But why? Why dream only average? Is that hat a statement of the passionless existence many find themselves in today?
I went to grab me an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts one early morning a few days ago and the voice coming out of the speaker at the drive through sounded monotone and extremely disinterested in my order. Then when I drove to the window, the girl handing me the coffee was so unpleasant I almost asked her if her middle name was 'Joy'.
I know life can be really tough sometimes but dreaming of a great future destiny keeps hope alive. It reminds us that there's still a chance for great things to happen in our lives.
I've heard people say that they don't want to dream big for fear of getting disappointed later if their dreams don't come pass.
Deaf and blind Helen Keller once said, "The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but not vision." We ought never let our fears keep us from the great future God has planned for us.
Someone ought to restitch that hat in the picture so that it reads, 'Dream BIG' or 'Dream HUGE' or 'Dream Beyond Your Means'. There's a guy in the Bible that did just that. You may have heard of him, his name was Jabez. There are only 2 verses in the Bible that describe him and what happened to him. Check it out,
Imagine having a name that means 'pain' or 'suffering'. Other kids would see Jabez coming out to play and say, "Oh, here comes that pain." Jabez felt like he was a constant reminder of bad, negative, unhappy times.
Maybe you can identify with Jabez. Maybe you feel like you're in that same rut but, Jabez teaches us there's a way out!
This brother refused to let his name or circumstances hold him back to the point that Jabez became more honorable, distinguished, and illustrious than anyone else in his family. What Jabez did is something you and I can do... this is good stuff!!
The first thing we need to do is to talk to God in heaven.
The effectiveness of prayer is not in saying the right words but in addressing the right God! The Lord, the God of heaven and earth is All Powerful and All Knowing! He uses people and places and resources to favor His children. Go to Him with your request.
Next, when you talk to God in heaven, have the courage to make BIG requests.
Dorothy Bernard once said, "Courage is fear that has said its prayers."
Jabez prayed that God would bless him. The word 'bless' in the Hebrew means abundance. He also asked for the Lord to enlarge his territory. This literally has to do with multiplication. "Oh, God, multiply what I have many times over" was sort of the prayer of Jabez.
When you pray for your life, spouse, children, career, future, relationships, throw the addition table out the window. God knows no limits!!! Don't ask for a little trickle from God but request a huge heavenly outpouring to come your way.
Also, pray for God to make His presence known (v. 10, "be with me") whatever you do and wherever you go.
Finally, pinpoint your struggle before God. He already knows where you're at and what you're dealing with but make your prayer specific. Jabez went to the root of his problem: trouble and pain, and God answered him.
God can make things happen for us today as well. When we limit ourselves to what we can do the results will be minimal. But, when we rest and rely on what God can do, the results can be far reaching. One more thing, when the Lord begins to open doors of opportunity in direct answer to your prayers, do what you need to do, put some feet to your prayers, work hard, and get ready to enjoy His blessings.
Funkiness! That's the first thing that came to mind when I saw this palm tree. I'm not sure why it looks like that, though. Maybe it's what's left after a Cat 3 hurricane that came through town recently. Or, maybe its God's sense of humor in creation. I'm just not sure. Here's a different view of the same,
Call me crazy, but for some reason a hawaiian luau comes to mind.
Maybe I had never noticed that palm tree before but it surely sparked my mind about where I've been lately.
You may have wondered why I haven't been posting lately (and if you haven't...shame on you!). I've just been in a funky state of mind, blah, or in some sort of a lull. Call it what you want, down, blue, dragging, it all adds to the same.
Sometimes we ask people, "How's it going?" And they sarcastically answer, "Oh... it's another day in paradise." What they really mean is, "Whatever, man. It is what it is." Have you been my neighbor in Funky Town lately? If you have, the picture below best describes how you've felt.
For me (and maybe for you) it was probably a series of events that led to this: loss, we lost a beloved pet at our home recently; stress, a hurricane blew through our town recently; burnout, I just published my first book Hecklers In Your Crowd: Silencing The Voices That Hold You back and I've been walking through the valley of inevitable letdown; life. I'm sure you could add your own set of circumstances: dealing with discouraging people, mounting debt, illness, etc. Sometimes we feel like when it rains, it pours!
Here's the thing, though, for every 'Whatever, Man' there has to be a 'C'mon, Man!' It's time to come out funkiness and be insanely better.
An incredible Bible verse comes to mind to knock our funkiness out of commission,
Let's do quick surgery on that passage:
The Greek word for 'workmanship' is actually from where we get our English word 'poem'. You and me are an amazing work of art in God's eyes!
'Good works' refers to action and accomplishment, in other words, purpose!
'Prepared beforehand' means that the Lord has made something ready for each of us to grab a hold of. It's there. It's available. All we have to do is get going and reach out for it.
When there's a present with your name on it under the tree, don't you want to grab it and rip it open? We should be the same way with whatever God made in advance for us to do. But how?
There are never easy answers. For me, it took my darling wife to simply ask me when I'm going to get back to blogging and seeing that funky palm tree. Somehow, someway, God made something click in me to jumpstart me.
If you feel like you're not mentally there to be able to come out of your funkiness, PRAY! That may sound too simple and maybe even 'cliche-ish' but there's serious power in prayer. If nothing else, when you pray you are placing yourself, life, gloominess, prospect of the present and future in the hands of a very able and powerful God who loves you. He will stay by your side and at the proper time help lift you up.
Second, after you pray and when the door cracks a little open for you to squeeze through, give it a shot at getting going, force yourself into it.
The first step towards making the hyper-jump from funky to insanely good is the hardest one, but once you take it, the other ones follow in succession. I can't explain how it all happens and it doesn't mean that all of a sudden life will feel like its ecstatically better but, if moving forward is the goal, it will happen!
Time to get out of Funky Town...who's with me?
Thanks for reading. Please leave me a comment if you'd like.
Beginning to formulate stuff for an Advent Sunday service. So this is a rough draft of a new piece:
Standing on the threshold of the season
Standing on the threshold of the season,
waiting for the darkness to clear,
waiting for the travellers on their journey,
waiting for the new star to appear.
Standing midst the songs of celebration,
waiting for the dawn of that day
when the tide of time begins returning
to keep the dark of night at bay.
Standing at an inn or border crossing
waiting, always waiting, for relief
shunned or hounded by oppression,
bowed beneath the heavy load of grief.
But still we’re on the doorstep of tomorrow
still a hope, still a reason why,
still a light beyond our darkness
an answer to the prayers we cry.
Standing on the threshold of this season,
singing songs of angels and of kings
singing, always singing, for a future,
singing for the joy that singing brings.
And the song began way, way back, in glory
before the world and all created things
when the spirit sang above the waters
and the tune, like feathers, formed his wings.
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:35
Many times we judge circumstances and come up with conclusions based on the favor or blessings of God. This can bring us confusion as we know the character of some who walk in those blessings yet are not walking with the Lord. Or not even knowing the Lord. Taking it a step further, not only not knowing Him but hating Him and not want anything to do with Him.
We validate our feelings because we feel we are defending the Most High. Because people are evil and doing evil we sense in our spirit we have the right to berate them or pronounce judgement on them.
Here in this verse it says we will be sons of the Most High if we love our enemy. Not just praying for their salvation and then loving them after they get saved. It continues to say that God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Then we are instructed to be merciful even as He is merciful.
What does mercy to our enemy look like? How difficult it is to be kind to someone who hates you or is out to destroy you. Surely God does not mean what He says. After all He is God so it is easy for Him to be kind. It is easy for Him to do well.
Well I have no idea if it is easy for Him. I do know He is longsuffering full of mercy and grace. I am also thankful for these attributes being applied in my life. Yet in my life how am I reflecting being a son of the Most High?
Many times in this cyber world we live in we feel our words do not count. We retaliate. We hide behind the reasoning of my opinion matters no matter who I offend or how I say it. Even what we say about our enemies.
I dare say these days we have cyber enemies. Could be a Democrat, A Republican, a cop, a black person, a white person, a rainbow person, a brown person, a cop killer, a racist, a white supremacist, KKK, a troll or anyone else who feels what they feel is more important than how you feel.
The last people described are the ones who really give a good stab. If you happen to be an animal lover and they feel you should care more about abortions. Making the assumption because you love animals you do not care about the unborn. The pregnancy world, the belly pictures, better to breast feed and if you use formula forget about it. The accusations of a fake face book life. Recipes, well how on earth can you be serious about life if all you post is recipes. I think you get the picture.
Weather your enemy is a physical enemy or a cyber enemy, the answer is the same. If we love our enemies and do good, lend expecting nothing back in return our reward will be great and we will be the sons of the Most High. He reminds us that He is kind to those who are ungrateful and evil and we are to be merciful as He our Father is merciful.
So we need to take the mirror of what the Word of God says to our hearts and see if the image reflected back is one as the son or daughter of the most High God.
Cups come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. I stay away from glass cups having six children and living in an area where we do the dishes outside. Mostly we have plastic cups with a few ceramic cups here and there. The ceramic ones have at least one chip in them.
Recently, I found some beautiful pink and blue hard plastic cups in which I was quite excited over for our morning porridge. Then I found these great tin cups to use to hold the toothbrushes for the kids as they brush their teeth outside.
The tin cups were such a deal I bought fifteen. Since we do our dishes outside we wait until the morning to do our supper dishes. Thus leaving us short on cups for the morning. So having these extra cups has made my life a little easier.
It is interesting the things the Lord uses to speak to your soul. Our Lord is very simplistic in many of His commands. The one I thought of today is the one where He states for those who give a cup of cold water to the least of these you have done it to Him.
We think giving water is so easy to do. How could the Lord really care about giving of water? I am confessing to you my own selfishness. Almost every day there is someone knocking at our gate asking for water.
We are blessed to have a spigot for running water outside the house along with a huge storage container for the collection of rain water. We live in a very poor village for the majority of people this is not true. Not only do they have to go and fetch their water, they usually only have a few containers to collect water in.
I wish I could say I open my gate with open arms and let them freely take water. No my selfishness kicks in, my wanting privacy and whatever other excuse there could be. I am thankful I have now allowed people to come and collect water for their needs but it came with a huge rebuke to my heart.
Another rebuke to my heart is even more selfish. My husband and I have a program at our house for the students of our families in the afternoons. Many times the children want water to drink.
I cannot have them drinking the water out of the spigot since it is not safe to drink. Plus I did not have enough cups. I mean really, how selfish could I be. It would not have been that difficult to have the cups washed before supper. It is only fifteen children.
To make myself feel better I told them to bring an empty bottle of sorts and I would be happy to give them water. So big of me. Most of these children eat once a day and I am worried about cups.
Well today, as my husband was tutoring them and I was working at my desk one child asked if she could run home to get water to drink. At first I thought surely if she was in class at school she could not run home. Then I realized at school they probably drank from the spigot and risked getting parasites or typhoid.
Then I remembered my fifteen new shiny tin cups. So I pulled them out and poured each one water. The Lord rebuked me as this one little boy sucked the water down so fast out of his cup. My thoughts wondered how he could be so thirsty. He downed the second one just as fast.
As I collected the empty cups and the children chattering so satisfied for just having had water my thoughts went to my own selfish heart. It is so refreshing to receive a cup of cold water probably because when you really need one it is not something people usually offer to give you.
You see in giving of ourselves we find it has to be what we give, when we want to give and how we want to give. God keeps it simple. Because simple is where love is really shown.