Striving for Excellence

Many times in my life I’ve been told that I like things done right and that my expectations are quite high. I have to admit that to be true. I’m not perfect. I can’t give out perfection therefore I do not expect perfection, but I do expect to give and to be given the best possible. That may be a high call. But guess what? That’s what we are called to do.

The reality is that we do expect Excellence from everyone around us, including God. When God doesn’t answer our prayers, or if the answer is not what we wanted it to be, we feel some kind of way about it. When we call a customer service line and the answer is not what we feel it should be we are less than pleased. However when someone asks us to step up to the plate and follow our own high  standards and we don’t, then the line of excuses begin. The first thing we say is that we are not perfect. We excuse ourselves saying that the expectations are too high.

Titus 3:8 this is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

We want quality, but we have a sense of entitlement where we “deserve” to be given what we have not worked for.

Be honest with yourself today, are you giving your best in every area? I know I’m not. Are you even attempting to do your best or are you coasting through life? Sometimes I do.

Do you expect what you don’t give? Sometimes I do.

Today I invite you to search your heart and see where your expectations are. Are they realistic? What are you willing to do or stop doing to strive for excellent for the kingdom?

1 Corinthians 12:30-31 (NIV) do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

Thank you God for giving us your best every day. Even when we don’t deserve it and when we don’t give even a portion of our best to you who are deserving of it all.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Until next time, be blessed…


In Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

Living our life with purpose

I was talking to a friend about things we were looking for in future mates. My friend made the comment, “ I don’t care if he’s a garbage man, as long as he’s the best garbage man than he can be and it’s proud to be one. But if he comes home complaining everyday about the garbage and doing nothing to do something about it, then I would have a problem.” This comment got me thinking.

Sometimes we hate where we are just because we don’t know where we’re going. I like the way this is spelled out in The Message version for Proverbs 28:18 “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.”

Once you discover your purpose in life and what you have been called to do, it doesn’t matter where you are and what you’re doing because you know that’s not your destination. Where you are can be a training element of where you’re going or a temporary way of provision until you can get to where God has called you to be.

I met this young man in a leadership class. He works at a fast food restaurant. He feels like God has called him to be a businessman and to eventually own a franchise of that said restaurant. I honestly don’t know his age, but he didn’t look a year older than 23. He had already gone from front line staff to a management position. He was trying to take as many courses in management and leadership as he could, to prepare for the vision he had. Now, fast food work is not easy. I know, I did some during my college years. He talked about his work with joy, not because he was enjoying the day to day, but because he saw it as an opportunity to learn everything better for when he owned the store.

With the economical issues we are facing, we all have had to make adjustments and sometimes God has steered us into places that are not what we dreamed about. Instead of looking at these places with defeat look at them as an opportunity. We need to remember that if God has allowed us to these places, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 Let’s keep our eye on the prize and look to our vision.

What if I don’t have a vision? It’s time to get into the Word and into intimate conversation with God so that you can get your personal revelation. Yes, personal. God has a plan designed that is just perfect and specifically for you. Ephesians 1:4-5 NIV “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,”

Be blessed.


In Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

Forgetting the Past

By Tracy Ruckman

Some days are beautiful and sweet and precious – days you wished could last forever. Then there are days that you wish you could do over. Days filled with problems and worries you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies (well, maybe some of us wouldn’t, ahem.) Days – seasons of life – that seem to last forever, or perhaps just won’t go away.

Our pasts are like that too. Past failures, past mistakes, past choices that should have never been made. Although some pasts may be pretty, and filled with wise decisions, others – like my own – need a good washing in an industrial-strength machine.

But you know what? Paul wrote that we all sin, so all our pasts are actually dirty. So how do we handle all the guilt, shame, disgust associated with our past lives? How do we live a life that reflects joy and peace, and God’s goodness and mercy?

We must let our pasts go.

Seriously. It’s that simple. Or that hard. But we can do all things through Christ, can’t we?

Paul says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). We are to put the past behind us and put on the new self. Peter wrote about several qualities that we should have in our lives. He said, “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” and said that if we didn’t have those things we were forgetting that we have been cleansed from our past sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9)

Yes, as Christians, we are indeed new creations in Christ – Jesus went to that cross willingly, so that we might be free from an eternal death. Free from our past stupidity. Free from all our sin. He died for us. For you. For me. Period. No qualifiers, no exceptions. It’s done.

That is the message of this Easter season and that is the message of HOPE that we need to share with the world.

It is also the reason for Hope Tour 2012. My publishing company, Write Integrity Press, wants to take HOPE out into the world this summer, in a grassroots effort to connect readers and writers in a unique and fun way. Our purpose is to give HOPE to everyone we encounter, all along our journey. This world is dark enough – it’s time to share some of the Light.


We need your help to make it possible though. The Hope Tour 2012campaign only has a few days left. Come on over and pledge a little or a pledge a lot to make this mission a reality. We appreciate your help, and hope to see you out on the road!

Bible verses taken from the New International Version.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Tracy’s book, Love Letters from the Heart, isLoveLettersCoverFRONTFREE on Kindle today!

From the back cover:

Friends, family, perhaps even strangers, have messages within their hearts they want to share with you, but never found the right time or the right place to speak them. Here, within these pages, you’ll find messages of hope, forgiveness, direction, and even prayers – written from caring, loving hearts directly to you and for you.
Know this – you are not forgotten or abandoned. You are not alone. You are loved – more than you can possibly imagine.
Who could love any of us that much? Turn the pages – we hope you’ll soon discover the answer.

Tracy headshot 0409 v2Tracy Ruckman is owner and publisher of two independent publishing companies, Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens Publishing. She lives in metro Atlanta, and in 2010, returned to school as a full-time college student. She’s already looking forward to graduation in 2014, when she will finally be able to breathe again.