living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Whose Limits…

??????????     A dear friend who often cares for her grandchildren had numerous errands to run that she couldn’t keep putting off. She loaded her almost 4 year old granddaughter in along with her infant sister and off they went.

After the second stop, as she was loading them in once again, the 4 year old said “Ok, grammee, two is enough for me, let’s go home.” She knew her limits and one more errand was going to put her over the top…(and probably her sister too)…

Sometimes our limits are pushed too… One more crisis and we feel like we’ll lose it – sometimes it’s the little things, one more broken glass as your heading out the door…

Sometimes we just want to be like the four year old and give up and go home…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Corinthians 12:9 NIV) As we draw on our power we find our limits pushed, our strength waning.  Friend, our own power is an illusion, in this sin marred world we are weak in and of ourselves, but thanks be to God, we are not alone and His power is made perfect in our weakness…

We may know our limits, but even better is to know our limitless God “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV italics/underlines mine)

Trusting His limitless power makes us lean into our faith. Tracie Miles said “I’ve finally learned that when we take a leap of faith, with God, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose but fear.” Notice she said ‘with God’ – we never have to be on our own…

Limitless love, limitless grace, limitless power, limitless strength, limitless knowledge… To finish the verse above “to Him be glory…for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:21 NIV)

ShadowToLight3

 

 


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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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Crazy Generous…

hands11     Nine days until Thanksgiving… Are you feeling generous? If we are giving thanks, then someone was generous with us – someone who wants us to have every good thing

“…but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10 NIV italics mine)

Do you ever have a hard time being generous? The kind of generous beyond what you ‘have to do or give’, the generous beyond ‘out of my extras’. I know I do. Why are we so afraid of being generous?

Generous doesn’t just mean money – how about a listening ear, a shared meal, a ride for someone who has to walk, a kind word, a complement?

Fear says what if? What if I give the homeless guy a twenty and I don’t have enough next week or next year? What if I stop to listen and they take too long and I’m late? What if I say something kind and they think I am weird?

What if all that does happen? Is God not big enough to take care of the what ifs?

God is crazy generous with us… Eyes to see beauty, smell to breathe in the rose, touch to stroke the kitten, taste to savor the sweet, ears to listen to raindrops, symphonies, voices of praise… Crazy generous… a mind to dream to imagine to wish, a heart to love to have compassion to give mercy. Crazy generous… lips to feel a kiss, toes to put in sand or puddles, hands to hold a babe or brush away a tear…

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (Philemon 1:6 NIV italics mine)

Give thanks, be full of thanks, let’s be crazy generous with someone this week –  we have every good thing in Him…

 

 

 


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October 23, 2014 Your Next Move…

chess3     I don’t play chess but I do find it amusing how long those who have mastered the game can sit and contemplate their next move. I think many of us love the distraction of playing games because it gives a safe way to think about which move to make, which card to play, which tiles to use. If we make the right moves, we win, if we don’t, we lose – oh well. Yet in life we often agonize over what the right move is – analysis paralysis.

Have you watched a boat on the water? Moving with the waves, gently rolling as each one passes beneath. Anchored, it doesn’t go far. Unanchored, it reaches its next port. If we gently roll with God seeking Him in our next moves, He is our anchor keeping us secure. Yet, even if we make an unsure move, He will lead us to the next port.

 “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

In our anxieties, dreads, fears we can worry our way through to the outcome, timidly making our moves, analyzing all our options – or we can go boldly before the throne of grace and find the peace we need to put one brave foot in front of the other. I call these Faith Steps, as we take each one we move beyond self to surrender – with confidence that He is moving with us…

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

Present your next move to God in prayer, giving thanks, and accept His peace. 


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October 5, 2014 What If…

Swan Cropped2      In her small town everyone knew everyone and all their business too. Good stuff brought pats on the back but mistakes left you pulling down the shades. Today downtown was crowded because a man with a reputation for helping those who needed a miracle was passing through. She was born and raised here, no one noticed as she ventured from her quiet home to the busy streets. At first when her embarrassing medical condition wouldn’t go away she told a couple of friends, but they had no advice and had each told their neighbors. Feelings hurt and pride wounded she dared not tell anyone else or even let on like the problem still existed. She had suffered for years. She tried doctors but no one had answers, most had ridicule…

Fear has a funny way of keeping us captive – we have a problem but don’t dare let on, someone might…, might what? Judge us, embarrass us. We read or hear great advice, but hesitate to act on it, because…, because what? It might not work for us, we might not get the same results.

Fear has the same number of letters as: jail and trap.  When it has hold of us we are confined to the what ifs. The ‘what ifs’ we ask are always negative – what if I get seasick on the cruise, what if I raise my hand to answer and I’m wrong, what if I tell him I love him but he says I think you’re a great friend, what if the doctor says it’s cancer…

The woman quickened her pace to get nearer the front of the crowd. If she could get close enough, maybe she could just pull him aside for a moment and he would point her to someone who could help. Drawing close she stumbled and reached out and touched the edge of his sleeve… the man stopped and said “Who touched me???”

“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed came trembling and fell at His feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Then He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:47-48 NIV)         What if  – you reached out for Him and found His peace….