?

Duet 20 v 1:  When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid.  The Lord your God, who brought you safely out of Egypt, is with you!


Vs 3(b)-4:  ...Do not lose heart or panic.  For the Lord your God is going with you!  He will fight for you against your enemies, and He will give you the victory!

What are you facing today?  
A hardship?  A sickness?  A nasty person at work?  An unfairness?  An injustice?

Prayer - how we should fight!
God says:
  • He will go with you
  • He will fight your battle
  • He will give you the victory
Our part:
  • Don't lose heart - don't give up
  • Praise Him, in faith
  • Stand firm - in trust

The beauty in this for me is you don't have to "fight" anything.  God will do all the "fighting" for you.  When we fight we just exhaust ourselves and lose hope.  Our weapons of warfare are the Armour of God (Eph 6 v 13-17) and they are:
  • truth
  • righteousness
  • gospel of peace
  • faith
  • salvation in Christ
  • God's word

My encouragement is to trust God.  He loves you and He knows you better than you know yourself.  Believe Him in faith to fight your battle.

God bless
Tracy

Linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven for:  

AND

Friday 14 October 2011

5 Minute Friday - Catch


Here goes:  unscripted, unedited (scary stuff):

How is Christ catching your attention?

Is it through:
  • His word
  • The examples of others 
  • Miracles? 

 or is He catching your attention through:

  • Hardship
  • circumstances
  • consequences?
It is way better for Jesus to catch your attention through His word and the examples of what others have gone through.  Jesus loves us so much that if He cannot catch your attention in those ways, He will catch it in other ways, ways that hurt.  For God will be harsh with the flesh, to win your soul (1 Corinth 5 v 5).


Is your soil good to CATCH His word?


Matt 13 v 23:  "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."


Let Jesus catch our attention as soon as possible and let us be good ground on which to catch His word, so that we will be fruitful and useful in His kingdom


God bless
Tracy


 Linking with  The Gypsymama for:

and Laura at Beholding Glory for:

Thursday 13 October 2011

Waiting on the Lord - The right Choice

We are going through a time of 'waiting' at the moment.  Waiting on God to make a way.  Waiting on God to restore family.  Waiting on God for vindication.  We have received many words of scripture and encouragement telling us that:

  • God is in control
  • God sees and does not ignore injustices
  • God will restore and vindicate His own.
However, we get impatient and disheartened.  I know I go through stages where I feel that God is going to let things stay as they are.  And you know, if that is the case then like Job I would like to be able to say:
Job 13v15:  Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (NKJ)

Its times like these when we feel God isn't doing anything we need to remind ourselves of His word.  Its in times of waiting we have to hold ourselves back from trying to make a plan.  I'm constantly thinking "If I do this" or "if I say that" I can achieve what God promised.  But God has said to wait for His timing, His solutions!  His ways are not our ways - we will never be able to come up with a better way than His.

In the time of waiting, remember that the Lord's mercies are new every day (Lam 3v23) and He is good to those who WAIT for Him and SEEK Him (Lam 3v25).

So, choose to wait on the Lord and use the waiting time to grow in the Lord, read His word, praise Him and worship Him and claim His word in your circumstance - in faith - knowing His word is true.
Wait patiently on the Lord

Ps 27 v 14:  Wait patiently for the Lord.  Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord (NLT)

God bless
Tracy

Today I am linking with Joan at Reflections of His Grace for:

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Childlike Faith

Mark 10 v 15:  "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will be no means enter it."

What is childlike faith in God?

  • I believe to have childlike faith is when you trust in God's love for you without question
  • I believe it believes in what God says... simply because God says so.
  • It does not question or doubt
  • It believes unconditionally in the goodness of God, despite circumstance
What does Jesus do if we come to Him with the faith of a child?
Mark 10 v 16:  And he took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.



Jesus always gives far more than He receives!  The cross is proof of that.

My encouragement to you is to trust God with the same faith that a child trusts its parents.  Trust Him despite what your circumstances are.  God will not let you down.

God bless
Tracy

Please link up with me today for my Winsome Wednesday Bloghop and encourage the person ahead of you (or anyone else) with a visit.  The purpose of this blog hop is to encourage each other and if someone is encouraged, either by viewing one of your blogs, or being visited by one of you, then my goal has been achieved.


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So, I will open my blog roughly 6am South African time which is GMT + 2 each Wednesday morning.
Please grab my blog hop button above or from the righthand side of my blog, see it?   I look forward to you linking up with me.

I am so excited to encourage and be encouraged!



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Tuesday 11 October 2011

I want to change - Already!

I want to change.  I want to be a nicer person.  I want to be a more patient, gracious person.  I want to lose weight.  I want to be fitter. (I can so hear my mother's voice here saying "I want doesn't get!").  And over the years I have tried everything.  Ok - maybe not everything, but a lot of things - to change!


And, here I sit, upset with myself for not having changed!  For not being the person I want to be.  I have improved in certain areas over the years, but the things I want most to change, seem to elude me.

WHY?

Because I try to do things in my own strength.  I ask the Lord's forgiveness for once again messing up, I ask His help to overcome, and merrily go off on my way and "try" to change!  Fail, and start the whole circle all over again.

This is not how it works in God's economy:
Prov 14 v 12:  There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

What I am learning is that:
  1. Worldly knowledge to change is in vain
  2. God wants you to have the victory and wants you to overcome, BUT He wants the glory
  3. My job is not to change, but to focus on the One who CAN change me.
  4. I am not strong enough to change on my own.  God is my strength.  His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corin 12 v 9).

Now, I am talking here about personal changes but I have learnt that in circumstances, that I can do nothing about, when I focus on God and His word, miraculously, the circumstances start to change - OR - my attitude  in the circumstances start to change.

The same applies to personal changes.  Focus on Christ and those changes start to take place on the inside and one day you notice your response to someone is different, good  - unlike your normal response - and what do you do?  You glow with an inner peace AND you give God the glory!

My encouragement to you if there is something about yourself you want to change - STOP trying to do it on your own or the world's way, and focus on Christ, the One who can and will change you.  And then, remember to give Him the glory.

God bless
Tracy

Linking with Shanda today at A pause on the Path for:

Ladies, this is just a quick note to say, I would love for you to join me tomorrow on my bloghop, Winsome Wednesday.  Come to be encouraged and encourage back.  Look forward to seeing you there :)

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