Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Language of Big Dreams

Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you
the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4 NKJV)

God speaks the language of Big Dreams.

I’ve had big dreams in my heart for a while now. And I know God’s in them. We’re seeing some of them come true. But there are bigger dreams on the horizon. Once one is realized, we get to dream again.

How do you know your dreams (your aspirations) are from God? You get into His presence. Press in. Delight yourself in Him. In a word: pray.


Read His Word.

Enjoy Him.

I recall a season when I felt far from God though I was pursuing Him daily. But I kept up with the prayer and searching.

And God let me find Him.

He’s waiting to be found. He wants to be found.

Go after Him. Delight in Him. Let Him replace your faulty foundations. Let Him refine you. Then, He’ll place His dreams for you in your heart.

And then, the best part: He’ll fulfill those dreams.

God speaks the language of Big Dreams. Get close enough to listen, and you’ll hear Him talking about yours.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Power to Change

For what I am doing, I do not understand.
For what I will to do, that I do not practice;
but what I hate, that I do.
(Romans 7:15 NKVJ)

Wouldn’t it be great if we always knew why we do what we do? If we did, we could change it.

God’s been showing me my utter dependence upon Him lately. Last time, I posted on how we need Him. This is an extension of that topic. We cannot change, permanently, deep down, for the right reasons and with the right outcome, without Him. In order to completely change, from the inside out, all the way down to the motive, we have to get to the root of why we do what we do. Not only do we have to get to the root, that thing has to be uprooted. (ouch)

So, take someone who is addicted to exercising, for example. Say their addiction is completely destroying their relationships and work life. All they can think about and do is exercise. Say they realize their obsession is running their lives and ruining their lives—they're enslaved. So, they want to change, to stop the behaviors. Great! The first step is to ask why am I doing what I’m doing? I mean, they could make some changes, say only jog 5 miles three times a day, rather than 10, but until they know why they’re doing what they’re doing, how long do you think the changes will remain in effect? A couple days? A week?

The key to change is finding the reason behind the behavior. Then, you can dig for the root. Perhaps the person who is addicted to exercising doesn’t like his/her body. Perhaps they fear aging or letting their strength wane, or letting their heart grow weak. Maybe this person feels in control when s/he is exercising and determining the numbers on the scale and in the log. Or maybe they feel completely out of control. At first, they controlled the addiction, now even the doctor is saying “Ease up.” And they can’t. (Happens a lot with addictive behaviors, first you control it, then it controls you.) 

So what do you do when you're out of control? 

When you don’t understand yourself?

When you can’t find the reasoning or the root?

What do you do when you can’t make the change you’d like to make?

You call on God. He breaks into your life’s circumstances and suddenly the Light comes on. You surrender the situation to Him, and let Him dig around in your heart for a while until He unearths the reasons you do what you do. Warning: pain is imminent. Anytime God uproots our “stuff,” it’s a painful process. (Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about—just happened to me recently, so I’m waving back at you.) But, if you let Him in, He’ll bring the breakthroughs.

If you let Him in, He’ll show you how to get where you want to go.

If you let Him in, He’ll get you there.

If you let Him in, He’ll heal you, set your mind on the right track, forgive your sin, yank out the roots of the old you, and set you free!

Will you let Him into that place you keep hidden from others, the place you think no one knows about?

We don’t have the power to change ourselves from the inside out, only God does. It’s time to let Him in. Stop letting shame hold you back and hold you bound. God can set you free. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

How We Need Him

who being the shining splendor of His glory, and the express image of His essence, and upholding all things by the word of His power, having made purification of our sins, He sat down on the right of the Majesty on high, (Heb 1:3 MKJV)

Did you know God holds everything together? The universe, the earth, everything. Without the proper balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air, life couldn’t exist here. Or if our temperatures shifted to a new range remarkably higher or lower, we’d die. Who’s in charge of all that? Certainly not us humans. No, the Creator is in charge.

Something went wrong. God created humans and animals, the earth, the universe all during creation week. Then, He rested. Then, He took up a habit of communing with His dear people (Adam and Eve) in the garden, in the cool of the day.

Then, people sinned.

So, Creator God donned His Redeemer hat.

Jesus came, lived a sinless life and died a sinner’s death to buy back, or redeem creation. And He succeeded.

Did you know that everyone’s sins have been removed? The effects of sin are still here—we live in a fallen world. And you have to humble yourself and say "yes" to salvation to be saved and know forgiveness, but check this out:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,"Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1:29 MKJV)

Takes away the sins of the world. They’re gone. The Redeemer bought back sinners and creation. Now, that’s not to say everything’s as it should be or as it will be. The Bible’s clear that everything is going to be replaced—a new heaven and a new earth. But it does mean the Redeemer is powerful.

And right now, He’s holding everything together by the Word of His Power. We need Him. For breath. For life. For sunshine. He graces us with a new day, with rain, with food.

Where would we be without Him?

It’s nice to be needed and to hear people say how much they need you. Let’s let God know how much we need Him. Because we really, really do.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Choosing Courage

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage.
Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed.
For the LORD your God is with you in all places where you go.
(Joshua 1:9 MKJV)

I work with authors and fellow writers all day, and I love it! One of the biggest challenges for writers (including for me) is perseverance. How many years does it take to reach your goals? For writers, a decade can zip by while we practice POV or characterization, while we fine-tune our plot development strategies, or research methods. Ten years before we have an agent. Ten years before we have a book contract. Ten years before we’re even on the radar of publishing decision-makers. See why perseverance is imperative?

But courage is a choice. And no matter what your goals in life, what your dreams or your calling, you have a choice to make: courage or not.

Jesus says to take courage:

I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me.
In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer.
I have overcome the world. 
(John 16:33 MKJV)

He knew we’d have a choice. He knew we’d need Him. And oh, how we need Him. Everyone needs Him, whether they realize it or not. The oxygen we inhale is there because He sustains us, each of us. If He turned His face away, no one could stand. (see Hebrews 1:3)

Really, it all comes down to trust.

Trust that the God who called you will also bring it to pass. (see 1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Trust that God knows the best timing. If He released you before you were ready, you’d face many hardships (humiliation, failure, defeat, despair, etc.).

Learning to fight hard (for what you want) and to work hard, are good traits. Embrace that journey.

Learning to love people, to keep them foremost, is key. I don’t believe God will release us before we have that firmly established.

Here are some parting words from the Word:

Hope in the LORD; be of good courage,
and He shall make your heart strong;
yea, hope in the LORD.
(Ps 27:14 MKJV)

Faithful is He who called you, who also will do it.
(1Thess 5:24 MKJV)