February 24, 2014

Zero Gravity

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:33 pm by Broken & Brave

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

I am writing this quick draft from my phone. I’ve never done that before, we will see how it goes. I thank you in advance for I know you will be gracious for any typos or grammatical or textual errors I may make on the tiniest key board.

I wanted to Jot a quick note about my day, well, past several days maybe. I am at a pivotal point in my walk with God. It’s been an incredible journey, truly. I’m in a place where I trust Him so much my Peace is perpetual. I have moments, struggles with some stresses in our life, but peaceful. It’s a kind of rest, really, despite anything happening around me. Didn’t get to that place overnight. You know all the extreme faith stories? I have blogged quite a few (but not my biggest ones)…the experiences, obedience and trying of my faith in the living out those stories…that’s where that place of rest came. I grew into it.

John and I are currently walking out some obedience that has required great courage and sacrifice on our part. Anyway, it’s been very stressful and the last two months or more it has appeared like pandemonium of activity all the while making incredible inroads for the kingdom of God. We walk in faith, trust in faith, abide by faith.

But the last few days all seems to be coming to a conclusion in this particular business venture of ours and the devil has gotten in his last little digs (that aren’t very little at all). I have been feeling so overwhelmed with it all. But I keep hearing The Lord whisper to me, “I’ve got you. Just like the sparrow. No harm will come to your tent (from Psalm 91) and I am making you stronger.”

Today brought my pressures to new heights as a loved one had a sudden health episode. I knew all would be alright. I wasn’t worried, yet I felt like I couldn’t focus all day. I struggled…not just with this, but everything. I have felt long seasons of travail and fire but this was a whole new level of managing the large level of responsibility God had entrusted to me. All the while continuing to push the faith obedience envelop open wider and wider.

Tonight, I sat with my extended family. That sweet and familiar voice came with absolute clarity just as I can always depend, Simply saying, “zero gravity”. Then, I heard it again, “zero gravity”. Then I heard that verse I penned just above. A faithful verse over two decades I had come to love and depend on, Matthew 11:28-30.

God is stretching my ability to walk under his gentle, light and effective yolk upon me. He guides me as I enter into a place of zero gravity. A place of such closeness with the Holy Spirit that as I abide while the tides around me rise…though it may look like a tsunami wall of water lurching over me. I can BE STILL and ABIDE in PEACE because I know nothing will harm me. He watches over me more closely than the sparrow. I am protected by the promise of Psalm 91.

I saw a post of Facebook recently that read something like, “If God only gives people what they can handle, then he must think I am bad @$$.” That’s about how I have been feeling. But then I take a deep breath and I breathe him in. Then I take a hold of this cup of trembling he has placed in my hand….and I drink it, all of it. Because I am very interested in experiencing a level of Peace and absolute REST…zero gravity.

It is only in the arms of my savior. Only He can complete me. I am ruined for anything or anyone else. Just Jesus. Just Jesus.

And isn’t God funny? I think he is. In the midst of a lot of chaos the past several weeks, I get a call tonight that a magazine wants to do a piece on me and the fitness industry. God provides some fresh air when we need it.

Thank you, God. You are my best friend. I pray that my life, enticing to some, odd to others, would draw more people not only into the body of Christ, but DEEPER in with you~ heart to heart. Amen

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February 23, 2014

Go The Extra Mile…

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:27 am by Broken & Brave

I was told a story of a woman who took up running. She was a beginner, had done some running before, but lacked consistency. This time, she wanted to be committed to it so she asked a friend of hers who liked to run to be her running partner. It is true, that any fitness program and goal has greater depth of potential for accomplishment when done in pairs or groups. We all need each other to encourage us, hold us accountable to our dream/goal, and push us toward it! I believe the social connection is also valuable. We are wired for friendship and intimacy of heart.

So- the two women began running together early each morning. Faithful. They were up to anything from 1-2 miles every day. This went on for several months and the woman who initiated the venture was feeling very accomplished and proud, as she should. Dedication and perseverance are always to be applauded and praised. One morning, the woman said to her running partner, “Would you like to go out for breakfast or coffee today after our run?” The second woman replied that she would love to, but she always finished her running after their running date. The first woman was a bit surprised and perplexed and inquired, “Finish?”.  Come to find out, not only was her friend someone who liked to run, she ran! I mean, she would go out and run another eight miles every day after she finished running with her friend. She was a seasoned runner.

Someone doesn’t just get up one day, or one week, or one month and become a person who runs 8 to 10 miles every day…they build up to it. They consistently and persistently over time cultivate and implement the discipline of running. The more they stick to the plan, the better their endurance, strength and stamina becomes to press in deeper. Then they press in deeper and yield deeper reward. It is a principle of perseverance.

The first woman was well on her way to becoming a seasoned champion of the pavement! She had the desire, the determination to discipline herself because the reward of the run was of great enough value to her that she was willing to overcome everything that had held her back in the past from doing so. She was on her way!

I see this idea in the fitness industry quite a bit. Maybe you’ve been there? You are trying to get fit for summer or trying to lose weight. You do great for a few weeks, but then you become discouraged because you don’t see the results were hoping to see by now. It takes time. You didn’t get out of shape or overweight in three weeks so you won’t be reversing the process in three weeks either. You have to take it day at a time, victory by victory, lap by lap, calorie by calorie and then you go with that. You get a fitness buddy to champion you along. You find mentors, positive people to speak into your life who have definable success in the area you are determined to excel in. You can do it, absolutely! I know you can do it and there is no morsel of doubt.

The same is true with our faith. We grow as we overcome each testing and trial of our heart. The struggle to the next level of blessing is what prepares us and equips us to govern the blessing well. There is a scripture that says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) God always wants to give us more, but He must ensure we are equipped to handle the blessing with wisdom, grace and responsibility. He tests our hearts to see how much more blessing we can handle.

Trials are never fun. The testing of our faith is never easy. We want it over fast so our comfort can return. Comfort is good. Everyone loves to be comfortable. But growth absolutely NEVER happens when we are comfortable. Discomfort forces us to move beyond our comfort zone and reach for a new height, hoping to delight with some bigger comforts there! What are bigger comforts? It can be anything…simply a greater sense of worth and well being. Now, as you reach for something grander; promotion of any type or fitness/health success, don’t forget…

You’re worth will never come with your achievements, accomplishments, accolades or praise. Your worth is something you have in God and you receive by Grace as a blessing from His heart to yours. He saw your worth before one hour of your life ever lapsed. He was with you when you were formed and He made not one mistake. But we are human and we do make mistakes. Sometimes we try to make the best decisions, choices, but we fail. Sometimes we choose the wrong path, but it is never too late to get on the right path! You can go the extra mile!

Find a “buddy”.

Surround yourself with people who inspire you, champion you, uplift you and add value to your life. Find others who are willing to breath into you and help you accomplish all you dream and desire. Find people who have run that mile before you! There is no microwave Christianity. There is no overnight weight loss “magic”. There is no Mr. or Ms. Olympia body builder champion who started ten months ago. The dymanic Christian with a gleaming faith got there through perseverance, trial and over coming set backs. The weight loss success story came with determination and desire to not give up! The sports champion won because they believed they could win and let not one single obstacle allow them to cave in. the General in the Army started as a Private.

Do you have what it takes? That is a question only you can answer. It takes time. It takes commitment. It takes a stoic determination that only you can provide for yourself. What is the purpose for the pursuit? Everyone wants happiness, but if self fulfillment is the only motivator I am afraid you will fail. Maybe not at accomplishing the goal, but you will fail to feel the worth on that quest you seek. It must always be about something bigger than yourself.

We are one body with many parts. A team. What is your part? Find it and do it, because the rest of us need you. But do not expect over night success. It is a process. Do not get discouraged along the way. Never compare your first mile, your chapter one, to someone else’s marathon distance, their chapter twenty. But you are valuable and needed, that is for sure. ALL are needed, everyone apply, check the details inside your heart for job description. Then go for it!

I am cheering for you as you emerge triumphant!

I want to Champion your faith in God and in yourself!

You can go the distance!

~Nicole

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1

February 21, 2014

Family

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:44 am by Broken & Brave

Just yesterday a friend and I were discussing her need for a pair of shoes for an event she has this weekend and her shopping excursion around town was a bust. As I listened, which is easy for me to do especially on the subject of shoes! She told me all the places she’d looked and what she was hoping to find, but didn’t. I reminded her of a local shop in a cute little shopping center in town. This little center of stores are small business owners, not department stores or large chains. This particular shoe store has everything from what you would find at a department store to the very high end brands like Cole Hahn and Stewart Weizmann (Stuart, if I spelled your name wrong I apologize but your shoes are amazing). Anyway, she had forgotten about this store and decided to go there. In fact, she said that she loved supporting small and local business owners anyway. I agreed, supporting businesses in your city is like loving on your family. We are loyal and support one another.

I share my friends desire to support local business when possible. I treasure the American spirit and ability to build and dream and pursue on varied scales of desire. I love the local shop owners, and if you get in there to browse you will get to know them, like family. That’s how I feel anyway.

I feel the same way about the Church. Not just my church, but THE Church, if you are in it, you are my family. I may not know everyone in my family (have cousins like that, too), I may not have much in common with some of my family (have this also), but I am loyal just the same.

I have always been an extremely loyal person, extremely. I think it’s just how my personality is wired, but it is also how my parents raised me. So grateful for that. My husband is the same way. We’ve had the same cell phone carrier since we first got cell phones. I think the name of the company has changed three times, but they are still our provider and we’ve been happy with their service, so I recommend them when I can. This is a big, now major carrier, but when I can I share my satisfaction even though the corporate head quarters will never know of my little recommendation, but I do it the same because I know.

I have a friend who does beautiful artistry and is a tattoo artist by trade. I haven’t a single tattoo on my being and don’t plan to get one either, but I refer people to her for a tattoo all the time because she is good at it, but also because she is my sister in the Lord and in my heart…my family. I want to support her business and bless her livelihood.

A month or more ago I had a friend in need of some plumbing and they weren’t all that happy with who’ve they had in the past. I immediately recommended a long time family friend for the job. These aren’t friends I see all the time or vacation with or anything, but again, my family in the Lord is the same as blood family to me.

You get the idea, I am a strong believer in loyalty. As we are loyal to business we frequent, the people who do our hair or the doctor who tends to our children…we should be ever more so for the family we will be spending all of eternity with, the Church. I grew up in the church, but that is not why I am loyal. In fact, I would say that the “church” (collectively speaking, not one entity) establishments I am not loyal to…it’s the people who have my endearment and loyalty.

I envision a large red thread, which represents the saving grace and redemptive blood of Jesus Christ. This thread ties us each to each other and connects us as one, though we are many. The greater our unity the tighter the stitch of the thread, pulling us ever closer. The closer we are as a Body, we become truly one in body, mind, spirit. God is so unique in how he wants us to be unified like a well refined team, yet we are able to maintain all of our own unique qualities, attributes, personality. I adore this concept beyond belief. It is how God would define tolerance I believe. We are free to be who we want to be and go and do our own way, but we are still under the banner of His amazing grace and illuminated by the Light of His Glory and His Temple.

As a kid we would sing hymns in church. I prefer the more contemporary music I must admit, but as an adult I recognize the value that was instilled into me by singing those songs. One hymn had lyrics that read: “we are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord, may our hearts and our minds flow in one accord. They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, they will know we are Christians by our love.”

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:1-7

Our Lord has woven together such a rich tapestry of adopted children, grafted into his family, created in his image.

I have a deep love for people anyway, but if you are my brother or sister in Christ, I look upon you as my family. Not my church family, my blood relative. If we can understand this collectively, we can be so effective to love others into the kingdom, just by our love for each other.

I love you!

~Nicole

February 17, 2014

Soaring…Even With Your Wings Clipped

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:14 pm by Broken & Brave

Birds are beautiful, aren’t they? They come in so many varieties, shapes, sizes and colors. I love the sound of birds singing in my yard. I am blessed to have a variety of them as well. I especially adore watching the humming birds and listening to the dove’s coo.

When I was in the sixth grade I found two exotic birds, or maybe they found me. The first I found was a parakeet, green and yellow markings. I was outside playing Frisbee with a neighbor after school one evening and this little bird came and landed right on me. It was clear he had flown a long way for he was physically exhausted and he simply rested himself upon me. It was such an extraordinary experience for me as a young girl. I felt a bit like Snow White with the little animals. My parents allowed me to keep him as a pet. He was the sweetest bird and I named him, “Little Bird”. I taught him to talk and he did little tricks in his cage to captivate  my attention, which it did every time.  He would sit in my hands or on my shoulder and play with my earrings. I adored him.

Within a month of so of my finding the parakeet, another exotic bird arrived on our back fence, this time is was a cockateel. He was gorgeous! He was grey bodied with yellow and white adornments on his feathers. He was a bit more stubborn to contain, but we managed and we bought him his own large cage and perched him beside Little Bird. I named him “Big Bird” and taught him to whistle the theme to Sesame Street. Big Bird, though beautiful, was a very nervous bird and he never learned the tricks to endear me as the Parakeet did. Instead, he resided his time pacing back and forth on his perch. He didn’t even like to come out and be free in the house all that much, but I loved him just the same. I’d often let the two birds out and let them fly around a bit during my time with them in the house.

Because birds fly, it is a common practice for owners of pet birds to clip their wings. This doesn’t prevent them from flying, but it greatly hinders the height and distance they can soar because the feathers on their wings are shortened. This keeps them safe, just in case they were to get out of the house, it would be easy to retrieve them for they won’t go far. We did this with our birds. We studied and learned how to clip their wings proper because we didn’t want to injure them. You see, you have to only trim the ends of their wing tips on an angle. But if you clip too deep you cut into the quill of the feather which is attached and full of blood. So, with my parents help, we were careful and delicate with our birds because we loved them and wanted to care for them properly.

Isn’t that how God is with us…

He is our Keeper. He watches over us. God shields us. God protects us and provides for us. I think of those little birds I found. They weren’t wild birds, they were domestic birds (in the US anyway). I don’t know if someone in my area was raising birds or how they came about my neighborhood. They didn’t have pet store ankle bracelets like birds did back then. I feel God sent them to me as a gift. A little sweet and eye catching treat for me to care for and love on. I cared for them and they would sing for me.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of the will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31

When God cares for us, sometimes, he decides to groom us and help us grow so we can be even more vibrant and beautiful in color. He wants the best of us to shine through in us. How sad is must be for the Lord when He sees so much potential for flight in us, yet we never step out or get nudged out of the nest to spread our wings. We never try…

When God is grooming us He clips our wings, ever so gently, because it isn’t maybe yet our time to fly or that new level we desire isn’t the just right timing…so He carefully, and cautiously, lovingly, clips our little wing feathers as though to say, “Not today, Beloved, not today.” But because He loves us He knows not to clip back too far. He doesn’t want to cause permanent damage that would prevent us from flying all together. He knows that in time, the feathers grow thicker and stronger and we are ready to soar. Yes, in God’s perfect timing soar you shall!

“But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

He is cultivating something great inside of you. He sees so much rich color. Vibrant shades. Decadent hues. You are arrayed in His Splendor. Yes, he sees all of this and more in you. He sees the potential of the heights you can soar and the adventures you will take. It is His Great Escapade and He has prepared it for you. Therefore, be patient, whatever your cares, your woes, your adversity, your tears, your joys and the absolute best of your years….

God has more and it’s waiting for you. He has a “bird’s eye view” of all He has in store for you and it’s usually more than we can think, dream or imagine. So, if you are in a place where you are feeling a little clipped in the feathers by life, or maybe your feathers are hurt and in need of healing because you were clipped back harshly without care at some point in time. Maybe you struggle so deep you just cannot seem to overcome. Don’t worry, His eye is on the sparrow, and the parakeet, and the cockateel (you get it)…so I know he is watching over you.

He is there.

He has care and

He is going to make sure you get there.

Get ready to run.

Get ready to fly.

Get ready to reach, grab and touch the night sky.

He has more and it is His absolute best in store for YOU, His Vibrant Bird of Paradise.

(Bird of Paradise isn’t a bird, but a plant, but it sounds good).

He thinks that much of you…

Ready…

Set…

SOAR!!!!

~Nicole

February 10, 2014

Holy Vaccination Supplementation!

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:14 pm by Broken & Brave

Have you ever had a cold? I mean a really bad one? I had a cold in the month of December. It was such a bad cold I couldn’t decide if it was just a cold or the flu. I realized it was just a cold, but it kept hanging on and on. I couldn’t shake it. In fact, I’d nurture myself and get over it to only relapse with it three times. I wasn’t myself the entire month of December. Merry Christmas, right? I found myself feeling a bit frustrated. I am a very active person by nature and have a hard time just sitting for long periods of time. You all know I love to train hard, so it wasn’t easy to back off and rest. Be still. On top of all this, I rarely if ever get sick. My entire life I have had a super resilient resistance to sickness. I thank my parents for both having strong immune systems as well and for passing the family gene on to me. My husband is the same way. We just don’t really get sick much in our house. If a virus or bug does try to emerge in our house, we attack it. That’s right, we attack it fiercely like an unwanted intruder. We know what to do. For starters we make sure we up our electrolytes and take in lots and lots of fluids; We also mega-dose vitamin C. Not just any vitamin C (not all vitamin C supplements are created equal. In fact, many inferior C products on the market are not much more than chalk, literally). We eat tons of foods loaded with vitamin C as well. We have an acquaintance who is a nutritional biochemist and does consulting for the FDA. He told us years ago that vitamin C is such a super food. It helps the body cope with stress of all kinds. Animals naturally produce vitamin C and when they are sick or under extreme stress their bodies naturally start producing more than double the dose within their own bodies. He advocated to us to be regular consumers of vitamin C in high quantities. It is water-soluble so you discard what you don’t need. You cannot overdose on it. We took his advice, and I can testify, when we are starting to feel a little tickle in the throat or a little under the weather, we begin to increase our consumption of the C. It not only helps us feel better fast, we also get over what ever it is fast! Viruses don’t stand a chance!

Unfortunately, back in December, when I had that cold that wouldn’t go…I was all out of my favorite vitamin C. I wasn’t able to get it into my body soon enough. I ate as many oranges as I could and loaded up on vegetables rich in C, but this virus was fierce. I wasn’t prepared for the attack it had for me.

All of that got me thinking…

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Ephesians 6:10-18

 

One of the things I learned as a young Christian, in discipleship, was the scripture for the whole armor of God found in Ephesians Chapter 6. I was taught about it, but I don’t really remember it’s purpose sinking in at the time. Years later, this passage would come alive in my life as God began to groom me in how to combat the schemes of the devil; How to fight the good fight and keep the faith (1 Timothy 6:12). This passage is designed to equip and teach a Believer, a Christian, how to guard their heart and mind and how to defeat principalities and demonic forces. It says right in the passage, “we do not fight against flesh and blood.” What does that mean? People are not our enemies, but sometimes there is a spirit at work behind the scenes in any trial or trouble that needs to be dealt with. I have seen all kinds of strange oppressive spirits come off of wonderful Christian people. I have always been very sensitive to the unseen spirit world. As a child I didn’t understand it, but God was so faithful and as a young woman he brought mighty Christian men and women who were gifted in discernment, deliverance and spiritual warfare to groom me and educate me on how to use this armor spoken of in Ephesians 6 and cultivate my gifting in this arena.

Here are some things I’ve learned over the years…

It isn’t enough to have the armor on. Imagine, you have prayed through the verses, but often that does nothing more than leave you standing there with armor on, but shield and sword down at your sides. God wants you on the offense not the defense. Offense, not as offended easily or readily, in fact, when we have our armor in place and are prepared we DON’T get offended because we deflect that spirit when it hits us. He wants you ready and equipped at all times. When we effectively put on our armor everyday…

  • we spend time praying through our Bible.
  • We ask the Holy Spirit to show us what He wants us to see in the Word. People are gifted to preach and teach and we need each other, but the ministry of the Holy Spirit is powerful.
  • We worship.
  • We give thanksgiving.
  • We search our hearts and ask God to address and bring revelation where we need it.
  • We enter in with a humble openness. If we don’t understand something we ask to see it as God sees it and be willing to receive His direction.
  • We take our thoughts captive from negative thinking, reckless assumptions and wild imaginations (2 Corinthians 10:5)

I don’t necessarily say do these things in this order. I think praise and adoration should come first, but for me, honestly, it’s different every time. It’s like talking to a friend. I begin with “HI, how are you?” But the conversation is different from conversation to conversation because it is alive and breathing just like the best of friendships. I don’t think God is so much interested in rituals in our worship, just our time, devotion and attention. He enjoys your company.

I told the story of my cold and the lack of added ammunition my immune system needed to effectively fight off the ailment because it is a great analogy to what happens in the spiritual realm. We have trials. The devil attacks us like a virus. If we learn from our trials we gain relief, but the lessons learned are only greater equipping for future tests of our faith. Our spiritual immune system gets stronger. God wants to develop a well trained and resilient soldier of the faith in you.

  • He needs his Bride fit.
  • He needs His Bride strong.
  • He needs His Bride resilient.

When we become a seasoned Believer, full of faith, and knowing how to fight the spiritual fight, we quickly recognize the handy work of the devil. It’s like the eyes of discernment enable us to see in the dark. We become “night vision experts” so to speak. That’s like taking your vitamins and eating well to ward off sickness.  When we don’t take care of our spiritual health, wear our armor, learn from our trials, we repeat them over and over and never gain the victory…just like that relapsing cold.

Why is this important? I will tell you why, because God wants the very best for you. He doesn’t want you to be a victim. He doesn’t want you to suffer. He wants to see you win. He wants to see you overcome. He wants you to be strong enough to live up to your greatest potential. Then, once a deeper maturity in the faith is acquired, he desires to use you to encourage others and help them gain the victory, too. Please note, we never stop growing; We always go deeper. We always mature and become more seasoned. I would never imply anyone, including myself, has “arrived”. It just doesn’t happen, and if we think it does, we stop growing all together.

Here is what I know. God has granted me the ability to affirm others and encourage others. It is how he uses me and it is my love language. Just like my Mom, I also have this gift that can’t be me, but only Him (gift of Exhortation)….people randomly start opening up to me and sharing their deepest pain. It can be someone who specifically seeks me out or a stranger. Just the other week at church a woman in the bathroom began to pour her heart out to me. I’d never met her before. I can be in the aisle at the grocery store, same thing. Then, there are others who have very deep and complicated pain. God sends me those, too. Why am I telling you this? Because, I believe God is about to bring a mighty move of His hand. The Church is going to explode in growth with people who are deeply wounded, hurting and having some major drama. Love is what will heal their hearts and help them put the pieces of brokenness back together. Once that begins, then we can rehabilitate them to rebuild a broken life, broken family, broken promises, broken dreams.

True Exhortation is not for the faint hearted.

We cannot take anything personal. We cannot easily offend or get our nose bent out of shape. We must be patient, deliberate, purposeful and most of all…we need to be able to leave the wounded at the foot of the Cross at the end of the day. If we carry it all, we will cave under the burden. This one was the hardest for me to learn because I care deeply and am a person of deep compassion and empathy. God does the fixing, I just obey and do my part to love people strong. We are all ONE team.

I believe God is building a Super Star team that is absent of “Super Stars” but full of people who’s only bragging rights are that we have met intimately with the greatest Lover of them all, the Messiah.

If we do not stay suited up and ready with the Rhema word of God of the tip of our sword (that means to declare the word with your lips and speak good into every situation), we will become a casualty. We will get sick.

Suit up today. Sing a song of Praise. He’s got the whole entire world in His hands, yet you remain the Apple of His eye. How beautiful is that? I don’t want any in God’s army to become a casualty. We have a lot of work to do to love our communities and our country strong. Fight the good fight, keep the faith, and allow no weapon formed against you to prosper. You are a child of God. He is on your side, and so am I.

You are Beloved…

~Nicole