Allowing your joy to be stolen

happy-women1The other day,, a coworker and I went for our early morning workout. When we made it back to the office we were happy, energized and giggling. We were talking about our lives and about the things we had to do that day. The day was sunny; we had just brewed the perfect pot of coffee. It was a good day.
As we sat to work, we started talking about a common challenge. As we discussed the issue, we both started painting the possibilities of the worst case scenarios and how we could handle those. The conversation continued for a little while, and all of the sudden there was silence.
Now, bear in mind we are both very chatty people and we continued almost until noonsad women working quietly, which is a very rare instance. All of the sudden I turned to her and asked her, “What did we just do? Did we just depress ourselves? Her answer was yes.
We had started the day energized and happy, but we had allowed negative thinking to enter into our lives. Even at that point when we had both agreed that even if worst case scenario played out we both believed that God would make everything work for what was best, we didn’t regain our joyful demeanor.
The truth is that in general we all have the tendency to do that. . We allow the enemy to enter our minds and guide us to the landfill of doubt and discouragement. We allow the fear, anxieties and doubt to take the place of faith and trust in God, leaving us hopeless.I had to go to the Word and remind myself that I need to stand in God’s promises. That just like Jeremiah 29:11 says, ” For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

I also had to tell myself that if I put my trust in God I have to know that  “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

What lie is the enemy feeding your mind today? What is making you look at your circumstances instead of the face of God?
Cast all your fears and doubts at the feet of Jesus. Remember, he already paid the price. He always loves you.

Everything-Will-Be-Alright

1 Peter 5:7

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.

John 14:27

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Until next time, be blessed

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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.

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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.

Helping others in the midst of our troubles

In conversations with fellow believers I’ve heard way too often” I’m too messed up to help others with their mess”. I admit that I used to belong to this school of thought up to very recent. Ironically the other common denominator was the passionate desire of these women to serve God and others.

The enemy has done a good job pointing out each one of our mistakes to paralyze us from our destiny. We have the tendency to feel unworthy and inadequate to help others because of our life is upside down. Then we come up with the incorrect believe that as we become “perfect” or as close to it, we can then demonstrate the things that God has done in our lives and then be able to be an example. Who hired us for the God job?  God doesn’t need us to ensure his image. He is who he is and he does what he does.

Our journey lasts a lifetime and the reality is that “THE DAY” of perfection is not scheduled on earth, but in heaven. So what do we do with that?

  •  Be real -Let’s be honest with ourselves. Why are we trying to become holier that thou to feel worthy to assist others in pain. When we accepted Christ and started our recovery journey; who were those who we would be more inclined to listen to. Those who has situations or had been in situations similar to ours; who were strongly trusting God to see them through. We don’t do well with those who we don’t relate to.
  •  Share – Yes, if you have overcome some of your issues you can witness to those still in the struggle. My point is that not having arrived is not a requirement to extend to someone who is just starting the journey, of course maintaining awareness of providing support without affecting our own recovery. As it says in Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
  •  Acknowledge God– Let’s say you’ve only been working on your issues for six months. It would be unreal (if you’re really honestly working in your issues) that you have not done any progress. Everything you have attempted, either if it has been successful or it has failed; its part of your walk and God has placed those blessings or obstacles to promote your growth.

 You may be surprise how much sharing even your failures can enlighten someone else. Remember that  those small or big step God has used to guide you through your healing. 1 Peter 4:10 says ,”Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms”  The scripture says we should serve others with our God-given gifts not with our perfection skills.

Food for thought