Do You Ever Wonder?

Time changes your thought processes, as I age, I often find myself asking, “I wonder why God trusts me enough to allow me to be used as a vessel for Him.” What I mean is, I no longer question God as to why he allows me to go through the things that I do, but as to what message He wants me share with other people along the way.  I am honored and humbled now by the ability to share my life experiences with others. I am always looking for the purpose or “lesson”behind the situation. No matter what the experience, whether good or bad, I learned a long time ago, there is no embarrassment, or shame if it is a less than desirable experience, but as a true opportunity to help others down the road that they will travel. God does not bring a person through something, for that person to keep it all to themselves. Compassion and empathy are truly God’s greatest gifts that we can receive. It is revealed to me daily, as I receive his infinite gift of Grace and Mercy. God tells us that if and when we ask for wisdom, He will give it to us.

James 1: 5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

So when you feel like you are in a stagnant place, sit quietly and pray for wisdom, but also that your purpose is revealed so that you can turn your circumstances into a solution for someone else’s problem.

 

 

Knowing When Something is Your Purpose.

I can tell you this past week was both a week of many doors closing, and windows opening. There were two opportunities that I thought would be a good thing immediately were eliminated. I have learned to be patient and wait and listen for God to tell me what he wants me to do next! I have a long list of things that I either want to do or start, but will wait patiently to ensure that it is not just my desire to do something but God’s will. One thing that I have learned and believe whole heartedly is that God uses painful situations to help others along in their journey. I have been blessed to be able to use my painful situations and past mistakes to help others!  The greatest gifts in life come when God allows you to help others and be a blessing to others.

Praying for patience to wait and see if something materializes is probably the most difficult part. I love the intimacy that I have with Jesus in waiting the process out.  Watching God work everything out is another process that the older I get the more I appreciate and am in awe as to what God does daily.

God has blessed me with vision, dreams, ambition, and most importantly positive friends who love the Lord as much as I do, that is exciting!  I cannot wait to see the next step in the process!

 

 

Do We Really Understand the Depth of God’s Mercy?

I have heard the term “Thank God for God’s Grace and Mercy” my whole life but until you become consciously aware of the depth of what that means it doesn’t quite have the same impact. I think about God’s Grace and Mercy almost every day, in fact, it often carries me through my day. Every time we get into our vehicles to go about our day is usually my first thought. You know every day starts out normal for most people, it is often during that time that something changes the course of their entire life. You know what I mean especially if you have experienced tragedy, and oh, if you live long enough, you will experience it.! I remember one time vividly when my son was about seven or eight years old, darted out in front of a car and thank God, it stopped in time  and did not hit him. That child no matter how many times I told him, would not stop and look before he crossed the street! God’s Grace and Mercy!

I am doing an amazing Bible Study with my church Saddleback called the Miracle of Mercy. Wow, the depth of this study has made a tremendous impact on my own life, and I know thousands of others. Pastor Rick Warren wrote this study after he lost his beloved son Matthew. Pastor Rick was able to really dive into the study of God’s Mercy simply using his own grief with losing his child.  In week three which is where I am at right now, it talks about “Mercy helps the hurting.” I remember when Daniel passed away and I thought I would never be able to recover from the loss, I realize now God was standing there with a whole lot of His Grace and even more Mercy! It is amazing over the years the people who have helped me along my journey, and even the people that I was privileged to help.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT).

Do you know how many times I relived that one Scripture in my life? I am simply humbled by God’s Mercy.  I will leave you with this, remember how you felt when you thought you were going to die from grief? Think about the people who were placed in your life?

“Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor, ‘maybe some other time’ or ‘try me tomorrow’, when the moneys right there in  your pocket. ”  Proverbs 3:27-28

Miracle of Mercy Small Group Study

As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus tomorrow it is still clear in my mind of his struggle and shear torture during the process of his ultimate sacrifice. I remind myself by watching the movie “The Passion of the Christ.” If that doesn’t put things into perspective, I do not know what will. I love my church and I love my Pastor Rick Warren. Easter time is personally tough on Pastor Rick, for as you know a few days after Easter three years ago his son Matthew committed suicide. Having lost my brother fourteen years ago, to a tragic car accident I understand the mental anguish that he is facing with each passing year. Pastor Rick wrote this study I am assuming on the role that God’s mercy has played in his own life. If I do not understand much of anything else, I understand how God’s Grace and Mercy has sustained me in my own life. It is only because of God that I am still here. Pastor Rick has stated, that this study is probably the most personal study he has ever written. I have a small group study that is beginning on Monday April 11, 2016 at 8 pm eastern time. If you are interested in joining me for a life changing study, email me at pollardtl@cox.net.

Blessings and Love,

Traci

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

understand the need and appreciation for God’s Grace and Mercy. I know that I am only here on this Earth due to His love for me, and Grace

 

 

 

 

Will You Recognize His Voice?

Have you ever had a friend who only called you when they wanted something? It didn’t just happen to you once in a while, but several times. How did that make you feel? I am sure if you are like most of us, you got to the point that you did not want much to do with that person. It would be for me a combination of hurt, anger, confusion and maybe other feelings that you did not even realize you had, but not a good feeling!

Imagine how God must feel sometimes? Knowing that God loves us more than anything and even sent his own Son to die for our sins, I couldn’t even imagine. We do that too Him quite often! Our relationship with Him is often based on the circumstances in our own lives. God created us for relationship with Him!

We know that Jesus experienced every emotion that we have experienced!  Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked for His friends to be there for Him during a time that he needed friends the most, before He would go on the cross to die for our sins!  Its says in Matthew 26:36-42

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

In His most vulnerable time, his friends let Him down. Jesus was very honest in admitting His feelings about going to the cross, but still He was obedient to His Father and died for us. Imagine how hard that would be to do especially when your closest friends rejected you during your weakest moment? God knew what He was doing and sent His son to die, despite the ugliness of the people.

I know that there have been times when I was not a good friend. There were times when I let people down, and was very unloving. I still have occasions where I do that, for we are not perfect and sin daily!

The last person I want to hurt is Jesus! I know that even though I forget to talk to him on a regular basis, and ignore him when He wants to have relationship with me; He still loves me!

My question has always been, “If Jesus called me on the telephone today would I recognize His voice?” If a close friend calls me, I automatically know her voice right away almost before she even speaks.  Would you?

We know people close to us not only by their voice, but often recognize them from a distance by their walk, the way they stand, or the things they say. Would I recognize Jesus? That’s my question, and my quest. I want to know Jesus when He calls me, or even better when He comes to visit!

 

Saddleback Community Leaders

As we gear up to start another campaign at Saddleback, the “Miracle of Mercy” remember that this will be a time that we will be adding many more groups. It is anticipated to have several hundred added onto our small groups. One week prior to the start of Miracle of Mercy it is recommended that our hosts do the Passover study, that will lead right into the Miracle of Mercy study. Now is the time to go through all of your groups, and make a list of your inactive groups. If you haven’t already, this might be a good time to send an email to your hosts, mentioning the important details of the study, that you are available to them, and that due to the fact that we are anticipating a lot of group inquiries, if they are not interested in adding people to their groups, make sure that they have closed or made their groups “private.” This will prevent  additional people being added to their small group.

Pray for all your hosts, and if there is anything that I can do for you, please let me know. I am available on Facebook or via email pollardtl@cox.net

I am excited for our new study and all the wonderful things that God will do!

 

Traci

 

 

Lesson’s Through Elijah

Knowing Him

Prayers of Elijah- 1 King 18:30-46

I Timothy 2:1-8, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 33:12,

Your word is settled in Heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations.

Psalm 119: 89-90

The one who called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldee’s promising to fully bless him if he would follow Him in a life of faith is the same person who today calls us out of the world and promises to bless us if we follow Him in a life of faith.

How well do you know God? Would you recognize His voice if he called you?

The one who heard Elijah’s prayer and send down the fire to consume the sacrifice on Mt. Carmel and then sent down the rain to end the three-year drought in Israel is the same person today who hears and answers prayers.

Some confess a faith in God but many live as practice at heists.

Elijah was used to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord. (18:37).

James reminds us that Elijah was a man of like passions with us, but what made Elijah effective in his day of spiritual and moral obedience was his prayer life.

Man of Prayer – Chapter 18:30-46

Elijah’s preparation for prayer in verse 30-35.

  1. Public prayer and results
  1. Fire from Heaven
  2. Heart turned to Lord
  3. Baal prophets removed ( v. 36-40).
  1. Private Prayer
  1. Rain from Heaven
  2. Special strength v. 41-46Elijah’s influence
  1. Felt in northern Kingdom but not the Southern Kingdom.
  2. Relation to us we all have our own areas of influence and places of impact.
  3. Varies in each one of us, but faith, faithfulness, integrity, and effectual pray can tremendously increase our capacity for influence, wherever it happens to be.
  4. Pattern for Prayer Life
  1. Effectively change your life? Increase the effectiveness of your prayer life and impact
  2. Promise in James 5, James who was the half-brother of Jesus was nicknamed camel knee’s, because of the calluses on his knees from long hours in prayer.
  3. The book of James covers prayers. It has 14 verses on prayer or Principles of prayer. (1:5-8, 3: 9-10, 4:2-3, and 5:13-18.We must remember that Elijah was merely a man used by God as a vessel to talk to His people. Elijah did not have any special powers, but in fact, was just like us, experienced both physical and emotional situations that without God made him weak and full of his own fears and doubts (1 Kings 19:1-4). During this time when he fled with fear at the threats of Jezebel, he ran to hide, exhausted, afraid and in need of God’s Word. God was there in full force, asking Elijah, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (19:9) and he gave Elijah exactly what he knew he needed, food, warmth, rest and encouragement.   God spoke to Elijah the way he speaks to us, in a “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). I love what Joyce Meyers says about Elijah when referring to him, “Elijah needed to hear from God, and thankfully he had a reining ear toward God even though his circumstances had frightened him. “Elijah’s story helps us understand how to hear God when we need guidance and help. I love how such a big God can and do still speak to His children in a calming, soft, still voice that penetrates us deep in our spirit.I found these references in my notes from a few years ago, and do not know exactly where they came from as far as source. I wish that I did for I most certainly would refer to them, but the important thing is that I wanted to share with you all.

When Moving On Is Not Applicable In Grief!

If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.  Psalm 37:23-24

Have you ever lost someone you truly loved? Have you ever had to face the world without your loved one? Have you ever grieved so deeply that it hurt to the bone? It’s an unbearable pain, even physical when you do not even know if you can live another second , and the thought of going on without your loved one, makes it almost undesirable!  I have, I know what it is like! I also know that there is no way that you can possibly relate to someone who is grieving unless you have experienced the pain yourself.

How does one go on? How does one develop the stupid term of “a new normal”? You don’t, you simply learn to exist in a world that is not understanding of the depth of your pain; at least in the beginning. If I was told thirteen years ago when I lost my brother that things were going to get better, I wouldn’t have believed it. It does slowly get to a point where you can get up and function, then moves on to a point where you are able to have moments of joy in your life,  and maybe if your lucky, you will move to a point of living that is mixed with both joy and sorrow, but the point is your living. Don’t get me wrong, I will not lie to you there is always that sinking feeling of grief in your heart and soul, but it does get easier over time.

What do you say to someone who has just lost someone? How do you act around them? A lot of people have misconstrued notions with expectations when it comes to a grieving person, and although I do not have all the answers, I know what NOT to say.

Please do not say, Is there anything I can do for you? You know other than bring their loved one back to them, there is nothing you can possibly do for them, so it is best to just not say it. It is nice to say I am sorry for your loss. it is comforting to say that you will be there, and available to talk , even on the phone, when your friend or family member is lying awake at three am, missing their loved one. It is nice to continue to talk about their loved one. Saying their name aloud, keeping their memory alive. To a grieving person, the fear of forgetting their loved one is almost too much to bear.

It is amazing that others that are not grieving are afraid to talk about that person’s loved one for fear of bring up something that will cause pain in the grieved. It is the exact opposite, it is unbearable when people forget about the lost love one, and move on with their own lives, never bringing up the one who was lost. It is impossible for a person to move on with their lives. Although they keep living, they have never moved on, and never will.

The God of All Comfort

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,8 the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us9 in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives,10 so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation;11 if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

The biggest mistake a person can make with another grieving person is to tell them it is time to move on!  The quickest way to cause pain and anger for a person, is to say the unimaginable thing of “moving on.”

When holidays come, please be sensitive to them and their feelings. Do not expect a person to celebrate and be joyful during those occasions. While it may be a joyous time for you, it is an extremely painful reminder of their loss. Be careful and sensitive to that person’s feelings, now is not the time to send them Christmas cards with pictures of your family inside the card.

Be willing to sit and listen to the person who grieves. Let them tell you for the hundredth time “Do you remember when…” stories about their loved one. Allow them to show you pictures, and except and be all right with their tears.

I know that there is reason for everything, and God is in control. It is okay to tell them that, but do not be insensitive to possible anger they may have with God over their loss. If God understands their anger, and mourns with them, than it should be expected for you to do the same. Just keep reminding them that you are sorry for their loss, without saying I understand, unless you truly do with your own loss.

Hugs,

Traci

 

Welcome to the Daniel Plan Kick Off Prior to Week One

Welcome to the Daniel Plan KICK OFF Prior to WEEK One

We are not embarking on just “another Bible Study” but a serious way that we can change our lives by learning how by Faith and education on how to dedicate our body to God in healthy way and become a true nutritional temple for the Holy Spirit. This is not a “quick fix” diet to drop pounds, but a faith based program to become closer to God, healthier in our Spiritual walk, including our physical body, and emotional health. We are not watching the scale; however, losing weight will be a by-product of our new healthier lifestyle.

We will meet on a weekly basis on www.mysaddleback.com  but you will do the Daniel Plan daily, as well as checking in with your accountability partner.

First a little bit of history as to why this was originally called the Daniel Plan by Rick Warren.

This was created originally with the Daniel Fast in mind, and this is what a fast consisted of:

What is the Daniel Fast?

The word fast indicates a period of abstinence, usually

involving food or drink, for religious and spiritual purposes.

The Daniel fast is a specific type of fast based on scriptures

from the book of Daniel, an Old Testament prophet. This

particular fast is a partial fast, where participants consume a

restricted diet.

The guidelines for the Daniel Fast are found in two places in

Daniel: 1. Daniel 1: 8-15 (New International Version) “But

Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and

wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to

defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to

show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told

Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned

your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse

than the other young men your age? The king would then

have my head because of you.” 

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had

appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah,

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but

vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our

appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal

food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you

see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better

nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

From this passage, we see that Daniel and the others only ate

fruits and vegetables and drank only water.

  1. Daniel 10: 2-3 (King James Version) “ In those days I Daniel

was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither

came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at

all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

Daniel refused to eat any “pleasant bread;” following that cue,

participants in the Daniel Fast avoid unleavened bread and

baked goods, along with wine, sweeteners, and meat.

Why is the Daniel Plan so effective?

To grow closer to God

As an act of worship

To prepare for worship

To prepare for ministry opportunities

To experience God’s revelation of His will

Additionally, there are certain health benefits to living a healthier lifestyle:

You rid your body of toxins

You develop healthier eating habits

You can lower high blood pressure

You eventually curb your cravings towards healthier food items

Assignments for the Introduction Week Daniel Plan Kick OFF.

  1. The textbook is located on our Facebook group, the Daniel Plan for Life:https://www.facebook.com/groups/danielplanforlife

2.  Look under the File section, the PDF book is there, along with the Journal, Cook Book, and Jump Start Guide. (Critical information).

3. Register under www.danielplan.com to track your daily progress

4. Consult your physician if there are any questions regarding your health before you start the Daniel Plan.

5. Read the Daniel Plan DETOX on page 29

6. In the Book, “The Daniel Plan 40 Days to a Healthier Life” read chapters 1-4 which covers the history etc…..

7. The first week reading assignment is Chapters 5-8 (this will be for Week 1)If you choose to read ahead.

8. Get an Accountability Partner, joining the Facebook page is also a great way to fellowship.

9. We repeat this study week after week, because to us it is a lifestyle plan, not just a Bible Study.

10. In this week before we start the actual Daniel plan read in your Journal pages 1-28.

Video’s are not required:

They are located at the very bottom of a very busy Daniel Plan Facebook page or

You can purchase the DVD videos from Saddleback, this website has the first week here at no cost.

http://www.faithgateway.com/daniel-plan-bible-study/#.VPTmcU10zcs

I purchased the DVD not too long ago from Saddleback Resources which covers all the weeks of the study. It is up to you, and again, not required. www.saddleback.com

See you next week!!!!

Traci

Lesson’s Learned While Grieving

Grieving What I have learned Along the Way

  1. Initially everything is a “fog” because we are in disbelief or shock as to what just happened. It is my belief that this is God’s way of protecting us, because if we had to process all the information at one time, it would literally blow our minds.
  2. People move on in life around you, time doesn’t stand still even though you feel like it does for you. You may have emotions centered on other people you care about moving on with their lives, as well as people will expect you to “move on with your life” which can only be done when you are ready. Growth happens, you may not be aware of it initially, but you do process through grieving, and reminders are not necessary.
  3. In the beginning you will want to “save” everything, find a special place to put your loved one’s items, and do save them. You may not be ready to “deal” with them now, and that is okay, just set them aside so that they are there when you are ready.
  4. Initially, your focus is on the date of death, you will focus on the loss, what you were doing, what that person was doing; the “day and time” will be your central focus that is okay. Later on, you focus will shift from that day to days that you had celebrated together in the past, birthdays, Christmas, family traditions. When the time comes, the death date may not want to be your central focus, and that is okay, in fact, that is good, it represents growth.
  5. Remember your loved one’s “treasured items” may simply be that, something that brought them pleasure. You may find that it brings you pain, a sad reminder, and that it does not bring you joy in viewing. That is okay; simply understand to them it was treasured, and that you do not have the same feelings or recollection. Put the item aside in your “special box” and you can process it at a different time.
  6. Initially, your emotional pain is so raw, that it feels “to the bone”, and that you literally will die from a broken heart. You will always have a void, but time does change things, there will be a day when you can smile again. You just have to move through the process.
  7. Grieving is a process. It comes in stages that we all must go through. You may delay it, but you cannot avoid it, embracing the stages and move through them. You cannot go around grief; it will be waiting for you later if you do not process it.
  8. You may feel the need to re-create or re-construct you loved one’s final moments, especially if it is an accident. That is normal, and for some can give closure. It is completely up to the individual. (Medical records etc.)
  9. It is completely normal to “be mad at God” for what happened in fact, sometimes expected. It is okay, and it is a normal emotion. Talk it through and sort out your feelings.
  10. The best thing you can do is share you experience with others that understand exactly what you are experiencing. Find a support group, if you need to talk to someone professionally, which is a healthy step to take. Example, “Compassionate Friends” is a very good group for those who have lost children.
  11. It is completely NORMAL for you to want to talk about your loved one. Expect that after time, those around you will feel uncomfortable talking about it with you. They expect you to “move on, get over it”. The reason is THEY are uncomfortable talking about your loved one with you, because they cannot fix it for you. People who are grieving will always talk about their loved ones; it keeps them “alive” in our mind. People that have also experienced grieving will want to talk about them with you, and will want you to listen to them about their loved ones, that is why support groups are so important.
  12. Compassion is the greatest gift you can give someone, and is given to you through the experiences you go through in life.
  13. Early in your “journey” because that is what the process is, find a special place for your loved one’s pictures that brought you joy, display them, and put up special keepsakes with them. Remember there will be items; including photographs that will bring you pain (pictures of the casket, accident scene, etc). Sometimes it is best to put those things that are extremely painful, feel free to put those things away for a time being). You can always add and put away things as you feel necessary and ready.
  14. Know that God is Good. We may not understand why things happen the way that they do, but that He is always in control and has Mercy and Grace. One of the greatest things for me to realize was that my loved one was not in any pain, even though I would have thought he would have been, the human body has an amazing ability to protect you, with blocking pain.