living braver

one faith step at a time…


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In the Thorns…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      The thorns… in the Word it says the thorns are those worries, riches, pleasures that choke out the Word so our hearts don’t hear it, believe it… In that time of testing, we let the seed of His rich love and mercy lay on bare ground – the bare ground of our unbelief…

Who needs commitment, and sacrifice, and submission – make merry, live for today, drink the cup of forgetting is what the world wants us to do. It seems easier to disappear into the folds of what everyone else says is right…to be lost in the thorns…

Hide behind the smile, the make-up, the money or the poverty… Keep tight reign over emotions, longings, fears… Let the thorns have their way, it will all work out…

Notice the rose, it pushes higher above the thorns, beckoning with sweet fragrance… Notice Jesus, a crown of thorns pierced His brow, He was nailed high on a cross and beckoned with forgiveness… There is a price to escape the thorns, but it’s been paid – and we are crowned… with salvation. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has crowned us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3 WNT italics mine) Catch that?  – has crowned, not will crown – done deal for those who believe.

Listen for the Word, “If anyone has ears let him hear.” (Mark 4:23 NIV) – let it burrow deep in the fertile ground of your vulnerability, He will water and nurture and no thorns will deceive …hear the Word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15 NIV) – a crop of thankfulness leaving fear among the thorns…

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October 25, 2014 What are you trying to prove?

cross on rocks cropped     Day in and day out we strive to accomplish something, anything. We search for significance hoping to make our mark. We impose expectations on ourselves and feel lost when we don’t meet them. In other words, we are always trying to prove something. The root of this striving is fear – fear of being ‘less than’ someone else, fear of not being ‘enough for’ someone else – fear of being vulnerable or powerless. So we try to get the highest grades, be the best on the team, make the most money, have the best figure, be the most popular – you get the picture…

We see it everywhere – in Hollywood its who is marrying who and who got the biggest ring, who gets the big bucks for the movie roles, who has it all. In sports its who scores highest, who has more super bowl rings, who has the biggest sponsors. In politics its who stays in office longest, who wields the most power to get their special interest accomplished, who can outdo the other in debates. The fear (although they may deny that word) is they will become irrelevant if they don’t meet those expectations and the vicious cycle of striving continues…

Average ordinaries are no exception – whose kid is the smartest, who got the latest promotion, who knows everyone in the neighborhood (and the list goes on and on)…

All of us trying to prove what? To escape the fear of letting ourselves down, of not feeling ‘all that’ in an ‘all that’ world…

Secure in Christ Jesus we don’t have to strive or to prove. Sinners that we are until the day we die, when we confess Jesus as Lord & Savior our God sees us as perfect through His Son. We have been set free from the slavery of trying to prove who we are. Again, who are we? We are heirs with Christ, sons and daughters of the Most High God. Perfected by His righteousness, walking braver in His plan for our lives…

 


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October 9, 2014 V does not stand for Vulnerable

Vulnerable     “Our fear of becoming desperate – of being exposed as that vulnerable, bruised reed – is what hinders us from playing a part in what God wants to do.” Ruth Graham      During those times when our ‘what ifs’ are now reality and fear has us captive we often feel vulnerable. Like any moment we will be swallowed up never to surface again…

My daughter spent many years on swim team, from the time she was eight til she was eighteen. She participated in Junior Olympics year after year. She was a distance swimmer – in one competition this meant swimming your best (i.e.: fastest) for two miles. It wasn’t until the starting bell went off that I understood what she was undertaking. No cramps please, no exhaustion please. During conversation once we were all talking about the worst way to die (very uplifting, right). This girl stunned us all when she said her biggest fear would be drowning. So if an athlete who can race two miles feels vulnerable to drowning, where does that leave us?

Long before the heartbreaks, the dreaded outcomes, the inevitables happen we need to practice braver. It is through practice that we are prepared so that though we may be treading water, we are not sinking. Habits of prayer, of seeking God in His Word, of having others praying for you need to be established. We cannot be courageous on our own – yet we have One who will be our courage…

Because with God V stands for Victory: “…He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor. 15:57NIV)