Tag Archives: salvation

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!!

How to become a child of God

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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

Raise your hand for heaven…really?

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So I’m laying in bed overcome with what I believe is righteous anger for about the last hour.   As I replay all of those times I’ve been sitting in a sanctuary and heard, “Now if everyone will bow their head and those that wish to have Jesus and go to heaven will raise their hands and recite this pledge (they usually say ‘this simple prayer,’ but pledge is much more honest), we will welcome you into God’s family and you may grab a bible on your way out.”  I WISH I COULD SCREAM LOUDER THAN CAP LOCKS!!!  I really can’t see Peter at Pentecost telling THE REAL CHURCH to raise their hands and sit quietly in their seats while they get their hell immunization.

Yesterday morning my preacher stood yelling “IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!  OUR PURPOSE IS TO GLORIFY HIM!  STOP MAKING OUR LIVES ABOUT OUR COMFORTS AND START MAKING THEM ABOUT HIS GLORY!”  That shouldn’t be so newsworthy, but it is!  That is exactly what we do.

By his own account, Billy Graham said only approximately 5% of those professed salvations at his preaching were true converts.  Another 20% was added as local pastors followed up with those that came forward.  Wonderful, but what about the 75% that came forward and were still headed to hell and didn’t know it?  AND THOSE 100% ACTUALLY WALKED THE ISLE!!  So now in modern-day convenience and “me” religion we’ve decided to shorten the path and add numbers.  Did we do that so that those poor sinners that don’t want hell won’t damage their self-image by coming forth in front of the “body of Christ,” or was it so the “body of Christ” could keep their lunch plans?  Or maybe it was just simply to pad the numbers?  Take your pick, but none of them sound like the God I love.

Do I sound angry?  You dang right I’m angry!!  I serve a God that is powerful enough to move a sinner into sorrow and repentance and abandonment to their own self enough to walk anywhere to receive the beautiful gift of grace He offers.  And piling up in a heap of brokeness at His altar is only a start!  My bible teaches that we come to conversion thru sorrow and weeping, not joy and celebration.  I didn’t celebrate my sin when I realized it against the backdrop of the cross the first time and I don’t celebrate it now!  Walking with the Lord surely brings joy and celebration, but that first time of seeing my wretchedness in contrast to Christ’s sacrifice was sickening.  Yet we want to sell this “it’s-all-about-you,” “free-ticket-ride,” religion so that we can appeal to more?  Whatever!  I want to have a better night’s sleep after I leave an altar call.  I want to see brokeness, a change of life, a new creature and a REAL fellow christian.  The plan is simple, not easy!  The gift is free, not painless!  And the Lord is merciful, not your genie!  Jesus really died!  He was really beaten!  He really felt the pain of bearing our sins!  And He actually sacrificed every minute of His precious time here to teach someone about the Father or to save someone who was broken.  He went hungry to talk to a woman at a well, He lost sleep to pray, He didn’t have an American dream to chase and He bled so that we could live.  Does that sound like an emotional guy or does that sound like true committment?  Because I don’t think an emotional response to hope that someone will come in and clean up your life is what He is looking for.  I think He is looking for all-in committment and whatever-it-costs-me sacrifice.  Conversion only takes a second, but preparing the heart to be “good ground” takes time, sacrifice and the ability to see beyond ones self…and here I’m talking about the body of Christ not the lost person coming forward.  Once we’ve got our “free-ticket” we hide in our houses, our families and our busyness and forget about tilling the soil.  Sure we want to see people saved, as long as it doesn’t cost us anything.

We want our dinner in 15 or less, our coffee hot but don’t inconvenience us with having to blow on it, our TV with no commercials, to raise our kids with no sacrifice, and grab our ticket to heaven as we roll on to the next idol in our life.  It’s wrong, it’s sick and I pray that those that raised their hand because of an emotion and pledged to a preacher will be touched by conviction from the True God before they face Him holding nothing but a church document.   Lo, you preachers that spread that false doctrine!  For my bible teaches that you will stand in a higher account for those souls.  And lo us christians that fund and support that heresy!!  I’m not shouting to offend, I’m shouting to shake loose this idea that we can have it all and have it for no cost, with no committment, with no change.  I want someone to stand up and say, “No we won’t do those loose alter calls anymore.  And if the whole church has to stay here all day to “till the ground” or teach salvation to a lost soul then that’s what’s going to happen!  And furthermore if that’s not the kind of church you want, then you might need to go somewhere else.”

The conviction that God lays on a lost person to accept Him is heavy and won’t be escaped except by those that are very hardened.  So relax, sacrifice your time and stop trying to create a church like we now add friends to Facebook.  There is no “like” button that you can painlessly press from your comfy home on the bible that makes you a friend of Jesus.  Neither can you buffer yourself with a computer and call it ministry.  We’ve got to get uncomfortable sometimes, we’ve got to get OUT sometimes and we’ve got to care more about God than us ALL THE TIME.

That walk down the aisle is the first work of witness those truly converting will have…don’t steal it from them and don’t ease the work of God.  Instead reap the blessings that working for that God, thru His power and our weakness brings!  Surrender!  Don’t be afraid!  He is good.  He will enable.  It might hurt, but man it is worth it!  It might cost but dear God let me pay, for my cost is nothing in comparison to Yours!!  True conversions have fruit, sometimes painful fruit.  True conversions also have joy and free consciences when in close fellowship with the One that saved them.  True conversions will see the inside of heaven for eternity.  We all fight selfishness, but none of us believers want to watch a soul getting sent to hell because we were too busy, because we had lunch plans, or because it was easier to let them believe they conveniently received Christ from their seat than to take the time to till the soil or test the fruits.

In awe…

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I sit here in awe of the faith building, kingdom adding, miracles of God that He has shown me in the last few months.  Sometimes I am in this place where I pray that the Lord would come back to save His sons and daughters of pain, and also those children that would be safe because they are not yet accountable.  The view from human eyes looks dim, so we focus there and forget how powerful God is.  I see broken families that I pray desperately for, sisters and brothers that fall away from their faith, pain come to those that are following their faith, children with open hearts squashed by worldly parents, physical illness hold the elderly in a prison, salvation offered and rejected and I wonder…when will You come?  When will You stop the evilness that runs wild here?  Selfishly I wonder when He will stop my pain?  My children’s pain?  My husband’s?  Oh but how joyful I am that I am not in control, nor do I make those decisions.  Because my blindness is His wisdom!  He has plans, He has people to make His children, He has lives to grow His love inside, He still has wounds to heal for some, and wounds to inflict on others so that they might grow in His grace.  He has a Kingdom to run, I have NO idea the lengths or depths of how that is done.  What I do know is this when we are faithful He will bring fruit.  And that fruit is worth the pain suffered.

Just 2 days ago I was blessed to have the Lord show up in the lives of 12 little girls and 2 big girls.  The last day of GWAP for this year was a MIGHTY ONE!!  I was prayed up, and I thought, prepared and expecting the Lord Almighty to show …and show up big, but my little mind had no idea!!!  We started class and had another awesome time of questions and answers.  And in the Sr. class they were big people questions…such as, ‘what is worldliness?’  ‘how do we not sin?’  ‘what does propitiation mean?’  ‘how does showing too much skin lead to impurity?’  and on and on.  I felt that we discussed some real “meat.”  Then it was over to the big church to worship and praise God with our voices.  Something about that many girls gathered at the altar of God singing about how His great name heals all, saves all and loves all is indescribable!!  As we sang I told them verses to apply to the songs so that they could relate that we weren’t just singing, we were praising and celebrating the goodness of God.

Now God had impressed on me that He was gonna do something big here, but what I discovered was that big to me and BIG TO HIM are two different things!!  I should back up a week.  I had two girls tell me the week before that they asked Jesus into their hearts at home…well I didn’t have the chance to talk to them one on one before they had to leave that week.  So I had been preparing to talk to them 1st, before class started.  I did, and really felt that these girls sincerely received Christ and were now God’s children.   That was my idea of big.  Here’s God’s:  As we were singing and praising girl after girl began to be stirred, then convicted and when it was all said and done 3 more girls surrendered to Christ and ALL of them were convicted and crying about something.  Some were too young to understand the conviction, some didn’t have the knowledge to apply to it, some were too scared to receive it, for some they just didn’t have words…but all were moved by the mighty hand of God!!   Including their 2 big girl teachers!!  My sister-in-Christ Eryn and I were speechless.  We were overwhelmed.

I had promised a pizza party after our worship and as I drove across the street to buy the pizza I had waiting, I was shaking and couldn’t put 2 sentences together because God’s bigness is more than we humans can handle.  We just can’t get it.  As much love as I feel for God and as much reverence as I feel for God I cannot begin to come close to giving Him what He deserves.  I can’t imagine being in His presence.  I can’t imagine His glory.  And I can’t imagine how overtaken I will be just to be in heaven with Him.

Sometimes I think our over-valued egos lead us to think we are “something.”  Let me be the first to repent right now…with the cross in the background and His work in my life in the foreground, I am so little…so small and yet still sooooo loved.   I marvel at how a God so big, so powerful, so important and so busy has time to hear the tearful, small voice of a wife/mother/teacher/friend and follower of His Son beg for His help to tend her flock.  Beg for Him to cover her mistakes.  Beg for Him to change her impurities so that she can serve Him more wholly.  Beg for Him to provide what she absolutely does not derserve…and then deliver results like I saw Friday.

In the voice of Bill and Ted…”I AM SO NOT WORTHY!”

Thank You Father for hearing me, acting on my behalf and the behalf of those children.  Thank You Father for taking the time to love me and include me in things that I could never do myself.  Thank You Father for saving eternity for 5 little girls and encouraging 2 big girls to keep fighting, praying and loving…no matter how dim it might seem.

Hallelujah!!  Hallelujah!!  Hallelujah!!!!