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The Doer Dilemma

When my father retired from work 20 years ago, I remember how he struggled to feel settled and to find a sense of purpose apart from being a “working” man.

For a time I think Dad felt a little lost (although he probably would never admit it). The sense of responsibility and achievement he got from having somewhere to “go” and something to “do” each day was gone. The recognition by others for his contributions, the seeking of his experienced counsel by work colleagues, and the sense of pride in a job well done was gone. It was sad for me to see Dad feeling “out of place” for a while.

Many years later (in 2010), my turn came to retire from work. For years I had longed for that day to come—the day when I could step off the “treadmill” of my labour and effort, and just be. I was so excited and grateful to be able to retire in my early 40s—thanks to my wonderful husband.

Older friends warned me that I might feel “lost” for a while—and they were right—I did! I remember questioning my whole existence and asking myself, “What is my purpose in life? What should I be doing”? My sense of self-worth took a hit because my identity had become hard wired to what I did. I thrived on being a doer and got much of my value from what I accomplished, instead of who I was. I had become a human DOing instead of a human BEing.

Have you ever owned a treadmill, run on one or maybe just seen one in the window of your local gym as you passed by with your coffee and donut—no judgment intended! Then you understand what they are designed to do—to generate EFFORT!

Treadmills create motion and generate a certain type of commotion—a symphony of sorts: of pounding feet, quickened breath and racing hearts. What a great picture they are of exertion and effort—of running for miles without actually getting anywhere.

Of course “doing” and “effort” is a necessary part of life and it is good for us to delight in the work of our hands—after all, God does (Zeph. 3:17, Psalm 104:31). As Christians, we are called to DO the works of Christ, but our identity—our very sense of worth—is not found in all our DOING—it is found in all our BEING.

And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.

2 Cor. 6:18 (NASB)

How many people do you know are busy but barren; engaged but empty? This is the very definition of frustration.

Stepping off the “works” treadmill does not mean quitting on our responsibilities: our jobs, our families, our ministries etc. What it does mean is this: that our acceptance and worth in the eyes of God is not based on the mere ticking of boxes on a “to do” list each day, nor in doing the works of God alone; it is found in BEING the work of God and finding your value in this.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)

Our sense of worth and acceptance should never be based on the merits of what we accomplish or in any position we hold or role we fill. If so, then our worth and value goes up and down depending on how well we think we are “performing” or how much we are accepted or praised by others for what we do.

Our identity comes from who we are: dearly loved children of a loving Heavenly Father! Our worth comes from the value He has placed on us (and if you’re not sure how much you are valued, it was high enough for Jesus to want to die for you)!

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Rom. 5:8 (NIV)

Out of a relationship with God, our hearts settle into BEING a son or a daughter of God who is led in all their efforts rather than driven by them.

We will experience more joy; know more peace and become more effective in all our “doing” if we stop for a moment and simply and profoundly practise BEING in God. Here is where our true identity and worth is affirmed and where true fruit bearing momentum begins!

Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life,
and he will provide for you what you desire the most.
Give God the right to direct your life,
and as you trust him along the way
you’ll find he pulled it off perfectly!

Psalm 37:4-5 (TPT)

Clear some space each day to develop your spiritual life–read or listen to God’s Word, pray in the Holy Spirit, worship, sit quietly in His presence and listen. Reset your focus each day so that in all your “doing” you can reach your desired destination.

But those who wait for God’s grace
will experience divine strength.
They will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles,
run their race without growing weary,
and walk through life without giving up. 

Isaiah 40:31 (TPT)

Tracey Pekkanen

Featured

Don’t Despise the Asses

Sometimes you need to go around the block before your place is ready.

Over the years I’ve thought about the life of Joseph. We can all take some comfort from his tests and trials, because they were not the end of Joseph’s story, but rather the beginning.

Joseph certainly had some spectacularly amazing opportunities to abandon or to reject what God had shown him about his future. I wonder if Joseph recognised that the trials and tests that came were not detours away from what God had shown him—but rather stepping-stones toward it?

Not long ago I was driving somewhere when I decided to stop at a local cafe to get a bite to eat. When I arrived, there were no available car parks anywhere in the street—not one! As I drove to the top of the crowded street and turned around to make my way back down the street again, a single car pulled out of a spot, just as I was approaching. Immediately I heard these words:

Sometimes you need to go around the block before your place is ready”.

Joseph went around the block a few times (Gen. 37-41). As I am writing this, I can almost see some of you—faceless and nameless—yet I see you. For some of you it has been a long and difficult road and you are wondering why. The plans and purposes of God are not thwarted just because it feels like you’re in a holding pattern, waiting to land! You’ve not been forgotten. These are the times to draw near to Him and feel His heart for you and hear His voice!

Before Saul ever knew God had prepared a place for him as the first King of Israel, he found himself on a journey that he did not expect he’d have to take. (Here’s where the asses in the title of this message take centre stage!)

Saul’s father (Kish) owned some donkeys that went missing one day. Kish sent his son Saul out with a servant to find the donkeys. They travelled for 3 days from town to town and through the hill country of Ephraim. At each place they arrived (hopeful they would find the lost donkeys), “they found them not. Was Saul getting weary of this journey? Yes! Did it appear to be a fruitless, failed effort? Yes! So much so that on the third day Saul said to the servant: “Come, let’s go back (home), or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.” (1 Sam.9:5)

I’m sure Saul would have looked at the situation very differently had he realised that this was to be the most important journey of his life! You see, it was not a detour—it was a stepping-stone.

But here’s the irony of it all: it was those few lost donkeys that God used to bring Saul face to face with the prophet Samuel for the first time. A detour that was not a detour after all! There was purpose in the inconvenience.

(Note: King Saul did eventually mess things up, quite royally (pardon the pun), but that doesn’t take away from the truths found in his story.)

Just when Saul was about to give up and return home to his father, he ran into the prophet Samuel (quite literally) at the gates of the very last town he entered on his search for those annoying donkeys.

Saul enquires of Samuel about the lost donkeys. Saul was focused and preoccupied with getting back what had been lost (or stolen). But I love Samuel’s response: “As for the donkeys… do not worry about them; they have been found” (1 Sam. 9:20). There was a greater purpose to Saul’s 3 lost days chasing donkeys. Trust God to bring about His purposes for your lifein, through and despite those inconvenient places and difficult seasons.

Worrying about what we can’t control (or what is not ours to control) can distract from what God has put right in front of us.

Saul did not recognise that he was not in that town because of some missing donkeys—he was there to step into his place as the first King of Israel.

The day before Saul had even arrived in town, God had set up a meeting with him and Samuel:

About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines…

1 Samuel 9:15-16 (NIV)

Sometimes we can go through difficult times where we feel like God doesn’t even know we are in town. Yes He does! Don’t whine about the lost donkeys—they really might be far more necessary than you think.

God Himself had set something aside for Saul—He had reserved Saul’s portion ahead of time. Thank God for a few lost donkeys!

“…Bring the portion which I gave you, of which I said to you, ‘Set it apart.‘ ” So the cook took up the thigh with its upper part and set it before Saul. And said, “Here it is, what was kept back. It was set apart for you. Eat; for until this time it has been kept for you…” And Saul dined with Samuel that day.

1 Samuel 9:23-24 (NIV)

What amazing things your Heavenly Father has prepared for you to walk in and reserved for you ahead of time. Remain faithful where you are, and let God move you, at the right time, into those good things. So don’t despise the lost asses—they might just be leading you to God’s prepared place.

Tracey Pekkanen

Response Under Pressure

It’s not the challenge that defines us—it’s the victory!

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

James 1:2-4 (MSG)

Really? Consider tests and trials a “sheer gift”? Another translation says “count it all joy when you fall into various trials”. Yet the natural response of most people to challenges, tests and trials is the opposite! Let’s face it, no-one wants to experience times of pressing. It’s uncomfortable! Yet pressing can produce a depth, maturing and refining that overflows to every area of our lives and is precious in the sight of God.

Take the oil of the olive for example. The olive fruit cannot be eaten straight off the tree—it is far too bitter!! The olive has to go through a process to make it useful and to produce the oil (without the bitter taste). This process does not happen overnight—it takes time. It begins with washing, breaking the flesh of the olive, soaking it (in water or a salty solution). All of this is designed to draw out a bitter chemical that resides in the flesh of the olive. And then for the precious oil, it can only be produced when the flesh of the olive is pressed.

Every challenge faced must be faced with faith and an expectation of a good outcomeaccording to the promises of God to us:

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

Romans 8:28 (AMP)

The Apostle Paul had a good expectation that despite every challenge—no matter what he faced—he would remain standing—and the last man standing wins!

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed
we are perplexed, but not in despair
persecuted, but not forsaken
struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Pressing brings us into tight places, but it has the ability to bring great growth and a maturity that can only come by overcoming in the experiences of life.

I was recently reminded of a vacation I had in Mexico over 25 years ago.

I was studying in the U.S. at the time and when the summer holidays came, I was invited to join a family on their summer vacation in Mexico. I had never been to Mexico, so I jumped at the chance to go.

We stayed in a cabin somewhere up in the mountains and some fun activities were planned—like horse riding and water skiing. But things didn’t turn out as expected!

The water skiing was a disaster of hugely embarrassing proportions—so I will leave that story for another day.

On the day we went horse riding, our Mexican guide selected a horse for each of us (the selection being based purely on our riding abilities—of which I had none). I got saddled with a donkey—an ass—while my friends (who were more experienced riders than me) were given “real” horses.

If you have ever heard tales of donkeys having a stubborn streak, it is true! My donkey was one stubborn jackass.

Our guide led the way along the pebbly dirt trail up the mountain. My two friends followed closely behind him on their horses, and then me and the donkey brought up the rear.

The troubles began when the donkey decided it didn’t like the view of the horse’s rear ends (and I don’t blame it), so it squeezed its way in between the two of them. The trail was narrow enough that the horses refused to move over and allow us some room. The squeeze was so tight that my body was continually being knocked against the sides of the horses. Let me just say that the “pressing” I experienced was uncomfortable and I probably sported some bruises because of it.

After a while the donkey decided it wanted a better view and it walked us both over to the very edge of the path—the edge that looks down over the side of the mountain to the sudden stop at the bottom! Despite my best efforts to pull on the reins and move the donkey away from the edge, it continued to walk along it. I won’t deny I was VERY uncomfortable. There were no safety railings; no comforting barriers: just my intense hope in the donkey’s sure-footedness and God’s plans for my life extending beyond that day!!!

To my relief the donkey and I moved away from the trail’s edge onto more secure footings. But just when I thought the pressure was over, that ass no longer wanted to continue up the mountain and turned us both around with quickened pace and headed back down the trail! I was now going in the WRONG direction and no amount of tugging on the reins or yelling at it would change that donkey’s mind! (Thank God for the guide who heard the commotion and came back to grab hold of the reins and lead us both back up the mountain).

What a day! What a journey! What a stupid jackass!

Now the purpose of my story is this: eventually the narrow place of pressing that I had been travelling on, broke open into a wide, green, mountain-top expanse. The uncomfortable narrow place—the place of squeezing and pressing and pressure—was suddenly behind me.

I don’t know about you, but I really dislike the word “tribulation”! It makes me involuntarily tighten my cheeks and brace for something I’m sure I’m not going to like. Tribulation simply means the trials of life, and more accurately it means: a “pressing”, “pressure” and “narrow straits”.

My experience with the donkey that day positioned me in the middle of a tribulation parable. I was in a narrow strait where I felt squeezed, pressed and uncomfortable, but I overcame!

When Jesus spoke the words: Be of good cheer for I have OVERCOME the world, it was His response to tribulation that comes by being in this world. Jesus warned us that it would be part of the human experience (just as it was a part of His)—but we have a promise of OVERCOMING in it!

When our trust is in the Goodness of God and His love for us, we recognise what trials and pressing times are: opportunities for us to overcome and to grow (Romans 8:28).

With God, EVERY trial—every experience of pressing and of pressure (irrespective of its desired intent)—leads us into greater areas of influence, capacity and freedom.

Jesus’ response to tribulation was not just that He had overcome the world, but that we should “be of good cheer” because through Him we also overcome! If you are in a trial right now, be in it with faith that you are in it to win it!

Cheer” is actually the Greek word meaning “courage”. When Jesus tells us to “be of good cheer” in response to the trials of life—the narrow, pressing places—He is giving us a reason for courage: the assurance of victory because of what He accomplished for us! If you are in Christ then you have been given the right and the authority to overcome!

The donkey in my story wanted to give up and head back down the mountain—back to a place of comfort and familiarity. But then it would never have arrived at the wide open plain—the grassy field where there was greater provision and where horses could run unhindered.

Sometimes we feel trapped and want to quit when pressure comes. Don’t quit, just lay hold of the promises of God and trust His love for you in it (Hebrews 10:23).

When we lean into God and speak His Word into the situations of our lives, we apply a greater pressure against the pressure. Lay hold of His promises and don’t quit or turn back. You will come out into your wide open place!

At the end of every narrow, pressing place is breakthrough! Your faith is the assurance of that, so take courage and be of good cheer because with Jesus, the outcome is rigged and you win!

Tracey Pekkanen

What is Truth and Who Gets the Last Word?

Truth is a thing that is immortal and eternal

—Flavius Josephus.

It is probably fair to say that most people like to have the last word and that many an argument has been given its momentum because of it.

Recently my attention was drawn to some verses in Ecclesiastes that describe the purpose of one who speaks truth and who gets to have the last word.

Over the years I can recall some interesting experiences sharing truth with people. Truth—I’m talking about God’s version of it—can make some people MAD as hell—especially if it messes with their world view. Why is that? The Bible does talk about the state of hearts that are blind to truth (Acts 28:27 / 2 Cor. 4:4).

To an unbelieving world, truth is a very relative term because it cannot agree on the author of truth. When the ultimate source of truth is denied, what is left is only opinion—yours, mine and theirs—and opinions are all relative if not anchored in TRUTH. Relative to what? Well that there is the issue.

Clearly some things in life are meant to be relative. For example, our taste in food. I like dark chocolate but you might like white chocolate. So who is right? Neither! Because taste is relative to each individual person’s taste buds. Social etiquette across cultures is relative to the culture, for example what is considered socially acceptable or simply benign in one culture might be considered impolite or downright offensive in another. It is relative to the culture and is neither “right” or “wrong”.

But when “good and evil” and “right and wrong” are reduced to arguments of “moral relativity”, then fallible opinion becomes the adjudicator instead of infallible truth. If there is no ultimate standard of truth, truth becomes the version of it that wins out on the day.

Truth is not relative. It does not bend to popular opinion. It is not swayed by emotion or “moral” argument. It does not alter depending on changed conditions. It is FIXED and it is ETERNAL.

Standing firm in the heavens and fastened to eternity is the Word of God.

Psalm 119:89 (TPT)

The ultimate source of truth is God—

The sum of Your Word is truth [the full meaning of all Your precepts], And every one of Your righteous ordinances endures forever.

Psalm 119:160 (AMP)

For the Word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.

Psalm 33:4 (NIV)

There are not different versions of the truth—only different beliefs and opinions.

Facts on the other hand are a different kettle of fish. Facts are not necessarily fixed—they can be changed or altered. It might be a fact that I spilled the milk on the floor, but the milk is not still on the floor because I did something to change it—after the fact.

Over millennia, speaking the truth—even when spoken in love—has divided families and separated friends. But Jesus said this would happen—that truth would divide (Matt. 10:35). Jesus doesn’t only speak truth, He is Truth (John 14:6). To know Him—to experience who He is and to walk with Him is to walk with Truth (3 John 1:4). This is why hypocrisy in religion is so repellent—turning many away. It is a living relationship with the living God that testifies of Christ and points to the Truth.

There is pressure in this world to conform to a humanistic (instead of a God-centred) world view of truth and right. It is evident everywhere you look. But it should be no surprise at all because truth has never been the diet of popular opinion (Rom. 3:4). Strange as it may sound, Jesus was unpopular (despite the many miracles He performed and the wisdom with which He spoke). Imagine that—God was unpopular (John 15:18).

The Last and Final Word

Getting back to the start of this message and the verses in Ecclesiastes about the purpose of one who speaks truth and who it is who gets to have the last word—

“Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught others knowledge. He weighed, examined, and arranged many proverbs. The Preacher did his best to find the right words and write the plain TRUTH. The words of the wise prod us to live well. They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together. They are given BY GOD, the one Shepherd. But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. THE LAST AND FINAL WORD IS THIS: FEAR GOD AND DO WHAT HE SAYS.”

Ecclesiastes 12:9-13 (AMP)

It is no surprise that ultimately God gets the last word. So for anyone who believes in God and in the power of His Wordand speaks it—you get to have the last word too!

So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11 AMP

But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we preach.

Romans 10:8

Begin experiencing your personal walk with Truth today—

Jesus explained, “I am the Way, I am the TRUTH, and I am the Life. No one comes next to the Father except through union with me. To know Me is to know My Father too.

John 14:6 TPT

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

Romans 10:9-10 CSB

A Prayer for you to say

If you have never asked Jesus into your life, there is no time like now. Simply pray this prayer out loud from your heart:

Lord Jesus,

For too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior.

Amen.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], they are a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].

2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMP)

If you have prayed this prayer of salvation, congratulations! Today is the start of your new beginning in Christ Jesus and in the discovery of Truth. If you would like me to send you some materials (including a Bible if you don’t already have one), please leave a comment below or send me a private message on one of my social media sites.

Tracey Pekkanen


More than Courage

Encouragement can be the difference between getting up, or giving up.

In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men had returned to their city to find it had been attacked by an enemy while they were gone. Their houses had been destroyed and their wives and children taken captive —“both young and old”. They had lost EVERYTHING, and it was more than they could bear! “David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.”

To add further insult to injury, David’s own men—his friends—turned against him.

David needed courage, and there was not one soul he could turn to for hope—so he “encouraged himself in the Lord”!

Encouragement can be the difference between getting up, or giving up. It has the power to lift us up and brings hope to the soul—and out of hope COURAGE arises.

The purpose of encouragement is to put courage on display—to make it stand up and stand out: en-COURAGE-ment!

The opposite is true of DIS-courage-ment—it plunders courage! Discouragement is the loss of a GOD-inspired (or GOOD-inspired) perspective, and it paints a grim and distorted picture of the future.

If you are feeling discouraged today—if your courage has been plundered and your heart is heavy—if you have lost hope for a brighter future, I want to remind you that Jesus loves you and He has a very different perspective for you to see: one that will infuse your soul with hope and give birth to courage!

If I can encourage you in anything, it would be for you to do as David did and encourage yourself in the Lord!

How do I do that? Encouragement comes from hearing what God has to say about a matter:

Whatever was written beforehand is meant to instruct us in how to live. The Scriptures impart to us ENCOURAGEMENT and inspiration so that we can live in hope and endure all things.

Romans 15:4 (TPT)

Open your Bible and read or listen to the Word of God. Getting God’s perspective changes your own.

Secondly, pray in the Holy Spirit:

But you, beloved, build yourselves up on the foundation of your most holy faith [continually progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], pray in the Holy Spirit

Jude 1:20 (AMP)

Thirdly, practice being still; quieting your thoughts as you lift up your heart to God. We’ve lost the art of listening and waiting for Him to speak. He is waiting for you:

But those who wait for the LORD [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.

Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)

Jesus wants you to draw near. He wants you to receive hope and find your courage by having an expectation of His GOOD for your life!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.

Romans 15:13 (AMP)

One last thing—and it’s very important:

In the example of David, he sought the Lord. David and his men found their courage in the Word of the Lord for their situation. They eventually overthrew the enemy, getting back EVERYTHING that was stolen! Did you hear that—EVERYTHING! But I want to bring this to your attention: in their moment of despair, discouragement hijacked their imaginations and painted a very bleak and very different outcome in their minds to what God would eventually do.

Feelings and emotions need to come with a warning label! They are not always your friend! Emotions have no brains: they don’t think; they’re not logical; they’re not always reasonable! They just “feel”… and feelings, not anchored in TRUTH, mislead!

Your Word is truth! So make them holy by the truth.

John 17:17 (TPT)

Tracey Pekkanen

Moving Forward

The design and intent of pressure—when applied to a moving object—is to bring that object to a STANDSTILL!

At some point in our lives, most of us will experience pressure that will cause us (even if only for a moment) to stop in our tracks.

When Moses led the children of Israel out from under the bondage of Egypt, the people were afraid—they were terrified. Why? Because a terrifying pressure (in the form of the whole Egyptian army) was pursuing them with fierce intent. The end goal: to stop the children of Israel in their tracks; to prevent them from MOVING FORWARD; and to force them to TURN BACK.

In the midst of all this, Moses stands up to give the people a pep talk—like any good leader would . He tells them to STAND STILL and see the deliverance of the Lord! Now that sounds like good advice, right? But coming to a standstill and expecting God to do something was not what God had in mind.

So God spoke to Moses saying: “Why are you crying out to me”—or you could say it this way: “What do you want me to do about it?”. God continued saying: “Tell the children of Israel to MOVE FORWARD”.

Moving forward with God into the unknown can be daunting. We like the security of the familiar; we like knowing where we’re going and what we will encounter when we get there. When God is wanting you to MOVE FORWARD into something unfamiliar; to pull up your proverbial tent pegs and prepare to step out in faith, don’t be surprised if there is pressure behind and opposition ahead.

Not only was there the pressure of the Egyptian army bearing down on the children of Israel from behind, but they also faced an obstacle ahead—the Red Sea. It seemed that the only thing they could do was to STOP; to come to a STANDSTILL! They could not turn back and they could not go forward—it felt like they were trapped—stuck—with no way out!

But the way out was to MOVE FORWARD—to keep a forward momentum!

When God told Moses to tell the people to move forward, He gave Moses a game plan that would take “team Israel” through to the victory! He told Moses: “stretch out your ROD over the SEA”.

The word for “sea” literally means “THE ROAR”. Sometimes when we feel stuck; when the pressure feels unbearable and we cannot see a way forward; situations of life can ROAR at us in deafening tones designed to provoke fear and feelings of hopelessness.

But you are never truly stuck! There is always a way forward with God—ALWAYS!

You’ve not come to a wilderness experience to be left to die—you’ve come to pass through it!

The “ROD”—the one that God told Moses to stretch out over the roar—was a symbol of Moses’ God-given authority.

Your next move is not for your life to come to a grinding halt in the dust—it’s for you to keep a forward momentum (WITH GOD)! Position yourself in His Word! Say what God says: about your healing… about your financial situation… about your future… about you!

Silence the roar just as Jesus did! He spoke to the storm on the Sea of Galilee and declared with authority: PEACE! BE STILL! Jesus—the Word of God—spoke to that situation! This is the breakthrough.

The design and intent of pressure—when applied to a moving object—is to bring that object to a STANDSTILL!

But you’ve been designed to MOVE FORWARD and to take back lost and new ground—to SILENCE THE ROAR!

Jesus is on your side, and if you don’t quit, YOU WIN—so stretch out your rod over the roar—and keep MOVING FORWARD! You will cross over to the other side!

Blessings!

Tracey Pekkanen

God is Faithful

When the morning calls and you rise to begin your day—what do you see?

Looking through the window of the day ahead, our view is sometimes filled with unending tasks and constant demands—of problems and challenges to be met and overcome?

No matter your location, vocation or situation, there is a view that God wants you to see first thing every morning. He wants to fill your gaze with this one thing!

In the book of Lamentations in the Bible, the prophet Jeremiah was lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem (his city). He was hurting and he was greatly distressed at the view before him. Jeremiah cried—he wept! Lamentations actually means “to cry aloud” and “to weep”.

But then something happened to Jeremiah’s view. The situation hadn’t changed—but what Jeremiah began to focus on did! Something else caught his attention and the view out the “window” of his day was transformed. This is what Jeremiah said:

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new EVERY MORNING; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him; to the soul who seeks Him.

Lamentations 3:21-25 (NKJV)

There is an old saying that “the eyes are the window to the soul”. What we fix our gaze on matters—it affects us.

Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm

Colossians 3:2 (TPT)

So when the morning calls and you rise to begin your day—what do you see?

Tracey Pekkanen

Be Still and Know

Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalm  46:10 (NKJV)

There is something immediately calming… immediately soothing about these words: Be still and know that I am God! It is a reminder of who He is—GOD! Surely we know this right! Surely we know who He is! It seems sometimes we all need a little reminder.

The meaning and context of this verse needs to be unpacked for us so that we can grasp the relevance of its message for our lives today:

Be STILL
relax, cease, let alone, withdraw, be quiet, slacken your hands (stop fighting, striving, struggling)

Even though this verse serves as a reminder for our own lives—for us to be still and quieten down our souls before the presence of God; to pray and meditate on His goodness and on His Word—there is something more that this verse is actually saying.

The context of: “Be still and know that I am God”, is of war—of the nations fighting against God’s people (verses 8 and 9). Then God steps in and speaks in verse 10, effectively saying: “Enough! Stop it! I am God and I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in all the earth.” This verse is about God pulling rank on His enemiesand on the enemies of His people!

Then in the very next verse (as if with a shout of victory) God’s people respond saying:

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah!

Psalm 46:11 (NKJV)

When Jesus rose from the dead, He defeated the devil—He triumphed over him and made a public spectacle of him (Colossians 2:15). It is now our voicethe voice of every believer in Christ Jesuswho speaks into every work of darkness: strife, sickness, disease, poverty, oppression… and pulls rank saying: “Enough! Stop it! Peace! Be still!”.

We are the voice of God in the earth and just as God Himself spoke in Psalm 46:10, we have been given authority in the earth—and we exercise that authority by speaking God’s Word.

Yet I will still respond to those beautiful words: “Be still and know that I am God” also as a constant reminder to step back and cease from futilityfrom fighting, striving, pushing and pullingand relax, quieten my soul and cease from my own weary and anxious effortsAND KNOW MY GOD in the moment!

Surrender your anxiety!
Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.
I am the God above all the nations,
and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.

Psalm 46:10 (TPT)

I am humbled and quieted in your presence.
Like a contented child who rests on its mother’s lap, I’m your resting child and my soul is content in you.

Psalm 131:2 (TPT)

Remember, you are greatly blessed, highly favoured and deeply loved!

Tracey Pekkanen

Psalm 139

He knows everything about you. You are never out of God’s sight. His desire is always for your good, and He knows all too well how to bring together what’s missing or lacking so that your life reflects more perfectly His glory and His purpose.

Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
and you understand my every thought
before it even enters my mind.
3–4 You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
and you know all the words I’m about to speak
before I even start a sentence!
You know every step I will take
before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
and in kindness you follow behind me
to spare me from the harm of my past. 
With your hand of love upon my life, 
you impart a blessing to me.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
Your understanding of me
brings me wonder and strength.
Where could I go from your Spirit?
Where could I run and hide from your face?
If I go up to heaven, you’re there!
If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!
If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there!
If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting!
10 Wherever I go, your hand will guide me;
your strength will empower me.
11 It’s impossible to disappear from you 
or to ask the darkness to hide me, 
for your presence is everywhere,
bringing light into my night.
12 There is no such thing as darkness with you. 
The night, to you, is as bright as the day; 
there’s no difference between the two.
13 You formed my innermost being,
shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, 
and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.
14 I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. 
It simply amazes me to think about it!
How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
15 You even formed every bone in my body 
when you created me in the secret place,
carefully, skilfully shaping me from nothing to something.
16 You saw who you created me to be
before I became me!
Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
the number of days you planned for me
were already recorded in your book.
17–18 Every single moment you are thinking of me!
How precious and wonderful to consider
that you cherish me constantly in your every thought!
O God, your desires toward me are more 
than the grains of sand on every shore! 
When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.
19 O God, come and slay these bloodthirsty, murderous men!
For I cry out, “Depart from me, you wicked ones!”
20 See how they blaspheme your sacred name 
and lift up themselves against you, but all in vain!
21 Lord, can’t you see how I despise those who despise you?
For I grieve when I see them rise up against you.
22 I have nothing but complete hatred and disgust for them.
Your enemies shall be my enemies!
23 God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
Examine me through and through;
find out everything that may be hidden within me. 
Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.

24 See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—
the path that brings me back to you.

The Passion Translation

Thoughts and Imaginations

Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.

Albert Einstein

What a gift God has given us to be able to imagine and see into the realm of possibility.

As a young child, I was a dreamer—imagining far-away fantastical places where adventure awaited. I would look up at a rainbow that adorned the sky with its colour and light, and wonder what lay beyond it. I’m still a dreamer—imagining new adventures in God that project into my future.

Imagination

The act or power of forming new ideas, images and concepts not yet present to the senses.

We wouldn’t be alive if we couldn’t think, dream and imagine! No other creature on earth has this ability: it is unique to mankind—because we have been created in the image of a creative God.

The Bible has a great deal to say about our imaginations—being either illuminated with God’s light—or darkened, confused and vain. 

Did you know that your imagination is linked to the creative process of your faith?

When God Himself spoke creation into existence in Genesis 1, the words He spoke embodied His thoughts and imaginations. Before God said: “Let there be…” He had first seen (through the eyes of faith) the very image of what He was calling into being. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:1-3 (KJV)

The Greek word for “Word” in the above verse is “Logos” which is a word uttered by a living voice but it also embodies a concept or idea.

So before God ever called into being the beasts of the field or the birds of the air etc.—He had first seen and imagined those things. This is the exact same faith that “calls those things that be not, as though they were” and the exact same faith that “looks not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are NOT seen (Romans 4:17  and 2 Corinthians 4:18)

How do we look at things that are NOT SEEN

When King David wanted to build God’s temple, David imagined it according to the design God gave him and he rolled it over and over in his mind, his thoughts and his imaginations:

Then he (David) called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God.

1 Chronicles 22:6-10 (KJV)

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts. Take heed now; for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.

1 Chronicles 28:9-10 (KJV)

Most of the battles we fight are in the arena of our thoughts. There is a very good reason we are instructed in God’s Word to: “be transformed by the renewing of our minds” and to “cast down imaginations… bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (Romans 12:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The reason is this:

What people continually think on and imagine will ultimately shape their destiny!

Have you ever noticed that when fear tries to creep in, pictures or images form in your mind? Fear wants us to “imagine the worst”. Remember the man Job in the Bible who, in all his troubles, said this:

What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.

Job 3:25 (KJV)

I wonder how many times Job yielded his thoughts and imaginations to the things he dreaded?

The boundary of our lives is not on the outside, IT IS ON THE INSIDE! Pushing out the boundaries means removing the limitations on the inside of us—limitations in the way we think which determine how far we can see and how far we can run!

God wants us walking in the possibilities of the impossible… and all things are possible to the one who believes (Mark 9:23). Imagine that!

Abraham is a perfect example of limits on the inside that had to be removed! God called him to be the father of many nations… but there was a big problem (at least from Abraham’s perspective—well actually Abraham’s perspective was the problem). God had promised Abraham and Sarah a child, yet they were both old and Sarah was barren.

There were limitations on the inside of Abraham that had to go—boundaries that needed to be pushed out of the way so that Abraham could enter into his destiny in God! The imagination of Abraham’s heart needed to be renewed to a NEW IMAGE.

Abraham had to not consider the things he could see—his and Sarah’s old age and Sarah’s barrenness—and learn to consider what he could not see!  God taught Abraham to fix the gaze of his inner eye (the imagination of his heart) on the picture God gave him:

God took him (Abraham) outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Genesis 15:5 (NIV)

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.

Genesis 22:17 (NIV)

The image of offspring as countless as the stars and as the sand had to first develop on the inside of Abraham. Abraham had to take the limits off what he thought was possible with God!

Our born-again spirit is in constant communion with the Holy Spirit and believes, without question, everything God says! Our spirit man can soar to great heights and has never lost a battle! But it is the inward limitations of our thinking that is like a ball and chain that holds us back, when we were destined to soar. That ball and chain thinking says: You can’t… You will never be… You will never have…!

When we take the Word of God and meditate on itpicturing it, seeing it; IT CHANGES THE PICTURE ON THE INSIDE OF USANDIT IS OUT OF THAT PLACE THAT FAITH SPEAKS!

The Apostle Paul prayed for the saints at Ephesus concerning the removal of inward limitations and boundaries that kept them from clearly seeing and knowing all that God had for them:

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding [i.e. thoughts and imaginations] being enlightened [i.e. flooded with light and made to see]; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

Ephesians 1:17-18 (NKJV)

Let this be your prayer and declaration for your life. Let the image of what God has said expand your inward borders, leading you into a destiny well imagined!

Tracey Pekkanen

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