living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Helpless…

daisy heart pixa x     Ever feel…helpless? To heal the broken heart, to right the wrong, to tell the boy he will be a good man and someday this will be okay…

Helpless when we’re in the forest and all we see are trees breaking in the lightening bolt – lives broken in the selfishness of others’ habits, greed, lostness.

But are we helpless – “I lift up my eyes…where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV italics mine) The Maker of me and of you and of all. The Giver of good and Sustainer in the bad.

“Sometimes God allows what he hates, to accomplish what He loves.” Max Lucado

tree lightening pixa x

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV italics mine) Grace is the hand of God lifting our eyes, carrying our burden, and openly taking the nail – that when we think we are helpless it is then that He is in control.

So, yes, you and me on our own – helpless. But with Jesus we are never on our own…

The hands that spun the universe on its course, put whiskers on the kitty, and soft ears on the puppy – those are the same hands you can trust to bring you safely home. “When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.” (from PowerPlug! Motivational Quotes)

universe pixa x

I look at the boy – not yet a man, no longer a child – and cling to the promises that are trustworthy: “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11 NIV)

The world is anything but at peace – but the world does not have our hearts, they belong to Him our Peace…

mum heart pixa x

 

 

 

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You liar…

stormx     Going about my days lately I thought I had this new sense of courage and contentment, maybe I was finally getting it… then something happened that made me plant my feet and shout ‘no’, ‘I won’t do that’, ‘I can’t’, ‘it’s not safe’, ‘what if it doesn’t work out’?

And there I was, all the stuff I thought I had shed was bubbling out, demanding an answer. The question: ‘Do you trust Me?’ – ‘Yes, You, I trust Lord – I just don’t trust the person asking me to go along with the scary thing’ – and I tried to pretend that if I protested enough, I could get my way, I could stay in the safe zone, and I could go back to my few minutes ago courage…

pierx

Doubts crept in, my head was saying ‘you know this could work out really bad’, ‘put your foot down, don’t do it’ – I so badly wanted to pay attention. Then my heart said pick up your Bible and the defenses I was trying my best to erect began to look like unbelief. The deceiver wanted me to handle things the way I’ve always done it – my way. My Father didn’t want me to handle it at all, but put it in His hands…

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him…” (Romans 15:13 NIV)

I had to say to the tempter, the one who holds out the tantalizing lie of ‘you don’t need God for this, handle it on your own’ – ‘You liar!’ Listening to the lie would have rewarded me with worry, lost sleep, conflict. Listening to the lover of my soul rewarded me with confidence that I wasn’t in control, but He was and I needed to trust… “…so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV)

victory on rockx

When what we have, or the fear of losing it, becomes our god, we lose sight of what we truly have – assurance that no matter what happens in this world, whether in our control or not, this is temporary – eternity is forever and that can never be taken from us.

Things may work out the dreaded way we fear they will, but we don’t have to lose our peace and joy when we cling to our hope – the unfailing love of God and the knowledge that “in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28 NIV caps mine)

 daisyx

 


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To the Rescue…

Jesus to the rescue1     Ever notice Hollywood is all about super heroes? Movies where someone or someplace is in distress and only a hero can save the day. Superman to the rescue…

Don’t we all wish that in our moments of despair swooping down through the air would be a Captain America to make it all ok?

Like when the 85 year old grandpa finds out he has an inoperable clot in his leg and it has to be amputated. Like when the house you just put down new flooring in floods. Where is a super hero when you need one?

“The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you.” (Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT)

Our God is much more than any superhero could even imagine. Will he restore the amputee or the ruined bank account – not necessarily in this life, but in the life to come those who confess Jesus as Lord will be restored and much more…

“Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10 NIV)

What we really need saving from is ourselves. In our selfishness we have let sin separate us from the love of God. Daunting and terrifying as the tragedies here on earth may seem, they are nothing compared to a forever without God. Our God sent His Son, swooping down from the very presence of His Father to save us – not just in one time of calamity, but for all time.

life preserver1

Jesus did what no man – no matter how wealthy, strong, influential, or intelligent – could ever do. He stepped into humanity and lived a perfect life, that He could be a perfect sacrifice once for all and forever, to those who will believe…

“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.” (1Peter 3:18 NLT)

Jesus to the rescue, now that’s what I’m talking about… 

cross kneeling1

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!  Click on the Back to Paris Renae link at the top, perhaps a look a the extraordinary ordinary would lighten your day…

 


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Safest When…

locked door1     Safe – where is ‘safe’? Safe – from ‘what’?

There is much to pray about being kept safe from isn’t there? If we were to pray for self and loved ones only about safety, I suppose we could take up most of our day. So much to be kept safe from…

Do you long for a bubble around your children, around your car speeding down the road, around your heart throughout the day…

 heart bubble1

In this world there is no bubble, bad has its way. Mommas lose daughters to terrorists, daddys lose sons to drugs, wives lose husbands to midlife crisis, friends lose kindred spirits to old age… Where is safe…

“Keep me safe, O God, for in You I take refuge.” (Psalm 16:1 NIV) Refuge – shelter or protection from distress or danger. Here? Now? Yes and no. As we walk in obedience to God we are kept safe from many pitfalls we may never know of. But in a sin-filled world, we aren’t exempt from troubles. Kept safe from utter destruction – Absolutely, Always, Forever…

This fearful, dreadful, tearful now is temporary… Perhaps safe isn’t where, or what, or when – but Who…

“But the Lord is my refuge; my God is the rock of my protection.”  (Psalm 94:22 HCSB)

Max Lucado said When fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our God… The New Testament lists some 125 Christ-issued imperatives. Of these, 21 urge us to ‘not be afraid’ or ‘not fear’ or ‘have courage’.” His second most common imperative was to love God and neighbor, and that only appeared eight times. Max went on to say “Jesus takes our fears seriously. The one statement He made more than any other was this: don’t be afraid.”

Safe when? When you are in the arms of your loving Father — and when you have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are always and forevermore in His arms…

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!  Click on the ‘Back to Paris Renae’ link at the top, where we chat about how extraordinary ordinary is…

 

 


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October 31, 2014 Live Braver Today…

???????????????????????????????     The following is the very best I can share with you on Living Braver. These are verses I chose for myself during a time of great trial and fear and I read them everyday. Remember that praying God’s Word to Him is the very best we can offer and He will grant us peace as His word permeates our very soul. Live Braver Today and God bless you eternally…

(Remember to insert your name or me or I to personalize these verses for you – or fill in a loved one’s name as you personalize them during their time of trial…)

All verses are from the NIV transalation…

Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2Corinthians 12:9

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26 (just cry out Father)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear, your God will come, He will come with vengeance, with divine retribution He will come to save you. Isaiah 35:4

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline. 2Timothy 1:7

Here are some for you to look up… Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 54:17, Psalm 27:1-2, Psalm 119:114, Exodus 14:14, Ephesians 6:10-12, Hebrews 4:16, Psalm 56:3-4

 

Finally, Happy Thanksgiving, we have much be thankful in this country – and Merry Christmas, the best gift we ever received was born in a lowly stable a little over 2000 years ago and today He is still the only gift that is truly timeless and worth more than we could ever imagine!

(If you’ve enjoyed reading this, on a much lighter note, you can visit my website Paris Renae – The Stories of Our Lives at: http://parisrenae.wordpress.com!)

 


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October 25, 2014 What are you trying to prove?

cross on rocks cropped     Day in and day out we strive to accomplish something, anything. We search for significance hoping to make our mark. We impose expectations on ourselves and feel lost when we don’t meet them. In other words, we are always trying to prove something. The root of this striving is fear – fear of being ‘less than’ someone else, fear of not being ‘enough for’ someone else – fear of being vulnerable or powerless. So we try to get the highest grades, be the best on the team, make the most money, have the best figure, be the most popular – you get the picture…

We see it everywhere – in Hollywood its who is marrying who and who got the biggest ring, who gets the big bucks for the movie roles, who has it all. In sports its who scores highest, who has more super bowl rings, who has the biggest sponsors. In politics its who stays in office longest, who wields the most power to get their special interest accomplished, who can outdo the other in debates. The fear (although they may deny that word) is they will become irrelevant if they don’t meet those expectations and the vicious cycle of striving continues…

Average ordinaries are no exception – whose kid is the smartest, who got the latest promotion, who knows everyone in the neighborhood (and the list goes on and on)…

All of us trying to prove what? To escape the fear of letting ourselves down, of not feeling ‘all that’ in an ‘all that’ world…

Secure in Christ Jesus we don’t have to strive or to prove. Sinners that we are until the day we die, when we confess Jesus as Lord & Savior our God sees us as perfect through His Son. We have been set free from the slavery of trying to prove who we are. Again, who are we? We are heirs with Christ, sons and daughters of the Most High God. Perfected by His righteousness, walking braver in His plan for our lives…

 


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October 19, 2014 Safe Place

shield1     Safe – the place where we long to be… Safe is a place we constantly search for. Safe from fierce weather, safe from physical abuse, safe from emotional abuse, safe from scary things like Ebola or terrorism or crime, safe from our own feelings of inadequacy…

Is there such a place? I’ve often thanked God for our home and called it our safe haven – if that is so then why sometimes when I’m alone at night do I feel the little niggling of fear arise wondering if someone will break in? We keep our money in banks where it’s safe – then why do we worry about how much we have and if there will be a run on banks? We make sure our children’s caretakers and schools are safe places – then why do we worry about school shootings or abductions?

Webster defines safe as: free from harm or risk; secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss. People have built homes with ‘safe rooms’ – walls made of thick concrete sometimes metal reinforced, supplies for several days inside, a camera to view the outside. Yet that is not safe, if someone wants you out of there bad enough they will find a way. So is safe possible?

“Fear of man” (or of anything in this world) “will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25 NIV) Our safe place is only found in God. “He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge…” (Psalm 144:2 NIV) See His reassuring words: fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield. May this song encourage you to step into His safe arms: