living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Yearning…

tea candles     Sometimes there’s just a deep longing.

At times it feels like wanting to spread wings and fly off free of all that holds us back. Other times it feels like a hole deep inside not yet filled. Mostly it’s a stirring just below the surface, a wondering.

It comes from not knowing the answer to the question: Who are you?

Not Melissa, or Amanda, or Sara. Not mom, or wife, or boss, or employee. Not rich or poor, college grad or school of hard knocks grad. Who are you?

A new creation. Created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Apple of His eye. Holy and dearly loved.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

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Seated in the heavenly realms. Blessed. A royal priesthood. Christ’s ambassador. Righteousness of God.

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

Filled with the Holy Spirit. Child of the Father. The body of Christ. Fearfully and wonderfully made.

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:16 NIV)

Heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ. Loved. Forgiven. Saved. God’s possession. Chosen.

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:17 NIV)

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Words of affirmation, affirmed over and over again to thirsty souls with deep longing. Choose no longer to listen to worldly definitions and mind chatter. No past, no present, no tomorrow – no what if, no failure – defines who you are.

Here’s the most important question ever asked: “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29 NIV) If a resounding ‘You are Messiah, the Savior of my soul’ rings from your lips, then the answer to ‘Who are you?’ is settled.

You are daughter/son of the God of all creation, the Father of forever. Yearning finally filled in the rest that comes from knowing who you are…

colorfulcandle

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

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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.

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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.

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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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Resting…

stones autumn leaves pixa x     Turning from wrestling to resting started off with struggle but is now resulting in assurance…

Conflict is not something many of us enjoy – and though we may not seek it out, it is brought to us just the same. The enemy of our souls is at war and he knows his time is short. He delights in robbing us of all that is good – peace, joy, contentment. We have been told “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

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Finding myself in that wrestling place, believing the condemning self-thoughts, bogged down with worry, and wondering how I could fix something, anything – I lost sight of who the enemy is and who my Defender is. You and I cannot fight alone against this dark world, but praise be to God we are never alone and “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2Corinthians 10:4 NIV)

Divine power? The Spirit of Jesus living in us. The Word of God teaching, correcting, and encouraging us. The Father who makes all things work for the good of those who love Him. These are our weapons.

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The enemy absolutely delights in us losing sight of the One who never leaves our side. Even in the agony of what seems the worst possible outcome, the hurt burning so deep we feel we may melt away, the fear causing us to tremble – never lose sight, He is there. Yes, this world is full of the result of sin, but this is not all there is…

This temporary earth suit we’re in, this temporary loss of all that seems right – it’s part of the battle. There is great news indeed! At just the right time Jesus will return, we will be with Him, all that refuse Him will be no more, and all our stuff that bogs us down daily won’t even be a memory. This then is resting – in the everlasting arms that carry me now and someday will welcome me to eternity. He has promised, read it over and over again in His Word “The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” (1Thessalonians 5:24 NIV)

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Rest…

rest1     So what is it about the holidays? In July the thought of twinkling lights and hot cocoa sounds so… special. Then November 1st hits and the thought of pleasing e v e r y o n e makes twinkling lights irritating and hot cocoa nauseous. There’s the money aspect, the who is going to whose house this year thing, the expectations (food, gifts, decorations, and on and on)…

Soon Thanksgiving becomes get the tree up becomes programs and parties becomes last minute wrapping becomes ‘ what another year has gone by?? ‘

Whoa, put on the brakes… “Come to me,” Listen, He’s calling to you“all you who are weary and burdened,”isn’t that what we are, yes that is it, weary “and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV) Rest in the midst of how much money we can spend or not spend, rest in the disappointment of the family member not present at the Thanksgiving table, rest in the housecleaning/baking/decorating whirlwind…

Take My yoke upon you”not the holiday season yoke – “and learn from Me” – not from the sales papers – “for I am gentle and humble in heart” – not expecting any more than the acceptance of His invitation – “and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 NIV)   If our soul is at rest, fears become manageable, anxiety becomes tamable, holidays become…

T H A N K S …G I V I N G

J O Y…F U L L

HEART…FELT

A celebration of all our blessings and our trials…

A recognition of Who controls the universe and our next breath…

Jesus becomes the reason: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14 NIV)

Rest, if only for a moment, He will be all you need for that moment and the next and the next….


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October 15, 2014 Still Waters…

Still Water1     All God’s critters are quite fascinating. I once read a great deal about sheep from a shepherd’s perspective. He used Psalm 23 to illustrate his points and to teach about the flock he tended. Sheep need still water free of debris and disturbances or they won’t bother to drink – no matter how thirsty. So timid is a sheep  that they can be contentedly grazing and if a rabbit bounds across the grass the whole flock will bolt at once. Often a sheep who is in the grip of fear will run til it drops dead. Yet when the shepherd is near, the sheep listens for his voice and turns towards him. Thus the need for shepherds…

God had David write the 23rd Psalm for us, His flock. Phillip Keller wrote “We live a most uncertain life. Any hour can bring disaster, danger, and distress from unknown quarters….We live either in a sense of anxiety, fear, and foreboding, or in a sense of quiet rest. Which is it?” The Psalm  not only says He leads us beside still waters but it goes on to say “He restores my soul…I will fear no evil for You are with me.” (Psalm 23:3&4 NIV)

With Ebola news and school shootings, with terrorists and gang bangers abounding it is easy for us to want to bolt. To run til we no longer see danger. Through His Word God assures us that in the midst of dangers “…goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…” (Psalm 23:6a NIV)   How? Because no matter what befalls us in the end “…I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23;6b NIV)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28 NIV)  Thus our need for a Shepherd…know His voice…

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