living braver

one faith step at a time…


Leave a comment

I In the Middle…

heart cementx     Ever feel stuck – in the middle. Between scary and bold, between fear and brave, between self and God?

Reminds me of something the author Max Lucado once pointed out: sIn. In the middle of the tiny, big word is I.

Such a small word, big enough to destroy an Eden man and woman. ‘I’ always makes a mess of perfection…

Between scary and bold is I saying: I can’t, I won’t. Between fear and brave is I saying: I’m not good enough, I don’t trust enough. Between self and God is I saying: I know best, I’ve got this.

sidewalk weedx

Stuck in the middle – the middle of the pain, the fear, the doubt. Sometimes in the middle of the good, the plenty, the blessing. I demands it’s way in the bad and the good because, as always, I looms large when it’s on it’s own…

sIn is always self and self feeds on our weakness. We need HIM. The I in the middle of HIM is the great I AM. With HIM the difference between scary, fear, self – and bold, brave, God – is the I AM…

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17-18 NIV)

Mmmm, peace like a river – abounding, running on and on, not ending. As Alicia Bruxvoort said in a post I once read: “Even if you know the ending, the middle can still hurt.” But remember, nothing is waste with God. The messy middle is for us to use for Him.

dandelionx

This side of eternity our sinful self will never be completely gone. But maybe crossing from the middle to Him will be quicker, less stressful, more comforting when we remember we are no longer slaves to sIn – we have been set free…

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father”. (Romans 8:15 NIV)

Father, we want Your peace like a river…

peaceful riverx

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

 


4 Comments

Future Tense…

booksx     Remember grammar in grade school? You had to learn tenses of verbs – present, past… future?

Most of us live in present or past – what if we live in future tense…

A much loved verse:For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jerimiah 29:11 NIV italics mine) When someone has plans they are not for yesterday or this moment, they are for the future. And, oh the awesome plans our Father has for us…

rainbowx

Trials are no surprise to God, though they catch us off guard, He is always there knowing what we need to weather through – our part…trust…

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18 NIV italics mine) Hope – for the future – what, or better Who, is it based on?

Our Savior Jesus Christ – a solid foundation of hope that never disappoints…

Instead of living in the yesterdays of my regrets, in the turmoils of today, I want to be living in the future – but how? Though it sounds contrary the future is here, now, and it is still to come – Jesus has died (past tense) that I can have His Holy Spirit in me now (present tense) and I already have the guarantee of eternity (future tense).

hopex

What would our living be like if we lived in the future now – there would be no need to fret, worry, doubt… My last breath here is followed by my first breath in eternity – just like that, no gaps, no questioning at some pearly gate. May I live each breath now that others can see the Hope and I can rest knowing the future hope is mine already…

“Whatever is not eternal is eternally out of date.” C.S. Lewis

futurex


Leave a comment

Perfect…

perfect rosex     I’m a failure… because I don’t look perfect, my house isn’t perfect, my kids aren’t perfect, my marriage isn’t perfect, my health isn’t perfect, my bank account isn’t perfect – the liar says because of these and all my other ‘imperfections’ I am a failure…

Are you perfect – what is perfect – who is perfect?

Perfect life – no worries, no fears? Perfect marriage – no doubts, no regrets? Perfect parenting – healthy children, successful in all they do? Perfect job – recognized, paid well? No?

My lack of perfection leaves me worrying what will others say, think… Ah, there it is – perfect is all about performance, impressing… It’s ‘me thinking’ but we’re called to ‘Jesus thinking’…

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV) While we were still imperfect, without us having to perform or impress, for eternity…

three crossesx

Perfect is in the eye of the beholder and if you have Jesus as your Lord & Savior then God sees you through the righteousness of His Son – and he beholds you perfect

 We are blind in our looking, in our idea of perfect. Did you know that if a person loses their sight and then regains it, they have to learn to ‘see’ again? Or if a traumatic injury happens that affects the optic nerve or brain, the eyes may see just fine but the brain interprets what they observe and the brain may be unable to ‘see’.

In our flawed human view of perfection we must learn to see the perfect that God acknowledges – that of a life surrendered to Him – leave behind our misconceptions, shut out the voices telling us we are not enough, have messed up too much…

eyex

“But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Colossians 1:22 NIV) Wow, without blemish, free from accusation – perfect…

Watch the story of Ian & Larissa Murphy and you will think of perfect in a whole new way… They have learned a secret that we all need to know when haunted by perfect: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” ( https://youtu.be/AEBzPi2GbkI )

Let’s live in His perfection so we can extend grace-filled love to those who may just be worrying about what we’re thinking of them…

praying handsx

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

October 18, 2014 No Regrets…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     A boy just on the verge of manhood was taken away by strangers one day – many of his older brothers watching and not trying to help. He was taken to a far away country and sold as a slave. The master of the home he worked in was a shrewd business man and quite wealthy, yet he treated his servants fairly. The master took notice of the boy right away and after a few years when he had proved himself to be the most trustworthy of  the servants, the master put him in charge of all his affairs. Now the young man had become quite handsome and well built during his years of labor –  the master’s wife wanted him to notice her. She tried to make him her lover, but he was a man of integrity and refused. Spite-filled she lied to her husband and the young man was carted off to jail for supposedly taking advantage of his master’s wife…

Sometimes we can do everything right and still wind up not smelling like roses – this world has a way of twisting truths so that the lies are what is believed and truth is buried. Living Braver requires us to refuse the offers of temporary gratification so we don’t live with regrets – which fuels our fears. Regrets for the times we were less than honest, for falling for the ‘everybody else is doing it’ jingle, for putting self before others… and being found out.

If we are Living Braver not in our own strength but in His, then we can believe that this living we do is not about our happiness but about our holiness. ‘ Wait, you say, me holy? Not even close.’  You’re right, not even close on our own but we are not on our own. “…We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10 NIV) Happiness living leads to regret living which leads to fear living.

Living Braver is finding joy even in the absence of happiness so that we can walk in integrity straight into the arms of our loving Father. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12 NIV) Clothed in those attributes is the opposite of what the world wants to clothe us in, come out of the world…