Taking Risks

Image result for photo, cat on a limbThere’s a basic need for significance ingrained in our natures. We need to sense that our contribution to the big picture matters. Significance doesn’t mean becoming famous. It doesn’t mean we’re the best at what we do; it simply means we feel better about ourselves when we step forward and offer our unique contribution. Doing that is risky. Perhaps people won’t like our offering. They might not get us. And, worst of all, they might reject us.
The first time I submitted an article to a magazine, I tortured myself with visions of the editor exclaiming, “I’ve never read such rubbish in my life!” The reason I wrote the article and submitted it was that I really believed God had given me something to say. But, after I slipped the envelope into the mailbox, (that tells you how long ago I submitted this article), I was so terrified of rejection, I could hardly breathe.
In a month or two (that’s a long time to hold one’s breath), the editor wrote back. He said he’d be happy to publish my piece and if I had anything else to write, to please send it to him. My writer’s heart leaped for joy.
Taking risks for worthy reasons adds exhilaration to life and increases our sense of significance.
Choose Significance, not Security. Many God-called people let God-given ideas lie dormant because they fear failure or rejection. God is writing a story in each person’s life. Our pages hum with joy, grief, pain and pleasure but no novel is complete without adventure. The adventure chapters in our stories chronicle the times we’ve chosen significance over security, the times we’ve knocked on strangers’ doors, uncertain whether we’d even arrived at the right address.
Is God pressing you to move in a certain direction? To step forward and offer your services? To do something that is out of your comfort zone? Are you nervous about taking a risk?
If we don’t risk following wherever He leads, we’ll never know the joy of crawling out on a limb and finding ourselves exactly where He wants us to be.


Rose McCormick Brandon writes books, articles, devotionals, and occasionally, short stories. She’s the author of Promises of Home – Canada’s British Home Children. She speaks at libraries and historical organizations on the top of The Home Children. On the subject of faith in Jesus Christ, she speaks at women’s gatherings and churches. Her other blog, Promises of Home is here. 


 

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A Door to the New Year

Doors of Canadian Parliament

In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the LORD and repaired them. 2 Chronicles 29:3

Young King Hezekiah, devout and earnest, ascended to the throne of Israel after the idolatrous reign of his father, Ahaz. How joyful the people were to discover that this new king had the heart of his ancestor, David, and not that of his evil father.
The first thing Hezekiah did was open up the temple and repair its doors. This act set the tone for his reign. God first. Jesus taught us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (other necessities) will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).
Led by their godly ruler, the nation of Israel repented of their sins. They committed to serving God wholeheartedly and with holiness. What a way to begin a new year. Out with old sins and the neglect of spiritual things. A good year awaits, one that gives God first place.
Are the gates of your temple in disrepair? Has Bible reading and prayer taken a backseat to other seemingly good activities? The beginning of a new year is a good time to press the re-set button and put things in order.
Under Hezekiah’s leadership, revival swept Israel. Leaders who had followed the previous king into idol worship confessed their sins, rid their homes of false gods and made a new commitment to live in obedience to God. That makes my heart yearn for godliness in our own country. Oh for leaders who aren’t afraid to mention the Lord or to acknowledge that they depend on Him for guidance and wisdom.

In this new year, 2019, let’s make a fresh commitment to open wide the doors of our hearts and pray for our families, our cities and our country.

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Wisdom

Of all the attributes missing in society, wisdom tops the list. People may be well-read and possess degrees, and still lack wisdom. The purpose of Proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise (Proverbs 1:2). In all our accumulating we should put wisdom first.

Selwyn Hughes tells how shortly after He became a follower of Jesus, his pastor said, “I am going to teach you to steal, to drink, to lie and to swear.” Seeing young Selwyn’s confused expression, the pastor went to say, “I want to teach you how to steal time out of every day to read something from the book of Proverbs and then, I want to teach you how to drink from its clear, refreshing waters, to lie on your bed at night and meditate on its great themes, and to swear that by the grace of God you will put into practice its wonderful teaching.”

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge – its starting point and its essence; but fools despise skillful and godly wisdom, instruction and discipline. Proverbs 1:7

Wisdom is the ability to use the knowledge we have. Knowledge by itself can produce good, but when advanced by wisdom it becomes extremely beneficial. In speaking about John the Baptist, Jesus said, “Wisdom is proved right by her actions” (Matthew 11:19). The way John lived proved he not only had knowledge of holy things, he possessed the wisdom needed to carry out his purpose as the way-maker for Jesus.

A person can know about the solar system, history, psychology, medicine, and have total recall of everything they read. Yet, in the matter of holy things, a child, or someone others may consider simple, can display a higher level of wisdom and understanding. Jesus prayed: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike” (Matthew 11:15).

God chooses people, not based on human intelligence, but on their willingness to look to Him for wisdom. He’s the fount of all wisdom (I Corinthians 1:26). One of the gifts the Holy Spirit endows is wisdom (I Corinthians 12:8). This wisdom is supernatural and it comes from God alone. It can’t be manufactured.

Do you want to be wise? Read Proverbs. Ask God for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). 

Prayer: Lord, without wisdom I’ll make a mess of things. I’ll say and do what I shouldn’t and not say and do what I should. For your wisdom I pray.

“The more you understand the book of Proverbs, and the more you put its truths and principles into practice, the more effective will be your living. I guarantee it.” Selwyn Hughes


Rose McCormick Brandon is author of One Good Word Makes all the Difference, Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children and co-authored other books, as well as many magazine articles, devotionals and personal experience pieces. A member of The Word Guild, Rose has received awards for her personal experience pieces. Visit her website Writing from the Heart. She has a faith blog, Listening to my Hair Grow and a British Home Child blog, Promises of Home.

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His Name is a Blessing

They shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:27

The names of my three children come up in my prayers more often than any others. As a young parent I discovered the promise of Numbers 6:27 and it has guided my prayers for my children. This promise follows the familiar Aaronic blessing: God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and keep you and gift you, God look you full in the face and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT).
When we bless people we place the name of our God on them.
I envision the name of Jesus imprinted on my children’s foreheads signifying they belong to Him. He’s the only One who loves them more than their father and me. Wrapped up in that name – Jesus – is a blessing. I bless them with my love and prayers, but He blesses them with a peace that overflows with life, a gift far greater than I can give.
They began life in the sanctuary of my womb, hidden from the world in that secret place. He knew them long before I did (Psalm 139). He blessed them before my lips could form their names. I’m familiar with their ways. I see traits that have existed in them from their earliest days, yet in comparison to God, I’m only beginning to know them. He hears their thoughts, understands their intricate personalities. He gets them, even when I don’t. I dearly love and cherish my children, but His love for them is multiplied more times than I can count.
The name of Jesus – the greatest name in all the world – is etched on my children, and now on their spouses and my grandchildren. He will bless them with an eternal, magnificent blessing that far exceeds my blessing.

Take this promise to heart. Place His Name on your children and entrust their well-being into the hands of the One who will bestow His immeasurable blessing on them.

Father, thank you for the power of the name of Jesus, the name that embodies all the light and life a person needs for a lifetime. My children are blessed because of your Name.

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Waiting Prayer

One day when Catherine Marshall was flipping through an old Bible small slips of paper fell out. Each contained a prayer for her son, Peter John. As she read these decades-old requests, she discovered that every one had been answered.
“As I pondered this,” she wrote, “it occurred to me that part of the secret lay in the waiting. Waiting itself seems to be a dynamic kind of communication between God and man.”(1)
Prayer and patience go together (Romans 12:12). Creation teaches the art of patience.

See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:7

As winter is to the cycle of seasons, waiting is a necessary part of prayer. The earth struggles through winter. Trees become skeletons, good soil hardens like rock, vegetation dies. At the appointed time, the sun’s rays erase all traces of frost. Leaves, blossoms and grass flourish again.
The great temptation of winter waiting is impatience. We wonder if God has forgotten our name and address. In frustration we may despair and accuse God of not keeping His promises. It’s at this crucial point that we need to confirm our trust in the Lord and stop struggling to understand His timing (Proverbs 3:5).
The waiting season will pass. Waiters will be rewarded.

It will be said in that day, “Indeed, this is our God for whom we have waited that He would save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us shout for joy and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9

Deliver the problem to God; trust the timing to Him. (Psalm 31:15).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, let patience settle into my soul and make me contented in this stage of waiting. I release the urge to intervene in Your affairs. Instead, I wait in faith knowing that in Your time the seeds I’ve sown in prayer will flourish.

(1) Catherine Marshall, Adventures in Prayer, Spire Books, 1975, 47
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A Promise for our Children

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They shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:27 The names of my three children come up in my prayers more often than any others. As a young parent I discovered this … Continue reading

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Don’t Let Faith Drown in the Seas of Trouble

You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive and renew me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Psalm 71:20 AMP David wrote Psalm 71 in old age, the same David … Continue reading

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Two Responses to the Cross

Humility acknowledges the sufferings of Jesus and accepts that He suffered for us. Pride glosses over His sufferings and refuses to think about them. Humility acknowledges that only the cross erases sin. Pride says, “I’m not so bad, no worse … Continue reading

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A Lesson from Alice Hertz Sommer

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She didn’t want her son to worry or be afraid so every day she chose to find good things they could enjoy. Most of the time she was the only one laughing. Continue reading

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God’s Light Leads Forward

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When you set up the seven lamps in the lampstand, place them so their light shines forward . . . Numbers 8:2 NLT Missionaries Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth arrived in China in March 1888. Their assignment to open a new … Continue reading

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