Dreaming into the New Year…

This is the week after Christmas.  Most of the gifts have been given.  Gatherings have almost all been attended.  Snacks and candies have been savored and devoured.  I hope you all had moments of happiness during this Christmas season.

At my house this week, everyone is home.  Work, school, and outside responsibilities are on hold.  Time for recharging, intentional play, togetherness, and snuggling reigns supreme.

It is easy during this week of winding down and relaxing with the ones I love most to feel as though anything can be accomplished.  (A couple of naps will do that for you!)  So many ideas, goals, and dreams flood my mind, and I feel an eagerness to bring everyone along.

I understand; however, that once school, work, and church begin again, we will once again be on a schedule that will dictate a lot of our time.  How I long to hold tightly to this time of unadulterated togetherness!

My goal for 2017 is to make more time than ever before for dreams.  Things I wish I could do more often need to be scheduled into my days.  Ideas need to be spoken out loud, so that everyone can have a say and come up with ways to flesh them out.  Goals need written out and planned, so they can be accomplished.

I don’t often do the whole “New Years Resolution” thing, but it is a good idea to reevaluate things once in a while.

If you’ve got some dreams or ideas you’ve been thinking about, I encourage you to speak them out loud and begin the process of fleshing them out.  And if some of your dreams, like mine, include more time to sit on the couch (or a blanket in the yard) beside a family member for some quality time, that’s ok.

If the Lord has been urging You to do something new, take some time to talk it out with Him and commit.  Anytime He gives us an assignment, He always equips us to carry it out.  That’s a fact.  So, maybe it’s time to simply trust, say, “Yes, Lord,” and step out in faith.

I wish you all a very happy and safe New Year!  I pray that in 2017 we all grow closer to God and feel His peace and His presence in our lives more than ever before.  I pray that we share His love with those around us, and pass out forgiveness and mercy generously.

God bless you,

jamie

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Who me, a sinner?

Pr. 20:9:  “Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

Let me give you the answer:  no one.

Last night I dreamed that I was preaching about God’s faithfulness.  I was on fire.  People were responding.  The Holy Spirit was moving.  Less than an hour later, I was at sneaking into the home of a missionary, stealing a very valuable tropical plant.

Isn’t that just like reality?

We are all sinners.  It’s not just me.  It’s not just you.

It’s only the blood of Jesus Christ that washes those sins away.  Once that happens, the Lord no longer chooses to remember them.

So, while we strive to live a holy life that glorifies and honors the Lord, we must remember that we will never be perfect.  We don’t need to allow satan to beat us down, constantly reminding us that we are sinners.  God made provision for that already!

There is a reason we need a Savior.  It is only through Him that we are saved.  If we keep our eyes on Him, we will follow Him into eternity.

Happy trails,

jamie

All you need is love

Pr. 2:6:  “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

My mom and I were talking about love yesterday.  Perhaps that is what caused this dream I had last night.

I was in an old school building and there was an evil woman forming in the wall.  I was with a group and as we were waiting for the moment for her to form, I flashed back to the last time she had come.  We had tried to defeat her with battle, but apparently had not won.  She had turned some of our group into animals and although she had gone away for a time, she was now forming again.

A man and I gathered some of our loved ones that had turned to animals and hid in a closet, blocking the door, and preparing to fight again.  As we were waiting, I realized that fighting was not the answer.  The answer was love.

I opened the door, and as the evil one approached, instead of striking out at her, I began speaking love.  We all sat around her, and I reminded her of the good in her.  I told her why she was special.  I spoke lovingly of the things about her that were uniquely created, and about why I loved her.

As I spoke, she was motionless; unable to move in the presence of my love.  Her face began changing and eventually I could tell that she was free.  There was nothing dark or evil about her any longer.  She smiled and everyone cheered.  That’s my last memory of the dream.

As evil takes form in our world, and turns some of our loved ones to ‘animals’, and as we stand in the face of things that seems scary, I believe the same answer holds true.

Do we need to strike out at others?  Is it best that we prove our point?  Do we need to attack people with the Word or our opinions of the Word?  Is aggression towards sinners the answer?  I don’t think so.

I believe the love of God deserves more credit than that.  God is love, and His love for us is so strong that He gave His only Son that we should not perish.  We cannot keep that love for ourselves and offer only condemnation and judgment to those around us who are less than perfect.

Realizing that we are not the ultimate judge, we are here to offer hope, love, compassion, understanding, empathy, and the beauty of the freedoms in Christ.  Loving sinners does not mean you love sin.  It means you are following Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself.

The Beatles weren’t the first ones to let us know that all we need is love.  Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you…by this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:34-35

Let’s trust Him enough to offer that love and leave the rest to Him.

Loving you,

jamie

 

Dreaming the very possible dream

Pr. 21:25-26:  “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.”

The first example that comes to my mind pertains to losing weight.  How many times have we heard people wish out loud (or perhaps done it ourselves) that they would eat better and lose weight.

“Oh, it’s frustrating being overweight.”  “I need to start eating better.”  “I wish I could wear clothes like that, run a 5k, or have that much energy.”  The list goes on and on.

Stating the desire out loud can cause deep sorrow or depression when the one speaking it knows they will do nothing to achieve that goal.  It may seem like dreaming the impossible dream.

The reality; however, is that by making the decision to put forth the labor, the weight could in fact come off.  Deciding that the desire is worth the effort, one could finally begin to say no to unhealthy foods and yes to healthy choices.

There are lots of examples of this:  saving money, getting out of debt, reading the Bible more, taking time for ourselves each day, spending more time with family, learning that hobby we’ve been dreaming about, beginning a foundation, joining a ministry…the list could go on and on.

What is it that you’ve been desiring, but feeling as if it were an impossible dream?

Ask The Lord to help you.  Nothing is impossible for God, and with Him all things are possible.  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

As Christians, we must remember that God did not give us a spirit of fear.  There is nothing we can’t do with God on our side.  God gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

A sound mind.  When we decide our desire is worth the labor, and we ask The Lord to help us, we can grasp that desire with hands full of power.  We do not have live under the heaviness of unfulfilled desires.  We can reach out, through God, and see our desires come to life.

Today is the day when we can begin the labor that will see our desire fulfilled!  Ask God to help, and let’s get to work.

Laboring,

jamie

Food for the heavy heart

Pr. 9:5:  “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed,”  says wisdom.

I am tired this morning.  There has been a sad disconnect in one part of my extended family for the last 3 or 4 years, and the last few nights I have had wonderful dreams where that no longer existed.  In the mornings; however, I awake to the weight of reality upon realizing that things are not actually so wonderful.

Over the years, this issue is one that I have allowed to cause me to cry, agonize, and even have panic attacks.  I have been able to grow in the understanding that the only thing that can truly help is prayer.  I have known that I had to turn my family over to God and ask that He be the One to comfort and protect them, and if possible, change their minds.  I have also had to turn my own emotions over to Him and learn to truly draw my strength from Him.

Decisions that are out of our control can sometimes be overwhelming and we can feel a range of emotions, from disappointment to anger to devastation.  The beauty of having the Lord in our lives; however, is that we have the understanding that the Lord is the One who truly supplies our joy, peace, and strength.  After awaking this morning, I was so thankful that God’s Word was waiting for me, to give me what I needed in my moment of heaviness.  I am so thankful that I am able to come eat and drink of the goodness of God, His precepts, His love, His guidance, and His wisdom.

What would I do if I didn’t have a Savior upon which I can call?  How would I get through this without a High Priest who understands all that I am going through, and is willing and able to give aid when I call upon Him?  This situation is beyond me, and without a loving Comforter to come along and walk with me, I would not have any hope of peace within myself, or reconciliation with those that I love so much.

Eating of God’s Word fuels me with the reminder that with God all things are possible.  Drinking in His hope, I am refreshed in the fact that He does not lie.  I am devouring the promise that the Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.  The fact that The Lord is my sun and shield satisfies me like nothing else ever will.

I am thankful for a forgiving God, who made me fearfully and wonderfully.  In Him alone am I complete.  My Creator made me exactly the way He need me to be and He loves me so much that He sent His Son to die in my place.  What an amazing gift!  What an awesome God we serve!  His faithfulness proves that He will not leave me nor forsake me.  In that, I can rest and find true peace.

Feeling much more awake,

jamie