September 8, 2017

Lord & Tailor

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 3:41 am by Broken & Brave

If we’re going to experience big things with God, we are going to have to believe big things from God.

I was with a small group of believers recently and I listened as they began discussing the trials facing our nation and our world. I listened as they pronounced, “now more than ever we need to just believe and serve God”. Something was then said that spurred my spirit and brought to my recollection a story of how God increased my faith and taught me to believe His best for my life, not just belief for the lives of others.

It appears to be extremely common for believers to have incredible faith and are willing to declare belief for miracles for others, but struggle more with the belief God will do it for us. I think most Christians believe the Bible and tell themselves God did all those crazy miracles back then so He still can. The unfortunate reality is that most modern day American Christians haven’t witnessed a whole lot of miracles or experienced them deeply in their own life so they struggle to actually internalize and own what they are declaring. This description used to include myself as well. So I shared a testimony with them…

I won’t share the entire story, you can search my blog for a piece about Australia. But in 2000 God blew my faith up and out of the water into the realm of ridiculously huge belief for others and myself in the miracle of sheer favor and luxury. God gave me a gift larger than life and He did it first class. Miracle after miracle all lining up and it was all so unique only God could get the credit. I think God is truly big into making sure He gets the credit for everything. This Australian miracle wasn’t the first miracle of favor I received from God. He had been purposefully setting me up for big faith, taking me from glory to glory, building testimony in me of His power and ability to be the only resource I needed. But this trip was the granddaddy. It launched me to a whole new level and new spectrum of thinking.

After briefly sharing my miracle story, only a snippet, to convey the power of believing for personal miracles and God’s delight to perform them, I received mixed responses. Everyone kind of said, “wow.” A few were overpowered with how awesome God is and praised him. Some just said nothing and looked at me and a few did something I’ve experienced a lot when testifying to the miracles he’s done in my life…they said nothing about praising him, but rather, “I wish He’d do that for me.” But the tone it was delivered conveyed animosity or annoyance.

I have found in all my years of faith living, relying solely on God, following His lead, trusting to the extreme, there has been a common theme in how people have reacted to my testimonies of what He has done. Many, MANY, have a hard time rejoicing with me. I recall one of my first faith building miracles God gave me…

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I was in four weddings in one year and a few of them required traveling to the venue out of town or out of state in addition to paying for all the things you have to pay for when you become a bridesmaid. It was very expensive and my pocket book didn’t necessarily match the demands placed. The final wedding, the fourth one, was during the holidays. That’s right, right between Christmas and the new year. Double ouch. I had planted my deposit on this dress I’d be wearing at the higher end Bridal Boutique. I got fitted and they made the alterations. When the day came for my final fitting and to pay the balance of the dress. I found myself without enough money to clear the debt. I fretted and worried all morning. I remember standing in the shower and praying to God, “I’m going over there anyway, but have no clue what I will do and the embarrassment I will face.”

At this point in my adult life my husband and I had paid off any consumer credit card and student loan debt we had. When we achieved this we cut up any and all credit cards and vowed to never bow to them again. We’d trust God as Lord and Master of our finances. So, with this being said, you can see that charging it wasn’t an option for me. I had to really trust.

When I got to the shop they had me try it on one more time, it really was a most elegant and beautiful dress…black and backless with a tailored form fit. It was perfect for a formal night wedding. The seamstress and I strolled together to the counter where she’d ring up my bill. I was feeling some stress, but then when she checked my balance she said, “Oh, so I guess you’re all paid up.” I was floored. Nobody outside my husband knew I needed money to buy that dress. Nobody! Well, that’s not true…God knew. God has a way of tattling in the most glorious of ways. To this day I have no idea who paid the balance of my dress. But I owned it! Not just the dress, but the blessing of the miracle promise.

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God is faithful to his promises and cares for his children.

That was one of my warm up miracle stories. But for me, in that season, it sent me over the moon. I felt so loved by my God. He knew exactly how to make my heart swoon. So with all my joy I told many people that story and wanted them to get just as excited as I was about who he is and his remarkable glory. Only that’s not what happened. I was a bit taken back and heart broken to receive less than stellar responses to what God had done for me. Instead, I began to see it stir jealousy in God’s Bride. “Wish he’d do something like that for me.” Does any one else see the problem with this scenario? The people with this sort of reaction had the wrong heart motive. Their eyes were bent negatively. Their focus was on the wrong thing…inward and not upward.

In the body of Christ we are called to bear one another’s burdens and rejoice with each other’s victories. God’s got enough miracles for everybody. I also believe that God was doing many things to set me up for the life I now live in faith. To who much is given, much is required. God requires much faithfulness and obedience from me to step out on the skinny limb of the tree and believe I will obtain whatever fruit on its tip I was sent to retrieve. Much risk is always involved in a variety of different scenarios and circumstances in my life and that of my family. Some of the fruit is the ridiculously enormous faith my children have. Why? Because they have lived the miracles like we read about in the Bible. For them it has only been natural to believe God for big things and see the possibility even under life’s sting. For me this is the greatest blessing!

If God is going to use us, His Beloved Bride, we have to get our eye on the right prize…HIM! All other blessings are lesser in measure. If you want to receive big–God needs ours hearts in the right condition to be responsible with the blessing he brings. Our life has never been about us, though God deeply cares for us, our wants and desires. But to absolutely flow in miracles that glow there can be non of us left and only his holy presence. We must die to the love of our own life and live for his. This is the only way the church will be happy in holiness and we become highly effective beacons of light leading others to Heavens Promise and Light.

Anything that God decides to use for advanced glory with an amazing story he will prune severely first. He will prune it to the point of death. Then he gains all the glory when he resurrects it. This is how he rolls… all throughout history.
He did it with Moses and Joseph. He did it with David during the reign of Absalom.
He did it over and over and He did it to a stone that became his throne.

Don’t fight God’s pruning.
Trust his process.
Be willing to celebrate others.
Be willing to celebrate with others.
Be willing to bend a knee and bow your heart…

This is where the biggest miracles start.

God doesn’t need our behavior to perform miracles. Sometimes it’s the miracle that changes our behavior. But as we mature in Christ…this word is for the mature believer…if we are going to advance his business…we are going to have to be willing to become last. God will keep pulling down until we get the right polish on that crown. He gave it to you and it is built to last.

God holds your life dear. He cares for you deeply. His sincerity toward you blesses his own heart. He admires the mold of you he made from the clay. The soil of your heart was laid with his love and grace. His companionship is ever with you and as the trials of life unfold heaven will continually kiss you. Favor. Favor. Wrap yourself up in his favor. Always appreciating and believing big for yourself and for others.

Miracles Happen. But if your going to receive the blessing of the wedding feast, you have to first step out in faith and agree to be a part of the ceremony. We step out for the miracles and presence of God and trust him to show up. So get your party dress on, with God it’s always a custom fit. I think he’s up to something good.

~Nicole

“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

Revelation 19:6-9

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August 5, 2017

“Mobbed”

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:44 am by Broken & Brave

When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”

Mark 5:27-28

Have you ever had God touch your life in a real and dramatic way that left you forever changed? I have and I remind myself all the time how He has touched me and changed me and how completely different I am from the person I used to be.

The woman in the verse had a bleeding disorder. She had been bleeding for more than a decade. So much blood loss drains your energy leaving you lethargic and tired. Weary and worn no doubt. 12 years of doctors, discomfort, inconvenience and probably a lot of embarrassment and shame. Sounds like a recipe for depression, loneliness and despair. But this woman is a perfect example of what happens in a life when we don’t give up, when we persevere, keep faith and refuse to lose Hope. She knew by faith that if she could just touch His clothes she’d be made well. She was after an encounter with God and she pushed through a mob of people to get it.

What is the “mob” in your life right now? Are you crowded out by obstacles, setbacks, lack, personal, physical or emotional attack? Do problems surround you on every side? What is your attitude toward your obstacles? Take on the countenance as this woman. She never gave up. She believed Jesus was who she had heard He was and that she was a candidate for victorious living. She believed her bleeding days would be through.
This can be your belief, too.

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Whatever is draining your energy, sapping your hope and stealing your dreams…
There is one who wore a garment that was so flawless- it had no seams. His healing power is Pristine and it is waiting for you. Push through! I know you’ve still got fight in you! You were made to overcome. There is Power in the Blood! ~Nicole

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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

December 13, 2016

Friends Forever…

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:56 pm by Broken & Brave

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Yesterday, out of the blue, a name from my past erupted in my mind…

It was the name of a woman I knew many years ago. I didn’t know her well, but she was a customer of mine through my nutrition business. She lived here in my city and I’d visit her at her home a few times a month to deliver vitamins to her.

She was advanced in years and seasoned in life. She lived alone, though she had family, none in town. She was still working as a CNA nurse a few days a week. If I had to guess, I’d say she was in her late sixties to early seventies. Though I confess, I am not so good at guessing people’s age. What made it even harder to decide was her nationality. She was an African American women and being such, had such gorgeous skin, it makes it even harder for me to figure it out.

This woman was full of light and life and I found her beautiful and breathtaking. She had deep and strong faith in God. When I would visit we would sit…

She would talk and I would listen for well over an hour every time. We did this for several years until she seemed to just disappear. I could no longer find her or get a hold of her.

Our time together I will never forget, like a sweet and special gift that struck a melody in my soul.

She was so transparent with me about life and faith, disappointments, wisdom and grace. I guess I must have been in my late twenties when I knew her. She would share stories of her life and raising her children. She would show me pictures, lots of pictures. I guess maybe She enjoyed my company, too. This makes me smile.

Her husband had passed, she’d share of him, too. She’d been living alone for many years. She said it is quite lonely, being alone, but she twinkled and had a gleam in her eye every time she would remind me that with Jesus she knew she was never alone even when she felt loneliness creep in. She then told me some advice that has stuck with me for life…

I think what she shared might help you, too, and that’s why I’m sharing this story with you. Eva, that was her name, though she was alone she knew how to sit at the Throne and gather friendship and comfort from Heaven. She told me that every night, she’d lie on the couch with her Bible on her chest, reading, singing, praising and praying. She talked to God as though she were talking to her very best friend. She would do this for hours and she confessed that on many nights she would fall asleep there and get her nights rest.

Eva had a truly gorgeous soul. My heart was deeply attracted to hers. The Bible says that deep calls unto deep (Psalm 42:7). I think this passage of scripture has layers of depth in its meaning. One being, we are Spirit and kindred spirits draw tight despite differences in life. Though she were much older than me and our life experiences and cultural differences were vastly different. We had a common fondness for Heaven and a love for its King.

People all around you everyday are busy, and involved and doing many things—but they are still feeling alone. You can be amongst many loved ones or people and still feel alone.

Loneliness is heightened for many this time of year. Lost loved ones remembered, heightened sense or awareness of being alone in the holidays for those with little to no family. I feel your heart and God hears it as well. I know this is why He asked me to strike my pen. To offer you Hope and encouragement for a full heart and soul and the knowledge that you are never alone. God loves you and is with you.

So if you are feeling a little blue, instead of gloom and tears (those are needed and ok at times), lift your eyes to heaven. Speak to God and tell him how you are feeling. He can hear you. Talk like you would to a friend. Ask him to lift your heart and take your pain. Ask him to comfort you in a way that removes a sense of loneliness. The Bible says that if you search for God, you will find him ( Proverbs 8:17). He will show himself to you and He will do it in a way unique to your life and experience. He’s personal and special like that.

God cups your heart in His hands and He makes no demands. He just want to comfort you today.

Be blessed. Be encouraged as Eva encouraged me…

Merry Christmas….

-Nicole

November 27, 2016

Abundance Found…

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 7:37 am by Broken & Brave

I love the story of George Mueller. A minister who built huge orphanages and did many great things by Faith. He rarely had a resource, other than gratitude. As he thanked God for the need met, while still in need, then a miracle would happen. Imagine what America would look like if we all did this. We’d have abundance without ever becoming spoiled. Let not this season of gratefulness end with the last bite of pie. Thank God for the answer before it comes…as if you already held it in your hand! Miracles flow and your faith for them will grow…

Abundance is found in Gratitude.
-Nicole

(photo by Aesthetically Alexandra)

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