living braver

one faith step at a time…


4 Comments

Looking Up…

white daisy pixa x     Going on a trip usually sounds exciting. We make our plans and then as the time approaches we begin to second guess. Thoughts swirl ‘what if something goes wrong while I’m away’, ‘what if it’s not fun like I thought it would be and I wasted a lot of money’, ‘I would rather just stay home, I love being home’…

This is where I sometimes find myself –  when I’m looking down, inward – letting worry, lack of confidence, fear have its way.

Then I am reminded “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalms 121:1-2 NIV) Look up, above all this, look up – not to self, not to what circumstances are trying to convince me of, not letting fear be my master.

sunglasses pixa x

When I look up, the ten hour drive becomes adventure instead of anxiety. The unfamiliar becomes a memory maker instead of a courage taker. When I look up my eyes are lifted to my Confidence, to the One who wants to show me new things and grow my bravery. Emily P. Freeman recently said “I’ve learned that God is not a great travel agent, but He’s a fantastic traveling companion.”

This is what I find when I’m looking up “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:4-5 NIV)

pixa'x

Whether I am home in my little safe place or out on the road to adventure, He is right there. Travelling this life with me and knowing that if I will just look up He will be able to make the impossible possible through me. For God’s ways will always prevail regardless of whether I step out with Him or not. The question becomes will I be involved in His glorious plan, or will I play it safe?

May our outlook for the journey – to the grocery store or a thousand miles away – be held by His gaze. May we step out with these words echoing through our hearts “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

horizon pixa

 


2 Comments

Toward Who…

daisys in vasex     Away from self means towards Who? Oh how our tendency is towards what we can ‘see’, what ‘seems’ safe, a sure thing, painless, our comfort zone…

Of course the opposite is towards what is unseen, what ‘seems’ risky, the uncertain, the costly, the uncomfortable. In those times we learn “We live by faith, not by sight.” (2Corinthians 5:7 NIV)

More often we are “like sheep going astray,” (1Peter 2:25a HCSB) When a sheep wanders, that’s when it’s in danger, no protection of the flock or from the shepherd. No direction to where food or water is. No voice to listen to for guidance…

sheepx

Those of us who deal with doubt or fear really like the word ‘certain’. By definition it means: known for sure, established beyond doubt. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) Faith is how we ‘see’ the only One who never lets us down, faith moves us toward our Hope. When we move in faith the second half of 1Peter 2:25 above is true:

“but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

Our Shepherd guides us in the right direction – the Defender, Protector, Keeper of our very souls speaks quietly to us through His living Word and in those moments when we hush enough to hear…

tree quietx

“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.” Elisabeth Elliot

Oh yes, dear one, you and I we will question, we will doubt. But our comfort is knowing where to take that question, that doubt. Deep breath, lifted eyes, surrendered heart – certain peace, certain joy, and certain scarred hands carrying us through each day…

A beautiful line from the song Your Great Name by Natalie Grant “Every fear has no place at the sound of Your Great Name”. Toward Who? The Name above all names…

 poppy pixax

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


1 Comment

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

 


Leave a comment

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…

 

 


Leave a comment

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: