Monday, 22 February 2016

U - Undeserved!


I think we as Christians work hard at forgiving others.  I think we work hard at extending grace.  I think we try to be Jesus to others as best we can.  And yes, we fail.  Often!  Well, at least I know I fail often.

The thing though that I think is also true of a lot of us is we are very hard on ourselves.  We find it hard to forgive ourselves, extend grace to ourselves!  I know I do this.  I am hard on myself because although I know we are to extend these gifts to others I consider myself not deserving of those same gifts.  I am fully convinced that Jesus wants to forgive others, heal others and extend grace to others, I feel I need to suffer the consequences of my actions be it from over-eating, or saying something hurtful to any number of "wrongs".


The whole point about God's grace is it IS undeserved!  It IS unmerited!  I can do nothing to earn it!  I can never reach the perfection that would expect it!  It is wholly and completely undeserved and a gift given to us freely from the Lord.

Salvation is given to us through grace.
Sometimes the consequences are removed from us because of His grace.
No matter how I fail today, He extends grace.
No matter how imperfect I am, He extends grace.

Jesus gives us grace freely.  In fact He looks for opportunities to extend to us His grace.  I think we miss out on a lot of this awesome gift because we believe we do not deserve it.  Well, we are right!  We don't deserve it and that it why it is all the more overwhelming, all the more humbling!

Rom 3 vs 23-24:  (23) Since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus (bold italics mine)

I choose this day to accept the Lord's gift of grace in my life.  I choose to accept that He loves me unreservedly and wants to bless me with this undeserved grace, just because He loves me.

Choose with me....

God bless
Tracy

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Funds needed for Outreach!

Tamsyn is part of a group of people from her church, Shofar, going to recent church plants in London, UK, and Utrecht, Netherlands in June 2016 (17-20 June Utrecht and 23-26 June in London) and maybe December as well of this year.  They are going to be part of big School of Worship events and they need to raise funds for flights, accommodation etc and I want to do what I can to add to those funds. If you are in either of those areas on those days please forward your address details to my email:  teekaytee2(at)gmail(dot)com and Tamsyn will make sure you get information about the events.

Tamsyn

If any of you are willing and able, I would really appreciate any contribution, no matter how small or big! ($1 or more, all amounts {and currencies} welcome)  I, as a mom love that my daughter is involved in spreading the gospel and using her talents as unto the Lord.  So, as a mom, I am doing what I can to help her get there.  I would appreciate any help you can give too.  Absolutely EVERY CENT collected will go to their outreach!

Tamsyn's Church

There is a paypal button on the top right of my blog, just click on the link (which I have at the bottom of this post too) and follow the Paypal prompts.  I pray in Jesus name that every cent donated is a blessing both to the giver and to the receiver.  I pray too that you would ask the Lord to bless this project as they reach out to the lost and hurting and that many would receive Jesus in complete surrender.

God bless
Tracy


The link to donate:




PS:  I am asking Tamsyn to give me feedback as to how it all goes and what all transpired because of their obedience to the Lord.  I believe in giving testimony to all God has done for us.  It encourages and inspires.  

PS2:  After funds have been collected, and the event is under way I will remove the "donate" button with immediate effect as the reason for it, is for the event and only this event!

Monday, 8 February 2016

T - is for Time


As I get older that old adage that time heals, or with time comes understanding, or with time comes wisdom,.... its true!

To a degree anyway.  And to what degree?  I think that we heal or come to understand, or "get" wisdom as quickly as we choose to.

For example, the Word instructs us to forgive (Matt 6 v 14:   For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.) but forgiveness is not an easy thing.  I find it very easy to forgive someone who says sorry.  For me, its over at that point and I can move on.  However, to forgive a hurt where an apology is not forthcoming, or that person does not even acknowledge wrong of any kind, that kind of forgiveness for me is tough.  But truly, it is easy when we do it God's way.  Just forgive and move on, leaving them to God.  In practice, hmmmm....

Fortunately, God knows us well and He allows us time to get over things.  I have found where I have practised forgiveness (yes, it is an active action of one's will - often needing much practice) in my heart and in my mind, and the one who has hurt me comes to mind, or I might bump into them, or see them at a distance and realize, oh, seeing them didn't hurt!  Or saying hello didn't cost me inhuman strength, lol!  Its in those moments I realize God has given me time for that forgiveness to become real and soaked into my soul.  Its then that I realize how gracious and merciful is our God.


I know that we need to live in the moment.  Leave yesterday behind, live in today, and not worry about tomorrow.  Time is precious!  But having made it to 47 in one piece, I am grateful for the time the Lord has given me to sort myself out, or to have the courage to go fix a broken relationship, or time to heal.  The older I get the more I value that time.

My encouragement to you is to realize that when you need time, God knows this too.  If you try to follow His instructions and leave at the foot of the cross your burdens, He will help you with the letting go, with the hurt, with the confusion, with the lack of faith.  He will give you the time....just don't abuse it for time is precious and God is gracious but He will say so far and no further if we mess about and are not genuine and serious.

Eccl 3 v 1-8:  A Time for Everything
(1) There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven—
(2) A time to be born and a time to die;  A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.  
(3) A time to kill and a time to heal;  A time to tear down and a time to build up.
(4) A time to weep and a time to laugh;  A time to mourn and a time to dance.
(5) A time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones;  A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
(6) A time to search and a time to give up as lost;  A time to keep and a time to throw away.
(7) A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;  A time to keep silent and a time to speak.
(8) A time to love and a time to hate;  A time for war and a time for peace.  

God bless
Tracy

Friday, 5 February 2016

Choice! Who knew it is such a Powerful God-given Tool?!

At the beginning of the year I posted about my "One Word" for this year, CHOICE and I mentioned how I had become aware of the fact that some of the choices I had been making were keeping me mired in the mud of emotional distress.

I also have been following Dr Caroline Leaf on facebook (you can find her HERE).  She is someone who studies the brain and is also a believer so her statuses are very profound for me as they relate to my emotions and my ability to "renew" my thoughts through the reading of God's word.

Then, a good friend of mine asked if I had read Dr Leaf's book, "Switch of your Brain".  I said no but I was curious to do so.  Off I went to our local Christian book shop and bought a copy.


What I have been reading has really really been an eye-opener!  Dr Leaf starts each chapter with a scripture and the corresponding science behind it which gives me peace that she is not some airy fairy Doc but a genuine child of God.

So to today's post!  I am astounded at the powerful tool the Lord has placed in our hands and how blank I have been to it.  I have always believed that to make good choices are a good thing and there are scriptures that encourage you to do that, for example:  (Duet 30 v 19: I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants).  But for me the revelation has been this, I have always believed that in trying to make good choices I have been fighting against a "set in concrete" brain that is the way it is because of all that has gone before, circumstances and choices I have made, but the truth is, my brain is not set in concrete.  It is malleable, able to change minute for minute, based on my choices.  So, the choices I make today, good or bad, alter my brain accordingly.  The revelation for me is that I can change my brain for the good, for life, for health, by the choices I make right now.  They WILL affect my brain.  I am not fighting a losing battle.  

And the scriptures back this up.  For example Romans 12v2:  And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].  God says we CAN renew our minds!  And then there is this amazing scripture in Job 22v28:  You shall also decide and decree a thing, and it shall be established for you; and the light [of God's favour] shall shine upon your ways.

As I am reading these things and I am finding scriptures randomly in all different ways (my quiet time, a daily reading sent by email, Dr Leaf's book) I am realizing that the Lord is telling me, "Tracy, your choices matter!  They will not only make you feel better emotionally because today you made a right choice.  They will also change your brain for the better and thereby change your health, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Your thoughts count!  Your choices count!  They are powerful!  I created you that way."

For the first time in my life I am realizing that I have been given this amazing tool to control who I turn out to be, so long as I line all of this up with God and His word!  If I do this on my own, in a worldly platform (positive thinking, etc) it'll work temporarily.  It won't work on the inside of me because it will be in my own strength!  But to use this tool, in line with God and His word, makes a permanent change in who it is the Lord created me to be and I will start achieving all that the Lord has set before me.  THAT for me is the "bazinga"!!!!

I leave you with a scripture found in my quiet time this morning... Acts 17v30(b)...but now He charges all people everywhere to repent (to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins).  Can I just say .... "WOW"

I encourage you to get hold of "Switch on your Brain".  Dr Caroline Leaf's book is AMAZING!  I am only a quarter of the way through and the second half is about the "how" to go about making these positive choices and changes that affect our brains so deeply.  I am so excited to get to the nitty gritty!

God bless
Tracy

Watch for my next "CHOICES" post where I will write about another "bazinga" moment, the ability to step outside of our thinking before we make choices.  You know, being aware of our thinking, before making a choice!  Its not just a reflex thing! 


Monday, 1 February 2016

S - S is for Sing and Speak!


Have you ever had that constant business of mind that prevents you from having a proper quiet time, or where your mind is just so busy that the whole renewing of it seems impossible?  My mind is often in that place.  I think the devil likes to keep our minds busy with, well, everything, so we find it too difficult to renew our minds, or focus on God's word, or remember a great breakthrough.

A while ago I was told two things that help to get our minds in a place where we want them to be.  They are simple and they work, for me anyway.

  1. Speak the word out aloud.  Rom 10 v 17:  So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ.  When you are speaking the word out aloud firstly you are hearing it so you have to concentrate on what you are saying and secondly, your faith grows!  Its biblical, thus true!  Sometimes I find myself reading a whole page before I realize I have no idea what I just read.  Its in those moments I read aloud and actually HEAR the word so it impacts me.  
  2. Sing praises!  Yes, sing!  I was told that when you sing you cannot think!  So I gave it a try!  My mind used to harp on a great tragedy in our lives, a falling out in the family, and really, that is all my mind was consumed with and my mind needed a break!!! So I would drop my girls off at school, turn up the praise music and sing at the top of my voice all the way home!  And yes, it works.  But not only did my brain stop obsessing in those moments, I was praising my Lord!  That reminds me of Jehoshaphat (2 Chron 20), where God told them to put the praise singers ahead as they stood still and waited on the Lord to do battle on their behalf!  Yes, singing shuts the busy mind down, praises our God, and brings about victory! 



Psalm 96 v 1-4:  O sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all the earth! (2)Sing to the Lord, bless His name;  Proclaim good news of His salvation from day to day.  (3) Declare His glory among the nations, His marvellous works and wonderful deeds among all the peoples.  (4) For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.

So, sing my fellow bloggers!  Sing songs of praise when that mind of yours cannot desist in over-thinking everything! And Speak His word out aloud!

God bless
Tracy

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