Thoughts on dreams:
Sometimes we get lost in our dreams as if that’s all they are: dreams. We don’t consider that God planted these desires in our hearts for a reason and that when the time is right, they will come to fruition.
Sometimes, when we least expect it, God gives us our dreams–plops them right into our laps. Other times, after much prayer and planning, we have to put that first foot forward and take a step towards putting that dream into action–a virtual leap of faith, trusting that the ground doesn’t fall out from underneath us and that God will show up and bless our obedience.
Another thing I’m learning about dreams is that when we’re right in the middle of where God wants us to be, the enemy will do whatever he can to make us doubt our dream. What better way to derail us than to steal our joy while in the midst of our God-given dream? Or make us doubt what at one time we were sure was God’s calling on our lives?
If the enemy wasn’t successful in talking us out of pursuing our dreams in the first place, he will darn sure try to make us abandon the mission once we’ve started it.
He might taunt us with the fear of failure or consume us with self-doubt and anxiety. He might rob us of joy or meddle in our relationships–whatever he can do to distract us from pursuing the path that God has called us to.
Because a daughter of the King who has embraced her calling is a dangerous force to be reckoned with, and her potential impact on the Kingdom terrifies the enemy.
So. Let me encourage you today. Be aware of the schemes of the enemy. Fight against whatever he is currently using in your life right now to keep you discouraged and off track.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…Stand firm.”
(Eph. 6:10-11; 14a)
Sister, be brave in the face of adversity. And keep dreaming big for Jesus.
Austin & Hanna courageously share their true story of how bringing our struggles into the light not only opens the door for God to move, it transforms us into a new creation. Watch their courageous testimony of God’s ability to redeem, restore, and create a new path replacing shame with peace, and sorrow with joy. Bravery at its’ finest.
Click the link below to watch…
It’s a new year…time for new goals right? New Year’s Resolutions. My husband and I were traveling for the holidays and having our “car-talk-time” – one of my favs because we’re trapped in the car for several hours with no work distractions, no laundry, no dishes, no errands, nothing to do but just sit…and talk. He can’t escape all my questions! 😉 We have the best conversations in these moments.
On this last trip, we talked about all the goals we hope to accomplish in 2017. Lose weight, strengthen our marriage, make some financial changes, finish the remodeling in our house, become fluent in Spanish so that I can hang with his family in conversation, run a 1/2 marathon, write more, read more, dream more…and the list continued. After talking we had too many goals to count and an overwhelming feeling came over me. I thought maybe this is why I didn’t reach my goals last year…maybe it’s because it’s all too overwhelming and I just want to quit.
OR…maybe because they’re MY goals and MY ideas of what will bring me the best year ever. Usually MY ideas lead me into living off my own strength and power, which leaves me burned out and tired. It sparks a question in me and for all of us…What if our new year’s resolutions consisted of JUST ONE RESOLUTION and the resolution isn’t about us, but about Him?
THE ONE RESOLUTION – Give God our First and Best one day at a time…Simply focus on what God might want from us in that ONE DAY…EACH DAY. It’s not a new concept. It’s just rarely done. But I’m already starting to relax just thinking about it. We often get too caught up in our own agendas to do this but I would say it’s the most important thing we could ever do for ourselves.
What if by starting our day and spending time with Him we discover His best for our year…we find direction and guidance? What if out of that time came our purpose? What if doing that each day brought forth more peace, joy, love, patience, gentleness, and more discipline? What if as we cultivated our relationship with God first, we became wiser, more secure, and more confident in everything we do because our trust has grown so much in HIS plan?
God’s word tells us those are all results of being led by the spirit.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” -Galations 5:22.
If those sweet gifts are a result of pursuing God first, then won’t those things help us tremendously in accomplishing our own goals that we had originally planned? Or maybe, just maybe…they’ll help us accomplish the new goals God’s given us that are different and greater than we could have ever planned for ourselves. Either way, just experiencing God’s fruit in and of itself is already a successful year in my book.
When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” -Matthew 22:37
In order to love Him we musk seek Him and get to know Him. He already loves you and me and is there just waiting for us to say yes to Him. In fact, he loved US FIRST!
Will you join me this new year in giving God your first and your best? Just one day at a time. He may do more than you could ever ask or imagine.
“Now to Him who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” -Ephesians 3:20
I haven’t talked to one person yet who has regretted putting God first in his/her life. But I’ve talked to countless people who have regretted NOT putting God first. It’s a personal relationship with Him that will not only change your year, but it will change you and the world around you.
This is your year to start over, putting Him first in your life. Are you willing to give Him a chance to take the reigns…just one day at a time? Let’s focus together on that ONE RESOLUTION because it’s THE. ONE. that will affect everything else.
Will you join me TODAY in prayer…”Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for this new year and all that you will do in my life as I am giving YOU my First and Best, & letting you take care of what’s best for me. Show me YOUR WILL TODAY. My life is yours. Open my ears and my eyes so that I can hear you and see you. Guide me and strengthen me in following your will TODAY. Amen”
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”- Matthew 6:33
Wishing you all a fruitful year filled with God’s blessings,
God’s calling. How many of us have heard it clearly, know exactly what we are being beckoned to do, but still stand paralyzed in the thick, immobilizing quicksand of self-doubt and uncertainty? God’s calling can feel like a giant that we are compelled to and captivated by, yet at the same time, utterly terrified to approach.
If only we had the confidence David had when he approached Goliath. Though small and ill-equipped for victory according to the world’s opinion, David didn’t falter. His feet walked towards the impending battle with confidence. His hands skillfully placed the stone in the sling, and with unfaltering confidence in what God had called him to do, he carried out the task and conquered the giant.
David was small but bold. He was human but empowered by the One True God. An unworthy man was called, and his obedience made all the difference.
He didn’t question his ability to succeed based on his physical stature, vocation, or social status. He didn’t listen to the discouraging voices around him that said he wasn’t good enough for such a battle. Nor did he accept the help of what the world told him he would need in order to have any hope of succeeding. When they said he’d need heavy armor to survive, David chose instead to go only equipped with the talent and skill God had created him to be specifically confident in: his shepherd’s staff and sling.
David was just a shepherd who said yes to God. And because he did, his story was written down in history as one to inspire believers such as ourselves that through God, all things are possible.
What if David had disqualified himself from God’s calling on his life because he was “only a shepherd?”
What are you being called to do that you feel utterly unworthy to carry out?
What child might never experience a loving home if you never listen to that still, small voice calling you to foster or adopt? What co-worker might never hear of the saving love of Jesus if you never accept that job in the field you feel called to even though it won’t pay enough for you to keep living with the same level of materialistic comfort? Who will never know they’re worthy if you never tell them? Who will fall between the cracks of society if you never step out of your comfort zone to reach them?
Time is short and precious, and the stakes are high. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.”
The time is now. Step out and go boldly towards God’s calling on your life. Not because you are able, but because He is.
When I was a kid, my brother and I would spend hours recording our favorite Disney shows to a blank VHS tape, then hooking a second VCR to the first one and recording what we called “over and over” repetitive clips of our favorite lines from the show.
We would also spend hours choreographing, styling, and filming ourselves lip syncing to our favorite songs. We wrote and filmed our own short films. We. Filmed. Everything.
Even as an adult, I couldn’t stop with the videos. I discovered the Vine app and challenged myself to come up with funny 6-second creations.
God put particular care and detail into each and every one of us. He instilled within us unique interests, passions, and desires. Because of that, we enjoy different hobbies. I believe that the things we are drawn to are not there by accident. Their purpose is for us to be able to find ways to serve Him that bring us joy and fulfillment.
Today, I channel my love for videography by filming and editing videos for my church. By no means do I consider myself a professional, and I still have a lot to learn. But my passion for it fuels my desire to become more knowledgable, and with knowledge comes better material.
This quote greatly inspires me: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
Why is it so easy for us to tell little ones to dream big, yet we ourselves settle for filling our days with the mundane, required tasks of adulthood?
What do you dream of when you can’t sleep at night? And what holds you back from chasing those dreams?
Do you dream of entertaining but immediately count yourself out because your house doesn’t look like Joanna Gaines’, it’s really small, or you can’t afford expensive dishes? (Preaching to the choir, here…) Make the best of what you have. If your table only seats four, invite three women over once a month for intentional conversation. (IF:Table conversation cards are a great place to start.) Scour thrift stores and yard sales to find mismatched dishes that reflect your style. Pick wildflowers from the side of the road and put them in a mason jar. Then brew some coffee, make a pie (or thaw a frozen Edwards pie–they’re delicious), and invite your friends over.
Maybe you dream of owning your own shop, but you can’t afford the start-up. Create a Facebook page, invite your friends to join, then post cute pictures of your handmade or repurposed items. You might be surprised how quickly word spreads about your creations.
Blog. Write a book. Sign up for that course. Start an exercise group out of your home. Pour into others over coffee. Turn trash into treasure, then sell it. Mentor. Feed the hungry. Take pictures. Adopt. Lead a Bible study. Bake. Build furniture. Train for a long run. Explore.
Do that thing your soul was made to love.
That passion you have is not there by accident. It is God-given, and you’ll never find yourself in a sweeter spot than when you are living fully in the midst of His plan for you.
Chase after your passions. Dream big, You.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
I opened my dishwasher on a Friday afternoon and my eyes filled with tears. But not for the usual reasons. Not because it melted yet another one of my son’s favorite sippy cups. Not because I was so weary of housework that I barely had enough energy to unload it. Not because I’m a wife and mother of two small children, which meant the burden of most of the household responsibilities fell on me and I was feeling sorry for myself again.
Not this time.
No, this time things were different. This time, my tears were tears of joy…and thanksgiving.
I was emotional over a full dishwasher because it meant things had finally changed. We had one more person at the dinner table where there once was an excruciating void.
My husband had come home.
Just four months earlier, my husband of 14 happy years walked out. I was left alone and confused and betrayed. I was served divorce papers. I was left to care for our children on my own. My heart was shattered. I had been told I wasn’t loved by the one person I loved the most. I had been rejected and abandoned.
But not by my Jesus.
He held my hand and my heart. He whispered promises into my very soul. He sent his people to care for me, encourage me, and pray for me. He comforted my children. He provided our every need. He spoke life and truth to me daily through his word. He told me not to give up.
My husband came back…in fact, he came home with a new light in his eyes and a fire in his spirit.
Jesus had been working in him just as he had been working in me.
God rescued him and made him a new creation. What I heard God whisper as I fell on my face before Him so many times was true. All things are possible through Christ who gives me strength.
It took a battle like that to open my eyes.
I have a different perspective today. God has placed His divine, unconditional love in my heart. He has restored and renewed my marriage and my family. It took the worst experience of my life to change my perspective.
I know now…
A full dishwasher means there have been meals shared on actual plates with conversations and warmth and a sense of family. It means we are blessed with food to eat and more importantly, people to share it with.
Serving my family and loving them as imperfect as they are is a joy, not a burden.
Laundry overflowing means I have a house full of people to love. People who play hard and experience much and have the wrinkles and stains to prove it.
A mess of toys all over my living room floor means I am blessed with children who won’t be children for long, but who find joy and happiness and laughter in my home.
A husband who keeps me awake with his snoring means I share my bed and my heart with someone who has chosen to be there. Someone who continues to choose to be there, no matter how much work it takes to be able to crawl into that bed night after night.
Wives. Mothers. Women. I know many of you today are battling in the trenches facing difficulties in your marriage or with your children, dealing with the busyness of life, the stresses, the fatigue, the worry. I encourage you today…Don’t Give Up! Pray for your family. Fight for them. And…
Strive for a heart like Jesus.
Strive to see and love your family and others the way He sees and loves you.
“God can raise marriages from the dead and He can restore life and purpose to those who have given up. He can forgive and purify the vilest sinner. God’s specialty is raising dead things to life and making impossible things possible. You don’t have a need that exceeds His power.” – Beth Moore
No matter what you are battling today, never give up. Let Him fight for you. He will reward you for your faithfulness because you are His child.
“Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
I’ve never been buried alive, but I’ve seen enough horror movies to vividly picture myself in that position. And I’ve experienced enough challenging times to know firsthand how life becomes survival when you feel buried.
If that’s you today – if you feel like a member of the walking dead – this is for you.
Maybe a fresh perspective is what God wants to give you today. It’s easy to look at the soil and the mud around you and see yourself as buried. But what if you aren’t buried at all?
What if you’ve been planted?
Picture yourself as a seed. Seeds are covered with the same soil as what’s been buried. They feel the same crushing weight of the world pressing in. But seeds do something that dead things can’t do: they grow.
The sun warms the earth and supplies the seed with nutrients. The rains come and quench the seed, reviving and restoring. The Word of God pours nourishment into your soul. Your friends and loved ones – those who know you best and care about you most – speak into your heart. Sometimes their words fall like gentle showers and other times they crash their way in like a thunderstorm.
If you’re the seed, you must soak up as much sun and rain as you can!
He pursues you in your darkest days.
If you’ve been there, you know how much you needed friends to speak truth and love into your season of pain. So now it’s your turn…who needs your sun and rain today?
When seeds receive enough sunlight and hydration, something amazing begins to happen. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, roots start to peek out. They begin to branch off and multiply, solidly anchoring the seed.
Truth takes root in the darkness of our struggle.
When I look back at my life and I remember those times I felt buried alive, I’m reminded of the big truths that God placed in the core of my being even in the midst of my despair. Truths that I would have missed otherwise. Truths like:
I am complete in Christ.
My Heavenly Father is full of GRACE and mercy.
God is faithful.
My enemies are not people. My enemy is Satan.
We need roots. Roots provide stability and security. That battle you’re in? The one that seems never-ending? I promise you, God is at work, planting, pulling weeds, feeding your soul. Roots will grow if you allow His truth to permeate and settle.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” – Colossians 2:6-7
You know what’s coming next if you remember anything about third grade science class. Once a seed is rooted and grounded, there’s really nowhere to go but up. It’s the way God orchestrated life. Spring comes, the frozen harshness of winter melts away, and new life breaks through the surface!
For some of you this will be a gradual blooming, slow and steady as you unfold and blossom. Beautiful to watch.
For others, it’s more of a desperate clawing your way through the dirt. Think Stephen King’s movie, Carrie. Final scene. Raw and scary.
Either way, you’re going to get there! Finally, you will experience fresh air, blue skies, and warm breezes. You’re going to be resurrected. If you feel buried, God wants to bring you back from the dead. If you are His, He loves you too much to let you stay underground forever.
There is purpose in your pain. God might be allowing you to experience a season of depression, betrayal, sorrow, or loss because He wants you to know the power of His resurrection in your own life.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:8-11
The end goal is Christ, in other words. When you break through the surface of what’s keeping you buried, you are raised to walk in a new, deeper, closer way with Jesus. You begin to bear fruit. You tell others of what God has done for you. You love Him more. You love people better.
Wherever you’re at in this cycle, believe that the next phase is coming. And this IS a cycle – you may not be in the depths of darkness right now, but you probably know someone who is. And the day is coming when you may begin to feel the dirt piling up and the light dissipating yet again. This is life. But if you choose to see your position as a seed that’s been planted rather than a dead thing that’s buried, the way you walk through it will begin to change. Trust in Jesus. Cling to Him. Allow the ones who love you to bless you. Keep your eyes open to someone who might need the Truth.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1:3
How can I pray for you in your season of darkness? Let’s be that gentle rain for each other today!!
…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).
You have a story.
Your story has a beginning, middle, and end.
We all have a story written by the same author – who knows the sweet and explicit details scribed on every page.
The story I’m referring to includes our names, our hearts, our successes and our failures.
As hard as it is to imagine, God knows what happens in the next chapter. He knows when or if our stories collide, because He can see the big picture. God is sovereign.
While some chapters are easy to read, pain is written into the fabric of the pages, which makes certain chapters hard to get through.
He understands it all – on the cross He felt it all – pain, humiliation, scorn, and shame.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).
His physical life was taken, but Jesus knew that was not the end of the story.
After three days He rose from the grave, just as He said He would, and brought The Father glory.
Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ John 2:19 (NASB)
A “mainline” drug addict’s life focuses on finding a “fix” to feel normal again.
Our hearts continuously crave a “fix” for our brokenness and eternal separation from God – a fix to feel normal again. No matter how hard we try to fill that craving ourselves, God is the only one who can give us that “fix” we are looking for by the filling of the Holy Spirit.
God sent a permanent “fix” to heal our brokenness on the cross.
Jesus knew there was joy ahead. He endured the temporary pain for God’s eternal promise.
God will use your pain to provide you with a platform for His purposes.
When we turn our eyes from the world and “fix” our eyes on Him, He fills our hearts with love and joy and labels the last chapter of our story… hope.
You gave it all for me. I praise You. I praise you for fixing my brokenness by way of the cross to make me One with You again. I praise you for letting me “fix” my pain and problems to the cross. I praise You for the blood of Jesus which fills the wounds within the broken places of my heart. You help me to shift my focus from self to Savior. May I keep my eyes fixed on you. For the joy to come you endured, so can I. You knew Your story was not finished on the cross, just as my story is not finished today. Thank You for turning my pain to Your platform for Your purpose.
In the precious name of Jesus I pray,
Reflect & Respond:
- What consumes your mind? Are you “fixed” on something else besides God?
- Do you realize that you are not alone? God knows the struggles you are going through. He felt them, too.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal, (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV)
I’m praying for “Hope” to be the last chapter title of your story,
As little girls, we long for affirmation and attention. We dress up in fancy dresses and twirl. “You are beautiful, you are worth pursuing, you are worthy of being loved.”
As little boys, we challenge each other and wrestle and race, longing for the thrill of victory. We want to be noticed and affirmed. “You are the champion, you are strong, you are brave, you are admirable, you are worthy of respect.”
As adults, we still have those desires. They run deep within our veins. But who is it we are really trying to please? To prove ourselves to? Whose attention are we really seeking?
I believe it is God. Deep down, we need to be valued. We need to know we matter. God has been speaking to me through the Bible and through books I’ve been reading recently. He sees you. He sees me. He loves us. We love Him because He loved us first. If we are looking for Him, for His approval, and hoping He’ll take notice? We’ll find Him.
You have a purpose. You DO matter. Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.“
What brings us true happiness? Doing what we were designed to do. For an introvert, that will look very different than for an extrovert. When God made you, He chose the time period, the country, and all the people you would meet and affect. He was intentional in His creation of you from the moment of conception.
Ephesians chapter two spells out God’s reason for creating you. “So that He can show the incomparable riches of His grace.” He created you and me to be an extension of Him and His grace.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10)
It is our human nature to do good and call attention to it. “Pay it forward” is a frequent way to boast about our good with a hint at good intentions. Jesus said in Mark 10:43-45 that if you desire to be great, you must become a servant.
Have you ever tried to do things without taking credit for them? It’s more difficult than you would suppose. Still, it is when others call attention to your good deeds that people are moved.
You will find more satisfaction for your unsung deeds than the ones you post about.
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
He is leading me to pursue being a nobody on earth. To celebrate my smallness. To work for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23) To bring honor and glory to His name. For over 2,000 years, the name of Jesus Christ has continued to be known. That is the name that I want to honor and praise and bring attention to. Even if CNN and Fox News never know my name, He does. He spoke me into being. And my name is in His book of life. I don’t have to try so hard if I’m just trying to please Him. He will lead me right where I am designed to fit, and I will find joy. And so will you!
Here’s a song from Francesca Battistelli to encourage you. He knows Your name. 🙂 (Here’s the link if you’re reading in the email. https://youtu.be/ZtlDVleJBtA )
This post originally appeared first at http://oneword365.com/blog
For His Glory,