living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Whose Limits…

??????????     A dear friend who often cares for her grandchildren had numerous errands to run that she couldn’t keep putting off. She loaded her almost 4 year old granddaughter in along with her infant sister and off they went.

After the second stop, as she was loading them in once again, the 4 year old said “Ok, grammee, two is enough for me, let’s go home.” She knew her limits and one more errand was going to put her over the top…(and probably her sister too)…

Sometimes our limits are pushed too… One more crisis and we feel like we’ll lose it – sometimes it’s the little things, one more broken glass as your heading out the door…

Sometimes we just want to be like the four year old and give up and go home…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Corinthians 12:9 NIV) As we draw on our power we find our limits pushed, our strength waning.  Friend, our own power is an illusion, in this sin marred world we are weak in and of ourselves, but thanks be to God, we are not alone and His power is made perfect in our weakness…

We may know our limits, but even better is to know our limitless God “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV italics/underlines mine)

Trusting His limitless power makes us lean into our faith. Tracie Miles said “I’ve finally learned that when we take a leap of faith, with God, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose but fear.” Notice she said ‘with God’ – we never have to be on our own…

Limitless love, limitless grace, limitless power, limitless strength, limitless knowledge… To finish the verse above “to Him be glory…for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:21 NIV)

ShadowToLight3

 

 

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We Are So Normal…

Hands1    Discovery: I’m not the only one who deals with fear, doubt, fretting, worrying, dread and all those other not brave words. I remember when I first realized this (only a few months ago)… I was so surprised and also relieved, I wasn’t abnormal after all…

In fact, turns out that most people when surveyed would say that fear is where they operate from in at least one part of their life. Our fears change as we change – what might have caused our stomachs to get tied in knots in our twenties is a non-issue in our fifties….

So where does that leave us, fear still reigns and during this day and age isn’t going to go away anytime soon…

Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian Holocaust survivor, said “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” Isn’t that what we are looking for? Strength to put one foot in front of the other for today…

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.” (Psalm 28:8 NIV)

Key: trusting Him gives me the help I need, and my strength is not my own, He is my strength – bonus: He is also my shield

Hard to say I’m trusting if my focus is worry, or doubt, or what ifs… Instead can I lift my eyes, ask for His shield to cover over me, to take my thoughts captive, to turn my dark to His light…

Have we caught on yet? The Bible is our promise book, from the only Promise Keeper who never breaks His word…

“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 1:8 NIV)

When we just can’t seem to ‘let it go’, when we feel like our prayer will never be answered, when what we think the worst is happens – even then, even then He will keep us strong… That is peace, I don’t have to stay strong, it is Him who will keep me strong…

“It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.” Corrie Ten Boom

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Messenger Tears…

broken heart1     I’ve always had this battle with tears… as in I hate crying (it wreaks havoc with mascara, I look ugly when crying, and it gives me a headache) – but also the battle of tears being weakness…

Perhaps tears are messengers…

Out of what breaks our hearts – come tears to remind us… Remind us how brief life is, how fragile. Remind us how relentless time is, how incalculable.

Life can make us callous – especially when we hold back the tears. Tears break us down, loosen us up. They cause us to stop – it’s hard to keep reading the emails, driving the car, making the bed, whatever – when shoulders heave and all is a blur…

Somewhere I read this question: ‘What breaks God’s heart that no longer breaks mine?’

In this world of instant news, this so called global life we live, callousness develops. We hear of the nine year old boy shot in a driveby, the widow robbed of her wedding ring, the bombing leveling a neighborhood – and we don’t shed tears… But they still break God’s heart.

To Live Braver, to conquer Fear doesn’t mean to become numb… “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35 NIV) The shortest verse in the Bible – two words… Jesus, who knew His dear friend Lazarus who lay dead in the tomb would someday live forever, that this wasn’t the end – this Jesus saw the heart of his friend’s sisters and their grief and it broke His heart. So instead of someday, in that moment, He did the miraculous and called forth life…

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” (Luke 6:21 NIV) Have you ever laughed so much tears come down your cheeks? Tears, messengers… Not just messengers of all that is bad or sad, but all that is good and right, for in the pain of tears or the joy of them, we realize not one rolls down our cheeks that He doesn’t take notice of…

Do not forget this my friends: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV) Some day, not so distant, and the hope we cling to… Someday those messenger tears will not be needed, someday the things that break God’s heart, and should break ours, will be done with…

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True Confessions…

envelope1     The mail came, an envelope looking like junk mail contained not a catalog but a thick packet of blame…

In this world no matter how hard we try do right – no matter that we are innocent – selfish will seek to lay the blame, want what selfish feels should be theirs – counting only their reward, not our cost…

So, true confession, this past week I exhaled fearful sighs, gritted my teeth while I slept, fretted… Then came more, sick husband, back pain and I looked up and said ‘Help?’

Then came these lyrics “I’m giving you fear, You’re giving me faith. I’m giving you doubt, You give me grace. For every step, I’ve never been alone.” (Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets)

Thankful that the Father inspires fellow Christians to encourage us with – words, music, prayer… EnCouragement – I looked up what the prefix En means: to cause to be in. So when we receive a song, a story, a prayer, a hug, a pat on the back, a knowing look – the giver is causing us to be in courage: EnCourage.

The chorus of the song encourages further: If there’s a road I should walk, help me find it. If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment. Whatever Your will, can You help me find it?

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you,” says the Lord. (Psalm 32:8 NIV)

Help me find it… Your instruction, your counsel. In those moments when the mail arrives, in those moments in the dark, in those moments in doubt’s blurry vision… Help me find it… the way I should go, watch over me…

“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8 NIV)

Day by day, friend, moment by moment – grace enough to breathe and encouragement enough to trust – one faltering step in front of the other… EnCouraged because of His faithfulness…

(Side note: decided a piece of chocolate would help, look at the message inside this Dove chocolate wrapper… the message is for you and for me:

fearlessdove1