Tag Archives: God

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?

Humble Passion

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Humble Passion

As I am preparing for this summer’s church camp, I am drawn to look at the past church camps for reference on what is good…what needs improving…what I did wrong…and how to help others learn from my errors and triumphs.  As I lay sleepless doing this and asking God to show me what He sees in this, I begin to hear the words, “humble passion” over and over in my head.  And as I break each word down in my usual analyzing way, I catch it!!

Let me beckon all of you teachers of Christ to learn these words.  To adopt them as your goal.  No long look to the number of people you have led to Christ as a measuring stick, but how many did you show humble passion to?

First we must determine what we are humbly passionate about or we could get real squirrely real quick.  I’m talking about humble passion for a Jesus that would pick me up out of a gutter and love me with a tenderness I have never known.  I’m talking about a humble passion for a Savior that said, I will pay whatever price I must to have you…and did.  I’m talking about humble passion for a Lord that will watch me abuse the very grace He provides and still love me enough to correct me.  A humble passion for a Father that reminds me He values me just because I exist.  A humble passion for a conglomeration of words that never fail me and always guide me in the right direction.  A humble passion to please and love the most amazing God/Lord/Savior/Father anyone could ask for.

Ok now that we are square on what we are humbly passionate about let me now paint you a picture of that humble passion in action.  These two little words demand a balance that is not easily acquired.  When I teach or even speak I want to show the passion that makes my skin explode off of me…or maybe I should say my “fig leaf” explode off of me (see Genesis 3:7).  I want to be so authentic and vulnerable that it demands attention.  Yet I also desire the humility that can take decades to carve into my soul.  So humble that I know that the passion that leads me to action and demands attention; is NONE of me, and all of Him.  So humble that when one thing goes right I immediately praise and thank my Lord for the great power it took to use me as a facilitator of this work!

I dare you to change your goal in teaching God’s Word from how many are saved…to how many saw humble passion for God in me?  How many were not drawn to my intellect or even love; but saw the love of a Savior and the Mind of infinite wisdom?

You see we have gotten it all wrong in our quest for the American Dream.  The American Dream builds little kingdoms for ourselves.  The American Dream brings glory to my results.  How successful I am in the eyes of men become my value.  Even in ministry.  How sad.

My American Dream is that I could live humbly passionate for Christ.  I will not seek to be a martyr, nor to lead X amount to Christ.  I will not always look like the good Christian woman…because sometimes mere men cannot see my accomplishments.  I won’t often be accepted because neither was Jesus.  But my hope, my dream, my longing is to love Him with a humble passion that cannot be denied.  And when I fall to my face in His amazing presence, He will say, “Rise my good and faithful slave, you have done well and I am pleased.”

I pray teachers of The Word, this too is your goal.  And with transparent vulnerability we could love each other thru the hurt this brings.  And encourage each other to continue being humbly passionate…yes excited…bursting…and energetic to allow God to be seen in our stead.

Only by His grace.

 

Subtly and Urgently

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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.

Ladies Study

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Ok I have to share what has been happening to me as I’ve been praying for a study:

First, the naturally inclined Traci immediately took over and… need I say more?  After I finished exhausting and frustrating myself, I repented and asked the Lord to give me the patience to wait on Him and thanked Him for the blessing it would be when He revealed HIS will for us.  And 2 days later without any exhaustion or frustration on my part, I was reading my daily bible reading and it happened to be Titus chapter 2.  This passage has been kinda stuck in my head for a few months.  I just figured it’s bc it is such a key passage for Christian living.  As I was reading, a casual thought just kinda passed thru my little mind that it would be really cool if we could study that.  This thought wouldn’t leave me.  So I just googled- Titus 2 women’s bible study.  As I scrolled down at the results I was almost knocked over.  The ONLY one that came up was one by Martha Peace.  Now I need to give some history about me and Martha Peace so that you can see why this is such a big deal.  About 2ish years ago, I was looking for yet another marriage book and ran across ‘The Excellent Wife‘ by Martha Peace on audio.  I downloaded it  and a couple of others.  It took a while before I got around to listening to the Martha Peace book, but once I did I was blown away!!  She used so much scripture and taught so differently than anything I had ever known.  She didn’t teach things to make me feel good, or things that sounded good but you had no idea how to implement them.  She taught things God said.  One I struggled with a lot was, it doesn’t really matter if I think my husband’s following God or not, my duty was to be kind and respond to him in a gentle way.  I didn’t think it possible until I had it right in front of me with the choice staring at me.  Thru much prayer and surrender I said, “Ok Jesus You will almost have to form my words for me and hold my attitude with Your hand, but I desire to do it Your way.”  And I did it….or rather He did it.  It changed something.  Slowly but surely “the dance” that Jeff and I had been doing became more fluid and fulfilling.  I have struggled with what a good wife is all my grown life I think.  And thru this book and God’s grace I was just beginning to really know what that was.  I tell you all of that to let you see that Martha Peace’s teachings were so instrumental in the marriage I have today, I feel she is trustworthy enough to study.   AND I don’t think it was a coincidence that she was the only one to have a study on the passage that has been on my mind for some time.   It isn’t a DVD study however.  It has some audio to go with it.  I ordered the book and the audio…the book was only like $10.   I don’t have it yet but I am anxiously awaiting it.  I am including a link for you to go check it out yourself.  I pray we all come together in choosing a study and it blesses us with growth in our womanhood!!  Read Titus 2 and then go look at this and see what you think?

http://www.marthapeace.com/books/books.html

My heart, and yes the election…

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My heart, and yes the election…

U.S. NATIONAL DEBT CLOCK

The Outstanding Public Debt as of 08 Nov 2012 at 02:40:53 PM GMT is:

$ 1 6 , 2 2 0 , 9 0 5 , 3 3 1 , 1 3 8 . 1 1

The estimated population of the United States is 313,833,599 so each citizen’s share of this debt is $51,686.32.

The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $3.86 billion per day since September 28, 2007! Concerned? Then tell Congress and the White House!

 

 

I just copied this from US National Debt Clock.  Since the re-election of Obama I’ve been asked why many are predicting great suffering.  As I pondered this question my mind immediately went to the fact that this president is leading this country into more anti-biblical beliefs, ways of life and general thought than any other before him.  Yet as I did a little research I learned that the voting “christians” biggest concern was money.  So I thought I’d start there.

Let’s see a glimpse of his personal money managing first.  During the last four years his wife and children have taken MANY  vacations (more than the rest of us I promise) that have cost upwards of $400,000 for just one!  How many of those he says need change and support could that have helped?

He has the highest paid staff of any other president, at about 1.4 million a year.  I don’t mean government staff…I mean those he has waiting on him and his family.  I wonder if that cut in the budget could help?  Not to mention he has Air Force One flying around on a schedule that resembles public airlines, and costs 180K an hour to fly.

By his own admonition he can’t handle finances:

“Finally, as a candidate and as president, Obama reminds us that he and his family went through tougher times earlier in their lives and sometimes struggled to handle their debts. One of the intriguing and little-known aspects of the Obamas’ life is just how much they struggled with personal debt issues well into their adult lives and after they were making six-figure incomes.”

Do we want someone running our nation, that is in grievous financial danger, who can’t manage his own debt while making 6 figures?  Michelle has talked about the days that debt collectors used to call. Using that embarrassment as a campaign stool to relate to the average American.  Ok let’s make some sense of that…instead of telling the average American that living beyond your means is wrong and that you should seek counseling, cut back and dig out of the hole you’re in and learn how to never get there again…she touts it as a badge and says ‘Yeah we know how ya feel, that’s why Barak is going to try to take from those that work and make an excess, to pay for you and I to not have to deal with it anymore.’  That is clear insight as to the philosophy of the Obama’s when it comes to money.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that his personal financial position isn’t more important to him than our country’s…and look how he handled that before he was given a free mansion, free car and plane with all expenses paid, cook, maid, food, VACATIONS etc etc etc …and after.

These are the reasons so many keep voting for him.  Most of America is living beyond their means, and now they have a president that says ‘it’s ok, we’ll bail you out…keep spending.’  Which is EXACTLY what he’s doing with our government money.  I don’t know if you have been in that place of overspending and buried in debt, but I have.  And it isn’t fun, and it isn’t fun to get out of it.  But there comes a “pay up time.”  There comes a day when you can’t borrow anymore, ya can’t spend anymore, ya can’t  rob Peter to pay Paul anymore.  And on that day you either cut spending rapidly, which means a life-style change and work furiously night and day or you drown.  Our current president is running to this day with his obsessive spending and lack of self-control and work ethic…and he’s asking you to help him by doing the same.

Look around you, do you know anyone that handles their own money poorly but runs a thriving business?  How many people do you know of that are getting calls from the collection agencies, yet are booming in business?  Someone’s business is an extension of themselves.  Keep in mind Obama’s business is your’s and my livelihood.

Step back look at what he has done to “help” America.  Think about math.  Numbers aren’t gray, they are black and white.  You can’t make 5 become 10 because it works better for you.  5 is 5 and when 5 is gone…you have nothing.

You can’t spend your way out of debt.  Narrow down the scale…if you spend 100k a year and make 20k, you need to stop spending.  It’s kinda easy when you’re honest.  However, when you need to create a smoke screen so you can continue with your agenda it can become complicated.

Our mainstream media has become propoganda, so I suggest you get more facts from other sources that soundbites from TV.  I could go into more of particulars of national money mismanagement, but I think you can get what I’m saying without the boring details.  Look around is America flourishing?  Do we still command the respect from other nations we once did?  Is the average working class enjoying life or are the kids missing their parents bc they have to work all the time to survive?  Is borrowing money going up or are people being able to pay off debts and live securely within their means?  True all of this isn’t Obama, but it’s increasing a drastic level bc of Obama.

Now let’s discuss some things that are more important to me, and seemingly less important to the general public.  abortion- killing babies, Gay marriage- an abomination to God, Obama’s bible mocking, sexual immorality- family killing, alliance with Israel- hanging on by a thread.   He is pushing all of it forward at rapids speeds.  All of it is like spitting in God’s face.

If you believe in the bible, then you know that God is not mocked.  And judgement is coming.  He will not allow a nation to increase in sin and evil and do nothing.  As in the past most people don’t see any sign of dome right in front of them therefore they think it’s crazy to believe that dome is coming.  His patience should not be mistaken for His absence.  We are treating the country that God gave our founding fathers thru grace, bc they sought a land where they could worship Him in truth, just like Adam and Eve treated the garden of Eden, just like the Israelites treated the promise land…and look where it got them.  And crazy enough they said the same thing, “Y’all are crazy, life if good here.  We have nothing to fear.  Y’all bible thumpers are just depressing and trying to keep us from having fun or knowing more.”  Don’t trust me, go read your bible and the accounts of destruction that came bc they wouldn’t listen to God’s word and follow or repent.

Now I hope I’ve shown my position of why I believe in my lifetime we will decrease in lifestyle, possibly face great persecution and Obama has been a big instrument in this.

Oh one I forgot is….my husband makes a living with guns.  If Obama takes them away not only will my family’s lifestyle change, my family will no longer be able to protect itself from the criminals that don’t care if the law says you can’t own a gun.  Again do a little research on the countries that have banned guns and say Switzerland where most families own one.  Check the crime rate, proof of common sense.

And I will end with once again saying…”God help us.”

Day 60 or so and…

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So I’m just reviewing in my mind how thankful I am that God’s grace has been upon me while we figure our “homeschool rhythm” out.  As I am a re-covering perfectionist I was nervous that teaching my children their entire education would trigger a relapse, and I would be educating, but it would not be the good kind.

To begin with I have to say that homeschooling thus far has been one of the best blessings God has given our family!  We love it!  It has brought us closer together, grown confidence in my kids, allowed us to live…not rush from this activity to that with little time inbetween to slow down and live in the moment (that moment that we will never get again), allowed us to nurture relationships outside our immediate family, allowed me time to nurture my husband, taught us how God spans across all subjects and grown our faith!  Wow, and that’s all happened in only about 60 days!!

Yes there will be days (and there already has been) that will make me want to pull my hair out…but honestly I was pulling my hair out way more when they were in public school and I was trying my best to make sure we did all we should do, cleaned all we should clean, served everywhere we could serve, and held tight to the home teaching I needed to do to make sure public school didn’t slip in there and educate them on things untrue or destructive to our faith.  I’m so glad God is such a genius!   And even more glad that my own humanity is not what fuels this.

I wish I could sing praises to God all day long for all that He has done for me and my family.  And when He delivers such blessings as this, I am so humbled and in love!  I fail all the time.  I lay in bed some nights and wonder if I’m teaching them enough, pushing them to hard or how I will ever teach them algebra!!  But then I step back from circumstances and look thru my God glasses and see that I’m not the one running this thing (bc if I was it would already be in the ditch), so I go to sleep, wake up, talk to The Man, get my orders and carry on.

That’s what I keep doing and He continues to be faithful.

I know there will come a day when we have to get a little more structured, spend a lot more time in studies, and plan better…but right now it’s like I was given my kids back.  It’s like I’m mom again, not the lady that manages the taxis, cooks and shops for food, the maid, the scheduling assistant, and on an on and on.  I’m mom.  That’s what I was made for.  That’s what He designed me to do.  Somewhere in the midst of life we lost the intentionalness of reaching the goal I knew we were supposed to reach.  We were being swept by the current and unaware that we were floating out to sea right along with everyone else.  And then God very lovingly opened our eyes and we paddled over to the shore, got out of the lazy river and began discovering the joys of being intentional.  We are able to put our faith in God first, our family second and everything else falls somewhere behind that.  I remember writing answers to “what my priorities are” in bible studies.  They were written correctly, but I wasn’t living what I wrote.  Now I am, at least most days!

My best days are the ones that I try to teach like Jesus taught.  He didn’t plan 30 weeks ahead with visual charts, powerpoint presentations and cue cards.  He didn’t compare His planner with all the other homeschool mom blogs and think how inadequate He was.   He looked around and saw where the need was.  Sometimes the need ran up and begged for help.  Sometimes the need lay waiting to see if He would notice.  Sometimes He was tired, hungry, thirsty and had too many emails/texts to answer…oops that’s me.  But regardless of how He felt or what may have appeared urgent at the moment He used wisdom to “intentionally” line up His priorities with those of the Father and teach the things of real value.  He saw the souls that He was teaching, not just the curriculum.  Can you feel that  moment?  The moment you realize the satisfaction of doing what  you were meant to do and watching it pay off?

Appropriately enough my worse days are the ones I have an agenda to fill them with curriculum/knowledge and not teach their souls!

This brings me to why I wanted to start this line of journaling.  I want to remember to teach their souls not fill them with knowledge.  I want our homeschooling to bring glory to God!  I want to remember the beauty in watching God correct my family and lead us down a path of awesome blessings.  I want to remember that it’s  not my hands that bring them goodness, it’s His.  I want to reassure myself one day when I re-read this that we did this because God told us to, therefore it’s up to Him to provide what we need.  I want to finish reading all those super mom blogs with this one so I know that I’m not damaging our kids bc we don’t have a garden planted yet, haven’t won the noble peace prize, nor do I even have tomorrows lessons planned, but we are doing the will of the Father.   He has brought me out of all my other fires; He will deliver me from this one, assuming I go to sleep, wake up, talk to The Man, get my orders and carry on.

Traci in a nutshell

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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!!

When I awake

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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.

Sheep

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So yesterday I haImaged the privilege of spending some time learning about the interest of two little girls I consider my “adopted daughters.”  They are into showing sheep.  And I knew nothing (and still don’t know much) about this sport.  I watched and tried to learn, but I think one needs more than what the eye can see to understand.  As I asked some questions and started to get a small understanding of what was going on, a bigger thought came to me.  Jesus called us sheep many times in the bible, so I started observing the sheep and their characteristics, because I wanted to see what Jesus thinks of us.  It doesn’t take long to be around sheep to start getting the idea that they are pretty oblivious to what is going on around them.  And that they are very vulnerable and easily “handled.”  I don’t mean that they mind well or that it was easy for my 9-year-old “adopted daughter” to make them behave.  What I mean is for a larger animal she was able to push it where she wanted it to go and get a hold of its head to get control of its will (you might be starting to see where I’m going).

Myself, being an animal lover, wanted to look into the eyes of the sheep to see if more was going on than what appeared.  As I searched the eyes of some of these animals I really didn’t see a lot of depth.  I saw that they were maybe a bit frightened.  I saw that they were concerned with the baaa-ing of the other sheep.  I saw that they paid too little of attention to their care-givers.  I saw that they tried to escape from their owners.  I saw that they didn’t really have a long view of their day, they seemed to be pretty short-sighted.  I also noticed that they would give way to almost any that decided to gain control and lead them.  There was very little resistance to switching leaders, regardless if that leader was a child or a seasoned sheep owner.  If there was any resistance, it seemed to be purely impulse and not due to loyalty to a particular handler.  They seemed quite impulsive period.

As I sought to put application to these findings I was both humbled and disappointed in us.  Let’s face it, many of these characteristics are easily seen in us humans towards our Shepherd.  Sheep are sheep, God didn’t create them to be genius’, but they are very much a picture of our obliviousness to what is going on in our world, and the perspective we too many times have about why we exist.

It was a neat thing to watch my “girls” ‘do their thang’ with these sheep.  I love being a part of their lives and seeing my naturally born daughters experience new things with their friends.  However, as I was reminded thru these animals of my inadequacy, I did feel sad that this is the view our Lord has of us.  In my mind I was hoping He saw a faithful steed, or a loyal “man’s best friend” for those that truly were seeking to follow Him…not a vulnerable, easily swayed, short-sighted sheep.

On the other side of the fence, however, were ‘sheep-people.”  The people showing, leading and caring for these sheep didn’t care that they had lack of depth.  They loved ‘doing their thang.’  They didn’t need loyalty, great intelligence or strength from these animals to make them want to care for them.  They didn’t seem to need anything from them except that they be.  The sheep’s value was not in what they produced so much as it was in what they were in the sight of their owners and judges.  Now this application was uplifting.

As I apply those characteristics of the “shepherds” to our Great Shepherd (our Owner and Judge), I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.  Happy to be loved not for what I produce but just because I be.  We only need trust in our Savior to be one of His sheep.

I also got a new understanding for the verse Roman 1:20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and deity; so that they are without excuse:”  When we are looking with the right desire we can see God and His plan everywhere, all around us, and in all things He created.  I pray for those who are not His sheep, to look around, call out to Him, know that He desires to be your Shepherd and you to be His sheep.  But unlike the literal sheep, we have to make a decision to depend and trust on Him in order to be in His flock, because He desires His sheep to love Him back thru acknowledgement of His unconditional love for us.

Thank You Father for allowing me to “have eyes to see” and for the fellowship of friends to take me to new places.

May your Sunday be blessed with “eyes to see” and fellowship with the brethren to be taken to new places.