"Our family will base our success on one thing...our impact for the Kingdom of Christ." -Rick Burgess

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Following?

"Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, 'Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.'" Luke 9:57

Really? Are we really willing to follow Him wherever He goes?

Luke 9:59 speaks of a man saying he's willing if Jesus will let him first go and bury his father.  His father, however, is not yet dead. This man is speaking in terms of getting his affairs in order. He's waiting for his father to pass in order to gain his inheritance. He was waiting to be financially sound before he set out on his journey with Jesus.

Ouch...that stings.

How often do we think twice about giving because we keep seeing the balance in our own checking account flashing in our head?

And then there's then man in Luke 9:61. The one who says, "Lord, I will follow You, but..."

Who new that a little conjunction...three small letters....could carry so much weight.

Oswald Chambers talks of this man that says, "but". The man that "is intensely ready to go, but never goes."

Do you find yourself here? Here in the place of, "Lord, I'm willing, but (fill in the blank)."

Life in Christ calls for total surrender.

For me, a DIY gal, the word surrender can be frightening.

But thankfully for me,  God is a patient and persistent teacher. He shows me that total surrender to him....saying I'll go without hesitation....means being in closer relation with Him.

It's simply obedience.

Be obedient to whatever God calls you to do.

When you think of being obedient to God's call, don't just think about the "big" things (for me the frightening things), like being called into the ministry or being called to the mission field. Think about the other calls. The gentle nudges that we get (and often ignore). The nudges that say, make that phone call, send that card, stop...and really listen to that prayer request. Those calls, matter as much to God as the ones we label as "big".

You may never know the impact God will have on someone, using you as the vessel.

Be obedient, be willing to be used by God.

It's likely that you won't ever witness the change that you make in someones life, but one change that you are guaranteed to see is the change that it makes in your own life.


Stumbling along, following Jesus,
Tracey
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Praying this week for a brother and sister in Christ, sad for them in the flesh, but rejoicing in the spirit, for the eternity that awaits this sweet sister. Thankful that she will have dear Sara to meet her at Heaven's gates.

How can I pray for you today? Leave me a comment, knowing that each prayer concern will be earnstly prayed over and never taken lightly.


thanking Him for....

paint, brushes, and easels
more paint on her face and hands than on the paper
face painting! :)
cool, breezy days
exciting vollyball games
points scored!
friends that come to watch(support) her
a small school
Homecoming parades
we're a three traffic light town ;)
photobooth pictures
yarn
learning to loom (because knitting and crochet didn't work out so well)
community (in real life and online)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Molding Can Hurt

Friendly Obstacles
Anonymous

For every hill I've tried to climb,
For every stone that bruised my feet,
For all the blood and sweat, and grime,
For blinding storms and burning heat,
My heart sings but a grateful song
These are the things that made me strong!

For all the heartaches and the tears,
For all the anguish and the pain,
For gloomy days and fruitless years,
And for the hopes that lived in vain,
I do give thanks, for now I know
These were the things that helped me grow!

'Tis not the softer things in life
Which stimulate man's will to strive;
But bleak adversity and strife
Do most to keep man's will alive.
O'er rose-strewn paths the weaklings creep,
But brave hearts dare to climb the steep.


For about two weeks now my daughter has studied these words. Words that I've heard her recite....words that I've checked to make sure she was reciting correctly....but also words that I've not really heard until today.

As my eldest recited them to me this morning, I sat with paper in hand and really read them....listened as she recited each line.

How powerful!

These last 14 days I've let life keep me so preoccupied that I've missed out on these powerful words.

What a blessing they are...what a message they deliever.

The author is unknown, and I wonder did this author serve my God? I like to think he/she did.

These words remind me of a few things.....

Of the old hymn...Have Thine Own Way...."mold me and make me..."

Of the parable of the potter and the clay (Jeremiah 18) Jeremiah watched the potter with the soft clay as it became misshapen....the potter pressed and molded it and shaped it back into a good vessel....so God does with us.

Life gets hard sometimes.

It can really just plain stink.

But through gratitude we can find our way past the here and now...past the pain of the moment....and see the bigger picture.

We can see what God is molding us into...what He is preparing us for.

Something greater than now.

Thank You Father for the things unseen....for the yet to come.

Ephesians 5:20

Have a blessed day,
Count it all joy (James 1:2-4),
And tell someone you love them,
Because Jesus first loved you,

Tracey
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Praying for Sara, her family and  her friends...
Praying that Kaylee did well on her poem recitation...
Praying that God gives peace to a few dear friends that need to feel His touch today.

Thankful....
133. for finding Sara
134. for meeting with God
135. for the happiness of a friend
136. for safe travel
137. for a new wood stove
138. for guidance
139. for wedding shower plans
140. for punch and cake :) {I love shower food}
141. for new friends and old
142. for progress
143. for laughter...and by laughter I mean I'm thankful for those little things that just get you tickled for no reason and you laugh so hard your face hurts...and when your done laughing you feel refreshed...laughter really is such good medicine. Come on let's all LOL!!!
144. for my sweet middle, Kelsie, who gave me one of those "laugh for no reason" moments this morning. It was just what I needed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

God Can...


The Path Before Us - Photo by Tracey


We all have a choice in this life....we can either choose to give our lives to God and let Him handle things or we can limp along trying to take care of things ourselves. The latter never works out for me.  Will you choose to move forward with God today?
I received this in an email a long time ago...
I saved it so that I could go back from time to time and get my attitude in check.
While we should always have a heart of gratitude, fact is sometimes we don't.
We need reminders.
So here is your reminder today. :)
I pray that no matter what you're facing today, that you don't sit around and complain about it, or waste your time with worry...take it to God, and leave it with Him. He can take care of it far better than we could ever dream.

A preacher who was traveling by train noticed two other passengers, a well-dressed man and a magnificently dressed woman with expensive jewelry. The woman was complaining about everything -- the train ride, the weather, the news, the food, the service. The preacher decided to engage this couple in a conversation. He asked the man what kind of business he was in and the man told him. Then he asked, "What does your wife do?" He said, "Oh, she's in the manufacturing business. She manufactures her own unhappiness." There are a lot of people like that. They manufacture their misery because they fail to be grateful. Only Christ can turn our lives around and stir up a grateful heart within. Psalm 100:4

You say: 'It's impossible'
 God says: All things are possible
 ( Luke 18:27)

You say: 'I'm too tired'
 God says: I will give you rest
 ( Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: 'Nobody really loves me'
 God says: I love you
 ( John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )

You say: 'I can't go on'
 God says: My grace is sufficient
 (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: 'I can't figure things out'
 God says: I will direct your steps
 (Proverbs 3:5- 6)

You say: 'I can't do it'
 God says: You can do all things
 ( Philippians 4:13)

You say: 'I'm not able'
 God says: I am able
 (II Corinthians 9:8)

You say:'It's not worth it'
 God says: It will be worth it
 (Roman 8:28 )

You say: 'I can't forgive myself'
 God says: I Forgive you
 (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: 'I can't manage'
 God says: I will supply all your needs
 ( Philippians 4:19)

You say: 'I'm afraid'
 God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear
 ( II Timothy 1:7)

You say: 'I'm always worried and frustrated'
 God says: Cast all your cares on ME
 (I Peter 5:7)

You say: 'I'm not smart enough'
 God says: I give you wisdom
 (I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: 'I feel all alone'
 God says: I will never leave you or forsake you
 (Hebrews 13:5)

You are not alone - For God is with you.
You are not defenseless - For God is your protector.
You are not inadequate - For God is your sufficiency.
You are not useless - For God has a purpose for your life.
You are not worthless - For God sent His Son to die for you.
You are not without hope - For God has a place prepared for you.
You are not unloved - For God loves you with an everlasting love.
You are not rejected, or abandoned - For God calls you His own.

"I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." So we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6 NLT

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hard Eucharisteo....Rick Burgess Story

This is the story of a local celebrity here in Alabama....

I ran across his story again tonight....

God is the only explanation for the peace this family has.

This is the hardest eucharisteo....

Help me honor this family by watching this...


The link above is part one....please continue to part two and part three for the entire message.
Tracey
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Thankful for...

132. salvation and eternal life through faith in Christ.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Camera Phone Friday

Today I'm trying a little experiment.

I'm linking up with Dawn Camp over at My Home Sweet Home, to join in on Camera Phone Friday.

Dawn has given me one more thing to add to my to do list. ;)

You see I love photography. I'm always taking pictures with my SLR. But I hardly ever use the camera on my phone. If I do, it's just to send a pic to my hubby who is working out of town. But now....thanks to sweet Dawn and her wonderful idea....I will be adding Phone-tography to my list of hobbies.

Hope you enjoy taking a peek at my new interest. I sure loved Dawn's mosaic. You should scoot on over there and try making your own.



1. Four leaf clover, 2. bdaylove, 3. Backyard Bible Club, 4. Lovin' Krispy Kreme!, 5. Me and my buddy, 6. Perfectly Crooked, 7. Smilin' Pig, 8. Newpaper with Dad, 9. Were hiding, 10. Untitled, 11. God's Glory, 12. TOO GOOD!, 13. Mommy and Me, 14. Sending Love, 15. Strong, 16. Face it!, 17. The Word, 18. Explorers, 19. Big girl shoes!, 20. signs, 21. Living Cross, 22. New Hobby, 23. How does your garden grow?, 24. Too Young to Drive, 25. Musical

God Bless,
Tracey
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James 1:2

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Without Complaint

"I want to love better, without selfish ambition or vain conceit. To serve, to give, to unload and load the dishwasher a thousand times in a row. To empty the garbage at 9:38pm without a negative thought. To get up to lock the doors or turn down the thermostat. To sweep and dust and as I work, allow myself to be renewed and refined and put back into my rightful place – below the ones I love. I want to love like Christ." By: Heather Boersma

Phillipians 2:3

120. for a caring insurance agent
121. for new opportunities
122. for Miss Tippytoe and her ministry
123. Kensley's improving eating habits
124. for reconnecting with family that lives far away. Thank you FB!
125. for the means to do more work on the house....one step closer to completion!
126. for my washer and dryer
127. for humming birds
128. for words of encouragement
129. for the divine lemon cakes that my sweet neighbor brought me yesterday.
130. for reaching goals...YAY Kaylee!! 2 points!!!
131. for the blessing of getting to witness the joy and sense of accomplishment on my daughter's face when she scored her first two points in volleyball....priceless!

I pray you feel God walking with you today.

Tracey
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Clear Messages

I just love it when God speaks to me in unexpected ways.

No matter how unexpected they may be, they are most always clear.
Today's clear message came in the form of a package. A package from Blessings Unlimited(Dayspring) *smile* I love that name. It is such a perfect description of God's blessing....they are unlimited. HE's unlimited. 
Hmmm....ok...back to the message.

So I open this box of welcome surprise to find a bright and shiny, fancy nancy, new journal! WooHoo!!! You see, I have a weakness for all things stationary. Pens, pencils, paper, note cards, journals. I just love the stuff! 



Now I can retire my worn out little spiral notebook, and open up the crisp, unmarked pages of my new jewel, I mean journal.
The cover of my new treasure is filled with words of affirmation. Words like...Valued, Irreplaceable, Accepted, Wonderfully Made, Delightful, Loved. But the word that jumps off of the cover, and hits me right smack dab in the face/heart is the word God wanted me to read today......CHOSEN.

You see, I've known for a long time that God loves me.

I've known that I am accepted by Him.

I've known that in Him I am wonderfully made.

What I've had a hard time accepting is, that He would CHOOSE me. Choose ME as a vessel.

I guess I just haven't felt worthy enough to be used by Him. But today, His message pierced my  heart and I finally get it. I'm Chosen. (Deuteronomy 14:2)


So I have to say thank you to Holley Gerth for allowing God to use her to write the "God's Heart for You" series, and to (in)courage, Dayspring and Blessings Unlimited for their ministries. Thank you  for allowing me to be a part of this.

Tracey
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Let them bless you today.

Check out their websites using the following links:
http://www.myblessingsunlimited.net/corporate/default.aspx
http://www.incourage.me/category/deals
http://www.dayspring.com


*Please note that the journal I received was a free gift from Dayspring. The review and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Choosing

113. that my house didn't get damaged by the storm.
114. that Kenny is in PA with Jeremy. It's always nice to see a familiar face when you're out of town.
115. that I've learned to how to find my joy when I loose it. I've learned to thank my way out of those dark places.
116. for my church...and the freedom to worship there without fear of persecution.
117. for my friend Sharon, and the fact that, without a second thought ,she was willing to run my daughter a snack to school because she forgot hers this morning.
118. for unexpected messages from old friends...the friends that you never get see or talk to, but when you do it's like you see each other everyday.
119. for things yet to come and the lessons I will learn.

Whew.....I feel so much better now.

I had to start out with thanks today. And now that I stop and think about it.....it should be that way everyday.  I should start everyday with thanks!

I admit, this morning I started out with thanks in attempt to dig myself out of the ugly hole I'd fallen into this weekend.

My old enemy depression comes around occasionally trying to pull me back down....and I can usually brush it off and keep moving....but this weekend a little of it stuck and I didn't seem to have what I needed to shake it.

But thanks be to God that today is a new day! A day of sunshine and cool fall breezes. A day of awakening! And I awaken to the fact that I have to live on purpose. I have to push through the dark days and find the thanks. The thanks that leads to joy! It's impossible to be two things at once. If you choose to be thankful all the time (which will always result in joy) there's no room for anything else.

CHOOSING.....that makes me think of the talk that I had with my girls this morning. Here in the South we like to refer to these little talks as a "Come to Jesus Meeting".  They've both just had a little too much attitude for me lately. Too much arguing with one another....to little love and compassion, and considering others feelings. And this morning was the straw that finally broke it.

So in my "I mean business" voice I let them know that we ALL wake up every morning with choices to make....and it's our choice how our day will turn out. We CHOOSE what kind of attitude we will have each day....we CHOOSE how we will react to others....and a lot of times our OWN attitude determines how our day will go.  

As we sat there I realized that they weren't the only ones being taught a lesson. God was using this to teach me as well. We were all learning....learning a lesson in living life on purpose....taking control of our actions, our tongues, our decisions....learning that everything we say and do effects someone, somehow. And that the outcome of the days challenges have a lot to do with how we approach and react to them.

So as I sit here, with each word I type I inch my way out of the hole that I dug. I see the light of day....the positive.....the good....because I choose to give thanks to the God who created me.

My pastor gave me some new perspective on thanks during Sunday's sermon. He pointed out that giving thanks is a part of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit and that there are three types of thankful people. I like to think of them as stages of learning thanks.

The first stage is the easy one....giving thanks after you've received the blessing.  It's easy to give thanks for something that you already have.

The second one is a little harder....It is giving thanks before the battle begins. Remember the story of Jehosaphat.

The third is the hardest....giving thanks in the middle of the battle, when it looks like you've been defeated. That's giving thanks even when you don't understand...because you know that God has a plan and purpose that is perfect...you know that He works all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Everyday the Lord reveals something new to me....I am amazed at just how little I knew about the importance of giving thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."


Tracey
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Burdened Heart


I'm feeling heavy-hearted today. Burdened for the injustice of this world. This is not a place I like to come to, but God always teaches me something while I'm here.

I try to avoid all the negativity of the morning news (it seems like all they ever show are the bad things that happen), but this morning I was in search of weather reports. Along with the weather, I got a report of a car accident (drunk driver hits a school bus carrying a football team) that claimed a young life and injured 33 others.

I open my Bible.

The Lord leads me to Psalm 73. Verse one...."Truly God is good to Israel..." I think about this for a moment.....Israel? The people of Israel who were captives to the Egyptians? I read on.

Verse 3..."the prosperity of the wicked..." Yep, that's where I am.....wondering why do the wicked always seem to prosper.

Verse 7..."They have more than hear could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly..." Verse 12..."Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease...." 

The Psalmist goes on to repeat the cry of this morning's heart...Verse 16..."When I thought how to understand this, It was to painful for me." 

But then came the best part....my eye-opener for today, my encouragement, and counsel from God.  He says....Verse 17..."Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end."

God showed me what I already knew in my heart....that whether my heart is grieved or joyful, He is always there.  Verses 23-24..."Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory."

I know my flesh and heart will fail from time to time, but God is my strength and portion forever. For the Bible tells me so. :)

And as for the sin and injustice of this world....I'm reminded that God will(has) overcome it all. Verse 27..."For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish".


Let me replace this burden with joy through thanks....

104. for a night out with friends (precious, women of God)
105. for shelter from Tropical Storm Lee
106. for my spiritual shelter from God
107. for sleeping til 10 this morning!
108. for appetizers and dessert at Olive Garden last night :)
109. for my sweet Kaylee who sent me texts all night to make sure I was ok and having a good time.
110. for peace in knowing that, even though I miss Jeremy more than I'd miss my right arm, God has a plan for us and will see us through.
111. for flowers that open in the morning sunshine
112. for Nutella on toast!


"I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers." Philemon 1:4

Tracey
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Learning Thanks



Romans 1:20-21

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and God head, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." (NKJV, emphasis added)

How do we "learn thanks"? I believe, like with any other thing we are trying to learn, we learn by practice. We have to daily (hourly, every minute) practice thanks. I've just started to study the idea of being thankful for everything (and I mean EVERYTHING). I want to be deliberate in my thanks to God. I want in no way to be flippant about it. Never routine. My longing is for my thanks to God to be genuine and true....thought about. I don't want to just sit down to my meal, in a hurry,  and spout out the same old..."Dear Lord thank You for this food, please bless it and nourish our bodies and our bodies to Your service amen." I want to say... "Thank You Lord, for the blessing before me. The blessing of this food (not everyone is fortunate enough to have food to eat). Thank You Lord, for the job that provided the money to buy this food, for the ability of each member of my family to feed themselves this precious food (for some, meals come from a tube). Thank You for the hands that tilled and planted and nurtured these crops so that they could make their way to my table."

My goal is to study through all the "thankful" verses in the bible. I found this one in Romans today. It gave me a new perspective on being thankful and naming my thanks. I've always known that giving thanks to God was what we were "supposed" to do. But God has revealed to me that it goes so much deeper than that. Giving thanks is equal to communion with God. It's intimate time with Him. Time that produces fruit. The fruit of joy, fruit of walking closer with God.

Lord, I pray that you will keep "thanks" in the forefront of my mind. I pray that I will heed Paul's words in Romans...learn from them. I want to Glorify You, be thankful to You, and clearly see You in everything so that my heart will never be darkened.

Thankful....

96. That learning (at school) comes easy for my girls.
97. for my Wednesday morning prayer group.
98. God's creatures (even the family of lizards living in our barn, that scare me on a daily basis...you'd think after months of seeing them, I'd know they were there and expect to see them....nope they get me everyday!)
99. for a doctor that knows my name and the names of all three of my girls(and their activities) without having to look at the history on my chart.
100. for Sunday School Fish Fry's.
101. for pens and paper.
102. gifts for no reason.
103. for being in on surprise parties!


If you haven't already, I urge you to pick of a copy of Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts". You can read her blog at www.aholyexperience.com


God Bless,

Tracey
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