Confidence Melt Down

Published on 23 January 2012 by in Encouragement

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Confidence Melt Down

Dont put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there But happy are those whose hope is in the LORD their God He is the one who keeps every promise forever (Psalm 146:3, 5b, 6b, NIV).

  • Is your confidence shaken to the core?
  • Have people disappointed you?
  • Are your plans completely frustrated or blocked?

Certainly, this is an undone, uncertain, and insecure feeling. Especially when what has been counted on suddenly slips out, and away, from your grasp and you feel abandoned to wonder, ‘What is next!’ or “Where did that come from?’

”Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt with fear (2 Samuel 17:10, NIV).

  • When was the last time you took an honest look in the mirror?

When self confidence melts down it’s time to discover, or rediscover, hope.

How gracious, of our heavenly Father, to patiently wait for us to learn the lesson of hope, in Him alone! As we continue to live for Him, not just know of Him, we understand that we do NOT have even an ounce of what it takes in and of ourselves to manage life. Only HE can. His way is perfect and full of hope, promise and provision. Confidence in Him is what faith is about. Faith and hope are shaped and developed in the test of loss or defeat. Awareness of lack, whether its our own, or others, suddenly becomes opportunity to believe and trust in Jesus.

  • How able are you to admit to self-reliance and self-confidence?
  • Do you fully trust the One who sees and knows who you are to become in Him?
  • What do you reflect when your confidence melts?

I read a good quote, author unknown, “When you are going through something hard, and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during a test.”

“It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander” (Mathew15:11,19, NLT).

“As for God, his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30, NIV).

Heavenly Father you are the keeper of your promises and have saved us from the evil condition of our hearts! What else can we do, but trust and praise you! We choose to place our hope in you, even when our circumstances leave us feeling awkward. You were crushed by the weight of our independent, self-reliant ways; you understand our loss; you chose to make the ultimate sacrifice as a way of escape; you give us a reason to be happy. Thank you for your desire to rescue us from ourselves, Savior! May your image be seen through us, for your honor, and our joy, Amen!

Karen Braun, 2012


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FACTS Vs Jan 22-28/12

Published on 22 January 2012 by in English, Weekly FACTS

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FOCUS

Ps 146:3-4, NIV: Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

ADORATION

Titus 3:3-7, NIV: But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

CONFESSION

Titus 3:3, NIV: At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

THANKSGIVING

Ps 130:5, NIV: I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.

SUPPLICATION

2 Corinthians 10:7-8, NIV: You are looking only on the surface of things. If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as he.

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The Tension of Love and Holiness

Published on 20 January 2012 by in Encouragement

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The Tension of Love and Holiness

If you love me, obey me (John 14:15, TLB).

When I thread my sewing machine bobbin, there is a small screw I have to adjust for precise tension, according to the weight of thread Im using. This procedure is absolutely necessary to keep and allow the stitching from being too loose or too tight. Stitching affects how the fabric holds together.

Do you have any seams coming apart? Would you you know how to adjust the tension?

Believing Gods love and cooperating with what His holiness necessitates are essential for the fabric of life. Lifes trials reveal the tension settings we operate from.

  • To know Gods love is to trust Him no matter what
  • To know Gods holiness is to obey Him no matter what

Jesus stepped into our place and took the beating we deserved. That is costly love. He has every right to be our master. His cross is the required measure of tension necessary to hold us together both for HIS purpose and design.

  • Is your desire to be free to love, or free to sin?
  • Where do you find it most difficult to adjust?
  • What battle in your heart tempts you to be your own master?
  • Who do you ask to pray for you?

When resistance in our soul exerts desire to lead the way, rather then follow, God will expose compromise. Trials then become invitation to return for repair. The cross is the setting for adjustment. The prayers of Gods people are like oil to help reduce unnecessary friction.

We are not our own! To follow Christ is all or nothing. Love will lead the way. Holiness will keep us adjusted.

We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. BUT AS A RESULT we learned to not rely on ourselves, but on God, who can raise the dead! 2 Cor. 1:8-9

GOD COMFORTS US in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. 2 Cor. 1:4

HE WILL RESCUE US because YOU are HELPING by PRAYING for us. As a result, many others will give thanks TO GOD because so many people’s prayers for our [fill in the blank] safety have been answered. 2 Cor. 1:11

All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. HE IS THE SOURCE of every mercy and the God who comforts us! 2 Cor. 1:3

And we are CONFIDENT that HE WILL continue to deliver us. 2 Cor. 1:10

Heavenly Father thank you for such amazing love. Bottom line -your justice requires holiness and we fall short! We are the ones who deserve death. To think that you, Jesus, chose to become our sin and take the ultimate punishment is so overwhelming! Jesus you earned the right to forgive sin because you conquered it when you came back to life! That is holy love. Thank you!!! Please forgive us for taking our eyes off of you and for blindly believing that we can function from our own resource. You are good to lead us; we are foolish to not obey. Your kindness leads us to repentance. Open our eyes to see how we are too tight or too loose in our living and enable us, by your grace and mercy to readjust to the balanced tension of your love and holiness. Amen.

Karen Braun

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FACTS Vs Jan 15-21/12

Published on 15 January 2012 by in English, Weekly FACTS

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FOCUS

Proverbs 14:26, NIV: He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.

ADORATION

Psalm 147:11, NIV: The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

CONFESSION

Jonah 2:8, NIV: Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

THANKSGIVING

Jonah 2:9, NIV: But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.

SUPPLICATION

Romans 15:13, NIV: The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Alliance to Overcome

Published on 13 January 2012 by in Encouragement

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Alliance to Overcome

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony… (Rev 12:11, NIV).

One of the ways God designed us to find help from Him, in the areas of our life that require His sanctifying work, is through His redemptive work found in one another. This week I want to share Jesus’ goodness through a new friend’s articulate words that touched me deeply, in spirit and truth. May Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson words of testimony also be an encouragement to you! You can check out more about her on her website at http://www.lauralynn.tv/

“When God puts a dream in your heart, He begins the process of getting you ready for that destiny. This involves crushing your ego, pruning your attitudes, shaping your feisty spirit, breaking your willful soul and molding your character into the beautiful vessel that will be the manifestation of the glory you were created to be. This agonizing journey will seem painful and even cruel at times, but as you release your own driven ambitions, you will see that every lesson was crafted to make you great in your call. It was all needed preparation for your promotion. Never give up during the pulverizing stage…you will one day thank God for the work accomplished. It is a kindness to break you, it is grace that doesn’t allow doors to open before their time, it is wisdom to let the fire of adversity do its work, so that in the end, your life is sealed by the fingerprint of God and you shine like purified gold. Be at peace in your journey, wherever that is on the winding road…

Getting to the place where nothing can steal your peace takes tremendous discipline and will power. It means ignoring thoughts that threaten your stability. It means choosing to think what is right, good, true and worthy of your time. It requires getting off the same endless track of negative, destructive worrisome thoughts. It leads you into a victorious place where you reject lies that continue to demean you, derail you and depress you. You choose your thoughts, they can either lead to perfect peace or to anxiety and stress. Nothing can take your peace, unless you let it.”

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom 12:2, NIV).

Thank you Jesus for a heart of love for each one of us, and for provision and power to help us do life. Although changing the way we think is sometimes like having flesh ripped from away from the bone, you know exactly what we need to take those disciplined steps of faith to surrender and trust your ways that are best! The basis of our faith is not what it costs us, but what it cost you! May we practice unbreakable confidence and focus in Who you are, all the days of our lives, and declare that to one another. Amen

Karen Braun

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FACTS Vs Jan 8-14/12

Published on 08 January 2012 by in English, Weekly FACTS

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FOCUS

Proverbs 3:26, NIV: For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.

ADORATION

1 Peter 1:21, NIV: Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

CONFESSION

Psalm 62:10, NIV: Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

THANKSGIVING

Psalm 146:5-9, NIV: Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them the Lord, who remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow,but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

SUPPLICATION

Hebrews 10:19-20, NIV: Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus.

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Extreme Highs & Lows

Published on 06 January 2012 by in Encouragement

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Extreme Highs & Lows

From a distance I watched two birds that looked like eagles, ascend, and descend in circles high in the sky, floating as it were on currents of the wind. It was beautiful. I wish I could have heard their conversation, if they had one. 🙂 I marveled for how long they kept repeating this motion. It appeared one was more seasoned, evidenced by less frequent flapping, as though teaching the other to manoeuvre until the glide was accomplished, then enjoyed. The serenity of this soaring exercise spoke to me of surrender and trust – trained through practice, cooperation and the encouragement of another who had been there, done that and knew personally the power source that can lift and carry.

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faiththat you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19, ESV).

In another setting I read of a gal who no matter how much she tried to get out of her situation could only helplessly resign to the powerful embrace of the rough ocean current. She was without control as the strong undertow grabbed, flipped, and tossed her body in somersaults, driving and pounding her head and limbs into the ocean floor again and again. Then just as suddenly, the powerful waters miraculously spit her onto the shore. Today she testifies of the love of God that surrounded and saved her that day.

  • How have or will you respond when life is flipped upside down or spinning out of control?
  • When do you fight? When do you surrender?
  • Do you believe that Jesus really knows the highest of highs and lowest of lows?
  • Have you experience the power of His perfect love?

The English lay preacher, Samuel Trevor Francis, best known as the author of the hymn, Oh the Deep Deep, Love of Jesus captured an understanding of the unlimited power of God’s love, in 1875 when he wrote these words:

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches oer His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth oer them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
Tis an ocean full of blessing, tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

May God grant to you and I an ever increased awareness of His great and powerful love that rescues, lifts, carries, and can make us soar. As you and I are caught up in the current and embrace of Gods love may we respond with confidence and cooperation to the knowledge that we are being made whole and holy by His love. May others come to know this too, through our encouragement. Thank you Jesus that we can watch and learn, and put our confidence in you to make the most of every high and low!

Karen Braun

 

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FACTS Vs Jan 1 – 7/12

Published on 01 January 2012 by in English, Weekly FACTS

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FOCUS

Psalm 27:3, NLT: Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.

ADORATION

1 Peter 1:3-4, NIV: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

CONFESSION

Psalm 33:17-18, NIV: A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.

THANKSGIVING

1 John 4:17-18, NIV: In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him.

SUPPLICATION

Hebrews 3:6, NIV: But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

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Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

Published on 28 December 2011 by in Encouragement

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Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are” (Romans 3:22, NLT).

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them (Romans 10:14, NLT).

Many people dont even realize that their sin nature separates them from a loving God. Many humans believe good works and deeds measure up for favor and eternal life with God. The concept and understanding about God’s holiness, that can not tolerate sin, has been exchanged for shame. How does love fit in the picture?

  • When did you first become aware of how deeply ensnared, entangled and engraved your very soul is, with sin?
  • Who told you?
  • How was it that you came to awareness of God’s holiness? How about your inability to match that?
  • When did you first become aware that Jesus took your place, your punishment, your death?
  • What will it take to help us, and others, understand the seriousness of this problem AND then the most important part, THE SOLUTION?!

Thank God!!! He has provides a sinless solution JESUS death & resurrection. Soon he will return for those of us who believe. In the mean time how do we are on His basic instructions?

  • When was the last time you agreed with God about your sin and His total provision?

FOR GOD the Pure, Uncreated One, the Righteous and Holy Father, the Just and Merciful God of Truth- He is the measure and the standard. How do we discover Him? Can you allow your lack to point to His completeness?

SO LOVED Gods motivation toward people is love. His love is unconditional, patient, perfect and kind. He really has purposes for us to be made whole and holy by his love, as the focus of that love. How has or does that enduring love change you?

THE WORLD … Gods love is not limited to a few or to one group of people, or to those who have. His love extends to every tongue, every tribe, every nation, to EVERYONE in your family, in your neighborhood, in your city – including YOU. Where did that love first find you? What made you respond to that love? How does His love reach through you now, to others?

THAT HE GAVE real love is expressed in the giving of His most priceless gift. A gift is simply to be shared and received, not earned. Do you welcome and unwrap the entire gift every day, by receiving the fullness of His Spirit and feasting on His already declared Words of life, by faith?

HIS ONE AND ONLY SON JESUS is Gods unique only born Son whose purpose is salvation, not damnation, or condemnation. Are you intentional to spare the time to know, then proclaim and give away His love?

THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM People everywhere need to understand who Christ is and what God has done for them through the sacrificial love of Christ. Are there any exemptions you are aware of? What did you HEAR that made you first believe?

WILL NOT DIE God desires that everyone be saved for life that lasts forever. Who are you praying for to experience the loving forgiveness, mercy, and grace of God?

BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE This is a new quality of life as a present and future possession.

  • What percentage of your family and city needs to be saved?
  • Whos instructing them and showing the way?
  • How often do their names cross your lips in conversations with God?
  • Will they also proclaim Jesus, before leaving earth?

John 3:16

Heavenly Father I can only imagine how your heart must hurt so deeply when we refuse to accept or share what you so lovingly and longingly desire to give us so FREELY. Forgive us. Thank you for Jesus your Son, who took care of the issue that disconnected us. You did this in such an incredible, colossal, remarkable way. What joy inexpressible once you open our understanding to receive! Prepare us, our loved ones, and those in our sphere of influence, to encounter the living Christ every day until your return. Help us to live worthy and honorably, as we are made whole and holy by your love.

Karen Braun

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True Love

Published on 10 December 2011 by in Encouragement

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True Love

For a servant, mere words are not enough discipline is needed. For the words may be understood, but they are not heeded (Prov 29:19, NLT).

  • Can you identify the passion of Gods true love at work in your life through His discipline?
  • Are you ready to take on His perspective?
  • Could you name any sins of repetition that hinder your love relationship with God?

In my reading this morning from three chapters of the book of Amos, 8 times these words were repeated, The people of [Damascas, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, Israel] have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it. I will not let them go unpunished any longer.

What were the sins of these people that continued on and on, that hurt and upset God?

Beating down others, sending others into slavery, broken treaty of brotherhood, chasing down relatives with no mercy, unrelenting anger, attacking for their own gain, cruel crimes, desecrating tombs, rejecting Gods laws, refusing to obey, perverting justice, corrupting Gods holy name, causing others to sin, and more. No I wasnt reading from todays news or quoting CNN.

Do we consider just punishment as loving, looking like this?

Groaning, the strongest becoming weak, the mightiest are unable to save themselves, archers fail to stand their ground, swiftest soldiers not fast enough to escape, most courageous of fighting men run for their lives. Sounds like “humbling lessons” taking shape.

In the LORDs address of the entire family of Israel and Judah, He reminds them of His love by their rescue from Egypt, I CHOSE YOU ALONE. That is why I must punish you for your sins He gives perspective, reminding them that disaster by His plan, always, first of all, I warn you through my servants the prophets. I the Sovereign LORD, have now done this. He tells them to sit down and pay attention because, My people have forgotten what it means to do right.

  • What reminders is the Lord sending your way these days?
  • Are you paying attention?

A surprising root

God’s punishment for repeated sin includes destruction of the source at the same time! He makes sure they are listening, even telling them to repeat this for everyone to hear. On the very day I punish Israel for its sins, I will destroy the pagan altars at Bethel. The horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. I will destroy the beautiful homes of the wealthy their winter mansions and their summer houses, too all their palaces filled with ivory. I, the LORD, have spoken!

  • Do you think God wants them to understand the connection between their behavior and idolatry?
  • Can you see how subtle and dangerous misdirected affections are in our love relationship with God?
  • What vehicle might God be using to humble your affections toward Him alone so that He remains your TRUE LOVE?

Wow! Thank you God for, choosing us, loving us, disciplining us, and, showing us how important it is to keep you center. You’re jealous and just for our affection, and know how to punish/humble us so that we will heed your words. We dont appreciate the process, but we agree that it is necessary, because our hearts are stubbornly inclined to go our own way and forget you, thinking only of ourselves! We need you to destroy the root to smash the altars and gods that we both sacrifice and give our affections to. You alone are God and deserve our affection. We can only cry out to have mercy and forgive us. Help us learn our lesson so we can help others know your love as true, too. Thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit to empower us from the inside out! YOU RULE!!!

But the LORD is good; he has cut the cords used by the ungodly to bind me (Psalm 129:4, NLT).

Karen Braun

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