living braver

one faith step at a time…


Leave a comment

Long Look…

chair sunflowers pixax     Brave comes when words are controlled.

Brave is often defined as bold actions, but perhaps its more that fruit of the Spirit: self-control. More harm has come to weary hearts from sharp tongues than from actual punches.

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24 NIV)

honeycomb

Jesus always looked long into the eyes and heart of those He encountered. He made that connection before He spoke. What if in this world we looked long enough to see the soul before we judged? This will not happen much on this side of eternity, but maybe if it happened a little more often brave would come without fear. Courage would be found in en-courage-ment. Words meant to give courage instead of cause division.

Palm Sunday is a few days away – it commemorates Jesus riding into Jerusalem receiving the praise of the people along the way. But those with the power to help or harass wanted praise only for themselves. Words were used for lies and treachery and the One who came to redeem and heal, was betrayed.

palm pixa

As we prepare to celebrate Easter we must remember His story is: Come, See and Go, Tell. Take a long look into the life of the One whose words healed hearts and beckoned us to go tell all about the good news.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT) Oh we are a work in progress but with each triumph blessing will come not only to the hearer but to our weary hearts as well.

Come, see, look long – go, tell; your Savior reigns and He will return for you…

sun

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

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The Reason…

sun leaves pixa x     Thank you, Father, that when all seems wrong – You are still right. When all seems out of control – You are still our Rock. When all seems to overwhelm – You keep us steady.

Here in America we are about to set aside a day to give thanks – but throughout the world over, all have reason…

Our very breath, our life, and whether we have much or little. Whether this world has been kind or brutal, still we have reason…

“For in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28 NIV)

autumn path 2 x

Living Braver at this time and in this place, wherever we may be, is acknowledgement. Acknowledging we have a God who knows no bounds to the love He has for us, no bounds to His power, no bounds to what He has in store for those who believe.

“He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.” (Proverbs 2:7-8 NIV)

Is our walk blameless? Are we just? Are we faithful? In and of ourselves – NO. But we have such a great salvation that in Him we are blameless, we are just, we are faithful. What a mystery – we mess up everyday, we are so unjust, and we waiver in faith moment to moment. But greater is He who is in us – and it is through Him that the Father beholds us.

autum path pixa x

“We are courageous because Jesus breathes bravery into the core of our fearful bones, and when we take a terrifying step toward the place we believe Jesus wants us to be, we’re living testaments of an audacious God.” Aliza Latta

Living testaments – you and me. Let our testimony be that of unending thank-full-ness. So full of thanksgiving that we overflow into the lives of others. Though hurting may we still show joy, though worried may we still impart hope, though anxious may we still share our overflowing blessings.

Thank you again and again Father, it is our desire to be courageous for You, trusting in Your boundless power and forever love…

orange poppies pixa x

 


6 Comments

Hearing is…

pitcher of flowers pixa x     The old saying ‘seeing is believing’ is no longer true in our day – with computer generated everything, models transformed from their already lovely selves into unreal works someone believes beauty to be, and with deceit the ‘go to’ marketing ploy – seeing is not believing.

But hearing is blessing “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3 NIV)

In our noisy world we hear a lot these days. So many voices convincing us that we ‘deserve’ this, or that tolerance of evil is compassion, or that outright lies are truth. It’s like the wizard in Oz: ‘Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain’ – pay no attention to truth that sets you free.

pink flower in pitcher pixa x

Only in hearing Him can we find what we need. We think we have many needs, but we have only One – His blessing. With that, whether good things happen or grief things happen, we can be sure He holds us through it all. He tells us He blesses us: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3 NIV)

Catch that? Not that He will bless us, that He has and does. I can Live Brave if I can grasp: day in and day out my Father withholds no good thing from me – because someday, forever will be where I am and eternity has no bad things. This is a truth I need to hear and I need to share.

lavender vase pixa x

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (Psalm 84:11 NIV) I’m not blameless, I blow it everyday, but when my Father sees me, He sees the blameless One who shed His blood for me so that my walk can be blameless…

Without His blessing we have nothing but what the world has to offer, what we can grab. Looking around I don’t think that’s working out too well. Hearing is blessing, take it to heart…

orange tulips in vase pixa x

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

EC Cafe


Leave a comment

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.

sidewalk weedx

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.

dandelionx

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…

peaceful riverx

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

 


1 Comment

D.O.U.B.T.

butterfly4555     A word we are familiar with: doubt… Plans piled high in our hearts – that never quite make it beyond the dreams? To do’s piled high on our desk – wondering which should be done first? Disappointments laying all around – not wanting to add to the pile?

When doubt clouds the view, push away the curtains with His Word… Are you familiar with Job? His story often brings dreary thoughts. Job said at one point when all seemed like loss “My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.” (Job 17:11 NIV) Doesn’t get much lower than that…

When friends and wife told Job ‘Give it up’, still Job would not doubt God. He would question, yes, but he would not doubt God was in control. The book of Job ends “After Job prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10 NIV)

When in doubt don’t leave prayer out. God is not a magic genie and prayer is not a magic lamp, rather God is our hope and prayer is our blessing. I love these lyrics from a song by Francesca  Battistelli:

     When I fix my eyes on all that You are     Then every doubt I feel     Deep in my heart    Grows strangely dim     All my worries fade     And fall to the ground     Cause when I see Your face     And don’t look around     Any place I’m in     Grows strangely dim…

D.  desiring

O.  only

U.  ur

B.  blessing

T.  today

When in doubt, let’s fix our eyes above, on the author and perfector of our faith – lift up prayer and feel blessing rain down – blessing isn’t dreams come true, to do’s finished, disappointments fulfilled… Blessing comes when our desire is His best for our day (knowing that sometimes His best for us will be a storm, sometimes a rainbow)…

??????????

 


2 Comments

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…

???????????????????????????????

 

 


1 Comment

In the Thorns…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      The thorns… in the Word it says the thorns are those worries, riches, pleasures that choke out the Word so our hearts don’t hear it, believe it… In that time of testing, we let the seed of His rich love and mercy lay on bare ground – the bare ground of our unbelief…

Who needs commitment, and sacrifice, and submission – make merry, live for today, drink the cup of forgetting is what the world wants us to do. It seems easier to disappear into the folds of what everyone else says is right…to be lost in the thorns…

Hide behind the smile, the make-up, the money or the poverty… Keep tight reign over emotions, longings, fears… Let the thorns have their way, it will all work out…

Notice the rose, it pushes higher above the thorns, beckoning with sweet fragrance… Notice Jesus, a crown of thorns pierced His brow, He was nailed high on a cross and beckoned with forgiveness… There is a price to escape the thorns, but it’s been paid – and we are crowned… with salvation. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has crowned us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3 WNT italics mine) Catch that?  – has crowned, not will crown – done deal for those who believe.

Listen for the Word, “If anyone has ears let him hear.” (Mark 4:23 NIV) – let it burrow deep in the fertile ground of your vulnerability, He will water and nurture and no thorns will deceive …hear the Word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15 NIV) – a crop of thankfulness leaving fear among the thorns…

???????????????????????????????