Monday, 22 May 2017

Who Among us?

I was reading in Isaiah and in the back of my head, wondering all the time, how our God is going to provide for us in this time of drought in our city/province.  Things have gotten very serious for people whose business is related to water.  We, for example, are in the pool industry, and due to the bad drought conditions, our dams are basically at critical low to empty levels, we may not top up pools, we may not fill pools without a permit by the end of the month, the council appears to be drawing out approval of plans that are pool related, water has gone up in price substantially to discourage the overuse of it, so people are not buying pools, our industry (among others) is suffering....

Thus our incomes are suffering...

But God....

So as I sit here and read Isaiah, this is the scripture that took my breath away:
(Additionally, not only are we suffering from awful drought, our politics are in a mess, there is a lot of hatred and racial tension, and much poverty in and around our city but also our country is in a financial and political hotpot of corruption etc... For me this scripture spoke into all those things.....)

Isaiah 33 v 14(b) - 16:  (14b)... Who among us can dwell with that devouring fire?  Who among us can dwell with those everlasting burnings?
(15) He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises gain from fraud and from oppression, who shakes his hand free from the taking of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes to avoid looking upon evil.
(16) [Such a man] will dwell on the heights;  his place of defence will be the fortress of rocks;  his bread will be given him;  water for him will be sure.

My jaw metaphorically hung open.  Recently, I have been encouraged to, when reading the word, ask myself what do I think God is telling me.  So I asked myself, "Tracy, what do you think God is saying to you here?"  And I broke it down like this...


Who among us can live in these tough circumstances?
  1. he who walks righteously, does what is right despite tough times
  2. he who speaks uprightly, speaks good, positive things, sticks to the truth
  3. he who won't sink to fraud or oppress someone for gain, desperation does not lead to dishonesty
  4. he who will not take a bribe, no matter how desperate they are, or how attractive the offer
  5. he who stops his ears from hearing bloodshed!  I'm not too sure but I think this would mean don't get all involved and focus on the evil out there
  6. he who shuts his eyes to avoid evil.  I think in desperate times, people give up on themselves and sink to darker levels and accept things they shouldn't etc.  So, no compromise in what you watch, listen to, or do.

And the result of behaving as the man does above, in these tough circumstances?
  1. Such a man will dwell in the heights, (safety?)
  2. Such a man's defence will be a fortress of rocks (safety?), He will be safe from what is happening around him
  3. To such a man his bread will be given - he will be fed, his needs met
  4. To such a man water will be secure - he shall not thirst...
Isn't that astounding?  Actually, if we read the word of God often enough, and recount all the Lord has already done for us in the past, we should not be shocked.  We should definitely be grateful, thankful, and praise the Lord for His goodness.  But we should not be surprised!  

Recently I was stressing about a situation and as the Lord does, He came through for us at the last minute.  I was truly humbled, and amazed.  How He came through for us was not what I expected at all.  I remember telling the Lord, I am so sorry I doubted You.  You have NEVER let us down.  Why would You let us down now?  This time, I am choosing to trust the Lord no matter how things seem and in that, I have peace.  Sure, there is a little anxiety floating around there somewhere, but I try to speak to it with words from God's word:  He shall not leave us nor forsake us... He will make a way, where there seems to be no way.... He longs to show His grace and mercy toward us... He will not let us be put to shame, for His name sake...

I am so thankful for His word that encourages and holds me up.  He is my fortress and my comfort.  In Him will I trust.  Join me today as we journey forward in our walk of faith, trusting the Lord to provide for us, and protect us in all circumstances.

God bless
Tracy


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Set Free!

I would say for the last year I have been struggling with stuff I should not be struggling with.  My previous posts hint at that.  Rejection, resentment, anger, self-loathing, persecution complex, insecurity, mama guilt, etc etc etc!

And I have been delving into the Word, trying to absorb it into my very being, in the hope that it would change me from inside.  And truth be told, it has and does do that!  But, I think sometimes we hang onto all that baggage a little too tightly, and before we can walk forward, we are mired again, in the sticky mud of human emotions and oppression.

But... God....!

So, I'm sitting in the lounge feeling sorry for myself and decided to watch an episode of Robert Morris' ministry.  This particular section/session is called Set Free, and it was the last session of a series of which I had seen none.  Man, was I blown away.  He starts by saying he is going to pray for us all at the end of that session, for the release from all those things listed above and a host of others.

I'm thinking, okay, lets hear this out.  All I can tell you is that what he said, how he said it, and the prayer at the end, has changed me!  At the end, I stood alone in my lounge, hands in the air and prayed with him.  I prayed for the Lord to release me from all those things as he mentioned them... And can I just say, I felt, for the first time in a lonnnnng time, that I could breathe!  Really inhale and exhale and breathe freely.  Now I don't mean due to physical lung issues.  I mean spiritually, in my soul, heart released, joyful breathing!


That was a few weeks ago, and still I feel released of those things.  I make decisions because I have the confidence to stand for what I decide.  Stupid example, my hair was driving me mad!  But having cut it a year ago, and regretting it, I decided to grow it again, and stick it out, and go through that everyday hating-what-you-look-like-while-it-grows stage!  Once released... set free, I looked in the mirror and thought, "I want it short, I like it short, and that is what I am going to do"!  I literally climbed in my car, drove to the hairdresser and told her to lop it off!  And I AM LOVING IT!

Another example!  Because of things that have happened in this family, as a Mom I have been consumed by much guilt.  Guilt for things I had no control over!  How does it manifest?  In every decision that needs to be made with regards to my children.  And Praise the Lord, with prayer, encouragement from great friends, my decisions are beginning to be made from a guilt-free place and thus I am not easily manipulated into doing what is wanted, but make my decisions based on what is fair and right (in general, no one's perfect right?!).

Eph 4 vs 31-32:  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. (32) Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.

One thing Robert Morris says in this talk is that these things periodically attach themselves to us over time and we have to keep being aware of them and remembering all we are in Christ and to believe the truth of the word and not the lies of the devil.  Evaluate your heart!  Evaluate your feelings and if you find, when comparing what you feel with God's truth, you find they are lies, let them go, trust God to release you from those things and renew your minds daily with the truth.  I know that I spent A LOT of time in my head, repeating the lies until I believed them.  We have to capture those thoughts and replace them with God's truth.

God bless lovely ladies.... be encouraged, God will never leave you nor forsake you! His word says so, therefore it is so!

God bless
Tracy

Here is a link to the session I watched!  The Blessed Life - Set Free - Robert Morris I believe it will bless you big!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Time to get Real!

I haven't blogged much for a good part of 2 years now.  There are many reasons.  One is social media.  I think you get so sucked into it, its so easy, so informative, and you feel like you are linked in, connected.... but really at the end of the day, I just felt disconnected.  Secondly, I have so much on my heart to say, but I just couldn't fathom what to say, to say how I felt, and truly, its hard to encourage when a sense of hopelessness starts to tinge your every day thinking.  And add to that, becoming real and posting it on social media where some people could decipher through my vagueness for the sake of not hurting anyone, kinda put me off sharing....

The other day we visited friends, for a cuppa and a chinwag, and I wanted to drop something off that I had made her, and on our way out, I made a statement about not being able to cope with anymore "events" or hurt as I felt overwhelmed already, and I started crying out of nowhere.  Hard to hold it all in sometimes!  I mumbled my hurts and said among other things how I hardly blogged anymore, and she said, "No, Tracy, go write how you feel down, go let it all out!  Don't give it up, it helps you."

And so I started taking measures to, well, for lack of better words, get real in my life.  I decided to let go of those things that have become negatives in my life instead of positives.  Or at least change things so that the negatives are not what I focus on.

And because doing all that has freed up so much time, I now can start blogging about what I feel, how all this is helping me to grow, etc!  My posts are going to be more punchy!  Less smoothed out!  More fresh, more real!  And I feel good about that.  It reminds me of Psalms because David was so real.  He vented, and he praised, and he was still called a man after God's own heart.  I think sometimes as Christians we feel we have to be so careful and politically correct.  Now don't get me wrong!  I have no desire to offend anyone.  I just want to say it like it is for me, and I promise to read what I have written before I push "Publish"!  👀


I intend to remain true to my blog goals as well, which are as follows:
  • My goal is to be encouraging and positive
  • I want to journal what I feel God wants me to write
  • I will write my blog not desiring responses, but really grateful and encouraged to receive them
  • My blog is not about my day to day life, unless its to make a point in a message
  • If I can make someone smile, thats good too!
  • As much as I enjoy blogging, my family must not lose out because I'm glued to the computer
  • Most importantly, if I can point anyone to God and His word, I would have achieved my goal.

I'm currently reading through Isaiah and reading a biblical scholar's take on Isaiah at the same time. This scholar says how although much of what we read there is depressing and doom and gloom because of Israel's disobedience, the end goal, the thread throughout is salvation, restoration, and great joy. The point I am making is that although one of my goals is to always be positive, if by expressing how negative I am feeling, or have felt, if that leads to a positive outcome, a pointing to God, then I am okay with that.

Join me in taking the time to examine our hearts, ask the Lord to expose what is in there, and lets clear out the muck and replace it with God's goodness and love.

So, time to be real, dig deep and trust the Lord in the overcoming of tough stuff.

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 24 April 2017

Rejecting Rejection!

Rejection has never really been my thing.  I do not go out of my way to reject anyone, nor has the rejection of others bothered me much..... until lately....

I think because it seems to be becoming a theme in my life for the last 10 years and one rejection on top of another, however small and insignificant, after a big hurt kinda burns doesn't it?!

The dent in my armour is not rejection!  It is not what messes with my head and I will not accept it either.  One dent in ye olde armour is more than enough to battle with year in and year out.  I so don't need another.  So right here, and right now, I declare "I reject rejection"!

Whether someone rejects me on purpose or not, I will not make it my issue.  I am good enough and acceptable to the Lord as I stand, faults and all and although there is much growth and change that needs to take place, its not going to come from a place of rejection.

Now, having said that, maybe the Lord is trying to teach me something.  What though?  Is it that He wants me to feel secure standing alone?  Does He want me to feel contentment in the face of not being wanted (as apposed to being needed and used)?  Or is it simply just a little rejection along the way to inoculate me against a larger rejection to come?  Oi vey!  Whatever it is I lay it at His feet and I give it to You Jesus.  I do not accept this rejection!  And in the words of Joseph, prince of Dreams, the animated classic, "I don't need to know everything, just know that You know more than me and that is okay."


I'm still digging myself out of the rejection funk, but I know when its dealt with, I will be stronger for it and I will be content if someone, with whom I want to have closeness, does not want the same thing with me and I will use that opportunity to bless them, release them, and cultivate stronger relationships with those who do choose to spend time with me.

Psalm 34 v 18:  The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

John 1 v 11:  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
Jesus suffered much rejection - He surely and absolutely understands how we feel!

Romans 8 v 31: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?Yes, what others think of us is not nearly as important as what God thinks of us.

I read something the other day that says what others think of us is none of our business 😆!  Lol, so true!  Let us rather focus on what God thinks of us, and that is that He loved us so much He sent His only Son to die on a cross for us!  So much love you cannot smother with any amount of rejection and hurt.

God bless
Tracy

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Do Not Be Afraid!

Things have gotten a little tough around here.  There is a terrible drought, the worst for us in over 100 years apparently, and because of that, very strict water restrictions are in place.  Well, for us in the pool industry, thats a real business buster.  When people are not allowed encouraged to not install or fill pools, its a real downer financially.

Many people in industries for whom water is part of their business, car washes, doggie parlours, garden services, roof cleaners, window cleaners, and many more are finding the current lack of water a trying time.

Then there is our government!  Well, as I am not a politician, let me say very little on the issue except, we need God to intervene desperately!   We have plenty people of all walks of life, gathering regularly to peacefully show their unhappiness at all that is going on, and it is quite confusing as a Christian to know what is the right thing to do, what to participate in!  One thing I know for sure, prayer is ALWAYS the best option.  So, on the 22 April, we have had a call as a nation, to gather a million or more people in one place, a farm outside of Bloemfontein, to come together, to repent as a nation, to fall on our knees in our need of our God and King!  To pray for rain, both spiritually and in the natural, and for God to work change in our government!  We as Christians are so excited about this event.  As a family we won't be going, due to logistics etc but that does not stop us from praying with them, in our homes, in our cars, at the grocer, anywhere, anytime!

Click HERE for more info

The theme in all this for us as a country is "Its time!"  Time to come together and stand together as a nation before the Lord...  I am so excited about what the Lord is going to do for us and in us as a nation.... Watch this space people!  Watch this space! 💚

With all these things mulling around in my head, the worry of tomorrow (hmmm, not supposed to do that right?) I read the following encouragement on my instagram account from Esther Ministries :
To those who find themselves in the furnace today, not knowing if they can stand the heat much longer, remember that you are not alone in the fire! Do not be afraid! Take heart! You will not be harmed! You will come out of the furnace not even smelling of smoke.

"So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!" (Daniel 3:26-27)

Take courage! Even if the furnace is turned up 7 times, still you will be untouched by the fire. You have heavenly protection and angels surrounding you. You might not see it while you're in it, but as you come out, you and those around you will stand astonished at how you walked through fire and have not been burned. 

My encouragement to you in whatever it is that you face, you are not alone in that furnace!  God is with you and you will come through this without even the stench of smoke on you!

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Treadmill in my Head...

I have been spending a lot of time lately, feeling rejected!  Now, I am not a person for whom rejection was ever a big thing.  You either liked me or you didn't and either way was okay for me.  But lately I feel too weak to fight off rejection with the confidence I always had in the past.  And this hurt hits hard from both close to home, and not so close.

What to do about it?  I'm not sure!  I get all hurt and react internally, and then spout out my hurt (at home on the head of my poor husband)... Then I self-protect and claim I don't care!  Then I mellow and soften towards those who have hurt me, and so the cycle continues.

But the thing is, its exhausting!  Its stressful!  Its debilitating!  And I don't like feeling like this.  As I was pondering all this I reckoned that I must be suffering, or starting to suffer from some kind of depression.  That place you get to when you feel there is no hope.  (Now please bare in mind I am not commenting on depression in general, or sufferers of depression.  I am just referring to how I feel in this moment).  For me the first place I want to go to when I feel this way is Psalms.  It soothes my soul.  I feel I can relate because David ranted and raved, but always worshipped and praised too.  He was real in the moment and God loved him through it all.


Secondly, sitting and mulling things over, I considered something.  I do not need to change how I feel in this moment.  I do not need to find a solution to my "problem"!  I need only seek the Lord.  I need only dig deep and dig often into His word and He will start changing me from the inside out.  Soon, I will wake up and feel.... nothing of what I am feeling now.  Hope will start to ooze into my pores!  Joy will start to filter through my veins... and I will wake up and notice, something is different.  I know this to be true, because it happens when I turn to God first and foremost, and when I seek Him above all else...

Matt 6 v 33:  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

We hear and quote this scripture all the time.  But it is so profound in its truth and in its reality when we practice it that you JUST CANNOT ignore the power of God's words....

So, my encouragement to you is to seek God no matter how dark you feel right now.  It is in the seeking of Him, that He works in your circumstances, in your heart, in your soul and heals you where you need healing, and restores you where you need restoration.  Apart from these things, it is the new energy that comes from letting go and letting God that is freeing too.

Without God I would be nothing, I would be lost!

God bless
Tracy

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Digging Deeper 2017

I find that I have become very unimpressed, or disappointed with my own level of understanding of the Word and with my inability to "feel" closer to the Lord.  Now firstly, I think the word 'feel' is problematic because living one's faith out is not about feelings (thank goodness for me!  Mine are usually all over the place).  Secondly, unless you are willing to pay bucket loads of money, bible schools are not an option.  Truly, I would like to do something that is on line, that I can delve into in my own time etc.

My own church does much for the new Christian, and that is good but I want more meat!  I want more!  More of God, more understanding and wisdom, from God.  My daughters heard me talking about this and gave me an awesome book for my birthday.  Its called "Unlocking the Bible" and I believe the author has many youtube videos out there also, which I want to look into.  His name is David Pawson and he breaks down the books of the bible and fills them out with their history, their authorship, to whom its meant etc, but more so than each book's intro in your bible.  He expounds more on what the different scholars have to say about the book and its meaning etc.  So far, I am enjoying it.


Other books I am adding to my usual daily devotional are those written by AW Tozer.  "The Pursuit of God" is amazing.  It makes me realise how much more serious I need to be about seeking out the Lord.  It makes me realise how much of God's power I have access to, and I don't even know it.  He shows how shallow we are as Christians.   He is especially concerned for us as church-goers, because church sometimes has become about entertaining us, and focusing on feeding us only the easy to accept stuff and not the real tough nitty-gritty stuff.  (No specific church or group being discussed here, so no finger-pointing going on here by me 😋)


 In the times we live in, I think it is so important for us to get real about our faith.  Its not about denominations, its not about how you or I interpret this verse or that.  Its about unity.  Its about standing together as one for God.  They say that the Christian army is the only army that shoots its own soldiers.  Ain't that the truth.  We serve the same God.  And His word even instructs us not to get caught up in legalese and conspiracies.

So, on my journey to digging deeper I am adding to my reading lists books by those men of God who have dug deeper before me.  No more surface scratching for me.  Dig deeper or go home Tracy!

What books or courses or other resources are you using to dig deeper?

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 6 March 2017

Like Elijah - You Too Can Pray

Right now our country, South Africa, is going through a make or break stage.  The ruling party is losing favour and their years and years of corruption is being exposed and people are saying enough is enough.  They are at that stage where they need to up their game before the next elections in 2019.  However, how will they do that?  Through ethical and people focused means?  Or through continued skulduggery?  Sadly, I think it will be the latter.

I love my country.  It is getting to a critical point where weekly murders of farmers in the norm and the press hide it in the back pages somewhere.  Nothing is being done about these things.  Hatred and renewed violence and racism (the normal kind and the reversed kind) is growing exponentially.


Those that can leave the country, do!  Those that can't, stay!  And then there are those, like us, who choose to stay. We love our country.  We love the people.  We KNOW that we can all live in harmony.  We can overcome hate and hurt.  We know, and choose to believe that God has a good plan for us in this country.  But its really hard when it seems evil is winning....

On top of that, our province is having the worst drought in something like 100 yrs.  They say we have 2 months water left and then we are done!  Water is becoming another point over which to fight and debate and hate.  Instead of solutions being sought!

And so back to the purpose of this post....

I was having a quiet time and wondering if I can find out if there are any prayer groups out there, praying for our country, and praying for rain.  I asked around, I wondered if maybe I should start something, and ask anyone to join me in praying for our country, and the rain we so desperately need.

And then I read this:  James 5 vs 17-18:  (17)  Elijah was a man with nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain;  and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  (18) And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

It was a light bulb moment for me.  Elijah was just a normal person like you and I.  He was no more "special" or different.  He had the faith to pray earnestly and believed.  I felt like the Lord was telling me, "you too can pray for rain, and trust Me for it, extend your faith, go for it and pray, earnestly!"  I don't need to join any prayer group.  Although if I find one I will because I do believe that where two or more are gathered in Jesus' name, there He is in the midst of us (Matt 18v20).   But I don't need to wait for people to get together!  I can pray, right here, right now!

In my bible after the end of James 5, there is a large open space.  I wrote down my prayer for rain for our province.  I believe that God WILL fill our dams and He WILL do it before the water comes to an end.


I do believe that we as Christians are called to come together and seek God's forgiveness, humble ourselves and pray, and He will come heal our land, with water, and with good governance.  God's word says so.  If His word says so, then so it is!  2 Chron 7 v 14:  If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Would you mind, if South Africa comes to mind, that you would lift us up in prayer?  Would you pray for the violence to end, for the corruption to be exposed and to come to an end and for righteous people in power to stand up and make a stand for Godly ways and Godly principles.  Thank you friends.

God bless
Tracy

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Baby Faith Steps

I have been a Christian since I was a teenager.  But as I sit here as an adult, 30 odd years later, I have felt hopelessness, a jaded outlook, a realist or pessimist, instead of the optimist I usually am.  I remember my dad always saying "you can't cry over spilt milk."  I'm a practical girl for whom spilt milk is an opportunity usually, to find a way to fix it and move on....


But we can get stuck in the hurts and cares and worries that accumulate over the years.  More now than ever I miss the good old days, the school days, where my biggest responsibility was passing a test.  Man, life is full of tests right?!  Half the problem is not even realizing you're in a test.  The other half of the problem is its a test you never wanted to take anyways!

I have come to realise that my attitude is completely in my hands.  I can wallow in self-pity or I can look up and choose to see the good in things.  I can feel sorry for myself, or I can walk closer to God, and focus on Him.  I can choose hopelessness, or.... I can take a step of faith, to believe!  Believe what?  God's word!

So why baby steps?  I think for me I have become so entrenched in negativity, and why me? and what is the point of being hopeful, its going to crash and burn anyway?  that I have forgotten how to practice faith.

But.... I chose to take a small step of faith, I chose to believe a portion of God's word that said I have His favour and instead of begging for His favour in a small circumstance, I chose to thank Him for His favour.  I chose to take a small step of faith and every time I doubted that things would work out, every time I sat in expectation of things to go wrong, I reminded myself that I have God's favour in this, and that I choose to believe it, and I moved on....


And... God surprised me!  I suppose I should not have been surprised.  I have His favour after all.  His word says so.  But if I do not claim it, I do not have it.  So I claimed God's word, I have His favour, and stood in faith on that, speaking to my fears and doubts, and He honoured that and surprised me.

This small step of faith, and the resulting blessing, has reminded me to start checking my attitude.  I have in Christ only what I allow.  And if I allow only salvation, that is what I will get.  But if I allow God to demonstrate His word and promises to me, I will get abundant blessing.

The sad thing is, we as Christians do experience this blessing when we take steps of faith, but it doesn't take much for us to back track into negativity and lack.  We forget what God has done for us.  We forget where He has taken us from, and where He has taken us to.  We forget what He has lifted us out of.  We forget too easily.  And that is why I believe there is a lot of retelling in the Old Testament, of what God did for the Israelites.   It was to remind them of His goodness, and to encourage them to believe on Him, believe that He has their best interests at heart.

Psalm 105 v 5: Remember His marvellous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgements of His mouth.

Psalm 77 vs 11-12:  I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.  (12) I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.

Hebrews 11 v 6:  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

So I leave you with this thought, take a step of faith, even a small baby step, speak God's word into it and watch how He blesses and honours and rewards your faith.

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 30 January 2017

Their Free will - Your destruction? or Your perfection?

Has anyone ever asked you, "why me?"  Have you ever asked, "why me?"  The answer to both for me is yes.  I have often wondered "why did that happen to me?"   "I didn't deserve that", or "why did You allow that person to hurt me God?"   "Did I do something wrong?"

There are lots of those questions floating around the world today!  And, how do you answer someone who asks you the same things?  How do you explain away their pain?

There is no easy answer out there.

But.... God....

This morning I read Hebrews 5 in my quiet time.  The writer is trying to show the audience of that time that they had priests who prayed for them, who made sacrifices on their behalf for their sins, etc.  But that now there was Jesus!  The High Priest, who made Himself the ultimate sacrifice, who died on a cross at the hands of man's free will, so that you and I have salvation and so that we never have to make sacrifices again for our sins, as He has done so on our behalf.  The writer was trying to explain that Jesus is so much better than any priest.....

These verses jumped out:  Heb 5 v 7 - 9: (7) who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, (8) though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (9) And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

What did I get out of this?  Well, firstly, we all know the story of Jesus praying so hard for God to remove the suffering He was about to endure, from Him.  But that even if He didn't, He would be obedient because, well God is God and He knows best.  The thing that comes to mind here, is that I do not ask for something from anyone, including the Lord, if I do not believe that there is a hope that they can or will answer my request, whether it be for something or help or whatever.  Jesus must of had a hope that God could remove this suffering from Him....

Secondly, He chose to be obedient whether God removed it or not.  We all know that God did not remove this ultimate suffering from Jesus.  But what, for Jesus, was the result of that obedience?  On the surface it was death.  Death of His flesh, right?  But in reality, His obedience led to Him being the author of salvation for anyone who obeys Him, anyone who chooses Him.  Anyone can come to the throne of grace, become sons and daughters of the Living God, because of Jesus' obedience. There is an ultimate way to God, through the death of Christ on the cross, for anyone's salvation.

His obedience led to the salvation of many, and still does.

So how does this relate to us being hurt badly by someone?
Sometimes we think that God allowed this horrible thing to happen to us and it confuses us as to why He would allow such a terrible thing to happen.  I think, its more that God has given man free will on earth and He allows that, He allows man his free will, and in allowing man his free will, others get hurt.  BUT.... and this is a big BUT!  I believe that what man does not realize is that God uses that free will for the good of those against whom that free will was used, not only for their perfection, but also for another's salvation.

Let me clarify.  Joe Soap wanted to hurt you, use you, abuse you, for whatever reason be it his/her own hurt or whatever, their goal was to hurt you.  You, like Jesus did, can ask God to remove this suffering from you which we all know He can, but sometimes He chooses not to.  Why?  Because He allows this hurt not only for your perfection, your growth, your ultimate salvation, He uses what has been meant for your destruction to save you and many others.... Joseph understood this, and he went through awful stuff too.... Gen 50 v 20:  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 



And this leads me to another aspect of this suffering or hurt you (me, us, we) have experienced.  God has given man free will.  God uses that free will ultimately, to achieve what He has set out to achieve and that is yours and my perfection/purification and salvation, and for anyone else who wants it.  But, the devil also thinks he has dibs on man's free will.  He thinks he can use man's free will to wreak havoc and destruction in your life and mine.  Sadly, he gets it right many times.  We see people hurt who cannot fathom why, and in that hurt they hurt themselves more, or they hurt others and a vicious cycle of hurt becomes the norm.  BUT... if we hand that hurt to God, He uses it for our good and ultimately the good of someone else who has been hurt and needs God as much as we do.

In conclusion, why did God allow this awful thing to happen to you?  You didn't deserve it!  My answer to you is this, He allowed man free will, and in that you got hurt by someone undeservedly.  But, you now have a choice.  You can give that hurt over to God and let Him use it for your good and turn your hurt into a testimony which will help others, or, you can wallow in that hurt which gives the devil licence to continue to let it fester within you for your destruction anyone else he can reach with your hurt and pain.

That is where our free will comes in!  That is where we can, like Jesus, in obedience, allow God to turn our hurt and pain into victory for ourselves and anyone we can help experiencing the same hurts and agonies.  I hope this has been an encouragement for you today, to hand your hurt over to God.  Let Him use it for your good and the salvation of many others as both Jesus and Joseph did.

God bless
Tracy

PS:  The above giving of our hurt to Jesus, leads to another great aspect of obedience.... Forgiveness.... {watch this space}

Monday, 23 January 2017

How is your Heart?

In the past few weeks as I have been around other people and family I haven't seen in a while, I have had this feeling of being left behind spiritually... and it has made me hungry for the Word.  It has made me aware, this feeling of being left behind, that I need to knuckle down and start clinging to the Word again.

If I had to sum up where I am at the moment, I feel my heart condition is currently the result of 9 years of intense emotional upheaval brought about by a family saga/drama that resulted in much hurt and pain, and still, separation with some family members....

Follow this up with +/- 3 years of a scary emotional journey as a parent, which has recently ended in victory in Christ and has brought me to my knees with much tears, joy and relief.  I am so humbled by God's mercy and grace...

Follow this up with a heart hardening thought life, and what do you get?  One heart in need of God's tender mercy and grace.  

I am determined to start doing the right things to correct this.  One, we are trying to get into the very healthy habit of GOOD church attendance!!!!  Secondly, my quiet times need more depth and consistency.  Thirdly, I have got to daily, hourly, by the minute if necessary, renew my mind!

This morning I read Psalms 125:

(1) Those who trust in and rely on the Lord [with confident expectation]
Are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but remains forever.
(2) As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.
(3) For the sceptre of wickedness shall not rest on the land of the righteous,
So that the righteous will not reach out their hands to do wrong.
(4) Do good, O Lord, to those who are good
And to those who are upright in their hearts.

(5) But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways [in unresponsiveness to God],
The Lord will lead them away with those who do evil.
Peace be upon Israel.


The first thing to catch my eye is that I need to trust in and rely on the Lord because to do so, I would be like Mount Zion, unmovable.  Right now, I believe I love the Lord, and would never leave Him, but my heart feels cut off from those around me.  No, I want my heart to be soft and pliable so that my love for my nearest and dearest shines through, and doesn't seem unavailable to them.



The second thing to catch my eye is verse 4:  Do good, O Lord, to those who are good
And to those who are upright in their hearts.

I want the Lord to do good to me, but how can He if my heart is hard and not upright?!  That caught me right between the eyes!  I need to work on my heart condition.  

Sin separates us from God, but I believe too that a hard heart deafens our spirit and mind to God and if He should speak to us, would we hear Him?  I would like to think that I would do everything I could to make sure I can hear Him!  So, that means I need to work on softening my heart, let God renew in me a new heart, with a new attitude, and a right way (God's way) of thinking!

Psalm 51 v 10:  Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.

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.

I want my heart to be filled with Godly treasure and the only way to do that, is to focus on God, put Him and His word first in my life, start my day and end my day with Him.  

What is the condition of your heart?

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 16 January 2017

Do you Know God's Will for your Life?

In church recently, the pastor mentioned how we as individuals often ask what is God's will for our lives.  This was not the theme of the service but the following scripture and the pastor's breakdown of it has been floating around in my brain and spirit for days now... I kind of love it!

1 Thess 5 v 16-18:  
(16)Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 
(17) be unceasing and persistent in prayer
(18) in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
(underlining, italics and bold print all my additions for empasis)

God's will for us is:
  • rejoice always
  • delight in your faith
  • pray unceasingly and persistently
  • be thankful in EVERY situation, and
  • continually give thanks
It really is that simple.


Its when doing the above that God is able to speak into our hearts, work in our hearts and minds and lead and guide us.  Proverbs 16 v 3 speaks on this:  Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.
(underlining, italics and bold print all my additions for empasis)

This post is short and sweet.  But it leaves much thinking to be done and I feel, relieves one of trying to figure out what God's will is for us.  His word says, rejoice, pray, be thankful, persistently, always, in all situations, this is His will for us, and in doing so, He guides us to line our thinking up with His.  No pressure on us to figure it out!  Be encouraged by this!

God bless
Tracy

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