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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Put Up A GOOD Fight!

Published on 14 November 2011 by in Encouragement

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Put Up A GOOD Fight!

FIGHTING the GOOD Fight!

We have just passed Remembrance Day/Veteran’s Day, so the reminder of persevering 100% commitment, even sacrifice, required from soldiers to fight and win battles is fresh in our minds.

  • So what is your battle?
  • What are our shared battles?
  • Can you identify areas of defeat: in life, relationships, culture or _______?
  • Are you willing to stand up and fight for the win? For yourself and for others? Whatever the cost?
  • What gives such determination and fortitude?

FAITH & HOPE are the FISTS

Did you know what God called those who trusted Him, even though they were tortured, mocked, cut open, stoned, sawed in half, killed with the sword, etc. that, “They were too good for this world.” All of these people received God’s approval because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised” (Heb11:35, 38, NLT).

WILLINGNESS TO STAND UP for what is Right, True & Honorable IS the GRIP

“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses” (1 Tim 6:12-13, NLT).

RECHARGE to KEEP GOING

Battles are exhausting and soldiers need to be recharged regularly. E.M. Bounds captured it well in these compiled thoughts:

Christian soldiers, fighting the good fight of faith, have access to a place of retreat where they continually go to for prayer.

It cannot be said too often that the life of a Christian is warfare, an intense conflict, a lifelong contest. The Bible calls people to life, not a picnic or holiday. It requires effort, wrestling, and struggling. It demands full energy of the spirit to withstand the enemy and to come out, in the end, more than a conqueror.

It is not an easy rose-lined path. FROM START TO FINISH, IT IS WAR!!!

We are STRONGER TOGETHER. Let’s keep JOINING FORCES!

Thank you loving Father that we can come to you to find rest and strength for our souls in the constant battle we are fighting against the enemy. We are more than conquerors through your great love for us. Help us embrace and apply your love to stand up to the battle cries of the day for ourselves and one another! Amen

© Dr. Karen Braun

 

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Fury or Rest? Part B

Published on 08 November 2011 by in Encouragement

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Fury or Rest? Part B

IT IS FINISHED!

The greatest sacrifice of blood has already been POURED out for you and me so that we do not have to face Gods wrath!

  • Do we embrace that invitation of freedom, peace & rest?
  • Or do we mock that shed blood and hold His provision at arms length with disobedient, hardened, and unforgiving hearts?

JUSTIFIED!

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Rom 5:9-10, NIV).

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Col 3:5-11, NIV).

BELIEVE!

  • Entering rest IS all about hearing, believing and obeying God’s voice!
  • Do our conversations with God demonstrate this exchange regularly?

“For only we who BELIEVE can enter his place of rest. As for those who didn’t believe, God said, ‘In my anger I made a vow: They will never enter my place of rest’… Today you must listen to his voice. Don’t harden your hearts against him… Let us do our best to enter that place of rest. For anyone who disobeys God, as the people of Israel did, will fall… Let us cling to [Jesus] and never stop trusting Him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it (Hebrews 4:3, 7. 9, 14,16, NLT).

  • Does your belief demonstrate God’s freedom and grace too others?
  • Especially those who infuriate you?

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:19-21, NIV).

Thank you Jesus for paying the ultimate price for my sin like rebellion, pride, idolatry, laziness, unbelief, prayerlessness, self-righteousness and more. Because of your blood these dominating belief systems have already been shattered. Forgive me for not living fully in your provision. Thank you that you waive your wrath from what I truly deserve. I choose to exchange my fury and wrath for your freedom and rest. Thank you Jesus for taking God’s wrath on my behalf! Wow and THANK YOU again for freeing me!!!

CHECK this out too

Karen Braun

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Fury or Rest? Part A

Published on 02 November 2011 by in Encouragement

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Fury or Rest? Part A

I just learned of a completely wrong, cruel and totally unfair experience that happened to a loved one of mine. I was furious! In my intense conversation with God about it, I knew I could be authentic about my exploding and upset emotions. Once I vented my human reaction I sincerely welcomed and needed His invitation to enter His rest. There I could hear His voice and sense His direction by finding that place where only peace can succeed understanding. Exercising trust, choosing forgiveness, with eternal perspective helps manage my response to this injury and the injured, including the justice required.

Justice Will Prevail

Whether verbalized or not when an injustice is experienced there is an equal reaction. Whatever choices are made on either side of the coin, by EVERY person, one day justice will prevail for EVERY wrong not made right!!!!! A just response from God is certainly coming!

“As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will cut you off completely. I will show you no pity at all because you have defiled my Temple with idols and vile practices Then at last my anger will be spent, and I will be satisfied. And when my fury against them has subsided, all Israel will know that I, the LORD, have spoke to them in my jealous anger They will see what happens when the LORD turns against a nation in furious rebuke. I, the LORD, have spoken” (Ezekiel 5:11, 13, 15b, NLT)!

“Today you must listen to his voice. Don’t harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested God’s patience in the wilderness… ‘Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ So I made a vow: ‘They will never enter my place of rest'” (Hebrews 3:8,10, NLT).

According to Scripture God’s fury and anger is provoked by things like our own: pride, unbelief, idolatry, rebellion, refusal to listen, hardened hearts or self-righteousness.

  • What makes you furious?
  • Do you give reason for God to be furious with you?
  • Have your discovered how to enter His rest?

Lord Jesus – at the cross you supplied for every need. At the throne our Father will deal justly one day. On this earth you have given us your Holy Spirit. Help us all – injured and injurer, embrace all of your provision, all of the time, because you have already declared, ‘It is finished!’

Karen Braun

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IS THIS YOU?

Published on 16 October 2011 by in Encouragement

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IS THIS YOU?

“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. But those who choose their own ways, delighting in their sins, are cursed” (Isaiah 66:2b, 3, NLT).

THE WORLD NEEDS PEOPLE…

(written by Ted Engstrom (1916-2006), former head of Youth for Christ International and World Vision International)

    • who cannot be bought;
    • whose word is their bond;
    • who put character above wealth;
    • who possess opinions and a will;
    • who are larger than their vocations;
    • who don’t hesitate to take chances;
    • who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
    • who will be as honest in small things as they are in great things;
    • who will make no compromise with wrong;
    • whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
    • who will not say they do it ‘because everybody else does it’;
    • who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as in prosperity;
    • who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning and hard-heartedness are the best qualities for winning success;
    • who are not afraid to stand for the truth even when it’s unpopular;
    • who say ‘no’ with emphasis, even though the rest of the world says ‘yes’.’

Is this YOU? 

God make us this kind of people.

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