Reader’s Choice Week

The faithful readers of tracyhurst.com have picked the post below as one of their “favorites.” Read & enjoy – It’s that time once again…. for a Friend Check:


The Ladies of Sophia Academy: www.sophiaacademy.org

“Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do –
Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to do what he’s asked; but he turns his back on those who do evil things.” 1 Peter 3:10, Message Translation

Whenever I am around people who gossip, I always leave their presence feeling dirty and in need of a spiritual shower. Yet, as much as I hate gossip, occasionally I find myself listening with interest and even participating. Whenever gossip first begins in conversation, my spirit feels uncomfortable and I always try to change the subject. Nevertheless, at times I get pulled in and fall prey to this evil sin. This is why we must be careful with whom we spend time and allow in our inner circle. Our inner circle consists of individuals we socialize with on a regular basis. *The truth is: If these “friends” are talking about others with you, then they are talking about you with others! Are you hanging out with people who gossip and say evil things about others? Are you that person? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if this is true about you or the friends you associate with.

Once a year I do what I call a “friend check.” This ritual allows the Holy Spirit to show me if someone, for various reasons, needs to move from my inner circle. Although this is hard for me, I have learned to trust the hand of God. God will often remove someone who is a wrong influence in my life and bring new friendships, which will encourage me to fulfill my destiny in Christ. Don’t be afraid to ask God to do a “friend check” in your life – I’ve had the same best friends for ten plus years. But they are people who run after peace and speak well of others. God simply longs to fill our days up with good and look upon us with his approval as the scripture states. He is a forgiving God and is always looking out for our very best.

Prayer:
Lord, help me to be a woman who runs after peace and cultivates good wherever I go. I give you permission to show me if I have fallen prey to gossip and speaking evil of others. Please forgive me Jesus and cleanse me of this sin. Help me to speak only good of others and hold things in confidence. Give me wisdom about who is in my inner circle. I give you permission to remove anyone out of my inner circle and to bring in new friends for your purposes in my life. Thank you for looking upon me today with approval from heaven. Thank you for loving me. Amen.

Point to ponder: The people you hang out with today will determine who you become in five years!

It’s time to pray…

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16, NKJ

As Believers we have a responsibility to go boldly before the throne of Grace and ask of what we need. We are to ask on behalf of ourselves as well as for others and the world as a whole. God is looking for those who will call forth His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Just this morning I found myself crying out for God to move in 3 particular areas. Will you join and agree with me in prayer for God to move on our behalf today?

1. We need RAIN! It has been reported in Georgia that in just 3 months (January), if we do not receive an outpouring of rain, we will no longer have drinking water. Kentucky has just 20 days until their drinking water is gone. And now California is in need of rain due to the fires across the state.  We are in a serious drought and only God can help us. I also believe that as we cry out for rain in the natural, we also need to pray for the REIGN of God to pour out over the earth. We are in a natural and spiritual drought – we need the natural rain and the reign of God to fall on the earth.

2. God’s choice for President in the 2008 Election! It is time that we put aside our differences (i.e. party affiliations), opinions and what the news media reports. We must listen for God’s voice concerning who is to be our next president. Just as God sent Prophet Samuel to anoint David to be King – God has anointed a certain person to be our President in 2008. Let’s not be a “King Saul” and fight The Will of God! God knows the future and exactly whom we need to rule America in such a time as this.

3. Salvation for family & friends. During this Holiday season, let’s agree in prayer for those who need salvation and/or to return to God. The Holy Spirit is calling those who are lost to come home. Where there has been strife, envy, jealousy or unforgiveness – God wants to turn this around and bring forth His peace, joy, and grace. This can be a season of miracles – if we pray. All things are possible with God. When you look up the word “all,” it means “all.” Therefore anything can happen – if we believe! Let’s agree and declare salvation, healing and restoration over those we know and love.

God is looking for those who will pray His will to be done here on earth…will you be one of them?

Prayer:
“Lord, I ask for Your will to be done here on earth as it is in Heaven. Forgive me for my prayerlessness and stir up a desire within me to intercede on behalf of others, the world and myself. I am just one person, but Your word declares in James 5:16, that the prayer of a righteous person avails much! We call forth rain. We call forth the President You have anointed for 2008. We ask for salvation, healing and deliverance for our family and friends this holiday season. And most importantly, may the Spirit of God reign and rule over the earth.” Amen.

Photo above is from: www.freefoto.com

The Favor of God

“The Lord make His face to shine upon you and enlighten you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace and they shall put My Name upon them, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:25-27

*Mid-summer I found myself singing the familiar lyrics to one of the Go-Go songs from the mid 80’s: vacation all I ever wanted, vacation have to get away… After singing this song consecutively for a few weeks, my husband came downstairs from his office one night and suggested we get away the following weekend. We began looking on line at last minute deals and stumbled on an unbelievable package for Bermuda. We booked our flight and hotel and literally left four days later!

Prior to leaving, I heard a minister preach about the favor of God and how we need to proclaim God’s favor over our lives each day. He stated that when we see the favor of God, we should proclaim it OUT LOUD. So, while packing our clothes and necessities for our trip, my husband and I also began spiritually packing by praying for God’s favor. We prayed for the littlest things – such as favor with the flight attendants and beautiful weather. We also prayed about the big things, such as, an upgraded room upon arrival and safe travel to and from the Atlanta airport. As we headed for the airport the morning of our flight, we were amazed that there was no traffic and we immediately proclaimed “that is the favor of God.”

We landed on the beautiful island of Bermuda right on time and found our transportation to the hotel with no trouble and we proclaimed our new mantra – “that is the favor of God.” When we arrived at our hotel and gave our name to the clerk, she gave a troubled look and stated she would get the manger to assist us. My husband and I looked at each other and both wondered what God was up to. The manager apologetically told us that the hotel had been overbooked and therefore we would need to stay at their sister hotel. At this point I would normally be gravely disappointed and upset, but because we had covered the entire trip with prayer, I decided to go with the flow and see what God had in store for us. The hotel agreed to pay for our moped rental and the manager personally took us to the sister hotel. We felt as if we were on an adventure just waiting to see what the favor of God was about to do.

As the manager showed us our room, our mouths dropped! It wasn’t just a typical hotel room, it was an executive suite with an ocean view! After we received our keys and calmly stated “the room would be fine,” we literally closed the door and jumped up and down proclaiming, “This is the favor of God!” There isn’t enough room to tell you about all the favor we had on our trip, but let me just add that even upon arriving back on a Friday afternoon during typical Atlanta rush hour traffic, we sailed home in amazement (all of you who live in Atlanta know this was the greatest miracle of all) and as we pulled into our driveway we thanked God for His abundant favor on our trip from the beginning to the end!

I encourage you to pray for the favor of God upon your life today. As you begin proclaiming God’s favor upon your life – wait expectantly – you never know what God might have in store for you!

Prayer:
“Lord, I declare the favor of God over my life. Open my eyes to see Your favor everyday! Once I see it, I will proclaim, “This is the favor of God!” Thank you for all that You have done in my life. Thank you in advance for all that is yet ahead! I give you my life Lord and I know that your favor and grace will follow me wherever I go.” Amen.

*Revised Article, “The Favor of God,” by Tracy Hurst, Christian Chronicle/2004

Photo Above is from: www.freefoto.com 

The Seasons are Changing

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing, A time to keep silence, and a time to speak…” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4, 5, 7, NKJV

I don’t know about you, but I am eagerly anticipating fall and all that comes along with it! I am just about ready to put away my summer clothes and dust off my fall boots! Yee-haw! I cannot wait for cooler temperatures, jean jackets, roasting marshmallows by the fire and much more! I also believe that just as the leaves are changing in the natural realm, things are also changing in the Spirit Realm. God is up to something and it is good.

I have sensed God has been taking His people through a season of refinement.
He is asking us to give Him total control of our lives. He longs for us to go deeper in Him. It’s time to re-prioritize and re-shift our ways of thinking and doing things. It is time to SLOW DOWN and LISTEN for God’s voice.

Lately, I have been hearing God say the following to me: “I want my people’s thoughts and mouths to line up with My Word, but this can only happen if they spend time in My Presence.” As I began to ponder this, I began to think about the Culinary Art of “The Marinade” When someone chooses to “marinate” something, they often put some type of meat in a sauce and they let it sit for a few hours. Usually, the longer it sits, the better it tastes:) And before long that meat begins to smell, taste and look like the sauce it was marinated in. This is what God is longing for us to do! He wants us to sit (marinate if you will) in His Presence. And the longer we sit, the more we will smell, taste and become like Him! Selah (pause and think about that for a moment).

What is God currently speaking to you about? I encourage you to spend time talking to Him about your life and where you are headed. Marinate yourself in Him. You may be on perfect track or God may want you to reorder some things, but either way He will give you the wisdom you need in order to fulfill your destiny in Christ! Man can give you his or her opinion, but God can give you His Wisdom.

The seasons are changing – are you ready?

Prayer:
Lord, I need your wisdom for such a time as this. I  want to be ready for the next season of my life. I give you permission to reorder my life, my mind and my mouth. May everything I say and do line up with The Word of God. Help me to find time to sit in Your Presence. I long to be like you Jesus. Forgive me of my sin and create in me a clean heart. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast Your Presence away from me, but renew a right spirit within me God.” Amen.

Looking For Fun In All The Wrong Places

bobcat.jpg
My husband and his toy – LOL 🙂

“God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV

*Lately, I have been on an all out quest to add more fun into my life. I realized that I needed additional fun when my husband and I went to see a romantic comedy at a local movie theater and after the movie I could not control the tears that ran down my face. My husband looked at me totally perplexed, because one would assume that after viewing a comedy, I would feel encouraged and uplifted, but instead a deep sense of sadness filled my heart. I recognized that I had not been living life to the fullest and I was lacking some serious fun!

So with this discovery, my husband and I sat down and made a list of the things we considered, “fun.” Of course, our lists were completely different! My husband, who is a ex-paratrooper and Golden Knight for the Army, listed various adventures, such as: jumping from planes again, mountain biking, watching Brave Heart and Blackhawk Down with the guys, etc. My list consisted of things such as: more girlfriend time, dinner parties, buying new shoes and travel. Since then my husband began watching his war movies and I bought a few new pair of shoes (sorry honey). And together we hosted a dinner party, but even these activities did not satisfy our desire within.

Finally, one morning during my quiet time with God, I asked Him why we were having such difficultly implementing fun into our lives? He led me to Psalm 16:11, which states, “God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.” The truth is, nothing here on earth would bring us the joy we were after. Don’t get me wrong, mountain biking and new shoes are great, but both will eventually end up in the trash! We were looking for fun in all the wrong places! Only the Lord can provide “fun” that can satisfy your soul.

As Psalm 16 sank into my spirit, a smile spread across my face. I found what I had been longing for in the Word of God. My quest had been fulfilled! That following weekend, my husband and I hosted a Bible study and I sensed God’s Presence in our home. As I looked around the room I thought to myself, “NOW THIS IS FUN!”

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A Ladies Morning Out – LOL 🙂

Prayer:
Lord, forgive me for looking to the world to bring joy and satisfaction into my life. Nothing this world offers can bring me eternal peace. It is only in Your Presence that I am filled with supernatural joy. And this joy is not dependent on my circumstances. I choose to no longer look for fun in all the wrong places, for it is only in Your Presence that I am filled to overflowing! Amen.

*A Published Article by Tracy Hurst, Atlanta Christian Chronicle, June, 2004″