living braver

one faith step at a time…


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In Spite Of…

cherry blossom pixa     Making decisions is a daily task, so many things tug us different directions. The toughest decision can be in those moments of frustration, fatigue, or fear – the decision to love in spite of…

Jesus made that decision 24/7. When a hurting soul approached with nothing to offer but himself, only his hope in this Messiah, Jesus chose love. Even when a follower and friend said ‘I don’t know Him’, Jesus chose love. Jesus always chooses love.

Our human love can be so fickle. In our marriage love is easy when we’re on the same page, but what about the times when we strongly disagree about finances, children, jobs, relatives, etc. Loving our children is easy when they’re moving through life seemingly doing their best, but what about the times when they rebel or make foolish mistakes stemming from immaturity. Loving our friends is easy when we laugh and cry together, but what about when we feel neglected or wronged, betrayed.

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“When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 NIV)

We don’t see the crowds that way. We are ever on the defensive. Seeing the crowds as obstacles, as something to be feared, as unimportant. So we look with eyes that see statistics or nameless faces. Thank goodness Jesus sees us individually. We are never just part of the crowd. He knows our name, he knows our heart, he even knows the number of hairs on our head. (Luke 12:7)

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When it comes to those in our circle – spouse, child, friend, relative – we will choose love, mostly. But I think we’re asked to see individual faces in the crowds, to pray in our heart when prompted for the stranger, to help the elderly woman with the door, to speak a kind word to a frightened child, to trust Him just enough that today’s decisions aren’t just about self.

Sometimes Living Braver means touching a life. The book of Hebrews ends with this: “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:1-2 NIV)

Each day is a decision: to love only the lovely and lovable or to show love, compassion to the overlooked, the bitter, the forgotten. One soul at a time…

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Failure (ugh)…

thumb down1     Failure – one of the scariest words in the English language – to most…

Fear of failure begins in school – not wanting to see red marks on our papers, or raise our hands and have the wrong answer…

It continues in our ‘coming of age’ years – that fear of not being popular, of liking someone who doesn’t like us back…

As we mature failure can seem to mean not making enough to support our family, not pleasing our spouse, losing our job…

So we fear failure… Few other words put more dread in our hearts and minds…

In a broken world with imperfect people, ‘failure’ is inevitable at times – and what might appear as failure to some, may not be so to the One who is most important…

The husband may not make enough for any extras, may not make enough to pay all the bills – but the world doesn’t see his kind heart for his wife and children, and they are rich because of it.

The teen girl may not be ‘popular’ by whatever the current standards are – her volunteer work with the homeless or the elderly goes unnoticed, yet those she serves thinks she is amazing.

There is One who never fails – “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)

In the midst of our ‘failures’  fear will lose its grip when we can remember this:

“God’s love isn’t based on me, it’s simply placed on me.” Lysa Terkeurst

Take heart and be brave – His love and His approval is not based on our past failures, nor on any future blunders. Because of His great love – that love is not bestowed based on performance, it is simply lavished on us because we are His…

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“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” So yes, in our flesh – you know, all that striving we do day in and day out… the worrying about woulda, shoulda, coulda – we will feel like failures and at times we truly may be, but take heart dear friend:

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God as done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV italics/underline mine)

When failure tries to point its finger at you, remember His great love – if you are seeking first to please Him – the rest will simply fall into place…

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