Author Archives: tracidanker

About tracidanker

This is me trying new things, yet hoping it doesn't overwhelm me! I am a disciple of God, wife and mom. I love Jesus and what He's done in my life. I love being a stay-at-home mom, I couldn't imagine any other life. I have a great husband that works hard in all things he does (well maybe not at picking up his socks...lol). We have two amazing girls that grow me, stretch me and sometimes break me!! God is our center and we have no where to go but up!!

Grace from man or God?

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A dear friend set off a question that I have been seeking the answer to today. I was in the midst of writing a blog post when I read an article that answered my questions and made the points that my mind was landing on. So I decided to skip my blog post because I had no new information and post the article.

I hope this might help others get a better view on this beautiful doctrine of God’s amazing love and be able to apply it correctly because cheap grace is just as dangerous as legalism.

I do want to point out for those who don’t like to click on the longer article…grace is not freedom from duty. It is not letting others off the hook from their sin, it is not tolerating sin so you don’t have to make someone angry, it is not a get out of jail free card for all the things we don’t want to have to study, deal with or change. Grace is from God not men. As I have gleaned today, man’s use of grace is applying the grace God has supplied to christians to use their gifts to serve others.

Too often we say “grace” when we are really talking about what Bonhoeffer describes as, “cheap grace” in this article. This confuses the lines and muddies the water so that true seekers are quieted and truth is lost.

Grace holds us to a higher standard than the law, the law says, “Don’t kill,” grace says, “Don’t hate.” Living holy is hard and requires a lot of uncomfortable-ness, but it is commanded, not suggested. We are given grace so that we will live holy.

I am all about loving others, but defining terms is getting more and more necessary as the world has redefined even the church’s definitions of these crucial words. Love means sacrificing for the good of others, not keeping peace or even being non offensive. The gospel is offensive to many, but it is pure, undefiled, grace filled, love.

http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/grace-to-you/read/articles/what-is-grace-10339.html

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The year we lost a mil

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The year we lost a mil

So I have been spending some time in self examination and prayer as 2016 closed.  Praying to the one true God of the bible, and asking Him to show me my sin, my own heart and what it needs to be more like His and to give me the strength to do what He asks of me.  In that I’ve also been reflecting on the last year of life.

I have come to the conclusion that it might have very well been the most blessed year my family has ever had.  God has undoubtedly been blessing us way beyond what I could have ever asked for for many years now, but this year was different.  God saw fit to take us to a new level of sight, a new level of trust and and incredible place of love.

It all started with a radical bible study that taught us some new principles that God desires for us to live by.  The Lord began teaching us that anger is a terrible sin that will tear down the heart more than we could ever know.  All new lessons are a process so I never assume one time of victory is the same as conquering the sin…but we began the path of conquest.

Next, came a radical study on finances.  And boy did it change our physical life.   We learned that we needed to make some drastic changes in our business.  We learned that there were several problems.  We learned principles we had never gleaned from God’s precious word before.  And in our business they were being broken.  So my husband who had been so good at submitting to many new things and to owning his part in them, began the process to obedience.

We had no idea what it would look like financially or where we would be left standing after it was all over.  We only knew God was revealing to us a command and He is always more trustworthy than our sight, so in our desire to please Him we jumped!

Because of a large difference in beliefs systems, making these changes and choosing to please God instead of man offended a handful of men that began an attack on us that would feel unfair, brutal, scandalous, and painful.  And would create ripples of hurt that would last for months.  It also cost us a great deal financially.  We lost some of our land, 1/2 of our pay, a good bit of savings, the security of a future retirement fund and we questioned if we could stay in our home.  We had to make changes for our children and what they could participate in, what we could participate in and how we lived daily.  We spent a lot of time as a family talking, crying, truly communicating, and reassuring each other that what God brought us to, He would also walk us through.  It honestly became a new freedom, a new closeness and miracle marker for us.

As each wave of change came we would dive deeper in our faith and love for each other.  My children have experienced so much more from having to “give up” and sacrifice for the family.  I learned that I trusted in money too much and was taken to a greater level of faith in God’s love for me.  My husband hit a place in his walk with the Lord that was inspiring to watch.  I saw the blessing of meekness in him.  I saw him become an animated version of many of the beatitudes.  Now I’m not saying these lessons came easily, nor am I saying we have fully and consistently obeyed them all, remember I’m looking back now.   But I do have to say even at the time, even when there was so much uncertainty I knew God was taking us to really, really good place.  I knew that God was breaking through a layer in our hearts that had to be BROKEN and then repaired by His precious, perfect hand.   And I was right.

In the expanse of a year, God peeled the layers of unknown sin, taught principles of blessings, imparted just the right amount of pain to draw our hearts closer to Him, and shed a lot of things that needed to be shed.  I can say that so many passages of the bible came to life in our lives!  So many truths were proven!  So much confidence was gained in the Lord!  If you’ve never seen God move in your family you are missing out…it is worth whatever it might cost.  Pray for it, pray that God would take whatever is taking you away from Him, no matter the cost.  There is nothing in this world worth holding on to if it is in any way distracting you from God, and only God can make the perfect cuts.

I look back on so many things that just as Joesph said to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Gen 50:20)  And I think, ‘I know exactly what Joseph was feeling.”  God is sovereign.  God is good.  Joseph suffered some things that really looked horrible.  And he didn’t have the hindsight on his life that we do, so he had to choose to stay the course with God or focus on the circumstances.  He chose to stay on God’s team, under His control and he won.  God’s promises come to pass and Joseph was made whole…which was so much more important than becoming 2nd in command of Egypt.  Yet he got both.

At the time, when things that look to our eyes out of control or as if we are losing, we need to assess whose team we are truly in our hearts playing for, and if it’s really God’s team…it’s never out of His control and we never lose.  Seeing our own shortcomings is hard, being disciplined is hard, and letting God allow painful things to cleanse us of things we have picked up in this dirty, filthy world is hard…but I’d choose it every time because the blessing of being made whole by the sweet hand of my loving God is more valuable to me than words can describe.  Pain and loss is fleeting but eternal treasure is, well, eternal.

I look around now and I see that we are still a work in progress, we still screw up, we don’t obey or trust God as we should.  That grieves me as it did the apostle Paul.  But we are a year farther, a year more whole and a year more blessed.  And I wouldn’t trade this last year for anything!

God is not through with us.  I have no idea what is to come, but as the Proverbs 31 woman does I “smile at the future” because we are choosing God.  And He is working all things together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.

I still pray (while my children gasp) for God to take ANYTHING we are holding onto in place of Him, but I pray it more freely than I used to, because I’ve walked with Him there.  And I saw Him love me, defend me and lift me to a better place.

I pray you know my God and I pray you know these blessings.

Happy New Year!!

Gracie

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Gracie

She reads of life in yonder year,

As faith springs forth to replace fear

He introduces her to love,

From parents sent from above

She swings high in the summer breeze,

With thoughts of grandeur if you please

Her heart is tender as new tilled soil,

Eager to be sent on missions toil

But first a time to play and sing,

Before she’s sent by the King.

How I learned to speak in tongues, and then never do it again Part II

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How I learned to speak in tongues, and then never do it again Part II

Polemics Report

Part 1 HERE

The days passed and the months came. The dissapointments had taken a spiritual toll on me and I began to withdraw myself from Church functions and other ecclesial events. I had become a youth leader at the Church I was attending. Whereas initially I had been  outwardly enthusiastic and committed, inside my mind was roiling. I began to grow non-committal and distant. I was the one guy who didn’t speak in tongues. I was the one guy who couldn’t get it together. I was singled out by the Lord as unworthy of his gift and unworthy to communicate with him in this manner. Hell, I probably wasn’t even saved. The impact that had on me was devastating, and it meant I had to live a lie for a long time.

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Joel Osteen Stats

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ChurchSalt

This article just got posted this morning over at one of my favorite blogs, The Pulpit & Pen.  It is a short analysis of what Joel Osteen likes to talk about most and it proves to be interesting although not surprising.  If you think Joel likes to talk about Jesus, well… he doesn’t.  If you’re interested go take a look at the article on the original site – CLICK HERE.  It kind of made me think of 1st John 4:3…

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Ok ladies, prepare to be offended…

Let me begin with a couple of disclaimers: 1.) I have no authority to teach a man, therefore, they can keep scrolling (they’re on God’s radar not mine). 2.)I am not talking to the unbelievers…they have never tasted the sweetness of my Saviour through repentance of their wickedness, nor committed their lives to His care, so they aren’t on my radar either. I am talking to all the professing christian women that get burned by my words.

Next, let me tell you that this is coming from a heart of love and confession. Not the kind of love that makes you feel good, but the kind of love that calls you into repentance so that you can experience the full measure of what God has in store for you. Why waste my keyboard? Bc I do desire so many of us to experience more than the small life we have…I want us to live in that place that God is glorified in and our families, have peace and joy overflowing.

Here goes.

Do you know it’s ok not to like someone? Do you know it’s ok to recognize someone is right or wrong? Do you know that you are actually called to examine the fruit of people, and then proceed accordingly? Jesus didn’t like everyone. He recognized and called out those that were wrong and He pointed out the lack of fruit from the hypocrites. He drew lines in the sand…literally. He held people to their word.

It seems the anti-God mantras of today….”can’t we all just get along,” “don’t worry, be happy,” or “some things are better left unsaid,” have processed in our self-protecting brains into…”can’t you just keep truth to yourself and pretend things are perfect so we can all get along and I can live like I want to?” And, “don’t worry, just don’t think and medicate with fake blindness so you don’t notice all the sin around you.” Last one, “some things are hard to say, and you might not like me if I say them so they are easier left unsaid.”

Geez! I am reminded of John the Baptist as I type. I am the voice of the one calling out from the malls, the voice of the one calling out from your kids ballgames, the voice of the one calling out from your ladies nights out, the voice of the one calling out AT CHURCH, the voice of the one calling in your BIBLE STUDIES, the voice of the one calling out in your homes where your children watch every move…”Repent, repent the Kingdom of God is at hand!!”

Ok now we are at the meat of the reason I’m up at 4am typing…have you heard the conversations we are having these days, ladies? I admit I am very bad at small talk. If put in a situation that I have to, I say things like, “so what kind of gum do you chew?” Or, “have you watched any good documentaries lately?” Total uncomfortable silence. I would be better off to say what I’m really thinking, “Do you know Jesus as Lord? If you don’t I’m going to pray right now and ask God to show me how to leave you with the gospel of Christ.” At least the uncomfortable silence would have a good meaning.

And when I put the ball in someone’s else’s court and they ask me something like, “Do you watch the newest TV show ‘Hell’s Angels’?” And I have no idea what they’re talking about but by the sounds of it, it’s just like the rest of the garbage on TV.  At that point I’m stammering to hold on to my “woman chit-chat gene.”  Most times I fail and they move on to someone else and I listen in sadness at the self-indulgent, Christ DIS-honoring talk that plays out.

I love to talk about Jesus, but no one else does!!!  Every time I open up a casual conversation with anything about Jesus, it’s worst than uncomfortable silence…the unbelievers look at me like, “Oh you’re one of them,” and the christians agree with whatever I say just to shut me up.   The christians all know how to “amen” and “hallelujah” at the right times. They know they are supposed to do/think/act/SPEAK like Christ, or at least like they love Him. But they don’t really; at least not as much as they love themselves or the accomplishments of their kids and family. You can’t say the Lord’s name in vain 5 times, tell me you’ve done nothing all week but cater to your kids, you hate your job; and then agree that Jesus is the best thing since sliced bread. If you love SomeONe don’t you want to talk about Him? Absolutely, that’s how I know what you really love. Jesus says, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12, emphasis mine) Come on girls! You know how to love your kids, but not how to love a Saviour that died to save you from God’s wrath?

Your words come from a process. You think about it, it goes into your heart, you love it, you speak it. Think, desire, do. So I know what you think about and what you love by what you talk about. If you are complaining, you are telling God, He gave you a bad life. If you talking in fear, you are saying God isn’t big enough to handle __(blank)___. If you are putting someone down, you are saying God had to pay more for them than you. If you are talking about the latest worldly line of junk, you are saying I don’t read my bible near enough. Don’t worry my toes are getting squished too. I love to talk about Jesus, but as soon as I see it will be one sided…I defer and begin the same routine as everyone else…complain, worry, put down, distract.

How sad our Saviour must be at this. He conquered death, put a worth on us that we could never deserve, restores our souls, and provides ALL we truly need, and we respond to Him with selfish lives that dishonor everything He did.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear christians saying OMG and the like! Or cuss. These are the easy things to rid our filthy mouths of. If I have to come home and explain to my kids why a “christian” said the Lord’s name in vain, or why they would allow their children to do/say __(blank)__, or why they are always so worldly; then you can bet your kids notice also!! I call all of us into repentance!

Our words as christian women should be to honor Christ! We should proclaim His goodness. We should have fruit to talk about! We should hold each other accountable! We should build others up according to their needs. We should use gracious words of humility and truth. We should be talking about the choices we need to make to raise our children to love Christ and honor Him with their lives. We should be helping one another to see the good in our husbands instead of laughing and tearing them down. I am ashamed of many conversations I’ve taken part in.

If women truly use 25,000 words a day…how much glory could we give our Saviour in just one day? I pray we would choke on every idle word. And I’m not talking about being nice! I’m talking about hard truth when it’s needed. I’m talking about stopping the conversation when it’s getting dark. I’m talking about making others uncomfortable if they continue. I’m talking about a higher calling. Don’t spout christian-ese at church and then complain the rest of the week and expect me to believe you love Jesus. Lip service dishonors Him. Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves! (James 1:22) I’m talking about truly helping one another live a life that would fill us with joy, peace and strength that passes all we know.

It’s a hard road to walk alone. It’s not undo-able, but how much farther would we get down the road of growing in Christ if we were truly talking to each other in a way that brought godliness in our lives, instead of filth, fear and ungratefulness? I don’t want to walk around offending people all the time, but then again Jesus did if it was needed and I’m called to be like Him. The bible tells us we can’t travel down the same path unless we are like minded…it’s commanded to set yourselves and your children apart. We can go out into the world, but don’t get to friendly with it. If others refuse to repent and think like Christ, love like Christ and speak like Christ, pray for them…but don’t follow them. It’s ok not to like someone! It’s ok to even walk away from family that is making choices that you can’t be part of bc you love Christ more than them. Do you want your children to choose friends that will help them or hurt them? How will they know how this is done unless you show them the hard truth of how it’s done? None of us want to make others uncomfortable, but that’s how Christ loved you. He was willing to make you uncomfortable in your sin so you would repent of it, bc He loves you.

How many salvations did we inhibit by making Christ look like a hypocrite in our lives? How many christians did we help down the path of sin bc we chose to silently, or vocally, make them believe we were ok with it.

I know in our attention deficit world that most people didn’t read passed the 2 paragraph, but if you are still reading and like me hear God speaking to you about this, answer Him.

First examine your salvation. Are you truly saved? Or did you emotionally “pray this little prayer?” The scripture says, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Cor 13:5  If you’ve been saved for anytime do you recognize the following things to any extent in your life?

AM I REALLY SAVED?
1-Do you Enjoy Fellowship with God and Christ?
2-Are you Sensitive to Sin in your Life?
3-Do you Obey the Scriptures?
4-Do you Reject this Evil World?
5-Do you Love Christ and eagerly await His Return?
6-Do you see a Decreasing Pattern of Sin in your Life?
7-Do you Love other Christians?
8-Do you Receive Answers to your Prayers?
9-Do you Experience the Ministry of the Holy Spirit?
10-Can you Discern between Spiritual Truth and Error?
11-Have you Suffered on Account of your Faith in Christ?

Learn more:

Test your faith, John MacArthur

 

Am I a luke warm christian? Have you put on the white robe of Jesus’ salvation and yet when you look down, you have defaced it so much you can’t see it anymore?

DO I LOVE ME MORE THAN JESUS?

1 – Do Cares & Worries of This Life Dominate Most of Your Thoughts & Conversations?
2 – Do You Practice Sin on a Regular Basis?
3 – Do You “Love” The Things of This World More Than God’s Word?
4 – Are You Too Busy for Jesus? What are Your Priorities?
5 – Do You Use God’s Name In Vain? (‘Oh My G-d?’)
6 – Do You Fail to Pray Earnestly & Pray for the Lost Who Will Spend Eternity in Hell?
7 – Do You Fail to Preach the Gospel on a Regular Basis? OR Do You Hinder Others?
8 – Are You Indifferent About Your Sin? What is Your Attitude?
9 – Do You Seek After Worldly Wealth & Fame vs Seeking First The Kingdom of God?
10-Do You Fail to Obey Jesus, and God’s Word Consistently?

Read more:

Am I lukewarm?

Whichever is the case ANSWER HIM NOW. Repent on one side or the other.  Be broken over your sin and pray for His strength, commit to do things His way and receive the blessing this brings OR crumble in brokenness of your sin, repent and tell Him you know He is the only answer. He died for you, rose again and wants to be Lord of your life. Accept His salvation and live it.

How does one trust in Jesus

 

This would be true change in our world.

God forgive us all!

In need of restoration…

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In need of restoration…

This post has been brewing for some time now.  It’s been boiled, kneaded, folded and just plain smushed in my head for a few weeks.  I have been wrestling with the Lord.  I don’t recommend this, it’s painful, confusing, painful, distracting, did I say painful?

I have a reputation among a small group for being a Jesus-freak.  That is complimentary if you don’t take is as a title.  Once you take it as a title you remove the dependence, you remove the worship, you remove the peace that comes from when it is a description.  I don’t know if I am a rarity in this area, I suspect not, but I like to think I’m doing good.  I like to think I can take the tools God’s given me and go to work.  I like to feel the approval of others.  I like when my children reflect the “godly parent” I am.  I like when I know the answer.  I like when my sacrifice pays off, especially if many see it.

Sickening…

I have recently been struggling with attaining the beautiful worship to Christ that I once was submerged in.  My quiet times have become tough.  My desire to do anything really has become tough.  I have coasted on my past worship to get me through.  And all the while thinking it must be something I’m being subjected to instead of something I was subjecting to.  Did you catch the difference?  One, I’m a victim, the other I’m a participant.

Sickening…

As a well needed bolt of reality was delivered yesterday morning through a sermon by Paul Washer on Romans 3:23, I lay on the floor weeping.  I was embarrassed, broken, sad, and convicted to my core.  “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  That’s what the verse says, this is what I decided on my own somewhere down the line…ALL but Traci have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Sickening…

How did this happen?  I had become what I despised most.  I had shucked the awe of my Lord and embraced the satanistic worship of self.  I had really blew it.  And worse I set a horrible example for my children.  Oh, the wicked webs we weave…

Sickening…

The pain of this knowledge resonated through my body all day yesterday.  The broken heart bled, all day.  The layers of realization of what I had robbed my God of and the undeserved title I given myself (unconsciously but still very real) made me want to vomit.

I am effectively broken and humbled.   Yet I am sooo very thankful for a Father that would put this sermon in my path to shake me into consciousness of my sin.  I am so grateful that He did not forsake me and leave me to the path of hell I was walking.  I am still bleeding and weeping, but I am full of hope because I know He has forgiven me and is willing to help me back to the path where His light will show me the way.  His book has promised me this and because I know every word of that book is true and alive I can have full faith of His promises.

I am sharing this because I think all too often us, “Jesus-Freaks” never show the cracks, the wickedness, and the sin we wrestle with.  So many times we are lumped into some kind of super-good-but-not-like-me status.  I want to tear that wall down.  I want to blow it up and let you know I am as wicked, as selfish, as scared, as sinful, and as blaspheming as the next guy.  I can determine what everyone else sees, but what man can see isn’t always truth.  Our eyes judge by deeds, God’s eyes judge by the heart.  And thankfully so, because a broken heart, a humbled heart is something attainable.  Perfection is not.  I want to demolish the idea that Traci is somehow good, instead I want to exalt the fact that unless Jesus is acting in me, I have no good.  My deeds are filthy rags, but His deeds in me are…HIS DEEDS, that is the only good I can offer.

I spent my morning reading Psalm 51.  Picking my memory verse from that chapter and also renewing my hope in that chapter.  Crying in that chapter.  Praising in that chapter and yes, WORSHIPING in that chapter!

As a true, born-again, Christian I have hope in my ugliness, I have His power in my pain, I have His healing in my broken heart.  And I have His restoration in my soul.

“Restore the joy of Your salvation in me, and give me a willing spirit.”  Psalm 51:12

Paul Washer Sermon:

What brand are you?

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What brand are you?

People, people, people…where have we let the devil invade our worth?  Everywhere.  We are of such value, yet we allow Satan to lie to us, rob us, and destroy us.  (I believe God warned us of this…1 Peter 5:8)

Through our lack of accepting value in what God created us to be, we are never fulling the purpose God made for us.  Many never see salvation because they were never taught that our Creator made them, loved them, and valued them.  They will suffer for eternity because a generation of parents failed them.  I have read that ungodly parents are Satan’s best tool and I am sold that that is true.

Then you have those that are born-again yet have accepted the comfort of our culture.  They choose to either hide in the wealth and success, or poverty and tragedy only to pass down to their children that we not victors but rather we will become victims unless we become “successful.”  Their children never see the value their lives have in the plan of their Creator.  Therefore, they too will see Hell or hell on earth as a believer that steadily chooses self over God.

We have believed the lie that seeing our value in Christ is somehow self-exalting.  So we become self-proclaimed martyrs or shuck the idea all together and believe that only our effort gives us value.  These lies have given birth to heretical “christian” theology all over the place.  The problem is the true definition of our value in Christ is not an easy road and so we don’t like to talk about it, much less teach it and therefore we give Satan an easy hole to slip through.

We have GREAT value to Christ, not because we are so special per se, but because we are His creation.  The Mona Lisa would not be near as valuable if I would have painted it.

I recently learned that many stores buy from the same clothing manufacturer, put their label on the clothes and sell them.  So depending on what store you go into, will decide what price you will pay.  Same clothes, same manufacturer, but because of who is claiming them different value.

Can you see where I’m going here?

If you want to strap an evolution tag on you…go right ahead.  They can sell that junk at the discount stores. But I know I was hand-painted, well thought out, designed and appreciated in completion.  Loved even.  That doesn’t mean I’ve done anything, it means The One that designed me did everything.  AND it means I have value.  And what’s even cooler is that He isn’t selling.  Our Manufacturer isn’t a 3rd party, but the Designer, Creator and Owner.  We don’t have to worry about getting lost, stolen, broken…nothing.  He makes us, grows us and at the right time gives us the option to remain His or be sold at the discount stores.  If we choose to remain His then He gives us a job.  He provides for us, protects us, directs us, makes all the tough decisions for us, and loves us like the unique valuables we are.  But if we choose to go to the discount store we can expect just what the clothes in there receive.    Most times they are worn as necessity and when they are no longer usable tossed in the trash to be incinerated.

How sad.  Those wearing the discount store version never took notice at the hand-painted color or the intricate weaving together of the fabric.  They didn’t notice how perfectly they fit.  This is no accident.  Satan is about.

This is the result of a war that we cannot see.  This is why faith is so important.  The evidence of things not seen is all around us, faith is hoping in The Jesus that we cannot see, but have absolute certainty in His title as Christ.

We must receive His tag and we must accept His job if we truly want our children to know a better life than the lies of self-esteem, self-made, or self-established.  No one self-(fill in the blank) is valued as much as the one that is created by an Amazing Creator, cared for, and put on display as a beautiful work of art!  Nor are they ever as fulfilled.  Do you want your children to live on the teeter-totter of happiness and despair?  Or do you want them to live fulfilled in the Hand of One that can and will do what He says.  And even if the outside doesn’t take on our idea of a masterpiece…fortunately there is One that knows far more than we, and He can compose them into such that we could never know.  That my friend equals peace…for you and them.

How much would you pay to make sure all your children’s needs are met and they are completely peaceful all their days?  I know Someone that paid with His life, and I pray you know Him too.  More so, I pray your children know Him and accept His value for them.  

I know Who created you…but I ask what brand are you?