living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Willing…

joy pixa x     Someone recently said ‘What if we’re only as strong as we are joyful?’

The more I thought about it the more I realized that, despite whatever the circumstances, when I choose joy, I feel stronger. It is in those times I am surrendering my will knowing that God is in perfect control. I may not be happy, but happiness and joy are two different things.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to move forward with God.” Pastor Matt Price Joy strength isn’t dependent on me – no amount of ‘chin up’, ‘push through’, ‘just do it’ can make a difference. But willingness can make the difference – the difference between discouragement and direction, the difference between worry and wisdom, the difference between self and surrender.

railroad me x

But moving forward is where we often get stuck. Stuck in the past or in the now – stuck in our abilities instead of relying on God’s. We go about our days drawing on our strength. Yet we’re told “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (1Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

There’s a song by Lauren Daigle, Trust In You with this chorus:

“When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!”

mountain pixa

So we must keep an eternal perspective, because our hope is not in this life – it is in our eternity. While today’s mountains may seem insurmountable or the agitations may cause us to stumble, they are only temporary. It is hard for us finite humans to rest in an infinite God, but to Live Brave we’re only called to take one willing step at a time and to remember: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied….But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 15:19 & 57 NIV)

Strength in joy and courage to be willing to move forward with God, hope for today and all our tomorrows…

girl in field 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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Surrender…

heart pixa x     The best part of a ‘chick-flick’ is when the girl – or guy – finally surrenders all their reasons ‘why not’ and just falls in love…surrender, soft exhale…

‘Why nots’ keep us from a lot of soft exhales… I can’t let go of anger – I don’t know how to stop the habit – if I don’t control the situation it won’t turn out right…and on and on…

Amazing our heavenly Father doesn’t do a lot of impatient exhales and turn us over to our own demise. But He doesn’t. He so patiently guides us – showing us the better way.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2Peter 3:9 NIV)

heart lock pixa x

Again and again we read the stories or watch the movies and long for our ‘happily ever after’ – all along we have it (if we are Christ followers). All the promise verses after Jesus’ resurrection are past tense:

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6 NIV)“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:12 NIV) “But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Colossians 1:22 NIV) (all italics mine)

wedding dress pixa x

Surrender is our daily offering to a Savior who willingly took on our ‘uglies’ so we could be without blemish – free from accusation. Regardless our past hurts, our present sufferings, whatever tomorrow may hold we have a sure foundation, an eternal hope, a shelter from our fears… “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge, the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” (Isaiah 33:6 NIV)

Sweet surrender starts today – don’t let ‘why nots’ get in the way… Oh Jesus make our story Your love story…

red flowers 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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You liar…

stormx     Going about my days lately I thought I had this new sense of courage and contentment, maybe I was finally getting it… then something happened that made me plant my feet and shout ‘no’, ‘I won’t do that’, ‘I can’t’, ‘it’s not safe’, ‘what if it doesn’t work out’?

And there I was, all the stuff I thought I had shed was bubbling out, demanding an answer. The question: ‘Do you trust Me?’ – ‘Yes, You, I trust Lord – I just don’t trust the person asking me to go along with the scary thing’ – and I tried to pretend that if I protested enough, I could get my way, I could stay in the safe zone, and I could go back to my few minutes ago courage…

pierx

Doubts crept in, my head was saying ‘you know this could work out really bad’, ‘put your foot down, don’t do it’ – I so badly wanted to pay attention. Then my heart said pick up your Bible and the defenses I was trying my best to erect began to look like unbelief. The deceiver wanted me to handle things the way I’ve always done it – my way. My Father didn’t want me to handle it at all, but put it in His hands…

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him…” (Romans 15:13 NIV)

I had to say to the tempter, the one who holds out the tantalizing lie of ‘you don’t need God for this, handle it on your own’ – ‘You liar!’ Listening to the lie would have rewarded me with worry, lost sleep, conflict. Listening to the lover of my soul rewarded me with confidence that I wasn’t in control, but He was and I needed to trust… “…so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV)

victory on rockx

When what we have, or the fear of losing it, becomes our god, we lose sight of what we truly have – assurance that no matter what happens in this world, whether in our control or not, this is temporary – eternity is forever and that can never be taken from us.

Things may work out the dreaded way we fear they will, but we don’t have to lose our peace and joy when we cling to our hope – the unfailing love of God and the knowledge that “in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28 NIV caps mine)

 daisyx

 


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October 3, 2014 Whose In Charge Here Anyways?

sky1    Once there was a calm sea to sail across, the other side held the next adventure. All on board were chatty, except the captain, he was tired from the day’s events and fell soundly asleep in the small compartment below the stern. Suddenly calm seas grew choppy, silence fell among the crew, winds began to howl, large raindrops began to pelt. The small boat started to rock and those less seaworthy began to get squeamish, and still their captain slept… Panic set in…

Much like our lives: we sail along with the good job, or the good kids, or the good health and suddenly our boats are rocked. We set our course feeling that surely our government has the terrorist thing handled, the Ebola thing handled, the economy thing handled.

My mother, at 70, was told she had a brain aneurysm sitting on the ocular nerve. She began losing site in that eye, reading became difficult (her favorite thing to do). When I visited shortly after she found out she held my hand and told me. Fear and panic gripped me. There was no surgery, not one that wasn’t as dangerous as the aneurysm anyway. My mother calmly patted my hand and assured me. Why wasn’t she in the grip of fear?

Max Lucado said “Fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control.” When the boat heaves wildly over the waves we fight like crazy to control the outcome. Jesus beckons all the while, patting our hand and trying to calm us – we are not in control – the Lord of the universe is the mighty captain. “Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” (Matthew 8:26 NIV)

In those moments of fear, harness your inner control freak, and call on the One whom even the waves obey…