Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Winsome Wednesday - A Thought on Joy!

At the beginning of the year I chose "JOY" as my word for the year!  (See HERE for why I chose "JOY").  And as we bloggers do, I am testing to see where I am on my path to seeking and being filled with the JOY of the Lord.  

So what has made me JOYful of late?

Over the last 7 years I went into a self-protective shell when it came to making big decisions or decisions that those who hurt us would potentially and in fear that they would cause trouble and prevent us from doing what we wanted to do.  So, because of that fear I suppose, we backed off from making such decisions.  Well, recently my hubby and I made a decision that we would not have made in the past 7 years.  Firstly, there was this new paranoia, but we decided to move forward in faith, trusting that if we were being set up, or if someone was using this to hurt us, not only would the Lord protect us, He would use it for our good!  I had great JOY in that moment!  It was a moment of stepping out in faith, yes!  But more so the JOY was in the strong belief that God would not allow us to be hurt or destroyed!  He will protect us!  In that moment, in my heart, was great joy..... and it lingers....


Another situation we are in is that my husband is supporting a family member financially and he decided despite how this person cannot see all that is transpiring in the family, to continue to do so to honour this person as per the Word and more importantly to honour the Lord.  But this person has since hurt us again.  We did not want to continue supporting them and continue being kicked in the teeth.  Then a Godly friend reminded us not to return evil for evil.  We prayed about our attitude and chose to continue to support this person in obedience to the Lord!  The scripture that confirmed this is   
1 Peter 3 v 9:  Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them].  For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God] - that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection]. And JOY?  JOY came from choosing obedience!
These are just two situations in which I am noticing JOY!  I believe the Lord is showing me that choosing HIS way, brings JOY!  Choosing to trust Him, have faith when we step out, and choosing Obedience to His Word, all these things bring JOY!  And before you realize, there is a JOY growing inside!  Hmmm, this I can get used to.

Join me in finding JOY daily while seeking The Lord's Way!

God bless
Tracy

BLOGHOP TIME


This is a space to come and be encouraged.  You can link as many posts as you want so long as they bring glory to the Lord.  If you have time, please visit the person ahead of you and I am sure you too will be encouraged.  I look forward to seeing you here.
 Feel free to link up below:




Monday, 28 April 2014

A Little Reminder to not Let the Root of Bitterness Grow!

Lately I have felt that those who have hurt us and continue to do so are just not getting it!  There are those who are being deliberate and I'm not overly concerned about them because mentally I have cut them off (because it hurts so much) and left them to the Lord (or so I tell myself).  Its the ones that claim to be Christians but who have allowed jealousies and envies to colour their vision and yet another who seems to think that if you hide your head in the sand, then there are no issues to resolve.


By their actions, or lack of actions they hurt us further.  And so I start getting resentful and bitter.  I am so grateful that the Lord does not let me get away with this attitude for long.

I am also very grateful that I have friends I can trust with my heart and who I can talk to, to thrash out my feelings and help me see where I am letting my hurt colour MY actions.

So, we go visit said friends!  I let them know how I feel and what actions I am going to take due to my hurt!  And I ask, hoping that biblically they will back me up!  Nope!  No such luck.  No, my friends draw me to the truth.  Yes, you are being hurt, but you want to reward evil for evil!  Not God's way!
1 Peter 3 v 9:  Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them].  For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God] - that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection].

Okay, I get that!  But, seriously, I don't want to do that!  I want them to know their actions are hurting us, I want them to feel what I and my family are feeling.  BUT, that is not God's way.  Truly, He does not want us to lose our blessing.  So, despite their actions, we must remain true to Him and what He requires of us.

Their actions?  Well, they are between God and them.  I believe God's word here where it says:  Psalm 10 v 13-14:  Why do the wicked get away with despising God?  They think, "God will never call us to account." (14) But You see the trouble and grief they cause.  You take note of it and punish them.  The helpless put their trust in You.  You defend the orphans.  God sees!  Never believe otherwise!  I believe they will reap what they sow, but then so will we.


So I choose this day to not lose my blessing.  I choose to change my attitude and do what the Lord requires of me to do and to not be obsessed with their attitudes.  To show grace, mercy and faithfulness to Him.  The choices they make?  Their choices may affect me, but they should not affect my attitude as I should be doing what I do as unto the Lord!  For His reward!  His Blessing!

I hope this encourages you to keep doing good to those who hurt you or who ignore or use you.  Do it as unto the Lord if that is what He has called you to do!  He has His reward for you, and His desire is to bless you.

God bless
Tracy

PS:  Thank you Lord for my honest, tell it like it is, friends!  They are a blessing!




Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Winsome Wednesday - All He needs is my Heart!

We recently visited the city of Casablanca!  Sounds romantic right?  But the reality is, its just another city with struggling people.  We were not there long, half a day at the most, but we were taken on a tour of their mosque that they are so very proud of.

Well, as a Christian, I was apprehensive but reminded myself that it is just a building after all!  A very big, very beautiful building.  They brag about how much it cost and how quickly they built it, but for me, it was sad.  So much money spent on a building that so many people can come to, to worship a false god.

As we were standing inside and listening to what the tour guide was saying about facing Mecca, and the ritualistic way of doing things, inside I was praying:  "Thank you Lord that I don't need to face a certain way, and have washed my face, hands and feet a certain manner for a certain amount of times.  Thank you, Lord, that I can just look up, that You are in my heart, wherever I am, whatever position I am in, You hear me and You love me."

I prayed that one day that building would be filled to capacity with God-fearing Christians and that the roof would lift with the voices praising Him to the heavens.  Why not?  It is just a building!  I pray that one day it be dedicated to the service of the Lord.

2 Chron 20 v 6:  O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven?  And do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations?  In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You.

Ps 66 v 7:  He rules by His might forever, His eyes observe and keep watch over the nations;  let not the rebellious exalt themselves.

Although we went into a mosque where God is not welcome, I felt deep in my heart, that He loves those people and He will be found by them and He will have His way and that building will not honour a false god forever.

Just my observations and thoughts :)

God bless
Tracy

BLOGHOP TIME


This is a space to come and be encouraged.  You can link as many posts as you want so long as they bring glory to the Lord.  If you have time, please visit the person ahead of you and I am sure you too will be encouraged.  I look forward to seeing you here.
 Feel free to link up below:





Monday, 21 April 2014

Where is God?

As I make my way through the bible in my attempt to read it through like any other book (See HERE) I have come across some amazing scripture.  We often hear people say, "Where is God?"  "Why is He not here for me?"  I'm waiting for Him, where is He?"

Well, this scripture tells us exactly where He is and where He stands:

2 Chron 15 vs 1-2:  The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded.  (2) And he went out to meet Asa and said to him, Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you while you are with Him.  If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul's first necessity], He will be found by you; but if you [become indifferent and] forsake Him, He will forsake you.  (Italics mine)


Is that not amazing?  And humbling!  God is where we are.  He does not force Himself on us.  He is there when we reach out and seek Him and He remains with us, no matter what we go through, until we forsake Him.  You let Him go, He lets you go!  I do believe, however,  He then allows things to happen in your life to get you to turn back to Him for HE DOES NOT WANT TO LOSE YOU!

2 Chron 15 vs 4:  But when they in their trouble turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and [in desperation earnestly] sought Him, He was found by them. (Italics mine)


So, please, do not let Him go.  My life and what I have been through (which I state here is not nearly as bad as what others have been through) would not be the same without Him.  I would not have had hope!  I would not have left my enemies to Him.  I would have done myself and my family damage.  I would not be able to see the good in people!  My circumstances would have crushed me, made me angry, made me negative and resentful of my life and those in it!  Nope!  My life would be terrible without Him!

So.... where is God?  He is with you, for as long as you are with Him!  Let that be for always....!

God bless
Tracy

Linking this week with the lovely bloghops you'll find on the righthand-side of this post :)  )

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Winsome Wednesday - Milestones....

While we were away my blog passed a milestone!  I have been blogging now for 3 years!  I cannot believe that I am still as excited about blogging now, as I was in the beginning.  I think I know the answer to that!  This blog is God-centred!  It is my attempt to focus on the Lord and to point others to Him in all they do as well and to use what I have learnt or been through to focus on the Lord.

My youngest daughter has moved overseas in the hope of a great job and is learning that everything does not come as easily as she had assumed.  Yes, she is learning to dig deep!  She is learning to push through.  And as a Mom, I am so grateful that she is choosing to do this with the Lord.  She sent me pictures of the church she went to, and sent me messages of how others where she is staying, have heard she went to church, and this has led to chats, deep heartfelt chats, about the Lord.  Letting her go has been another milestone for me.


My eldest is also digging down deep into the living waters of the Lord.  It is so humbling and so joyous to see one's children lean on the Lord.  I know in my life I could never manage what has come my way without Him.  So, I trust they stick with the Lord too.  Choosing His way, His path, leads always to blessing and life!

Thank you Father for this great blessing.

Another milestone is that we have lived in the same place for nearly 9 years now.  That is a VERY VERY long time for us.  I remember when we started going through a very tough time 7 years ago, I felt the Lord saying we would be putting our roots down, and that He would not pull us up.  We would be grounded and secure and those who had tried to destroy us, would no longer be here.  Well, some of that has happened, but mostly, we are rooted.  I believe it was a heavy season of digging deep and God honoured all that He said He would do concerning us in this time.  Yes, another milestone!

Jer 44 v 9-10:  And he said to them, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to Whom you sent me to present your supplication before Him: (10) If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pull you up; for I will relent and comfort and easy Myself concerning the evil that [in chastisement] I have done to you [and I will substitute mercy and loving-kindness for judgement].

Another very blessed milestone is the number of lovely ladies who have linked up with my bloghop every week.  Thank you!  You have blessed me more than you know.

Let us continue to encourage and lift up one another as we choose to live the Lord's way every day.

God bless
Tracy


BLOGHOP TIME


This is a space to come and be encouraged.  You can link as many posts as you want so long as they bring glory to the Lord.  If you have time, please visit the person ahead of you and I am sure you too will be encouraged.  I look forward to seeing you here.
 Feel free to link up below:


Monday, 14 April 2014

There is always hope isn't there?

Recently my husband and I went on a cruise which left Cape Town and made its way up Africa, stopping off at various places along the way, and ending in Genoa, Italy.  One of the places we stopped at is a place called Dakar, a city of Senagal, in Africa.

Well, being that I am from Africa, and being that I am a Christian, I was unsure as to what to expect in this African country that claims to be 95% Islamic and 4% Christian and 1% everything else!  They claim to be religion tolerant.  Granted, I was on a 2 hour bus tour so I did not see much of everything, but if their outing was the best they had to offer, I was very disappointed and very saddened.

All I saw was poverty.  Every woman I saw had shoes on that were 2/3's the size of their feet.  I saw open meat markets and fly saturated fruit and veg.  Now I am not saying that these people are not happy.  Nor am I saying that any of this is unacceptable.  What I am saying is that it saddened me.  I saw ONE building with a cross on it - Yes, there is always hope.  Always always!


Our final stop was a little village of people living at the back of the sand dunes.  Their living conditions were barren and dusty and barely a green twig in sight.  There was, however, a water well.  I would hate to be around there on a windy day.  The babies looked sick and unwell and sounded chesty.  The youngsters seemed to be on their own mission!  I am not judging their way of living, just saddened by their lack of, well, everything.

There was one sight that really warmed my heart.  Two young boys walking arms around one another, marching around with smiles on their faces.  Yes, there is always hope.


Another saddening thing was when we returned to the ship, in the lift one lady was happy and felt they had had a very "fun" outing!  She asked if we too had enjoyed it!  I couldn't answer her!  What could I say?  "Um, no!" Seriously, what did she see?  I saw this great need for resources.  I saw a great need for love and care.  I saw a great need for Christ and His representatives to spread the hope of the gospel.

But, there is always hope!  

Ps 10v17-18:  O Lord, You have heard the desire and the longing of the humble and oppressed;  You will prepare and strengthen and direct their hearts, You will cause Your ear to hear (18) To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man, who is of the earth, may not terrify them anymore.

I do not know how I can help, but I know I can pray for those I saw.  If God wants more from me than that, He will speak into my heart.  God is aware of each and everyone of them.

I have missed chatting with you ladies :)

God bless
Tracy


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