living braver

one faith step at a time…


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In the Cave…

flower yellow black bkgrnd pixa x     The Lost Sea Adventure is in southeast Tennessee. To tour it you descend several hundred feet on slippery paths. Part way the guide stops and says “At this point we are going to turn off all lighting, you’ll understand what complete darkness is. Hope they come back on.” (Not funny.)

You stand there waiting for your eyes to adjust so you can see the outline of the person standing next to you. But you never do, because in complete darkness you can hold your hand right up in front of your face and never be able to see it.

That’s a lot like us without Jesus. We can commit terrible acts, knowing exactly what we’re doing. But never see it for the evil it is.

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It reminds me of the recent tragedy in Charleston where the barely adult young man sat through a Bible study with a group of people and in the end, opened fire killing nine.

So lost, so needful of something to make sense, so deluded into thinking his actions would make his world right in some way…

Like marriages that abuse verbally or physically – hoping it changes something. Like drugs or alcohol – hoping for a release from the reality of what isn’t wanted. Like any crime – hoping to fix a perceived problem but creating a worse outcome.

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Pastor Larry Adams recently said “That young man may have to pay for his crimes, but he doesn’t have to die for them.” Meaning someone already did – Jesus has paid the price in full for whatever the sin. A lie about something as silly as where we were to one as devastating as killing innocent people. The point is, we will likely face earthly consequences for our sins, but those who put their faith in Jesus don’t face an eternal consequence.

The Lost Sea is at the end of the tour deep into the cave. A very large lake discovered in 1905. But God knew it was there all along.

He knows all about us too, when we’re lost… When we finally ‘discover’ Him, we can see our actions for what they are. In Him we find our way to wholeness. Then no matter the troubles we face in this world, we know He will see us through, right there with us. Someday we will see Him face to face. In the light of His glory that shines on our forever, free from anymore bondage to sin… With Him the light is always on.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2Corinthians 4:6 NIV)

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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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Revision…

heart chain link fence pixa x     Ever felt like some chunk of your life needed a revision, a do-over? Maybe a regretted moment, an out of your control circumstance, a chapter needing to be rewritten.

It’s easy to get lost in the guilt of those moments needing revising, succumb to anger, give way to wanting to fix the past.

Maybe we aren’t supposed to linger in wanting the revision but ask our Father to change our vision, a new vision, to truly Re-Vision us. Looking beyond what we think shouldn’t have happened, what we think should happen now, or why we’re stuck because of it.

Re-Vision says I choose to see this through His eyes. Re-Vision says I trust He sees the whole picture not just this part. Re-Vision says I’m willing to let Him turn my longing for a do-over into beauty I may never see this side of eternity.

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“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (1Corinthiiians 13:12 NLT)

Instead of living the shattered dream again and again we must Re-Vision to see beyond. There are no mistakes in the lives of those God loves, no surprises that caught Him off guard. Jesus never told us that this earthly life would be carefree, worry-free, absent of pain. In fact, He told us “…In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33b NIV)

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There is a beginning part to that verse and ending that I left off. They are what gives us new vision: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.” (John 16:33a NIV) Regardless all the trouble that sin has wrought in this world, peace in our soul is possible. When the peace of Jesus reigns we can loosen our grip on our vision for how things should be or could be.

The verse ends: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33c NIV) Oh, there is my Re-Vision. I can’t see how all this mess turns out, but I can take Him at His word that He can see forever. The enemy wants my vision clouded with what seems failure. My Savior says He works all things for good for those who trust in Him – Fix Your Eyes on Me…

dasy in orangey filed pixa x

 

 


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Do You Stand? (& Give Away…)

cushion in field with hat pixa x     Longing for a day without…hurt, pain, grief? Longing for a family with…love, contentment, plenty? Longing for a world without…strife, war, chaos? Longing for…peace?

“The world’s idea of peace: no conflict. That doesn’t exist. Peace is the quiet calm in the conflict.” (Larry Adams pastor) Ah, that’s what we’re longing for: the quiet calm. To stand each morning, at every turn in the day, and before the starry night and know that though there be no peace now….someday…

The truth is “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:11 NIV) So whose plans do we stand on? We can plan every next step, but our plans are fleeting…no matter how grand or right or seemingly worthy. The plans of the Lord, they stand firm forever. How to enter and stand there, in His plans?

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Wait – are we His children? Is Jesus our Savior? If our answer is a resounding YES, then “…I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.” (1Corinthians 15:1 NIV) The good news, the gospel, is where we take our stand and…

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1-2 NIV) We now stand in His grace? Grace – that loving kindness, forgiveness, wholeness – all ours…

“If life is going to be hard, why not live in such a way that struggles bring glory to God?” (Jay Holland, pastor) And life is going to be hard, maybe not every minute, maybe every minute. But if we can live that hard in such a way, stand in such a way that our little lives bring glory to Him?

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Take our stand on the good news, stand in His grace, and with faith did you know that all the enemy’s fiery arrows will be extinguished? When we sit at our loved one’s bedside, last breaths coming, still satan has no power. When no more money is coming, beloved possessions being taken, still satan has no power. Though none stand with us, worry our only companion, still satan has no power!

Do we stand? After everything, He is able to make us stand – on the heights, of His love – in the depths, of His mercy…an ever present help in trouble…

  DWJBdayBash x

GIVE AWAY: Dance With Jesus by Susan B. Mead addresses the grief of a mother losing her son and a God who taught her to dance through her pain. If you, or someone you love is dealing with a loss, email me at parisrenae1@gmail.com and mention today’s post. I will randomly pick two who will receive a copy of the book and a bookmark. I will be sending them out on 8/22 so be sure to include a mailing address.

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

 


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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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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…

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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.

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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