My Story in His Story

1532043682135_39052459-15320426131331706681472.jpgWe have to be careful about who we allow to dictate our story. There is only one author but there will always be situations that try to edit your story, trying to add in the parts that tell you who you are, what you can do, where you can not go, when you are most valuable, and why you are not enough.

We can not deviate from the original story and we must be aware that there are counterfeits. They have portions of the truth. But partial truth is a full lie. There are no half truths in God, either it is truth or it is not. They provide a plot twist and will have us distracted from the original blue print God wrote specifically for our lives. Yes things have happened to us (some our fault and others that are not) but they are not who we are.

His story says that I am a victorious . (1 Corinthians 15:57))

His story says that I am healed and whole.(Jeremiah 30:17)

His story says that he will protect me and that I do not have to fear the disaster that comes upon the wicked. (Proverbs 3:25-26)

His story says he will lead me on the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.(Psalm 23:3)

His story says He has plans for me. To give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

His story says that when I wait on Him he will renew my strength. I will mount up on wings like eagles. I will run and not grow weary. I will walk and not grow faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

His story says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

His story says that I am the head and not the tail. (Deuteronomy 28:13)

His story says He will never leave me or forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

I am apart of His story.

Be willing to see what His story is for you in the lines of what he has already written. He provided His word for us as a guideline for what our story is supposed to be. Don’t forget where you come from. You are a creation of the all mighty God, created in His likeness and image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God: Our Rescuer

Let’s face it, there are many problems that we cause for ourselves when we feel like God is moving too slow. Sometimes waiting on God gets us to a place where we feel we need to clock out from him and do things our way. But to be honest those are the moments where we experience extreme setbacks.

In the bible the children of Israel felt this pain. They mixed their company with those who did not serve God and were captivated by the “new way.” It’s funny how being captivated works. Initially it is fun , mesmerizing, and exciting. But at some point you find yourself drawn to it so much and you know its not good for you but here you are again at it. Soon you become a slave to it.

And then there is God who has put his heart on the line for a people who are easily swayed. People who treated him like a revolving door. “I’ll be in when I want but I can walk away without consequences.” FALSE! The very one they walked away from is the one who they called to save them from the thing they had become entangled in.

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I am not blind your distressed, even the ones causes by your own messes.

The best thing about God is that he will rescue you from the problems that you created and love you like it never happened. In fact he forgives and throws them into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19 NIV)

I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the Lord. “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” (Isaiah 43:11-13)

Tell God How You Feel

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I had a list of complaints tonight as I checked my mail to see that I am still behind financially and have only the promise of increase, one that has yet to be seen. I wanted to appeal my case to God and I though I had a good enough argument until I got to worship rehearsal. The first song declared the greatness of God and how there is none compared to him. During rehearsal there are usually so many technicalities we are trying to work out that it sounds like we are just practicing. But not tonight. As I sang I believed what I was saying and my God perspective rose up and put my problem right back where they belong. Even in my time of need I can still declare God has been better than good to me.

This thought led me to Lamentations 3 where the profit Jeremiah listed his complaints against God. This was not a pretty complaint but one of deep sorrow.

I am the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the Lord ’s anger. He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light. He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. He has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress. He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead. He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains. And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers. He has blocked my way with a high stone wall; he has made my road crooked. He has hidden like a bear or a lion, waiting to attack me. He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, leaving me helpless and devastated. He has drawn his bow and made me the target for his arrows. He shot his arrows deep into my heart. My own people laugh at me. All day long they sing their mocking songs. He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink. He has made me chew on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.
Lamentations 3:1‭-‬21 NLT

What a list! For this we could consider his sorrow valid. Sometimes it is hard to be candid with God because we reverence him. Though he is sovereign he is still father. To our father we can share our concerns. To our father we can make our request known. Even in his dispare Jeremiah still dared to hope.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord . And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord ’s demands. Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies. For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
Lamentations 3:21‭-‬33‬ NLT

Wow! Only worship can get us to a place where we can still put our hope in God. Only by faith can we declare that all things (yes ALL) are working together for our good because we love God and are called according to his purpose.

 

The Very Tree of Life: Proverbs 3:13-18 MSG

There are moments when fear and worry creep in, but we combat them with the word of God. I tend to let my mind get away from me when I am focused on the trouble in the world or the trouble that is on my doorstep. I feel trapped at those times, utterly hopeless. Proverbs provides wisdom that helps balance what God intends for us to do in the face of adversity.

You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom, when you make friends with Madame Insight. She’s worth far more than money in the bank; her friendship is better than a big salary. Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. With one hand she gives long life, with the other she confers recognition. Her manner is beautiful, her life wonderfully complete. She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her. Hold her tight—and be blessed! With Lady Wisdom, God formed Earth; with Madame Insight, he raised Heaven. They knew when to signal rivers and springs to the surface, and dew to descend from the night skies.
Proverbs 3:13‭-‬20 MSG

Fear generally comes from what we don’t know so it is beneficial to fill our selves with the wisdom of God who is all seeing and all knowing.

God gives out Wisdom free,

is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding.

He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well,

a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.

He keeps his eye on all who live honestly,

and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.
—-Proverbs 2:6‭-‬8 MSG

And all you have to do is ask!

Royal Mess Up- Learning how to recover from mistakes you have made.

We as mankind are bound to encounter stumbling along the way. There are or will be moments of regret where we have royally messed up and feel there is no recovery possible.

The bible clearly identifies men who although were upright made huge life altering mistakes, one’s that would have doomed them to hell if it were not for the grace of God. The funny thing is that these are the teaching moments God will use to direct us back to him.

Here is an example of one among many.

King David

2 Samuel 11-12

David and Bathsheba

1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

And to this we say dang! David’s moment of passion and lust led to an undoable mistake. For a moment he tried to scheme his way out of it.

He sent for Uriah to lay with Bathsheba but he refrained out of respect for God and his fellow soldiers.

11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

From here David becomes more desperate for a cover up.

14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

It would seem at this point that David can breathe a sigh of relief….

2 Samuel 12:1 MSG

But God was not at all please with what David had done, and sent Nathan to David.

9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”

At this point I would not know if I could go on. If messing up royally had a picture next to it David’s face would surely be there. From here we ask how do we get pass messing up so bad with God and live a normal life.

See below how David proceeded.

15 After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth[b] on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

At this point David is desperate and his servants take note.

18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”

20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

From this we learn that because the mistake has been made we cannot undo it, but we can choose how we will mourn for it and how we will recover. David repented and turned back to God and proceeded into what God originally called him to do. He did not forfeit his purpose through this mess up. God did forgive him and his legacy was restored through Jesus. Did he from that day forth have no more trouble? No! Even Jesus advises us that we will have trouble, no one is exempt.

From here we have to ask ourselves, “Does what I did define me?” and “Can God use me after this.”

Remember that ultimately we have a choice. We can choose to let trouble dictate our lives and future or we can like David confess it, repent, and move on.

David never failed to get into the presence of God and found safety there.

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.Psalms 16:11 NLT

Take note that in God has shown a path but it up to us to walk down it. The benefit is knowing that he is with us.

Here is a departing word from the Lyrics of Tenth Avenue North’s You Are More.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade

This is not about what you’ve done,

But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

No Longer Passifying the Flesh

Flesh is like a two year old with a passifier. The passifier is what keeps it quiet and gives it comfort. Everything is fine as long as it is near and can be accessed whenever desired.

As we walk in the spirit we take away the passifier. The flesh will throw fits, have major outburst, and finally fall out.

Blessed is the one who can walk away from their flesh until it falls under the subjection of the Spirit.

I do remember that because my flesh will always be a part of me that I have to remove the passifier constantly to make sure it understands it is no longer in charge. It is now forced to conduct itself by walking after the Spirit.

The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
Galatians 5:17 NLT

There will come a day when the passifier will be thrown out and I honestly can’t wait because the fight can be down right tiring.

We can take comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit is with us and in us to help us overcome our flesh.

Thanks be to God who always causes us to triump in Christ Jesus!

God In Our Deficiency

The entire bible is a story of an amazing God loving, working through, and blessing ordinary people. He in his amazing mind thought us up and decided that not only did he want to create people but he wanted a personal relationship with them. These people, because of sin, were very fickle and had a short attention span so God had to come up with some solutions.

God is an equal opportunist, grace levels the playing field. His willingness to wash away sin with the blood of his son gives a chance to the world in its entirety. (See John 3:16) It’s amazing to know that when I feel like I’ve messed up I will not be turned away, but he welcomes me back with open arms.

Though out the book of Isaiah we see how people repeatedly broke God’s heart and he was angry but for a moment but still told them, “if you will turn to me and from your wicked ways I will have mercy on you.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)

It is no longer a matter of what you look like, how long you’ve been saved, where you were before you got saved, who you know, where you grew up, or what environment you were raised in. God says, “I will take them all!”

Make sure no outsider who now follows God ever has occasion to say, ‘ God put me in second-class. I don’t really belong.’ And make sure no physically mutilated person is ever made to think, ‘I’m damaged goods. I don’t really belong.’”

For God says: “To the mutilated who keep my Sabbaths and choose what delights me and keep a firm grip on my covenant, I’ll provide them an honored place in my family and within my city, even more honored than that of sons and daughters. I’ll confer permanent honors on them that will never be revoked. “And as for the outsiders who now follow me, working for me, loving my name, and wanting to be my servants— All who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it, holding fast to my covenant— I’ll bring them to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the ‘insiders,’ to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar. Oh yes, my house of worship will be known as a house of prayer for all people.” The Decree of the Master, God himself, who gathers in the exiles of Israel: “I will gather others also, gather them in with those already gathered.”
Isaiah 56:2‭-‬8 MSG

Moses, one of the most influential men in the bible, admitted his deficiency to God and allowed God to fill in what he was missing. The result of Moses’ obedience moved a nation from slavery.

Moses raised another objection to God : “Master, please, I don’t talk well. I’ve never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer.” God said, “And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn’t it I, God ? So, get going. I’ll be right there with you—with your mouth! I’ll be right there to teach you what to say.” He said, “Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!” God got angry with Moses: “Don’t you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He’s good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he’s on his way to meet you. When he sees you he’s going to be glad. You’ll speak to him and tell him what to say. I’ll be right there with you as you speak and with him as he speaks, teaching you step by step. He will speak to the people for you. He’ll act as your mouth, but you’ll decide what comes out of it. Now take this staff in your hand; you’ll use it to do the signs.”
Exodus 4:10‭-‬17 MSG

For all of the goodness it makes me wonder why God chooses to deal with a fallen humanity. The answer is pure love, the definition of who God is.

But out of the sheer goodness of my heart, because of who I am, I keep a tight rein on my anger and hold my temper. I don’t wash my hands of you. Do you see what I’ve done? I’ve refined you, but not without fire. I’ve tested you like silver in the furnace of affliction. Out of myself, simply because of who I am, I do what I do. I have my reputation to keep up. I’m not playing second fiddle to either gods or people.

Isaiah 48:11 MSG

God is not deterred by our weakness. He does not turn away from us even when we are in sin, but calls to us to enjoy him and allow him to bless us.

Dear Friends, we have been approved by God through his word.

The Power of Simple: Waiting Well

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In the moments after God has made you a promise you start well excited about it and set out to see it happen. More time passes, and you have the word but no evidence of it being fulfilled. It is tempting to help God out or simply swing things so that they will turn in your favor. There are times when I get antsy in expectation and I keep checking everywhere I think the answer may be. Somewhere in hearing of the promise I forgot that God is the one who works the will and the do for his good pleasure. My input was never needed, only my willingness to obey.

This is what my prayers sound like sometimes.

God: Tracina just write. Tracina just study.

Me: But God I really would like to do something important. Maybe I could…

God: Tracina just write. Tracina just study.

Me: But God I think I would really like to do…

God: (Silence)

Saul found out the hard way that we cannot help God along and the consequences for him are summed up in him losing the anointing God placed on his life.

Then Samuel said, Do you think all God wants are sacrifices— empty rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production. Not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult. Getting self-important around God is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to God ’s command, he says No to your kingship.
1 Samuel 15:22‭-‬23 MSG

In the moment  what he was doing seemed to be a noble sacrifice but because he did not wait well and listen to God, Saul forfeited the blessing of God over his life.

 

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I do get to a place when I lack understanding. I often get to the place where I have no clue what to do next. I asked God why I have to come this way and his response was, “I can not work with you when you think you know the way. You told me I was Lord over your life and that my way is better. You have to get to a place where you are not sure so that you can see that I am who I say I am and that my strength is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) To this I can only respond with “ouch” and “yes Lord.”

I notice in this scripture and in my case that God did not tell me to do anything I am not capable of. I have to get to a place that even when the instructions make absolutely no sense I can still “trust in the Lord with all of my heart and lean not unto my own understanding.”  From there “he will direct my paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Resist the temptation to help God along. Don’t take for granted your day to day. For me this season in my life is called the middle where everything I do seems insignificant in the natural, but in the spirit I am moving mountains of adversity and building an unshakeable foundation. The middle prepares me. The middle sharpens me. The middle is where I find out what needs to go and what needs to stay for me to finish strong. Don’t despise the middle. The top is great, but the climb is really the part we can be proud of. It is where we find out just what the power of God on the inside of us is capable of.

 

 

 

Stretched For Purpose

Being a baby giraffe must be an awkward situation. Being born when your neck and legs are disproportional to your body creates for a lot of slips, trips, and falls. Regardless of the awkward start eventually they learn balance and can stand, walk, run, and reach without complications. Much like any baby it takes small steps, learns where to get centered and then is able to move effortlessly.

This affect can be said to be the same in the Christian walk. We are undeniably different. We stand out when we stand up and everyone notices when we fall. Take note also that when we get back up we are better than ever.

The truth is we have been created by God for a glorious purpose. One we often times can not see because of current circumstances and situations. God stretches us to show us that we are capable of more than we give ourselves credit for.

Things I’ve Learned From Being Stretched

Vision Changes

When God stretches you, you start to see things that others may not see. You gain the ability to see above the situation and past present suffering.

Reach Changes

My ability to tap into the spirit realm is heightened (pun intended)

When I am stretched I don’t go hungry because I can reach beyond where there is lack.

Capacity Changes

My capacity to enjoy what God has given be has been expanded since He has started the process of growing me up.

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
Proverbs 24:16 NLT

My ability to receive from God cost me some discomfort. Many falls that were less than stellar and some that were down right disgraceful, but he was there to help me up and told me to keep walking.

Remember you are being stretched for purpose.

Stretch me until I am pliable

Let my anointing be undeniable

Psalm 116

Sometimes I just don’t know what to say so I will let the word of God be a testament to what is happening with me.

I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy.

He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him.

Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels.

Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to God for help:

“Please, God !” I cried out.

“Save my life!” God is gracious—it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God.

God takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings. Soul, you’ve been rescued from death; Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears; And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”

I’m striding in the presence of God , alive in the land of the living! I stayed faithful, though bedeviled, and despite a ton of bad luck, Despite giving up on the human race, saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”

What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me?

I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God ! I’ll pray in the name of God ; I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it together with his people. When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love him. Oh, God , here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service! I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God . I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it in company with his people, In the place of worship, in God ’s house, in Jerusalem, God ’s city.

Hallelujah!
****Psalm 116:1‭-‬19 MSG