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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Gathering Place…

bench pillows pixa     There is a place, a gathering place, it is calm there and peace whispers your name with love.

Don’t need to travel far but you have to turn away from the day to day to find it. It’s as close as a deep exhale and as far as the heavens that stretch into eternity.

“He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)

Close to His heart, gathered in His arms, the gathering place…

pink sunrise pixa

Can’t see it, but we can feel it. Can’t be lost in it all the time, but we can never leave it. This place, the heartbeat of Jesus, is at once where our head lays and where we find brave for our next step of faith.

We’re there when all the world is shut out and we lay bare our hearts seeking His wisdom, His grace, His healing, His power, His forgiveness, giving thanks in all circumstances.

We’re there when open in our laps is the Word of life, living and active, new every morning mercies, the answers before the question forms.

Bible pixa

There’s a great song by Casting Crowns ‘Just Be Held’, the chorus reminds us Who gathers us close:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

“I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4b NIV)

This, then, is how we Live Brave: in our weakness we let ourselves be gathered to the heart of our Sustainer. We surrender our effort to the timing of our Rescuer. We lift up our eyes and empty our hands of control. The Gathering Place, tell everyone about it…

man on hill pixa

 


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The GIVING of THANKS…

???????????????????????????????    Is this it… is Giving what its all about? That risk of giving and never receiving back, of sleepless nights, of tears… Is this it… Giving Thanks no matter the outcome? Braver is in the ‘Thank You, Father’ – because You love me and even in all this messiness there is grace, there is love, there is – thanks…

Can we accept the good job, the steady paycheck – but not the slim times, not the going without? Can we accept the love of family and friends – but not the heartbreak, not the loneliness? Can we accept the young healthy days, the looking forward to tomorrows – but not the sickness and pain, not the little time left?

The Giving of Thanks – now at this time of year and every day cannot rest on circumstances. Our fear, anxiety, doubt will try to overshadow our heart…

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:18 NIV italics & underline mine) Are we only to give thanks in the good circumstances? No in all…

A beautiful song by Laura Story says…

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
  What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise…

Happy Giving of Thanks… don’t hold back for it is only in the midst of the desperate sacrifice of thank-full lips that we can find courage to Live Brave…


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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….