living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Wrestling…

autumn leaves pixa x     There are times in this life where the best description of what we are going through is called: wrestling.

That place where you’ve had the air sucked out of you…

That place where you walk slower and find yourself staring a lot…

Much as I don’t like this place, experience has taught me that growth comes during these times.

Experience has also taught me that the growth comes only if I rely on the Father to see me through to the other side, not when I take control and try to fix all the mess. This is hard for me, I’m a fixer. So this time, I’m hoping I can let Him fix, in His time, in His perfect way.

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I think I will try this advice: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2Corinthians 4:18 NIV) Help me, Father, to remember that all this mess of stuff is temporary, fix my eyes on You and the hope of eternity.

We are also reminded that “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.(Hebrews 12:4 NIV) Whether it is our own sin or that of others – but Jesus shed His blood for all man’s sins. So no matter the pain of our own foolishness or the fall-out of other’s selfishness, we do have eternity awaiting us — a no more tears, no more sorrow – no more wrestling eternity.

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For today, and tomorrow, and however long it takes I will wrestle through this uncertainty — wrestle in prayer, wrestle in His Word, wrestle to try and keep my thoughts on those things I’m called to fix my mind on. All that’s evil wants me to dwell on the pain and drown in the fear, but I need to remember ‘whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy’ (from Philippians 4:8).

I am reminded where our strength for the battle comes from – “Finally be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10 NIV)

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Stepping Stones…

stepping stones pixa x     Sometimes we all need…a path….. to find our way…

Stepping stones don’t have to be crossed all at once. Sometimes we step, breathe deep, and do what needs to be done in this day, on this stone…

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. (1Peter 2:21 NIV)

footsteps pixa x

Last week I stepped onto an unknown stone – as the blossoming young woman, with hurt her past, and a future unsure, poured out her heart to me. Mesmerized I listened as she non-stop told me everything she had held so tightly, now overflowing like a dam broken.

On this stone I did not have to have all the answers. I did not have to fix anything. I just had to…listen, squeeze her hand, blink back tears with her, and…assure her of the One who loves her more than anyone on earth can even fathom. The love of a Savior who sees her heart.

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He knows your heart too, He knows your hurts, He knows your faltering step looking for the next stone in the path…assuring you that –

“When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.” (Proverbs 4:12 NIV)

For what can man do to us? This earth suit may be damaged, feelings hurt, dreams dashed – but you who profess Jesus as your Lord, Christ as your Savior – the you that is eternal cannot be touched.

Because Christ died for us our Father sees His Son’s righteousness in us – and tells us this great truth for our path:

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter til the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18 NIV)

daisy on stone pixa x

And now it comes to us to say to fear ‘you are not my master’. As this sweet young woman finished her story we held hands and stepped together to the next stone in our path looking forward with eternal eyes to the promise…

“You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11 NIV)

Step brave with us today into the everlasting arms – breaking the chains holding us captive to the world and its burdens and stepping free into the Light on our path…

 

 

 

 

 


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One More Time…

childx    Ever seen a child thrilled with something simple like being swung around in a circle, or tossed up in the air, or awed by a ‘magic’ trick. The response is always ‘Do it again, do it again, one more time’…

There is hope for all our frailties – those times when we fall back into the old habits, know we shouldn’t but still do, thought we had moved on… f o r g i v e n e s s

There is hope for all the hurts others impose – those times when words cut deep, actions longed for don’t materialize, the judgment is crushing… f o r g i v e n e s s

Self or others – can we do it? Probably not…

Self: “As far as the east is from the west,” (that’s forever far from) “so far has He removed our transgressions” (the failures, the lapses, the self-condemnation) “from us.” (Psalm 102:12 NIV)

We, like children – Do it again, one more time, Oh how we need His f o r g i v e n e s s one more time…

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Others: Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,” (instead of angry, instead of vengeful, instead of defeated) “just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NLT)

Do it again, one more time, Oh how we need the grace to f o r g i v e one more time…

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Elisabeth Elliot, if you don’t know her story, you really should look it up – by His grace Mrs. Elliot turned evil to good by the simple, oh so complex word …f o r g i v e n e s s. Her secret: “Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you.”

Oh yes, we have forgotten one more time, that He who created our very breath, yes the One who took all unjustness for us, that His final request was F O R G I V E…

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

 It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

(lyrics from Matthew West Song: Forgiveness, link to listen:

https://youtu.be/h1Lu5udXEZI )

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

flowerx


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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.

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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!)

 


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Inheritance…

easter flowers1     Just shy of 2,000 years ago a group of men, inseparable and courageous, scattered and tried to find ‘safe’ places. The man they thought would end all their despair has been killed…

Much like us, 2000 years later – we act courageous until… until we’re confronted with a trying situation, or made uncomfortable about our faith…

Jesus told His followers on several occasions that He would be killed – so many could have life forever. Many of the closest disciples said they would die with Him. But when the time came… ‘well, maybe He wasn’t who we thought He was’, ‘maybe we misunderstood what He meant’, ‘maybe we need to go off and figure this out’…

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These followers were no different than you and I. We believe (but we leave room for doubt). The good news was that within a couple of days Jesus returned from the dead, calmed their fears, promised to be with them (and us) to the very end of the age, and gave them – and all who would believe from that point on – His Spirit…

One of my favorite books in the Bible is 1Peter (highly recommended reading) especially chapter one. Peter reminds us of our “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” and of our “inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade” (1Peter 1:3-4 NIV).

Bible on table (Lightstock)1

Anything we inherit here is temporary and subject to perishing, spoiling, fading, being used up, being stolen… I have a friend who, on two occasions, has not received the inheritance due her because of unscrupulous people. It has been hurtful in many ways. But my friend has an Eternal Perspective: her inheritance, the one that matters, is certain. No one can cheat her out of it and it will last forever…

Continuing in 1Peter it just gets better… vereses 6-9 are what Easter is all about as we remember the One who so willingly paid the price for our foolishness so that we could forever and ever live with Him – seeing wonders untold and without end…

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed….even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1Peter 1:6-9 NIV italics mine)

Happy, Happy Easter – He is Risen!

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