living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Lifted…

dock canva x     Recently I saw a video depicting the weight we so often carry around with us. A little girl appears on the scene and scoops up a big rock, lifts it over her head and let’s it fall into her backpack. She is happy, she does this a couple of more times still smiling.

In the distance young children are jumping into a lake, laughing, carefree…

As time goes on she is no longer happy about adding rocks – big or small – to her backpack. She hears the laughter out by the lake.

Others come along contributing their bricks and stones to her backpack. Barely able to walk she makes her way to the dock watching the other children. A little girl motions her to join them. She shrugs her shoulders asking how? Her new friend helps her take her backpack off dropping it behind her, they run to the dock’s edge…

backpack canva x

The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14 NIV)

Do you have a backpack full? I did and I didn’t even know it. After all these years I finally realized that is my way, I pick up everybody’s brokenness because I want to make it better.

But we can’t carry our own broken pieces let alone other’s. So I took a day, I gathered rocks and markers. I thought through what felt heavy and wrote on rock after rock. Then I set out to water’s edge to where I first felt cool water and sand slipping out from underneath.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10 NIV)

rocks pixa

I pulled out a rock lifted it to Jesus and said ‘You are stronger, more capable, and are healer’ and hurled it as far as I could. ‘You are forgiver, more understanding, and accepting’ and away went another. Giving each to Him who carried all our burdens to the cross so that we would never have to be weighed down again.

Oh, if we could grasp our freedom in Him. In our backpack He only puts what He made us for: smiles to lighten another’s load, kind words to touch a hurting heart, joy in spite of circumstances, love big enough to shine His light, peace that only finds its way to us through Him, gentleness when the world is harsh, His Holy Spirit filling us up and lifting us far above all we perceive to be ours to solve…

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25 NIV)

Gulf 1-16 Me x

 

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Soul Breathing…

chairs fog pixa x     Rush, hurry, flurry – fast paced activity is all the world seems to know anymore. We’ve rushed through another year and now stretches before us an unwritten 361 days.

Where, when – is there room for our soul to breathe? The pace of life isn’t going to slow for us, but will we slow enough to know true life? “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1John 5:11-12 NIV)

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When I was about eight we had a neighbor who had a special needs daughter. She spoke truth more clearly than any of the rest of us. One day our mothers were trying to get us out the door and to wherever it was we were going. I can still hear little Ellen saying ‘Hurry, hurry – we must hurry, we always have to hurry.’ That is how it seems, on to the next thing and the next…

So, we will have to be purposeful to find at least 361 times where we just slow down for a moment and take in Life, the Son of God, our very life. God knows all about our hurry, all about how brief our lives here are: “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” (Psalm 144:4 NIV) But he also tells us “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6 NIV)

flower sky pixa x

The next 361 days will likely hold many challenges, many fearful times, many hard times – it will also likely hold times of smiling, times of growing, and times to be thankful for. It will be in the moments where we allow our soul to breathe that we will find our life. Our year may be marked by loss or plenty, but our soul will be marked with His peace. Days ahead may be marked with dread or anticipation, but our soul will be marked with His joy.

Praying together “May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 NIV) we will Live Braver through our days…

coffee cup pixa x

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

 


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Filled…

candle blue pixa x     Three last days, to fill up stockings, refrigerators…hearts.

Christmas Day is just about here, we’ve been anticipating it for the past few weeks, and soon we will leave it behind for another year. Is that how it’s supposed to be?

Maybe the next few days we should fill ourselves up: “…to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19 NIV) When all the world continues on oblivious to God, when all the world crashes in and takes away our ‘merry’, when all the world fills our heart with trembling instead of jingling – will we despair? We might, but if we are filled up with all the fullness of the love of God, a love that surpasses any experience or knowledge we have…then maybe despair will quickly fade to hope, joy peace.

snow candle pixa x

This is the stuff of Christmas: hope in the Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God, joy because of the Everlasting Father, and peace from the Price of Peace. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)

Whether we have much or little to put under the tree this year, we can have much to fill not only our hearts but those we hold dear. This is the stuff of faith: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” (1Peter 1:8 NIV)

candle red snow pixa x

After all the packages are opened, the shiny paper discarded, the leftovers put away – don’t let Christmas fade away. Christmas is every day because Jesus didn’t come and fade away, He came that we could be forgiven, that we could have eternity. He came and gave His life and now His Holy Spirit reigns in the hearts of all who believe. This is the Good News of Christmas for all our days, let us say together:

Praise be to His glorious Name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen (Psalm 72:19 NIV)

candles pixa x

 

 

 

 


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Helpless…

daisy heart pixa x     Ever feel…helpless? To heal the broken heart, to right the wrong, to tell the boy he will be a good man and someday this will be okay…

Helpless when we’re in the forest and all we see are trees breaking in the lightening bolt – lives broken in the selfishness of others’ habits, greed, lostness.

But are we helpless – “I lift up my eyes…where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV italics mine) The Maker of me and of you and of all. The Giver of good and Sustainer in the bad.

“Sometimes God allows what he hates, to accomplish what He loves.” Max Lucado

tree lightening pixa x

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV italics mine) Grace is the hand of God lifting our eyes, carrying our burden, and openly taking the nail – that when we think we are helpless it is then that He is in control.

So, yes, you and me on our own – helpless. But with Jesus we are never on our own…

The hands that spun the universe on its course, put whiskers on the kitty, and soft ears on the puppy – those are the same hands you can trust to bring you safely home. “When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.” (from PowerPlug! Motivational Quotes)

universe pixa x

I look at the boy – not yet a man, no longer a child – and cling to the promises that are trustworthy: “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11 NIV)

The world is anything but at peace – but the world does not have our hearts, they belong to Him our Peace…

mum heart pixa x

 

 

 


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Insignificant…

ladybug21     Do you sometimes feel that you don’t matter, not really anyways? Like if you stopped doing what you’re doing, no one would notice. Moved, no one would care. Or maybe they would notice but not for long…

Insignificant begins with the letter I and our focus when feeling in the doldrums of ‘nobody really cares’ is centered on ‘I’.

We live in a stressed out world. Life moves at lightening pace. So there are times when nobody does seem to care. Bible teacher Nancy McGuirk said “God is the only person in the world who wants to hear all your concerns.” (underline mine) So just how insignificant are we? The God of the universe wants to hear all

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1Peter 5:7 NIV) He cares for us, He doesn’t want us burdened in the gloomies of ‘no one cares’ and ‘I don’t matter’. Can we escape anxiety? Probably not, but we don’t have to carry it, He asks us to cast (to throw off) our anxiety – even if we have to do it again and again each morning or each moment.

snailx

“Do not define yourself by your circumstances, let His love define you.” (Ann Voskamp) When we let the unpaid bills, the broken relationships, the bad childhood, the addiction, the boss’ criticism, the ‘whatever’ define us, we are forgetting WHOSE WE ARE.

The God of the universe defines us – We Are His. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12 NIV) You are chosen, you are holy not because of you but because of Christ, you are dearly loved.

There is no insignificance in a child of God. You cannot begin to know His plans for you, to use you to touch another life. Yet how does he want you to touch that other life? With compassion, with kindness, with humility, with gentleness, and with patience. The same way you want to be touched in this moment of flailing and questioning.

Remember: “It’s not about doing things for God, but about entering into what God is already doing.” (Emily Wierenga) Don’t try to ‘do’ things for God, enter into what He is doing and you will never feel insignificant again…

bee with flower