August 7, 2017

God’s Timing

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 6:30 am by Broken & Brave

Wait for it…..

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When God has a blessing for you it is important to wait for the full blessing in its full measure.

Waiting is hard. Patience is a golden virtue. Many years ago we sold our home during the peek of the market. We sold it to a couple we knew for far less than what the current market value called for. We did this because we knew for some time, 3 years, it’s what God wanted us to do. But we didn’t know right away who we would sell to or when. When the occasion arose as God described (the buyer would ask us to buy our home. No sign in the yard or advertising required). Not only did it create a way for this couple to own their first house, but also we knew obedience would bring us a great blessing. We had a real estate agent offer us $50,000 more than we were asking them and he said he’d still sell it to them at a good price. But we declined. We knew it was a lesser blessing disguised as monetary gain.

Wait for your promises and blessings as though you were waiting on a gift paid with interest. Don’t settle for lesser treasure. Silver is good, but only second best. Trust God for a pot of Gold Treasure Chest! Waiting doesn’t always mean you’re not ready or need refining. Though refine us He does…sometimes it’s just about timing and waiting for His. ~Nicole

“He has made everything beautiful in his time.” Ecc. 3:1

June 7, 2017

A Day In The Life of a Risk Taker

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 7:24 am by Broken & Brave

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She was about 10 years old the first time she spoke of traveling a great distance and I could see the zeal in her eyes. Some young people we knew were going on mission trips to places like Mexico and Africa. She told me she wanted to go to Africa. She would persist with this request to go to Africa for many months, even years I would suggest. The difference was, my daughter didn’t want to go with a group or team. She just wanted me to arrange for her to go and then send her alone. She was dead serious…she wanted to do it herself. To this day she will laugh when I bring this up and remind me that back then, despite my explaining why, she had no understanding of why I wouldn’t do it.

Her thirst for adventure and world travel has only grown as she has. She’s been able to see much of the United States and last summer ventures up the coast and then into Canada, but until yesterday, international travel had eluded her. Guess who she traveled with? No one. Oh, don’t worry, she is in a program and will he retrieved from the airport and has a nice apartment waiting for her along with other interns in her program, once she arrives…but this is her adventure. She even told me in the morning yesterday she was kind of happy her friend backed out and decided to do study abroad in Progue instead. She explained that when you go with a friend you still have some comfort zone left. This way she is fully out of her comfort zone and the adventure is her journey alone. A more mature version of the little 10 year old plea to see the world shinning through brilliantly.

This blog isn’t just an ode to my daughter, but Honor to a miracle working God. She knew for more than a year she’d take a summer trip abroad. She wanted Ireland. Last summer God shut the door and told her heart no. She didn’t even apply for anything because she is so faithful to include the Lord in all of her decisions. She was raised by parents who live by faith and has lived our intense faith journey to the extreme with us. I am witnessing the fruit of it in my adult child. She has crazy lid lifting faith that has power to stretch the faith of the young and old. Inspiring young soul with a heart of gold. But this year she knew…it was time.

She applied back in January and made a deposit on the trip of a few hundred dollars. Here’s where the miracles begin. I had told her it has to be God’s trip. We would help as God directed, but HE was going to pay for it. She agreed. So, God being who He is and His preference for a grand entrance full of intrigue is how He did it. We didn’t have one dime for that trip until two weeks ago. So, literally, I would tell people she was going to Ireland for the summer. As it got close people would ask when she was leaving. Those who aren’t believers or have very weak faith I would reply, early June (knowing full well I had no clue, that was just the goal). But for more seasoned believers or to whom I was lead to share I would say, “We don’t know. We still need this many thousands of dollars to pay for it before we can even think of the outside expense of a plane ticket.” It was both humorous and difficult to witness the facial expressions we’d receive at that point. So much money with so few days seems…well…impossible.

Most people are natural doubters and cynics. But God doesn’t care about the systems and strategies of man. He does things His own way and we knew He had a plan.

Two weeks ago my daughter called me, pulled off the side of a road with brake issues on her car. I told her to hold tight and I’d be over. By the time I reached her she had gotten an email from her professor telling her he found a scholarship for her for her trip. It was several thousands of dollars. She had already found another scholarship, but she has to be enrolled in school to receive it. So she has no access to it until fall. This will help us in the future but for today not at all because you can’t reimburse what you don’t have. Anyway, little by little, over the final two week span money began coming in. My girl was getting excited. She had a Bible study group of fellow kids she had been testifying to. Leading up to the miracles they began to encourage her to open a go fund me account or go talk to “so and so”. In her heart she knew that wasn’t God’s plan, but she wasn’t sure. So she prayed and asked a God to tell her Mom in a dream or by her pen how to respond. She did not share any of this with me.

The following morning in my devotions the Lord spoke to me about my daughter. He talked about His design for this trip and assured me of her joy and pleasure in it, but then he said something so interesting and very direct. He specifically said,

“I am not interested in the strategies of man. I do things my own way.”

When I shared with my daughter I learned of her pressure and cares and her prayer and I realized God was specifically answering her question through me though I knew nothing of her prayer. Now, we are not critical of go fund me accounts and letters of appeal for support. God is unique and can do what He wants. But as for now, our family has done so much extreme faith living that isn’t His expectation for us. It seems a bit like a bar too low. We just pray, say very little to anyone actually, then we watch God talk to others and open doors and bring Favor without us having to say much of anything.

It’s a roller coaster I won’t pretend it’s easy. But who doesn’t love the thrill of a roller coaster? I’d much rather have the roller coaster than the merry go round.

Four days out from her trip. We are still a little short, but not much compared to what God had provided thus far. The program is pressing her to pay the balance so they can get her room and ride ready. Alex is peaceful but beyond stressed. I am sitting with her and encouraging her with how God’s got it and our stress isn’t going to change anything. We have to continually surrender everything. It’s His trip. She agreed and then within 3 minutes (this is no exaggeration!) she had two people contact her and tell her God told them to give her money for her trip. Another few people gave her late birthday gifts and decided to include some spending money for her trip. By dinner time Friday we had it. But we still had to purchase a plane ticket. We didn’t know what God was up to, but even though it looked ominous–less than 5 days out out from flying overseas. I can only imagine how costly! But I knew it was ok. I suggested to my husband we check my frequent flyer miles. We have used His for our kids more than once, but mine have never been touched. Maybe it would take the edge off the sting? That same day I was able to text my daughter who was in a meeting, surrounded by her young friends who had been witnessing her stoic and resolute faith for six months, that we were able to purchase her ticket with frequent flyer miles and so had enough to send her for free! All we had to pay was the taxes and a fee. She was going!

The morning of her departure she received another bump in her plans. We began to pray immediately what to do. It was a big enough bump that anyone could say, that’s it, it’s over, it’s delayed. But we all came in agreement that we proceed and she go ahead and leave. My daughter once again, had opportunity to share with one friend about our last minute trial.

This young person’s faith is growing leaps and bounds just by watching my daughter take risky steps of belief. Alex replied to him by saying, “I’m still getting on the plane.” Her friend was astonished yet enthused. He replied, “So this one will make it what, miracle number 5?” But my daughter’s response is what blesses me the most.
She said to him…

“My friend, this is just a day in the life of a McBride.”😉

Risky faith requires courage, belief, and an understanding that when all the systems of man say “whoa”, but God is saying “go”, you continue to go and attempt to move forward no matter what opposition besets you. It is in the perseverance and speaking as though the faith filled promise is complete, a done deal, long before anything happens in the natural. Most people step out, but then shrink back as soon as they face opposition or attack of the Enemy. God doesn’t work like that. He works through our obedience to complete what He has set us to do. If we keep walking, He keeps talking to the dynamics of your situation and changes the atmosphere and produces the desired outcome.

Because my daughter dared to believe for a lofty, out of reach and very expensive trip and did not waiver, she saw it come to pass. Most people would have been scared off by the lofty price tag. God accomplished deeper faith in her as we all agreed this is her first personal faith story to the extreme on her own, outside of her parents covering. I think it is a spiritual rite of passage for her. I have no doubt she went to a new level of authority in Kingdom business as an Ambassador of Christ.

All the delays and gloomy appearance did something else…

Remember I mentioned all her friends who watched and listened and made suggestions? These young people, each one, were raised by parents who take risky faith like my husband and I. Each had decided they didn’t want to live by faith because they saw how hard it was. They each desired security and predictability. A lesser blessing really. But God used Alex to stir their belief and desire to yield more fully to bigger thinking, bigger steps of faith and a deeper understanding of God’s exaggerated grace.

How about you? As a Believer are you really taking advantage of the authority you have? Do you understand that God is your Source for everything? There really is no security outside of Him. He is the Source of all things and He decides what He blesses and what He does not. So why not live bigger? Why not crave more? Why not take an adventure? All it takes is a yielded heart and a willingness to do as He directs you. But you’ve got to be in His Presence. You must linger at His feet and drink deeply of His love and goodness. You must fire your soul as He smelts it like gold. It’s a beautiful journey.

Dare to Believe…

~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 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