Monday, 25 June 2018

True Worship or False?

What are you reading at the moment that is helping you in your journey to a closer relationship with God?  For me I am currently reading "Man's Purpose" by AW Tozer.  That man does not mince words let me tell you. 

I have found his forthrightness very much like a bucket of cold water thrown in your face.  Its very refreshing! 😊

Tozer says that our prime reason for being, is to worship God.  And through this book he is trying to get across exactly how one does this.  I have been praying and asking the Lord to quicken my mind so that I can understand and absorb all that he has to say.  I want to know all I can about worshiping God so that I do it in a manner that is acceptable to Him. 

I was struggling with something that Tozer had said.  Not so much that it was not understandable.  Just in that what he said made me feel that nothing I do is satisfactory worship for God.  And while I believe my acceptability comes from a place of God's righteousness and grace and mercy, and nothing of my own, I felt Tozer was expressing an impossibility of my being able to worship God in such a manner as I thought to be acceptable.  He was eliminating all the ways I thought I was worshiping God.

He states the only way to worship God is in (1) spirit, and (2) in truth.  (John 4 vs 24)

I can understand this just fine.  God is spirit and we can worship Him anywhere.  Its not about where, a building, a place.  We can worship God anywhere because He is in us.  It is not about physical sacrificing and outward show.  It is about our hearts and souls seeking to worship God.  Worshiping God in truth, means to acknowledge the truth of Who He is.  He is Lord, Saviour, Creator.  There is no way to God but through belief in His Son, belief in His death and resurrection.  This is the truth of God.  We can only truly worship God if we believe the truth of Who He is. 

Tozer went on to say that much of today's "worship" of God, in church and among us as Christians is NOT true worship.  Its more about us, and entertainment, etc.  And while I do see this, and believe this to be true in many circumstances, I felt as if Tozer is saying that when I go to church and sing our praise and worship songs, that I am not worshiping, or at least, not in a way acceptable to God.


I went to bed that night confused and worried about my ability to worship God in a way that is acceptable to Him.  Then, in the morning I got up, fed the dogs, made my cuppa and headed for my bible for a quiet time.  And.... the next chapter to read was Isaiah 66.  The last chapter of Isaiah. 

The heading in my bible reads:  True Worship and False

And I smiled.  God has a way of letting you know He knows what you are doing.  He knows that you want to learn.  He knows you want clarity.  He knows what you are thinking!  Yes, He knows! 

The next verses really sum Worship, acceptable or not:
Isaiah 66 vs 1 - 2(*red italic notes are mine)
(1)  Thus says the Lord:  "Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool.  Where is the house that you will build Me?  And where is the place of My rest? (God does not need a building, a place to be worshiped. earth and heaven are His footstool)
(2)  For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist," says the Lord.  "But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my Word.

The true worship that God accepts is from a contrite heart, a broken heart, a humble spirit.  One who looks to God for salvation and who fears Him as Lord and Saviour.  Who respects His word.  Thus, to truly worship God, in spirit and in truth, we must be humble, contrite, and fear Him, as in: respect and honour Him as Lord of all.

What then is false worship, unacceptable to God?
Isaiah 66 vs 3 - 4:    
(3)  "He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man;  he who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog's neck;  he who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine's blood;  he who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol.  Just as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, (people doing outward shows of worship with no desire to change their hearts and actions)
(4)  So will I choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them, because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear;  but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight."

False worship comes from external show, self-reliance and pride. This "worship" is not acceptable in God's eyes.  God was not happy with those who outwardly showed worship by sacrifice, but continued in sin and their own pleasures.  Their hearts were not right before Him.

So, I feel the Lord as allayed my fears and reminded me its about my heart.  Its about the intent of my heart.  When I praise and worship God in church, in my home, in my car, my intention is to love God, to worship Him in spirit and in truth.  I do not do it for anyone else, I do not do it to show anyone else anything else.  It is me, worshiping Him.  And I believe that when I do worship God in this manner, He accepts it. 

I do however pray that God show me where I fail, how I can improve, and where I need to change so that my worship remains acceptable in His sight.

Let me know your thoughts.

God bless
Tracy

 

My ABIDE scripture this week is:
John 4 vs 24:  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

James - Digging Deeper 4

James 1 vs 13 - 15: (13) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (14) But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (15) Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

(Note:  EH = Everett Hill - Exploring the Elements of an Authentic Christian Lifestyle
           MH = Matthew Henry)

EH Notes:
  • We will be tempted, its when not if.
  • God allows temptation and difficulties for our growth and strength of character. We need these so that we can stand against, and withstand the wiles of the devil.
  • Don’t be discouraged by temptation, but don’t underestimate it either.
  • When tempted, do as Jesus did, use God’s word, as it’s alive and powerful, and will protect you.
  • Do not panic, or fear the temptation, but look to God, as His word says He will give you a way out of temptation. 
  • The temptation can’t harm us, unless we let it – its very much our choice to pick it up or not.
  • When we stand firm on God’s word (thus we need to know God’s word) no temptation will overpower us. Its power is our choice. Choose God’s way in faith 

EH then goes on to discuss IF/WHEN we do fall into temptation and sin
  • He explains that God’s forgiveness is there
  • Not accepting His forgiveness is at its core, disobedience. (← is this not profound?)
  • We tend to not ask forgiveness because we feel shame, we deserve the consequences, we feel we need to earn the forgiveness - when all along, God is extending forgiveness with no strings attached. It doesn’t fit our thinking because we know we fell, thus we need to suffer in it, but God restores because He extends grace and mercy, and doesn’t want us to suffer needlessly.
  • Also, the price He paid to save us from those failings, we need to honour His sacrifice by accepting His forgiveness, repenting and walking in the right way.



Life Application notes:
God doesn’t tempt people, He tests them. He does allow Satan to tempt people, however, in order to refine their faith and to help them grow in their dependence on Christ. We can resist the temptation to sin by turning to God for strength and choosing to obey His word.

When having fallen to temptation don’t blame others, situations, worldly ease etc. The Christian accepts responsibility for his or her wrongs, confesses them, and asks God’s forgiveness.


Matthew Henry notes:

MH lays the blame firmly at the feet of man for responding to temptation and completely refutes anyone trying to turn blame onto God.
  • “Our first father Adam, tells God, the woman thou gavest me tempted me, thereby, in effect, throwing blame upon God for giving him the tempter. Let no man speak thus!”
  • “It is very bad to sin, but is much worse, when we have done amiss, to charge it upon God, and say it was owing to Him.”
  • “Afflictions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions.” (I love love love this statement)
  • “Stop the beginnings of sin therefore, or else all the evils it produces must be wholly charged upon us.”


My thoughts: Therefore, don’t pick up the temptation, because if you do, the resultant sin and consequences is all on you.  Its all about choices in the moment of temptation!

EH notes that temptation in of itself has no power over us, but if we act on it, we give it power to plant seed and grow to full blown sin.

To summarise:
  • Temptation is a given
  • It has no power over us, except that which we allow
  • God allows temptation and trial to strengthen us
  • Its all about choices
  • If/when we fall, the buck stops with us, its on us, our choice, take responsibility
  • If/when we fall, God is ready to forgive
  • Not accepting God’s forgiveness is pride and disobedience
  • Accepting His forgiveness immediately restores your relationship with Him

I hope you are as encouraged as I am that temptation is not to feared as much as we do fear it!  God has given us a way out, no matter how far along in our faith walk we are.  

God bless
Tracy



My ABIDE scripture for this week is:
1 Corith 10 vs 13:  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Monday, 11 June 2018

The more you ABIDE, the more you WANT to ABIDE!

My One Word for this year is ABIDE (See post HERE).  My goal therefore for this year was to spend more time in the Word, dig deeper, know more, get closer to the Lord, invest more time, heart and mind to getting closer to my Lord and Saviour, Jesus.  I am finding in doing so, I just want more!  More of the Word.  More knowledge.  More understanding.  More history.  I want more of Jesus!

My ladies bible study (God's Girls) are currently digging deeper into the book of James.  We are loving it!  I love how I am looking up things I never considered before.  Who is this person in scripture?  Where do they come from?  What part do they play?  What happened to them?  Google is marvellous for some of those questions.  I just want to pick everyone's brain about what they know.
I also find I am not just taking what someone says at face value!  I am checking what they say for myself, in the Word!

I am going through 1 John at the moment in my quiet time and there are so many references to ABIDE.  They are all so encouraging and uplifting.  John is writing to Christians and encouraging them to not be influenced by false teachers and teachings.  If we ABIDE in God and in His word we will be able to prevent ourselves from being waylaid and deceived, and.... we begin to understand His love for us.


1 John 2 v 24:  Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning.  If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.   

If God's word, the truth, is in us, then God is in us and abides in us.  Thus we have His protection and His love in us.

1 John 2 vs 26 - 27: (26) These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. (27) But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

Because we abide in Christ and thus Him in us, we will not be deceived by false teachers.  Our consciences will be on high alert!

1 John 2 v 28:  And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

We will recognise Jesus when He appears!  Does that not give you peace?!  It makes me feel confident that if someone comes claiming to be Christ, we will know the truth and not be fooled!

1 John 3 v 6:  Whoever abides in Him does not sin.

This means that if we abide in Christ and in His word, we will recognise sin and steer clear.  We will not be able to sin on purpose.  We will not be able to stomach hurting Jesus or the Holy Spirit on purpose.  Abiding in Christ protects us from sin.

The "LOVE" connection!

1 John 4 vs 12(b) - 13:  If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.  (13) By this we know that we abide in Him, and He is us, because he has given us of His Spirit. 

1 John 4 vs 15 - 16:  (15) Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  (16) And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

If we have love in us for our fellow man, then God abides in us.  If not, we need to abide more!  Spend more time in His word until we start to love people the way God wants us to.  And we are only able to love the way God wants us to, if we are able to confess Jesus as the Son of God, and we believe in Him.  When we understand God's love for us, and the love He wants us to extend, we are starting to abide in Him and Him in us.

This is a place, a way of being, that we should desire with all our hearts.  Let us ABIDE in Him daily, now and always.

God bless
Tracy


My ABIDE scripture today is:
1 John 3 v 16:  By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  

Monday, 4 June 2018

James - Digging Deeper 3

NOTE: Where I have quoted from the James study "Exploring the Elements of an authentic Christian Lifestyle" I have added (EH) for the writer Everett Hill

James 1 vs 9 – 12: (9)Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, (10) but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. (11) For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits. (12) Blessed is the man who endures temptations; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Rich and poor – it’s the attitude in your wealth!

When your heart is right with God and your walk daily is about “winning the race”, pushing through and persevering to the end, then:
  • Being poor is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, the poor are to glory in the fact that riches/or lack thereof, are not an issue. 
  • Riches – “God’s riches” are to be desired and in being “poor” worldly riches should not blind you to God’s plan for your life.  As we are all human, we know that these right attitudes are to be aimed for, not necessarily a given!

James writes to the ‘poor’ and the ‘rich’ Christian from an eternal viewpoint (EH). Obviously in this life we need money to survive, buy food, have shelter, etc, but James is saying the poor man is actually blessed to not have the stresses of worldly wealth.

If our lives, filled with difficulty though they are, are only a fraction of our total existence, the rest of our existence must matter the most, right?! (EH)




When James addresses the wealthy Christian he is pointing out a number of things:
  • Don’t trust in your wealth, its fleeting 
  • Your wealth/money is meaningless to God 
  • Your wealth is temporary and you and it will fade away 

I think he makes the point that “having” actually makes you “poorer” because instead of relying on Christ, you rely on yourself and your wealth instead of building your heart and soul for your future in eternity, your focus is on building your wealth on earth. The wealthy have a huge potential to miss the boat. James is saying if you realise your wealth is as nothing to God, then you are truly wealthy and your riches are in Him alone and eternal. James encourages the poor to glory in not being wealthy, and the wealthy to be humble in their wealth because it’s not theirs to keep and is from the Lord for His glory not theirs.

  • We are being encouraged to keep away from the love of money, whether we have it or not! 
  • We are to put Christ ahead of wealth or the lack thereof!   Don’t let it be an idol! 
  • James takes wealth out of the equation, thus all are equal before Christ, now, make Christ your focus and live from that perspective, not from the perspective of having or not having…. 

Matthew Henry says: Both these are allowed to rejoice… If we do not rejoice in Him always, it is our own fault. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, as they produce a lowly and humbling disposition of mind, which is highly valuable in the sight of God.


Verse 12: 
 When James commends steadfastness under trial, the word “trial” that he uses can be translated as “temptation”, or a test of one’s integrity (EH). In the amplified bible it says: Blessed is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive the victor’s crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.

Matthew Henry says: It is not the man who suffers only that is blessed, but he who endures, who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of his duty.

I think James is saying: “Stand…. Stand firm… don’t give in, don’t give up… push through, because you love God! AND because you love God more than you love man’s approval and immediate satisfaction, your hope and reward is in eternity where God will reward your perseverance with the crown of life.”

Matthew Henry says: We only bear the cross for a while, but we shall wear the crown to eternity.

What is the crown of life?
  • It is the title of our reward for persevering (EH) 
  • It alludes to the glory, honour, and power found within the life of Christ that is given to us as a reward for believing AND acting on that belief (EH) 
In the end our joy is made complete by our glorious dependence in Christ and the reward is eternal life with Him (EH).

A final thought from Matthew Henry: The crown of life is promised not only to great and eminent saints, but to all those who have the love of God reigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God shall have its trials in this world fully recompensed in that world above where love is made perfect.

I am finding that digging deeper is an awesome activity and gets the brain and heart engaged and sharpened for God's use when He chooses πŸ˜‰

God bless
Tracy




My ABIDE scripture for this post is:  
Isaiah 40 vs 8:  The grass withers the flower fades,  but the Word of our God stands forever.




See also in this series:
Coming soon:
James - Digging Deeper 4

Friday, 25 May 2018

In Whom is your Trust?

Lately, we have been feeling like the Israelites at the edge of the Red Sea!  It has been a very trying interesting time.  We as a couple have chosen to commit to faith in God and trust that He is going to part our proverbial Red Sea.  And, having decided to walk this path of faith and trust in God, we have had numerous scriptures and quotes that have encouraged us to do just that.  Yes, we feel we are doing the right thing... instead of making a plan, again, we are choosing to wait on the Lord, knowing that His word is good and true and tried and tested and thus.... trustworthy.

Is it easy?  No!  Is it worth it?  I have absolutely no doubt it will be!

Now, in a recent quiet time I was reading Isaiah 30.  Wow, what an encouraging chapter of scripture.  Judah was in the process of trying to form an alliance with Egypt for protection against Assyria.  And God says the following to them through Isaiah:
Isaiah 30 vs 1 - 3:  (1)“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;  (2) Who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of  Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!  (3) Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame, and trust in the shadow of Egypt shall be your humiliation.

God is saying here that not only did they not ask Him for guidance and advice, they have not trusted Him to protect them.  He says that their "making a plan", an alliance with Egypt would result in their humiliation.  That is just awful.  In vs 7 Isaiah says that Egypt's help would result in nothing, and calls her (Egypt) a name that is a likeness to a hippo sitting on the banks of the Nile, doing...nothing!

Isaiah says to them in vs 15:  For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:  "In returning and rest you shall be saved;  In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." But you would not...

They would not!  They would not?!  Did these people not remember all that God had already done for them?  Well, um, same for us right?!  Do we remember all that God has already done for us?  Are we going to try another 'wisdom of man' solution?  Are we going to try another 'world view' plan?

For us, I stand right now and say NO!  This time we are going to trust God and return to His rest, and be quiet in confidence and His strength!  This time we are going to trust and watch what the Lord will do!


God was so gracious with the Israelites!  Knowing that they were going to go ahead and do their own thing, reap the consequences of their own actions, He says through Isaiah:  Vs 18:  Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;  and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.  For the Lord is a God of justice;  Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
(Italics and bold print mine)

Isaiah continues and says how the Lord will hear when they cry and answer because He longs to be merciful and gracious toward them.  And, when they choose to trust Him and wait on Him....
Vs 21:  Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it,"  whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. 

This is what I desire.  I desire to hear the Lord, that still small voice, speaking so that I hear, "This is the way, walk in it!"  This is my desire!  To hear God speak to me.  So, in order for this desire to be met I need to trust God with everything that is in me.  I need to rest in Him, trust in Him, glorify Him and in quiet confidence, wait on Him, as a demonstration of my faith!  Waiting in faith is an action!!!!

I hope these scriptures have encouraged you as much as they have me.  Isaiah gives us the route to follow, the way to go, the "how" to live each day!

God bless
Tracy


My ABIDE scripture for this post is:
Psalm 25 vs 20:  Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

James - Digging Deeper 2

Day 2 of our Digging Deeper in James has been really eye opening.  I have always enjoyed reading James.  I find it direct, helpful, practical and no nonsense.  But when you dig deeper, you find so much more to chew on, so much more to consider and learn, so much more that makes you grow.

This week we tackled James 1 vs 5 - 8: (5) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  (6) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  (7) For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;  (8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

God tells us that we can ask Him for wisdom, but we must ask, believing that He will give it to us.  We are to ask in faith.  The author of the study guide we are using (James - Exploring the Elements of an Authentic Christian Lifestyle - Everett Hill) says wisdom is a tool for sustained endurance.  I like that.  James first tells us to hang in there, be steadfast, and then he tells us the tool to do so is God's wisdom.  When we choose to ask for and practice Godly wisdom, the confusion as demonstrated in a world of human wisdom fades away.  We find the ability to wait on God, to hear His guidance, to be able to determine the advice or still small voice IS actually His.  We find our path forward, through trial or not, clearer.


The morning of our bible study, the scripture of the day from a devotional I follow was 1 Corinth 2 vs 5:  That your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.  Such great confirmation that James is encouraging us to seek God's wisdom.

James also makes it clear that the asking of wisdom is available to ALL WHO BELIEVE, not just a select few, or someone of higher authority, or someone more knowledgeable, etc.  No, God's wisdom is available to ANYONE who asks in faith.

Everett Hill makes an awesome statement that God's wisdom is designed to supersede/take the place of, human wisdom.  If we choose to operate under God's wisdom and not earthly wisdom, we will find God's will for our lives coming alive and our journey will be victorious and joyful.

Double-mindedness.  The tossing and turning from one idea to the next, the non-committing to a direction, the not choosing, the not making a decision... yes, like the waves tossed and driven by the wind.  My Life Application notes calls it restlessness and that is most certainly how I feel when I cannot determine a direction for my life.  Fearful maybe to make the wrong decision, to not be hearing from the Lord, but basically in the end, getting no where in a hurry!!!!

The notes say further, "Doubt leaves a person as unsettled as the restless waves.  If you want to stop being tossed about, rely on God to show you what is best for you.  Ask Him for wisdom, and trust that He will give it to you.  Then your decisions  will be sure and solid."

I love how Matthew Henry (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible) puts perspective on these scriptures:

  • What we ought more especially to pray for - wisdom:  if any lack wisdom, let him ask of God.  We should not pray so much for the removal of an affliction as for the wisdom to make a right use of it.
  • It is not said, "Let such ask of man," no, not of any man, but, "Let him ask of God," Who made him, and gave him his understanding and reasonable powers at first, of Him in whom are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  Let us confess our want  of wisdom to God and daily ask it of Him.  
  • He to whom we are sent, we are sure, has it to give:  and He is of a giving disposition, inclined to bestow this upon those who ask.  Nor is there any fear of His favours being limited to some in this case, so as to exclude others, or any humble petitioning soul;  for He gives to all men.
  • But, there is one thing necessary to be observed in our asking, namely, that we do it with a believing, steady mind:  Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  
  • There must be no wavering, no staggering at the promise of God through unbelief, or through a sense of any disadvantages that lie on our own part.
  • A wavering faith and spirit has a bad influence upon our conversations.  A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.
This last point above makes the very valid point about our words and what we speak out.  If we are filled with doubt and lack faith, we will speak that in our conversation.  If we make a stand in faith, ask God for wisdom, and commit to that faith, we will speak that and our conversation will be rightly influenced and positive and filled with faith.  That will build us up in faith and those around us.

And so, we have been encouraged to ask God daily for wisdom, believing that He will give it to us, and thus we will not be double-minded or like a churning sea.

God bless
Tracy



My ABIDE scripture this week is:  1 Corinth 2 vs 5:  That your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.





Other posts in this series:
James - Digging Deeper 1
James - Digging Deeper 3 (coming soon)

Friday, 11 May 2018

James - Digging Deeper 1

Our bible study group, God's Girls (we call ourselves 😊), has finally tucked into our study of James.  We purchased a book called "James - Exploring the Elements of an Authentic Christian Lifestyle" written by Everett Hill, and along with our bibles, life application sources as well as Matthew Henry's "Commentary on the Whole Bible" we are digging as deep as we possibly can with prayer and sharing!

We have been at it for 2 weeks now (meeting once a week) and have dealt with Chapter 1 v 1 - 8!  When you consider Mr Everett covers chapter 1 in 64 pages we are doing well!!! 😏

In this post I want to summerize what we have learnt thus far. 

James 1 vs 1:  (NKJV)
Greeting to the Twelve Tribes
1)  James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:  Greetings.

Here we learn that James is speaking to the twelve tribes, specifically to those Jews who have accepted Jesus as the Messiah, God and Saviour.  They were scattered all over and he wanted to unite them and encourage them as brothers and sisters in Christ.  And thus, this letter applies to us too, who have accepted Jesus as Christ and Saviour, we the Christian!

We also learn that James was a brother of Jesus.  They grew up in the same household.  When you consider siblings, and the usual spats, love/hate relationships they can have, it is amazing and humbling to know that James ALWAYS followed Christ, in life and once He was crucified and risen from the dead, James continued on in the faith.

James 1 vs 2 - 4:  
Profiting from Trials
2)  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  (4)  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Another version of the bibles says that we are to remain steadfast.  The author of this study guide says that steadfast as a Christian is to remain firm, in the One who never changes, God.  And that steadfastness (in the context of a Christian remaining firm) is the ability to adapt and change and grow, whilst trusting the One who never changes.  The picture that comes to mind is of a little boat launching dock, which moves up and down with the tide, but remains anchored to the post in the ground, which prevents it from sailing off into the big wide scary ocean.  We are to be adaptable and not stubborn or reluctant to change as God would have us change.  Not headstrong and prideful.  But steadfast and humble.  


Another point made is that one needs to be able to remain steadfast, firm and true in the face of trials, but also to remain joyful.  The writer uses the analogy of  healthy eyes being able to see traffic on the highway as you travel, but also to be able to see the beautiful trees that line the highway.  We ladies added the birds one sees flying in formation above you as well, whilst driving! 😊

James encourages us to remain joyful in trials because we know that the outcome of that trial will make us better people, more patient, firmer in our faith, closer to God. 

  • We need to be thankful that God is with us through our trials.  
  • We need to be joyful, because we KNOW that trials better us and bring us closer to Jesus.  
  • We need to be steadfast, tenacious in faith, hanging in there, because we know  we serve a God who only allows things in our lives as they work together for our good!  
  • We need to remember that God, our Creator, loves us so deeply, He allowed His own Son to die for our sins!  Such love! 
We cannot but choose to do things His way, a way that James conveys in his letter to us.

God bless
Tracy


My ABIDE scripture this week is:
Phil 4 vs 12 - 13:  (12) I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.  Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  (13) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


PS:  Watch this space for James - Digging Deeper 2

Monday, 23 April 2018

Red Sea Shores - Now What?

So we are marching up to the Red Sea and what do we do?  We start looking for wood to build a boat!  How else is one to get to the other side?  Right?!  Right?!

Well, yes, in the natural!  But God does not want us to operate in the natural.  Today, we took a stand in faith.  We decided upon reaching the metaphorical shores of the Red Sea, not to try to build a boat to get to the other side.  But to put out our metaphorical rod of faith, and trust our great and mighty God to part the sea, so that we can safely get to the other side.

Now, God, who ACTUALLY parted the Red Sea, can part our metaphorical Sea with ease.  How can we doubt, that a God who created heaven and earth, parted the Red Sea, and the Jordan River, how can we doubt Him when we get to the shores of our Red Sea?


Maybe we feel we are on a journey not set out by God.  This might be so.  But God's word says that everything works out for the good of those who trust the Lord (Gal 8 vs 28).  Maybe we feel we are on these shores because of errors of judgement, foolhardiness, sin, not listening to God, etc.  That also may be so.  But God is gracious with us, and uses even our own mistakes for our good (Isaiah 30 vs 18).  Maybe we are here today because we feel chased by the enemy.  Well, so were the Israelites.  And God still parted the sea for them.  And, just by the way, drowned the enemy!  (Exodus 14 vs 23)

In my heart I feel God saying, "Just trust Me!  Don't try to figure it out!  Just trust Me!"  So, today, as we stand at the shores of the Red Sea, let us shout out our faith, raise our rod and trust God to part the Sea of whatever it is in our way, be it debt, heartache, indecision, drought of any kind... and wait and see what the Lord will do!

Now, most importantly, when God does part that metaphorical sea for you, because He will, remember to give Him ALL the glory and ALL the honour due His name.  He wants us to have the victory, but He wants and deserves all the glory. (2 Chron 20 vs 13 - 30)

God bless
Tracy


My ABIDE scripture for this post is:

Exodus 14 v 16:  But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Cling to God, with everything in you!

This past weekend I felt the Lord tell me that I had hardened my heart towards Him in that I no longer had hope in His word.  Not that I don't believe the Lord is capable of all He says He will do, but I was feeling He won't do it for me.  The Lord reminded me to soften my heart and remember that His word is true and alive and He is not a man that He should lie, but He will do as He says He will do (Numbers 23 vs 19).


I wrote down all the scripture I had read of late that I felt I could hold onto in the circumstances we are experiencing and started reading them out aloud.  Reminding myself that God's word is true, its alive, its real, and He does as He says He will do.  I must remain hopeful, and faithful and trust Him and His word with everything that is in me.  

I wrote this down:  Your word says:
  • You will restore to us what the locust has eaten (Joel 2 vs 25) 
  • You will expose and destroy the liars and their lies (Prov 19 vs 5)
  • You will silence the lips of the liars (Ps 31 vs 18)
  • You will expose the lies and reveal the truth (Prov 19 v 9)
  • You will not let us who believe in You be put to shame (Ps 25 v 3)
  • If we tithe of our first fruits You will open the windows of heaven that we cannot contain the blessings (Mal 3 vs 10)
  • You will not let our foot slide ((Ps 121 vs 3)
  • You will protect us... (Ps 91 vs 14)

I was so encouraged!

Then, I woke up this morning!!!! πŸ˜‰

I woke up trying to encourage myself with God's word.  I reminded myself that all the Lord says in His word is true and I can trust Him.  But you know that feeling of doubt, insecurity, that feeling of "will He do it for me?"   Well, those feelings were niggling in the back of my brain while I read my quiet time.  

Then, I read my devotional!  Oh.My.Goodness!  Does God not just read our minds and hearts so well?!

I am going to quote my devotional word for word and I hope it encourages you as it has me!  It is from the devotional by Angus Buchan, Called A Mustard Seed


"Clinging"
 Genesis 32 vs 26(b) - "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."
"JR Miller says that Jacob won the victory and the blessing not by wrestling with God but by clinging onto God, holding onto God in faith.  The Lord is too big and too strong for any man to try and wrestle Him.  He is God.  He is so big, so huge, that He said one Word and this universe came into being. There is no man that has ever lived who can wrestle with God and win.  Jacob's  hip was displaced but, as Miller says, he got the Lord around the neck, as it were, and he hung on.  The Lord was so impressed with his perseverance, that He said, "Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (vs28).

Christianity is not a case of a once-off experience.  Sometimes we need to hang on literally by the skin of our teeth until God comes through for us. And He will. He’s come through for me and He can come through for you. Sometimes you cry out, “Lord, where are You?” because the going is so tough.  maybe you feel like that this morning.  God says, “Cling onto Me and I’ll take you through.”

When my younger son Fergus was a small little boy, he had an obstruction in the bowel. The doctor said he was in a very serious state.  He was running a fever and needed to be operated on immediately. I was absolutely shattered.  My life came to a standstill.  I was busy harvesting maize at the time.  I was dirty, full of chaff and dust, and when I was called to the phone, I asked, "well, do I have time to have a shower?"  he said, "No, you don't.  Go to Pietermaritzburg immediately," (this was the nearest city) "and they will be waiting for you at the emergency entrance.  If the boy is not operated on immediately, he will die."  

I will never forget driving those forty kilometres with my son lying in the front seat. The doctor had put a drip into his arm and sedated him.  The little sachet was stuck to the windscreen of the car.  My wife and other children were weeping when I left them behind on the farm.  On that road I cried out to God. I wrestled with God. When wrestling no longer had any effect, I clung onto God.

I remembered just the week before at Bible Study we had been talking about Abraham and the incredible faith he had, that after a hundred years, God gave him his heart's desire, a little boy named Isaac.  When Isaac turned thirteen God said, "I want him back."  Abraham didn't hesitate.  At that moment a peace came over me and, in the Spirit, I gave my son back to God.  I just remained clinging onto Him.  

When we got to the hospital they examined my son. They were going to operate the next morning. I sat by his bed the whole night, totally at peace but clinging onto God. The next morning the doctor could not believe what had happened. The obstruction of the bowel had cleared itself.  There was nothing left on the x-ray.  He said, "You can take your son home."
Just cling onto God today. He won’t let you down."

Just cling to God!   In Faith!
Just cling to God!   In Faith!
Just cling to God!   In Faith!

If we trust God on His word, we need to just cling to Him as Jacob did, and God will honour our perseverance and our heart's desire, and He will work in our circumstances!

Just cling to God!

God bless
Tracy



My ABIDE scripture today is:
Psalm 130 vs 5:  I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I do hope.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Old School Photo Albums

I miss old school photo albums, don't you?  Its not that I don't appreciate that I can take thousands of photos on one memory card now (thank goodness, because usually I only love love love 45 of them 😜) and keep them on my computer.  Its more that I love to sit down with a cup of tea and page through an album slowly but surely and absorb all the good memories they bring to mind.  Memories of where we were when we took that one, and remember how we laughed when we took that one, an oh my, remember when you tripped and we caught that look on film, look how young we were then.... you get my drift?

Those old photos bring back lots of memories and how can that be a bad thing right?!

This brings me to the Psalms I've been reading lately:

Ps 105 vs 17:  He sent a man before them - Joseph - who was sold as a slave.

Ps 105 vs 37:  He also brought them out (of Egypt) with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes. (parentheses are mine)

Ps 105 vs 41:  He opened the rock, and water gushed out;  it ran in the dry places like a river.

Ps 106 vs 9:  He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up; so He led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.

Ps 106 vs 11:  The waters covered their enemies;  there was not one of them left.

Ps 114 vs 3:  The sea saw it and fled:  Jordan turned back.

Ps 114 vs 7 - 8: (7)Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, (8) Who turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a fountain of waters.


Do you see what I am getting at?  The Israelites remembered what God had done for them.  They remembered His faithfulness toward them and it encouraged them in their journey.  David remembered what the Lord had done for the Israelites and it encouraged him.  Other Psalm writers did the same thing.  Looking back at the "photo album" of all the Lord had done for them brought them joy, and encouraged them on their way!  It made them confident of the future the Lord had promised. 

My encouragement to you today is when you look back, look for all the Lord had brought you through, look for all He has done for you, look for all He has given you and saved you from.  It will bring you joy and great encouragement to move forward.  In those low moments when you want to give up, draw strength and confidence in what the Lord has promised you, from all He has done for you in the past.

God bless
Tracy



My ABIDE scripture this week is:
Ps 105 vs 5:  Remember His marvellous works which He has done, His wonder, and the judgements of His mouth.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Digging Deeper 2018

At the beginning of last year I wrote a post ➨ Digging Deeper 2017 and in that post I referred to a great book my daughters gave me for my birthday called "Unlocking the Bible" by David Pawson.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it as I start the reading of a new book of the bible and found some interesting nuggets of info I never knew before.  However, I am still hungry!  I am still thirsty!  I want more!  I want to dig deeper still.

So, in light of that, I began a ladies group in my home.  My desire is to dig deeper.  I have never led a ladies group and so its taking some settling in and learning of some new skills, but one is never too old to learn right?!  But what to do to dig deeper?  Firstly, I searched high and low on google for free bible study guides.  Some interested me, some did not.  I printed out one on David which we have started but we all agree its very light, very "I just became a Christian yesterday" level.

So, I googled further!  I landed up at some interesting blogs.  Google "Digging deeper into God's word" and some really lovely ladies' blogs come up.

In light of my search I have found a bible study guide/book, written by Everett P. Hill, called "James, Exploring the Elements of an Authentic Christian Lifestyle."  What grips me about this book is that Mr Hill breaks down each and every verse of the book of James.  Can you imagine the amount of precious knowledge one can gather in that manner?  I am so excited to start this study...



Thus,
  • Our Ladies group (God's Girls 😊) will be studying the book of James in the near future.  
  • I will be blogging about James as a further way to absorb all the info into my heart and soul.
  • I have created a new tab for resources I find as my desire to dig deeper continues.  You will find it HERE

2 Timothy 2 vs 15:  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

I hope you join me on this journey of digging deeper and feel free to comment and discuss on any and all posts, as Christians do of course!

God bless
Tracy


My "ABIDE" scripture for this week is:
2 Timothy 3 vs 16:  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

God's Strength - Not Mine!

I find I am often in a place of feeling weak and unprepared for all that comes my way.  I feel vulnerable and persecuted.  It is in these moments we need to remind ourselves that we do not need to be STRONG to overcome our issues.  We do not need to be a mental and physical warrior to get by in life.  We need to be a spiritual warrior!

How? 

We only need God! 

God's word says many times that we are to trust Him, stand firm on His word and let Him fight for us.  Exodus 14 v 13 - 14: (13) And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. (14) The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”    (Italics are mine)

2 Chron 20 v 17:  You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.  (Italics are mine)

Psalm 46 v 10: Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  (italics are mine)

Many of us are in a battle and we do not know where to turn, or how to fix it, or how to fight!  But God instructs us that we need not fight.

What are we to do then?
  • We must stand firm.  For me this means trust God's word!
  • We must stand still.  I believe this means we should not be all over the place trying to find solutions.  Asking this one then that one for advice.  Seek wise counsel, yes, but train your brain and heart to test everything against God's word for clarity and confirmation.
  • Clothe yourself with the armour of God, so that you can stand in the strength of the Lord to do battle spiritually. (See note below πŸ’¦)
  • Do not be afraid!  Why?  Because God has your salvation at hand and He will not let you be delivered into the hands of the evil one.
  • Hold your peace.  I believe this means keep quiet, don't go stir up emotions and muddy the waters.  Don't try to justify yourself, don't try to convince those who hurt you.  Allow God to speak for you.  He will!  Vindication and victory will be yours, and if you are in the wrong, and you are seeking God in these matters, trust that He will be gracious and He will have mercy with you as conviction comes on your heart.  
  • Examine your own heart!  Make sure you are not being self-righteous or letting past hurts colour a present circumstance and in so doing, find you are hard-hearted or reacting wrongly.
  • Forgive constantly.  We are commanded to forgive others for what they have done to us.  To do so keeps us from closing communication between us and the Lord.  Forgiving others releases us and releases the other person to the Lord's mercies.
  • Pray for your enemy/person who has hurt you.  (see note below πŸ‘€).  Praying for them opens your eyes to the possibility that they are not just attacking you for no reason, out of a place or unfairness, but they too are being manipulated by their hurts and their past.
  • Be Still.  Be still and know.  Be still and know that God is, and He will!  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  You have to have confidence that the Lord will undertake for you.

We as humans want to be independent, we want to be self-sufficient and we want to be able to handle whatever comes our way.  I think sometimes God lets us try, and he allows us to fail, so that we realise that we should rely on His strength alone.  He alone can fight our battles for complete victory.  I have learnt that when you choose to do your fighting God's way, standing still, waiting on Him, trusting Him to undertake and fight on your behalf, He gives you victory.  And do you know what He wants in return?   He wants only the glory.  He wants you to acknowledge that victory was achieved by His hand and His hand alone.  

So, my encouragement for you today is in your circumstance, stand, stand still, be still, put on the armour of God, examine your own heart, pray for and forgive your enemy, and KNOW God will fight your battle.  He will give you victory and you will not need to be strong on your own.  HE WILL BE YOUR STRENGTH!  Only, give Him the glory!

God bless
Tracy



My ABIDE scripture for this post is:
Joshua 1 v 9:  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”




------------------------------------------------------------------------

Additional Notes:

πŸ’¦  The Armour of God (Ephesians 6 vs 10 - 18)
  • The belt of truth
  • Breastplate of righteousness
  • Feet fitted with the gospel of peace
  • Shield of faith
  • Helmet of salvation, and
  • The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God

πŸ‘€  I am being hurt by someone who loves the Lord and who it appears extends only hatred to us and it hurts and confuses me.  Someone, whilst praying for this person, saw a picture of her surrounded and covered by thorn bushes because of who she lives with and that the spirit that is in this person was entering her.  It was a reminder to me that although it appears she hates us, she has been blinded where she is and I need to pray for her, pray that the Holy Spirit release her from that bondage and cover her with the blood of Jesus and protect her both spiritually and physically.  I need to pray that her eyes be opened to the truth and that the Lord protect her and have grace with her.  This whole thing about this person has taught me not to make assumptions based on what I think, that things are not always what they seem, and to pray for those who hurt me and it has given me the grace to have compassion for her.  God will reveal the truth and expose what is hidden to the light.  I need just stand, stand still, trust and pray!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Economics - God's Way!

God gives you seed, (money, time, equipment, ability, opportunity)

He expects you to sow that seed, (work hard, take each opportunity, utilize the equipment, use the money wisely, etc), no matter how inefficient, ineffective, insufficient it might seem!  Or just plain crazy (am I right?!)

And HE GIVES THE INCREASE on the seed sown!  Supplies and multiplies!!!!

It is that simple!

It is us who mess the whole system up with our doubts and our fears.  I think it is very profound and telling, that God tells the Israelites to consider all that He has done for them in the past.  David did this too.  He kept repeating all that God had done for their nation before, all He had done for David before.  Its to build your faith up.  Because God is able!  He has shown us this through scripture, through our own experiences, through what we see happening in the lives of others.


Why do we doubt then?  I would say it is human nature (with a little added help from the devil's whispering).  We just don't do well when we don't see the whole picture.  But we have to trust the One who does.  Really, what is the worst thing that could happen?  We lose it all?  We lose man's favour?  We lose face in front of friends and family?  I think we can all attest to the fact that despite all that, we have survived so far!

It is time to take the seed that God has provided you with, you know what it is, you know what is in your hands, and sow it already!  In FAITH!  Yes, its hard!  But God says that He will not leave us nor forsake us, and His word is proven and tested, not only by those in the Bible, but also by ourselves.  We have all experienced God's goodness.  Remind yourself of those times!  It builds your faith!

2 Corinth 9 v 10:  Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.

It is important too,
  • To always be thankful to the Lord no matter the circumstance, 
  • To always express gratitude to the Lord,
  • And to speak God's word over your life and situation, and remember,
  • The power of death and life is in the tongue, use it wisely!
God bless
Tracy


My ABIDE scripture this week:  Psalms 40 v 5:  Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done;  And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order;  If I would declare and speak of them,  they are more than can be numbered.






Saturday, 20 January 2018

Fasting!!!! Urgh!!!!

So, as you can tell by the heading fasting is not my favourite thing to do, or topic to discuss, because, well, its not my favourite thing to do.  πŸ˜‹

What I have learnt about it though is the following:  If you are going to do it with the wrong attitude, or for the wrong reasons (yes, come on ladies, the additional bonus of losing weight?! right?! right?!) then you should rather not do it at all.  And really, as an individual it should be done in private!  Not advertised to the whole world about how much you are giving up or sacrificing, or how much this sacrifice is costing you and how good you are to be doing it!

Fortunately, I have not had to worry about this.  I avoid fasting like the plague!  Sad, but true.  This year, however, I am choosing to do things differently.

Isaiah 58 tells us exactly what the Lord expects of us when fasting.

Verses 1 - 3 point out that when fasting the Jews of that time cried out telling of their fasting and how much it was hurting them, and yet the Lord took no notice, according to them.  The Lord says they even find pleasure whilst fasting and exploit the labourers.  I can only imagine this to mean they demanded to be looked after in their fasting moments and made their labour do more for their pleasure and at the labour's expense.

Verse 4 - 5 points out that God says they will no longer fast like this, making yourself heard and expecting people to feel sorry for you.

Verse 6 -11, God says He wants us to fast so that:

  • Bonds of wickedness are broken
  • heavy burdens undone
  • the oppressed go free
  • every yoke is broken
  • we share our food with the hungry
  • we share our homes with the destitute
  • we cover the naked
  • your light shines (sharing Jesus)
  • your healing springs forth
  • God's glory is revealed,
  • you can call on the Lord and He will answer and say "Here I am!"


Isaiah 58 v 1 - 13:  “Cry aloud, spare not;  Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.  2 Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God.  They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;  They take delight in approaching God.  3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen?  Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’

“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers.  4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness.  You will not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high.  5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes?  Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?

6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen:  To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?  7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast outWhen you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?  8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you;  The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.  9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;  You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

“If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday.  11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones;  You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
  12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places;  You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;  And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.



It seems to me that a lot of what Fasting is, is to sacrifice your time, your home, your food, your prayer, your comfort, your everything, to the glory of God, so that your healing comes and your relationship with God grows.  I also feel strongly that fasting should be a private thing.  Between you and God.  Now, I am not detracting from fasting that one does jointly with your church, or your home cell, or ladies group.  However, even when doing so, your co-worker need not know, your boss need not know, your neighbour need not know.  Because then it becomes about how YOU are sacrificing your comfort and how its impacting YOU.  Fasting should be about denying self, which in itself proves it should not be about self.  

This section of Isaiah ends with one of my all time favourite verses:
Isaiah 58 v 11:  The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones;  You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Usually I read this verse without reading the verses before, which are about how God would want us to fast.  Now, when reading it in context, it becomes clear that fasting, although about denying self to a certain degree, the end result is clearly for our benefit!  IF we fast in this manner, the reward is most importantly, God's glory is revealed, in our lives, in our bodies (health) and we will be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail, in drought as well!  Clearly, we are blessed by fasting.  BUT, not if it is all about us and our sacrifice!

Another lesson I have learnt, my mental image of fasting is no eating for the next 40 days, only water (tea and coffee maybe).  Can you tell I grew up in the era of those 40 day fasts?  Can't say I have heard of them lately?!  What I have learnt, its not about starving yourself to death, its about giving up something, for a season, be it a weekend, or whatever, that costs you your comfort.  It could be tea for a week, it could be social media for a month (yes, that one hurts), but in the Isaiah 58 it also points out that sharing with others is/can be uncomfortable!  So doing things like giving up some of your food for someone else, letting a family sleep in your spare room for a few days, buying something that someone needs over something you may need, all those are variations of fasting.  So long as they are done for God, unto God, for His glory, and quietly, between you and God!

What are your thoughts on the above?  I would love to hear from you!

God bless
Tracy


ABIDE scripture:  Matt 6 v 16 - 18:  (16) “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (17) But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, (18) so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.


Monday, 15 January 2018

Who placed that Dream in you?

Many years ago I went to a weekly ladies meeting one morning a week where I connected with some ladies who all wanted to grow in the Lord, and wanted to share their trials and hopes with each other in a safe place.  We would pray for one another, pray for our husbands and their businesses, have tea/coffee, and do a bible study of some sort.

I loved it!  I grew so much in that time.  We saw our prayers answered and felt the encouragement and support of one another too, as each trial came and went.  I loved our ladies meeting leader.  I still think of her fondly.  Sadly, she doesn't do her bible study anymore.

But ever since leaving her group I have always dreamed about one day starting my own group of ladies.  Meeting in my home, learning about the word, digging deeper, being accountable and available to one another, and growing in faith and fellowship.

As time went by, I joined one, and then another... I always left.  There were a few reasons excuses:
  • I was comparing them all to the group I loved
  • I didn't like the format
  • I didn't want to commit because of all the stuff going on in my life
  • We did go through a season where I really just did not want to share my life and knew if I went to any group I would melt into a puddle amongst strangers and who could one trust was a big issue at that time for me
  • I never had enough time to make it
  • I always had something else that needed to be done, etc etc!


About two years ago I joined a lovely ladies group.  I really enjoyed the ladies I met there.  I knew none of them and as we were not based in a church at that time, connecting with them led us to their church.  We ultimately did not end up in that church but that ladies meeting made me hungry to start my own again.  But, alas, I had many reasons excuses why I couldn't start one of my own.  And pretty much ignored that heart's desire once more.

Well, its the beginning of a new year and I'm itching to join a ladies group.  My friend told me about one she heard of and I contacted them.  The lady there told me that they were full and I should consider starting my own.  Um, "well, I might just do that," I thought!  Come the weekend, my friend asks if I connected with the ladies group and I told her of the response and hers is "Wonderful, what are you waiting for?"  Hmmm, yes, what indeed?!

And then roll on the next day, starting with tea and a quiet time.  This scripture comes up in my next chapter to read:  2 Corinth 8 vs 10-11:  And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; (11) but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.

So, I am thinking that the Lord is giving me just a tiny bit of confirmation here 😊.

Suffice it to say, I am going to be starting my own Ladies group.  We will meet once a week in the mornings and we will drink tea and coffee (and eat cake if we are lucky), and we will dig deeper into the word, we will encourage and pray for one another, and grow spiritually in the Lord!
Psalm 37 v 4:  Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

The most amazing thing is, I have absolutely no doubts, and no fears about this.  No reasons escuses come to mind why I should not do this.  Yes, I believe this is a dream placed in my heart, by my Creator and Saviour!  Thank you Jesus for Your faithfulness.

What is the dream God has placed in your heart?

God bless
Tracy



My "ABIDE" scripture for this post is:
Prov 16 v 3:  Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.

Monday, 8 January 2018

FAITH - Its been bumping into me ALL week!

So, the first week of the year is almost over!  And it just seems like the topic of "faith" is jumping out at me at every turn.  The devotional I have chosen to use this year is titled "A Mustard Seed" by Angus Buchan.  Well, Duh, isn't the mustard seed story all about faith?  (Matt 17v20)

Then there are the scriptures that I am currently reading.  I try to read one chapter in the old and one in the new testament every day.  And are they not all "faith-filled?!"

Then there is social media.  Yes, I spend way too much time there.  But I do try to spend more time sending out positive stuff, God-centred stuff, than just scrolling 😊.  Almost everything that jumps out at me is "faith" related.

Do you think God is trying to tell me something?  

I can answer that question pretty easily.  Ummm, YES!  We are in a season where we can't just speak about faith.  We are coming to a place of having to act on it!  Its scary to say the least.  The thing is though, when we do as David did, and many of the bible characters, and remember all that God has already done for us, all that He has already brought us through, when we remember all those things, why do we fret?  Why do we doubt?

One could say it is human nature.  But Paul tells us constantly to deny our human side, our carnal side, and to try to live our lives spiritually (Romans 8v5), with the Holy Spirit in our hearts, influencing our minds and our actions.  Not always easy and that is why I believe God's mercies, so undeserved, are new every morning (Lam 3 v 22-23).  He knows we need a fresh start every 24 hours.  Every hour if necessary.

Let me then encourage you with some of the "Faith" moments of my week!


My One Word for 2018 is "ABIDE" and I think that practising faith is a great step towards abiding in Christ, abiding in His word.  One has to actively choose faith over fear in every instant that it presents itself.  

For example:  "How am I going to get through this?" πŸ‘ˆfear!  Choose faith in this situation:  "I choose to believe as God's word says that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens me!" (Matt 19v26) πŸ‘ˆ Faith statement!

Another example:  How are we going to make it financially this month? πŸ‘ˆ fear!  Choose faith in this situation:  "I am tithing to the Lord my first fruits and His word says that if I do, He will open up the windows of heaven that I won't be able to contain the blessings, and, He will keep the devour'er from my door!" (Mal 3v10) πŸ‘ˆ Faith statement!

Do you know that faith grows from hearing the word? (Rom 10 v 17).  How does one hear the word?  Well, there is church, Christian TV, but also, you can read God's word out aloud to yourself.  You will be hearing it, and by hearing, your faith will grow!  Give it a go!  God's word is truth!

I hope that I have encouraged you in your faith walk.  It is a daily walk!  Lets do this together!

God bless
Tracy




My abide Scripture for this post is:
Rom 10 v 17:  So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


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