You be present today. Let God handle tomorrow.

I have loved the book, Abide in Christ, since discovering it twenty-something years ago in Bible College. Andrew Murray’s writing and expounding on scripture is simple and profound at the same time.

I am glad I am re-reading the book now and came across this quote. I so needed this reminder of the fact that it’s God’s job to hold tomorrow and not mine. How often have I neglected what is right in front of me that I CAN do today because I am trying to figure out so many tomorrows that Father has already promised to handle?

Perspective is EVERYTHING

(I originally posted this last fall – but I again find myself in a place where I very much need to focus on the very Names and Nature of my amazing Maker).

The thoughts below from Names of God (a 14 Day Devotional Reading from Rose Publishing) on the YouVersion Bible App was a much needed perspective reset for me! May your soul also be uplifted today as you wrap yourself up in the “foreverness” of your Maker!

Alpha and Omega

The First and the Last

The Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote that God was there in the beginning—“with the first”—and He will be here “with the last” (41:4). In other words, God serves as bookends for history. What a comforting thought in a world where nothing lasts and everything constantly changes! The One supervising when the world began will be the superintendent at the consummation of all things.

The Bible emphatically states that nothing happens outside the purview of God’s sovereignty and power. Nothing happens without His permission or without His authorization. Nothing can thwart His eternal plan to restore all things to perfection. Saying the Lord is the Alpha and Omega is essentially saying this: If human existence were a movie, and we got to watch the credits, God would be listed as creator, writer, producer, director, and star. As the author, He’s the ultimate authority.

In the final book of the Bible, at the conclusion of history, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega . . . who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. With that phrase, Jesus is essentially saying, “I am the whole story. I am the God of creation, the God of the Old Testament, the God that Isaiah wrote about, the God who has been here since the beginning and will be here evermore.”

Whatever is going on in your life today, here’s a fact you can cling to: The One who is the Alpha and Omega controls the outcome of this world as well as the details of your life. He knows where your story and His story are going, and nothing can alter His good intentions or perfect will.

The Alpha and Omega isn’t bothered by the past or worried about the future.

How does the idea of God having “the whole world in His hands” affect your mood and actions today?

Prayer

God, You are before all things and You are the end of all things. You are found in the person of Jesus Christ, from the first verses of Genesis to the very last verse of Revelation. I praise You, for You are uncreated, infinite, and eternal! Amen.

Bible References

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”‭‭ – Revelation‬ ‭21:6‬

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” -‭Isaiah‬ ‭44:6‬

‬‬“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am He; I am the first, and I am the last.” –Isaiah‬ ‭48:12

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”” -‭‭Revelation‬ ‭22:13‬

Worship Soundtrack for this Reading

 

Easter Egg Hunts?? Or Church All Day?? This year I’m Celebrating Resurrection a Different Way.

There’s been debate in “Christiandom” for years about whether or not good Christian parents should tell their children stories of Easter Bunnies and send them off on adventures to find hidden eggs.

Some would argue that the remembrances and celebrations of the Easter Holiday weekend should all focus on our Risen Savior and the empty tomb He left behind. “Behead the bunnies and burn the baskets!” might be their mantra.

But I would argue that a single day – or even an entire Lenten season – cannot adequately celebrate our Risen Redeemer – whether filled with chocolate bunnies or fervent fasting. You see, the whole point of that ancient crucifixion and resurrection of our Serving Savior was not for focus to be fixed on an empty tomb or for feasting on baskets full of candy.

The point of the God becoming man, dying, and rising was not to create an empty tomb for generations of faithful pilgrims to gaze into – as awe-inspiring as that may be. The beauty of what these over-crowded Easter Sunday services are trying to Celebrate is so much more than one day and a family dinner. Rather, the true Resurrection Celebration is the sudden and sustained appearance of the light of hope and life in the eyes of a person who had previously been daily trudging through a living death of hopelessness.

So eat that Easter Candy if you want to. Go to church and slice the ham. But you are only witnessing a true Resurrection Celebration when you can daily look into eyes and see a changed life.

For me, this Easter weekend was one of my best yet. I shared the weekend with a dear friend who has navigated through very similar life struggles as me. As we hiked some beautiful West Virginia trails and spoke of strong and confident personal and professional steps we would have never taken in prior years, we realized the very lives we are leading are a beautiful resurrection story.

And the weekend was summed up with a beautiful reminder of this at the close of the service of a little church we visited in West Virginia today. Unlike the larger highly-produced church services many of us experience these days, this one was small and intimate – opening with the pastor querying the entire congregation for any prayer requests and closing by asking if there was anything else on their hearts. It wasn’t focused on a celebrity-style preacher but on the simplicity of God’s love poured out on all the people as they ministered to one another. And it was that sweet atmosphere that provided the freedom for a woman near the back of the church to stand at the close of service and say, “I know He’s alive because He Lives in me!“.

And that – the unending and uninhibited passionate spark of a changed life – is way better than an Easter basket or a sunrise service.

So, not just happy Easter to you. Our Father designed us for more than just an occasional celebratory day.

Happy Resurrection Lifestyle!

Growing with you in Him,

The Habit of Anticipating Goodness (or, The Gospel According to Gracie-Cat: Chapter One)


God speaks and gives lessons in lots of ways. Cats even.
And it’s a good thing that although He ultimately speaks through His written word, the Bible – He uses a variety of methods to get through to our sometimes stubborn hearts. 

You see, lately, even when I did read the Bible or hear teaching at church, it was filtered through a heart beginning to feel that God really didn’t give a dern about her. (And if you know me – that’s some strong language right there. My Momma taught me that even darn and dern are curse words not to be used by “proper” young ladies).
Anyway, all that to say – I’m recently coming out of a season where I had pretty much closed myself off from hearing God through what most would consider traditional methods (a.k.a. church and stuff). You see, I felt like those methods had failed me.  So even even though I sat in church and listened to all the right words – even parroted back those words out of my own mouth – it was all being filtered through a dark screen of  disappointment.

So my good, kind, and perfect Father (a.k.a. God) spoke to me through something right under my nose. Well, right under my feet actually (I trip over her in all of her large and glorious “fluffiness” sometimes) –  one of our cats, Grace, who we affectionately call, Gracie-cat. (We call her “Grace” because she needed a great deal of it when we first adopted her. We quickly learned why her first adoptive “cat parents” returned her to the rescue when she was just a year old. You see, some “think outside the box”. Gracie did a whole lot of stuff outside the box. I think her motto was “litter is for losers”. I mean, why limit your going to a litter box when there is this whole big house?!…… But that is another blog for another day!).

Anyway…. Gracie-cat and her “BFF”, Mr. Medly, love to sit in the sunbeam that shines through the door to our back porch in the morning.

But what caught my attention and helped communicate something God has been trying to get through to me lately is this/. Even on mornings when it is overcast or the cats’ humans forget to open the blinds, they still sit in the position for the light to hit them. So in their little feline way, they are demonstrating a pure and persistent faith.  Even when the light is not there , they sit there expectantly so as not to miss the healing warmth when it hits. 

May I learn to trust like that, faithfully positioning myself to receive God’s blessing and presence – even when I don’t feel the warmth of it yet.


“I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the LORD.” – Psalm 27:13-14 (AMP – Amplified Translation)

Anticipating God’s best together,

Tracy

Do You Know How to Fall Forward? by Leslie Vernick

Original Source: Leslie Vernick: Enriching Relationships that Matter Most – email Newsletter, August 2017Subscription information and  more available at www.LeslieVernick.com

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Last year I had a bad fall. A corner of my kitchen floor was covered with large boxes that were delivered but unopened. I was standing in front of the boxes when the doorbell rang. My dog, Gracie, was anxious to protect me and raced to the front door, knocking me over in the process. I lost my balance and fell backwards over the boxes hitting my head on our basement doorknob. Ouch! I was sore and bruised for days. Falling backwards is more dangerous than falling forwards. I hurt my back, tailbone and my head because my arms and knees were unable to cushion my fall. Many years ago when I learned to ice skate the teacher knew falling was inevitable, especially when we tried a new skill like skating on one foot or skating backwards.

Part of our lesson involved learning to fall forward. She said falling forward is much easier on the body and less likely to cause serious injury.

I thought about that idea of falling forward in other areas of life. For example, I have just started to learn to play pickleball, a wildly popular racket sport here at my new home in Arizona. I still hit the ball into the net too often. I often lose my focus, take my eye off the ball and miss my shot.

Pickleball is always played with a partner, which compounds my misery when I fail. I feel embarrassed. I’m tempted to blame myself for losing the game. Sometimes I want to go home because I’m not as good as everyone else I play with. My mindset is like falling backwards. I create more problems for myself by the way I handle my failures. I’m negative. I’m critical of myself and I’m tempted to give up. All of these attitudes will hurt my ability to succeed at learning to play pickleball better.

Recently I attended a professional seminar on a new writing style. All I turned out was junk. I felt discouraged. I told myself I can’t do it this way and was tempted to quit. My mindset is like falling backwards.

Much of life involves learning and trying new things. And new growth always involves some failure. If you don’t learn how to fall forward when you fail, you will short circuit God’s work in your life and rob your own self of your greatest potential.

So here is what changes when you learn to fall forward.

1. When you mess up, which you will, instead of seeing it as a failure, now you see it as an opportunity for growth. “Sure I failed to write well in that moment, but I am learning to write better. Sure I missed a shot in pickleball, but I am learning how to play better and I can’t learn to do that when I’m caught in my fear of failure.”

Falling forward means you will change the way you talk to yourself when you mess up. Instead of negative words, use encouraging words.

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2. Falling forward means you do not quit. Falling hurts, whether you fall forwards or backwards. But falling forwards means you get up, brush yourself, tend to any injuries, and keep going. You don’t stop and you don’t give up because giving up is the ultimate failure. Quitting means failing to learn what you needed to learn from this experience. Persistence doesn’t guarantee you will be the best at what you attempt to do, but you will definitely learn to do it better if you don’t give up and quit.

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3. Falling forward means you stop seeing failure as a statement about who you are. Instead, you see failure as simply what happened in the moment. For example, I missed my serve. I hit into the net. My writing wasn’t clean enough. Not, “I can’t do it.”

Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed.”

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In the same way we know that falling forward is better for your physical body, falling forward when you fail or experience a personal setback makes a huge difference on how quickly you recover from your failure.

When you know how to fall forward you start to realize that success is born in the land of failure.