Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Time to be more Intentional!

The word of the Lord, our bible, is full of wisdom, guidance, conviction, love, and is a powerful tool the Lord gives us to live our lives.  If we are to grow in the Lord, be overcomers in Him, we have to be more INTENTIONAL in our seeking the Lord with all our hearts.

God says in Proverbs 2 vs 1 - 6:  My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, (2) So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;  (3 ) Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding,  (4 ) If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;  (5 ) then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.  (6 ) For the Lord gives wisdom;  from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Reading the word is one thing, receiving it, treasuring it, listening to it, applying it, crying out for it, voicing it, seeking widsom, and searching for it.... all these things will lead us to a much deeper understanding of what it is the Lord wants us to know, and do in our lives.  We will have a better understanding of our place in the world and in God's kingdom.  

God says in Jeremiah 29 vs 13:  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

God says He will be found if we search for Him with all our hearts.  

Well, how does one do this?  I think the answer is to be intentional.  Not haphazard, not habitual, but intentional - on purpose - about seeking Him. 



Last year I tried to make it a habit to start each day in the word.  This year, I want to continue doing that, but, dig deeper.  Take more time, mull over the word as I read it.  Research what the study notes say and if they do not satisfy with clarity my questions, then, dig deeper.  For me, its not about getting through the bible in a year, its more about understanding it as a whole as I read through it. 

I also am trying to surrender my emotions, the things that take up too much of my time idols (if I put these things before God, they are idols, not so?), and my fears and anxieties that come with my days and the circumstances we find ourselves in.  I am working on surrender!  Surrender to God - dependence on my Lord and Saviour! 

I'm trying to put into action what I read in the word into my day to day life, and I think by being more intentional about how I read the word, what I understand, and what it all means, I think that I will start being able to apply these principles to my life intentionally, and I believe my life will never be the same again.  Jesus will not allow anyone who strives to seek Him, to not be able to find Him! 

I encourage you today to be more intentional in your relationship with the Lord, and I have no doubt your life will never be the same again.

God bless
Tracy



My SURRENDER scripture for today is:
Jeremiah 29 vs 13:  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

My Word for 2019!

For 2018 my One Word for the year has been ABIDE, and truly, I have tried very hard to abide in God's word.  I would say I did okay, but of course, being human, I did fail occasionally!  Do I think it made a huge difference in my life?  Well, on a day to day basis, maybe not in ways that I can see but certainly overall, I have noticed some changes.

For example, as I go through the Bible again, I am reading stuff in there that NEVER caught my attention before.  Just the other day, I was reading about Moses giving the 10 Commandments from God to the Israelites.  I always assumed Moses brought these to the people.  I never realized that God actually spoke the 10 Commandments to the people, prior to Moses bringing the tablets down to them (Exodus 20). That astounded me.

Another example, someone close to me told me off and said some really mean things, for something they felt I should have done, or handled differently and in how I did things, this person felt rejected and hurt.  I knew that they were speaking out of their own experiences and their own hurts.  They were trying to wound with things that would have wounded me in the past, with the intention of moving me to act as they would have me, or make me do something rash to make them feel differently about me.  But, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.  I did not feel manipulated into an unwise action, even though I believe that was their intent.  I did not believe what they said about me to be true.  I had confidence in that moment, that what they were saying was not truth and I truly felt unmoved.  I mean unmoved in being hurt and manipulated and in my belief of who I am in Christ.  Not unmoved, in feeling no sympathy for them and their response.  I was not wounded by their words.  THAT, I believe, has come from ABIDING in God's word.  It is nothing that I have done differently.  I have not been telling myself in the mirror every day that I am acceptable and worthy, no!  It has come from abiding in God's word, and He has wrought that change from inside.



So, another new year is just around the corner and I see others are posting their "One Word for the Year" posts and it got me to thinking about what it is that I feel needs the most attention spiritually in my life...  I mulled over it for a bit.  I considered where I am standing right now in my walk.  What goes on in my thoughts?  What unnerves me and ties me up in knots?

I think, for me, its that I don't feel like my faith, what I read in God's word, the truth that I know from past experience, is translating into my attitude.  I'm not sure if that makes sense.  What I mean is, if everything feels as though it is going wrong today, my go to emotion is frustration, anger at the Lord, annoyance, feeling that my little problems are obviously NOT important to God (and thus I am unimportant to Him).... See where I am going with this?  My attitude sucks!!!  

I thought then that maybe "attitude" ought to be my word for the year.  But I felt God wanted me to press in deeper.  Changing my attitude is/can be an act of my will, something I can practice and that is not a bad thing.  But, I want that change to come from inside and become part of who I am.  So that, when circumstances suck - my attitude doesn't!  The word that came to mind is......

SURRENDER

I can only imagine SURRENDER is not going to be easy!  But I also feel in surrendering myself to God, surrendering myself to His truth, to His faithfulness, to His grace and mercy, surrendering myself to His will, will have changes so monumental in me, that my attitude will be forever changed.

So, my "One Word" for the previous years have been:
2018 - Abide
2017 - Consistency
2016 - Choice
2015 - Wisdom
2014 - Joy
2013 - Trust
2012 - Content

And now, for 2019, my "One Word for the Year" is SURRENDER!

Surrender encompasses so many facets
  • Trust
  • Faith
  • Dependence
  • Humility
  • Speaking what is truth despite what is circumstance
I am sure there is more to this list.  My goal for 2019 is to work on SURRENDERING all to Christ and learning all the facets of that because my relationship with Jesus is what gives me life and I want my life and how I live it to bring attention to Christ and His saving grace.  I can't do that with a bad attitude!

What is your one word for 2019?

God bless
Tracy







Friday, 2 November 2018

Seek ye first - And He will do the Rest!

Historically (I am getting that old 👀) I either have a sort of shoulder length bob, or short short cropped hair.  It alternates depending on all those unreasonable things we women base our hairdo's on 😊.

But every time I cut my hair short, especially in the last 7 years or so, I just see someone else looking back at me in the mirror!  Since I was a teenager I didn't like being told I look like her.  Just a childish thing that stuck deep down in my brain for some reason.

So, as per usual, in an attempt to right this perception, I began growing my hair again.  I was 4 months in - you know that horrendous period of hair growth that just becomes ONE LONG BAD hair day?  I was feeling strong!  I was pushing through!  I was getting past this irritating ugly stage!  I had thissss!

However,

In the last week, just before I went to sleep one evening, I thought about my hair rationally.  I went to sleep thinking, "tomorrow I will write down a pro's and cons list for short and longer hair."  With that I went to sleep.  I woke thinking about my hair and had sort of decided I wanted to keep my hair short, but regardless, I still did my pro's and cons list.  To be fair, they evened out.  But the most important pro for me for short hair is the simplicity and lack of hassle.  I'm a hassle free kinda gal I tell ya!

So, immediately, I phoned and made an appointment to cut my hair short again.  With much eye-rolling from my hairdresser, she complied.  I got home, checked out my hair.  And you know what?!  I did not see this person staring back at me.  It was weird.  It was interesting.  It was.... something I needed to think about!

So, this interesting turn of events has been rolling around in my mind for the last few days.  And this is what I have come up with:
  • I have made it my goal to start every day with a quiet time (my word for 2018 - ABIDE)  I get it right 95% of the time, but regardless of how I feel, regardless of if I get anything out of it, I do it in obedience to Christ, because obedience is better than sacrifice.
  • Because of this obedience, because I am seeking Him first, He is doing the rest!  He has taken this silly obsession, this silly perception of mine, and - simply - removed it!

I truly cannot fathom any other reason why, something that has hassled me for as long as I can remember, just vanished!  I look every morning, just to check!  I see me!  It is awesome!

My point is this, although we are to keep growing in the Lord, and although we are to be overcomers in Christ, He wants us to do this by looking at Him!  Look up, not at the problems within or around us!  He says in His word:  Matt 6 vs 33:  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  I feel that this week, in this little mental hiccup of mine, I have experienced an "all these things shall be added to you" moment!  I did not need to "overcome" this on my own.  In fact, I did no "overcoming"!  I just continued in my daily quiet time just to spend time with God!  In seeking God daily, just to learn from His word, just to sit in His presence, just to do so regardless, God overcame this thing in me, He simply removed it!

I now move forward, knowing that all the other "stuff" in my life that needs to be dealt with, will be dealt with as I seek Him first daily!

God bless
Tracy


My ABIDE scripture for today is:
Romans 8 vs 37:  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Monday, 22 October 2018

James - Digging Deeper 9

Notes: EH = Everett Hill - Exploring the Elements of an Authentic Christian Lifestyle

James 2 vs 8 - 13:
(8) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;  (9) but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (10) For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (11) For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. (12) So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. (13) For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.


The Royal Law is God's law.  And what is that?  To love one another, to love the Lord your God, with all your heart and all your mind!  God's love accomplishes all the law expects of us with regards to God and our fellow man.

How is it that to sin in one area, means you sin in all, when considering the law?
EH uses James MacArthur's analogy of God's law being like a single piece of glass.  If you sin in one area (whether it be selfishness, murder, lying), its like a pebble been thrown at the glass.  It breaks the glass, fragments it, shatters the whole thing.  Not just a segment of the glass, but the WHOLE glass is ruined.

MacArthur summarizes it like this:  "By breaking a part of the law you have broken the integrity of the whole law."

Another analogy is that of Humpty Dumpty, once cracked, ALL the king's horses and ALL the king's men couldn't put him back together again.  All of our "goodness" and all of our mending cannot put the law back together again.

But, there is One who can.  Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, every one of them.  And His sacrifice restores anything that was broken.  He is come to fulfill the law....

So that leads us to vs 12So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.  When we are born again, we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour by faith.  We no longer have to make sacrifices to cover our sins because all our sins are covered by His death on the cross for us.  We now live in a dispensation of grace where, because of our faith we are under His undeserved and unmerited grace and mercy.  To speak and do as those who will be judged, is to accept freely and humbly God's mercy, and extend that same mercy to others, which leads to Vs 13.

Vs 13 says when we come to the judgement seat of God, if we have been merciless, we will be dealt with mercilessly.  Mercy triumphs over judgement.



I like how EH deals with mercy in his study.  He says,
  • James makes it clear that a person who does not give mercy will not receive it.
  • We do not have the capacity on our own to give mercy, so how can we ever give enough to receive it?  I realized that I had to shift my perspective to see the foundation upon which this verse was built.  What I missed was this:  The mercy given to us by Jesus is the only antidote available.  
  • I eventually discovered that for mercy to be true mercy, it must be given without payment or subsidy, meaning that this mercy that James was mentioning had to have its source in Jesus.
  • I had missed the key to all of this, which is that God must first show mercy to us freely before we can pass it onto others.  If we refuse His mercy and run away from it, we will never be able to give mercy to others.
  • God's mercy was not meant to be locked up or hidden in our hearts.
  • The mystery of this antidote is that it is compulsively shared by those who have received it.
EH says as we accept God's mercy, realizing how undeserved it is, it naturally flows from us to others.  That is true mercy.  Giving it to others with no strings attached.

I am reminded of a great hurt I have suffered and reading this study has highlighted for me that I am to be merciful, as God has been merciful to me, to extend forgiveness and grace, with no strings attached (I forgive you IF...) and to be happy for that person and move on with my life content that as I have shown mercy, in judgement God will show me more mercy.  

EH puts my hurt into perspective with this statement:  "When we see the value of the mercy shown us in our lives, the entirety of the pain and hurt that we have experienced in our lives can begin to fade into the vastness of the forgiveness we have received."

EH has a prayer at the end of each his study sections.  I love the one after this section:
"God, help me to recognize the sins in my life that I have been downplaying.  Let me be aware of them and horrified by them.  Then, because of your infinite mercy, I can ask for You to forgive me and You will!  Also, make me the kind of person who, upon receiving this mercy, is quick to give mercy to others."

EH also refers to the story about the man who was forgiven a HUGE debt, who turned around and would not forgive a much smaller debt owed to him.  He did not extend mercy, when it had just been extended to him.  Thus, when the king heard this, his judgement of him was harsh.  I think this is an awesome picture of what v13  (For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment) is referring to.

Matthew Henry' Commentary says this about The Law of Liberty:
"It is the law of liberty, and one that we have no reason to complain of as a yoke or burden; for the service of God, according to the gospel, is perfect freedom;  it sets us at liberty from all slavish regards, either to the persons or the things of the world."  I like that!  

He says this about mercy: "All the children of men, in the last day, will be either vessels of wrath or vessels of mercy.  It concerns all to consider among which they shall be found;  and let us remember that blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."  I like this too!

There are 3 major things the Lord has drawn my attention to in this part of study for me:
  1. God has overwhelmed me with His mercy, daily, yet I have withheld mercy where I could have been merciful.  I need to be generous in mercy as God is generous with me.
  2. Part of forgiving someone is extending mercy, but that mercy should be extended without strings attached.  "I forgive, but only completely when you apologize to me!"  No!  I forgive, even if I never receive an apology from you!  That is true mercy, given by the Lord, unearned and undeserved, but forwarded on to someone who has not earned it, or does not deserve it.
  3. Mercy is circular, the more you receive the more you extend!

God bless
Tracy


My ABIDE scripture today is:
Luke 6 vs 36:  Be merciful just as your Father is also merciful.

Friday, 5 October 2018

How a Christian should Behave!

I am busy reading through Romans and loving all the nuggets of truth and guidance given by Paul.  Life can be very hard to navigate sometimes but God guides us through His word.

I came upon this whole section in Romans that really popped for me so I decided to post it as a list of how we, as Christians, should behave.  After all, in my bible that was the heading 😊

Romans 12 vs 9 - 21

BEHAVE LIKE A CHRISTIAN

(9) Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. (10) Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; (11) not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; (12) rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; (13) distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

(14) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (15) Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (16) Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

(17) Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. (18) If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. (19) Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (20) Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

(21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Quite the "to be" and "to do" list right there!


Let me simplify it in a list:
  • Let love be without hypocrisy - be genuine in your affection for someone
  • Abhor what is evil - if you don't it won't be long and you will find it acceptable
  • Cling to what is good - know the truth and hang on to it!
  • Be kindly affectionate to one another - be kind and accepting of all people
  • In honor give preference to one another - put others first (practice in the traffic 😉)
  • Be diligent - thorough, not half-hearted
  • Fervent in spirit - giving 100%
  • Serve the Lord - wholeheartedly
  • Rejoice in hope - lifts the spirit and changes your attitude
  • Patient in tribulation - ouch! But yes, God deals with the heart in the tough stuff
  • Pray always - when things are bad, and when things are good!
  • Give to believers, be hospitable - share of your home and heart
  • Bless those who hurt you - yeah, tough one, but God has His reasons for this, and it is us who benefits from His wisdom to do things His way.
  • Rejoice with those rejoicing.  I think this speaks to being happy for others who have a reason to rejoice, even when you don't
  • Weep with those weeping - sympathy, empathy, a little understanding?  
  • Be of the same mind towards one another, treat everyone equally respectfully
  • Don't set your mind on higher things, but remain humble - there is wisdom in humility
  • Do not be wise in your own eyes - pride comes before a fall!
  • Repay no one evil for evil - leave vengeance to the Lord
  • Have regard for good things in the sight of all men - be the same in private and in public?
  • Live at peace in as much as you are able - do whatever it is you can do for peace
  • Do not avenge yourself - again, this is God's forte, He knows how best to avenge you
  • Heaping coals - do the unexpected good, it steals the wind out of their sails, but as a good friend of mine pointed out, do it with the right attitude! 😋
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good - It goes to the whole take the wind out of their sails thing.  If you do an unexpected good to someone who deserves or expects something negative, you are planting seeds of love and good, and this overcomes evil!

Quite a list to attain to.  For me, I need to polish up on ALL of the above.  It is a daily struggle challenge and one that the Lord knows we are incapable of achieving without His help.

I hope you feel challenged to extend a kindness today where you might not have.  Or, repay an evil with good.  Or treat someone who expects to be fobbed off, with dignity and grace.  
I know I am...

God's word always brings life.

God bless
Tracy


 My ABIDE scripture for today is:
Heb 4 vs 12:  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

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