living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Change In The Air…

door     Living Braver has been a journey. As I recognized fear had become my default reaction to difficulties I knew there must be a better way.

Fear hadn’t always been such a close companion. Through a barrage of situations spanning just a few years, it sneakily crept in. As I set out on this journey my goal wasn’t so much to focus on fear but its opposite: bravery.

Perhaps the way to not holding my breath or getting lost in ‘what-ifs’ was to find brave steps leading to freedom.

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That’s what the past eighteen months have explored. At first these were basic baby steps. As I discovered fear and brave didn’t have as much to do with me as they did with my relationship with God, faith steps emerged.

Will there ever be a day you and I are never afraid? We all have doubts, anxieties, worries. What we’ve discovered together is that it isn’t the absence of the trials of life. It’s not a new found I can handle this. It is the ever present Holy Spirit and our totally relying on a Father who can handle it all.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1Peter 5:7 NIV)

When my focus began to be more and more about ‘this isn’t all there is’ and that no person, no difficulty, no injustice – nothing – can touch my eternity, finally a new perspective came.

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Suddenly it seemed liked clouds parted and all the wonders of God’s promises burst forth and crowded each week’s writings with hope. A hope that will never fade, spoil, or perish. A true treasure.

“An inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you.” (1Peter 1:4 NIV)

My prayer is that this journey has helped you, pointed your vision upward to where your help comes from. If I can pray for you or share with you, please email me.

You can continue to read my wanderings over at my original site: http://parisrenae.wordpress.com. In the near future change will be coming to that site with a fresh new look. I would love to have you ‘follow me’ there. May the God of all grace and peace guard your hearts and your minds, Paris Renae

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Willing…

joy pixa x     Someone recently said ‘What if we’re only as strong as we are joyful?’

The more I thought about it the more I realized that, despite whatever the circumstances, when I choose joy, I feel stronger. It is in those times I am surrendering my will knowing that God is in perfect control. I may not be happy, but happiness and joy are two different things.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to move forward with God.” Pastor Matt Price Joy strength isn’t dependent on me – no amount of ‘chin up’, ‘push through’, ‘just do it’ can make a difference. But willingness can make the difference – the difference between discouragement and direction, the difference between worry and wisdom, the difference between self and surrender.

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But moving forward is where we often get stuck. Stuck in the past or in the now – stuck in our abilities instead of relying on God’s. We go about our days drawing on our strength. Yet we’re told “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (1Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

There’s a song by Lauren Daigle, Trust In You with this chorus:

“When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!”

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So we must keep an eternal perspective, because our hope is not in this life – it is in our eternity. While today’s mountains may seem insurmountable or the agitations may cause us to stumble, they are only temporary. It is hard for us finite humans to rest in an infinite God, but to Live Brave we’re only called to take one willing step at a time and to remember: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied….But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 15:19 & 57 NIV)

Strength in joy and courage to be willing to move forward with God, hope for today and all our tomorrows…

girl in field pixa x

 

 


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Filled…

candle blue pixa x     Three last days, to fill up stockings, refrigerators…hearts.

Christmas Day is just about here, we’ve been anticipating it for the past few weeks, and soon we will leave it behind for another year. Is that how it’s supposed to be?

Maybe the next few days we should fill ourselves up: “…to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19 NIV) When all the world continues on oblivious to God, when all the world crashes in and takes away our ‘merry’, when all the world fills our heart with trembling instead of jingling – will we despair? We might, but if we are filled up with all the fullness of the love of God, a love that surpasses any experience or knowledge we have…then maybe despair will quickly fade to hope, joy peace.

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This is the stuff of Christmas: hope in the Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God, joy because of the Everlasting Father, and peace from the Price of Peace. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)

Whether we have much or little to put under the tree this year, we can have much to fill not only our hearts but those we hold dear. This is the stuff of faith: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” (1Peter 1:8 NIV)

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After all the packages are opened, the shiny paper discarded, the leftovers put away – don’t let Christmas fade away. Christmas is every day because Jesus didn’t come and fade away, He came that we could be forgiven, that we could have eternity. He came and gave His life and now His Holy Spirit reigns in the hearts of all who believe. This is the Good News of Christmas for all our days, let us say together:

Praise be to His glorious Name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen (Psalm 72:19 NIV)

candles pixa x

 

 

 

 


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The Reason…

sun leaves pixa x     Thank you, Father, that when all seems wrong – You are still right. When all seems out of control – You are still our Rock. When all seems to overwhelm – You keep us steady.

Here in America we are about to set aside a day to give thanks – but throughout the world over, all have reason…

Our very breath, our life, and whether we have much or little. Whether this world has been kind or brutal, still we have reason…

“For in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28 NIV)

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Living Braver at this time and in this place, wherever we may be, is acknowledgement. Acknowledging we have a God who knows no bounds to the love He has for us, no bounds to His power, no bounds to what He has in store for those who believe.

“He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.” (Proverbs 2:7-8 NIV)

Is our walk blameless? Are we just? Are we faithful? In and of ourselves – NO. But we have such a great salvation that in Him we are blameless, we are just, we are faithful. What a mystery – we mess up everyday, we are so unjust, and we waiver in faith moment to moment. But greater is He who is in us – and it is through Him that the Father beholds us.

autum path pixa x

“We are courageous because Jesus breathes bravery into the core of our fearful bones, and when we take a terrifying step toward the place we believe Jesus wants us to be, we’re living testaments of an audacious God.” Aliza Latta

Living testaments – you and me. Let our testimony be that of unending thank-full-ness. So full of thanksgiving that we overflow into the lives of others. Though hurting may we still show joy, though worried may we still impart hope, though anxious may we still share our overflowing blessings.

Thank you again and again Father, it is our desire to be courageous for You, trusting in Your boundless power and forever love…

orange poppies pixa x

 


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Favor Moments…

castle in chair pixa x     ‘Bestow favor’ always brings to mind a picture of someone setting a crown on my head or handing me keys to a castle or something fanciful. To be granted favor seems so big and so undeserved.

But I need favor, in the moments when I teeter between making decisions… Moments when I feel torn between right and wrong… Moments when anxiety and doubt paralyze…

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us.” (Psalm 90:17 NIV) Rest upon us… So we can go about our moments with favor extended to others. So we can leave behind the negative self-talk with favor extended to self. So we can trust in the midst of the hard moments God uses all for the good of those who love Him.

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Like drops that slowly fall become puddles, so our moments become life. I want mine to add up to ones that show His favor resting on me. But how, especially when moment to moment things change so quickly? “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

Always…In all ways – seek His face and His strength. In the moments of this day – not yesterday’s and not tomorrow’s, but in today’s – may the moments that make life be ones filled not with my disquieted heart but ones filled with assurance and hope. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23 NIV)

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Faith-full – when we are faithless, caught up in moments of uncertainty, still one thing is always certain – He is faithful and His promises to us are forever.

I found this, no author name, but it came from the blog Share Inspire Quotes: “Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.” A lifetime of moments spent like this would indeed be a life that has the favor of God. These are Favor Moments

sunflower 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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Hope Like That…

tulip yellow pixa x     ‘Like That’ – we use that phrase a lot… I wish I had a house like that – I wish I looked like that – I wish my children/spouse/siblings/parents/friends treated me like that – even, I wish I had the courage to be/to do/to act like that

Shush the chatter that keeps us from walking in Hope, keeps us walking in ‘I wish’. The bantering of: ‘I wish I could be successful like that‘ – ‘I wish my past wasn’t like that’

Do we forget “Man is like a breath, his days like a fleeting shadow?” (Psalm 144:4 NIV) We are a dash between two dates, no time for being lost in our idea of ‘like that’.

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Without Jesus “We were like sheep going astray (1Peter 2:25 NIV) No more…

I want to walk in freedom, abandon, total reliance on the One who sees all my tomorrows. To be satisfied, satiated  because I am so full of the truth that what I hear is His voice… “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIV)

Today can be filled like that, overflow like that as the power of His Spirit shows us the way…

flower sunrise pixa x

Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as Heaven whispers, “Do you like it? I did it just for you.”Max Lucado

Everyday is a new chance to set our hope on nothing less, nothing other than a Father who calls us by name and offers grace, strength, joy abounding.

Hope is not a thing, hope is a Savior. I want a HOPE LIKE THAT…

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19 NIV) Yes, Hope like that

anchor 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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Power Like…

rain boots and umbrella pixa x     Summer rain is different than other times of year rain… It’s urgent, and drenching…

Fear and dread, questioning and worry pound at us much the same way. Amazing how we can be raising hands in praise and then hearing that ‘in this world we will have trouble’ and say in our hearts ‘no, no – I can’t’…

Forgetting that we are absolutely right, we can’t… He can – because of the promise…’I will be with you’…

Before we run ahead of today we must walk with Him in each moment – otherwise we will be drenched with doubt, timid to move on. But He tells us “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” (2Timoty 1:7 NIV underline mine)

Oh that power, that is what I want to be drenched in. The urgent working of Him in all my little things and all my overwhelming things… “…His incomparably great power for us, who believe.” (Ephesians 1:19 NIV)

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Incomparably – immeasurably – unlimited – exceedingly  – GREAT POWER…for who? Us, who believe. Who believe when no one else can fathom why, who believe leaving behind any brokenness and straining towards today’s wholeness.

Emily P. Freeman recently said “May we remember to treat fear like an armed enemy, refusing to let him come into our homes, sit at our table, and feast on our hope. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the HOPE to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18 NIV caps mine)

hearts pixa x

The eyes of our heart – that is how we must…trust Him – heart trust, hope in Him – heart hope, see Him – heart vision.

When the dark clouds have spent themselves leaving behind saturated ground, rays part the sky and puddles warm beckoning us to step into their warmth. Just like our Father beckons in the whisper, ‘I am with you to the very end of the age and forever…step with Me…’

 puddle with leaf pixa x