living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Willing…

joy pixa x     Someone recently said ‘What if we’re only as strong as we are joyful?’

The more I thought about it the more I realized that, despite whatever the circumstances, when I choose joy, I feel stronger. It is in those times I am surrendering my will knowing that God is in perfect control. I may not be happy, but happiness and joy are two different things.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to move forward with God.” Pastor Matt Price Joy strength isn’t dependent on me – no amount of ‘chin up’, ‘push through’, ‘just do it’ can make a difference. But willingness can make the difference – the difference between discouragement and direction, the difference between worry and wisdom, the difference between self and surrender.

railroad me x

But moving forward is where we often get stuck. Stuck in the past or in the now – stuck in our abilities instead of relying on God’s. We go about our days drawing on our strength. Yet we’re told “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (1Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

There’s a song by Lauren Daigle, Trust In You with this chorus:

“When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!”

mountain pixa

So we must keep an eternal perspective, because our hope is not in this life – it is in our eternity. While today’s mountains may seem insurmountable or the agitations may cause us to stumble, they are only temporary. It is hard for us finite humans to rest in an infinite God, but to Live Brave we’re only called to take one willing step at a time and to remember: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied….But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 15:19 & 57 NIV)

Strength in joy and courage to be willing to move forward with God, hope for today and all our tomorrows…

girl in field 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.

B&w arm field pixa

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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Open Here…

snow hot chocolate pixa x     We mark time with years and moments. Someday time will no longer be relevant, but here and now it’s how we make new beginnings – a New Year…

I’m not much of a goal setter and I’m pretty certain if I was I would disappoint myself regularly. But I do have aspirations, do desire to see change and growth, to feel the difference that purpose makes.

God had a purpose for putting His Word in writing – that we may have all we need for life and godliness. He had a purpose in sending His Son to die for us, that we can be cleansed from all unrighteousness and have eternal life. And He has a purpose for each and every one of our lives “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me” (Psalm 138:8 NIV)

cup snow 2 pixa x

Our part is to be prepared so we are useful for Him to fulfill His purpose through us. That’s where His Word comes in, as He speaks to our heart ‘Open here’. Randomly opening our Bible and reading where our finger lands is not what God has in mind. Do we pick up books, reports, spread sheets, whatever it is we regularly read and just let our finger tell us where to start? What if we approached reading the very Word of God with the same purpose we do in reading instructions, emails from our boss, or a novel?

Open here: where a devotional directs us, where a Bible study leads us, where we hear at a sermon on a Sunday. Open here: to a passage we feel drawn to asking His Holy Spirit to teach us. Open here: breathing it in like a fresh bag of coffee, lingering over it like a decadent dessert.

cup snow pixa x

“All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.” (Psalm 38: 9 NIV) Every sigh is heard, every longing known by our Maker. Nothing is hidden nor does He hide His purposes. He longs for us to daily live on purpose so we can know His heart.

A beautiful song – Come to Me – by Bethel Music is a sweet reminder to take with us as we venture brave into the New Year:

I am the Lord your God,
I go before you now.
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
And though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you
More than you know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8GOII4PrrA (Come To Me YouTube Link)

 


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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…