Tag Archives: Christianity

Christian Maturity

Standard
Christian Maturity

This is a great teaching on Christian maturity.  I think this is one area that we not only fail so many times at, but most that call themselves Christians, don’t even desire to seek and fulfill!  A testimony of that is the USA.  Mature Christians would have more wisdom than what our country shows.

I pray I never lose my desire to run the race.

Marks of Christian Maturity, Philippians

Advertisements

The performance beast raises it’s ugly head again…

Standard
The performance beast raises it’s ugly head again…

Since reading a post from ‘Raising Godly Children’ about “raising little Pharisees” (an excellent post by the way), I have fallen under great conviction.  As I read it and my children matched up to the criteria of Pharisees and my parenting style matched up with the criteria of a Pharisee, I was stopped in my tracks.  I began re-assessing all kinds of things in our daily life.  I began to realize that although my intentions to fill them with the ways of the Lord, the way I was doing it was very wrong.  I had done the very thing that God has NOT done with me…made things of the law.  Not that I yelled at them all the time (but I am guilty), not that I sacrificed animals with them, not that I never show them love and not that I myself perform spiritual rituals with no true love for the Father.  I do love the Lord, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  But I was intensely trying to force them to obey Him because I loved Him…not teaching them in a way that they would obey because they love Him.  Now I do believe that my kids love the Lord, but my harsh teaching style when it came to life lessons was probably giving them reason to doubt, AND was not creating repentance in them.  It was creating little law abiders.  Oh they love the law!  Because they are generally good kids and are able to most times fulfill it.  And heaven knows they have learned to spot those that are NOT fulfilling it. Little Pharisees.

So I have been trying to take complete inventory of what I’ve taught them and more importantly what I’ve shown them.   The way I have let Pharisee law creep into our home is by disciplining them when I was angry.  Or disciplining them more when I was frustrated because I was wanting to do something  and they were interrupting me.  Or by telling them that those that love the Lord follow His rules, so why are they not doing that?  …By rating them on their performance.  This is hard to write and was even harder to face, because I, being raised on the principal that performance is what counts was trying so hard not to let my kids learn that wicked, never relenting message.  Yet here I am almost 10 years into parenting with 2 little Pharisees.   Prided when the did right and quick to point out those that don’t.  Hearts that were hardening to the gospel because they thought, ‘We’ve got this” since they could follow the law most of the time.

I thought I was giving grace.  There are many times I didn’t give what they would deserve.  And mercy because I gave them freedom when they didn’t deserve it.  But I was so harsh when I did give them consequences, and so harsh when they failed to perform that they were learning the disease I have been fighting against in my own mind, so hard, …all my life…performance based grace.

My inability to see it makes me cry even now.  I am so blessed that God has opened my eyes while I have time to change; albeit not much.

I see it so many times in my husband and I both…we are frustrated and will pierce their hearts with how badly they performed; instead of taking the time to teach them and bring their hearts to repentance.  Sometimes out of laziness, sometimes out of selfishness, sometimes out of bad insight on how to make them change, but always saying the same thing…you didn’t measure up and somethings wrong with you because of it.  Yeah somethings wrong…WITH ALL OF US!  It started with Adam and Eve and until my Lord comes for us we will all be wrong in our performance.  That why Jesus came.  How did I miss this?

My youngest daughter will probably struggle with this more because she is already inclined to self-righteousness by the fact that it is her nature to over-achieve.  So like me we can easily think ourselves to be the pride of the Father because we are performing so well.  I hate it.  I wished so badly I would have fought this ugly monster for her earlier.  I know in my own life how hard it is to fight after it’s taken hold.  This blog post is the very proof that I don’t even always see it manifesting itself.

And my poor older daughter that is inclined to laziness, possibly because I’ve made it impossible to achieve for her since her nature is not to over-achieve but to enjoy everything she sees around her.  Who has time to enjoy when there is so much to be done?  (my wretched motto)

I’m broken about this, but also encouraged that the Lord is shining light on it, telling me He has stepped in to change it.  I cannot change it.  I have failed to do the very thing that I desire the most…to give my girls a love for the Lord that surpasses anything else.  To make them realize their value is in God’s love for us, not our own accomplishments.

I love the Lord so much because He has been the only one in my life that did not expect me to perform.  He has been the only one I can remember that said, “I just want your heart, nothing more, because I love you just as you are.”   All those years I spent trying to prove I was good and worthy to be loved ended in the same place, heart-broken, frustrated and wondering where I hadn’t done enough.  A place that would send me into a heel-digging, overachiever, determined to do EVERYTHING PERFECT the next time phase.

Finally I picked up a bible and started reading it.  Finally I heard the heart of THE PERFECT ONE and finally He got it thru to me that I needn’t prove myself to Him.  Well I say “got it thru,” maybe getting it thru is a more honest statement.  Obviously I am still struggling with this performance beast.  But thankfully I have the Lord on my side now.  So when I end up in this heart-broken, frustrated, and wondering where I haven’t done enough place…I can repent, ask the Lord for help and have hope shine on me…love shine on me, just because He thinks I’m worth it.  Broken, sinful me is worth it to Him.  And so are my little Pharisees, to both of us.

Please read this with this in mind, God loves us freely.  He teaches us kindly.  Deals with us patiently.  And He values us regardless.  Do the same with your children.  And pray that God will heal me and mine.

Subtly and Urgently

Standard
Subtly and Urgently

 

Small shifts and time.  These are the 2 biggest weapons, I believe, that Satan uses against us.  When things shift just slightly, if we notice, we think, ‘well that’s not too bad.’  And most times we don’t even notice.  This is no more evident to me than if you look back at compulsory educational history.  Something I have never done until we started homeschooling.  We began homeschooling because the Lord led us there, but since I’ve found a thick book’s worth of reasons we should have done it all along.

When you go back and look at the history of government schools you see they didn’t start out by yanking God out, or speaking directly against His teachings. As a matter of fact those in authority said we need to teach them to read so they can follow God by reading His word.  But I believe that was step one to a bigger devised plan that would slowly and subtly change the values and conscience of this nation.

Satan doesn’t come in the form of a scary devil, he comes in the form of “helpful change” or “fulfillment” (sound familiar?).   The first compulsory schools were inducted over 300 years ago.  That seems like a long time to us, but subtly they have gone from their first philosophy…to educate children so that they could read scripture to, no scripture allowed.  From a desire that seemed “good,” to a desire that is no less than wicked.  We excuse it because out of urgency we need our kids to learn to read while we do other things.  It has so subtly been introduced that we don’t even recognize the evil in it.  But with days like last week and the terrible killing of children the evil is seeping out.

Yes, we can tell ourselves that it could have happened anywhere, and that is true.  But when we subtly tell God to “stay out,” what can we expect?   Is there any other place in this world that Christians would send our young children that daily introduces them to sex, violence, anti-God teachings, idolatry, mental abuse with the authority over them being forbid to use the Lord in correcting?  We don’t let them watch R rated movies, and they only last a couple of hours, but we will send them for 8 hours a day for 12 years to watch an R rated life.

Ok, let’s move on from school.  Let’s look at marriage.  When did marriage go from parents with years of wisdom choosing spouses for their children to “get drunk in Vegas and marry the guy you just met” wisdom?  Now I know that arranged marriage sounds horrific to a nation that is all about having their choice be #1 priority.  And I’m not saying that we should return to arranged marriages bc that got abused also, but I see a lot of wisdom in it if parents are true followers of Christ.

First of all you don’t enter in with the ridiculous idea that you’ve found the perfect man/woman for you.  You don’t quit the second it gets hard or feels uncomfortable…because you expect that from the beginning!  You learn early to work through your differences and apply God’s principals to trials (assuming you had wise parents led by God in arranging your spouse).  And the only thing to govern your house is God’s teachings, because you have no preconceived notions of what to expect from Mr or Mrs Wonderful.  Now all that being said I do believe we could pick our own, if we were raised to value godly qualities and in the realization that marriage doesn’t save you, Jesus does.  But the wisdom of godly parents will still far outweigh our own, especially if we are emotionally engaged.   The problem today is our overwhelming culture (especially the 12 formidable years thru that R rated life) teaches them subtly that their is an urgency to please self.

My point is that subtly we went from one extreme to another.  And the extreme we are in now wrecks families hourly and creates selfishness beyond imagination.  And the urgency to marry that “perfect spouse” has priority over wisdom.  The subtly of the change makes it so that we can’t even really pinpoint in history where it all changed, yet it changed drastically!  It went from God ordained qualities to a big ol’ heaping help of self-service.

You don’t like my thoughts on marriage, look at child raising.  When did we go from training them to live godly to training them to be selfish, disrespectful  non-empathetic me-pleasers?  Oh maybe the subtly in their education helped here.  Parents are too busy, too self-involved and too weak because they have already been thru the indoctrination experiment and follow whatever whim seems good to them.  See how this all ties in nicely?

What about the very thing we say is our foundation… Christianity?  When did we change from a Christianity that stirs sacrifice and service from its deep indwelling of agape love to Me-anity?  A faith based on what feels good to me?  Again, two extremes and nobody really knows where it started to shift.  As a matter of fact you can’t even convince the subscribers of Me-antiy to believe they have embraces heresies!  They think it’s the faith of the apostles.  Can you imagine how Satan laughs?

My point here is not to change your view on school as much as it is to awaken in you a desire to open your eyes to the changes and take a hard look at what you live for…is it for God’s approval, or your own that gets tampered with through Satan’s lies of fulfillment?  And what are you teaching our next generation?

The generation we live in now is apparent all around us.  Look at our choice for presidential candidates or any other leadership roles, our values in what we will tolerate for education for our kids (perpetuating all of this), the feel good, easy Me-anity that runs rampant in our churches, the lack of work ethic, the lack of sacrifice, the lack of service to others, the inability to live for something bigger than self.  All qualities of the father of lies, none are qualities of Jesus.

So don’t look and think…it’s not that bad, because if you are honest you have to see that it is!  And if we want to have “change” we need to change back to the time before we embraced the subtle urgency to only please ourselves.  And do the hard work to re-teach the next generation that “easy” and “me” are not what it’s all about, nor will it make you happy or fulfilled. 

Calling sin, sin, and pure good old hard work and sacrifice rooted in the true education of God will avail much…anything less is the subtle urgency of Satan.

Traci in a nutshell

Standard

A little about me for those I minister to…

 

Traci Danker:

I grew up a little here and a little there until 8th grade.  Mostly in Oklahoma, but I did have about 3 years in Salt Lake City, Utah.  In 8th grade I moved to Wellston and began growing roots.  My parents had divorced when I was 1, and my mother (whom I lived with) was remarried.  My maiden name was Traci Francis, but in school I used my stepfather’s name (a long story that I won’t bore you with)…Higginbotham.  I so often am remembered by this very looong name!

My mother was abusive.  During my senior year at Wellston the DHS was notified and took me out of her home.  My dad lived in Florida at the time and I was sent there!  I was devastated because what upheld me during the abuse I lived with was the love of my classmates and boyfriend (who is now my husband).  I didn’t know my dad very well.  As I got to know him, I realized that not having him in my life was another abuse of my mother.  He is a very sweet man who was told he would be acting in my best interest by not disrupting the family life I had with my mother, stepdad and brother.  We grew close very quickly.  And I was very happy to have someone who was kind to me.  However, my heart was still in Wellston.  So when I turned 18 (February 1989) I came back to graduate with my class.   I lived with my best friend’s parents (very sweet and caring people) and started college as soon as we graduated just like everyone else.  But I was experiencing some freedom that I’d never had before, so I decided to see what all was out there.

In December of 1990, my dad made a trip from Florida to see me.  He brought me the good news of Jesus Christ!  I was not raised in church.  I knew NOTHING of the bible.  I had visited a couple of churches with friends, Jeff or my dad.  But I was so intimidated because I didn’t know anything about what they were talking about I couldn’t wait to get out of them!  So when my dad came to talk to me about salvation I can’t even remember a word that was spoken.  I just remember being in a car with him in the parking lot of a Braum’s and feeling like the car was being picked up and twirled around and sat back down.  I remember crying and my dad crying and a squeezing of my heart that was like nothing I’ve ever felt.  Again I don’t know what he said, I don’t know what I said, but I DO know that God was there.  And I knew that He was good and I needed Him.

As I walked away from that experience and my dad went back to Florida, I didn’t know anything about living for Jesus.  I returned to my life desiring to be a good person, but really having no idea what that meant.  I based my “good” on being honest and responsible.  So I explored, played, and dabbled with all kinds of sin.  I thought  it was ok as long as I wasn’t hurting anyone (I only considered people in this thought, not the Lord) and I was paying my own way.  Hence, I looked like everyone else around me.  I was even honest so many thought well of me.  I lived this disgraceful life for more than 20 years.  As I look back I can see why I did it, I can see how God is using it, but only thru God’s grace can I look back and forgive myself for all the pain I caused the God that saved me from hell.  The God that saves me each day from my own self.  The God I finally allowed to teach me what true love is.  The God that has healed my heart.   The God that has delivered me from so many bad choices and the God that has saved my kids from living thru the hell I did.

It was only after I had been divorced twice and seeking another marriage, that I finally realized that Traci couldn’t do this anymore.  I needed something bigger than me, something wiser than me and something stronger than me.  Somehow I knew what I needed was God (He was drawing me thru my salvation).   I fell on my knees every day and read the bible every day for a year begging for Him to fix the messes I’d made.  I begged Him to heal the wounds and show me how to be “good.”  It took about 6 months into that year before I started seeing Him really work, but I saw it!  And I craved more of Him!  I finally knew where goodness came from…lasting goodness and I wasn’t about to turn it loose.  I devoured the bible.  I studied it, read it, fell asleep with it, sang it, and started trying to preach it.  I wanted everyone to know what I had found out.  I quickly learned that everyone didn’t want to know what I found out.  So I withdrew and buried myself in God’s Word, prayer, time with the Master, church and my daughter.  As I did God started answering all my prayers.  He was mending me.  He was teaching me.  He was loving me.

This all took time…about 8 years and counting.  I am still being mended, still being taught, and PRAISE GOD still being loved.  He’s shown me how to love and others. He’s given me the grace to forgive those that have hurt me.   He’s broken much pride and sinfulness in me.  He’s blessed me beyond measure and He’s saved both of my daughters for eternity.

The third marriage I was seeking was to my now husband, Jeff Danker, in 2005.  We are living proof of God’s goodness and grace.  We have a family built around Jesus!  My girls and their love for the Lord overwhelm me with joy!!  And also encourage me to keep fighting… keep fighting for all those girls like I was…lost and confused.  My girls have also taught me so much from their pure minds and hearts and have led me to this ministry of GWAP.  Thru Jaylee’s prayers and obedience GWAP was started 3 years ago as home bible study for a few of their friends.  Now it is a growing group of awesome girls that I am blessed to serve.  I don’t know all of God’s plans for us, but what I do know is this.  I love Him!  I love these girls!  And I will beckon Him for every step we need to take, and will wear my knees out so that He will be the love of these girls lives.  I want them to know where true goodness and love comes from and I want to serve the God that has been so good to me.

There you have it…me in a nutshell.  I hope this gives you insight into this ministry and into this teacher.  And I hope it gives you peace that my motives are pure and bathed in prayer and biblical teaching.  I am an open book…so if you have any questions I will be happy to talk to you.  I will you give the answers I have and seek the ones I don’t.

May God continue to bless us and lead us where we don’t even know we can go!!

How to become a child of God

Standard
How to become a child of God

I pray this falls on humble hearts and open ears.  God bless Your holy word.

How does one trust in Jesus?

I believe we are all born with a yearning inside, every one of us, for The Creator.  Some try to fill that yearning with different things (money, men/women, kids, knowledge etc.).  But the only thing that fits that empty spot inside us is Jesus.  And He promises in His word that He will reveal Himself to every man.  “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse”  Romans 1:20.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit calling you, applying pressure to seek God.  I believe the next step in coming to know that you need Jesus is seeing Jesus and God for who they are.  Once we know who God is and what He did thru Jesus, and I mean know and believe with our heart…we can’t help but call out to Him because we see our sins and life compared to a perfect God, a perfect God that loves us, and we are humbled.  Thru that humility our heart is softened, our pride is gone, our need is exposed and we are ready to accept the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

So let me tell you a little about who God is.  He created all.  I mean all.  Read the first 2 chapters of Genesis (first book of the bible), and see how He did it.  He just spoke it and it happened.  I mean literally said, “Let there be light” and it was so.  If He can just speak things into existence then how could we ever question His ability to handle us or our lives?  In Romans 5:8 it says, “Christ died for us while we were still sinners. This demonstrates God’s love for us.”  So think about this…He loved us while we were spitting on Him, beating Him with an instrument designed to rip flesh off, lying about Him, rejecting His love, slapping Him, humiliating Him, turning our backs to His pain and ultimately killing Him, yet He had the power to speak whatever He wanted and it would happen?  I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time loving someone that has only lied about me, and if I had that kind of power…wow would I be dangerous.  So let your mind sit in this place for a minute…yeah, He loves you that much.

His love for us is beyond what we can comprehend, His power is beyond what we can imagine, and His patience is beyond human possibility.  So that is God in a very small nutshell.  He loves us, He is capable of anything, and He is perfect.  I don’t measure up…I don’t even qualify to get on the scales.

This is the part I was saying humbles you.

(“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10)

Now for the next step in this process…  Once you see yourself against the backdrop of God’s perfection and realize that you are not worthy, or able to be in His presence, you have to realize that there is way to be His child.  He made that way thru suffering and enduring.  Romans 6:23 tells us that the cost to pay for your sin and mine is death.  That’s it.  There is no other way.  I still stand empty.

Ok here’s the suffering and enduring part, Jesus which is God in human form came to this earth thru a virgin birth walked with us for 33 years without committing a single sin.  During that time He revealed a way of life that was fulfilling and satisfying to that emptiness in our soul.  Then He willingly allowed us to beat, spit, humiliate, reject, slap, and kill Him.  This was the price for our sin.  This was the death that was required.

I want to let that sink in a minute…

Ok now here’s the rest of Romans 6:23…”but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Three days later He was resurrected.  Showing and proving that He was God.  Showing and proving that He loves us more than we can understand.  He endured death and came back to pay for our sins so that we could spend eternity with Him once we trust Him with our souls and life and accept His gift of payment.  John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me.’  Romans 4:24 says, “but also for us. Our faith will be regarded as God’s approval of us who believe in the one who brought Jesus, our Lord, back to life.”  “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”  1 John 5:12

Now you know.  It’s simply but not easy.  It’s a gift accepted thru weeping and sorrow, but it’s a gift we could never get ourselves.  It’s forever.   It’s not just words, thru our love and dedication to Him it’s a life change.  How could it not be?

Now you stand in a place to make a decision…will you see yourself as He sees you?  Will you humble yourself enough to trust Him?  Will you accept or reject Him?  Will you make your own way that leads to hell?  Or will you call out for Him and accept His way to heaven?  He wishes for all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), what do you wish?

How does one trust in Jesus

When I awake

Standard
When I awake

When I awake, I long to see Your holy, blessed face,

When I awake, I praise You for the gift of breath I take,

When I awake, I take Your Word and fill my empty soul,

When I awake, I pray for strength to reach Your holy goal,

When I awake, my eyes can see Your beauty in the stars,

When I awake, the steps I take are by Your mighty charge,

When I awake, a new day waits to see the choice I make,

When I awake, both dark and light hunger for my fate,

When I awake, there is new hope and mercy that abounds,

When I awake, Your precious grace leads me to new ground,

When I awake, I lay the saints and sinners at Your feet,

When I awake, I thank You God for daily bread to eat,

When I awake, I rest in awe of the blessings that still sleep,

When I awake, there’s peace to find to fill the gnawing deep,

When I awake, my life is given brand-new breath to breathe,

When I awake, there’s another soul, searching to fill their need,

When I awake, I pray I find the heart that needs to trust,

When I awake, I pray dear Lord I lead them to Your cross,

When I awake, I pray I see the Savior in the clouds,

When I awake, that day to hear the trumpet sounding loud,

When I awake, I pray I lay before You many crowns,

For when I awake, the sight I’ll see is heaven all around.