living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Can We Count the Ways…

letters with heart1     This week is all about love, right?

Read a mushy love letter lately? Don’t get many of those in our lives, some never get any. But wait…

There is a letter written to us, one big love letter from beginning to end… How does He love us, can we count the ways?

It starts with all creation – created with the love thought in mind of how each critter, flower, star would bring us pleasure…

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NIV) After He created everything, He created man and set him among all creation and blessed him. No blessing is mentioned over anything else.

This precious letter walks through all our failings and still shouts ‘you are mine, the apple of my eye’…

“Keep me as the apple of your eye” (Psalm 17:8 NIV) The apple of his eye even before we took our first breath.  “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you” (Isaiah 43:4 NIV) Precious not because of anything we’ve done, loved just because we are His…

Then, incredibly, the ultimate sacrifice of love is made while we were still rebelling. Love ran blood red, darkness loomed, then burst forth the light eternal – and love gathered us as a lamb lost and alone, being carried back…

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“For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1Peter 2:25 NIV)

This love letter ends with the powerful, yet tender words of eternal love, of never being separated again, of joyous moments together forever, of the return of the lover our very soul…

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4 NIV)

“Count the ways He loves you, and you know Who you can count on.” Ann Voskamp The ways He loves us are too numerous to count, but we can count on Him through every fear, trial, doubt…

Happy Valentines Day…

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Messenger Tears…

broken heart1     I’ve always had this battle with tears… as in I hate crying (it wreaks havoc with mascara, I look ugly when crying, and it gives me a headache) – but also the battle of tears being weakness…

Perhaps tears are messengers…

Out of what breaks our hearts – come tears to remind us… Remind us how brief life is, how fragile. Remind us how relentless time is, how incalculable.

Life can make us callous – especially when we hold back the tears. Tears break us down, loosen us up. They cause us to stop – it’s hard to keep reading the emails, driving the car, making the bed, whatever – when shoulders heave and all is a blur…

Somewhere I read this question: ‘What breaks God’s heart that no longer breaks mine?’

In this world of instant news, this so called global life we live, callousness develops. We hear of the nine year old boy shot in a driveby, the widow robbed of her wedding ring, the bombing leveling a neighborhood – and we don’t shed tears… But they still break God’s heart.

To Live Braver, to conquer Fear doesn’t mean to become numb… “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35 NIV) The shortest verse in the Bible – two words… Jesus, who knew His dear friend Lazarus who lay dead in the tomb would someday live forever, that this wasn’t the end – this Jesus saw the heart of his friend’s sisters and their grief and it broke His heart. So instead of someday, in that moment, He did the miraculous and called forth life…

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” (Luke 6:21 NIV) Have you ever laughed so much tears come down your cheeks? Tears, messengers… Not just messengers of all that is bad or sad, but all that is good and right, for in the pain of tears or the joy of them, we realize not one rolls down our cheeks that He doesn’t take notice of…

Do not forget this my friends: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV) Some day, not so distant, and the hope we cling to… Someday those messenger tears will not be needed, someday the things that break God’s heart, and should break ours, will be done with…

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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…