June 22, 2017

Door Knobs

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:11 am by Broken & Brave

When I was a young girl my Grandparents lived in the cutest little house in San Pedro, CA. It’s a town near the port of Los Angeles. My Mom grew up in that house. There were many little charms about this place that hold memories for me. I could write a lot about it…

But right now my mind is on one particular thing. It was a door knob. This house was so petite it had a small living/family room, a tiny, yet still adorable kitchen, three bedrooms and one little bath located for all in the hall. The hall had great golden chimes on the wall, an old fashion door bell that was fully functioning. Awww, but the knob on that door to bathroom was glass. It looked like a giant diamond and in my mind I imagined it was. I’d put my fingers around it pretending it to be the hugest ring I’d ever seen. This is only one of probably a thousand charming little memories in my heart of this place. What a great memeory. I hadn’t thought of it in years until this morning I came across a note I wrote a while back and I instantly recalled It.

A writer is always writing. I have notes, memos, scratches everywhere. Ideas…many never used until God needs it and then I come across it and new inspiration attends it.

I found it to be a unique piece of writing, just a small fraction of a note, because just last night I heard my Pastor speak of the disciples and how they locked themselves inside a room for fear of persecution after the death of Christ…I wonder if they had door knobs?

Anything in history that God has used greatly He allowed it to walk through a crucifixion of sorts. There is a death to it before God will resurrect and bless it to its fullest measure of promise. He did it with the Lord first. He has done it with individual people, ministries, and  even businesses He intends to use mightily.

Nothing is shielded from the smelting pot of the Almighty.

He intends to produce a pot of gold worthy for a prince. Worthy to be offered to the King of kings.

God can make a way where there seems to be none. I frequently say, “God has a million ideas on how to remedy any given situation…I only need one.” When you’ve done all you can, and you can do no more, you must be still…its no longer up to you.

There is One who is a door opener. We each have a job to do. A purpose to fulfill. He can make a way, but we must do our part. There is a time to move. There is a time to be still. Where are you?

Whatever your course, your disposition, your countenance it is so important to be a yielded vessel to the Almighty. There is no room for the proud heart. For pride is mankinds ultimate demise. Pride demands its own way while Love pulls up and chair and says I’m with you to stay. When we yield to God’s plans we aren’t worried. We may feel stress and pressures of life, but we know God’s got us and all is alright. Then, in His perfect time the right doors open and the wrong ones shut. It’s so important to have your mind right. Be at Peace with God’s plans and allowances. Take your thoughts captive and call them into obedience to Christ. You will never have to repent for obedience. Search your heart and ask God to expose and extinguish any thinking that is false. A clear sharp mind that is strong-hold free. This all by itself is one of life’s greatest victories.

Do these things and watch yourself step Valiantly into your Destiny.

The Banner over you is Love and the Lord has covered all of your being in His. There will be no portion of you left out. He has you completely covered. ~Nicole

I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage.”

Joshua 1:5-6

June 14, 2017

Real Power

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 7:16 am by Broken & Brave

The woman entered her car, only to find herself at gunpoint. The end of the gun had a man preparing to rape her. She pleaded with the man not to do this horrible thing. He cursed her and told her to shut up. She continued to plead with him telling him God loved him and would forgive him. He told her if she wasn’t quiet when he was finished he’d cut her into little pieces. She then, calmly looked the man in the eyes and said, “Then every piece of me will love you and forgive you.” The man sat back, bewildered by her statement. Then he released her and fled from her car. Neither raping her nor harming her at all.

This is a true story I heard many years ago from the woman’s perspective. It pierced me to the core. Could I love someone like that? I felt God challenge me to pursue that kind of grace. That’s how it is with God’s love. When we choose to love those we should hate, it has the power to heal brokenness, bind wounds and deliver the broken hearted. Though this story and extreme, but true, example… Imagine what the power to forgive can do.

Isaiah 62:10

That’s how it is with God’s Love….that’s what real power look like. -Nicole

June 5, 2017

Stealthy Faith

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:02 am by Broken & Brave

I’m sharing a devotion from John Piper today because it so exemplifies how my family is called to live. We are stealth. What I mean is we fly below the radar when it comes to advertising our prayers, needs, desires. We don’t generally go to people except our trusted inner circle or in select situations when God leads us to share…instead we go direct to the Source, Almighty Himself. Tomorrow I will share a perfect example of the miracles we have received in just the past two weeks, one after another, putting a ridiculous smile in my heart that once again declares, “But God! My God!” He alone can do the impossible and sometimes He likes to keep it on the down low. But the testimony is shouted out because He is worth singing about! My God!

Read on and come back tomorrow for my faith testimony. ~Nicole

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Dependable in the Mundane

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

One of the most powerful testimonies to the all-sufficiency of future grace is the “faith principle” that has governed the lives of so many missionaries, notably those of Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF).

Without condemning those who follow a different pattern, it has been the practice of those who follow in the steps of Hudson Taylor to move the hearts of people to give by talking to God and not people.

James H. Taylor, the great-grandson of the founder, explains how this faith in future grace, rooted in demonstrations of bygone grace, honors God.

We . . . begin from a position of faith. We believe God does exist. We have become convinced of this in a variety of ways, but all of us have experienced the grace of God in bringing us to know Himself through Jesus Christ and through rebirth by His Spirit. We believe we have good grounds of believing in Him through the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: we believe that someone who said He would die and rise again, and did it, is credible in every other way. Therefore we are prepared to trust Him, not only for the eternal salvation of our souls, but also for the practical provision of our daily bread and financial support.

OMF publishes testimonies of God’s amazing faithfulness to demonstrate the glory of his all-supplying future grace. “We want to demonstrate that God can be trusted to do all that He says He will do, by sharing how He has provided for such mundane needs as plane tickets, meals, medical expenses, and the regular support of a whole group of Christian people for well over a hundred years.”

What OMF is devoted to is glorifying the dependability of God — in their message and in their method. Hudson Taylor put it this way: “There is a living God. He has spoken in the Bible. He means what He says and will do all that He has promised.”

Lives of faith are the great mirror of the dependability of God.

From Future Grace, page 189

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 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

May 16, 2017

I Cut the Chord!

Posted in true story, Uncategorized tagged , , at 6:32 am by Broken & Brave

Many years ago the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to be wise about television. His exact words were, “Television will rob a person the ability to think for themselves”.

Wow. What a way to start a blog, huh? It’s not the warm fuzzy material that makes the heart comfortable, initially anyway. But when we receive truth and let it do it’s work, we discover new levels of freedom. I won’t make any suggestions for you or inquire what you do in regards to television viewing, but I will share everything I experienced after receiving that word of knowledge and how it positively impacted my future.

Everything in life has a season.

(One of my clients told me I always say that, but it’s true and it’s a good reminder to help people through).

Each season carries seeds. The seeds that are sown down deep in the heart and in your life and in your mind (thoughts) are laying an unseen foundation for future seasons. Therefore, everything you do…every choice you make…is creating your future. It’s so important to make wise choices. Plant good seed…

I grew up in a household where the television was almost always on. It’s how my Dad grew up. It was the backdrop of my childhood. It was the constant that was always counted on without realizing it. Even if I wasn’t watching it, it was always in the background humming about something.

I enjoyed watching TV. Knowing this, may help you digest the rest of what I share a bit.

As a young married woman I was home alone a lot. My husband traveled much for work with both his full time coaching job and he also did speed and quickness camps for athletes that took him all over the country for weekend jobs that were very lucrative. It was hard to turn down such money for two days worth of work, but over time we did.
Our first year married he was only home a few weekends. I did ok with this. As much as I love people, I am truly a bit of a loner. I like my quiet time to myself, I enjoy just being at home, to do my own thing (I don’t get a lot of it these days, but I still enjoy it).

Being home this much alone I began to realize I had a hard time not just leaving the television on for background noise. It’s like it was a familiar companion. I could be cleaning the house, vacuuming, and I’d somehow feel more comfortable with that thing on in the background. This is when I realized the television had formed a stronghold in my life. It was around this time I was feeling the Lord speak to my heart about giving it up.

So that’s what I did.

It was difficult. I missed it. It was a slow death of habit. But I persisted to crucify it. I greatly reduced the amount of time it was on, until I eventually found I liked life better without it. So much “stuff” can fill the atmosphere through that box. Things you can’t see but are secretly and subtly influencing your home, your habits, your thoughts your life.

My husband had never been a television watcher, so this struggle was all my own. I really struggled so I decided one year I would unplug it and leave it out of commission for a solid year to kill the habit once and for all. After all, watching television is an incredible waste of time. Time is such a gift. I knew God wanted me to be a better steward of it.

So I unplugged it and don’t you know it did the trick. After that year I had grown in my ability to depend on actual humans for interaction and complete peace in silence or with music or a good book.

To this day I don’t like television anymore. It makes me feel anxious. I am not against television. I own one. But we don’t even have cable. My kids have one show they like and watch online once a week, but they have balance in this arena and don’t have the same desire for it as did as a kid. I broke the stronghold that was a generational curse from becoming another generations curse.

Anytime I’m in a situation where there is excessive television gluttony, I am reminded of where I used to be and thank God for the victory.

I kind of think it’s funny when people criticize fitness people and call them “obsessive” because they work out an hour each day. Think about how many hours of the day the average American spends in front of the TV?

Hmmm…something to ponder maybe?

Always remember I’m just sharing my story. I don’t expect everyone to cut the cable or unplug for a year. Your home is your home and how you spend your time is your choice. Follow your heart. This post is God lead so I think He will find the one, even only one, to prick their heart with revelation to something maybe He is already speaking to about this very subject.

When you want more in life, you set aside the things that weigh you down and distract your focus and purpose. I dare say for most people, most successful people I’ve ever known, they don’t really watch much television. Be a success at whatever God has Designed for your life and know you are loved and blessed with or without a television set.

~Nicole

“My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

May 13, 2017

Giving💜

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:01 am by Broken & Brave

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In Christian circles we always hear the term “give your first fruits”. We receive this as meaning to give God and His House the first blessing from our income. But what if it means more?

I know it means more and I know I’m not the first to write or speak of it. But why do we focus more on this aspect of giving over any other aspect of it? Shouldn’t we also be giving people the best of our attitude, the best of our kindness, the best of our gifts, talents, abilities and also our resources?

One of my biggest dilemmas when I clean out the kids or my clothes closet is deciding what’s worthy to give away and what should just be thrown away. Take a perfectly good pair of jeans that happen to have a rip in the knee. Other than the rip, the condition of the garment is outstanding. Give it? Chuck it? If I give it someone who has no pants may find them a priceless treasure or maybe someone can create a pair of shorts for their child from them. Give? On the other hand, would I buy them at the store like that? Chuck? This scenario may not be the best example since torn jeans are the style and even I am guilty of buying them that way! But you get the idea.

What about our treasures, our stuff? Are we generous with the bounty of belongings God has endowed to us? Was it all given so we could hoard the blessing or is it truly meant to be shared as God leads us into deeper levels of giving and generosity?

What of our time? Of course we need to give of our abilities! But what about just giving of ourselves? I admit, in the United States in present day America it is becoming tougher and tougher to give this way because the demands on our schedules are insane. As a Mom with a large family, my entire day is fully loaded. I have to purpose myself to sit down here and there just to maintain my stamina and get appropriate moments of rest. Otherwise I’d be on the clock nonstop. This isn’t my choice, it’s just the necessity of the season of life I’m in. My day has to be extremely organized because I’m being pulled in so many different directions as the governor of many lives. Not just my family, but also my clients customer satisfaction and my outside involvements. At the same time, so many people involved, I must be flexible and able to change course at a moments directive! Life happens and we have to adjust and go on the fly sometimes. Anyone relating to this?

So…with this being said, how shall we give and give from our best? I think this is a test of the heart God has for each individually. There is a general answer, but God has an individual answer pinned to your heart. Maybe it will stick in an area of giving that doesn’t come so naturally to you.

An area of giving that comes extremely natural to me is encouraging and giving my best to others in affirmation exhortation. I absolutely love making other people feel valuable and special. The day to day can bring discouragement and all sorts of feelings that can make people forget how precious and valued they are. Encouraging others is my drug of choice! I recently asked someone how I could encourage them. They were dumbfounded! They told me they had never had someone just ask to encourage them before. This was so sad to me!

Yesterday I needed to quickly run into a shop at the request of my husband for something he needed that morning. It wasn’t in my schedule and I had a time crunch. I easily could have allowed myself to get stressed about it and perturbed. Maybe I did a little when I realized how it might make me late to my first client. But then I pulled my heart right and prayed. I knew he needed this item and knew my client was very flexible. So I texted her to let her know I may be a few minutes late, she was ok with it. I proceeded to the store. I got in line to check out and the young gal right in front of me had in a unique looking sandal. I complimented her on how darling her shoes were. She said thanks and began to tell me she just purchased them and the deal, all that girl shop talk. Then I noticed her hair was dyed a deep burgundy. I told her that her hair was nice as well. I could visibly see her get a little taller. I ran into her again before leaving and she was super friendly and chatty with me. I could tell I gave her ease and made her comfy. Then she walked away and turned one more time to say, “I hope you have a really blessed day.”

Hmmm. This was interesting to me. Most people, except people of faith, don’t use the word “blessed”. For all I know she was my sister in Christ and had been struggling with her hair and her worth just that morning as she readied for her day and my simple gesture of uninvited kindness lifted her up. I will never know. But what I do know is it always feel better to give others our best in kindness even when we are in a bit of a hurry. I could’ve focused on the time I had to wait in line and how long will this take? Instead I took the time to notice the world around me.

Give the world your very best today. You have so much to offer. Others are lifted and comforted by your presence in their life. Be present. Cherish all of it. Your life a beautiful gift. One of God’s best…

~Nicole

“Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” Matthew 5:41

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