August 23, 2017

Besotted

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:28 am by Broken & Brave

Have you ever heard the story of  “Cyrano de Bergerac”? It was a play written in the late 1800’s about a man named Cyrano. Cyrano was a soldier in the French army. He was extremely gifted and talented. Cyrano was a passionate and strong-willed man known for many pursuits and ambitions. He was known as a magnificent duelist, poet and musician. However, Cyrano had an enormous nose. The size of his nose, so caused him to doubt himself, that he felt he could not dare to dream of love. He was hopelessly in love with his cousin, Roxane, but never dreamed that she would ever have interest in him. He had so much self-doubt of his appearance that he failed to acknowledge his own worth as a man by the measure of all he was gifted in. He didn’t feel he was good enough to have her love.

Do you ever feel like Cyrano? Isn’t it true we are our own worst critics! All of us, not a person is excluded from this sad truth. I imagine this is because we know ourselves the best. We know our own private thoughts about ourselves. We remember every hurtful word ever spoken over us. We know our darkest secrets, or maybe not so dark secrets. We know our every flaw and shortcoming. Sure, we are aware of our strengths as well, but most people, even if they never verbalize it,  do tend to measure themselves by their areas of weakness. For some people this painful awareness becomes a major stumbling block to true victory in life, much like Cyrano. Let me now transition to another man by the name of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah, like Cyrano, was a man of action. Nehemiah was not a soldier like Cyrano, but he did serve a King. In fact, Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the King of Persia (Neh. 1:11). Nehemiah was of Jewish descent and longed to go the aid of his people who desperately needed help rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah sought the King and received permission to go to the people and build a wall. What he did was so much more…he built an ever-enduring legacy of leadership amongst a people who were broken down in heart and spirit. A people much like Cyrano.

What was the difference between Nehemiah and Cyrano (aside from one being a character in a play and the other an actual figure in history)? Nehemiah revered his King, but he also knew that he had FAVOR with the King. History states that Nehemiah was very frightened to speak to the king of this matter, he prayed, mustered up the courage, and acted despite his own self-doubts.  There is a King in heaven who favors you! Would you like to know how?

Yours is a heart that intoxicates Him. When we seek him out it’s like clouding the judgments of man, which tend to be harsh, but opening the gates that release healing waters. Waters so pure and clean a path is carved in the darkness for God’s pure light to pour out with such force that it breaks free all who are bound by captivity. The result is freedom from the past, freedom from broken heartedness, freedom from heaviness, freedom from pain. So may I ask, “why are you so hard on yourself?” Maybe it’s time to look fear in the face and just stop being so afraid. It is time to stop being like Cyrano, focused on his nose attached to his face, and to look out and beyond to future things. Who said you weren’t enough? Why can’t you be a person after God’s own heart? You can have favor with both God and man. Favor is favor and is as blind to flaws as romantic love.

God is respecter of no man, but lover of all. We do not need to earn his Favor. We do not need to convince him to love us. Imagine, for just one moment that you, too, were like Nehemiah. You are cupbearer to the King. What kind of drink offering would you bring?

He longs for your praise and adoration of who He is. Not because he has ego that needs to be engaged, that’s not it at all. Journey through your imagination with me for a moment and dare to dream of a love so deep because the Lover of your Soul is enamored with you. You don’t have to hide your flaws and imperfections because he knows them, each and every one. His eye and mind are on something entirely different. He is captivated when he catches your gaze and He is enamored by your smile. Like a mother with a newborn child, she glows with radiance as she looks upon her child. She knows the child isn’t perfect and the child will have setbacks and failures in life. SHE DOESN’T CARE. All she is focused on is the love in her heart and the desire to care for and nurture a love so rare it must be Divine, it must be Sincere, for why else would her heart swell? Why else would her joy be so grand? Why else? She is in love.

When we pray to God and offer simple gratitude, our heart to his, it is like a fragrant flower releasing its sweet pollen…an aroma so pleasing… our prayers to Him. Your prayers do not have to be long or wordy. There is no need for big words, religious rituals or even a hint of eloquence to our speech. It simply needs to come from our heart. Try it and see for yourself. You are the one who will feel blessed and lifted up. Your mood when heavy will lighten. Your perspective will begin to brighten. Your heaviness of heart will dissipate. You may begin to believe in yourself and see past the nose upon your face into the realm of unlimited potential.

You are a glorious crown in the hand of a King. There is no shame, no defeat. No awkwardness of appearance like we see in the example of Cyrano. There is only a covenant of Love He desires to keep. So, approach His Throne and approach others with the confidence of Nehemiah. God loves you and longs to lavish grace and tender mercies upon you.

He is besotted.

Blessings be yours this day, and forevermore. -Nicole

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August 11, 2017

Suit Up!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:38 am by Broken & Brave

People work, strive, plan, creating and attempting to create something every human soul craves…security.
We put money aside for retirement. We save. We budget and bargain shop stretching our dollars as far as they will go. We buy insurance for every imaginable detail of life.

But as long as you live you will need spiritual security. You will need your armor. Life is full of the unexpected. We don’t live expecting bad things or troubles to come, but we know we live in an imperfect world. We know better than to fantasize about a pseudo-eutopia. When we place our security in the right place, the correct Source, we know we are protected.

Wait for the Lord, behave honorably, never lose hope, maintain courage. To fear is to doubt God. Trust Him. Steadily offer your heart, mind, body, soul to the true and secure anchor for it all. Bonafide child of God. What are you so worried for anyway? Never give up! This is what it means to truly live by faith. You possess past grace, present grace and there is future grace for you as well. Grace is not just God’s favor and protection, it is also him causing good things to happen for you. He brings the blessings to you. So suit up soldier and relax in his Grace! He’s got you. ~Nicole

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God…”

Ephesians 6:10

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July 12, 2017

Old Faithful

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:50 am by Broken & Brave

It is humbling to believe the King of The Heavens would even notice me. So, I give Him Center Stage. He is Worthy of my praise.

“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:3-5

My experience has shown me over and over again that extreme obedience brings extreme blessing. We don’t obey for the blessing. We obey because we love God. But God is good in tangible ways, too. So He reaches down for me and pulls me close. Sometimes the best analogy I can give of how He blesses me is a courtship. Like he is a beau wanting to impress me so He peacocks around and showers me with gifts and well. I am presently experiencing some of His extreme blessings right now. My heart swoons for Him, my Sacred Romance.

Extreme obedience brings extreme blessing.

God is ever Faithful. Always dependable. He can be counted on and will never count you out. The Joy of His heart reminds me of a story…

We always took family summer vacations growing up. Camping was big for us. We’d always go to a lake somewhere. We had vacation friends we took trips with. Most of them had ski boats so we would camp out and water ski all day every day for a week. I loved skiing and always had great fun. I guess I’ve always been a water and sun lover. But we had a few vacations that differed and were ultra memorable. One was Christmas in Hawaii and the other was a trip to Yellowstone National Park and every interesting stop along the drive. I think the trip to Yellowstone was my all time favorite family vacation. I want to take my own children to visit.

There are many natural hot springs and geysers in Yellowstone. But the most famous is Old Faithful. Old Faithful received its name for its highly predictable geothermal feature. This geyser erupts every 44 to 125 minutes (approx. every one to two hours) at anywhere from 106 to 185 feet lasting 3-10 minutes. It is beautiful, spectacular if you will. The outer perimeter is lined with benches so you can sit and wait for the next eruption. Glorious view.

Have you ever settled in a vista point and taken in a truly spectacular sight? It is so impactful and brings delight to the eyes, the heart and even soothes the soul.

This is how God looks at you don’t you know? It’s true. His love is adorable.

God cares about our habits…
He desires our Faithfulness.
He desires our obedience.
He knows the blessings that come when we faithfully obey.

Make trusting him, leaning upon His good shoulder, drinking in His Mighty and Majestic Presence a habit in your daily life. You will erupt with Rivers of Joy.

Victories are sure to come.

~Nicole

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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