living braver

one faith step at a time…


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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…

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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.

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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…

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Because of…

hearts pixa     Can’t earn it…Don’t deserve it…Can’t lose it.

To Live Braver is not a task, a to-do, a mountain to climb, or fear to conquer.

Yet life here is based on performance. As children – behave correctly, to be praised. As students – score a high grade, to get ahead. As a woman – look a certain way, to be noticed. As a man – make a living, to have worth.

As a child of God there is no performance required on our part. Christ has done it all. For all the times I have caused a frown here on earth, He has atoned. For all the times I have been selfish, He has been generous. For all the times I have ignored, He has noticed. He has overcome all our shortcomings – past, present, to come.

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But  b e c a u s e  o f   His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy… (Ephesians 2:4 NIV)

That great love isn’t earned, deserved or ever lost — it can be shared, can be the source of comfort, can be our Brave.

And oh yes, Mercy – He is so rich in it. A storehouse full that never empties out. Mercy poured over us, drenching us. In such mercy we are standing in His presence. Shining in the Light of Christ, His righteousness lighting up our very countenance. The Holy Spirit in us now – that we reflect the Light for all.

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How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1John 3:1 NIV)

His little ones, beloved ones, those who walk all eternity with Him. Lavish = generous, extravagant quantity. With so much, will we share? With each sharing we are courageous. There is no fear in love, love drives out fear and “We love because He first loved us.” (1John 4:19 NIV)

What freedom – live in Him, trust in Him. Freed to not perform, freed to show what He has done. We can love, BECAUSE OF… Jesus!

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


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Do You Stand? (& Give Away…)

cushion in field with hat pixa x     Longing for a day without…hurt, pain, grief? Longing for a family with…love, contentment, plenty? Longing for a world without…strife, war, chaos? Longing for…peace?

“The world’s idea of peace: no conflict. That doesn’t exist. Peace is the quiet calm in the conflict.” (Larry Adams pastor) Ah, that’s what we’re longing for: the quiet calm. To stand each morning, at every turn in the day, and before the starry night and know that though there be no peace now….someday…

The truth is “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:11 NIV) So whose plans do we stand on? We can plan every next step, but our plans are fleeting…no matter how grand or right or seemingly worthy. The plans of the Lord, they stand firm forever. How to enter and stand there, in His plans?

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Wait – are we His children? Is Jesus our Savior? If our answer is a resounding YES, then “…I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.” (1Corinthians 15:1 NIV) The good news, the gospel, is where we take our stand and…

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1-2 NIV) We now stand in His grace? Grace – that loving kindness, forgiveness, wholeness – all ours…

“If life is going to be hard, why not live in such a way that struggles bring glory to God?” (Jay Holland, pastor) And life is going to be hard, maybe not every minute, maybe every minute. But if we can live that hard in such a way, stand in such a way that our little lives bring glory to Him?

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Take our stand on the good news, stand in His grace, and with faith did you know that all the enemy’s fiery arrows will be extinguished? When we sit at our loved one’s bedside, last breaths coming, still satan has no power. When no more money is coming, beloved possessions being taken, still satan has no power. Though none stand with us, worry our only companion, still satan has no power!

Do we stand? After everything, He is able to make us stand – on the heights, of His love – in the depths, of His mercy…an ever present help in trouble…

  DWJBdayBash x

GIVE AWAY: Dance With Jesus by Susan B. Mead addresses the grief of a mother losing her son and a God who taught her to dance through her pain. If you, or someone you love is dealing with a loss, email me at parisrenae1@gmail.com and mention today’s post. I will randomly pick two who will receive a copy of the book and a bookmark. I will be sending them out on 8/22 so be sure to include a mailing address.

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

 


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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

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“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)

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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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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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Crazy Generous…

hands11     Nine days until Thanksgiving… Are you feeling generous? If we are giving thanks, then someone was generous with us – someone who wants us to have every good thing

“…but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10 NIV italics mine)

Do you ever have a hard time being generous? The kind of generous beyond what you ‘have to do or give’, the generous beyond ‘out of my extras’. I know I do. Why are we so afraid of being generous?

Generous doesn’t just mean money – how about a listening ear, a shared meal, a ride for someone who has to walk, a kind word, a complement?

Fear says what if? What if I give the homeless guy a twenty and I don’t have enough next week or next year? What if I stop to listen and they take too long and I’m late? What if I say something kind and they think I am weird?

What if all that does happen? Is God not big enough to take care of the what ifs?

God is crazy generous with us… Eyes to see beauty, smell to breathe in the rose, touch to stroke the kitten, taste to savor the sweet, ears to listen to raindrops, symphonies, voices of praise… Crazy generous… a mind to dream to imagine to wish, a heart to love to have compassion to give mercy. Crazy generous… lips to feel a kiss, toes to put in sand or puddles, hands to hold a babe or brush away a tear…

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (Philemon 1:6 NIV italics mine)

Give thanks, be full of thanks, let’s be crazy generous with someone this week –  we have every good thing in Him…