The Beauty of The Cross

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“It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people…” Hebrews 10:14, Message Translation

“He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off – and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man. Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. THE PLAN WAS THAT HE GAVE HIMSELF AS AN OFFERING FOR SIN SO THAT HE’D SEE LIFE COME FROM IT – LIFE, LIFE AND MORE LIFE. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him. Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant will make many “righteous ones.” Isaiah 53: -11, Message Translation

For years I struggled with picturing Jesus and all that he suffered on the cross. But one Sunday morning during worship I heard a still small voice say, “Tracy, I want you to know that my most beautiful moment was when I laid down my life for you on the cross.” Tears began to fill my eyes as I envisioned this in my mind. I could see the blood running down his side, the thorns on His head, and His nail-pierced hands and feet. Jesus GAVE His life and SHED His blood that we may be whole.

Needless to say, what Jesus endured was horrific, but that Sunday morning I began to see past the torture and pain and see the beauty of the cross. This revelation has changed my life. Every time I see images of the cross, I am filled with thanksgiving and awe of my Lord. I am also thankful that through the blood of Jesus, God does not remember the gruesome images of my past. But He sees me as His beautiful creation.

He gave. He bore. He bled. He forgave. He died. He was buried. He arose. He reigns. He rules. He is Lord over all. He is coming back soon. He is Alpha and Omega. He is the Beginning and the End. His Name is above all names. He is Jesus!

Prayer:
“Lord, thank you for all that you suffered on the cross. Forgive me for grumbling and complaining about my life. You had every “right” to complain, but instead you freely laid down your life that I could live. I choose to fix my eyes on you this Easter season. You died that I may live. You suffered that I may be healed. You endured rejection that I may be accepted. You shed your blood that I may be forgiven. Open my eyes to see the beauty of the cross. I declare that death did not conquer you and it will not conquer me! You arose from the dead and are seated at the right hand of God and one day I will join You in heaven. Until then, help me to fulfill my destiny. Amen.”

Hold On: Resurrection Sunday is just ahead!

Image above is from: www.freefoto.com

Stay The Course!

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“The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5, The Message Translation“When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain.” 2 Timothy 2:3-7, The Message Translation

These past few weeks have been a time of strange discomfort, stretching and testing of my faith. I have battled in my mind, will and emotions. I had to use my authority over the enemy and I gave God permission to use this “travailing” of some sort within my spirit to draw me closer to Him. I don’t understand it all, but I know that I am not alone in this fight. Many of you have shared with me of your own personal battles. As I sought the Lord and His Word, I made the decision below in my own life and I hope this brings encouragement to you as well.

No matter how we feel or what is going on around us – WE MUST STAY THE COURSE! When the devil is pounding on every weakness and our circumstances appear dim – WE MUST STAY THE COURSE! When it looks like our life is not making a difference and our enemies are triumphing over us – WE MUST STAY THE COURSE! This is not the time to give up. It is a time to remain steadfast and ready to carry out the orders of the Lord. We are in a battle, but WE WIN. We are currently in a storm, but the waves MUST CEASE. We are being pulled and stretched, but with God we can endure ALL things. It’s time to be soldiers for Christ. This comes with a cost, but a soldier understands that we cannot give in to the taunts of the enemy.

It’s time to: Rise up and declare our authority and stand firm in our faith. We must understand that the battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual rulers of this world. Therefore we must put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, we will be able to stand our ground, and after we have done everything, to stand. Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around our waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Take up the shield of faith, with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, we must BE ALERT and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18). Please know that I am praying for each of you daily and I choose to stand with you in faith.

Prayer:
“Lord, I choose to stand when the going gets tough. I will carry out my orders and I will not give up. I cling to the conquering power of my faith in God that will bring the world to its knees. I put on the armor of God this day and declare that WE WIN! I will not back up. I will not give in. I will not bow down to any attacks of the enemy over my spirit, emotions or body. I will be alert and in constant prayer for the will of the Lord to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you for endurance and faith to rise up within me this day. I bind the enemy and all his plans and declare that only the plans of the Lord will prosper over me and the saints of God this day and forevermore.” Amen.

Image above is from: www.freefoto.com

Watch Out – It’s a trap!

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“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12, New American Standard Bible

As most of you know from my life with Alyssa blog, I recently put Alyssa in a Mother’s Morning Out program. And to my utter dismay, one of the moms dropped off her sick child. Needless to say, Alyssa, another child, the child’s mom and now my husband (who never gets sick) have caught this horrible cold! Ugh! I will admit that for several hours in the wee morning, I plotted and planned how I would handle this matter. Of course, these “plans” were not how Jesus would want me to handle them. My “fleshly” thoughts only led me to become even more outraged and unbeknownst to me at the time, I had fallen for an old, but familiar trap: THE TRAP OF OFFENSE.

The trap of offense will ruin your day and even your life if you let it seep in! Holding onto offenses and becoming bitter will leave you physically and emotionally exhausted. Once I realized that offense was trying to enter my mind, I knew I had a choice to make. It was a choice of life or death. I decided to extend forgiveness and I instantly felt better. A renewed strength filled my tired body as I chose the higher road and let go of offense!

The truth is we cannot control others, but we can control our lives and the choices that we make. With this in mind, let’s choose to forgive and not be bitter. Let’s choose to not judge, less we be judged. Let’s choose to love and not hate. Let’s choose to bless and not curse. Let’s choose to be the best that we can be. And I (Tracy) choose to practice the golden rule of “doing unto others as I would want done unto myself,” by never placing Alyssa in childcare of any kind while she is sick.

Prayer:
“Lord, I choose to forgive those who have hurt me or my family. I ask that you bless those who have cursed me. I extend forgiveness not only because it is Your will, but I also need forgiveness extended to me. I ask that Your love and grace fill my mind, body and spirit right now. Give me supernatural energy and ability to be the best that I can be for myself and my family. Thank you Jesus for forgiving me of all my sins. Amen.”

Point to ponder: Forgiveness is not based on a feeling, it is a choice.

Image above is from: www.freefoto.com 

READY NOW

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(In the picture above are the loves of my life: Alyssa & my husband, Michael)

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God, which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anything lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, NKJ

One morning out of routine, my husband lugged our garbage to the end of our driveway while Alyssa and I were still asleep. Later in the day, I peered out the window and I immediately saw a huge red sign sticking out of our trash can. It was a sign that had been in our garage for over three years. This sign boldly declares, “READY NOW.” Right away, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “My people are READY NOW to occupy what I have called them to do.” Immediately, I began to think about all of my faults and weaknesses. I replied, “But how Lord? I don’t feel ready.” Then I heard within my spirit, “I AM READY to use my people even with their flaws. Just as a builder constructs a home and before it’s finished, it appears to be in a total mess. A Master Builder knows that he can hire a cleaning crew and within 24-hours, that “messed up” home is READY NOW. I am the Builder of My people. I am cleaning My people up quickly and they are READY NOW to occupy all that I have for them.”

So, be encouraged today. Even if we don’t feel like it, even with all our weaknesses, God is able to clean us up quickly and He declares that we are READY NOW!

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Prayer:
Lord, I choose to receive this message even though I don’t feel it. I boldly declare that I am ready now! I am ready by Your Spirit to occupy all that you have for me this year. I give you all my faults and weaknesses and ask that you clean me up quickly. Thank you for cleaning and organizing things in my home and in my life. I know that it is not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit that I will fulfill my destiny in Christ! Amen.