Monday, 28 December 2015

N - New


As we head out of 2015 and head into 2016 many of us try to figure out what we should leave behind and what we should take with us.  We also plan what we want to achieve in the New year and what we want to overcome.  A few thousand New year's resolutions get written up.  If you are a blogger then you might select a New One word for the New year.  Maybe select a scripture you wish to hold onto.

I do believe this is the time of year we can do some mental spring cleaning.  Get rid of all those old thought patterns and replace them with new ones.  For me the best way to do that is to renew my mind daily in the word.  It is also important in this age of social media to make sure you are not letting in bad influences.  Now is also a great time to delete those people on your social media who bring you down, who steal your joy!  And those liked pages, are they uplifting and God-centred?  Now is the time to clear all that out too.


My New year traditions have changed since blogging.  Instead of writing down a list of new year's resolution which tend to be pretty much the same as the year's before, I now select a word on which I try to focus so that in 365 days, that word would have drawn me closer to the Lord.  And a scripture that lines up with that word.  I don't guilt myself out with a list of things I tend to fail at so live in the guilt of failure instead of in a spirit of growth.

So let us take time at the end of this year to thank the Lord for all the good He has placed in our lives this past year, and thank Him in faith for the blessings, joy and growth in the year to come.  Let us renew our hearts with His word, with praise to Him, and let us seek to be content in all things knowing that in Him we are loved and acceptable and wanted.

2 Corinth 5 v 17:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Isaiah 43 18-19:  Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (One of my favourite scriptures ever)

Eph 4 v 22-24:  To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I see it as wisdom to use this time at the end of the year to leave old stuff behind and renew my mind with the Word of God.  It is a great opportunity to let go of the negatives and cling to the godly positives.  Out with the old, in with the New!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

M - Mercy


There are so many facets to mercy.

I know that God extends much mercy to me daily.  I am grateful that His mercies are new every morning because every day I need them.  I hope to never take His mercy for granted, and having said that, I probably do not appreciate His mercy for me nearly as much as I should.

Another facet to mercy is the mercy we extend to others.  Are we gracious with others when they mess up?  Or when they annoy us?  Or if they do things differently from how we would do them?  What about when someone is in need?  Well there are strangers who are in need, that is one scenario, but what if the person who has hurt you is in need?  That is a tough one for me.  I'm not necessarily referring to need of "stuff" but need of emotional support, need of a presence of someone being supportive while they go through a tough time?  Hmmm, that is a tough one for me but the word states that we are to love our enemies, clothe them, walk the extra mile with them, offer mercy when they use you....

Matt 5 v 44:  “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"

Luke 6 v 27-31:  But to you who are listening I say:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (28) bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (29) If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. (30) Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  (31) Do to others as you would have them do to you.

There is the mercy we extend to our families.  I don't know about you but I allow mine to trample me and take advantage of me, because well, they are my family and I would do anything for them.  I love them regardless of how they treat me on any given day.  That does not mean I am happy with being disrespected, or overlooked, or put down.  But it does mean I put up with a lot more from them than anyone else.  And even then I need to extend mercy to them.  We are supposed to be able to be "ourselves" at home and "ourselves" are not always pleasant selves are they?  Extending mercy here is easier for me but also more painful.  Does that make sense?  It must be a tiny minuscule fraction of the pain Jesus feels when He extends His grace and mercy to us ungrateful souls!!!


And then there is another element of mercy that is important I have discovered.  We need to be merciful with ourselves.  We mess up, we fail, we shout when we shouldn't, we stress when we shouldn't, we crack under pressure, we can be mean-spirited, and yes, hard-hearted occasionally.  And I know when I acknowledge this behaviour in myself I figuratively beat myself up, and mentally guilt myself out about how awful I am, what a total failure I am!  How can my family, friends and even the Lord, love me?  Well, in terms of the Lord, His love for us is not dependent on our behaviour.  It is who He is and He loves us despite ourselves.  We need to forgive ourselves and accept our daily failings, and yes, keep trying to improve, but know too that God loves us exactly how we are right now, right here.... He just does!  And I am grateful!

So, let us move forward into today extending mercy to others and ourselves, but also be deeply grateful for the mercy extended to us by others and mostly, that deep, all-encompassing mercy that the Lord extends to us daily.

Eph 2 v 4-5: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Rom 12v1: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.


God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me how very important mercy is, the giving and receiving of it.  Mercy is to be appreciated and given freely.

Monday, 30 November 2015

L - Live


Have you ever thought about the really awful stuff many people go through and you see how they survive either amazingly well, or they really battle to overcome?  I have often wondered how I would react in those situations.

I have gone through a few storms.... They may not be storms that on a scale of 1 to 10 rate very high, although they certainly are not minor storms, and they are not storms where I have been physically hurt or have suffered physically.  They have been storms that have done great damage to my heart, my dreams, my expectations, my soul.... I have not anticipated or expected these storms (who does right?!).  

This morning I was driving to fetch someone and listening to my Christian music and I just felt this overwhelming sense of being broken and fractured inside!  In my mind I saw a shattered plate that had been glued together and although it looked complete and whole, one could not put much pressure on it or it would break again....

I felt sad...

I wanted to cry....

But then these thoughts came to mind, 
  • "I can work with the broken-hearted" and 
  • "My strength is made perfect in your weakness"
  • "I am your strength"
By the time I had collected my passenger and got home, I already felt encouraged and I felt the Lord was saying to me, "Live life to the fullest, IN ME!



Life can only be lived to its fullest, with healing and restoration, in Christ!  There is no other way!  No medicine, no counselling, no worldly solution will give you complete peace.  And the thing about the peace that Christ offers is that you can live in this peace no matter your circumstance or level of brokenness.

Ps 37 v 4:  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Matt 6 v 34:  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

John 10 v 10:  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Phil 4 v 13:  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

2 Tim 1 v 7:  For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

To live life to the fullest, is to trust God on His word and know that however fractured your heart, He is our strength and our refuge, our strong tower, our strength in our weakness!  It is His spirit in us that allows us to be gracious and merciful when we feel we just do not have the strength to give of ourselves.  He carries us, He is our everlasting glue, that holds our fractured lives together, He is our Rock!  He heals us inside and out!

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me He is aware of the condition of my heart and that He is my strength and my glue to hold me together until I have overcome.  He also says that He is able to do a great work in us when we are broken because pride is not present and He can touch our lives more completely in our humility.


Saturday, 14 November 2015

K - Kneel


The past few weeks has seen me have a few pity parties and when I finally took the time to sit down before the Lord and sort out my issues it pretty much boils down to my being discontent, not satisfied and generally kinda a little prideful.

Lonnnnnng sighhhhh...

In the last few days I have had a lot of sad stuff going through my facebook feed.  There is the ever present danger experienced in Israel.  There is Europe's new found fight against Islam... (not sure that they see it that way though....), friends of yesteryear going through some really TOUGH things....

I find myself ashamed of my self-inflicted misery.

I have so much to be grateful for.  By now you are probably wondering where does Kneel come into all this?  For the last week it has come to mind that I should get on my knees and pray.
  • To thank the Lord for all that I have
  • To thank the Lord for my and my family's health
  • To thank the Lord for my husband
  • To thank the Lord for my beautiful and talented daughters
  • To praise Him that He remains the same even though I am a constant changing emotional upside down inside out human spinning top
  • To ask His forgiveness for my lack of grace and patience with others
  • To thank Him for reminding me to un-harden my heart
  • To thank Him for His forgiveness
  • To humble myself before the Lord because without Him I am, and have, nothing
  • To tell the Lord I am grateful, thankful, content, satisfied, joyful and trying hard to shove my pride in my pocket....
There are so many reasons to kneel before the Lord, the above are all personal.  But what about the chaos our world is in?
  • Israel
  • Our government
  • Our president, he needs more than prayer
  • Conflict in the middle East
  • Conflict in Europe
  • Conflict in China
  • The African continent and all its poverty
  • Poverty everywhere

and closer to home:
  • Our friends
  • Our neighbours
  • Our schools
  • Our work colleagues
  • Our pastors
  • Our churches
  • Our children
The lists are endless.  There is no shortage of reasons to go on our knees.  

When contemplating the need to kneel I thought of how the act of kneeling is humbling, submissive, accepting of the One to Whom we kneel, our Lord and Saviour, our Father and Rock.  It is an act of humility, and of acceptance that there is One greater than ourselves and our need of Him is great.  Kneeling before my Father, reminds me of my need of Him... 

Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world  (1 John 4 v 4b)

James 4 v 7-8:   So submit to [the authority of] God.  Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.  (8) Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you.

To kneel is to submit.  I choose this day to submit my will the will of the Father and because I am human, no doubt I will have to do this daily.  But better His way than mine, any day.

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that all my discontent comes from a place of pride and I need to submit myself to Him, humble myself and kneel and pray and choose His will, not mine.  This is the only way to true contentment and joy.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

J = Jealousy


Yup, the green-eyed monster!  Jealousy is not called a monster because it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Nope, its called a monster because it brings the worst out in a person.

The dictionary defines jealousy like this:
[jel-uh-see]
noun, plural jealousies for 4.
  1. Jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself. 
  2. Mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc.,as in love or aims. 
  3. Vigilance in maintaining or guarding something. 
  4. jealous feeling, disposition, state, or mood.
Ummm, nothing good there right?!

There are many scriptures in the Word that talk about jealousy:
  • 1 Corinth 3v3: for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
  • Gal 5 v 26: Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
  • James 3:16  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice
  • Proverbs 14:30:  A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.
  • Gal 5 v 19-21:  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Jealousy, human jealousy, is not of God.  It hurts the person who is jealous and leads only to more anger, resentment and dissatisfaction with their own lives and the circle just becomes more vicious.  The person to whom the jealousy is aimed is often not even aware of it.


There have been times (I'm ashamed to say) when I have felt resentful towards others but not because of what they have.  More because it "appears" they are sailing through their lives with smiles on their faces and at that moment, in my life, everything feels as if I'm on a sinking ship.  I have learnt that often that is not the case.  They are smiling through their own pain, fear, or difficult circumstance.   

It is much better to focus on the Lord, and not on how others appear to be doing!  Only they and the Lord know their true circumstances.  In focusing on the Lord... you start to learn the art of thanksgiving, letting go of stuff you can do nothing about, gratefulness, and contentment.  Another great way of dealing with resentments and jealousies is to help someone.  Ask the Lord to show you someone who you can uplift, encourage, share a burden with... Doing something like that often opens your eyes to what that person may be going through.

My encouragement to you is to examine your heart and make sure the green-eyed monster does not have residence anywhere in it!  Make sure it has no licence to be there!  And if it is, kick it out and replace it with the fruit of the spirit: Gal 5 v 22-23: (22) But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23)  gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that jealousy must hold no place in my heart and in my emotions.  I need to fill every available space in my heart with His Spirit and the result will be love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, self-control, etc!  Complete opposites of the soul destroying green-eyed monster!



Monday, 26 October 2015

I - Intentions of your Heart


Often times people do or say things and we make assumptions as to why they have said or done what they have.  I suppose sometimes we will be right and sometimes (probably most times) we will be way off base.

It is only God who knows the true intentions of our hearts.  He knows what motivates us to do whatever it is we do.  I believe it is sometimes hard for us to figure out what our own intentions are.  We can think or believe we did or A or B because so-and-so hurt us, or we reacted in this fashion because we determine it to be righteous anger.  Maybe we can convince ourselves of our intentions or justify our behaviour but I think we truly are not very objective where our own hearts are concerned.

It is for this reason, I believe, David says for us to examine our own hearts:
  • Psalm 26 v 2:  Examine me, O Lord, and try me;  Test my heart and my mind.
  • Psalm 139 v 23-24:  (23) Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;  Test me and know my anxious thoughts; (24) And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
  • 1 Corinth 11 v 31:  But if we evaluated and judged ourselves honestly [recognizing our shortcomings and correcting our behaviour], we would not be judged.


Even if we do not search out the intentions of our hearts honestly, God will.  Just because we can fool ourselves, we will not be able to fool God.  Being real with yourself about your intentions is humbling because I think much of what we do (I know this to be true of me) is reactive and not necessarily for right reasons.  My concern is primarily for my hurt feelings where I should be mature enough as a Christian for my concern to be for the other person and to consider, with grace and mercy, why that person is saying or doing what they are.


I think the solution is to ask the Lord daily to reveal the intentions of our hearts, so that we learn to not be fooled or ruled by our emotions.  The ideal situation is to examine one's heart before opening one's mouth.... (my goal indeed).

So, friends, let us like David, spend some reflective time examining our hearts' true intentions and walk more freely knowing we have placed heart health over emotional reactiveness.

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me to dig a little deeper and figure out why I want to react in a certain way.  Is the reason genuine?  Or am I being fooled and ruled by my emotions?  it is always wisest to be honest with oneself about our heart's intentions because God is not fooled.




Friday, 9 October 2015

H - "HELP"


You know, sometimes a person just needs a little help, am I right?!

Lately an old sore (which I have discovered is not yet completely healed - far from it actually) has been festering and old hurts have been coming to the fore.  An event has kind of highlighted this hurt and has been keeping my mind busy with endless potential conversations in my head and "if this happens" or "when that happens" or "if they say or do this or that" and so it goes on and on and on...

And sometimes you just need to reach out for a little help.  Now I am fully convinced that reading God's word is the ultimate and best help available.  But even in His Word God says to seek good counsel....

Prov 24v6:  For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in an abundance of [wise] counsellors there is victory and safety.
and 
Prov 15v22:  Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated, but with many counsellors they are established and succeed.

So yesterday, as I was mulling this problem over AGAIN a person came to mind.  This person is someone I have never met but she has been instrumental in my walk through this hurt.  She is direct, firm, and honest and loves the Lord vigorously!  I knew she would encourage me, advise me or give me the kick in the pants I needed.  

And I was right.  I vented a little and she came back with honesty and put into words what I couldn't.  Also in chatting with her online her words helped me realize that I am still healing, and so my wound can be aggravated and that I have choices.  And of those choices, none are wrong, its more about pacing my actions with my healing if that makes sense.  

Right now, I cannot deal with the people who hurt my family.  I can however, pray for them.  That is a good choice.  In talking to her I realized that when I do pray for them, they have less affect on me and my hurt dissipates... Thus God's healing starts taking effect and I know the time will come when I will see them, and hear from them, and I won't feel this hurt in me anymore.  I will only feel compassion for them.  I'm not quite there yet, but I am getting there...

I am so grateful to the Lord for this lovely woman.  I cannot wait for the day I get to meet her.  She rocks.  Her name is Jerri, and you will find her blog HERE.


My encouragement to you is twofold. Firstly, read the Word.  God directs and guides and sometimes it is in the obedience of reading His word that you start to change, or those around you start to change, or your circumstances change.  His word is alive and powerful.  

Secondly, God's word also directs us to get good counsel.  Do that!  But make sure you are seeking counsel from someone who loves God and who seeks to do His will.  Someone who will not take your hurts and jump all over them, but someone who with the Lord's guidance, will encourage and advise you wisely.  Check their advice against God's word as a double check (His word says so) and if their advice does not contradict God's word, go with it!

Psalm 119v105:  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that reaching out to someone for help is not only a good thing, but also biblical.  The thing though, is to seek the "right" help.  Choose who you seek out wisely.  Make sure it is someone who loves the Lord and whose advice is consistent with His Word.  




Saturday, 3 October 2015

G - Gratitude


I have found in my life that when I get to an emotional crossroads, I'm either going to crack, like a dropped egg!!!!  Or, I need to do something to turn the tide of negativity and potential depression.  Its in these times that I have learnt to just start counting my blessings, one by one...

I get a pen and paper, cup of tea (of course) and I start listing the things I am grateful for.  It depends on how long I have let the emotional seesaw go, on how long the list takes.  Sometimes its all I can do to find 3 or 4, but soon your mind bends round to thankfulness and the list grows.  Slowly at first...

I find the next morning, tea in hand, I already have a few things to add to the list before I sit down, and the next morning, more....  And so my mind starts to operate more in gratitude than in negativity.

Now it may seem like a very simple and wasteful activity.  But I have truly found that I start to react more positively in the day.  People don't wind me up as much, my patience peeps out from under all that reactive behaviour and I look for opportunities to encourage others.  Flowers look brighter, sky-art catches my eye, and I start to look outward instead of inward.

Psalm 118v24:  This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  

Psalm 136v1:  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His steadfast love lasts forever.

What a great tool the Lord has given us to keep our minds and our hearts from being fractured by all that life can throw at us.


My encouragement to you today is no matter how you feel when you wake up, try to find something to be grateful for, then find another, and soon you start to see things more positively and you are able to encourage someone else who isn't able to yet.

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that gratitude is a tool He has given us to cope with our day to day lives.  Gratitude changes our minds from negative to positive and we become someone the Lord can use to help someone else.

Friday, 25 September 2015

F - Frustration to Fruit



I truly have been so frustrated lately....  And in my frustration I have become a bit of a nasty person.  I'm snappy and intolerant and super super frustrated.  My frustration stems mostly from not being able to do anything about a situation or two.  So, finally, that same frustration leads me to the Word.

Yes, I eventually head for God's word in search of that inner peace I so desperately need and want in my day to day handling of the things I can do nothing about.  I am so grateful for God's word.  Because even though it offers no "quick fixes" that we sometimes hope the Lord will dish out, His word is alive and His word is power-filled.

So, it is in reading His word that slowly a balance is restored.  I feel more peaceful.  More at ease with those things I cannot change, more tolerant of those around me, more able to exhale, more able to be patient, more long-suffering (well, sort of) and generally a better person to be about.

This leads me to fruit.  Yes, the fruit of the Spirit.  I believe that in spending time in God's word, I am giving the Holy Spirit licence to renew my inner me.  I am giving Him freedom to start the healing processes.  The more I read His word, the more freedom I feel to extend the very same grace that has been extended to me.  The more I read His word, the lighter I feel on the inside, and that spring in my step starts returning.


What is going on here?  Seriously, reading God's word, leaning in on Him, resting in His arms through His word, all these actions lead to less frustration and more fruit.  I am watering the tree I am, with the word of the Lord, and it is producing better fruit in me...  For this, I am grateful.

This is as good a time as any, to reflect on what the fruit of the Spirit are....(and I love the Amplified version):
Galatians 5:22-23:  (22) But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness,(23) gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Yup, the solution of going from Frustration to Fruit is in the reading of and leaning into God, through His word.

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that reading His word leads to reduction in frustration and growth of fruit.  Reading His word is always the right thing to do.

Friday, 18 September 2015

E - Endurance


Do you ever feel like giving up?  I do!  God instructs us to run with endurance the race in which we find ourselves.  And not only that, to try to do our best whilst running this race of life.  I find it very tough sometimes.
Matt 24 v 12-13: (12)Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. (13) "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

God is our strength, He is our strong tower, our hiding place, our place of refreshment and it is because of Him that we can endure whatever it is we have to.
Psalm 18 v 2:  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

As I was driving this morning, I was wondering what to do about a situation with which I am entirely, overwhelmingly frustrated.  I was mentally voicing my discontent to the Lord, and the thought came to me, "Praise Me, lift Me up, and let me do the rest.  You do not need to know the "how" or the "when"!  You just need to praise Me and I will do the rest."



The thing about this approach is that it removes the necessity of getting tired, because, well, we are letting God do things instead of trying to do things in our own strength.  I find I waste alot of time and energy trying to figure things out, or trying to make things work, when in reality, its a spiritual thing right?!  Sounds iffy, but true.  I have, in times of letting go and letting God, been amazed at the outcome.  You would think I would have learnt but we are constantly needing to relearn things.  At least, this is how it feels for me.
Heb 12 v 1:  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

So back to endurance.  If I am choosing to praise the Lord in my circumstances I am releasing all that pent up anger and frustration to Him, and in the praising and worshiping of the Lord, comes the solutions.  He makes things work together for my good.  Its hard sometimes to let go because maybe we don't want the results we think the Lord will deliver but at the end of the day, His results are better than any result anyone else could deliver.  My point being I will not be wasting my energy resolving things, but using my energy wisely by directing it to praising the Lord, and in that, the ability to endure comes.

My encouragement to you today is to know that God will give you the endurance to run the race that is our lives, but we need to stop trying so hard to fix things ourselves and we need to submit our will to the Father's.  In doing so, He renews our strength and we CAN endure.

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that endurance does not need to be emotionally and physically draining.  If I choose to worship and praise Him in my circumstances, He will give me the ability to endure and have joy in the process.

Friday, 11 September 2015

D - David



One of the things I love about David of the bible is that he was 100% human!  He raged at the Lord, and He praised the Lord.  He humbled himself when he realized the error of his ways.  Although pride got the better of him occasionally, when he recognized it, he surrendered himself back to the Lord and asked forgiveness and moved on in worship to our God.

Reading about him makes me feel normal.  Does that sound odd?  Its because sometimes I really let the Lord know what I feel about an issue.  And then I feel awful.  Reading about David has got me to realize that he too let the Lord know how he felt.  When he felt defeated, or depressed, he went to the Lord.  When he felt strong and courageous, he thanked the Lord.  When he felt joyful, he was joyful unto the Lord.

And when you realize that David suffered the consequences of his actions and he did so with grace and humility, and he STILL loved the Lord, and he STILL knew that every breath of his was from the Lord, and he STILL worshipped and praised the Lord, it makes me realize how gracious and merciful the Lord is to me.


I deserve way worse in consequences than I often get and I believe that this is because of the Lord.  Not because of anything I do!  He remains faithful, even when I am unfaithful.  God cannot change who He is, because He is, well.... God!  It is me, and you, who need to keep seeking to be more like Him.  David is an amazing example of a human being with lots of frailties, but a heart that wants to be more like his God.  A man who knows without God, he is nothing.  It is through David and his Psalms that I see a God with a father's heart!  His discipline and guidance are for our benefit, not for some control and mind games because He rules.  No, God disciplines us because He loves us.  David shows us this in such beautiful ways in the God-inspired Psalms that he wrote.

One of the most important things I have learnt through David is to constantly ask the Lord to examine my heart.  Its not always easy to recognize ones motives through all the subjective emotions of the day.  So, David, I thank you for being real!

Psalm 26 v 2:  Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;  test my heart and my mind.

God bless my friends
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe that David is an example of man being real.  Who of us is always happy, always on fire, always encouraging, always perfect?  None of us and by seeing that neither was David, gives me hope and relief that I too can be real with God!  He is not overwhelmed or frightened or put off by my hurt and anger, nor my happiness when it bubbles over.  He made us, He knows us.

Friday, 4 September 2015

C - Cross


I have had the DVD the Passion of the Christ for, shoo, 9 or 10 years now and I have never watched it.  I knew it was going to be gruesome, and I knew it was going to challenge me.  So, I ignored it and always had a reason why NOW was not the right time to watch it.

We are currently into week 3 of retiling and redoing ceilings etc, and the dust is overwhelming.  Also, the TV is disconnected and as hubby and I were feeling starved of visual stimulation we decided to reconnect at least the DVD player and watch some old favourites.  There was nothing we really wanted to re-watch, and then we saw "The Passion".  Sigh.... I suppose NOW is the time.......

So we set it up and started to watch.  First I was a bit taken aback by the fact that it is all in Aramaic with sub-titles but it didn't take me long to get into it.  Secondly, there seems to be some artistic licence being taken but maybe that is more my lack of knowledge?  However, my reason for not watching it in the first place was definitely on point!

It was horrific, gruesome and I found myself holding back tears A LOT!

But, I needed to see that.  I have been a Christian for a lonnnnng time.  I know Christ died on the cross for my sins, I know He took on the world's worst!  I know He conquered death and the grave, and rose again.  And I know He has overcome every and anything!  He is after all, the Son of God.  However, I have never been able to emotionally connect with that.  I know it is truth, but the reality of what Christ went through, for me...... for you...... for those who don't even care..... WOW, that has been mind-blowing!

It has sat in my heart this whole week.  The knowledge of WHAT Christ went through, TO BE THAT SACRIFICE for us, its overwhelming.  The agony of getting the cross to its final resting place, the heaviness of it and all it represents, must have been staggering.  The thoughtless people, the prideful and arrogant, the lost, all of them laughing and cursing Him as He went.  The physical pain and anguish, I cannot even imagine!


This movie has scarred me, but in a good way.  It has refreshed my spiritual memory with an emotional burst of reality!  I needed to see what my Saviour went through for me, and us all.  I needed to get my senses engaged to acknowledge the enormity of what He has done for us.

And greater still than all He went through for us, He conquered death, He has risen!  The cross is empty, and death has lost its sting!

I know that I will NEVER see a cross and not think of all my Saviour has done for me, ever again!

Let us rejoice together in thankfulness and gratitude for the cross, the empty cross, and what it represents.

Luke 23 v 26:  And they led Him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross and made him carry it behind Jesus........

Luke 23 v 46:  And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.......

Luke 24 v 6-7:  He is not here, but has risen!  Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee (7) That the Son of Man must be given over into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise from death.

God bless my friends
Tracy


#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe that the Lord reminded me, through the medium of this DVD, all that Jesus did for me, bringing to emotional recognition of what He endured for my soul.  Yes, the wisdom I see here is to KNOW what the cross represents and what Christ did on the cross did for us all.

Friday, 28 August 2015

B - Bible



My first thought when thinking of the letter "B" was my bible.  As I look around my home I see that over the years I have collected quite a few.  I love my bibles.  Some are pristine, barely touched.  Others are so highlighted and written in that I am sure they are thicker now than when I originally bought them.

I love my bible(s).  They mean so much to me.  I do have a favourite for studying, a favourite for highlighting, and a favourite for just looking things up in.  I especially love my "go to" bible.  Its an amplified version and it is where I don't mind making notes.  Where I add stuff I've learnt or make marks to remind me of things I need to follow up on.


Its not only what the bible means to me as a book, it is also what it represents:
  • It is God's word
  • Its His "how to" manual for us
  • It holds a multitude of wise words
  • It reveals to us God's Father heart, His love for us
  • It reveals to us His plan and purpose for us
  • It holds the keys to many situations we find ourselves in
  • It teaches us about God and about man
  • It teaches us about ourselves.

Without God I am lost.  But I think if I did not have access to my bible I would also be lost.  Just walking into my home and seeing a bible lying here, one over there, another waiting on my bag for church... gives me a sense of peace.  I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be not having access to God's word.  We would have to memorize way more efficiently than we do now.  We would have to memorize huge chunks of scripture so that in times of emotional distress and need we could bring God's word to mind.  We are currently very blessed to have open and free access to the bible and I hope and pray that will never change.  

1 Peter 1 v 25:  But the word of the Lord endures for ever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached to you.

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

I encourage you today to keep the word close to you.  If you have a smart phone, no doubt you have a bible app on it.  Check it out often, inhale and absorb God's word.  The bible is a great gift to us.  

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe that the Lord is reminding me that His word, in my bible is a great gift.  One that I should not take lightly and one I should hang onto tightly.  I need to get more of His word into my head and heart too, so should I ever not have access to a bible, His word is in me already.

Friday, 21 August 2015

A-Z Challenge! AAAAAAAAA

I think it is time for a challenge.  To get the word mill working in my mind again.  I have been going through a very dry patch with regards to blogging and I think its time to get back into the groove.  So I am challenging myself with a weekly alphabetical challenge.  Not too much pressure you understand (insert stressed woman here).

Seriously though, I love blogging and for some reason I am just stumped!  There is lots to blog about and much has gone on in my life in the last year, but there seems to be a big disconnect when I want to get the words out into a blog post!

Oh well, there is no time like the present!



ACCEPTANCE

I think we all battle with acceptance at one time or another in our lives.  I believe that there was once a "thing" in my heart where I felt I was not good enough.  Its something I believe the devil used in my relationships with those closest to me, in order to make that "thing" grow into a belief that I was not good enough, or not acceptable the way I was.

However, there came a moment, a time, where it dawned on me that, "hey, wait a minute, if I am good enough for God, if He accepts me right here, right now, the way I am, then who are you (or me) to not accept me?"  Now, my feeling that I was not acceptable to others was in part circumstances and situations, and part my wrongful belief that I was not acceptable.

Romans 10v10:  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.


It is amazing how you determine your interactions by how you feel about yourself.  It took me a long time to get to the point where that "thing" in my heart was eradicated and replaced with the knowledge that I am loved, as is, by God!  Now, knowing that I am acceptable to Christ does not mean I stay in that place.  But it did free me to start trying to better myself and be more of who God created me to be.  In feeling the Lord's acceptance, or rather, in acknowledging His acceptance of me, I was free to grow.  Does that make sense to you?  Because before "knowing" and acknowledging that acceptance, I was in that place where you think "why bother trying?  No one will find value in me anyway, right?!"

Romans 8v31:  What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?

So, knowing and acknowledging God's acceptance, eventually leads to "feeling" that acceptance and also sets you on a path of relating differently to others because now, you know your worth, which is in Christ and not in what others think, or what we perceive others think of us, or frankly what we perceive and think about ourselves.

My encouragement to you this week is to affirm in your heart that you are well loved and fully accepted by our Lord!  That we are chosen, personally, by Him.  And that He loved us at our darkest.
 To me this just reeks of grace and mercy and as undeserving as we are, He never changes and what He says is the truth!  He loves us!  End of story!

Eph 1v4:  Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe that the Lord is reminding me that acceptance, true acceptance, is in Him.  Its in the realization that our everything comes from Him, is managed by Him, is loved by Him.  We are truly rooted and firmly accepted by His love.  We are His, and in that there is no rejection.  Just pure love....

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Firstfruits - Sunday

For the last couple of years (okay, okay, maybe longer) I have battled to go to church.

I have tons of excuses:
  • I don't agree with something they say, 
  • Our girls don't like the church we want to go to
  • There is someone there who annoys me
  • Not close enough
  • Not far enough
  • Not how I would like it to be
  • The parking is a problem,
  • Too early
  • Too late
  • Not how it used to be...

You name it, I have the excuse!  My husband and I had sort of decided where we wanted to go but we just had not gotten around to it.  Lazy, tired, busy, another time, etc etc.

We have just been away for 3 weeks and in that time we both read the book "The Blessed Life" by Robert Morris.  What an amazing book!  Such a blessing to read.  Slowly but surely, I will blog about the things in this book that have impacted me.  But for starters, let me deal with Sunday mornings.

I have trained myself to think of Sunday as the last day of the week.  My last opportunity to de-stress before Monday.  My last weekly opportunity to do, well, as little as possible.

This book has reminded me that Sunday is actually the first day of the week, and by going to church on Sunday I am offering up to the Lord, the firstfruits of my week.  God says that He wants our firstfruits, of our earnings, of our time, of us really, and He will bless the rest.  

Rom 11v16:  For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy;  and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Surely if I want my week to be blessed then to offer up the firstfruits of my week is the least I can do.  

Now I don't want to do this, offer up my firstfruits of my week, in order to get the rest blessed!  But the way God works, that is exactly what will happen.  I am also not saying that from hereon out, if I go to church on Sunday, the rest of my week will be awesome always.  But I do know that I can know with confidence that God is with me whatever the week holds and therein lies the blessing for me.  

I want to give the firstfruit of my week to the Lord because I want to honour Him, thank Him, show Him I love Him, show Him how grateful I am for all He has done, and is doing in my life.

You have no idea how excited I am to go to church this Sunday.  There has been a total mind-shift in my head that Sunday is the FIRST day of my week.  And I want to have the most blessed life I can, despite myself (lol) so I WANT to give God my firstfruits!  

So join me in giving God the firstfruits of our week, every week, and lets trust His word that the balance will be blessed!

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe that the Lord is going to show me the value in the firstfruits, in our lives and in relationship with Him.  How many times do we read words in scripture and it all sounds good but we don't get down to the nitty gritty!  Well, it is nitty-gritty time!  Time to tackle firstfruits and reap the rewards of understanding God's word better.



Friday, 3 July 2015

God has got you Covered!


I am busy reading through Ezekiel in my quest to read the bible through cover to cover.  I read some pretty amazing stuff there.  I'm not one of those people who focuses too much on the end times because I find it depressing and lets face it, downright scary, right?!  Am I alone?

But I have just read something in Ezekiel that brought a leap in my spirit!

This is the scenario:
The Holy Spirit lifts Ezekiel up into a vision and takes him over Jerusalem.  He shows Ezekiel all the evil religious practices going on to show why the Lord is bringing judgement.  He then calls near those in charge over the city as executioners and they come forward, all carrying their battle-axes, except one.  He is clothed in linen with ink at his side....

And the Lord calls to the man with the ink and says:  Ezekiel 9 v 4: ... Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in the midst of it.

Isn't that amazing?  Isn't that wonderful?  Isn't that awesome?  God, in Ezekiel's vision, is showing him that He is going to protect those who are not for all the evil that is going on in Jerusalem!!!

As I read this I could only think of how our world and its leaders are making things that are wrong, as if they were not wrong!  I could only think of how so much is being done to hurt others!  And what the religious are doing to try to convince the world that God is not GOD!  And the laws that are being put in place, to normalize sin.  It is frightening, and I am sure I am not the only one when I say how incredibly sad all this makes me feel, and dare I say it, a little (seriously, a lot) scared!


But the scripture above gives me hope and confidence that although all this is going on, and God's judgement WILL stand, and HE will show His majesty and ownership of all, I have confidence that God WILL also protect those who love Him and His word and His way!

That scripture goes on to say that God sends the executioners out after the man with the ink, to execute judgement on young and old (Ezekiel 7 v 5-6) but God states clearly, "do not touch OR GO NEAR anyone on whom is the mark." [capitalization mine]  

Is that not truly amazing and peace giving?! 

I know that I have a smidgen more peace about being a Christian today in this world we live in.

Be encouraged, Our God reigns!

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that I need not fear, especially when I hear people speak about all that is going wrong in the world and end time terrors, etc!  Because God has got us covered, literally!  He will protect His own.  I have to and will believe that, and therein lies the wisdom, believe God's word, end of story!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

To Facebook or not to Facebook? That is the question!

I have been debating with myself for the past couple of months whether or not to delete my Facebook or not.  I have various excuses why I can't:

  • I have to have Facebook in order to manage my blog page
  • I need it to manage my hubby's business page
  • I need to keep up with my friends
  • What if I miss out on something important?
  • What if I learn something awesome or find something very blessed?
  • What if I am able to share something blessed?

I made a deal with myself when I started on Facebook that I would only use it for positive stuff, to share my faith, share what makes me laugh, or photos I think are beautiful.  Never as an outlet for anger or frustration.  And I have pretty much kept to that.  I avoid controversy and if I disagree with something someone has said, I don't respond or raise a debate on their page.  If I do feel the need to "comment" I try to do so with grace.  If I can't find anything gracious to say, I keep away.


But recently I am finding Facebook a drag!  I find I am just scrolling through and seriously using up a lot of time just "being" on Facebook.  Because of  family hurts I have always been careful about what I say and what I share on Facebook but I find myself backing off as others in the family get more involved on it.  I don't feel free to be me, on Facebook.  It is not being the tool I want it to be for my blog either because I find that I am not focusing on that.  I truly wish I could have the Facebook blog page without "Facebook".  Anyway, my dilemma is that I want to step away from Facebook, but I also don't want to!  

What to do, what to do!  

I believe that Facebook is a great tool to use to spread the gospel, I believe its a great tool to communicate and connect.  I choose my Facebook friends wisely so those on my page tend to be like minded.  But I find myself stuck in a groove that is not uplifting, or positive.  I find that I am not gaining anything from being there.  I am allowing Facebook to steal my time and my joy and it is sometimes a cause for contention.


I have considered what I would be losing without Facebook, and other than those few specials that I connect with, my blog page would be lost.  I can connect with my specials outside of Facebook, even those far away.  But my blog, and sharing it, is important to me too.  

What to do?  What to do?

I will be praying about this.  I will be considering options.  I will take and listen to advice!  Ultimately I will do what I feel the Lord wants me to do.  I wish He would be more direct but I have a feeling the Lord wants me to "MANAGE" Facebook in such a way that the impact is positive and not negative.  That means discipline!  Sigh!  Its easy to be disciplined in things that don't impact you but those things that do, quiet times, food, friends, time, social media, all these things require thought and discipline and decisiveness.


As one blogger friend of mine said, her audience for her blog is who the Lord wishes for it to be, and so with regards to numbers of likes, comments, shares, etc, I am not overly concerned.  It is my heart's desire that the one person who needs to read something written here, gets to read it, through whichever medium.  I do not want to lose sight of the fact that God comes first no matter what.  

So, your advice, comments and thoughts are welcome.  I would like to take it all into consideration and prayerfully make a decision.   

Psalm 63 v 1 - 5:  O God, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirst for You, my flesh longs and is faint for you, in a dry and weary land where no water is.  (2) So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory.  (3) Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.  (4) So will I bless You while I live;  I will lift up my hands in Your name.  (5) My whole being shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.  

I don't know why "these" verses but as I type them I get a sense that the Lord wants me to be satisfied in only Him.  Maybe half my problem is I leave Facebook with discontent or unhappiness and maybe that is because I am seeking some sort of satisfaction there that I am not getting.  And my satisfaction should be in God and ONLY Him.  He IS my source, He IS my life, He IS the reason I exist.  

So, some thought is required for my future on Facebook.  Watch this space for the results.  Until then, all remains the same.

I look forward to hearing from you

God bless
Tracy

#wisdom What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is bringing me to a place where I am willing to give social media up for Him.  That I will be content with my blog alone and those one or two who respond there as its about Him and not about me, and how many likes, comments, and shares I have.  I think He is asking me to choose, and in the choosing He will bless.  I know this to be true.  

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