Do you want a good life?….be God-loyal!

“A God-loyal people get a good life.”  Proverbs 13:21b, The Message

“Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good, the wicked will respect God-loyal people.”  Proverbs 14:19, The Message

I will never forget talking with a precious woman one day, when out of no where, she asked me, “Tracy, why is your life so blessed?” I was shocked that through just a few conversations with me, she had this revelation. The truth is, I was so taken aback by her direct question that I did not know what to say.  My immediate reply to her was something like, “I am truly blessed because of God’s grace.  It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God.” And while this response was true, I began to inquire of the Lord as to the specifics as to why I have such a blessed life and how I could help others obtain it. In my search for truth I stumbled upon Proverbs 13:12 which tells us that God-loyal people get a good life.

Through my teen years, I applied my loyalty to the wrong crowd in order to obtain acceptance and security.   When I let go of this wrong association and grabbed onto the Right Association – Jesus Christ, I became God-loyal.  Instantly, I began walking down the path of a blessed life. I remember sitting on the lawn of Asbury College one afternoon and hearing a still small voice say, “Tracy, you have been through much pain, but your future will be filled with much joy.” That promise has come true for me and I am more in love with Jesus than ever before.

So with this discovery in God’s Word, I declare to you today that I am blessed because I am God-loyal. Period.  I will be the first to tell you that I am far from perfect, but notice that being God-loyal doesn’t mean perfection, but a quickness to repent.  I have found that when I am quick to repent it keeps me on the track of a blessed life. Proverbs 14:6, Message Translation states that, “The lives of God-loyal people flourish.”  Ahh….isn’t this good news?  When you are God-loyal your life will flourish!

We are all loyal to something or someone.  To whom do you give your loyalty to?  If we give our loyalty to a wrong association, it can literally lead us to destruction.  But if we are continuously God-loyal, we are promised to have a blessed life that even the wicked will respect (Proverbs 14:19).

Prayer:
“Lord, I want a blessed life, therefore I choose to be God-loyal.  I choose to let go of wrong associations, thoughts and actions and I give You my loyalty.  I declare that my life is flourishing and blessed because I am God-loyal.  Amen.”

Friend for a moment, season or lifetime – all are valuable in their own right

“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17, The Message

Has God ever shown you that you needed to let go of a friendship, but instead of following His lead, you intentionally held onto them too long until it resulted in conflict?  As a counselor, I often tell my clients, “When you set a boundary, someone will be hurt.”  And although none of us like this truth, what we fail to see is that by NOT setting a boundary – we are the ones who are continually being hurt – over and over again!  Boundaries may hurt people’s feelings but it will not harm them.  Boundaries allow us to be authentic to ourselves and with others. Boundaries are a good thing and keep us and our friendships healthy.

I have found in my life that there are 3 types of friendships:
1.    Friends for a lifetime.
2.    Friends for a season.
3.    Friends for a moment.

And believe it or not, all three types of friendship are just as important as the other.  You may be thinking, “Come on Tracy, surely a lifetime friend is more valuable than a friend for a season or moment!” But, I beg to differ with you – each type of friendship is valuable in its own right.

A friend in the moment can impact you for eternity. I will never forget sitting in a Chapel service at Mid-America Bible College.  A young  student presented the gospel.   I don’t even know his name, but through his message and invitation, I accepted Jesus as my Savior – he was a friend for a moment that impacted my life for eternity.  Years later a beautiful intercessor prayed over me and declared “Tracy, you are not a misfit, you may not have fit into your father’s or mother’s plans but you fit into God’s plans.”  Her words still ring within my being and although she was a nameless friend for a moment – I will never forget her or her words. 

A friend for a season can also impact you more than you know. I had a best guy-friend named Wayne during my college years.  He greatly prepared me for my husband.  His friendship brought needed healing and restoration in my life – he was an amazing friend for a season.  And  although our season ended due to us establishing healthy boundaries once we both became married, I will forever be grateful for his friendship in the right season.  You see, when seasons change, friendships can change or may even come to an end, but it’s okay – the Lord giveth and taketh away – blessed be the name of the Lord.  

The thing about friendships is that we too often try and keep “right” people in the “WRONG” season.  Or how about this one – how many of us expect everyone we are friends with to act like our friends for a lifetime? I will never forget when a friend failed to ask me about a recent speaking engagement.  She knew about the event, but never inquired about it.  After much prayer, God clearly showed me that I was wrong by expecting her to act like my friends for a lifetime  – who ALWAYS pray and ask about my speaking engagements.

Today I would like to honor all of my friendships.  Whether you have been a friend for a moment, a season or for a lifetime:  I honor you and I am a better person because of you – thank you!

As women of God, it is time for us to let go of wrong relationships and childish things (offenses, insecurities back-biting, gossip, he-said-she-said conversations and every evil thing) and grab onto God with all of our might! God is the One person I can declare is your Friend for a lifetime!  Selah (pause and think about that for a moment).  Jesus is the One who is always on our side.  He is cheering you on from heaven and intercedes for you when no one else does.  Jesus is the friend that you are all longing for – grab onto Him and trust that He will give you wisdom in all your friendships.

Prayer:
“Lord, thank you for being my friend and Savior for a lifetime.  You are always with me and I love you.  I give you my friendships and ask that You forgive me for placing my hope in them rather than in You.  Show me who my friends are for a lifetime, season and moment.  I acknowledge today that each level of friendship is important in my life.  I let go of childish things – offense, rejection, trying to defend myself, he said – she said conversations, gossip, criticism, and the such and grab onto You – the author and finisher of my faith.   Amen.”

Wrong Associations

For years I have studied the book of Proverbs, but every time I came to Chapter six and the “Warning On Adultery,” I would simply skip over this portion of scripture as I felt it did not apply to me.  After all, this was not an area of temptation for me.  I like men and these warnings address a seductive female and her tactics to pull a man into her bed!  But recently I approached this normally skipped over portion of scripture by praying, “Lord, I ask you for Wisdom to show me how I can apply this to my life.”  Within an instant, I heard a still small voice say, “Tracy, an adulterous woman is a wrong association.”  With this revelation, I immediately replaced all the words of warning about adultery to that of having a wrong association in my life.  

So buckle your seat belts because what I am about to share with you is God’s wisdom concerning wrong associations and how they can destroy you!  The scripture below is taken from Proverbs 6:20-33, The Message Translation and the words of warning about an adulterous women was changed to wrong associations by the author: 

“Good friend, follow your father’s good advice; don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.  Wrap yourself in them from head to foot; wear them like a scarf around your neck.  Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you; wherever you rest, they’ll guard you; when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.  For sound advice is a beacon, good teaching is a light, moral discipline is a life path.

They’ll protect you from wrong associations, from the ‘to good to be true’ talk of a wrong business adventure.  Don’t lustfully fantasize about the worlds deemed ‘beautiful people,’ nor be taken in by gossip or dishonest ways to obtain money.  You can buy an hour with a fortune teller with a few dollars, but these wrong advisors will eat you alive.  

Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants?  Can you walk barefoot on hot coals and not get blisters?  It is the same when you become entangled with wrong relationships which pull you away from God and seeking HIs Wisdom.  Come into contact with them and you’ll pay for it.  No excuses.  Hunger is no excuse for a thief to steal; when he is caught he has to pay it back, even if he has to put his whole house in hock.

Holding onto unhealthy relationships is a brainless act, but can be soul destroying, self-destructive; expect a bloody nose, a black eye, and a reputation ruined for good.” 

Isn’t this good?  I wonder just how many times I have overlooked a passage of scripture thinking it didn’t apply to my life, all the while, God longed to show me His Wisdom?  I know more than ever that EVERY scripture can be applied to our lives – we just need to seek God for His Wisdom.  I pray God’s blessings over each of you.  May God give you wisdom on any wrong associations in your life and I declare His strength to help you let go of them.  Jesus is the only One we are to hold tightly onto – He is the right association at all times!

Prayer:

“Lord, keep me from wrong associations that will pull me away from You.  I give you permission to show me any wrong associations and what I need to do about it.  I long for Your Wisdom and counsel.  Keep me from turning to anyone other than You for Wisdom.  Surround me with godly counselors and those who have my best interest in mind.  Thank You for giving me Wisdom this day and protecting me from relationships that would bring destruction to me and my family.  Amen.”

Special Announcement

Dear Friends, 
 
 It is with great excitement that I announce to you, National Worship
 Leader, Song Writer (of over 1,000 songs), Minister and personal
 friend, Tony Sutherland, will be featured on TBN this coming Monday,
 January 19th.  Please tune in and enjoy the best worship you have
 ever heard in your life!!  Tony and his wife Sherri, have been one
 of our very best friends for over 12 years now.  My husband and I
 give Tony our highest recommendation and endorsement.
 
 The details are as follows: 

 Monday, January 19th
 Tony Sutherland will be featured on TBN Praise Program hosted by
 Jentezen Franklin
 5:00 & 10:00 p.m. EST
 2:00 & 7:00 p.m. PST
 Log onto www.tbn.org for viewing details

 
 I hope you can tune in because I know you will be blessed!  For more
 information about Tony, log onto his website: http://www.tonysutherland.com 

See you tomorrow for "Tuesdays With Tracy!"
 
Blessings,
Tracy Hurst 

Moving Forward

“Brethren, I count myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things
where are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of
God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

“It is not in good taste to remind God of something that He has forgotten.”
Quote from Kenneth Hagin

“We will never reach our future destination in Christ if we continually drive through our life while looking through the rear view mirror.”  Quote from Tracy Hurst

As I think back upon 2008, I am cognizant not only of my good choices and blessings, but also my failures and disappointments. And that is why the scripture above is so important to me as I embark on the New Year. I have a choice of life and death before me and so do you…it is a decision that only we can make ourselves and it will greatly alter our destiny in Christ. The choice is this: Will I allow the enemy to hold me in bondage to the sins and failures of my past or will I embrace Philippians 3:13-14 and move forward to what God has for me in 2009?

Even if we are not proud of our past, the truth is that when we repent to God – we are forgiven. Period. I love what Kenneth Hagin Sr. has said “It is not in good taste to remind God of something that He has forgotten.” Selah (pause and think about that for a moment). You will either believe the Word of God or the voice of the enemy concerning your future. It is because of the Cross of Jesus that nothing can hold you in your past, but YOU! The enemy was defeated, your destiny was made secure and IT IS TIME for you to move forward.

God has made His plans for you very clear in Ephesians 2:10 (NLT), which states, “For we are Gods masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” The year 2009 will be full of adventure and blessings if you choose to let go of your disappointments of the past and grab onto God’s grace and truth concerning your future.

Just as a trapeze artist must let go of one swing so he can grab onto the next one which leads him to his ultimate destination of the other side, we too much let go of 2008 in order to grab onto 2009.  It is time for us to stop swinging back and forth and move forward in the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Prayer:

“Lord, I choose life this day by letting go of my past and grabbing onto my future in You.  Thank you for giving Your life on the Cross so that I can receive Your love, acceptance and forgiveness.  I rebuke the enemy and his pack of lies concerning my future!  I will no longer entertain my past and its failures, but I will press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I declare that 2009 will be the greatest year of my life!  Amen.”


Keeping Christ In Christmas

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manager.  Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2:11-14

Our tree is up, our lights are twinkling and the joy of Christmas is finally here! My daughter, Alyssa loves rearranging all the ornaments on our tree, making crafts and cookies for family and friends and I am experiencing the wonders of Christmas all over again through the eyes of my precious little girl!

Everyday, Alyssa and I find ourselves singing, “Happy Birthday to Jesus” in anticipation of Christmas morning.  We often read books about the true meaning of Christmas and I am teaching her about giving to those who are less fortunate…but then it happened…she saw a guy in a bright red suit named santa claus.  Her response was priceless; with a puzzled look on her face, Alyssa turned to me and said defensively, “Whose that mommy…..Christmas is Jesus’ Birthday!” I laughed out loud and thought to myself, “Wow Alyssa, you are right, who is this guy sneaking into our homes on Jesus’ Birthday anyway? Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with playing the “game” of Santa Claus, but our children need to understand that Santa is just a GAME and that Jesus is REAL!

We live in a world that wants to take Christ out of Christmas, but my prayer is that all of us will respond with a loud shout, “Not on our watch.” Let us all enjoy the festivities of this Holiday season, even play the game of santa claus, but not forget what Christmas is about – to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. After all how would you feel if someone else took all the attention away from your birthday?

How can we keep Christ the focus?  I would love to hear all of your ideas.  One way that we are able to focus on the birth of Jesus is every Christmas Eve, we make Jesus a birthday cake.  I asked my daughter what Jesus’ favorite kind of cake is and she replied, “Chocolate!”

Prayer:
Lord, help us to always celebrate Your birth on Christmas morning!  Forgive us for allowing the world to replace Your miraculous birth with business and gift buying.  You are the greatest gift we could ever receive.  As I enjoy the parties, games and joys of Christmas, help me to remember that You are the Reason for the Season!  I will declare proudly everywhere I go, “Merry Christmas!”  This is Your special day and we wish You a very Happy Birthday!  Amen.”

Tip #1 on how to keep Christ in your Christmas:

Make Jesus a birthday cake on Christmas Eve. Alyssa and I are going to make Jesus’ Birthday cake together and she is going to decorate it with her favorite treat, M&M’s!  Our plan is to wake up Christmas morning and sing “Happy Birthday to Jesus” and then eat a piece of cake for breakfast (now how much fun is that)? ?  If you have ideas on how to keep Christ in Christmas, please click on the comment button and share them – I may even post your idea in the comings weeks!