How can a dream matter? Some do and some don’t. A few nights ago one dream reminded me of God’s grace. Most people have numerous dreams, not me. This is significant for that reason, and also because I remembered it very distinctly, even days later. I’ll share it here in detail without any interpretation.
Dream – Scene 1
We had just rowed our little boat across a small lake. My husband had already stepped out of the boat and onto the dock by an area of bushes, definitely not a beach, a little rough but the wooden dock was big enough for a few people and to tie up the boat. I remained in the boat but it slowly moved outward so I asked him to hand me the oars.
How To Receive God’s Love. How much do we love ourselves, others and God? Is there a blockage in the channels? What can we do to unblock and break the barriers to receive it and spread it to others?
Sometimes the walls of deception block our hearts from receiving God’s love. The father of lies tells us that we are not lovable. This lie leads to another lie when finally one doesn’t recognize truth from a lie. The truth is God loves us and will never forsake us. Whatever we think about ourselves is reflected in how we treat ourselves and others.
Winter Season Of Joy — a season of reflection. Winter season brings joy as we anticipate the coming spring. It’s a season to hibernate for some and greater activity for others. When the nights are long and the days are short, and the temperatures drop we tend to curl up inside our warm houses, perhaps sitting by the fireplace reading and drinking hot chocolate.
Looking from the inside out or from the outside in? Many days now I’ve been distracted by endless activity and thoughts that only bring guilt. What I should be doing I don’t do, and what I do I shouldn’t be doing. Paradox. Meddling with stuff that only wastes precious time, like checking social media too much. And searching for information on behalf of others, even when they’ve not asked for it. That’s me more often that I care to admit.
Would I love to stay on track, and get rid of this block that stopping me from writing? Is my heart in it? So I look from the inside out.
Today I have a guest blogger from our recent Intentional Blogger Challenge with Jeff Goins. As believers we connected and share our faith in Christ. Rhonda Smith writes short encouraging devotionals, and today we look at bitterness and how to let go of anger. Rhonda is a blogger from Virginia in the US. She writes about God’s faithfulness. She hopes to help people see how desirable Christ is and encourage them to rest in Him. You can check out more at her blog: barleyharvest.com. Welcome Rhonda! “There is no room for bitterness in the life of a recipient of God’s grace. You can’t hold grace in one hand and bitterness in the other. From the cross flowed forgiveness and love and relief.” -Clint Pressley I once heard that quote in a sermon and it has stuck with me for many years. Anger is so destructive and can over time make us bitter. A Christian cannot let anger consume them. If we allow anger to carry over to the next day and the next day then bitterness can destroy us from the inside out. The Bible never instructed us not to be angry; it does, however, teach us that we should … Read more
Growing a thankful heart is like a garden that thrives when its watered with praise. Thoughts about gratitude can change a life. A thankful heart is a happy heart and a healthy heart. It’s not the happy people who are thankful, but the thankful people are happy. They give thanks even in bad circumstances.
A missed opportunity for an act of kindness. As I proceeded to drive out of the parking lot of the Budget car rental business, a tall man approached me by waving his hand in the air. I rolled down the window. He walked over and asked me a simple question? “Can you buy me a cup of coffee? I’m living in a group home.”
My immediate reaction. Don’t trust strangers. With a pious attitude I replied, “Sorry, I have to go.” I rolled up the window and drove off. What had I done? As a Christian I missed it. I had more important things to do that morning. After all I was late for church!
Credit Keerati via freedigitalphotos.net
I asked God for forgiveness. As I reflected on this incident, I was reminded of the scripture. (Matthew 10:42 Living) “And if, as my representatives, you even give a cup of cold water to the little ones, you will surely be rewarded.”
I was downtown in a strange city on a Sunday morning and as a woman all alone, I have to be careful. I could have asked him to meet me at the coffee shop just a block away and purchased him breakfast! That’s what Jesus would have done. I had the means to give a cup of cold water to the needy. And, more importantly, to show Christian kindness instead of judgment.
What was my reward? I lost my way as I kept circling around tall buildings and one way streets looking for the church. After three failed attempts at locating the building, time had run out and church was over! That Sunday morning, I found myself sitting in the coffee shop all alone.
Then grace swooped down and I was forgiven. Thank you Jesus for the lesson.
Next time when a stranger approaches me with the question. “Can you buy me a cup of coffee?” I will oblige. Better yet, paying it forward would work better.
Prayer – Lord, help us to incline our ears to the needy and show kindness to strangers. Amen.
Any experiences? What ways can we show kindness in our everyday life? Love to hear from you.
Ever wonder what He wrote in the sand? The words “And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.” popped at me this morning. My first thought was a question. What did He write? Ever wonder what other people are saying about you?
Draw a line in the sand
Since it’s the day before I leave for my second writer’s conference I thought about writing. Sometimes words flow easily and other times it takes a lot of sweat and tears. As I’m getting ready, I wonder what it would be like to know exactly what Jesus wrote in the sand? The saying, “draw a line in the sand” makes a definite declaration that you will not cross into certain territory. But I don’t think that is what Jesus meant? After all, He had just confronted the religious leaders of the day. They wanted to stone a sinful woman expressing their own pious attitudes. They think they are better by following the law.
The writing on the ground was meant for everyone. It was not a secret since it was public. But the Bible doesn`t reveal what it was but I can guess from the context that it was full of compassion and grace. Living in grace doesn`t mean we can live according to the desires of the flesh.
One thing we are taught in writing a novel is that there must be an inciting incident which then turns the story around. Well I see this as one great incident in the Bible story. A dramatic confrontational situation was diffused by one small piece of writing. A log line. Short and to the point. The words, “Mercy and Truth” perhaps.
The turning point. The accusers had disappeared and the woman stood all alone. What happened? Powerful words from Jesus, “I do not condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
Blurb it out
Since writing is a lonely road, going to meet other writers and attending workshops requires effort especially for the inverted personalities. I`m not exactly an invert, but close! I will need to expose my work to the more experienced writers and hopefully catch some interest. So to that purpose I`ve been writing blurbs to make it short, less than 100 words! No easy task.
One embarrassing moment from last year occurred when we were sitting the dinner table with a published author and editor and five other attendees. When she asked what our book was about, my tongue knotted and my memory lapsed. When I finally could speak, I rambled on about the story. A short summary would have been appropriate. So now I`m ready with a short blurb. In the end I was encouraged when she provided positive feedback.
While I was teaching in the high school, I was a student myself taking more university courses. During times of stress I told myself that I wouldn`t ever go back to school again. Here I am taking classes and learning the complexities of writing novels at my age. What! Oh well, that`s my life….continuous learning and testing. I`m living what I taught my students. Life-long learning. Follow your heart.
One of my classes is called Fiction Basics 101 taught by a math teacher turned novel writer. I`m so looking forward to Sandra Orchard`s class. Her two novels are listed here: Deadly Devotion and Blind Trust. Very enjoyable reads.
What inciting incident changed the course of your life? Sometimes life circumstances bring change of direction. What is the writing on the wall? Proverbs 3:3 tells us to write the words on the tablet of your heart.
What words do you think Jesus wrote on the ground that day? For the full story you can read it from John 8:1-12. I would love to read your words.
One word I think fits is “truth”. What’s your word?
Thank you for reading. Leave a comment. Pass it on!
Ever had an opportunity to experience God’s love in nature? A few days ago I had that experience. It was as if a gush of love wrapped around my very being. God is love and love comes from God. We can know and experience it.
How much do we love ourselves, others and God? Is there a blockage in the channels? What can we do to unblock and break the barriers to receiving God’s love and giving it away?
Replace lies with truth
Sometimes the walls of deception block our hearts from receiving God’s love. The father of lies tells us that we are not lovable. This lie leads to another lie when finally one doesn’t recognize truth from a lie. The truth is God loves us and will never forsake us. Whatever we think about ourselves is reflected on how we treat ourselves and others.
One reason we don’t love others like we should is that we don’t think about God’s love or experience it ourselves. What causes us to remain in this unlovable state?
Relating to others
Thoughts of the past hold us hostage. If our past experiences were all good then we have less emotional baggage, but if they were negative we have more to deal with. All this relates to how we love and accept ourselves and others, especially close family members. We look at others from our own experiences. If our emotional experiences were positive then we can relate to others from those experiences. The negative ones are the ones we have issues with.
All this relates to how we experience God’s love in our daily lives. We certainly can experience the love of God by listening to uplifting music, reading His Word and praying. Spending time to experience God’s Presence can melt even the hardest of hearts. When His love blankets us with his glory what can we do except love Him back. From the overflow we can love ourselves and others. His love is limitless but ours has limits.
Even experiencing a drop of it is worth the wait and effort to get it.
This morning I drove to our cottage to get away from all of it. Just to be alone. Along the way looking at the Sleeping Giant (a landmark of our region) on Lake Superior I saw a light colored misty cloud that blanketed the waters. It was as if God was there in the cloud with His majesty and glory.
My heart melted in knowing He has not forgotten me. The beauty of God showered me with His eternal love.
I kept thinking I should stop at the Terry Fox Lookout and take a photo but the thought passed as I kept viewing the glorious scene as long as I could.
Then another opportunity presented itself when I turned onto another road. I missed it. Why didn’t I stop for the photo opportunity? In times like these when we know we missed it, the ‘should haves’ can keep us bound to the past even when it was only for a few minutes. Focusing our thoughts on the past keeps us bound to it and then we miss the present moment.
Even though I missed the photo opportunity, I can view the majesty of God’s love within my soul. His glorious beauty is forever etched in my heart. The blockages melted just like the ice on Lake Superior.
So often we think that another opportunity will come along. That’s what I thought about the missed photo opportunity. Perhaps. There will be another chance since we live here.
Listening to the voice inside would have let me have a beautiful photo for this blog. (I do have other photos of the Giant and the Lake.) Locals might say that you can always get photos of the Lake anytime, but not this one because the scene this morning was especially for me.
It was the perfect timing as trouble surrounded me like a whirlwind. Suddenly peace gushed over me and the waves inside my mind calmed.
Refreshing waters. Glorious mountains. Majestic heavens. Buds on leaves. Birds singing. How could I have missed it so many times? So often we direct our thoughts on the troubles all around us, when we could have been viewing the beauty of God’s creation.
I know life happens and brings on negative circumstances beyond our control, but we can’t park there. We have to move on, and go through them, and with God’s help we can do it.
What is this all about? God’s love. My own human heart melting. I’m a nature lover to a point, but this experience provided me with a new perspective on God’s love through nature. It’s wonderful.
I am not forsaken. God’s love has been there all along. I can love myself and others more when I experience God’s love myself.
Don’t let the blockages in the heart distract you from the love of God. His presence will melt them away if you let it happen. Submit to the process.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 (NIV)
What about you? What part of nature draws you closer to God? What opportunities have you missed where God was speaking to you?