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.

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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!”

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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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Favor Moments…

castle in chair pixa x     ‘Bestow favor’ always brings to mind a picture of someone setting a crown on my head or handing me keys to a castle or something fanciful. To be granted favor seems so big and so undeserved.

But I need favor, in the moments when I teeter between making decisions… Moments when I feel torn between right and wrong… Moments when anxiety and doubt paralyze…

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us.” (Psalm 90:17 NIV) Rest upon us… So we can go about our moments with favor extended to others. So we can leave behind the negative self-talk with favor extended to self. So we can trust in the midst of the hard moments God uses all for the good of those who love Him.

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Like drops that slowly fall become puddles, so our moments become life. I want mine to add up to ones that show His favor resting on me. But how, especially when moment to moment things change so quickly? “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

Always…In all ways – seek His face and His strength. In the moments of this day – not yesterday’s and not tomorrow’s, but in today’s – may the moments that make life be ones filled not with my disquieted heart but ones filled with assurance and hope. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23 NIV)

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Faith-full – when we are faithless, caught up in moments of uncertainty, still one thing is always certain – He is faithful and His promises to us are forever.

I found this, no author name, but it came from the blog Share Inspire Quotes: “Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.” A lifetime of moments spent like this would indeed be a life that has the favor of God. These are Favor Moments

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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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Stilled…

tea cup on bed with book pixa x     I do not sit still long – to watch a movie is a challenge…well I watch it, I’m just not glued. That is the world we live in – demanding movement. Movement means accomplishment, accomplishment equals…worth??

The endless lists call, our minds drawn to what’s next, next, next… Anxiety sets in, what if I don’t get this done, what if I…fail?

The voice of the world, the ruler of this world, the enemy of our soul – always accusing ‘I knew you wouldn’t finish’, ‘You never had the skills to begin with, what were you thinking’, ‘Getting noticed, getting the raise, getting the contract – that means something’… And we fall for it.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37:7 NIV)

tea cup with daisy pixa x

Still brings slower breathing, slower prayers. Still brings a lap for little ones to sit in, brings a shoulder for loved ones to lean against…

Amazing, the God of the universe who makes each next breath possible doesn’t need us to ‘accomplish’ to make the world better. But He does need us to be still that we can be better for the world. How if I’m so busy in my busyness, running from all the past and all the worries, how can I ever Live Braver if all I have to give is my fixes?

Emily P. Freeman said in her newly released book “People don’t need a fixer, they need a journeyer.” A journeyer – someone to come along side and see how the hand of our Father holds us steady even when the ground around us gives way. A journeyer – someone to sing His praises when our voices falter. Oh, Father, let us not be fixers – for ourselves or others – let us be journeyers… useful in Your hands because we have learned how to be still.

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“Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

How will He be exalted if we are the ones getting the attention as we fret over our worth — how will He be exalted? When His children are stilled knowing “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.” (Psalm 46:1 NIV)

rose daisy bowl pixa x

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

 


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Helpless…

daisy heart pixa x     Ever feel…helpless? To heal the broken heart, to right the wrong, to tell the boy he will be a good man and someday this will be okay…

Helpless when we’re in the forest and all we see are trees breaking in the lightening bolt – lives broken in the selfishness of others’ habits, greed, lostness.

But are we helpless – “I lift up my eyes…where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV italics mine) The Maker of me and of you and of all. The Giver of good and Sustainer in the bad.

“Sometimes God allows what he hates, to accomplish what He loves.” Max Lucado

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“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV italics mine) Grace is the hand of God lifting our eyes, carrying our burden, and openly taking the nail – that when we think we are helpless it is then that He is in control.

So, yes, you and me on our own – helpless. But with Jesus we are never on our own…

The hands that spun the universe on its course, put whiskers on the kitty, and soft ears on the puppy – those are the same hands you can trust to bring you safely home. “When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.” (from PowerPlug! Motivational Quotes)

universe pixa x

I look at the boy – not yet a man, no longer a child – and cling to the promises that are trustworthy: “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11 NIV)

The world is anything but at peace – but the world does not have our hearts, they belong to Him our Peace…

mum heart 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)

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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.”

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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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Failure (ugh)…

thumb down1     Failure – one of the scariest words in the English language – to most…

Fear of failure begins in school – not wanting to see red marks on our papers, or raise our hands and have the wrong answer…

It continues in our ‘coming of age’ years – that fear of not being popular, of liking someone who doesn’t like us back…

As we mature failure can seem to mean not making enough to support our family, not pleasing our spouse, losing our job…

So we fear failure… Few other words put more dread in our hearts and minds…

In a broken world with imperfect people, ‘failure’ is inevitable at times – and what might appear as failure to some, may not be so to the One who is most important…

The husband may not make enough for any extras, may not make enough to pay all the bills – but the world doesn’t see his kind heart for his wife and children, and they are rich because of it.

The teen girl may not be ‘popular’ by whatever the current standards are – her volunteer work with the homeless or the elderly goes unnoticed, yet those she serves thinks she is amazing.

There is One who never fails – “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)

In the midst of our ‘failures’  fear will lose its grip when we can remember this:

“God’s love isn’t based on me, it’s simply placed on me.” Lysa Terkeurst

Take heart and be brave – His love and His approval is not based on our past failures, nor on any future blunders. Because of His great love – that love is not bestowed based on performance, it is simply lavished on us because we are His…

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“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” So yes, in our flesh – you know, all that striving we do day in and day out… the worrying about woulda, shoulda, coulda – we will feel like failures and at times we truly may be, but take heart dear friend:

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God as done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV italics/underline mine)

When failure tries to point its finger at you, remember His great love – if you are seeking first to please Him – the rest will simply fall into place…

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Whose Limits…

??????????     A dear friend who often cares for her grandchildren had numerous errands to run that she couldn’t keep putting off. She loaded her almost 4 year old granddaughter in along with her infant sister and off they went.

After the second stop, as she was loading them in once again, the 4 year old said “Ok, grammee, two is enough for me, let’s go home.” She knew her limits and one more errand was going to put her over the top…(and probably her sister too)…

Sometimes our limits are pushed too… One more crisis and we feel like we’ll lose it – sometimes it’s the little things, one more broken glass as your heading out the door…

Sometimes we just want to be like the four year old and give up and go home…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Corinthians 12:9 NIV) As we draw on our power we find our limits pushed, our strength waning.  Friend, our own power is an illusion, in this sin marred world we are weak in and of ourselves, but thanks be to God, we are not alone and His power is made perfect in our weakness…

We may know our limits, but even better is to know our limitless God “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV italics/underlines mine)

Trusting His limitless power makes us lean into our faith. Tracie Miles said “I’ve finally learned that when we take a leap of faith, with God, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose but fear.” Notice she said ‘with God’ – we never have to be on our own…

Limitless love, limitless grace, limitless power, limitless strength, limitless knowledge… To finish the verse above “to Him be glory…for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:21 NIV)

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