May 30, 2017

A Good Kind of Lean

Posted in true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 6:53 am by Broken & Brave

In bodybuilding when someone enters a competition they must begin a regimen of strict diet and calculated calories in order to get very lean (low body fat) so that when they step on the stage the lights will grab and shadow all the lines, contours, definition of muscle on that physical frame. A bodybuilder cannot remain that lean, it wouldn’t be healthy or obtainable for a long length of time, but for that one appointed day, it’s radiant.

Just like in bodybuilding, sometimes life needs to get lean so God can show off and get Glory for how strong He helped us become. We don’t feel or perceive the fruit of discipline, obedience and suffering while we are in it…but when the load is lifted and our appointed time arrives…God shines a heavenly spotlight on that strength of His in you and it gloriously reflects His Light. YOU are His Champion!
Don’t give up! ~Nicole

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May 29, 2017

GO For The Gold!🏅

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:07 am by Broken & Brave

Several years ago I was blessed to hear Olympic Gold Medalist and World Record holder in men’s downhill skiing (at 97 m.p.h.), Cary Mullen, share his story. One of the most impacting points he made was when he told the story of the famous ski slopes in Austria. The slope was so incredibly steep, as he put his skis over the edge of the gate, he could not see the hill…AT ALL. He shared of the fear that was to be OVERCOME by every skier on that hill. A few of his team mates broke limbs on that jump, but one teammate backed out, forfeiting his opportunity for Olympic Gold. Years later, when the men reunited as a team, the one team member who quit shared his regret. His words, etched deeply into the hearts of the others…’the men who jumped and fell, their broken bones healed, but regret lasts a lifetime’.

“Failure is not to be feared, we cannot win if we are afraid to lose. It takes REAL COURAGE to try something when the odds are against you succeeding, and failure is less traumatic than regret.”

-Graham Cooke

Live a life without regret, leave a Legacy. -Nicole

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May 28, 2017

Keep Going!

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:33 am by Broken & Brave

Don’t Quit!

A small child learning to walk may fall 50 times for he or she succeeds to take a handful of steps.
A kid learning to ride their bike may wibble and wobble and even fall over, but they keep getting up.
They say if you fall off of a horse you should get right back on to eradicate any future fear of riding.

How do you know this is not your year? Though we may fall. We may fail, we may not see the fruit of results God has purposed within us, we don’t quit. We don’t give up. We keep going. Everyday is full of success and some of that success goes without you ever knowing who you touched and how you changed their life. You MUST dwell in a place and space of perpetual expectation and anticipation of a blessing. Know it’s coming. Feel it in your gut. He is a God of Big things and He is willing to move heaven and earth for you. Believe~

💗Nicole

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4

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May 27, 2017

Excellence Rising

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:20 am by Broken & Brave

There is a standard of excellence rising up in you like never before. Can you feel it? Are you aware it’s there? You begin to care for and about things, situations and people you maybe never noticed before. All of this, evidence that you’ve grown. When we are young we may care for those around us, family and friends, but our thoughts are mostly inward and self motivated by nature. As we mature and grow older something begins to shift and we are no longer content to think this way.  We come to realize the importance of loving and caring for the needs of others. Everyone faces their own mountains, their own struggles, their own dreams, wants, desires. How are we apart of their equation?

All of life is an endless flow and all our hearts tangled together. The more we move in Oneness the more we become like tiny drops in the sea, mingled so tightly one moecule of water not discernible from another. Yet, we are all there, rolling and waving and waking together. Gently….Fiercely….Lovely.

Everything you do in life matters. Do not discount yourself. Do not think small thoughts of yourself. Nor should we think less than beautiful thoughts of others. Grab your Hope, even if it be merely a tiny thread. Get tangled in it. WRAP up in it. Allow it to hoist your heart and exalt your mind to every dream, inspiration or ambition you have ever held inside. The future is inside you already, waiting for God’s perfect timing to begin. He sets the pace, He charts your race and He knows every roadblock, obstacle, every need and has every provision–both the tangible and the unspoken cares of the heart. Stir up an added measure of Belief.

Belief…
It is the dwelling place of Hope. Though it takes courage, don’t be afraid to dare to Believe.

Belief…
Bold
Encouragement
Living
Itself
Everyday
For others
I Believe in You! Now, go with belief in yourself. You CAN do it! Don’t forget to have a marvelous day.  ~Nicole

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May 26, 2017

Kingsize Love👑

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:35 am by Broken & Brave

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

A deep love for God is received by His Grace, but as we show our love back to Him we follow Him where ever He leads. If it be through treacherous terrains, sleet, storms, tornadoes, or a scorching dessert sun…this is the road less travelled that leads to His Treasures of Heart. It doesn’t matter how it “looks”, we merely “Go”.

Moses, with his back against the Red Sea was on the road less travelled and he was delivered Triumphantly.

David had to hide in a cave to preserve his name, but not a stitch on the hem of his gown was prevented from bringing him a crown.

Esther presented herself before a King, knowing full well she may surely perish…but she didn’t.

And God Himself wrapped up in Love for you that ran so deep, He crawled through a Cross to be near to you. But his soul the grave couldn’t keep.

That’s the kind of thing True Love will do. ~Nicole

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May 25, 2017

Reflect What Matters

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:18 am by Broken & Brave

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It’s tough to be a woman in modern day America. Everything society dictates requires wits, beauty and the strength of a man without being a man. So much pressure to “measure up” we tend to always be measuring ourselves with the wrong tape measure…

I love people.

It may seem odd, but when I look at people, experience people, I am having an encounter with their heart. I don’t particularly focus on gender, color or socioeconomic status (poverty or wealth).

I see souls.

This is a difficult concept for most because most people don’t view people that way. Most rely on the naked eye and external appearances or presumptions. But I know God sees everyone by the heart and soul. I know God has given me His heart for souls.

You can’t effectively love people unless you are willing to get involved in their life. You can’t possibly get to know someone until you speak to them and get to know them and listen beyond words, but listen with the heart to their heart.

I want all women to know how beautiful and loved they are by the King of all kings.

God’s got friendship for you. He doesn’t focus on your skin color, your shape, your size, your gender but he knows the color of your eyes because they are the apple of his. He thinks of you and begins to grin. He is heart and soul captivated by your heart and soul. He loves you more than you know and he will never reject you. You can let him in…He wants to sink in deep and comfort you while you sleep.

He’s a good, kind and gentle God.

Lay your every trouble at His feet.
He wants to lift you higher. -Nicole

May 24, 2017

Light & Life😎

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:01 am by Broken & Brave

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

 

It was summertime. The days were longer and the heat strong. Central Valley California can bring the heat in the summer for sure. It was coming toward the end of the season. Fall was on its heels and with that means cooler nights, evening breezes and some relief from the intensity of the sun.

It had now been just over two years since selling our home and giving away all of our possessions. I had never felt more like Noah, relating to his life, than I could have ever dreamed. Our story, our Testimony of obedient faith had become too much for most believers who knew us to stomach. I experienced rejection from many of my “friends” and those who knew our character and ear for His Voice quietly supported us, but at a very safe distance. We were completely and souly dependent on God.

We had been living in hotels for several months. God was faithful and we were making money left and right. He was providing for the extreme expenses by the fruit of our own hand. But we’d always make what we needed right when we needed it. It was as though the Lord protected us from the temptation of stepping back, shrinking back and out of His will by going and renting ourselves a home. It wasn’t time for that. It was a season of deep intercession and pioneering as though we were living Isaiah 62:10:

“Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; Build up, Build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the people!”

Every place we lived we would anoint with oil and intercede by the lead of the Holy Spirit against the principalities of that region of our city. One area had intense prostitution. While interceding there was an enormous brothel busted. I’m not suggesting we get credit for that, but I know God used it to add layers of conviction to our obedience and pursuit of His Purposes. Another region we prayed against corruption in business. During that time a successful business closed because of extortion. We kept seeing over and over evidence of how God was leading us to pray. It encouraged our faith in a very dark and difficult season. My story too extreme and out of the ordinary even for me and I knew it was God and I knew His Peace in its midst yet it was still difficult to stomach. It was like my testimony stepped right out of the First Century Church and landed right in the middle of American Life.

There was one particular day, the day that inspired my sitting down to write this…

It was toward the end of Summer, beginning of Fall, I believe, and my family and I pulled into the parking lot of a local grocer who has a deli. We were coming for some lunch, a sandwich to be exact. There were two homeless people shuffling by the front of our vehicle as we were all getting out. A man and a woman. The woman walked ahead of the man about two feet with her eyes downcast and on the ground. The male trailed behind her with his face in a paper as he slowly moved. It was very hot. They looked tired, worn, hopeless, miserable. I had noticed them as we were pulling into the lot, but when we were getting out I was more focused on assisting my family members, grabbing my bag, etc. When something grabbed my attention quickly and startled me.

It was the oddest thing. Both the man and the woman, stopped walking abruptly and simultaneously. The woman just stood looking ahead, but the man drew his gaze from the paper and looked right at my husband and I. He raised his hand and pointed his finger at us. Then he projected his voice and said, “Christian!….Christian….GO!”

He said it with dramatic emphasis and slow pauses. Then both he and woman began walking away again.

I was stunned for a moment, then I looked at my husband and asked. “Was he speaking to us?” Even though I knew it was us because there next to no other car and no other people in the parking lot! I then proceeded to rejoice and praise God! I felt like I had just been paid the deepest compliment of all time! Any demonic oppression within them stopped and recognized us! They discerned the Light and Life of Christ! That experience recharged my will and determination to press on and follow through with faith all that God has asked us to do.

It wasn’t until later that next year we found ourselves living in our new home, more than twice the size of the one we sold by faith and had been making proclamation for two years. We had to wait longer than I expected. Our obedience had cost me more than I had hoped or even dreamed it could, but when it was all said and done, I had keys to spiritual doors I never had before or even knew existed. I had also learned more about God’s timing and how to trust it than I could have learned by simply being told or studying it. It was amazing how things fell into place constantly and intricately beyond anything I could control or manage myself.

My God is Increible. There is truly none like him. I assume my story is stretching your faith bit. If you don’t know me at all and are new to my blog it may be stretching you more than a lot. I share my deep faith stories rarely, this one I have never shared at all except to those who were close to me in the season it occurred. But God is on the move and it’s now time for His Bride to rise to new heights and truly believe that she can do all that mountain moving the Bible tells her to.

Rise up Champions! God’s got keys for you! ~Nicole

 

May 23, 2017

Sing🎼

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:12 am by Broken & Brave

When it’s warm at night I enjoy the windows open. Houses can get so stuffy. Fresh air is sometimes all we need to increase our comfort. The past few nights I’ve done just that, only to awaken to a choir of zealously singing birds. I mean a lot of them, all singing together, but singing something different…with great fervor!

Have you ever noticed that birds sing more intensely in the morning? It seems they are super happy and excited to greet the day! Are they God’s original alarm clock to humanity to help us get up and get going? These are things I wonder.

I realize I wake up every day a bit like how these birds do. I am an early riser. I like to be up while everything and everyone is still quietly resting. I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation for what the day may bring. Even on days that are very full or I have a dreaded task ahead of me, I somehow still feel good about how it will all turn out.

This is not my natural mindset or temperament. My personality is a mix of temperaments. I am mostly phlegmatic (faithful and loyal) with a touch of the others and more than I like to admit of the melancholy temperament. Melancholy tempered people are usually very organized, dependable, and on task, but they also tend toward pessimism over optimism. I naturally have that.

But I believe the negative personality attributes of any temperament are only temporal when we have Jesus and a decided heart.

I decided many years ago I wanted to change my mindset. So I did. I took decision and then I managed that decision every day and then it became my new habit. I grabbed Philippians 4:8 and made it my anthem. It became the song in me.
I also owned Philippians 4:6,7. Not to forget 2 Cor. 10:5-7.

Do you know that if you hammer a nail into a tree that tree won’t die?
It will continue to grow. It will grow around the nail and absorb it, the nail becoming apart of it. The same is true for us. I nailed these scriptures to my mind and I began to grow. They sank deeper into me becoming a part of me and their roots are tangled in my heart now, not just my mind. I have ownership of them to the level that I no longer consider myself the person I used to be, the non-morning person waking up grumpy and needing isolation until I was ready to face other people and my day. Does this sound familiar? I think it’s the morning ritual of most Americans or there would not be such a demand for coffee and shirts and mugs glorifying it’s morning ritual miracles.

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I made the decision to change more than a decade ago. I decided and then I took action to manage that decision. I trained my heart and mind to comply with the Word of God. As Believers we need to be like those little birds outside my window. Happy. Joyous. Infectious with optimism. It’s not natural to humanity, especially when conditions are poor. We serve an unnatural God and we must be as uncommon in our approach to life as He is! It will get you noticed and those the Holy Spirit draws will come in and discover for themselves, with Jesus we can always succeed, be free and be happy.

Let us wake up every day and say,
“Lord, what will be my anthem today?”

Infect the world with Joy today! ~Nicole

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

May 22, 2017

“Look at me…”

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 6:39 am by Broken & Brave

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“Look at me. Look at me.” Said my 3 year old as I was distracted by something else when he clearly wanted my undivided attention. So, I stopped what I was doing and I looked right in his eyes. When I did, he said, “I love you.”

Isn’t this such a perfect analogy of how The Lord desires our hearts focus? We have a lot to do and many times plans fail or we just don’t know what to do…but God is ever true. He knows what to do every time. Every hill, valley and mountain top experience he knew about ahead of time. So if he knows everything, is surprised or caught of guard by NOTHING~then I think it’s safe to say he has a plan. Sometimes we just have to get our eyes off the distractions…look to his face and allow him to wrap himself around us and say, “I love you.”

He’s never going to let you go. Relax in his grip. I hear he is pretty strong.

Hold tight. Rest easy tonight. Absolutely everything is going to be alright. You’ll see…

~Nicole

May 20, 2017

Daily Grace🍇

Posted in true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 6:17 am by Broken & Brave

Early in my married life we purchased a brand new refrigerator. We paid cash for an absolutely huge, luxurious and fancy fridge. It was great. It had a five year warranty. We got it at a ridiculously stellar price. Several years later, on the Fourth of July to be exact, we went to the Lodi Lake Pan Cake Breakfast (a local tradition). But when we returned home from the breakfast we discovered water all throughout the floor of our kitchen. The next morning the repair man was there with sad news about our fridge. It was dead and recommended the expense would be best put toward a new fridge vs. fixing this one. Our fancy fridge was just a month outside the expiration of our warranty.

All of this was disappointing, but we were able to buy a new one so off shopping we went. We found a great fridge at a ridiculously awesome price. Almost unbelievable the price! But everything in me while the owner of the shop spoke to us said, “No! Don’t buy it!” The shop was locally owned and had a stellar reputation for integrity. I knew my husband wanted the fridge. I asked for a moment to discuss our options privately and took my husband to the car. When we sat down he looked at me and said, “We’re not supposed to buy it, huh?” I agreed. So we didn’t buy the awesome fridge and drove home that night a little perplexed at why the Holy Spirit would lead us to leave such a gift behind. But we complied.

The next evening we received a call from a traveling evangelist who’s ministry we’d been supporting for months. He worked with professional athletes as well as ministered and gave words from the Holy Spirit to Congressmen and other political officials, including the President of the US! I need to say, that for about two weeks leading up to this call this minister had been heavy upon my heart. I felt a nudge to give him extra. When the call came, he had dire need. He had never called before, but the circumstances he described seemed justified. We prayed on it individually and then came together to discuss what we each were receiving in the Spirit. No surprise, we had the same dollar amount in our mind. But as soon as the words left my lips I heard and felt and experienced the Spirit of God move on my soul as if to shout it out loud, “Double it!” We gave the minister every penny we had set aside for our new fridge.

For the next few months I “lived” out of an ice chest. It’s a big and rather nice ice chest. We still have it to this day. Don’t recommend using one as a fridge for approximately 3 months though.

I had no refrigerator from Fourth of July until Labor Day weekend. I became an expert at shopping daily and using foods that would keep well in a tub of ice that would melt by night. I’d buy large bags of ice each day and I’d have to drag that chest to the yard to drain the water. Every day. We lived in a residential neighborhood at the time and one of my neighbors was the kind that spent all her free time watching mine. I’m sure she was fascinated by my unusual routine. I, of course, was humbled by it. Labor Day roles around and a friend of mine actually found a non saved relative of hers who was selling a fridge to give it to us instead. She had asked them in July, but they said no. By Labor Day she had asked again because the fridge hadn’t sold. It was mine. It wasn’t even remotely as nice as the one that broke or the one I could’ve bought. But I was so grateful because it was 1,000 times better than my ice chest. When we sold our house and moved away, we gave that fridge away as well to a young couple just starting out and needing a fridge.

This was one of my first real tests of faith the Lord used to see if my walk matched my talk.

God will use anything to deepen your gratitude for all the convenience American life brings. When he takes you deeper in your ability to persevere, obey, sacrifice to the point of inconvenience, you will learn a type of grit that can only be gained by personal experience. Something else happens when God tests your heart and you pass the test, He will give increase and trust you with more of His resources and ability to allow them to flow through you like a conduit of provision not only for yourself, but for others, too. Then everyone gets blessed, not just ourselves. As He trusts us with more resources He trusts us with more intimacy of His heart. He takes us in deeper because we prove through obedience that we love him more than our belongings or our very lives. We lay down our life to live His. It is where the path gets narrower and fewer will be found alongside of you. But I assure you, every step you take is on Holy Ground and the Encounters with the Almighty are Glorious!

It’s not for everybody, but it is for His Radiant,True and Remnant Bride.
Let this be you!

There is nobody else like you. You stand out and shine brightest when your simply being just that, yourself. God’s brilliance expressed in a life. He will empower you to overcome and dig deep through every battle until the stoic presence of your heart has won. You are made to do amazing things…

~Nicole

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11

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