Often life is hard, but God is always good

Archive for February, 2015

Beautiful Dreamers

Photo Credit: Nicole Pierce

Photo Credit: Nicole Pierce

 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” Isaiah 54:2 (NIV)

“Ensancha el espacio de tu carpa, y despliega las cortinas de tu morada. ¡No te limites! Alarga tus cuerdas y refuerza tus estacas” Isaías 54:2 (NVI)

We are all dreamers – if we allow God to make us so.

Isaiah prophesies, “do not hold back”, and I think he is urging us to pursue our God-given visions.

The Holy Spirit stirs this ability in us to envision God’s purposes.  Another Old Testament prophet, Joel, proclaimed: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28 (NIV)

Dreams and visions – Sometime they start insignificantly – just an idea that pops into the mind, or something one sees that stirs the heart.

Certainly, literal dreams come to us in the night, but for me, a dream was born when I saw a tiny ad in a Christian magazine for teens, way way back in 1978. “Get Dirty For the Lord!” it read – “Come Join Teen Missions International and Work Hard for God This Summer.” A flood of adrenaline coursed through my veins and so the adventure began – going to a foreign country with an organization I had never heard of before.

I spent the summer of my fifteenth year in Manaus, Brasil, a five-day river boat trip up the Amazon River. I learned to mix concrete, lay bricks, sleep in a cloth hammock, read my Bible daily, and get along with thirty strangers in primitive conditions. That marked the beginning of numerous missionary trips, life-long Spanish language study, appreciation of foreign cultures, and cross-cultural friendships.

I didn’t know all that lay ahead when I first saw that one-color, 1/8th of a page magazine ad.

We can’t see around corners, and I believe that particular aspect of “dreaming dreams and seeing visions” is meant to keep us humble and dependent on the Lord’s omniscience and the Holy Spirit’s filling.

So, my friends, whether you are young or old, keep on dreaming!

¡No te limites! (“don’t limit yourself!”)

I Think I’m Hearing Voices

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

I believe in a loving God, and on the flip side, I also think there is a devil who definitely does not have my best interest at heart. How Jesus talks about Satan is recorded in the eighth chapter of the gospel of John: “He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:45)

So, in a very creepy sort of way, Satan will lie to us. Uh oh – that means that some of my thoughts might be influenced by an evil whisper with a whiff of sulphur.

I think I experienced a Satanic lie entering my thoughts just this week: “You are too late to do the great things you were meant to do. You have wasted time and your life’s work is not worth much.”

That’s a very dark thought, right?

Recognizing it as a thought to reject is the first step; as Jesus tells us, we must not listen to the “stranger’s voice”: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10: 4, 5)

However, the most crucial step is to replace the lying voice with the truth – In my case, I chose to listen to this: “I have made sacrifices in my fifty years to stay at home with my kids and then to educate those same children at home and that means my “professional” credentials are not very robust. But it was all worth it – I have been following the very specific call of God on my very individual life and the rewards will look different than others’ who have followed their life callings.”

Since I am a counselor’s wife, I would like to present the psychological spin on this subject: Cognitive theory claims that ANTs: (Automatic negative thoughts) or what we think about things are important in determining how we feel. The Happiness Institute has a good handout about common ANTs; the one that fits my story best is “emotional reasoning: mistaking feelings for facts. Negative things you feel about yourself are held to be true because they feel true.”www.thehappinessinstitute.com

Paul’s command in Philippians chapter 4 is not just a list of what to think about, it is also a direct order to think – don’t be a victim who helplessly allows all thoughts to enter indiscriminately and swish around for any length of time and then allow them to have the power to influence our lives.

We must THINK on the truths and reject the lies – hear the good Shepherd’s loving voice, not the stranger’s lies.

What are the voices in your head saying today?

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