living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Freed…

gift boxes pixa x     Sometimes we like to box things up nice and neat. Large box, bottom shelf for my worries about my children. Small box highest shelf for the grief of losing a loved one. Medium box back behind others for fears I just won’t face.

Then we go on our merry way saying how much we trust God or believe in Him or know nothing is impossible with Him.

Except maybe these few boxes that we’ve locked away in the storage shed. Those things we keep a lid on – that we don’t let go of – keep us behind bars. I see it all the time. The young woman who trusts God with her health or job – but not the relationship she’s currently in (for fear she may lose him). The man who trusts God with his wife or children – but not his money (for fear there may not be enough). And on it goes, something we just feel we need to control, or…

Does it control us?

Christmas deco pixa x

My friend Michelle expressed her freedom in Christ beautifully: Free to share my time, God created time. Free to share my money, it’s God’s anyway. Free to share my abilities, God will make the most of them. Free to attempt the next trial or test, to fail or to succeed. Free to forgive, as I am forgiven.

“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV) So what is the Truth? “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’ “ (John 14:6 NIV)

The truth, Jesus, opens our boxes – lids flung far – reaches in and says: don’t worry – I will make all things new, don’t grieve – someday no more tears, don’t be afraid – I will never leave you.

open box canva x

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” (Luke 2:9 NIV) After hearing the message, the shepherds hurried to see for themselves and fear turned to praise “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2:10 NIV)

Let us be like the shepherds, let us hear the message, see for ourselves, and replace our boxes with praises. We are freed…

angel decoration pixa x

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

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I In the Middle…

heart cementx     Ever feel stuck – in the middle. Between scary and bold, between fear and brave, between self and God?

Reminds me of something the author Max Lucado once pointed out: sIn. In the middle of the tiny, big word is I.

Such a small word, big enough to destroy an Eden man and woman. ‘I’ always makes a mess of perfection…

Between scary and bold is I saying: I can’t, I won’t. Between fear and brave is I saying: I’m not good enough, I don’t trust enough. Between self and God is I saying: I know best, I’ve got this.

sidewalk weedx

Stuck in the middle – the middle of the pain, the fear, the doubt. Sometimes in the middle of the good, the plenty, the blessing. I demands it’s way in the bad and the good because, as always, I looms large when it’s on it’s own…

sIn is always self and self feeds on our weakness. We need HIM. The I in the middle of HIM is the great I AM. With HIM the difference between scary, fear, self – and bold, brave, God – is the I AM…

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17-18 NIV)

Mmmm, peace like a river – abounding, running on and on, not ending. As Alicia Bruxvoort said in a post I once read: “Even if you know the ending, the middle can still hurt.” But remember, nothing is waste with God. The messy middle is for us to use for Him.

dandelionx

This side of eternity our sinful self will never be completely gone. But maybe crossing from the middle to Him will be quicker, less stressful, more comforting when we remember we are no longer slaves to sIn – we have been set free…

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father”. (Romans 8:15 NIV)

Father, we want Your peace like a river…

peaceful riverx

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

 


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The Truth Is…

lie truthx     Often the barrier to Living Braver is not knowing the truth…

When I am struck with fear about what will happen or is happening, its because I’ve forgotten the truth…

“I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6 NIV)

Throughout the course of a life many fearful things will happen, that’s just the way it is, for now. When I get in a car accident, or go to court to face a judge, or go to the doctor for not so good test results, or watch a loved one die, or make mistakes that hurt me and many others, or _____ _____ _____ (you fill in the blank) – I often react in fear…

open Bible lightstockx

Fear of the unknown – what will happen now, how will I move beyond this, how can I ever make amends, will I survive this, what if… These feelings, these thoughts, that swirl and close in make me captive, a slave, imprisoned to the lie…

But Jesus told those who believe in Him “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV underline mine)

In our hand wringing moments when we may want to turn to what the world says will help (drugs/alcohol/self-indulgence/etc.) – it is in those moments we need to turn away from the world, those answers are bondage.

daisy on boardwalkx

Psalm 86:11 NIV asks of God “Teach me your ways, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth.”

The truth is Jesus, the truth is God’s Word. The truth is you and I have already won because Jesus has secured our forever. Whoever would try to defeat us, whatever is haunting us, whenever we are facing the giants, wherever we are now – all our who’s, what’s, when’s, and where’s are “light and momentary troubles…achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2Corinthians 4:17 NIV)

Lord help us to put aside the world, and to put inside the Word…

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

 life isx

 


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October 18, 2014 No Regrets…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     A boy just on the verge of manhood was taken away by strangers one day – many of his older brothers watching and not trying to help. He was taken to a far away country and sold as a slave. The master of the home he worked in was a shrewd business man and quite wealthy, yet he treated his servants fairly. The master took notice of the boy right away and after a few years when he had proved himself to be the most trustworthy of  the servants, the master put him in charge of all his affairs. Now the young man had become quite handsome and well built during his years of labor –  the master’s wife wanted him to notice her. She tried to make him her lover, but he was a man of integrity and refused. Spite-filled she lied to her husband and the young man was carted off to jail for supposedly taking advantage of his master’s wife…

Sometimes we can do everything right and still wind up not smelling like roses – this world has a way of twisting truths so that the lies are what is believed and truth is buried. Living Braver requires us to refuse the offers of temporary gratification so we don’t live with regrets – which fuels our fears. Regrets for the times we were less than honest, for falling for the ‘everybody else is doing it’ jingle, for putting self before others… and being found out.

If we are Living Braver not in our own strength but in His, then we can believe that this living we do is not about our happiness but about our holiness. ‘ Wait, you say, me holy? Not even close.’  You’re right, not even close on our own but we are not on our own. “…We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10 NIV) Happiness living leads to regret living which leads to fear living.

Living Braver is finding joy even in the absence of happiness so that we can walk in integrity straight into the arms of our loving Father. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12 NIV) Clothed in those attributes is the opposite of what the world wants to clothe us in, come out of the world…