Friday, 1 September 2017

Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Prayer!

There is no doubt that prayer is a power weapon we have in our spiritual arsenal.  It is however one that for me I find very challenging.  Mostly because I find myself listing all my woes, or wants, to the Lord.  But that is the great thing about being on a journey with the Lord as your Saviour.  That's the amazing thing about "running the race"!  You learn ALL the time!  You improve, you find lack and find a way to change things.

My prayer life has improved much over the years.  From moments of shear desperation, to  moments of joy.  I am learning that the model of how to pray that the Lord gave us, is a great one to follow.


Firstly, we honour God as our Lord and Saviour, maker of heaven and earth, 
Secondly, thank Him for all we have,
Thirdly, ask for His forgiveness, and extend forgiveness to others,
Fourthly, prayer of protection from the evil in this world,
Fifthly, acknowledging that all power and all glory is His...

That is my take on it at any rate.  There is so much power in prayer.  We can focus on WHO is in power, we can acknowledge to ourselves WHO has control of our environment and our circumstances.  We can choose to remove the power of the enemy over us by FORGIVING, and releasing the hurt dished out by others, to the Lord.  We release power into our lives by acknowledging that ALL power is from God. It is HE who is ALL-powerful.  It is Christ who delivers us from evil and He gives us the ability to forgive.  

And what a mighty weapon it is to be able to be thankful in times when things are hard, when things seem hopeless.  It changes our perspective, it shapes how we see where we are and what we are going through, and it helps us to continue on, knowing that God is with us always


How do we utilize prayer as a spiritual weapon:
  • Humble yourself and seek the Lord in Prayer.  It changes things.  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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
  • Pray whenever, wherever, always, and pray not only for yourself.  Eph 6 v 18:  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
  • Pray - yes, in faith - yes, but do your bit too by striving always to live in the will of the Lord.  Job 22 v 27:  You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfil your vows.
  • Pray when things are bad, BUT also when things are great.  James 5 v 13:  Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
  • A powerful tool is prayer when you pray for your enemies.  Matt 5 v 44:  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
  • Pray that you will be aware of any traps from the evil one.  He knows how we think so he plays to our weaknesses.  Prayer protects you.  Matt 26 v 41:  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
  • Pray that when you read the Word it WILL do a work in the renewing of your mind because in the renewing of your mind to the Lord's will, it protects you from conforming to the patterns of the world which, due to media and peer pressure can be very hard to resist.  Rom 12 v 2:  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
There are many more scriptures which speak to the power of prayer.  We should also see prayer as communion with the Lord.  Spending time with your good friend, or your spouse, strengthens that relationship.  So too does spending time with the Lord.  As your relationship with the Lord strengthens, you become more aware of the spiritual warfare around you, and you are able to pray more effectively, in your own life and for others.

Prayer!  An awesome and powerful weapon of spiritual warfare, given to us freely!  Don't let the "how to" of prayer stop you from just "doing it"!

God bless
Tracy

Previous Warfare post - No. 1:   Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Worship
Next Warfare Post - No. 3:  Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Love 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Worship

Over time, A LOT OF IT, I have come to realize that a lot of what we go through is a spiritual battle.  I have learnt very very slowly, that I have weapons at my disposal.  This morning when I woke up I read Psalms 103.  It starts off with worship and praise for our God.  It got me thinking about worship and how at times in my life, when I had no other options, no other resources, no answers, I felt the Lord encourage me to worship.  I know eventually I will learn to worship before I run to the end of myself....😵

Ps 103 v 1:  Bless the Lord, O my soul;  and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

And it is in worshipping the Lord, that we leave the outcome of our circumstance to Him.  It is a way we can show the Lord that we trust Him and that we know He can do anything, no matter how things look.

We should have a relationship with the Lord and if we do we will discover some things that are our responsibility in this relationship.  One of those things is Worship.  When we worship, we are looking up (figuratively and possibly literally).  In doing this, we take our eyes off our circumstances and troubles and look to the One who can do whatever He feels is required in our circumstance.  Worship helps us to correct our focus.  It should be on Him!

Our relationship to God is, for me, one of Father and daughter.  I know that if I came to my father in need he would do anything in his power to help me.  I know not all people have a relationship with their father, or maybe not a good one, or maybe no relationship (or no father) at all.  But from a normal perspective, as children we can rely on our fathers to help and be a guiding hand.  Your father would not necessarily resolve your problem for you, but he may guide you and support you through a problem.  He would be there offering assistance and wisdom.


This is what I believe our heavenly Father does for us as well.  We worship Him, and He sees where we are, and what is going on in our lives, and like a good Father, He wants to help you.  But sometimes its not the help we wanted or expected, right?!  But we have to believe that as our Father He has our best interests at heart.  His word says that He will never leave us, nor forsake us (Heb 13 v 5)  We have to trust Him to His word and I believe that worship says that.  I believe when I worship the Lord I am telling Him that I trust Him, that I honour Him, that He is my Father, and that I know He will undertake for me in my circumstances.

I believe that worship is a weapon of warfare.  When I worship the Lord, I surround myself with the love of the Lord, and He protects me from the evil one.  Whether mentally, physically, or emotionally, I can trust that my worship of God, elicits His protection of me.
Eph 6 v 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

So I encourage you.  Utilize the weapons at your disposal.  Spiritual warfare is real, but our God is greater than anything in the world.  1 John 4 v 4: You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  

Worship draws God to you, His power and might He brings to your defence, and He surrounds your with His love and protection.  What a great and powerful weapon He has given us.

God bless
Tracy

Next Post:   Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Prayer







Tuesday, 8 August 2017

What you See is not always what Is!

10 years ago today, our little family was devastated by the beginning of an emotional tsunami!  Our greater family was split, our lives were smashed from all we accepted as the norm.  What we thought we had, we thought we lost!  It was crushing.  It was the beginning of 6 years of hell on earth for us, we thought!  Followed by 4 years of trying to pick up the pieces and begin healing....

But, what we thought of as devastation, was actually a rescue boat!  It was a way God used to separate us from a greater threat.  It was something so awful that nothing could prevent this family split!  But, praise the Lord, God used it to make sure we separated from that which was threatening to completely destroy my children!

Now, 10 years later, I thank the Lord for all that hurt and all that pain.  I thank the Lord for those who created this devastation in our lives.  Because God used them to keep a greater enemy away.  God used them to expose the true viper in the nest.  They were just tools He used to protect us.


We used to think that perhaps this all happened for their salvation.  The salvation of those who caused this destruction.  As it turns out, one of them did turn to the Lord.  But the day I learnt about the true enemy and what had been happening right under our noses, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  God used them to save us, not to harm us!

My point is that sometimes situations look like something that they are not and that the only way through is to implicitly trust God and know that He has the bigger picture that we do not.  I also believe that in time He reveals the bigger picture to you when you are where He wants you to be.

I think of Job!  Man, he must have been so confused.  So hurt!  So frustrated!  He was certainly not reaping something he sowed.  Yet his suffering had a purpose!  Centuries later his story helps people, heals people, guides people.  Our suffering this thing had a purpose!  We just could not see it.  We railed against it, but also chose to trust God along the way.  I cried buckets of tears.  I raged at the Lord.  I lost my sense of humour.  I lost my sense of value.  But we limped on!  Now, on the other side of it, God revealed the "why"!  And now I rejoice in all that we went through because of what He ultimately protected my family from.

Going through hell?  God has got this!  Trust Him.  He will show you when you can see!

Jeremiah 29 v 11:  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Psalm 38 v 18:  For I will declare my iniquity;  I will be in anguish over my sin.

Psalm 91 v 2:  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;  My God, in Him I will trust.”

God bless
Tracy

Friday, 4 August 2017

A Blogger Recognition Award!

Wow!  I am blown away by the goodness of the Lord.  I have not blogged nearly as much as I did when I first set out.  There was always so much to say, so much encouragement to offer, so much encouragement received.  I could not help but spend loads of time in this bloggy community of like-minded women.

Blogging has helped me focus on what is important.  Writing about what encouraged me in a situation often times encouraged me more than my intent, which was to encourage others.  To blog consistently about the Lord, His word, His hand in our lives, has helped my sanity as a Christian woman in the "big bad world" we live in.  

At the moment, I don't blog much, and not because I have nothing to say.  Its more that I don't know how to put in words what is going on in my heart and mind.  So, for me, maybe that is a sign that the timing is not right, and that maybe my goal to encourage and uplift, and focus people on the Lord may not come through.  


So, thank you Debra, from My Weakness His Strength for this awesome nomination.  It is a timeous reminder for me that the Lord wants me here.  It is a huge encouragement for me that although there are periods of quiet where words don't flow, He is in that too!

So, to the rules of the Nomination!  Here they are: 
  • Thank the blogger that nominated you and provide a link to their blog 
  • Write a post to accept your award
  • Give a brief summary of how your blog began
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select 15 of your own nominees for the award
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them then provide a link to the post you have created

Hmmm, a brief summary on how my blog began.... Well, I had been curious about a blog I saw my niece had and started looking into how she had done that.  I needed an outlet for the "emotional soup" inside 😆.  Then I googled "Christian Women Bloggers"  Wow!  What a community!  There are hordes of us out there!  Then slowly but surely I created my own blog.  My first "post" was in March 2011.  I chose a name, figured out by MUCH trial and error how to decorate it!  There were some doozie moments of weirdness from some of my errors lol!  My intention at first was to have a space to write what was in my heart through my quiet time, but the Christian women blogging community is so encouraging and so inclusive that I began to realize that part of who I am, who God created me to be, is an encourager, and what an amazing space to do that in.  


Two pieces of advice for new bloggers
  1. Ask questions... Don't be shy!  Ask away!  Its how I learnt and I, in turn, have been asked lots of questions.  I must have rattled lots of cages trying to figure out how to connect something to my blog, how to add a button, how to CREATE a button, how to get a certain background, how to connect to a bloghop, etc!  I found that every single blogger I communicated with, helped me.  And its a great way to connect with like-minded people. 
  2. Remember that it is YOUR blog, YOUR voice!  Say what you feel the Lord wants you to say, but always run what you say through the filter of the Word.  And read over your stuff!  I am sure I have blushed many times rereading an already posted blog post and seeing HUGE glaring spelling mistakes 👀😋.

Now, to nominate 15 bloggers:
  1. Maryleigh, from Blue Cotton Memory writes beautiful words of upliftment and encouragement.  Her posts, her pictures, are always a blessing to me.
  2. Stacy, from She Stands ALWAYS seems to be emotionally and spiritually connecting with me through her words.  She blesses me BIG!
  3. Chelle, from Until we see Jesus...Face to Face always digs deeper into the word and encourages with the grace and mercy she finds in Jesus
  4. Joan, from The Beauty in His Grip always encouraging with her words
  5. Dawn, from Enthusiastically, Dawn ALWAYS has a smile on her face.  She is enthusiastic!  And that is a great encouragement!
  6. Laura, from Journey in Faith another great encourager who is an overcomer.
  7. Eileen, from The Scenic Route is a wordsworth whose words bring a smile, a laugh and much encouragement.
  8. Lisa, from Lisa Buffaloe was one of the first bloggers to ever communicate with me.  What an inspiration she is. Great blog and a true overcomer in Christ.  
  9. Barbie, from Embracing Every Day, great lifestyle blog that encourages and uplifts
  10. Marja, from Fresh Insights On Ancient Truths, she is a very level-headed practical God-fearing, writing blogger who always encourages and points to the truth
  11. Jerri, from Undaunted is a no nonsense overcomer in Christ who inspires and encourages with her words.  
  12. Cheryl, from Homespun Devotions, Cheryl, without fail, has an encouraging word, and the Love of Jesus just shines through.
  13. Lori, from Hungry for God always has a practical slant in her words as to how we are to thrive as children of God.
  14. Deby, from Gods4ever also inspires and encourages with her practical down to earth posts.
  15. Anita, from A day in the life of- encourages us blogging about her walk with the Lord in her day to day life

I must say that I found this exercise very difficult but also very inspiring.  I have not spent much time reading the blog posts of others of late so I really had to go search some of my favourites out.  However, doing so reminded me of what a blessing it is to read all their posts and be encouraged and blessed by them.  I hope you are encouraged by them too.

1 Thes 5 v 11:  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

God bless
Tracy





Friday, 30 June 2017

Lord.... A Little guidance please!

When we don't know what to do, we call out to the Lord and demand that He ask Him to guide us!  We, personally, are in a catch 22 situation.  Kind of between a rock and a hard place and we really really want to do what the Lord would have us do.... And WE JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS!

So we waver and debate back and forth and question and wonder and and and...

Truly, we just get more frustrated.

On a spiritual level, after reading the Word, one has a sense of what God might expect of you, and so you choose to do that.  For us it was, "Stand firm"!  "Don't make 'a plan'!"

And then your thoughts start to wonder.  And then you hear bad news all around you.  The economy is collapsing, politicians are doing it all for themselves, and not the people!  You begin to fear, and in that fear you begin to doubt, "did you hear right?  Should I stand firm?  Should I do nothing?  Should I not maybe be doing this or that?  Did I hear from God or was it my own imagination?  Oh what a vicious circle.  Round and round it goes...

My hubby phoned me while on the road and said we need to make a plan, we need to maybe do this other thing.  So I got frustrated and instead of having a quiet time and seeking the Lord's word, I just started scrolling through facebook as one does... But God right?!  He knows facebook better than anyone.  He can use anything to get your attention...

Let me just show you what the Lord showed me whilst scrolling....

First, a profound and direct scripture on a facebook friend's wall...


This is so spot on for we in the Western Cape are experiencing terrible drought and our business has been severely affected by it... I feel the Lord not only wants us to trust Him in this time, but to remain fruitful too...

Then another encouragement...


and another....


and another...


and these words....

When all hope seems lost, will you still hope? When you can't see a way out, will you remain unwavering in your faith? When nothing makes sense, will you keep on believing that He who promised is faithful?

Lord, a little guidance please!  Um yes, indeed!  Plenty guidance!  Plenty to hold on to!  To be excited about.  

And then to end off with, part of my quiet time of this morning....


Confess God's word with your mouth, so that it becomes what you believe, what you speak and what you do...

God often guides without actually giving directions.  We want directions!  We want life GPS!  But that is not how God works because He wants our faith to grow, and His power to be shown in our experiences and in the testimonies we can bring!  I can truly say, God has given MORE than a little guidance here for us!  Trust Him to do the same for you!

I hope this has encouraged you!

God bless
Tracy

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Follow YOUR path... Not someone else's!

There is so much "help" and "advice" out there which is just plain confusing most of the time.  When you have a decision to make in your life and you start researching what to do, you end up finding a lot of stuff that just makes things worse.

WORLDLY ADVICE
As a Christian the worldly advice is easy to avoid.  Well, sort of anyway.  It may take a while but when you take the time, and make the effort, to measure the world's advice against scripture... well it does not take long to figure out that it is usually anti what the Lord would encourage you to do or which path to take.

FRIEND'S ADVICE
This is a tough one.  Firstly, your friends speak from a variety of experiences that colour their opinions and advice.  They may have gone through what you currently are going through and their choices were good ones, for them, or maybe not such good choices, but the results are not yet there for all to see, if ever.  They may encourage you one way or another based on their hurt, which is not objective.  They may even use scripture to back their choices and decisions up, but even that can be subjective because if you try hard enough, you can get a scripture to fit your desire.  And even more confusing, their advice based on their choices may have been perfect for them, but their circumstances, however similar, are not your circumstances, nor necessarily where God is leading you.

WOMEN IN MINISTRY'S ADVICE
This for me is becoming a bit of a "thing".  Not because I believe that they are not giving good solid biblically based encouragement and advice... Its more to do with what are they doing in their lives. I'm finding it difficult to define my issues with certain ministries right now so I won't get into it here.   Mostly it boils down to what they say in their ministries is not necessarily matching up to their lives.  Their personal lives are not my concern but what worries me is that these women are in a position to speak into the lives of us regular women and are examples that we look up to and respect... and then... their lives are just as chaotic as ours and no different!  They seem to not have the victory they preach we can have!  The scripture they expound, they do not practice... or push through...

Urgh, I know I am confusing matters here.  Lets just say, be careful to measure what ANYONE in a ministry position says, against God's word.  If it measures up, good!  If not, thats not advice you want to follow.

GOD'S ADVICE, His WORD!
And finally, the ultimate authority, God's word.  Now, usually I go to the word last!  Horrifying I know.  I tend to exhaust all other avenues first and then think, well, what does the word say? Nope!  The word is where I should start at and then evaluate any other advice alongside what I think scripture might be telling me.


I was tussling with something!  And I looked to see what the world was saying and doing!  Hmmm, that one was easy to eliminate.  Definitely NOT Godly or even moral advice!  Then I looked closer to home.  What were my friends saying and doing?  Confusion reigned supreme as they were resolving similar issues differently!  This just confirmed for me that everyone's ideas, circumstances, and choices are not the same, nor will ever be a "one size fits all" scenario!  So I travelled in my quest to hear what my favourite women in ministry were saying.  Well, truth be told, some say one thing, but their lives say another, or because of their choices and circumstances, the word they preach is marinaded in their experiences which I suppose is completely human, but is it necessarily what God's word is saying....???

Isaiah 30 v 1-2:  Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin. Who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice."

Rom 12 v 2:  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

So, eventually one comes to the final authority on all things.  God's word is so clear on certain issues and this really helps to put what one is struggling with in perspective.  It may not resolve your issue, but it will certainly resolve whose solutions and advice you should definitely NOT listen to.  Also, the point which I felt the Lord made clear to me in all this chaotic thinking is this, what might be His answer for you, is not necessarily His answer for me!  I have to lean into Him, so He guides me onward on my path.  To try step out onto your path can lead to hurt, misunderstandings, misguided steps and confusion.

I read a statement yesterday that helped me in all this, "Stop trying to figure it all out, Trust God".  Now, that is simplifying everything truly, but sometimes we do complicate matters if we open too many "windows" at one time in our hearts and minds!  The world, your friends, and all other sources of advice can become very noisy.... Shut them all out and press into God's word!  It IS the only path you want to follow...

God bless
Tracy

Monday, 29 May 2017

Simplify - Sweetie Pie!

I think it would be an interesting exercise to stop one day, have a cuppa, and consider all the many different facets that make up who you are!  God has made each person to be an interesting mosaic of functions and giftings and quirks.


I have found that I have been trying to separate all those different facets of my life into neat little compartments.  For example, I LOVE photography.  That does not mean I am professional or good at it!  I consider myself a happy snapper 😊.  So I have an instagram account for that.  Then, this past year, I have been crocheting up a storm and loving it.  So, as not to bombard my "friends" on facebook and instagram, I started a different instagram account.

Now, I am a pretty private person.  So, although I want to incorporate instagram into my blog, I want my blog to be solely about, well, what my blog is about, and not my dog, my day, what I'm crocheting today, etc, so.... you guessed it, I had (briefly) an instagram account for my blog.  (and I still manage an instagram account for hubby's business).

Twitter, I had one for the blog, where I linked up with like-minded bloggers and a personal one, where I connected mainly with close friends and family.  Facebook, yes I have my own page, also one for my blog... but I found I stopped putting too much Christian stuff on facebook, none on instagram... I wasn't being true to all that I am in Christ but splitting up the different sides of me.

I started finding it all so annoying, posting this particular thing here, that particular thing there.  Avoiding putting this here or that there.  I was starting to compromise!  Not on the content of my various social media outlets, but in what I was NOT putting there.  I was starting to try please man.

Gal 1 v 10(a):  Am I now trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? ....

I was beginning to be fearful of offending someone who does not believe!!!! Really!!! I felt awful.  I would rather seek God's approval over man's any day but I had been losing the plot.  So, the thought came to mind.... Simplify!  Be you!  Be the you I created you to be!  In one space, as a complete facet!

So, I decided to simplify.  I deleted all instagrams but my personal one.  Moved the business one to hubby 😋.  Twitter I let go of end of last year so project simplify had started already 😊.  And I have decided to post all the Christian stuff I love and share it like I did before, along with my photos and crochet, and any other facet of me that comes to the fore lol!  Of course, being that I am private, one facet you will never see anywhere on social media is my dirty laundry 😜.  I feel so much better about being the "me" God created me to be.

Ladies, does this resonate with you?  If not, that is cool!  I personally think it is the world's way to have us so busy doing stuff and over-complicating our lives without even realizing it, that simplification seems foreign.  But, oh the relief to just be me!


I know that I have over-simplified things.  We are far more than what we can do, we are mothers, wives, Christians, leaders, doers, helpers, servers, etc.  But I think the point I am trying to make is keep it simple and real, and grow that really well, for the glory of the Lord.

God bless
Tracy


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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