March 13, 2018

Surrender

Posted in Devotional tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:28 am by Broken & Brave

IMG_9127

What does surrender look like anyway?

Have you ever had a situation of some sort happen in your life and no matter how hard you work to fix a problem, do better, get better things just didn’t seem to get any better? In fact, I dare suggest they may have even gotten worse the more you worked? Well, if you have, this post is for you. Maybe it’s time you surrender.

What is surrender and what does it look like? For one person it may actually look like quitting.
For another it may look like, “Don’t Give Up!” For someone else it may be as simple as “Be Still and know He is God.”

Sometimes God is redirecting your life and he wants you to lay some things down to follow him (Mark 8:35, Mark 10:28).
Other times we just wants us to sacrifice what we want for what he wants (Gal. 2:20, Matthew 16:24-25).

We must yield to His touch and become open vessels for his construction and use. Our life is not our own, we’ve been purchased and He is a God who is both Jealous and Zealous for His Bride. He wants you loyal by his side. This will look different for everybody. Whatever wilderness valley he must walk you through to get to you, he will take the high road with you. It may be rough and rocky terrain, but he will go with you and refresh you on your journey. If he can burst water from a rock in the wilderness for Moses (Numbers 20:8) he can surely prove himself a source of living water in a season of barrenness of soul. His future for you is bright as pure gold. Practice today in trusting him more…

” I surrender.”

Whatever your circumstance be, ultimately, surrender looks like remaining most faithful and loyal to the One who hung on a Tree to take your misery. He surrendered Valiantly…just for you to see how much He loves you. Anchor your heart to his Tree. Only Living Water can it bring.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Advertisements

November 20, 2017

Explore

Posted in Inspirational, true story tagged , , , , , at 7:39 am by Broken & Brave

The Lord is Beautiful. He is Magnificent. How can one so Majestic, so Powerful- Extreme and Supreme- be so kind and gentle and tender with me? But this is exactly how He’s been.

I’ve been pondering His Goodness as He guides and directs my life. When you Purpose your choices to live by faith, yielding to the lead of the ever Amazing Grace of Heaven, you make decisions based on His lead not your own. I sometimes find myself making choices and choosing paths I wouldn’t have considered on my own for various reasons. Sometimes when I embark on His lead and take those steps of faith I am tentative and wondering, but I have enough experience with this- my faith is secure enough to go anyway and obey. Then I usually find myself saying, “I’m so glad I listened and obeyed.”

God sees what we cannot. He has a rooftop view of all of Eternity. The Universe is His footstool. He can see both the future and the past and knows exactly where you are at-both physically as well as emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. He will meet you there every single time. Without fail.

When He guides you to a destination He will make a promise. He will give you something to hang your hope on. Frequently there is some pain and refinement between point A (where you are now) and Point B (the Promised Land). But I dare say, the fire of affliction and the sting of Adversity are worth it. For the glorious fruit that is birthed in your own personal intimacy with the Father is loveliness like non other. Nothing compares to friendship with God.

I’ve recently competed in two figure competitions. I went into the competition season training and preparing, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was tired and weary in general because of the demands my day to day life had to offer. I knew the extra umph I was going to have to muster up if I were to register and compete in a show. There He was, that sweet whisper in my ear, telling me over and over again that I wasn’t done and in fact I had only just begun. So as I searched for something to commit to nothing was working out. This is when I was lead to explore new paths. A new road became known and I ventured into an organization I knew nothing about. I have two friends who compete in this organization so I contacted one and asked some questions. I dove in headlong and committed to one of their biggest shows.

I enjoyed that experience very much…in fact, I enjoyed more than any other show I had ever done before. There was to be another even bigger show the following week in Las Vegas. I wasn’t registered, but the Spirit had already given me the heads up I would qualify to compete and he wanted me to go. It was a tough commitment because I only had a few days notice to get registered, book a hotel, make arrangement for my children…a lot of last minute work. When it’s God is always runs smooth and this is how it went for sure.

Before I committed I sat in church on a Sunday, the day after the first show. As I sat thinking about if I’d go or seeking God to lean in my heart once more so I could be sure of the steps and the expense it would bring I was also listening to my pastor preach. Suddenly, I heard the Spirit of God move in my heart and said, “It would be a mistake for you not to go.” I got out my journal to write His words down and as I was writing it was as though the voice of my pastor were carried in a wind tunnel right to my head. It was supernatural and powerful and I knew God was giving me ample confirmation to sustain my faith. The pastor was saying-just as I was writing the words down…”it would be a mistake not to go.” –pastor said, “I’d rather try and fail than be successful at doing nothing.” Even though he was half way across a large room, his voice spoke like he were right next to me. That was God.

We all play a key in the Body. I had a fabulous experience on that trip and I agree, I would have missed out horribly on so many things for now and the future if I had held back and not gone to Vegas. But even more, my Pastor was faithful to follow the lead of the Spirit in ministry and God used his voice as a source of supplemental confirmation for me. You never know how God is using your life.

On my trip I met some amazing new friends and reconnected with some old ones. But one little gal in particular I am praying for and getting to know. I know our meeting was a Divine Appointment and I can’t wait to see what God does.

I guess my take-a-way for you today is don’t be afraid to try. Don’t hold back when you feel the Lord nudging you in the back. Release inhibitions and bring your will, your reason, into submission. God sees what you can’t. When we take steps of faith He is as close as our face and gives us ample opportunity to trust His lead. The better you become at doing this, the more He will lead you into situations and opportunities that make no sense in the natural and may seem ominous and scary. But trust me, these are the moments when His Greatness won’t vary. He will explore it and expose that same Greatness He has locked in you–even you will be blown away at all the amazing He does in you and through you. He’s always got you…and that’s a Promise.

Walking by Faith is opportunity for Grace.

~Nicole

September 20, 2017

Drenched💦

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

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

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

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

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

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

You must be obedient.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s easier to love stuff than people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 3, 2017

Holy GPS!

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 8:32 am by Broken & Brave

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Notice the last portion of this verse. He rewards those who earnestly seek him. EARNESTLY, defined as, “marked by or showing deep sincerity or seriousness.” That means, though we plan and we should plan, we must be looking for God’s direction in our plan.
Have you ever taken a a trip, used the GPS, missed the turn and then what does GPS do? It reroutes your course. If you fail to look at the GPS you won’t know you are going in the wrong direction. God wants us completely dependent on His leadership. If we are glued to our plan, even a good one, but God has made other plans, he may give us a thousand life preservers, but we will miss our destination. It’s harder to be in control when we live this way, and for personalities that are more controlling in nature, it’s really hard…but not impossible! God’s got you and he wired you and also given you the ability to follow through with all HE has in mind for you. He’s got a plan that no man can duplicate, accelerate or escape! Be secure in it. ~Nicole

June 28, 2017

Inventory of Heart

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:50 am by Broken & Brave

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”

Psalm 145:7

The Lord is good! His love for you is rich and powerful, dripping with graciousness, peace and a tranquility beyond understanding.

The Lord is not ambivalent with grace. His love for you and the smile you bring His face cannot be erased.

True Grace is like walking on water. Its not seen, but If it were…it would be questioned for authenticity.

I believe in Grace and the absolute healing power of forgiveness.

May all your relationships abound with the essence of this!
Be Blessed! -Nicole

“The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.”
~ A. W. Tozer

 

May 4, 2017

Sunshine & Sympathy

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 6:25 am by Broken & Brave

image

When you are in the middle of God’s plan for your life, it may be painful, difficult and it will most definitely challenge you. The challenges will confront you in more than one area most likely. So why follow God and His Plans? Because my friend, He is out to make you a better man or woman. He wants to see you happy and thriving. He is happy you are alive and He desires for you to get the most out of your life.

So whatever grieves, worries or heavies your heart… Whether it is a season or situation that has no respite…God walks the trail with you. He will see you through and the glory of your endeavor will be credited to you. That’s His Promise.

Pursue the greater blessing.

One of the hardest and most invigorating things I have ever done was give everything away. God’s not asking you to give everything away necessarily, but He asked it of the First Century Church so how are we different? Whatever He asks, give. Today I understand how to trust him for my daily bread and I actually have more living this way-fully dependent on His Resource- than I had accumulated on my own.

Whatever enslaves, cripples or chills your soul, it will all melt away in the Shine of God’s Sympathy.

God has you. He is giving you undaunted moral courage.

Surround yourself with people who share your vision, passions, beliefs. Find others who are willing to give of themselves to pursue it. It has been my experience that when you step out in risk taking faith, some begin the journey with you, but quit when it gets hard or “takes too long”. Don’t let that stop you. There is a season for everything under the sun. Keep moving forward. God will bring others around you who have the strength to rise and stay the coarse with you. You will overcome, if you only believe…

Never. Give. Up.

The more demanding the cost of the dream the more rewarding and respectful the achievement becomes. Absolute Champion! ~Nicole

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

“Nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19

April 18, 2017

The Calling…

Posted in true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 3:37 pm by Broken & Brave

Have you ever felt like God has a different standard for you than for others? Well, His Word lays a Sure Standard for us all, but if you’ve ever felt this way, there is some truth to your feelings that can also be found in the Word. Let’s take a look.

I was sitting in a Bible study class last week and we were discussing the topic of obedience to God, the power of our spoken words and consequences for doubting the Lord. An example was given of Zechariah, who was the Father of John the Baptist. Here’s some background if your not familiar with the story…

Zechariah was a Priest to God. He had been selected to go into the Holy of Holies to offer the annual sacrifice. To be selected to go into the Temple was a great honor and required great purity and virtue.

(“Zechariah and Elizabeth had God’s approval. They followed all the Lord’s commands and regulations perfectly.” Luke 1:6)

While he was in the Temple burning the incense an Angel, Gabriel, appeared to him and told him of the birth of a son God was going to give to he and his barren wife. They were well advanced in years and had never had a child. This would be a great miracle, but also all the details the angel shared of this child’s life! Truly extraordinary. Can you imagine how he felt in that moment? It was probably a lot to receive. So many emotions must have filled his heart, his hope, his mind turning over the possibility and trying to wrap itself around such a thing!! He may have been wondering, “What? After all this time? Why now?” I know a lot of young families who unexpectedly find themselves expecting having similar emotions. Imagine on such an extreme circumstance as Zechariah and Elizabeth!

“Zechariah said to the angel, ‘What proof is there for this? I’m an old man, and my wife is beyond her childbearing years.'” Luke 5:18

Because Zechariah doubted the Messenger, the Angel silenced him until the birth of the child. The man could not speak. His Voice taken from him.

As I sat in Bible study I thought of the discipline Zechariah received for having stunned disbelief. I couldn’t help it, my brain immediately went to Gideon. A Judge of the Old Testament appointed to lead God’s people. If you don’t know this story, it’s found in the book of Judges 6 in the Bible. Gideon was FULL of doubt.

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:13

The Lord appeared to him and told him that the Lord was with him and he was a Mighty Warrior (Judges 6:12) and would lead the Israelites to freedom from their oppressors.

He not only doubts and questioned the Lord, he asked for repeated signs and gave all kinds of conditions to prove it was from God. He was testing it! He didn’t just do it once, he did it multiple times! Yet, God graciously complied. He did not receive the same discipline or expectation as Zechariah…why?
It’s good to probe the HEART of God so we can get a deeper glimpse and grow closer to its beat.

Here is something to stir your wonder and maybe cause you to dig deeper into the heart of God and what He is looking for in the way of loyalty. His expectations of us are dependent on how He has equipped us. He definitely equips each of us for what we are called to. The greater the Calling the more discipline required and obedience to submit to the Ways and Will of God. Check out this verse…

“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
Luke 12:48

Perhaps Zechariah was gifted with more Faith? Perhaps he was more gifted than Gideon on multiple levels. Or maybe it was merely his title and station that required more. This is not a comparison of men…but check it out.

Luke 5 said he and his wife (speaking of Zechariah and Elizabeth) not only did the will of God, but they did it perfectly. That implies they didn’t “miss it” or stumble very much. They were mature and seasoned in their faith. Gideon on the other hand tended to struggle with cowardice. He wasn’t necessarily known for Valor and God was asking him to step out in Faith and do something that not only made no sense, but was chalked with tremendous Valor and Courage. God knew all of this, of course He did, and He had Grace for Gideon’s ambivalence. Because inside a man who considered himself nothing, God saw something extraordinary.

So what is the point of my diatribe? It’s simple, really, other people are not our plump line…Jesus is. We cannot compare our obedience and Call to that of another. It doesn’t matter how greatly you have obeyed the lead of God or how simple your faith. God’s assignment is different for us all and all He measures is our obedience and submission to what He has spoken to us alone. It doesn’t matter what other people do, it only matters what you choose to do. Live and choose in the knowledge that your choices affect others, not just yourself. The greater your responsibility, the greater your accountability to God.

God is so good, so merciful, so kind and Sovereign! He knew all along that Gideon would eventually muster up the courage and obey and he also knew that by Zechariah’s silence it would draw even more attention to the Glory of God and the mantle of Unique Authority placed on the baby tucked in His wife’s womb. God is such an Economizer. When He chooses to move, He sets the conditions to maximize the number of eyes prepared to see His Awesome Wonder and Capacity to do whatever He wants to do.

He wants to use you…
Are you ready? No doubts, no worries, no looking about. Eyes fixed on Him. He is waiting to begin something extraordinary in your life.

~Nicole

March 19, 2017

Glorious✨ (3)

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , at 8:08 am by Broken & Brave

IMG_9543

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5

Years ago, after a series of unfortunate and painful events in my life that occurred tragically and with exaggeration, I cried out to God. I had lost everything. My home, my possessions and now my purse had just been stolen. I said, “Why?” And then I heard Him reply with a bone stiffening reverence…

I sat straight.

Ever had God pierce your soul like that? I have, on a number of occasions. It has helped me understand what happened when people saw angels in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart like a voice so clear it was nearly audible…

“I want to use your Voice!”

So, just like that, I pulled myself together and thanked him for safety, it was truly all I had left.

I’ve written for years. I’ve been a writer before I knew I was a writer.
My pen is my sword and I write for the Lord, and the flow of one of my spiritual gifts is attached to it.

I see in my heart a wounded Church in America that needs deeper love in itself for healing and restoration for she is a broken and terribly wounded Bride. I see a Church that needs to love harder the world at large around it once it receives its own healing–for people truly cannot give what they don’t have.

Pure Love is unconditional and given without warrant or measure. I know I am called to heal with God’s Power in my pen. I am called to love the Church strong. I learn to love every day, more deeply, even people who despise me. What an honor when my pen and my life encourages and even influences anyone, especially someone who doesn’t like me despite not knowing me.

To God be the Glory….isn’t He Glorious?

~Nicole

“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” 2 Thes. 2:15

December 18, 2016

Holy Cross

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:09 am by Broken & Brave

The high road is this way…

In my young married life–a season of the growth of my soul– I remember struggling with something and God helping me to learn to handle it. I remember having a dream of me carrying a cross just like Jesus did. Only I saw something in this dream that looked like a large hand reach down from the sky and gently pinch the large cross on my back as though it were only a stick and began to gently lift so the weight in my back gave some slack.

This is the beauty of God. We sometimes go through trials that aren’t necessarily because of poor choices. Sometimes things just happen. In those times remember that it is no shock to God. He will carry you through it. You may feel like you have to carry the burden, and endure some pain, but to God it’s only a stick and He carries it too. The cool thing about God is He can out lift you…He will always carry the heaviest end of your burden.

He has got you. No worries…Nicole

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’…”
Isaiah 30:21img_8218