living braver

one faith step at a time…


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October 19, 2014 Safe Place

shield1     Safe – the place where we long to be… Safe is a place we constantly search for. Safe from fierce weather, safe from physical abuse, safe from emotional abuse, safe from scary things like Ebola or terrorism or crime, safe from our own feelings of inadequacy…

Is there such a place? I’ve often thanked God for our home and called it our safe haven – if that is so then why sometimes when I’m alone at night do I feel the little niggling of fear arise wondering if someone will break in? We keep our money in banks where it’s safe – then why do we worry about how much we have and if there will be a run on banks? We make sure our children’s caretakers and schools are safe places – then why do we worry about school shootings or abductions?

Webster defines safe as: free from harm or risk; secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss. People have built homes with ‘safe rooms’ – walls made of thick concrete sometimes metal reinforced, supplies for several days inside, a camera to view the outside. Yet that is not safe, if someone wants you out of there bad enough they will find a way. So is safe possible?

“Fear of man” (or of anything in this world) “will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25 NIV) Our safe place is only found in God. “He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge…” (Psalm 144:2 NIV) See His reassuring words: fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield. May this song encourage you to step into His safe arms:

 

 

 


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October 15, 2014 Still Waters…

Still Water1     All God’s critters are quite fascinating. I once read a great deal about sheep from a shepherd’s perspective. He used Psalm 23 to illustrate his points and to teach about the flock he tended. Sheep need still water free of debris and disturbances or they won’t bother to drink – no matter how thirsty. So timid is a sheep  that they can be contentedly grazing and if a rabbit bounds across the grass the whole flock will bolt at once. Often a sheep who is in the grip of fear will run til it drops dead. Yet when the shepherd is near, the sheep listens for his voice and turns towards him. Thus the need for shepherds…

God had David write the 23rd Psalm for us, His flock. Phillip Keller wrote “We live a most uncertain life. Any hour can bring disaster, danger, and distress from unknown quarters….We live either in a sense of anxiety, fear, and foreboding, or in a sense of quiet rest. Which is it?” The Psalm  not only says He leads us beside still waters but it goes on to say “He restores my soul…I will fear no evil for You are with me.” (Psalm 23:3&4 NIV)

With Ebola news and school shootings, with terrorists and gang bangers abounding it is easy for us to want to bolt. To run til we no longer see danger. Through His Word God assures us that in the midst of dangers “…goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…” (Psalm 23:6a NIV)   How? Because no matter what befalls us in the end “…I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23;6b NIV)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28 NIV)  Thus our need for a Shepherd…know His voice…

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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…