living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Long Look…

chair sunflowers pixax     Brave comes when words are controlled.

Brave is often defined as bold actions, but perhaps its more that fruit of the Spirit: self-control. More harm has come to weary hearts from sharp tongues than from actual punches.

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24 NIV)

honeycomb

Jesus always looked long into the eyes and heart of those He encountered. He made that connection before He spoke. What if in this world we looked long enough to see the soul before we judged? This will not happen much on this side of eternity, but maybe if it happened a little more often brave would come without fear. Courage would be found in en-courage-ment. Words meant to give courage instead of cause division.

Palm Sunday is a few days away – it commemorates Jesus riding into Jerusalem receiving the praise of the people along the way. But those with the power to help or harass wanted praise only for themselves. Words were used for lies and treachery and the One who came to redeem and heal, was betrayed.

palm pixa

As we prepare to celebrate Easter we must remember His story is: Come, See and Go, Tell. Take a long look into the life of the One whose words healed hearts and beckoned us to go tell all about the good news.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT) Oh we are a work in progress but with each triumph blessing will come not only to the hearer but to our weary hearts as well.

Come, see, look long – go, tell; your Savior reigns and He will return for you…

sun

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

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Release Me…

 flower orange pixa x     Sometimes we have to be set free, to become…a servant. The cares of our lives and worries of the world have a tight grip. The not yet happened curls its tendrils around our thoughts. Attention and effort lost in the sea of the past and stranded on the shores of tomorrow. But what happened to today?

“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare.” (Psalm 25:15 NIV) Whether a snare of our own making or another’s…

Oh how I wish we – you and me – could live today – and not yesterday and tomorrow. So much lovely puffy cloud time, dew drops of early morning, and buzzing dragonfly wings of dusk are missed in our regrets and what ifs…

dew drops w ladybug pixa x

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27 NIV) But we can take a single hour or sacred minute and make it meaningful to life. To breathe in all the glory of these moments fleeting…

What is remembered most is not the mistakes but the ‘on purposes’. Purposefully speaking life to another’s soul, purposefully lightening the burden, purposefully overlooking the imperfection…

On purpose I want to tell, no show, no show and tell someone how much they matter, how much I forgive them, how much God loves – loves them, knows them, has planned for them…

Living Braver I want to be on purpose – today. Not worrying that I let yesterday get away from me, not fretting that I may not be prepared for tomorrow, and, oh Father, not hanging on to what made a mess of things or forgetting what made a glory of things…

window view pixa x

This is courage and this is fear…less — to be on purpose as I look out the window, pick up the phone, fold the laundry, stand in line, read the Word — the Word, that is His ‘on purpose’ to me… From creating all this marvel of a world, to dwelling among us and stretching wide His arms on a cross, to the written Word to impart life and truth and peace…

Release us Lord to Your purpose… “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2Corinthians 5:5 NIV italics mine)

orange daily lilly 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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Safest When…

locked door1     Safe – where is ‘safe’? Safe – from ‘what’?

There is much to pray about being kept safe from isn’t there? If we were to pray for self and loved ones only about safety, I suppose we could take up most of our day. So much to be kept safe from…

Do you long for a bubble around your children, around your car speeding down the road, around your heart throughout the day…

 heart bubble1

In this world there is no bubble, bad has its way. Mommas lose daughters to terrorists, daddys lose sons to drugs, wives lose husbands to midlife crisis, friends lose kindred spirits to old age… Where is safe…

“Keep me safe, O God, for in You I take refuge.” (Psalm 16:1 NIV) Refuge – shelter or protection from distress or danger. Here? Now? Yes and no. As we walk in obedience to God we are kept safe from many pitfalls we may never know of. But in a sin-filled world, we aren’t exempt from troubles. Kept safe from utter destruction – Absolutely, Always, Forever…

This fearful, dreadful, tearful now is temporary… Perhaps safe isn’t where, or what, or when – but Who…

“But the Lord is my refuge; my God is the rock of my protection.”  (Psalm 94:22 HCSB)

Max Lucado said When fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our God… The New Testament lists some 125 Christ-issued imperatives. Of these, 21 urge us to ‘not be afraid’ or ‘not fear’ or ‘have courage’.” His second most common imperative was to love God and neighbor, and that only appeared eight times. Max went on to say “Jesus takes our fears seriously. The one statement He made more than any other was this: don’t be afraid.”

Safe when? When you are in the arms of your loving Father — and when you have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are always and forevermore in His arms…

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!  Click on the ‘Back to Paris Renae’ link at the top, where we chat about how extraordinary ordinary is…

 

 


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True Confessions…

envelope1     The mail came, an envelope looking like junk mail contained not a catalog but a thick packet of blame…

In this world no matter how hard we try do right – no matter that we are innocent – selfish will seek to lay the blame, want what selfish feels should be theirs – counting only their reward, not our cost…

So, true confession, this past week I exhaled fearful sighs, gritted my teeth while I slept, fretted… Then came more, sick husband, back pain and I looked up and said ‘Help?’

Then came these lyrics “I’m giving you fear, You’re giving me faith. I’m giving you doubt, You give me grace. For every step, I’ve never been alone.” (Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets)

Thankful that the Father inspires fellow Christians to encourage us with – words, music, prayer… EnCouragement – I looked up what the prefix En means: to cause to be in. So when we receive a song, a story, a prayer, a hug, a pat on the back, a knowing look – the giver is causing us to be in courage: EnCourage.

The chorus of the song encourages further: If there’s a road I should walk, help me find it. If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment. Whatever Your will, can You help me find it?

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you,” says the Lord. (Psalm 32:8 NIV)

Help me find it… Your instruction, your counsel. In those moments when the mail arrives, in those moments in the dark, in those moments in doubt’s blurry vision… Help me find it… the way I should go, watch over me…

“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8 NIV)

Day by day, friend, moment by moment – grace enough to breathe and encouragement enough to trust – one faltering step in front of the other… EnCouraged because of His faithfulness…

(Side note: decided a piece of chocolate would help, look at the message inside this Dove chocolate wrapper… the message is for you and for me:

fearlessdove1


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Brave New Year…

???????????????????????????????     How to live courage for 2015? How to fear…less for a whole year?

Funny, just when we think everything is coming together – we cause it to all fall apart, and we wonder… why?

With God’s help we will spend a year together searching out His promises, His grace, His truth, His courage for our fear. It is true we cannot live brave without Him to guide the way…

“For this God is our God for ever and ever, He will be our guide even to the end.” (Psalm 48:14 NIV italics mine)

Somehow, for me, maybe you too, it is courage to let Someone else lead, guide. Then when change comes along as it always does, when things aren’t done the way they always have been, when today doesn’t look like we planned, we can just……follow…

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5 NIV italics mine)

In two short days it will be a New Year, will we live brave because He guides and we follow? When we take the lead asking Him to follow and to be near, what are we really saying? ‘I’ve got this, let You know if I need help…’  Think it’s time to say instead ‘I can’t, You can. Light the way, guide me, with faltering footsteps at times, I will follow.’

A Brave New Year doesn’t look like ‘goals’ or ‘prosperity’ or ‘health’ or whatever the world says. It looks like a ‘person’ – the lover of your soul, Jesus your source of all courage… Happy Brave New Year!