Thursday, 31 March 2016

Z - Zealot, Zeal or Zealous?!


The definition of a zealot in the dictionary is:
A person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.
synonyms: fanatic, enthusiast, extremist, radical, Young Turk, diehard, activist,militant
The biblical understanding of a zealot is: 
A group of political adversaries to Roman rule in Judea, who were determined to protect their religion from the imposition of Roman rituals and to end Gentile rule over the Jewish people.
There are positive slants to being zealous but it must be tempered with wisdom, understanding and humility.  If we are zealous for Christ and for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and we represent Jesus with humility and grace, we cannot fall into that position of lording it over others and shoving our beliefs down their throats and just generally being obnoxious to the point of extremism and hatred.  All that leads to is hurt in a multitude of ways and does not bring glory to our King.


What ingredients can help us be zealous without being zealots?

1 Corinth 16 v 14 says:   Let everything you do be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us].

Thus, LOVE

And Col 3 v 23-24 says:  (23) Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, (24) knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you [actually] serve.

Thus, SERVE

And Phil 2 v 3 - 4 says:  (3) Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. (4) Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Thus, HUMILITY!

I have finally reached the end of my current alphabetical blog challenge.  I hope you enjoyed it with me.  Lets all move forward today finding zeal for our Saviour and translating that zeal into love for our neighbour!

God bless
Tracy

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Y - Yearn!


Psalm 42 v 1: As the deer pants [longingly] for the water brooks, so my soul pants [longingly] for You, O God.

I think our soul, our heart, our mind even, yearns for the Lord, for His presence.  I think we squash that yearning down with all the cares we carry and all the burdens we huff and puff around with us.

It falls to us to make time to spend with the Lord, to dig deep, to find that yearning!  So once it is tapped into, God's amazing grace and mercy can flow freely in and through us.

We moved about 16 months ago and I love where we were, and I love where we currently are.  But in this house I have this spot.  In this spot, I have comfort, a great view, lots of light, my bible and all my pens and notebooks easily accessed, AND I JUST LOVE IT!  Because of this I have gotten into the habit of waking up, feeding the hounds, making a cuppa tea... and falling into my spot!  And it is here that slowly but surely I am tapping into my heart and soul's yearning.


I can't say that there is an overwhelming outward difference in who I am today, compared to who I was 16 months ago, but I can say that I sense an inner peace that wasn't there before.  I feel some baggage has been released and left behind.  Some boundaries have been established and entered into, things I previously would have given up out of habit.  Yes, the more time I spend in my "spot" the more my yearning for the Lord grows.

I can say too that I am finding things that I found difficult to decide are becoming easier.  As I dig deeper, my moral compass is re-setting to true North and is less troubled by the influences of the world.  I have far to go.  But I am yearning, I recognise I am yearning and I am glad and joyful and lighter in spirit!

Prov 8 v 17:  I love those who love Me; and those who seek Me early and diligently will find Me.

Our God is good.

God bless
Tracy

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

X - Marks the Spot!


Seriously, X is not an easy letter to create a post around.  What it brought to mind though, was a map, with an X on it, for X marks the spot!

I started to think about X in terms of my life.  What am I searching for?  Maybe.  What is my problem?  Hmmm, could be... That one seemed to resonate with me.  I am sure I am not alone in having "a problem"  or for that matter, many "problems".  What I am really talking about here is that thorn in the flesh thing.  That thing you know bugs you, follows you, is there when you wake up, is there when you go to sleep.  And ladies, just in-case you're wondering, I am not referring to my hubby lol!

I am talking of that bug-bear that just will not resolve itself.  For some it might be insecurity, or rejection.  Maybe food issues, diet issues!  Maybe a relationship that JUST WON'T HEAL!  It could be any number of things.

I am at that point in my life where I know what my X is. Keep in mind this has been a "thorn in my flesh" since I was 15 - many many (too) many years ago.  Now I want to know how to resolve it.  Right now I am in a bible study group that is working through a Beth Moore bible study called Daniel.  It is so not what I expected and this study is working in my heart in ways I never thought it would.  The thing that really hit me in the gut is that I have been choosing to "try" fix X with worldly solutions.  Where this bible study is showing that we need to seek the Lord in all things, and live in, and not be part of, a fallen world.  Worldly solutions make promises that tend to be empty.  They are temporary and at the end of the day they fail, because they are not rooted in God.

Back to my map.  I have found where on the map my X is.  And at that point there is a treasure chest full of treasure!  What now?


What is some of that treasure?  Firstly, the treasure chest is the Word!  And the treasure in there is so precious and so valuable and very relevant to us today.  Some of the nuggets of gold I have discovered this week are that Daniel RESOLVED to stand firm.  He RESOLVED to be a child of God in an environment that was not friendly to God.  He was DETERMINED, RESOLUTE, CONSISTENT, and INTENTIONAL! (Daniel 1)

So now it is my goal to use these precious treasures given to me through God's word, to come to a place of giving that "thorn in the flesh" over to the Lord.  I want to replace my usual methods of "fixing" things with God's way of doing things.  I know this.  My struggle is how do I apply what I know.  Well, based on the treasures I have discovered this week, I know to do the following:  I can resolve to stick to God's word and seek out His way.  I can be consistent in seeking His word, intentional in seeking His word, and determined to seek His word.

I have learnt that seeking the Lord and praising Him opens and closes doors along your path which guides you along the changes in your circumstances.  It is often in looking back you see where His treasure took you and how far away that "X" looks from where you started out trusting Him with it.

I feel all the above has come out of my head quite jumbled but I hope you see my heart and know that my encouragement to you today is to delve into the treasure that is God's word.  You don't need a map with an X on it to find His treasure.  Sometimes though God gives you an X (a problem, an issue) so you naturally seek where on the map it is, to help you find His treasure!

Matt 6 v 21:  For where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.  {did you see that?  That on which your life centres?  It could be that very bug-bear that brings you to God's treasure, or.... keeps you there}

God bless
Tracy

Thursday, 10 March 2016

W - Waves and Tsunamis


As a forward to this post: I wrote this about 3 months ago, and the Lord has me in a better, healthier head-space now.  Just proving the point of the post....He is with us always

I'm sitting here reflecting on the past 20 odd years and seeing how things have happened.  It seems as though circumstances have come in waves across my life and in-between those waves have been moments of refreshing, renewal, and healing.

I feel crushed though!  I feel flattened by the last tsunami, as though it has been one wave too much.  It seems as though, as one thing happens, God helps me through friends, His word, counselling, whatever, to strengthen, only for another wave to come crashing through.

So I determined this morning that I do not want to strengthen again, because I will just be preparing myself for another wave....

Not a good or healthy attitude!

But as I ponder all this, the thought occurs to me, "Tracy, wave after wave, you are still standing!"  A little weary maybe, tired and disheartened maybe, down but not out!  And why is this?  Because God has brought me through each storm.  And, He will bring me through how ever many more waves there are.


It is a sign of healing to me, that although I look and see a nearly drowned middle-aged housewife, barely hanging on to the receding seaweed, I feel great because I have survived!  I have overcome those waves in Jesus name.  And let me just say at this juncture, HE IS THE ONLY REASON I have survived!  I have said to myself in the past, "Imagine going through this, without Jesus?!"

As I am writing all this down in my journal, feeling a little sorry for myself, I look to the bottom of the page and this scripture is sitting there, staring at me.... Matt 11 v 28:  "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  How can you not realize that God is LISTENING and HEARING your heart?

I am so grateful that He listens and hears and He shows me that He does in ways like this.  It makes it easier to carry on and wake up and say, "This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!"

Be encouraged my friends.  God is with you in every wave!  He will save you and sustain you, give you victory, and blessing upon blessing!

God bless
Tracy

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

V - Vindication


Ohhhh man how I want vindication!!!!! 
I am impatient for it and need and long for it desperately....

The hardest part is the waiting right?!  And the constant striving to make forgiveness a genuine part of your heart for those who do not acknowledge or recognise the hurt they have wilfully imparted into your life!  My life was just FINE without all that unwanted hurt thank you very much!

Seriously though, I do believe that vindication will come.... IN GOD'S TIME!  When all the heart change in me is at that right place.  Where when vindication comes, I can be gracious, I can be merciful, I can extend the love of Jesus....

So what am I saying here?  I'm not ready to do all that?  Sigh.... Back to the drawing board, back to the word!

What DOES God's word say about vindication anyway?

Psalm 17 vs 1-3:  (1) Hear the just (righteous) cause, O Lord; listen to my loud [piercing] cry;  Listen to my prayer, that comes from guileless lips. (2) Let my verdict of vindication come from Your presence;  May Your eyes look with equity and behold things that are just.  (3) You have tried my heart;  You have visited me in the night;  You have tested me and You find nothing [evil in me];
I intend that my mouth will not transgress.


Yes, I want my vindication to come from the Lord's presence.  But follow onto verse 3:  You have tried my heart!  Well, if I try to analyse my heart, it is no wonder God's vindication has not yet come!  There is still much forgiveness to be acted upon.  There is still much "letting go" to be done!


Psalm 26 vs 1-2:  (1) Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity;  I have [relied on and] trusted [confidently] in the Lord without wavering and I shall not slip. (2) Examine me, O Lord, and try me;  Test my heart and my mind.

Do you see that?  Again the Lord promises vindication, but.... upon examination of my heart, and my heart being free of evil, free of bitterness, full of forgiveness.  It is like all the promises of God in the Word, they are conditional on where we are in the equation.

I truly believe that vindication will come and it will come at the hand of the Lord and not by any machinerisms on my part.  The harder I try to resolve these hurts, within myself and in relationships, the worse it gets!  It is only by God's hand, by His grace, and in His power.  And, when God vindicates, He also brings restoration and renewal.

Yes, I desperately want my vindication, but I know that there is still work to be done in my heart (and maybe in their hearts too right?!).  This raises the question, "what if you never get vindication?"  I answer this with God's Word:  Psalm 27 v 13: What, what would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living!

Yes, by the hand of the Lord, I WILL see the Lord's goodness while I am yet here!  God's word is true and tested and I encourage you to KNOW in your heart, vindication IS yours.  In His time, as only He knows the true condition of your heart.

God bless
Tracy




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