Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm officially in a winter-time funk. I find myself knowing that I should be doing something, only to put it on the back burner because "I don't want to". I am normally a very focused and motivated person so when I get into an "I don't want to" or "I don't care" mode, I know something has to change. I've read that more sunshine helps winter time blues and I'm going to try getting some (if that sun ever decides to shine) but I've decided that there is really only one way to truly get back to myself - spend time seeking what God wants me to do and then do it whether I want to or not.

I've been reading in Exodus about God's directions to Moses on the exact specifications of the sanctuary where He will dwell with His people. As I read, I wondered how all these directions could be important in my life. I realized that the point of these verses was that God's people needed to obey Him. Whether they understood why, or even understood at all, was not what was important - what was important was that they obeyed.

In the end of John, after receiving instruction from Jesus, Peter asks Jesus about John and what His plan is for Him. Jesus answers "...what is that to you? You must follow Me." Again, Jesus spoke to my heart - don't worry about what others say, don't worry about what others do, don't wait until you understand, don't try to use human understanding when seeking something so much bigger - just obey.

So, it is time to put on my big girl panties and obey.

Obey the leading in my heart even if I don't want to.

Obey what I know to be true even if I don't feel it.

Obey even when I have an I don't care attitude.

Obedience is what will bring us all into closer communion with our Father.

I hope and pray that 2010 will be a year that we can all make a decision to obey.

Happy New Year!
A Sweet Aroma
31 Dec 2009
Tracie Miles

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness." Galatians 5:22 (NIV)

A sweet thing happened recently. It was Sunday morning at church, and the congregation was standing, singing hymns. My precious little boy was beside me with his arms wrapped around my waist.Every few minutes, he pressed his face into my shirt. After several times, I finally determined he was sniffing me, so I leaned down and quietly asked why. He stood on his tip toes, put his face close to mine and whispered, "Because you smell like fruit, Mommy! It smells really good!" I smiled and knew what he smelled was one of my favorite perfumes which has a clean, sweet, fruity aroma.God turned my thoughts to how we're to be a pleasing aroma to Him, through thoughts, actions and behaviors carried out in the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:2 encourages us to "…live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (NIV).What does that really mean? How can we offer a fragrant offering that is pleasing to God and be a fragrance to those around us?There is a Hawaiian saying, "Tiny is the flower, yet it scents the grasses around it." What a great illustration of how the smallest things can have impactful results. The fact that the flower is small and seemingly insignificant, does not keep it from spreading the fragrance it was created to share. In fact, often the smallest flower can have the most potent fragrance!Sometimes we may feel like a tiny flower. We wonder if we are really capable of doing anything big or important for Christ. Insecurities, feelings of unworthiness or life challenges prevent us from seeing how God can use us to bless Him and impact others. It is not the size of the actions that matter, but the aroma that is created by those actions. Each time we do something in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness we offer a fragrant offering to God. And we help others learn how to be a little fragrant flower too, in a big world that can be pretty stinky.Each one of us can choose what fragrance we exude. It might be a good idea to ask from time to time, What type of fragrance am I leaving behind? How am I affecting the world around me with the gifts God gave me? Am I exuding a spiritual aroma that is a fragrant offering to Christ? Our lingering fragrance should be one of love and kindness, not anger and harshness. Patience and faithfulness, not intolerance and selfishness. And lifting people's spirits with joy and peace, not leaving them discouraged and broken. Our fragrance should be sowing seeds that point to the goodness of Christ.When God created flowers, He intentionally created them to give off a sweet aroma. And He created us just the same.

So, what fragrance are you wearing today?

Dear Lord, teach me how to smell like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:Sharing Grace: Recipes - Family Traditions - Gift Ideas by LeAnn RiceScared: A Novel on the Edge of the World by Tom DavisVisit Tracie's blog today Application Steps:"Spritz" on a sweet fragrance today that is pleasing t o Christ.Consider how you can "scent the grasses" in your life with God's love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.Reflections:Think about the spiritual fragrance you have been wearing lately, and the impact it has on others.Do you think God is pleased with your lingering fragrance?Power Verses:2 Corinthians 2:15, "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." (NIV)© 2009 Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hey all my bloggy friends - I've been missing you!! It's been so long since we've talked so I thought I'd post some pics of what I've been up to:
We celebrated Elizabeth's 14th birthday

We went sledding as a family
We spent time with our families as we celebrated Christmas. Here's me with my brothers and sisters. (Oh, and my nephew-to-be in Courtney's belly)

Mike and I also enjoyed special Christmas gifts from our children. Elizabeth made us pencils and a clock in her industrial tech class.

Nathan made a picture holder and purchased a pretty snowman ornament from the school store.
As you can see, its been a week of fun, fun and more fun. Hope your Christmas was a wonderful one too!
Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

1 Peter 2:21&23
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Convicting to the core

enough said

May your time with friends and family be blessed and treasured and your awareness of Christ be evident.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My weekend was full of partying! Liz's birthday is on Christmas Eve so we normally have her party a week beforehand as to keep it separated from Christmas. Here she is with her favorite gift of the party - HUGE Blueberry muffins!! She loves muffins and her aunt Peg picked a perfect gift! :)

Our love of food comes honestly and when you get the whole fam together, you can find them in the kitchen :)

On Sunday, we had our YAC Christmas party. While we waited for lunch to cook, we had a story time with the kiddos and talked about what Christmas is truly about. After I read the first book, I picked up another but before I began to read, Kaylee asked if she could read the story to the children. I was ecstatic at her enthusiasm and handed the book over. She read the story "How God Made Christmas". My eyes filled with tears as I watched her read a beautiful truth to her peers. Her excitement and willingness really made my day. What a wonderful example she set for all of us that day.

Hope you have a wonderful day and a blessed Christmas!
Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Everybody else is doing it!

If I don't I'll look like a freak!

Its not THAT bad.

If so and so can do it, why can't I?

I don't want to upset anyone.

God will forgive me.

I'll do it just this once.

I'll do better tomorrow or next week.

Do any of these sound familiar? They sure do to me because I've used each one when I'm looking to justify my evil actions. Here's a thought:

If I have to justify what I am doing, I should not being doing it in the first place!!

God has placed the Holy Spirit within us for many reasons, but one of those reasons is to convict us. There is a reason that we are feeling guilty about sinning and have a need to justify our actions - because God's sweet Spirit is trying to help us to follow Him.

Exodus 23:2
Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong...

Will you make the choice to listen to the Spirit today??

Have a great day and a great weekend
Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Life is worth living just because God created this day just for us.

No matter what you are facing today or how you are feeling - God is in control and He is good all the time.

Praise God for His faithfulness!

Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Everyone loves a good sale, Right? We'll let me tell you about a great one:

It’s a Hearts at Home
Black Friday after Black Friday Sale Dec. 7-11

Did you sleep in on Black Friday? Did you drag yourself out of bed, but still miss out on some awesome deals because you were standing in line too long at one store? Do you still have shopping to do, but dread the crowds, traffic, and cost? Let Hearts at Home help!

Their Black Friday sale has been extended to the week of December 7-11. Shop in the convenience of your own home and receive an unprecedented 25% off all of Hearts books and merchandise. They have great gifts for everyone in your family.

Find gifts for friends, teachers, bible study leaders, bus drivers, and everyone else on your list. You may even find something for yourself. This is a great time to stock up on all those Hearts at Home books you’ve been wanting to read.

Let your family know how much you would love a Hearts at Home gift certificate so you can use it for your Hearts at Home conference registration and/or Mom’s Night Out tickets.

Go to, choose your gifts, and enter code “HEARTGIFT” upon checkout. You will receive 25% off your total purchase (before tax and shipping).

I also want to fill you in on a couple of other great opportunities!
Be sure to check out Jill Savage's blog this month (she is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home). She is doing one giveaway A DAY through Christmas.

And, if you stop by the Hearts at Home blog December 8 - 11, you will have an opportunity to win a Heart's at Home prayer journal. The prayer journal is a brand new resource from Hearts at Home.

Merry Christmas from Hearts at Home!

Monday, December 7, 2009

We must get used to living as those who have truly died and risen with Christ so that our self, having been thoroughly deconstructed, can be put back together, not by the agendas that the world presses upon us but by God's Spirit.
N.T. Wright

Have a great day!
Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, December 3, 2009

As I read about the birth of Moses in Exodus 2:1-10 the other day, God spoke to my heart. In order to keep Moses alive after the order for all baby boys to be killed, Moses’ mother laid him in a waterproof basket in the Nile hoping that Pharaoh’s daughter would see him during her bath and take him in. Moses mother had to have been ecstatic when Pharaoh’s daughter did find him and requested her to take Moses and nurse him after she had found him in the river. What joy must have filled her heart. Sadness was not far away because verse 10 says that when Moses was old enough, Pharaoh’s daughter took him as her son. That meant that the excitement was over for Moses’ mother. Although I’m sure that she was very happy that her son’s life had been spared, her heart had to have been breaking as she let him go to be the son of this other woman.

Our ways are not God’s ways. God knows the bigger plan and the future – we do not. Moses’ mother had the choice, would she lose her faith because of her pain or would she give her hurt to God and receive His unmeasurable peace.

There are many people without jobs right now, and those who no longer have a home due to foreclosure. I attended a orphan benefit recently that opened my eyes to just how many children have no parents. I also became aware of how many have no home or food. We lose precious loved ones in sickness and death. Marriages and families fall apart. Children are being abused and abducted.

Yes, hard things happen but God does not leave or forsake us.

Rejoice in God; be full of Thanksgiving to Him! God is not asking us to rejoice in every circumstance we are in but to rejoice in Him and who He is. If we never received any additional blessing from God but the sacrifice of Jesus when He hung on the cross to die for us – He is worthy of our praise. Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious but to pray. Prayer is our lifeline to peace. If you want peace – get into the habit of prayer. Times of intently focused prayer each day are very important, but just as important are those prayers like “help me, Lord”, “go before me, Lord”, forgive me, Lord”, or “I can’t do this on my own, Lord” that are continuous throughout our day.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thank you, thank you for all of you that have been praying for me and my struggles with my current class. Monday night's session went really well and I could feel your prayers. I learned something really cool that I hadn't thought about before. We were discussing the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin in Luke 15 and the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.

Our professor asked what is humanly absurd about these parables. As I looked I realized that if I had one hundred sheep that would make me money, I wouldn't leave 99 of them to find one because I would risk losing the 99.

If I had a coin so valuable to me (assuming that I was poor and really needed it)that I would search high and low to find it, when I did find it I wouldn't invite all my friends and neighbors over for a party and spend the money.

If I was a farmer and wanted to make the most on my crops I would be careful where I spread my seeds and definitely wouldn't spread them where they could land on rocks or thistles.

In human terms, each parable seems crazy but in God's eyes they make total sense which is why Jesus shared them.

If we run away from God, He is willing to search for and seek us because of His amazing love.

When we have gone away but through God's seeking we come back, God doesn't hold a grudge but rejoices in being in communion with us.

God spreads His love seed everywhere, He does not discriminate, but it is our choice as to what kind of soil we are going to be.

Some things about God may seem absurd and confusing to us but we can always be assured that His way is the best way and putting aside our own understanding opens the door to a life lived in faithfulness.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yes, yes, I know - slacker is the only word to describe me since it has been over a week since I posted! I think this may be the longest I have went without posting since I started blogging but lack of time and internet issues kept getting in my way. Well, that is almost true - true, except for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday where I pretty much planted myself on a couch. I think this was the best long weekend that my family and I have enjoyed in a long time because guess what we did - NOTHING! Yep, that is what I said - NOTHING! With two kids in sports, work, school, Bible studies, and housework, my life is in RUN mode all the time. It was very weird just sitting around and I felt guilty at times but I pushed it all aside and hung out with my family. We played board games, watched movies, took naps, played basketball and ate. The only thing we didn't do together was watch football - I am outnumbered 3 to 1 in watching football so I still sat on the couch with them but got some homework done to keep me awake (at least for a little while).

I now feel rejuvenated and ready for my week.

Hope you were able to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family too

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ