living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Trail or Trial…

trailgirl     Hiking in the eastern Tennessee mountains is full of wonder. The beauty of the terrain and the glory of the blue sky with whispers of ‘smoke’ from those Smoky Mountains are inspiring. Trails that lead away from hectic, leaving all trials behind.

Even when we can’t retreat to some perceived escape from today, there is still a choice. To choose to call the path a trail or a trial.

When we hiked in the mountains we kept our eyes alert – it wasn’t our territory. Bears, snakes, and other less threatening critters called these places home. Trail markers led us either to the intended destination or off towards another venue. And unexpected beauty could easily be missed. So always searching eyes had to take note. If we hadn’t, we could have gotten lost, injured, or missed something special.

bear trail

As we hike through trials in life we are told be alert as well. “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:18 NLT)

Though the hikes in the mountains have many rewards it is hard work. A short hike requires only a bottle of water and good shoes. A longer one may require snacks, extra water, sunscreen, walking stick, and stops for rest along the way. Preparation.

trail flowerx

Often we don’t think we’re prepared for life’s many trials, but we can be. We do have a trail map, a trail guide, and a destination. Being very familiar with God’s Word is a source of great comfort in those trying times. Knowing that His indwelling Spirit is with us at all times gives us bottomless wisdom for the decisions we must make. And knowing Who waits for us at the end of the trail and what the ‘destination’ is are how we persevere.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12 NIV)

A crown of life – life in the newness of perfect creation, ours to hike through and explore the glory of forever…

fall trail

 

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October 28, 2014 Open the Gate…

the gate2     I am not an artist, if I were I would paint gates – I love photographs and paintings showing a gate – they beckon us to seek what lies beyond…

Each day we are faced with decisions. It may be an ordinary day: what to have for breakfast, what gas station to fill up at, what television show to watch. It may be a fear filled day: a phone call we didn’t want, words that cut deep, saying goodbye as our heart breaks.

Some days need to be seeking days. Some days we can’t fix things, can’t come to the end of a thing, can’t find the beginning of a thing… Some days we just need to…open the gate… 

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be kept safe.” (John 10:9 NIV)

Seeking days are preparation days. In the Old Testament Daniel prayed without ceasing for three weeks, limiting what he would eat and what he would do. At the end of the three weeks he was ready for what God was about to do in his life. Without that time of seeking, what happened next would have been too overwhelming and would not have made sense to him.

Because of Jesus we can seek God at all times – whether on our knees or while buying the groceries, whether with eyes closed or driving down the road, whether in quietness or out loud. What lies beyond The Gate is love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and goodness, faithfulness and gentleness, and self-control (Galations 6:22-23 NIV) – these are ours to have and ours to give as the Holy Spirit fills us when we seek and enter through the gate that keeps us safe…

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)