living braver

one faith step at a time…


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In the Cave…

flower yellow black bkgrnd pixa x     The Lost Sea Adventure is in southeast Tennessee. To tour it you descend several hundred feet on slippery paths. Part way the guide stops and says “At this point we are going to turn off all lighting, you’ll understand what complete darkness is. Hope they come back on.” (Not funny.)

You stand there waiting for your eyes to adjust so you can see the outline of the person standing next to you. But you never do, because in complete darkness you can hold your hand right up in front of your face and never be able to see it.

That’s a lot like us without Jesus. We can commit terrible acts, knowing exactly what we’re doing. But never see it for the evil it is.

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It reminds me of the recent tragedy in Charleston where the barely adult young man sat through a Bible study with a group of people and in the end, opened fire killing nine.

So lost, so needful of something to make sense, so deluded into thinking his actions would make his world right in some way…

Like marriages that abuse verbally or physically – hoping it changes something. Like drugs or alcohol – hoping for a release from the reality of what isn’t wanted. Like any crime – hoping to fix a perceived problem but creating a worse outcome.

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Pastor Larry Adams recently said “That young man may have to pay for his crimes, but he doesn’t have to die for them.” Meaning someone already did – Jesus has paid the price in full for whatever the sin. A lie about something as silly as where we were to one as devastating as killing innocent people. The point is, we will likely face earthly consequences for our sins, but those who put their faith in Jesus don’t face an eternal consequence.

The Lost Sea is at the end of the tour deep into the cave. A very large lake discovered in 1905. But God knew it was there all along.

He knows all about us too, when we’re lost… When we finally ‘discover’ Him, we can see our actions for what they are. In Him we find our way to wholeness. Then no matter the troubles we face in this world, we know He will see us through, right there with us. Someday we will see Him face to face. In the light of His glory that shines on our forever, free from anymore bondage to sin… With Him the light is always on.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2Corinthians 4:6 NIV)

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

 

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Landing Strips…

small plane pixa x     My step-dad had his pilot’s license, off and on he had a little plane that two to four people could fly in. He rebuilt most of one in our garage once. I remember the first time we flew and had to land in the early evening. It was almost dark and I got scared. I asked how he would be able to see where to go…

In our darkest hours we often don’t know where to go, but there is light for us: “Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me.” (Psalm 43:3 NIV)

I watched a beautiful short film about a wondrous cave in China. Instead of stalactites, this cave had openings here and there from the top of the hill where light filtered in. Throughout those areas of the cave there was lush vegetation. Green ferns and mosses and other delicate plants. Wherever the light touched there was growth…

As we are touched by the Light so we grow in our faith: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV)

fern pixa x

I took a guided tour in a cave where no light reached in. There was no life in it, just rock. Lights were stationed along most of the trail but at one point deep in the cave, where it was very cold, they had us all stand still. All the lights were turned off. I had never been in total, black, deep darkness before. Our eyes did not know what to make of it. A far away light came on, our searching eyes caught sight of it right away. Light, even the tiniest amount, permeates the darkness…

Our eternal souls are saved by His Light: “For you have delivered my soul from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” (Psalm 56:13 NIV)

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My step-dad had me watch closely in the last minutes before we landed. As we came closer and lower I could see the little running lights. They seemed like an arrow pointing the way: land here, this is the place… And so our Bible points the way for us: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NIV)

Let’s choose His light to lead us out of our darkness…

 landing strip 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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Toward Who…

daisys in vasex     Away from self means towards Who? Oh how our tendency is towards what we can ‘see’, what ‘seems’ safe, a sure thing, painless, our comfort zone…

Of course the opposite is towards what is unseen, what ‘seems’ risky, the uncertain, the costly, the uncomfortable. In those times we learn “We live by faith, not by sight.” (2Corinthians 5:7 NIV)

More often we are “like sheep going astray,” (1Peter 2:25a HCSB) When a sheep wanders, that’s when it’s in danger, no protection of the flock or from the shepherd. No direction to where food or water is. No voice to listen to for guidance…

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Those of us who deal with doubt or fear really like the word ‘certain’. By definition it means: known for sure, established beyond doubt. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) Faith is how we ‘see’ the only One who never lets us down, faith moves us toward our Hope. When we move in faith the second half of 1Peter 2:25 above is true:

“but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

Our Shepherd guides us in the right direction – the Defender, Protector, Keeper of our very souls speaks quietly to us through His living Word and in those moments when we hush enough to hear…

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“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.” Elisabeth Elliot

Oh yes, dear one, you and I we will question, we will doubt. But our comfort is knowing where to take that question, that doubt. Deep breath, lifted eyes, surrendered heart – certain peace, certain joy, and certain scarred hands carrying us through each day…

A beautiful line from the song Your Great Name by Natalie Grant “Every fear has no place at the sound of Your Great Name”. Toward Who? The Name above all names…

 poppy pixax

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


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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!