September 30, 2014

Devotion: Heavenly Perfume

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:59 am by Broken & Brave

“A woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.” Matt 26:7

Mary Magdalene poured costly perfume over the head of Jesus. She gave everything she probably had and I imagine, if she had more she would have given it. She held nothing back. Jesus spills love and Grace out over all of us. It was a costly sacrifice, but he held nothing back and he gave everything. Here’s what’s beautiful about this to me, it wont wipe clean. You cannot escape His love and grace. His perfume is forever lingering. ~Nicole

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September 29, 2014

Devotion: Soul Thirst

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:28 am by Broken & Brave

“With Joy you will draw water from the wells of Salvation.” Isaiah 12:3

Joy usually abides and thrives best in a place called “Content”. Contentment is hard to come by in modern times for we have access to immediate gratification of every desire of our heart. It used to be young families bought a home and then over time maybe moved to a bigger nicer home or car and gradually add to life while purposing time toward a inheritance for the children. Now a days it looks more like, “I want it so I’m getting it and if I have to I will use credit.” But contentment helps us fight these urges to live beyond our means.

In our last house we had carpet in all but a few rooms. The carpet was a gorgeous cream color. It looked great, until I started having a bunch of little ones. The dining room especially began to show many spots where spills had occurred. I had a fancy carpet shampoo vacuum, but this really only does a temporary fix on what has become a permanent stain. This is how it is when we use things other than the Love of Christ to fill our voids…it is only a temporary fix and before you know it we are discontent again and looking for more.

I was really bothered by the stains on my carpet…for a time. Then, over time I began to not be so bothered by it. I still tried to keep it clean, but it didn’t rob my peace or Joy like it had done before. I had become content. In fact, I recall in this season the Spirit of God clearly speaking to my heart with absolutely Truth delivered in Love, “Nicole, most people care more about the spots on their carpet than the spots on their hearts.” I guess for a time that was me as well. But when I accepted it for what it was, I learned to let go of the things that don’t really matter and clung  strong to the things that do. Over time God blessed me with a different home, one that I didn’t even ask for, and it has cherry hardwood flooring all the way through. Sometimes God waits until we are content and don’t want more before he opens the door to give more. Be content and find your heart filled with Joy! ~Nicole

September 27, 2014

Devotion: God The Comforter

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:23 am by Broken & Brave

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings…” Isaiah 52:7

There’s almost nothing so comforting as a timely word of encouragement, especially it seems, that comes from someone who didn’t even know you needed encouragement.

Many years ago I was trying to get some things organized in my house. I had 3 kids and they were all very young so caring for them required allowing things around the house slip more than I like. I’d been kind of hard on myself and had been praying about it. One Sunday after my Women’s Sunday School class a woman in the class that I didn’t know very well came right up to me and made small talk. As we chatted she out of blue looked at me and said, “You’re much more organized than you think.” This was like water to my soul. I knew The Lord lead her heart to make that observation and share it, just to give me comfort. God will do things like that. Pay attention, because sees you and is paying attention to every aspect of your life that Joys you or grieves you. He cares for you! ~Nicole

September 26, 2014

Devotion: Sun-kissed Glory

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:42 am by Broken & Brave

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2

 

I am one who is blessed with a mother who has much wisdom and discernment. She comes from a father who was gifted with much wisdom and discernment, as was his father, and his father, and so on. It is a legacy in my family that I have immense gratitude for. I pray that I may grow in wisdom each day.

When I was a young adult my mother would speak wisdom from the Truth of God into my heart. She didn’t always say, “The Bible says…” she would just impart the wisdom minus the speech. I loved that about her. As I became a woman with a beginning family of my own she was still speaking words of wisdom to my young heart. I recall a specific trial I was facing. She would listen to my concerns and then would simply say, “Keep your eyes on Jesus.” I would try to keep my eyes on Jesus. I would pray and ask God, “Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you.” Then, I one day finally confessed to God, “How?” For I knew what to do, but hadn’t a single clue how to go about doing it. God was faithful and began to unfold His wisdom into my heart and mind and I learned by experience how to apply this truth.

Maybe this is something you have wondered yourself? Maybe you haven’t a clue how to keep your gaze fixed on the Creator during a storm, but are maybe embarrassed to ask someone else how to go about doing that? If this is you, here is a simple analogy that might get you through…

Have you ever flown in a jet plane on a very stormy day? It can be kind of scary. I’ve been on flights with so much turbulence that even with my seatbelt on it felt as though I was going to pull right through and smack my head on the ceiling of the aircraft. Forget it if you have to use the restroom, it will have to wait because you couldn’t walk down the aisles to the lavatory if you wanted to! But then something happens as the pilot stays the course and climbs ever higher to the altitude he needs to be to provide a smooth and safe journey. He pierces the darkest clouds and then something really cool happens…the plane emerges on the other side of the storm and you float through crystal clear blue skies that are kissed by the sunlight as bright as it could ever be bright. Oh, the storm is still raging, you’ve just risen above it.

This is how it is when we keep our focus on Christ in the middle of life’s trials, troubles, problems and anything that makes our heart ale. But how do you do it? How do you find perfect peace in the middle of all of hell breaking loose in your life? Praise my friends, praise. Focus your heart on all that is good. Out loud recap all the wonderful things the Lord has done in your life and all the times you struggled but He brought you through safely on the other side. Remind God of how glorious He is and how he has added brightness to your life. Thank him for the testing and trial for you are confident He knows what He is doing and can pilot you through to safer spaces. He is the Creator of all of heaven and earth! There isn’t a resource problem in the world that He doesn’t have a solution for. He is our Source! By the time you’ve finished worshipping, praising, recapping and thanking you will feel refreshed, revived, rejuvenated and renewed! Hope will unfold and explode all over you!

So, you know what to do…get busy…there’s a whole lot of lovin’ on Jesus for you to do! No longer give the devil center stage and spotlight all the things he thrives in. Give the platform to the Lord and watch what he can do! I Believe in you, for you and God Almighty absolutely adores you! Everything is going to be all right and you will have the sun-kissed glow about you!

~Nicole

September 25, 2014

Perfect Timing …Been Waiting For You!

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:33 am by Broken & Brave

Time. It is probably of our most precious commodities outside of our health. Time never stops moving. It is faithful and consistent to progress, whether or not we progress with it. Time is like money, so I always try to maximize it to not waste it. I’m not saying I’m always successful at that, but I consciously choose to use it for productivity and when I rest I try to have balance in it, but not linger in it too long. When you have a large family and your kids are getting older, you spend a lot of time in the car. A LOT! The demands of my schedule are intense. Not just getting them from here to there, but everything is abundant. The laundry is at least two loads a day to stay on top of it (I can’t stand it when the laundry piles up so it never does if I can help it). The grocery trips to Costco at least twice a week. Trips to the gas station for all the gas consumed by all that time in the car. I have four boys and live in the country, you can imagine the housework and all the dust that finds its way through my front door. Just managing my family’s life is a full time job, but I work to earn an income on top of that. There are days I pray to the Lord and wonder how I keep going? I remind Him and myself that He knew what He was doing and He wouldn’t have given me five children if He didn’t think I could handle the demands of such a schedule. Our society is completely geared to the two-kid family of four set up. You don’t necessarily realize this, until you surpass it. That happens a little bit at kid number 3, but it hits like a home run by kid 4. Just when I thought I was going to have a little more freedom, my sweet little Joy flooded my life, number 5, who is still small and at my side. That little guy came into my life at God’s perfect time. He is a God of perfect timing.

I love people. No, I adore people. All people. All kinds of people. I don’t understand all people. I cannot necessarily relate to all people, but I sure do love them. My heart actually burns for them, literally. I can be standing a speaking to someone and I will begin to discern and feel God’s heart for them. I could almost weep as I sense God’s pleasure with them. Sometimes I can be in the market and I feel the pain of the soul in the person next to me who is shopping as well. My heart groans.

I get along with most people because I can cling to their good. But I only have a couple really close friends. They are sent right from God and evidence of this can be seen in our history together and how the Lord wove us together. I cherish these gals immensely. Each came into my life at just the right time. I don’t get to see or speak to them as much as our closeness would indicate, but when I do need them, they are usually reaching out to me first, not knowing I need someone. In fact, my closest confidant told me just recently, for all the years we’ve been friends she never understood how I could just do my own thing all the time and didn’t seem to have the same need for constant contact and socializing that most women have, but when I had it, it was beautiful. I sat and listened and kind of wondered where she was going with this. She proceeded to share a recent experience and then how the Lord used it to tell her about me. She told me, “I get it now.” She proceeded to share that God showed her how I am so content in the Lord, I am completely dependant on Him for my deepest intimacy. Though I love and appreciate my relationships, I am completely content in Jesus. I guess I hadn’t thought about that, but after she said it, I agreed. He is a God of perfect timing.

 

I love to write. It is a part of me at the depth of who I am. I have always been a writer, but I didn’t always know it. I guess I truly began to realize it in college. I was never a natural student, but I worked hard. I had discipline and desire so I was determined. I found myself at one of the most competitive Universities, especially for the major I had declared. I know that was the favor of God. He saw me through. Any test that required multiple choice or a scan tron, or a formula (ugh!) forget it, I was probably going to get a C even though I prepared. But give me a short answer, essay or a paper…watch out, that was my place of confidence. It just flowed better for me if I could explain it. It’s like writing slows my mind down long enough to collect my thoughts. It gave my thinking an order and my fingers were connected to my mind in a way I cannot describe. If I could write it, I knew I would ace it, and I did. Fortunately, most of my core instruction was tested with a combination of written and multi choice answers. So I got out of there (college) with a 3.4 GPA cumulative. That’s the favor of God. At the school I attended the kids are so bright, there was never a curve on grading because you better believe there were students getting a perfect score on their exam.

So, how does a busy mom who works a little as well find time to write…in the middle of the night, of course. The Lord is so good to me, He gently comforts me as I sleep and I find it wakes me and he nudges me to go sit down and spend time with Him before he puts me to pen…and then I write. The middle of the night is not my ideal time to write, but in some ways it’s really nice because the house is quiet, I can hear my thoughts, and I have it all to myself, interruption free. He is a God of perfect timing.

 

Sometimes in life, so much is going on around us all of the time, that we neglect to savor each moment. I find myself more and more over the last five years maybe, give or take two, that I am absorbing, drinking in my moments. I am making mental notations and capturing the essence of my experiences. I am looking, listening, yielding my heart to God fully as he enlightens me, delights me, and invites me ever deeper into His Presence. It has never taken the Lord much effort to court and swoon my heart, but this place I reside with Him now, it definitely has come by much fire. What does that mean? It came with my trials. I have learned by experience that when a testing of my heart comes, though I don’t like it, it is a time of Joy for me. You may wonder how I can say that. Because, I’ve tasted the fruit on the other side of obedience in the past and it was really good and it took me always to a higher level in my peace, and all the fruit of the Spirit. It also showed in the depths of my relationships and became an added luster on my ability to connect and relate and comfort others. He is a God of perfect timing.

 

I’ve spent so much time typing all about myself, but what does it mean for you? How can you relate, if at all, to anything I have said? Are you a frazzled Mom who struggles to get out of bed for dread of the demands of her day? Are you wondering if you can get it all done and still be a parent who can connect intimately with each of her children in the way that each uniquely requires? Is your heart so full of emotions, some jammed down so deep it may take a jack-hammer to loosen them from the sides of your heart and extract them? If so, are you feeling overwhelmed by this? Or maybe you just feel numb? I feel this is probably the one I see in people the most. They have been through so much or are dealing with so much, just coping. Keeping busy so they don’t have to deal with it or feel it, that they have unconsciously become numb in heart. It’s not that they are hardened, but soft, definitely not. In fact, it may be hard to describe this type of feeling because frankly, you can’t feel much at all. Is this you? Have you forgotten what you are passionate about because you must spend your time meeting the demands of life that are upon your life? What do you enjoy doing and when was the last time you did it? You will never find the time, you have to make time in your crazy schedule to enjoy the things that fuel your soul. How about this one…when was the last time you just sat with your bible or a devotional book or said a little prayer with expectation that God would actual answer you? Do you need some quiet time with Him? If it’s been a while since you visited with this faithful friend, you don’t need to be embarrassed or ashamed. I promise you that Jesus will never remind you of the exact day and time of your last call. He won’t recap your past or chastise you at all. He’s not going to make you feel bad for all the things he has done for you. What you will find is comfort in your soul. When you have comfort in your soul you can endure so much more!

He is the God of the Perfect Time. When you make time to take a little time to spend with Him it is amazing how He will order your steps, orchestrate your day, create Divine Appointments and make it all work out in the end. He will pattern situations and events in such a way that you will know that you couldn’t have made that happen if you wanted to! I love that about Him. He is the God of perfect timing, perhaps today is the perfect day for you to spend a little more time with him. You will wonder what took you so long, when you begin to speak and realize how faithful he has always been. Just like a best friend. Perfect.

 

 

There is nothing under the sun that you cannot overcome if you decide not to do it alone. When you allow God to sort your relationships, organize your life, manage your day…you will have more time and desire to enjoy the things that bring you joy. He wants that for you, through and through, he has always been right there for you. Make some time…I think He is waiting for you.

 

~Nicole

P.S. My disclaimer on this post: I wrote it at 2 a.m. and then went back to bed without editing or proof reading it. If it doesn’t make sense, re-read it later, I will probably edit it sometime tomorrow. Laugh with me, life is a Joy filled journey. Let’s keep it real!

September 22, 2014

Is It Well With Your Soul?

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:36 am by Broken & Brave

Is It Well With Your Soul?

“Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. His circle of friends included Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey and various other well-known Christians of the day.

At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.

In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He also went to join Moody and Sankey on an evangelistic campaign in England. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.

With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul..

Philip Bliss (1838-1876), composer of many songs including Hold the Fort, Let the Lower Lights be Burning, and Jesus Loves Even Me, was so impressed with Spafford’s life and the words of his hymn that he composed a beautiful piece of music to accompany the lyrics. The song was published by Bliss and Sankey, in 1876.

For more than a century, the tragic story of one man has given hope to countless thousands who have lifted their voices to sing, It Is Well With My Soul.” (Sharefaith.com)

I grew up in church, but neither of my parents did. Neither had the saving grace of Jesus Christ, until the Holy Spirit grabbed hold of my parents, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents on both sides and radically saved almost all of my extended immediate relatives in a six month time period. This in it self, holds quite a story that I will save for maybe another day.

My parents began taking me to church quite early in my life and I was raised in a Baptist denominational setting, singing this very song in church out of the old hymnals that occupied the pew just in front of my view every week. As a kid I wasn’t sure what I thought of church. I didn’t dislike it, but I’m not sure I liked it either. But one Sunday morning in Sunday school class, there wasn’t hardly a kid there besides myself, I prayed with the teacher and asked Christ into my life. I can remember little about this teacher, but that she was very elderly and I remember the warmth of my heart I felt for her so I must have liked her and thought her nice. I do, however, vividly remember her giving me as a gift after my prayer, a small circular mirror with a picture of Jesus on the back, as pictures of Jesus used to be portrayed. I vividly remember being so blessed by this little gift and looking at the man on the back and my heart being touched. This was my first real connection with what I call the most fascinating relationship I have every had. This is where my friendship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit truly began. I was fascinated, but spent more than the next 20 years not knowing why. I saved that mirror for most of my life. I’ve only lost track of it since 2004 when God radically altered my life and this song, “It Is Well With My Soul”, became so much more to me than just a song we sang on Sunday at church growing up as a kid.

Who is Jesus to you? What are your cares of this world? Maybe you didn’t have a childhood like I had. I didn’t come from a perfect family, but God sheltered me and gave me the care of a good home. Maybe your past looks a little more troubling or tear stained. Who is Jesus to you? Have you given him opportunity to save you? I’m not just speaking of your soul. I’m speaking of every hurt, painful experience or bad choice you have ever had to walk out. Have you turned it all over to him? It’s HIS pain, HIS trouble, HIS issue don’t you know? God never expected man to walk the earth alone. Sure, He gave Adam a helper in Eve, but what He really gave to man was HIS Presence and Community. He gave himself.

In my community the churches unite quarterly and abandon denominationalism to be the Church, United in prayer, song and Word. It is a coming together for the purpose of mutual encouragement and loving our city. I encourage you to attend if you are in my city of Stockton, CA. If you are not, I encourage you to attend or begin such a movement in your own city. America is one beautiful land and the best way we can create beauty within her is to stand together, loving one another, and reaching out to those God puts on our path.

We sang this song, “It is well with my soul”, last night at this service. I hadn’t heard it played that way in such a long time. It flooded my heart with memories of my childhood. It flooded my heart to 2004 when God imbedded the question into the depth of my heart in a very unique way at a very unique time in my life where God was pulling me to a new level of commitment to HIm. “Is it well with your soul?”

In the Body of Christ we all have an assignment of God so to speak. In fact…

You were created for a purpose on purpose by a God who is Glorious with Purpose.

Nobody else can do what you do, just the way you do it. God made you unique and able in so many ways, but to truly be effective we have to get to this place of rest. A place where we can honestly look to heaven, look to our own heart, our own soul and know beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is well. It truly doesn’t matter what you life has looked like up to this point in time. We all have different backgrounds, but our backgrounds have one thing in common…the past is gone and done and behind us. Let us treat it like an old cassette tape and erase it instead of replaying it. Don’t look back. Don’t give up. Don’t spend one more day with regret in your heart. You can do all things through Christ who will give you strength and He will go before you and He will make a way for you to conquer all the obstacles that hinder you (fear, anger, pain of past, etc.) and He will mend all things within you that maybe need mending. I don’t know what the Lord has for you, that is truly between Him and you. I do however know what He has given me to do and this business of heart mending is where I belong. My heart, mind and eye are on all of God’s little sparrows who are broken and unable to fly or maybe they can but not as high as God intended them to reach out into the sky because of pain.

Do not lose heart Dear Ones. God has given you the power to overcome. Do not worry or grieve any longer if pain is holding you back.

Pain expresses itself in many ways. It can look like poor self worth. It can look like alcoholism or addictions of all kinds. It can look like domestic violence or abandonment. It can look like intense poverty or even manageable poverty, the kind that keeps your nose just above water but you can’t get to the other side. It can look like a rebellious or wayward child. It can look cool and aloof that is really camouflage for fear of being hurt. It is seen in all forms of violence and crime. Ultimately, all problems, troubles, etc. are a result of pain in a person’s life in varying extremes. Your trials may be the result of your own pain or someone else’s. The more generations pass by without healing and heart mending, the deeper the issues, the pain, the problems. God has a plan to make it stop now in our communities, homes, and our individual lives. God is looking to rebuild your inner self as Nehemiah built a wall around Israel in the Old Testament. (I love the book of Nehemiah. If you are looking for this type of healing I suggest you research Jack Hayford Ministries. He has written an excellent book on rebuilding your brokenness-a study of the book of Nehemiah- that I believe is still in print.)

Who is Jesus in your life? Is He a part of your life at all? Would you like to know how to know him as friend and not just some picture of a man on the back of my little mirror? Would you like to have heart mending and know beyond a shadow of doubt that it is well with your soul?

Jesus is a heart mender. He gets it. He knows you heart and soul. He feels your heart beat and has been walking with you every day since your first day. Are you ready to walk with Him?

~Nicole

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

September 21, 2014

Devotion: You Possess Immeasurable Worth and Beauty

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:42 am by Broken & Brave

“The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.” Psalm 145:13

Good morning to all of you beautiful people. The fact that I cannot actually see your lovely self right now is mere technicality. I know WHO’s you are so I know you possess heart beauty and it’s stunning! Wishing you a gorgeous Sunday. Take time to practice the habit of BELIEF today. He is a supernatural, extraordinary, splendid God who bestows FAVOR extraordinary on all he has made. He cares about our habits, make the habit of belief one you practice to make perfect…perfectly established in your mind!

“Plant a word of love “heart-deep” in a persons life. Nurture it with a smile & a prayer and watch what happens!”

~Bob Beaudine

Meditate on this Psalm today. Own it in your heart. Let it warm you over like a soothing massage. Absorb it into your being. Rest in it. Take Comfort from it. God is all things Beautiful and He made you. He dwells about you and would like residence in your heart just like a best friend. He is with you until the end.

~Nicole

September 20, 2014

Devotion: You Are Heir To His Throne

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:44 am by Broken & Brave

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” Deut. 7:6

Have you ever thought of yourself as chosen by God? This passage specifically speaks of the Jewish nation but you are indeed grafted in as a child of God if you Believe His as Lord. And there are those still to come who are chosen, but still searching. As a child of a King that makes you royalty. As royalty you are entitled to all the privilege of Heaven. What God has is yours. If we truly dare to believe this then we have Peace, Confidence, Joy, Love, Contentment and Steadfast Loyalty. There’s nothing you cannot achieve because you have the Authority of a King!

Many, many years ago-maybe 1999- I had a dream and I saw God’s people all wearing crowns upon their heads. Each stood beside a car, their vehicle to their destiny. But then I saw the Devil with His stick. He came and poked at a child of God and demanded that they give him their crown. The child of God became sheepish and scared and complied…removing their crown and giving it to the devil and then immediately crawling under the car to hide. The Lord then spoke to my heart and told me that the devil intends to steal the blessing of the Church, but we are not to cower in fear and submit, we are to stand in our authority. Shortly after that I bought myself a charm bracelet that had a charm of a heart wearing a crown. It was my personal reminder to never let anything tarnish my crown. I knew who I was in God so I knew I never had anything to fear.

So, polish that crown today God has great plans for you! ~Nicole

September 19, 2014

Devotion: Live Out Your Best!

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:55 am by Broken & Brave

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23

Life is a delicate balance between working toward all things excellent and understanding that we are imperfect vessels and we will never be able to strive high enough to reach God’s standard. But then there was Grace. God is Good, Gracious, Kind and Merciful. He meets each of us exactly where we are at, yet He loves us too much to just leave us there. He desires to reach down into our heart and pull out all the darkness and impart a greater measure of His Extraordinary Light. God does indeed have expectations for us. However, He is a Gentleman and never forces us to do anything. He allows us to make the choice. How much of God would we like to experience in our life? How much will we trust Him with both the big and small decisions? How much of our God breathed potential would we like to reach? How blessed would we truly like our life to be? He wired each of us differently. To some He expects less and to others He expects more. It is all wrapped according to the Purpose He designed on our life.

The best things in life usually require the most amount of work. Don’t settle for “next to best” because it requires less work. It will also bring you less Joy, less satisfaction and less contentment. Go for your Best! God desires you to experience HIS best for your life. The more ability, gifting, talents and resources He has provided to you the more He generally expects of you. He can give and He can take away. I truly believe God is a recycler. The Word says His great purpose will prevail. If we are not willing to do His will for us, as He has gifted us for, He will go to another who is willing and then He will equip them to be able to do it. Truly, all He really needs from us is the desire to live life to the fullest and be a vessel of Hope helping others along the way. Don’t be afraid to live out your faith. Believe God for the extraordinary. When He is tugging on your heart, you know it. Don’t fight it, surrender to it and say, “Here am I Lord, send me.”

You were built to do extraordinary things!

~Nicole

September 18, 2014

Devotion: God’s Heart For Community

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:49 am by Broken & Brave

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Romans 1:11-12

God plants people in neighborhoods, houses (resident dwellings), careers, jobs, and communities. God has a heart for community. Therefore, He had this in mind when He wrote on the tablet of your heart the purpose for your life. He decided where and when He would plant you like a seed on this earth. He is a Sovereign God. What does that mean? It means there is nothing that escapes His eye for detail. There is no plan He forgot or neglected to make. He is ever mindful of the course of your life. You can take great Comfort and Confidence in this. I am hoping I communicate encouragement to you if you are in a job that stresses you severely, or maybe you don’t like your neighborhood or have a neighbor who is difficult to live near. God has planted you there- if only for a season. You have been chosen to be a light to that community, whatever it is.

We are blessed with incredible neighbors. I can see the hand of God at work in my neighborhood and our purpose for being placed there. Just a few weeks ago my daughter began college. She is a bright young lady and was awarded almost her full tuition in academic scholarships at the University she chose to attend. However, at the beginning of the year we came across some confusion and mishap that delayed her scholarship money from going through to the financial aid office at the school. She received notification after the first week that she would have to pay up or ship out. All week we worked to correct the mistake. I kept encouraging my daughter that it would be fine, but no matter what, God has a plan. I reminded her that nothing happens without there being a reason, a lesson and value to gain by the experience. She is such a strong young woman, she was upset, but agreed with me. She had great faith it would turn about.

One evening that week my husband and I agreed we needed to cross the street to speak with our neighbor about this situation for she is person of great influence and former regent to the school. She knows our daughter, but she doesn’t “know” her, so she asked a great deal of questions before agreeing to speak on our behalf. It just so happened she was meeting with the President of the University that following morning and agreed to petition for correction on our daughters behalf. By mid morning that day we had the “head” of financial aid as well as the President’s office calling to help us sort out the situation. This was an occasion where we were grateful for God’s help to us, with the help of our neighbor. I kind of wondered at first, why all the mishap? But I feel there is a bigger reason that maybe we don’t know yet. Maybe God is building the relationship between our family and our neighbor? Maybe He is watering the soil, seasoning the atmosphere, at the college to open doors for my daughter down the road? We don’t know why, but God does.

What about when you struggle with your neighbor? Your boss? Do you live in a neighborhood that is maybe less than you desire? Do not allow yourself to be overly discouraged. Consider it a high honor that God has chosen you to be a source of encouragement to your neighbor, neighborhood, your coworkers and employers or employees. You do not know what chaos resides in their private life. You do not know how your life may be adding a little light to their life even if they never tell you. You may be God’s instrument of Hope to someone who has never seen Hope on legs before. Whatever the purpose, God has one. Ask the Lord to strengthen you to be the best neighbor, employee, coworker, etc. you can be. God will reward your good efforts. He has planted you there with great purpose.

~Nicole

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