living braver

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One More Time…

childx    Ever seen a child thrilled with something simple like being swung around in a circle, or tossed up in the air, or awed by a ‘magic’ trick. The response is always ‘Do it again, do it again, one more time’…

There is hope for all our frailties – those times when we fall back into the old habits, know we shouldn’t but still do, thought we had moved on… f o r g i v e n e s s

There is hope for all the hurts others impose – those times when words cut deep, actions longed for don’t materialize, the judgment is crushing… f o r g i v e n e s s

Self or others – can we do it? Probably not…

Self: “As far as the east is from the west,” (that’s forever far from) “so far has He removed our transgressions” (the failures, the lapses, the self-condemnation) “from us.” (Psalm 102:12 NIV)

We, like children – Do it again, one more time, Oh how we need His f o r g i v e n e s s one more time…

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Others: Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,” (instead of angry, instead of vengeful, instead of defeated) “just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NLT)

Do it again, one more time, Oh how we need the grace to f o r g i v e one more time…

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Elisabeth Elliot, if you don’t know her story, you really should look it up – by His grace Mrs. Elliot turned evil to good by the simple, oh so complex word …f o r g i v e n e s s. Her secret: “Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you.”

Oh yes, we have forgotten one more time, that He who created our very breath, yes the One who took all unjustness for us, that His final request was F O R G I V E…

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

 It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

(lyrics from Matthew West Song: Forgiveness, link to listen:

https://youtu.be/h1Lu5udXEZI )

  (If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!)

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I In the Middle…

heart cementx     Ever feel stuck – in the middle. Between scary and bold, between fear and brave, between self and God?

Reminds me of something the author Max Lucado once pointed out: sIn. In the middle of the tiny, big word is I.

Such a small word, big enough to destroy an Eden man and woman. ‘I’ always makes a mess of perfection…

Between scary and bold is I saying: I can’t, I won’t. Between fear and brave is I saying: I’m not good enough, I don’t trust enough. Between self and God is I saying: I know best, I’ve got this.

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Stuck in the middle – the middle of the pain, the fear, the doubt. Sometimes in the middle of the good, the plenty, the blessing. I demands it’s way in the bad and the good because, as always, I looms large when it’s on it’s own…

sIn is always self and self feeds on our weakness. We need HIM. The I in the middle of HIM is the great I AM. With HIM the difference between scary, fear, self – and bold, brave, God – is the I AM…

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17-18 NIV)

Mmmm, peace like a river – abounding, running on and on, not ending. As Alicia Bruxvoort said in a post I once read: “Even if you know the ending, the middle can still hurt.” But remember, nothing is waste with God. The messy middle is for us to use for Him.

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This side of eternity our sinful self will never be completely gone. But maybe crossing from the middle to Him will be quicker, less stressful, more comforting when we remember we are no longer slaves to sIn – we have been set free…

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father”. (Romans 8:15 NIV)

Father, we want Your peace like a river…

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(If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!)

 


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Softly Still…

softx     Some things are hard – a poor bunny drowned in the pool and then the next day one was left in the street after a car hit it in front of our house. Two days of scooping up and disposing of a sweet little creation can get to you…

Reminders that someday no more of that. Someday the wolf will live with the lamb, the bunny with the fox…

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat…for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:6-9 NIV)

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In the meantime as the hard things press on we can soften them…And not just for ourselves – a kind word to another, a prayer lifted for one in need, a helping hand…

But in those moments when the hard thing is pressing us – let Him come softly into your heart…your mind…your soul. Knowing you don’t have all the answers, but He does. Knowing you can’t right all the wrongs, but He can and will, someday. Knowing you will face many hard things, but you won’t be alone – though none seem to be with you…

Ann Voskamp said “Do not pray for the hard thing to go away, pray for a bravery to come that’s bigger than the hard thing.”

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God entrusts us with hard things which helps us gain confidence to get through the next hard thing and the next – so when we come upon weary souls we can help them gain confidence and find God in their need…

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:1-2, 10 NIV)

Though you think this hard thing will never end, or you think you completely blew it this time around, or you fear any more hard things and just want to be done – He comes softly still…

Softly with love bigger than our biggest dream of love, softly with strength bigger than our biggest fear of failure, softly with redemption bigger than all our biggest regrets. Softly still He comes and we are stilled one more time…

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 (If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!)

 


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Future Tense…

booksx     Remember grammar in grade school? You had to learn tenses of verbs – present, past… future?

Most of us live in present or past – what if we live in future tense…

A much loved verse:For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jerimiah 29:11 NIV italics mine) When someone has plans they are not for yesterday or this moment, they are for the future. And, oh the awesome plans our Father has for us…

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Trials are no surprise to God, though they catch us off guard, He is always there knowing what we need to weather through – our part…trust…

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18 NIV italics mine) Hope – for the future – what, or better Who, is it based on?

Our Savior Jesus Christ – a solid foundation of hope that never disappoints…

Instead of living in the yesterdays of my regrets, in the turmoils of today, I want to be living in the future – but how? Though it sounds contrary the future is here, now, and it is still to come – Jesus has died (past tense) that I can have His Holy Spirit in me now (present tense) and I already have the guarantee of eternity (future tense).

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What would our living be like if we lived in the future now – there would be no need to fret, worry, doubt… My last breath here is followed by my first breath in eternity – just like that, no gaps, no questioning at some pearly gate. May I live each breath now that others can see the Hope and I can rest knowing the future hope is mine already…

“Whatever is not eternal is eternally out of date.” C.S. Lewis

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