September 25, 2017

Prose

Posted in Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , at 4:06 am by Broken & Brave

John Keats was born 31 October 1795 and died 23 February 1821.

Despite the lack of length and breadth of his years…they contained depth few of his age could relate to. Mr. Keats is considered one of the greatest romantic poets in history. His rankings summit to heights alongside peers of the likes such as Lord Byron and Shelley.

The tragedy behind this man’s life is as poetic as his pen. Keats only knew publication of his works for four years before he died from illness in Rome at the age of 25. The work of Keats was widely criticized by critics of the day and he had a hard time associating publication with success.

The pain stole his flame and he didn’t write anymore…

Today he is considered a man who had a deep impact on literature and influenced a broad range of literary giants throughout the ages to follow him. His works are widely studied as Literature and Scholars consider his poem “To Autumn” to be close to literary perfection as any poem ever was.

Keats died feeling he was a failure of a man…
Even though the pain stole his flame,
his pen lived on.

“So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?” Ecc. 3:22

There’s is one whose heart I liken to Keats…He is my Lord and Savior whose poetry penned within my heart caused it to sail upon a gusty wind of His Holy Presence…His Holy Spirit. My life inspired by His message. I take to heart His Holy Example on how to live and love and sew kindness and Faithfulness to my fellow man.

Jesus came to bleed and cancel my need. He was struck and beaten for being different. He was sifted and sorted and his frame was contorted. They tried to kill his flame and though his body was broken-I imagine his heart was too…he continued on and finished it without ever refraining from loving through and through.

You may find situations in life leaving you without pardon. Don’t allow your heart to harden. Don’t allow the pain to steal your flame. Jesus is the master key and his keys unlock everything. Don’t seal yourself in…allow his touch to heal you within .

God will always bring Beauty for your Ashes. Keats may have never known the praises of his prose…but I have no doubt he enjoys praises from Heaven and has forgotten his foes.

The Lord Bless your good Inheritance.

…Nicole

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September 23, 2017

Polished with Shine✨

Posted in Prayer of blessing tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:41 am by Broken & Brave

I know many people going through trials they cannot fathom. I pray this encourage you today.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverb

“Open the eyes of my heart Lord.”
To see, to hear, to learn and grow.   There’s love in discipline.
Beautiful is a heart that accepts reproof.

When we realize sometimes we struggle not because we are being punished, but rather we are being loved. There is beauty in forgiveness, humility, meekness, gentleness and all the Fruit of the Spirit.

God is not mad at you or punishing you. He is skillfully loving you into the creation He destined you to be. You may suffer, but it is only temporary. Cling to Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of the three is Love and it hung on a tree for you and for me.

Take care, Beloved. God knows your heart. He sees the multitude of your tears and all the years the locust has eaten. His sleeve is big enough to dry every eye and bind every wound. God is close to the broken hearted…in fact…

His greatest vessels for use are those who have known a broken heart.

That’s where His Love truly begins. You are going to be ok. ~Nicole

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September 20, 2017

Drenched💦

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:52 am by Broken & Brave

Jonah had it rough….or did he have it easy? I bet most people actually haven’t ever thought to consider the circumstances or how this man felt about his own life.

Jonah was a man who walked with God. He clearly had the favor of Heaven and it’s full confidence to manage and administer the Truths God spoke to him to the people as God directed. He had inside access to the King of all of Heaven!

I guess most people who love God and try to live accordingly as to eloquently convey his love here on earth would consider Jonah highly blessed. They may even think, “I wish God would talk to me like that.” But do they really?

The burden of such a responsibility, if you want to call it a burden, is the high level of obedience required at such a level of intimacy with the Almighty. Much was given Jonah so he knew that much was expected of him as well. Jonah probably didn’t have a lot of say about how he spent his free time or his resources. I’m sure God had stipulations and directions for that, too.

Imagine yourself a modern day Jonah…God blesses you with a tangible gift. You are grateful, you dream of how you will spend or even save this blessing and create greater blessing. But then the Lord steps in and offers instructions about an assignment he has for you and the real reason he gave the blessing to you. So you received a great blessing. You received spiritual riches as a result of that ear for the voice of God, but you haven’t the luxury to spend it as you like.

You must be obedient.

Resources are tangible gifts from Heaven. They offer refreshment and provision like streams in the dessert of life. Gifts and blessings of tangible and monetary increments are part of what gives life pleasure. The closer you become with the Almighty, the more you realize the less you have ownership of any of it. You begin to understand that every ounce of blessing afforded you is not for you at all. Sure, God desires to see you enjoy life, rest, take our ease and feast a little on pleasures. But even that serves a purpose to replenish and restore…rejuvenate if you will…so you can get up, walk out the door and like God’s faithful servant go back for more. More what? More opportunities to do what he has assigned you here on earth to do.

Boy, I sure did make hearing God intimately and experiencing blessings sound hard. On many levels it can be. But it is also a delicious reward.

I’m curious about Jonah’s appearance. How was he dressed? Did he have one of the best camels on the market? What kind of drapes and gowns dangled from his crown and from the body of his animal? Was he a splendid sight to see? Was he glamorous and charming? All attributes that would grab hold of people’s attention and cause them to want to draw near. Because let’s face it, being a prophet of God was a profession that many people wanted to avoid. Not everyone likes to hear what they might be doing wrong. But sometimes that’s what God sent Jonah to do, tell people hard truth in love.

I imagine Jonah had seen a lot. He maybe even endured a lot. He may have been weary and in need of a vacation. A cruise was just the ticket…too bad he disobeyed and went in the wrong direction! Maybe Jonah didn’t like the message he had to give? He was concerned for how the people would receive it? Maybe he had already been there countless times before only to have the door of cooperation slammed in his face? Maybe there was an experience that has caused his heart to become jaded and calloused to the people of Nineveh? We don’t really know. The Bible only tells us that he disobeyed God and suffered an extreme consequence. The Bible uses Jonah as an example of what happens when we loose our compassion…when we become jaded and cynical.

God had to humble Jonah low. He had to get him to a place where he was utterly alone with God. God needed Jonah to contemplate his options…obey and don’t complain or  stay in the digestive tract of a large mammal–his version of Joseph’s pit. The choice was really a no brainer. He repented and agreed and went and did what God asked him to do.

What can be said for you? Are you taking your blessings for granted? Is your attitude a little bit less than stellar and a little more than jaded or cyclical? Has past experiences of life caused you to believe less than the best about just about everything? How’s your Compassion? When was the last time you gave that a check? How’s your heart? Is is hurting and dry? Do tears stain your eyes? Maybe the pain runs so deep you’re no longer even able to cry? It’s ok, either way, if this is you know that many around you feel the same way, too.

We live in a day and age where I see countless Jonah’s walking around. They may not know they have access to God’s ear and voice. But every day they make the choice to value money, career, possessions and positions over humans.

It’s easier to love stuff than people.

Stuff doesn’t have a personality. Stuff doesn’t talk back or have a difference of opinion. Stuff can’t hurt your feelings and wound your heart. The emotional risk is non existent when you keep to loving stuff only. But to love others…to be loved by others…that’s scary and amazing. It depends on how you perceive it.

If you have ever felt an ounce of pure and glorious love then you know how amazing it is. It isn’t limited to romantic love, though that’s nice, too. It’s the extraordinary awareness that others care about you and would sacrifice and willing become inconvenienced to protect and bless you. It’s an extraordinary feeling to do the same for another. Love requires risk. Caring means you have to take a chance. You have to give your heart permission to feel. You have to open up a bit more and be transparent and honest with yourself and others. You have to be humble. You have to increase in your capacity to receive. You have to let people in.

We live in a tremendously hurting world. People all around walk about with a seared conscious. Someone with a seared conscious can’t feel on deep levels. They do wrong or see wrong and are minimally phased by it. They are numb.

Only God can reach in and jump start your heart. He can pump it with life flowing fluid mingled with His atoning blood and drenched in His love. He longs to drench you and return moisture to your  weary, drained and wounded heart.

Today could be a fabulous start to making all things new. Seeing through new eyes, smelling the greater aromas of life and tasting life seasoned just right with a good kind of spice, sugar and delight.

You are the salt of the earth…
Allow God to return your flavor.

Prayer:
“Lord, search my heart and show me the areas I have become stagnant or have lost my Compassion even just a little bit. Renew my heart and freshen my flesh so I can love as you love. Equip me with the courage to open up more fully and accept the love of Heaven and the love of people you send me. I do not have to live on guard. I can guard my heart and make it a place of hospitality as well. All because of you. Thank you God for the good work you promise to complete in me. I am your yielded vessel. Use my life, my blessings, my abilities as you desire. Amen”

“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” Jonah 2:8-9

September 15, 2017

Hold Your Breath…

Posted in Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , at 6:34 am by Broken & Brave

Sometimes people tell me how intimidating John is. He is a strong and passionate man of principle and conviction…but if you know him you are aware of his jokes. At the gym the other day I very randomly look over at him and say, “I only miss you when I am breathing”. He looks back at me and says, “Is that why you hold your breath so much?”

Sometimes laughter is the key to help you hold it together as you await your victory. There’s nothing so refreshing as a joy filled heart.

If you are facing adversity or high levels of stress, find something to cause laughter, it will help release and pent up agitation. Remind yourself life is good and this too will pass. Adversity is the breakfast of Champions that builds HEART.

Take heart…for every struggle Gods making way for blessings to rise higher! It’s all about perspective. So hold your breath, take in Heavenly oxygen as the Lord emerses you in Divine Restoration. He taking steps to heal your broken places and prepare you for glory as you’ve never known before. When he opens the doors, he wants you ready, grounded and looking the part for his glorious mission of heart.

If God was clever enough to detail the sunrise, then He also used the same ingenuity when he created you…His most Excellent craftsmanship! You will emerge bigger and brighter than ever before. As all of Heaven takes notice of you, your fellow man will, too. God’s counting on you to direct their eyes toward him in all you achieve, in all you do. So whatever you face today, he’s got you! He is preparing and shaping the stellar quality of a Champion he has embedded within you.

~Nicole

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter And our tongue with joyful shouting; Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2

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September 14, 2017

The Nest Egg

Posted in Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , at 5:41 am by Broken & Brave

One of the best feelings in the world is to be excited ON Life. The key is all about Expectancy. What you expect is usually what you get. So why not EXPECT the BEST?

I got into a conversation with one of my clients the other day about my grandfather. My client is an elderly and extremely affluent widow. She’s sharp and sassy and all things classy.

My grandfather passed away many years ago now, but the memory of him is fresh with me. I had and still have a special place in my heart earmarked for that man and his wife…my grandmother. She passed a good number of years before he did. When she passed –widowed women came out of the woodwork for him. We were all shocked. Not at their interest, he was wonderful, just how these old ladies were behaving. My grandfather was wonderful on countless levels. He wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he possessed an incredible mind with the power of imagination harnessed to good sense and wisdom and ingenuity. He was an example my entire young life of what possibility thinking looked like. No one connected the dots for me and explained that was who he was or how he thought and why that was admirable. I just witnessed it…was attracted to it…and tucked it in my heart little by little my entire life to the point when he died. It was after he passed that all the dots of my life began to connect and I realized what an amazing gift this man was for me on even deeper levels.

He was a real example of extraordinary faith. He never attached Bible verses, chapter and verse, to all that belief. He just believed. It was who he was. On his death bed his mind was sharper than ever at 86 years old. It was his heart that was failing. Lying in that hospital bed he continued to campaign with the doctors to consider a heart transplant. He just knew he had more life left in him and wasn’t ready to go. He wasn’t hysterical or panicky. He was using every ounce of charm and leadership capability etched within to try and influence that doctor! He was zealous and passionate and…wonderful.

One of the things my grandfather would always say was, “Don’t touch the nest egg.” Always! So much so my mom has a photo of him framed in her office, the frame in the shape of a purse. My grandfather was very good with money. He and my grandmother had the most darling little house (it was so little!) in Southern California. It had 3 bedrooms and one bath. It had a spectacular backyard and pool house though! He purchased that home for $11,000. Can you believe that? Times have changed for sure, but he bought that house and raised his family there. He made money, he saved money and he invested wisely.

He and my grandmother loved to travel, but she was afraid to fly. So they invested in an RV, they always had an RV as far back as I can remember. They would travel any place they could drive. But outside of that he didn’t overspend. He didn’t have a million and one toys. He lived simple and he prospered.

After my grandmother died and he survived all the widows, lol, he met a lovely, strong and independent woman who had been widowed, too. She also loved to travel, but wasn’t afraid to fly. So for the final season of his life he literally explored the world. He sold his house and made an enormous profit and moved to Santa Barbara. But he didn’t buy a bigger and better house, he lived simple and socked away some more “nest egg”.

My grandfather invested, saved and put his blessings away. He enjoyed his life, he didn’t go without or have martyr-like poverty thinking or dwelling. He had expectancy. He knew he’d get a good return on every wise investment. He didn’t touch his nest egg because he was investing in his future blessing. He was investing in the future blessing of his entire legacy. He did nothing to harm it. He protected it.

We can all learn a little lesson from my Granddad. Your nest egg very well may be financial, but this analogy is not limited to money or fiscal matters. Your nest egg is every little thing that you invest, sacrifice, protect for your future life account. Sometimes you have to give a little up now so you can have more later.

God has richly invested in you. He has given you gifts, talents and abilities that are completely unique to you. He has carved a path for your journey and promised that you would know the way to go for he’d be right behind you and beside you whispering direction in your ear. He’s got a vaulted nest egg investment in you. He plans to make a good return on his investment. It’s time for you to believe it to…

“Lord, thank you for today. I expect it to greet me with such awe and amazement, I will be wishing I were twins to contain it! Amen!”

What will you expect? ~Nicole

“You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.” Job 22:28

(Photo taken of my grandparents on their 40th wedding Anniversary out boating at Catalina Island. They were married for 52 years before my grandmother died)

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September 13, 2017

Wrapped Up

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:13 am by Broken & Brave

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“The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent.”
Psalm 104:2

Oh Lord, may we wrap ourselves in your light and adorn ourselves in your garment. With you we can scale the tallest mountain or swim the depths of the sea. When we abide in you we are like the roots of a tree planted deeply and drinking from the depths of your Living Water. Bless each of your children today as they bless others. ~Nicole

 

September 12, 2017

Joy Storm

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:45 am by Broken & Brave

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecc. 3:1

I am a preparer of words, feeder of the heart, nurturer of the soul. God sees your heart. He sees what I cannot. He gives me insight and glimpses of what to say, but 9 times out of 10 times I don’t know how or who it will impact. God has drawn you here and you are welcome.

We are all feeding others with our words everyday (whether written or spoken). What shall we serve? I desire my words to be nourishing to the heart, mind, soul, yet sweet and flavorful to the palate. Should I serve you meat, I know you have to be able to get it down, with a delicate choice of my words.

So, here is to you and all you hope to do, all you desire to see, everything in your heart you can conceive to be. God placed every desire in your heart. It is up to you to harness it accordingly and use it to live out your dreams…and as you pave a wake in your destiny, you leave a trail of a beautiful and fragrant aroma that builds others up and takes their breath away in the most delightful way.

You are capable of far more than you currently dare to dream. I know this is true…you are magnificent. The Lord bless you and keep you, making his face to shine upon you. The Lord lift up your countenance and bring you Peace, Joy, Love and Glorious Anticipation as you have never known before. This is only the beginning… YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING YET! ~Nicole

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September 10, 2017

“Charming Gardener”

Posted in Prayer of blessing, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:22 am by Broken & Brave

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

~Marcel Proust

When I see a beautiful garden I often think of all the work that went into planting it and keeping it weed free. People are much the same as a garden. Healthy, secure and strong relationships require much tenderness, love and care. People must be nurtured just like a garden.

Your heart is a garden to house your soul…just like a green house full of moisture and beautiful foliage is a heart fully yielded to the Master Gardener. He loves you -heart and soul- and would never do anything to hurt you. It matters not the adversity you’ve known in life, whether great or small, He was there with you through it all because of his great love for you.

The Banner over you is Abiding and Loyal Love. Bask in His Goodness today. ~Nicole

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August 25, 2017

Red Fern🍂

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:47 am by Broken & Brave

 

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“How fast does a red fern grow?”

These are the words I would hear in the quiet of the night.

The first time I heard this question, in my spirit, was February 14, 2001…Valentine’s day. I find this so unique because as I reflect back upon it now…I realize it was in the beginning of a new season of soul for me. The Holy Spirit was beginning to “court me”.

For me, the girl who doesn’t really impress by canned holidays like V-Day…I still love the irony of it all.  God know my heart so well.

It’s the attention to detail I love.

After this experience on Valentine’s Day, I didn’t hear anything of it for another six months. “How fast does a red fern grow?” I would hear it again while performing the mindless little tasks of the day.

“How fast does a red fern grow?”

“Lord, you have asked me this before” as I recalled to myself, but enough time had lapsed that I had forgotten all about the puzzling question. Then, I heard this question over and over at random points of time over an approximate 18 month period. I would hear the question run through my mind, but then nothing, no additional comments came with it. The whole thing got me curious and more than just a little perplexed. I never bothered doing any research on the plant. I would only reply in prayer, “I don’t know, how fast?” I will be honest, I would also wonder why this was important and what it had to do with me. However, I am sharp enough to know that if the Lord was whispering it, it was for a purpose and it had complete relevance in my life. Then it came…the question once again, asked in the same manner it had been asked every time before, “Nicole, how fast does a red fern grow?” Only this time I heard more. You better believe, when the Lord whispers something perplexing into the stillness of your heart and then permits it to linger there for a time, you pay attention when it arises again. I quickly got my journal and pen…

“How fast does a red fern grow…as fast as I tell it to.”

You’re probably thinking, “That’s it?” I know I was. Then, came more…

A red fern is a unique, flowering plant that only grows in the deepest, darkest portion of the forest. Even though it receives minimal sunlight, it manages to get ample ultraviolet rays and nutrients. This plant is unique in nature and rarely found by man. This plant is special. All of these words flooded my heart and flowed through my pen. I was bewildered, inspired, aroused and amused all at the same time. I knew nothing of this red fern, so how was it that I “just knew” all of these facts? Were they actual facts at all?

At this point, I was definitely curious enough to do a little research. What I found was that everything I had written in my journal was absolutely true! John and I even found a photo of the red fern that was taken at Volcano House National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii in May of 1999. This is significant because the red fern was thought to not actually exist. John and I found a forum of botanists who discussed the fern and learned that there were purple ferns and autumn ferns, but no red fern, or so many thought. The fact is, the red fern is so rare and the color shows bright, but only under the perfect conditions, so the chances of capturing it by the human eye (or camera) are small.

This entire process, of hearing the Lord, receiving the insight and then finding the research was from 2/14/01-4/10/02. It was a season of my life where I was growing in my relationship with God by leaps and bounds through trial and dark things and much pain. But my God gives beauty for ashes and this was some amazing fruit showing itself in the form of spiritual gift of Knowledge. I was more than happy for all I had endured to receive such a unique and specific gift.

I do not write of the red fern to tell you of my journey to hearing God’s voice, though I believe it is important for you to know because I am asking you to trust me to encourage you. You are reading this and therefore you are giving me your time and attention and that is valuable. So, it is important you understand my experiences in hearing the Lord, not just my credibility to love and encourage your heart as I know you can see is true. I want to impart Pure Exhortation to you. Pure exhortation that first and foremost comes from the inspired Word of God and secondly comes from the Wonderful Counselor he has placed inside me.

I know God was more interested in using this fern to enlighten my heart toward Him, His Voice, His Guidance and Wisdom. He knew I had read the book as a child about the red fern and so it would strike a chord with me. He also knew I hadn’t thought of a red fern one single time since fifth grade. He knew this would stir me…stir me deep.

Me being one for analogies I immediately become contagious with them in this story.

Did you know you are like this fern that turns red? You are! Allow me to show you how.

This plant is rare, unique, SPECIAL…just as you are. The Lord knit you together in your mothers womb (Psalm 119). It was not by accident or happenstance that you should exist on this planet. You were designed with purpose on purpose. Every experience of life, both the good and the bad, are allowed and are used to shape you and develop you to grow, to shine, to add color to this world.

You are special.

You are Vibrant.

God made you and if you are in darkness, he will find you. He already has found you. He found you in all of your darkness and wants to rescue you from this pit. Whatever your pit may be. Your darkness may be any number of things, you know what it is and you are probably thinking of it right now. He wants to rescue you, like a Knight in Shining armor (men need that too you know!).

Despite a lack of light, he wants to nourish you, even in the dark place, heal you, love you and he wants to watch you grow. All gardeners love to see their botanical gardens flourish and grow!

Fix your eyes on him, Beloved, fix your eyes on him. Allow the Maker of Heaven and Earth be like ultraviolet rays upon your wilted leaves and petals bringing out your luster and unique color. He will be like a heavy moisture, just like the damp soil of the tropical rain forest. As the moisture increases, so does the shine of your leaves…your heart…your thoughts. Your countenance becomes radiant.

The leaves of the red fern will lean toward the soil around it that contains the most moisture.

Lean into Him today, he wants to soften that thing that has made you hard.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, leaning not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your path straight”

Proverbs 3:5-6

He wants to bandage that ache and pain that has plagued you. He wants to erase and change the perspective of that hurt that stung so deep as a child. He wants to raise you up and showcase you just like the Red Fern.

He sees the past, the present and the future. He has created all things and knows all things. Let him create a new heart in you. He is full of Hope for you. He wants His Hope to shine in you and through you…for there are still countless others out there who have no Hope at all.

I BELIEVE IN YOU!

Shine true, Shine bright, SHINE ON in everything you say and do! His thoughts are upon you and so are mine.

Blessings, Nicole

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24

April 10, 2017

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:29 am by Broken & Brave

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“For we are the aroma of Christ…”
2 Cor. 2:15

A blessing for your day:

Lord bless you to be the fragrance of worship that would fall besotted and soften every heart, that would inspire the bend of every knee, to look longingly toward the King of kings. You are the flavor and aroma this world needs. So many things special about you…you are needed, valuable and loved. God hemmed your every attribute in place and saw your potential so big it placed a smile on His face. Go forward into your day with heart-filled glee, for the Father above is bragging on you in Heaven singing, “That one belongs to Me!”
YOU are going to have an AMAZING day! ~Nicole