Sharing My Heart

An Easter Message

I didn’t know what to expect.  I knew it was a “hail mary” to send him up to another hospital for care.  He didn’t look good when I last saw him.  I had nothing to trust in but the hope of my Savior and His resurrection power.

“no guilt in life, no power of death, this is power of Christ in me”

Even if he was still alive, what kind of life would it be?  Did we do the right thing in trying to save it?  Was Jesus calling him home and I was trying to stop it?  Could I interfere with God’s power to take a life?  After all, isn’t God sovereign over all things?

For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
    His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” Isaiah 27:14

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They found the tomb empty.  He was not there.  Where had they taken their master, friend, brother, leader, beloved?  The angels declared, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you that He would be turned over to sinful men, be crucified, and rise again on the third day!” Mathew 28, Luke 24
Others came to see the empty tomb, they went away amazed and confused.  But Mary Magdalene stayed behind.  She sat crying.  Suddenly she saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognize Him at first. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” Mary thought He must be the gardener and said, “Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where, and I will take Him!” Jesus said, “Mary!” Then she recognized Him and exclaimed, “Master!”
Jesus said, “Don’t hold on to me, because I have not yet returned to the Father. But go to my disciples and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
Then Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!”, and she told them everything that had happened.
He had risen!  Death had been defeated!  Our hope was sure!  Our God was faithful!

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As I rounded the corner I saw him, sitting up, sipping water and crunching ice chips.  How could this be?  Wasn’t he just in immediate critical condition?  Life hanging in balance.  Heart functioning at 15%, Kidneys shutting down, liver incapacitated, breathing tube….. not living.  BUT GOD…. “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

I know how Mary Magdalene felt when she knew her master lived!  I’m not comparing Jesus resurrection to my beloved’s gift of life but I am declaring that the same resurrection power that raised Jesus up on Easter morning, is the same power that was bestowed upon us all for life eternal!  I am saying that because of the resurrection I HAD HOPE!  I HAD TRUST!  I HAD A REASON TO FOR FAITH!

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

I have had many opportunities to doubt all things God over the last 3 weeks but by the Mercy and Grace given me, I instead was able to rest in the faith that had been offered to me by God Himself.  Instead of doubt there was trust. Instead of deep fear there was oddly peace.  Instead of anger there was expectation.  Instead of death there was life.

I am not special.  I am a broken human being with lots of hang-ups and some pretty messed up life patterns, but all of that is covered in the blood of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus.  He died in my place, His righteousness is my righteousness and His life is my hope.  It is yours as well.  There is no person too far gone that is exempt from the Grace of God.  He freely gave his son as the payment of the price of your sin so that you could have your debt erased and be put into a right relationship with the God of all creation.  Your only job is to believe and spend the rest of your days living to bring Glory to God!

Jesus Christ is Risen today!

Not My Own

Hi Mom!

If your new to this blog you’ll quickly recognize that I write these things for my self and my mom is my number one fan.  You are welcome to join us and you can even click to follow this blog, over there on the right.  It’s March and this is blog number 3 for 2017, which may blow out the total number of blogs written last year…haha.  That’s a good sign for this year of ABIDE.

Here’s what ABIDE has looked like for me this year:

I’m deep into the writing of the exam answers for the ACBC Biblical Counseling exam.  In order to answer questions like: “Provide an explanation of and the biblical basis for the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, explaining the implications of this doctrine for human guilt over sin. Relate your understanding of this to the concept of false guilt.” , you need to have a fair (read overabundance) amount of abiding!! Who comes up with these questions anyway? I am so desperate for the intervention of the Holy Spirit in answering these questions that I SEEK Him desperately.  ABIDE.

I’m also currently counseling 3 lovely ladies through some really tough stuff.  As I prepare for each meeting I find myself completely useless and without any measure of ability to offer help, apart from the Good News of Jesus Christ.  And so, I Abide.  I beseech the Lord for His wisdom, for His healing, for His work.  I have nothing to offer, I am inadequate for these women but MY GOD is adequate, He is all Sufficient. ABIDE.

This morning my precious family slept in, well except the dogs…they are raring to go first thing and really love their routine of go outside, come in, eat, go outside, come in sleep, go outside….I get up with the dogs because I really love the routine of letting the dogs out, drinking coffee and Abiding!  I have 3 devotionals right now that I’m addicted too:

New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp…..GO GET IT< OH MERCY

Faith Alone by Martin Luther….EVERY GOOD LUTHERAN READS MARTIN LUTHER

My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers….CLASSIC GOODNESS

Today, I was blessed to abide from 6:30-9:00 a.m. Blessed I tell you!  and then I got all sucked up into 1 Corinthians 6:19

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  you are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.

You are not your own, Tracy, you were bought with a price.  It cost the life of God’s son to redeem you.  It was not without sacrifice, it was not without pain, it was not without sorrow, but it was for God’s glory and it was to purchase you.  Tracy, you are not your own, you are God’s precious and dear daughter.  So, glorify God in your body.

Ya’ll this is not about working out or not eating pork or abstaining from GMO products.  Although, I did just start a 30 day Isagenix cleanse and I can tell you that my body is pretty happy….no, this is about your doing.  The whole context of this verse is about fleeing sexual immorality but God led me down the path of understanding today that this verse applies to my doing or my not doing.

Whether it be sexual immorality, or over eating, or not getting the rest you need or whatever, it’s not yours to abuse your body.  You don’t own it! You were bought with a price. Glorify God.

Now, my mind took this a step further and as I struggle with the FULLNESS of my everyday, work, family, counseling, church, study, etc….every minute is taken and I can sometimes feel weary.  But this morning I was refreshed to see that my body is not my own.  It was bought with price and my doing, my work is not my own.  The owner of the slave dictates what he does.  My owner is God Almighty and as He offers me my daily duties, I work as unto Him.  If He wills that I have full days, then I  have full days.  If he has 3 (or more) people that need to be a part of my life right now, to be gently led through their adversity, then its His work I’m doing not my own.  If my business ramps up by His blessing, and work is busy, then it’s His work I do because its His body I inhabit.

Do you see the freedom and joy in this?

Not my body.  Not my work. Not my own.

Abide

 

 

Heart Training

God has charged me with the mission to walk alongside other women and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as we move to higher ground.  It’s no secret that life is filled with valleys and deserts.  For some reason, my Lord has seen fit to use me in the lives of others, gently guiding them through the desert and out of the valley.  I call it my God Job. This is a passion that God has woven into my very being, a passion I can not shake.

Recently, I’ve been working with a lady who was shackled in a life-dominating sin.  One of those sins that was a recurring pattern in her life.  She had come to the point that battling it on her own was not an option anymore.  She wanted to be free from it and knew that God was calling her to find accountability and to turn, once and for all, from the flesh that so easily entangled her.  She didn’t know what else to do, she was a slave to sin.

When dealing with these types of issues you first, of course, teach repentance and discover practical ways to avoid/turn from the sin.  But this really isn’t enough to truly overcome.  Life dominating patterns are really a symptom of a deeper heart issue.  One that results from a failure to walk close with the Lord in faith, obeying the principles of His word and being led by the Holy Spirit.  Those of us that get stuck in these life dominating sins have failed to make GOD the first and most dominating priority in our life.  We have sought God to bring about happiness and to make life work but it has not been an “all-in”, “all-encompassing” following of Christ.  We fail to see God as NEAR.  NEAR ENOUGH to see, NEAR ENOUGH to hear, NEAR ENOUGH to care, NEAR ENOUGH to make us think twice about our choices.

We think godliness and righteousness just happens because we believe Jesus for our salvation.  But I’m her to tell you that the time between trusting Jesus for Eternal Life and the time we go to that place He is preparing for us, is riddled with hard work and purposeful living.  Sin doesn’t disappear, in fact sometimes it becomes more daunting, but your tenacity and dedication to Christ can and will overcome all things.  You have to train as to run the race, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”  Hebrews 12:1

Here is your training plan that will strengthen your spirit and create a place for the
Holy Spirit to dominate!

  1. Be a slave to righteousness
    • I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. Romans 6:19
    • Begin to find pleasure in pleasing God and living righteously.
  2. Don’t think about the sin anymore
    • But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14
    • For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8
    • You are in charge of your mind, bring it into submission and don’t let your flesh rule!
  3. Train yourself
    •  Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness        1 Timothy 4:7
    • Be in the word every day, morning, noon and night.
    • Go to Church
    • Be near godly people who will hold you accountable
    • MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE
  4. Focus on what you are going to PUT ON
    • Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[a] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, Ephesians 4:17-22
    • But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14
    • …forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13b-14
    • Make a list of what you are going to PUT OFF and what you must PUT ON
  5. Set your mind
    • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil 4:8
    • You choose what your mind will think about.  If you think about the things in Phil 4:8 your mind will be set on the things that bring freedom.

My dear friends this works….every time.

Proverbs 4:23 says Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  

The gospels tell us “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mathew6:21, Luke12:34

Where is your mind? What do you need to be put on?  Where is your treasure?  Have you guarded your heart?  What are you Putting on? Concentrate on what needs to be PUT ON not on what sin you need to overcome.

Happy  Training!

 

 

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