Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

 

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Welcome to Day 16!

A sudden downpour can be one of the most unexplainable things in nature; a nuisance on the shield of a Monday morning Manhattan cab, a
blessing on the plains of a remote village in Africa. Rain is one of the most split forces of nature. Some delight in its presence. It strikes fear in the hearts of others.

Yes.

Just as an umbrella covered sidewalk may be the way home for a wearied grown up, the puddles are oft the pathway of a child. Running through them, shoeless, new clothes muddied with wear and disobedience.

As children we were so free, trusting the rain to do its job, to grow a field of daffodils or wash the dust off a summer’s window pane.
But as adults we lose touch with nature. Rain begins to be an obstacle.

We put our colorful rain boots on a shelf and trade them for umbrellas and sensible shoes.

And before we know it, we base our life around avoiding the rain.

In the blink of an eye we have gone from dancing in the rain to running from it. But this provokes the question – We can go in from the rain
. . . but where can we go from ourselves?

We can only run so long until we must make a decision to stop running.

The jest of the human experience is this: that we find a way to press past the things that scar us, the things that break us, the things that disrupt our lives and shake us to the very core. It’s the moment we grow so tired of running, our heads stretched down to our knees, jeans soaked with puddle after puddle that we find who we really are. It is here that we discover we are strong enough to turn around and go home, strong enough to move forward, strong enough to let go – brave enough to go into the unopened door . . . or the one we have opened a thousand times before.

 

In this moment our heart cries “no more.” We toss our umbrellas to the wayside, pull the rain boots from the shelf and walk the
puddles back to faith. Would it rain if God was not God? Mustn’t there be someone up there who cares for us beyond what we can think or possibly comprehend who says to us, “I Am?” Who says to us, “dance?” Who showers us with loving kindness and only asks that in return we embrace it and accept it as our journey riddled with equal parts of storm and grace?

May we find as we run from our lives, from our pains and heartbreaks, from our failures and freedoms that we are stronger than we hoped
for, much less broken than we know. May we find in these moments that we are human and that’s okay. When we are tired of running, may we stretch down for breath coming up renewed with the knowledge, the patience and the grace to finish the race set before us.

Morgan Freeman once said in one of my favorite movies:

Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience?
Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage,
does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous?
If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with
warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other
?”

May your prayers always be answered. May your life always be full. May the pathway home always look inviting and the sidewalk be but a passerby on your journey there. But most of all, mostmost of all . . .

May your rain boots never be dry.

Because dancing in the rain with Him?
It’s SPECTACULAR.

 

*********Was there a time in your life that was hard but blessed?*********

 

DAILY DARE: Today take time to think about a hard time in your life. What did it teach you? How did Jesus rise up to meet you in that time? If God could bring you through something so difficult is there any reason to believe that He couldn’t do it again?  Today reach out to a friend going through a rough time. Encourage them in their journey by sharing your story. Then take time to encourage yourself with the words of the day. Whatever you are going through right this very moment… remember that what God taught you in the dark is still true in the light. Speak life!

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 15!

Today we are going to switch things up… 

You all have had such creative ideas and I am so thankful for everyone who has shared their story, ideas and heart. You’ve inspired today’s dare… I am a little behind on comments today. Our Benji is welcoming a new molar.  When he feels bad he draws close. He knows my voice and he listens for it. He follows me around the house like dryer lint. 🙂

It reminds me of the kind of relationship that Jesus longs for us to have with Him…

Jesus wants us to draw close. He longs to talk to us … the question is “Do we listen?” Are we listening when we don’t need anything in particular? How many good things have we missed out on because we let the chaos of what everyone else wanted from us drown out the sound of what God wanted for our day? How many lives could have been changed by the ripples our skipping-stone made? How many hearts would have been broke open for Him? What double portion passed us by?

Jesus tells us in our red verse for today that His sheep listen to His voice but throughout the Bible we are also told that His sheep KNOW His voice. If anyone were to call you up on the phone right now that you weren’t really close with chances are you might have to ask who was calling… but if your daughter called, your best friend, your husband, your pastor – you wouldn’t have to ask. You’d know their voice because you had listened to it so intently for years. You’d know that voice… because you invested your heart in it.

When we think of God’s plan for our lives we really broaden the spectrum to extremes and that can be taxing. Yes… You’ve been sanctified for His purpose. He has a plan for your life. But it’s much more than one because JESUS HAS INVESTED HIS HEART IN YOUR LIFE. So much so that today has a plan. So much so that tomorrow has a plan. When we think of God’s plan as new every day… that leaves a lot of listening to do! 

Jesus wants His voice to be the common thread of your every day. He wants us to lean in close and that’s why He whispers. That’s why they call it the still small voice.

The same Savior who rose again wants to rise up to greet you each new day with His friendship, His grace, His voice.

Jesus has good plans for you… lean in close.

DAILY DARE: Take time to read some red words in the Bible today. Listen closely… and then get creative! What good thing does God want you to do today? Today is about following your heart and your Jesus. 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 14!

Thank you all for helping us spread the word yesterday! The winner of our contest yesterday was the lovely and bird-adoring Catherine with whom I had the chance to have a really funny twitter conversation. 🙂 But all the entry names are still in my red jar and at the end of our 40 days I will pull them out for a special surprise – so stay tuned. 🙂 

I love the verse of the day today….

Jesus talks about stretching our hands. What strikes me about this verse is that He said nothing about our feet moving – just our hands reaching. Bloom where you are planted. Jesus asks us to. 

Despite the platform God gives you, it can be so easy to get caught up in wanting to be like someone else’s ministry. For me, I always admired missionaries. They so selflessly gave of their hearts, broke-open for Christ… putting away the comforts of home, of internet access, of family… doing all to the glory of Him who called them. But one thing you need to know about me is despite having grown up on a farm – I need my air conditioning! I am a horrible medic unless you need help birthing a cow. I am an even worse camper. Basically… I would royally-suck at being a missionary. 

I am a word girl. I live and breathe words. I live and breathe people… but put that next to digging a well in Africa – it seems small.

But when that makes me feel inadequate I remember that God did not call me to be a super-hero-rock-star missionary. He did not need me to dig that well. He called me to do what I do, right here, right now, no matter how small, to share Jesus with you… from right where I am. He called me to send out one tiny bucket, to draw up His Living Waters, to share them with the only thing I know how to… words. This is my offering to Him, to you. 

Isn’t it completely amazing that God equipped us so beautifully to serve from right where we’ve landed? I don’t think it was any accident that Dorothy’s house landed in Oz. It wasn’t by accident she met the scarecrow. It wasn’t by accident she realized she’d be better off home. Maybe this was God’s way of showing the girl from Kansas that Kansas was a fine place to bloom indeed.

Stretch forth they hand, He says. Lean out of your comfort zone from where you are. YOU are equipped for every good work. YOUR ministry matters. YOUR pulpit is bigger than you know. YOUR reach has more impact than you’ll ever guess. You’ve been called to be YOU for HIS purpose… no more, no less. And all of these things – why? Because YOUR Jesus called YOU, yes, YOU for the task at hand. Join me today in a daily movement… “I will serve I AM from where I am!

 

Our local churches do so much to stretch forth their hands to the hurting, the broken and the lonely. But ministry can get tiring. When I worked as a youth minister we talked a lot amongst ourselves about pastor-burn-out. It’s a specific term that covers EVERY area of ministry. From the preachers to the choir to the people in the pews, sometimes you just need someone to encourage you. And that’s where our dare comes in today… 

DAILY DARE: Email, snail mail or flat-out-tape a letter to the door of a local church that you do not attend. Thank them for all they do to show Jesus to the world and anything else that is on your heart. Keep it anonymous! Let them know they matter! 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY – Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 13!

Today I want to share an excerpt with you directly from the book. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed these past two weeks of living Jesus’ Words with you all and getting to know more about your lives. God is good! 

Warner and I are currently forming a launch team for Radically Red: Dare to Live the Words of Christ. People are hungry for Jesus and I am so excited to see what small part Radically Red will play in showing them His face and heart. If you are interested in helping us out via your blog or other social media outlets it would mean so much to me. We are using the hashtag #JoinTheRedolution. (Kind of catchy right?)

As always I am so incredibly blessed to be sharing this walk with all of you. It feels so much like this thing is OURS, God’s, yours & mine, and I hope that you all have grown to feel that way too. Did I mention it’s also a contest day? 🙂 Any one who tweets our hashtag or reblogs will be entered to win a copy of Radically Red. Remember if you blog it to use the tag Radically Red so I can find you! 

Now for today’s devotion and dare… 

 


 

The days that change our lives forever don’t come stamped with a special seal or wrapped in shiny golden paper. There are no visible markings that say we should awaken to greet the day with new joy or anticipate the extraordinary.

Nothing feels different.

Nothing changed.

In fact, the days that define our very lives will be the days that start out like any other.

Do you ever feel stuck in a long line of ordinary days?

I know of a man who probably felt that way too. But the day the blind man, this man, would see was also just another day in a long line of the ordinary. Like the day before, he awoke in his ordinary bed. In his ordinary life. In the same ordinary darkness he had been in since birth.

This awakening of another ordinary day meant that he wasn’t looking for Jesus at all. He did not anticipate his miracle. He probably didn’t even know that the footsteps he heard were anything more than another ordinary passerby. He had no way of knowing Jesus was looking for him! He even left the temple on the Sabbath to find this man He had never met yet somehow known since time began.

This was the moment that would define his life forever. This was the day when the ordinary would collide with the extraordinary. This was the day that he would meet his Savior.

Spit meets dirt and mud meets eyes, maybe without any words at all.

Eyes open to light streaming.  

And just like that, a day like any other has suddenly become phenomenal. The very first break of darkness awakened by the Light of the World. What a first sight it must have been to see the extraordinary Jesus through a mix of sunlight and ordinary mud.

So many of us go about life giving up on the extraordinary.  We are caught in the endless web of bills we can’t pay and things we can’t offer our children. We are overwhelmed by illnesses and grievances. By circumstances and heart ache. But we are so caught up in living an ordinary life that we release the possibility of the extraordinary because we’ve been trapped in the same old same old for what seems like all our lives. We get so caught up . . . we give up.

Is there something you are believing for? Or more important, something you have stopped believing for? What is the extraordinary thing you’ve given up on? What is the miracle that never came that made you stop seeking out Jesus? When you feel like you can’t cry out anymore. When your heart is tired of waking up in the ordinary and you are tired of looking for Jesus – consider instead that Jesus is looking FOR you. And most of all, have a little faith remembering the days that change your life, the extraordinary moments . . . will start out like any ordinary day.

 

*******Is there something you have asked God for that you have gave up on?*******

 

Daily Dare: Today as Jesus comes looking for you . . . look out for someone else. Pick at random a name and address from the phone book. Anonymously, photocopy this page and drop it in the mail or you can write up your own message that is on your heart. Send the envelope off with a prayer and promise that will revive your belief in God’s hand in your life… and theirs too.

 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 12!

Forgiveness is something God freely gives to us and it is often something we freely give to others too… but the hardest kind of forgiveness is the kind we give to ourselves. When we fall short of God’s glory, when we fail our children or our spouse, when we doubt God’s goodness or curse His name… we live beneath the weight of how we should have acted or what we should have done. Basically we just get STUCK.

Living in the past is something that God never intended for us to do. It’s right there in His name. He’s not I WAS. He’s not I WILL BE. He is I AM. He’s I AM right now in this very moment and no matter what time frame we find ourselves in… yesterday, today, a thousand years from now… His name will not change and neither will His character.

God wants you to release yourself from the things you’ve felt guilty about for what seems like forever. He wants you to “Take up your bed and walk” away from the guilt you’ve lived in for far too long.

Remember – David was a murderer.

Noah was a drunk.

Job was a doubter.

Peter denied having any clue who Jesus was…

Jacob was a liar…

 

The people in the Bible were chosen by God Himself, called for His beautiful purpose. Knowing all you know about these characters… do you still admire them? Of course you do! They were the Bible heroes we grew up knowing. They are the stories we turn to time and time again when we face giants, when we feel like we’re in the belly of the whale… when we feel forsaken.

And that’s the kind of grace God gives…the kind that covers a multitude of sins. Don’t cheapen the grace of Christ Jesus by continuing to feel guilty for what was. Today let’s all remember He is I AM…. and WE ARE forgiven.

 

DAILY DARE: Release yourself from guilt today knowing  God accepts you Your mistakes are part of your story no matter how big or small. God CHOSE you in spite of them and maybe even because of them. Your mistakes are what will make your ministry effective. In addition to this dare, pass along a feeling of acceptance to someone else. Hug someone. Reach out to someone. Let them know that you accept them just as Jesus does. 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 11! 

(Pssst… I have finally joined the 21st century and started tweeting. I assure you there are 102 year old great grandmothers who know how to work Twitter more efficiently but I would love to catch up with you all there and find out about the good things God is doing in your life! You can find me here… @LBrookeKeith   )

Do you ever get fed up with your job? Are you feeling unappreciated at home? Really want to scream/yell/gripe/bite-someone/throw-an-adult-sized-tantrum-on-the-kitchen-floor…. I’ve been there. 

Not getting the recognition for a job well done can be really trying. Especially when you are feeling burnt out. With 5 kids (and one grown up kid, cough, cough) sometimes it’s easy to feel under appreciated without anyone even realizing it. On those days I have all but went on strike on the patio with my little sign in hand, thinking of ways I could get them to realize that this “doing stuff” thing doesn’t come cheap to us MS girls. It takes energy – and we only get so much, or lack thereof, each given day. Each motion takes away from my little jar of stick-to-it-ivness. There comes a time in the day when my body says “Yep! You’re done!”

I know you all understand that. You don’t have to have a chronic illness to get past the point of no return. Sometimes you just get burnt out and used up… and you just don’t have anything else to give… and yet – you keep on giving. You reach down deep and pull out that borrowed-from-tomorrow stuff that will no doubt leave you feeling like you just recovered from the plague for the rest of the week.

No matter what it is, if feeling unappreciated starts at home – or maybe at the office – or maybe even at your church…

It’s discouraging to feel like the things you are pouring your heart into are being taken for granted. It’s then and only then when we start to feel completely drained. It’s then and only then do we feel resentment for pulling from that place of tomorrow’s reserve. But we are designed to crave approval. Gratitude is GOOD. The problem is when we stop appreciating the approval we have each and every minute we are alive and that’s the approval that can only come from Jesus and the sanctifying purpose He has placed on our hearts.

People are going to be forgetful, selfish and moody. I know – I’m “a people”. 🙂 I’ve been all those things and I’m sure there will come a time when I am those things again. But when we are focusing on Jesus, when we are truly looking to bring Him glory what matters most is that in all things we bring HIM glory. That doesn’t mean never stop to rest. Not at all! But it does mean going through the day with a positive attitude, doing what you can and having the good sense to know when you need God to do the rest.

When your boss is a jerk… keep working hard. Keep giving it your all. He may not see you but God sees you. When your kids bypass you for the iPad… keep your joy. Keep showing them Jesus. When your husband woofs down dinner without even a “Mmm”… keep preparing those meals with loveWhatever you do… do it to God’s glory. I assure you… He will show His appreciation in ways you can only dream of – even (and especially!) when others don’t

 

DAILY DARE: Today devote yourself %100 percent to a positive attitude in all you do. When you are doing “all to God’s glory” there is no room for grudges. 

 

*Have you ever felt under-appreciated? How did it make you feel?

 

 

 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 10!

I want to start today off with a BIG thank you. Thank you for letting me be a small, small part of this radical journey you are on. From day one, it’s been clear that this thing doesn’t belong to me… it belongs to US. Together we are growing, changing and leaning into our purposes. That has inspired me in ways you will never, ever know. 

Today, belief has been on my heart. I think it’s safe to say that all of us at some point in our walk with God have wrestled with belief. Belief that things would ever get better. Belief that God would fulfill what He had promised. Belief that even when we didn’t feel like it ,God was up there, somewhere, listening to us pour our hearts out at midnight. Belief that Jesus was exactly who He said He was. 

Thomas… I think he was the most relate-able disciple of all.

After Jesus’ rose again, Thomas was the only friend who had the reaction I think a lot of us would have had. I mean, think about it. Your best friend just died before your very eyes. You watched His mother weeping. You watched them take Him from the cross, then sat in horror as they secured His tomb with the stone door.

Now here He is. In the flesh. 

It sounds awfully scary actually!  But none of the other disciples had this reaction. Only Thomas needed proof and Jesus was happy to ease His fears. “Put your finger here; see my hands.” He says with a kind smile. “Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas was living proof that Jesus wants to show up for us. He wants to show out for us! When we doubt God is faithful to reveal Himself to us if we only ask.

DAILY DARE: Today ask God to reveal Himself to you in a big way. Then, share today’s dare with a friend who might be going through a period of doubt. Stand in belief together. 

 

*Was there a time in your life that could only be described as a God moment? I’d love to hear about it!

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 9!

If I told you that these last nine days have been easy I’d be lying. They’ve been HARD. On the first day I found out that my father could have pancreatic cancer. My MS acted up. My husband’s job has been increasingly difficult. Our cat died. My father in law’s nephew had a serious car crash… I could go on. In fact, when I sat down to think about it I remember my editor Karen telling me when we were trying to get Radically Red ready that thing after thing was coming at us. Something just didn’t want us to get this book done.

But we pushed through and here we are.

And to think we are just tiny little specks of somebodies bringing the Words of Jesus. Now imagine actually BEING Jesus! I can’t imagine. Before He would take our sins upon Himself and reconcile us to God He would be met in the wilderness by Satan. Temptation and hardship of every kind. “Away from Me, Satan!” Jesus called. And Satan had to obey.

Satan wants you to think he’s so big and mighty and powerful – but the truth is this – he trembles at the feet of Jesus – the name of the Lord is a strong shield against strongholds – every. single. one. But the closer we become to God the more the devil likes to stir up trouble. He cannot snatch us from His hand but if the devil can take our eyes off Jesus he can rest a little easier. If he can silence you and me he can continue to destroy lives. 

 I assure you. If Satan is pursuing you it’s because you scare the living horns off of him. Anyone with Christ in his heart does. When the red guy rears his ugly head. Don’t fear. Just pull out the red words. “Away from me, Satan!” He has to listen.

DAILY DARE: Today speak our red words for the day aloud. Ask God to keep the devil away and help you continue the work He has begun in you. 

*Have you ever been called to do something and noticed that suddenly the sky just opened up on you? How did you handle it?

 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 8!

Giving is something many of us wish we could do more often. As the mother of five kids hand-me-downs have always been a part of our world. Thankfully though our kids always like getting the older kids things. Jack just turned four and he is so proud of the fact that he can finally fit into his brother’s Croc’s. I love to see him put on those shoes and get on his little car pretending he is his big brother. Somehow, someway, those hand-me-down shoes, in his mind, change him.

He’s stronger.

Bigger.

Tougher.

Jesus told us that giving was very powerful. It changed things – and people – and many times those people were the ones who did the giving. Perhaps maybe those most of all.

DAILY DARE: Today pick an item from your closet, cabinet or jewelry box that you will give to someone else but choose an item that is hard to part with. Think on these red words as you choose what to give and who to give it to. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

 

Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

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Welcome to Day 7..

Today’s dare is bittersweet because this dare came about in a way that left us feeling devastated. We lost our beloved and oh-so-sweet kitty Moonbeam tonight. Never have I ever saw a cat so loving or a cat that had so much Jesus in her! (To see the story of how we came to know Moonbeam see this article from CBN.) You’ll see that she came into our family and returned to God’s family much the same.

As we strolled in together arm and arm to the animal hospital tonight, our little Brock and I waited our turn to see the vet. But during this time God placed a woman in our path in tears. Our dare yesterday was to do something special for our children or loved ones. Little did I know this dare for us would be for a grown kid… who was grieving the serious illness of her elderly mother and now wounded doggie.

But once we got to the little white room – the news broke us. Our Moonbeam was getting ready to leave this world and fly upward. Brock and I embraced… and wept – oh, how we wept.  “The good Lord giveth,” we said. “And the good Lord taketh away.”

And in the middle of all this heartache and loss we talk about why on earth bad things  happen to good people, or good cats for that matter. Why life has to be so hard. Why even though we’d shown up in hopes of healing, we’d gone home with a kitty in a little white box. And here somewhere in my spirit I couldn’t help but think of Lazarus. When He arrived at the home of His friend to find him dead He saw the women having a conversation very similar to the one Brock and I had just had. “Why?” They ask. “Don’t you care?!” They ask.

It was silent and Jesus wept.

Jesus was coming to bring the miracle and He was right on time. So it’s safe to say that Jesus didn’t cry for Lazarus. He cried instead for them. How it hurt Him to think they could ever imagine He didn’t care about their suffering!

As my fog is lifted something small but radically RED happens. In our weeping we feel an embrace from behind us. We’d shared Jesus with another woman but the receptionist had saw it all… so she shared Jesus right back.

Yes… We didn’t get our miracle. But somewhere, someplace… I know Jesus still weeps for us. For you. When life doesn’t go the way we ask and we question God and His reasoning. We lift our voices up and cry “Why?” And sometimes we don’t understand the silence is the tears of Jesus, the miracle the sharing, the embracing of strangers that can only happen when God lines up the stars, the fellowship of bearing each others burdens and laying them at the feet of the Cross.

DAILY DARE: Carry someone’s burden today. Give a hug. Share some Jesus… I assure you someone will share Jesus with you right back when you need it the very most.

 

*Has someone ever shared Jesus with you in a small way that added up BIG?