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.

whiteflowerdrops

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.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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Wings of Brave…

hummingbird pixa     The lady hawk circled in the bright blue sky. Wings not moving but a dance of flight floated her here and there – aloft, enjoying what she was made to do, no struggle, no purposed outcome.

I wondered how it is birds soar around the sky like that, seemingly no effort. Turns out that the bird depends on external forces called ‘thermal currents’ –  rising masses of air that form over areas where the ground warms up rapidly. When this happens, wings outstretched, a dance of complete freedom occurs.

What would it be like to acknowledge and depend on God – truly. Instead of with head knowledge, or with want to, or with should – but with surrender. To depend on the current of His Holy Spirit flowing through me, His love coursing through my veins, His security lifting me in a dance of freedom.

bird soar pixa

Too much time is spent trying to reason out things beyond our understanding, to make fit our molds things that can’t be held. The Father resides in me but is bigger than the entire universe? The creator of all bends low to comfort a questioning heart? The one who is already beyond today hears the prayer of a moment of panic? Too wonderful…

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (Psalm 139:6 NIV)

COSMOS PIXA x

The hawk doesn’t figure out first how it works to soar without effort, she just takes flight and when that just right draft comes up she loses herself in it. Our days will require much of us – hard times will mingle with the happy. Too many of us seek to define each and every action. But there is freedom in those moments when we feel the lightness of a load being lifted to just let go and not question. When an unexpected gift comes our way, a phone call of a friend distracts us, the beauty of creation catches our eye – soar on the moment.

We know this: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15 NIV) – but we don’t live it.

To live on the wings of brave isn’t more effort on our part, it’s knowing Him and catching the updraft of the current of His love instead of ignoring it…

CROSS PIXA x

 


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Light Load…

 feather hand pixa  How do you carry? With arms bent in weight or hands lifted light? Is it even to us to carry?

The world has not changed much over the last couple thousand years. Jesus commented of those who were the rock stars, political leaders, ‘respected’ of their day “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for men to see.” (Matthew 23: 4 NIV)

What loads are we carrying today, ones others put on us – ones we’ve picked up ourselves. The world is a heavy mess, it will always be til the return of the Savior.

burden pixa

There is really only one burden we need carry “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

But what to do with all the weight we feel “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1Peter 5:7 NIV) Even in this, no conditions. It doesn’t say ‘then He will care for you’ it says ‘because He cares’. Already done, regardless of what we do. At the ready to lift us up, enabling us to carry Him with us and to others.

An alcoholic spouse, a wayward child, a dementia bound parent, unfaithful friend, lost job, ill health, these are not ours to carry. Cast them – heave, thrust, toss, hurl – really, just let go of. These are things best carried in arms bigger than ours.

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So I’ve found in sitting next to the death bed, speak of Him. In fear of losing all, lift up Him. Take the worry and heave it on Him in prayer. Take the fear and hurl it on Him with lifted eyes and hands. Take any regret and thrust it on Him living for now, not then or when.

Deep breath before the appointment, quick prayer before the reaction, song of His in our soul when laying down, Word buried in heart to start each day. These are light and lift our hands, arms are freed to move beyond our heaviness and quickened to carry Him to another burdened soul.

heart sand pixa

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

 

 


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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.

fall trail x

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.

fall x

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)

sunflower field at sunset pixa x


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Softly Still…

softx     Some things are hard – a poor bunny drowned in the pool and then the next day one was left in the street after a car hit it in front of our house. Two days of scooping up and disposing of a sweet little creation can get to you…

Reminders that someday no more of that. Someday the wolf will live with the lamb, the bunny with the fox…

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat…for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:6-9 NIV)

lamb wolf (canva)x

In the meantime as the hard things press on we can soften them…And not just for ourselves – a kind word to another, a prayer lifted for one in need, a helping hand…

But in those moments when the hard thing is pressing us – let Him come softly into your heart…your mind…your soul. Knowing you don’t have all the answers, but He does. Knowing you can’t right all the wrongs, but He can and will, someday. Knowing you will face many hard things, but you won’t be alone – though none seem to be with you…

Ann Voskamp said “Do not pray for the hard thing to go away, pray for a bravery to come that’s bigger than the hard thing.”

prayingx

God entrusts us with hard things which helps us gain confidence to get through the next hard thing and the next – so when we come upon weary souls we can help them gain confidence and find God in their need…

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:1-2, 10 NIV)

Though you think this hard thing will never end, or you think you completely blew it this time around, or you fear any more hard things and just want to be done – He comes softly still…

Softly with love bigger than our biggest dream of love, softly with strength bigger than our biggest fear of failure, softly with redemption bigger than all our biggest regrets. Softly still He comes and we are stilled one more time…

butterfly peacefulx

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

 


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D.O.U.B.T.

butterfly4555     A word we are familiar with: doubt… Plans piled high in our hearts – that never quite make it beyond the dreams? To do’s piled high on our desk – wondering which should be done first? Disappointments laying all around – not wanting to add to the pile?

When doubt clouds the view, push away the curtains with His Word… Are you familiar with Job? His story often brings dreary thoughts. Job said at one point when all seemed like loss “My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.” (Job 17:11 NIV) Doesn’t get much lower than that…

When friends and wife told Job ‘Give it up’, still Job would not doubt God. He would question, yes, but he would not doubt God was in control. The book of Job ends “After Job prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10 NIV)

When in doubt don’t leave prayer out. God is not a magic genie and prayer is not a magic lamp, rather God is our hope and prayer is our blessing. I love these lyrics from a song by Francesca  Battistelli:

     When I fix my eyes on all that You are     Then every doubt I feel     Deep in my heart    Grows strangely dim     All my worries fade     And fall to the ground     Cause when I see Your face     And don’t look around     Any place I’m in     Grows strangely dim…

D.  desiring

O.  only

U.  ur

B.  blessing

T.  today

When in doubt, let’s fix our eyes above, on the author and perfector of our faith – lift up prayer and feel blessing rain down – blessing isn’t dreams come true, to do’s finished, disappointments fulfilled… Blessing comes when our desire is His best for our day (knowing that sometimes His best for us will be a storm, sometimes a rainbow)…

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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!)