Tag: God (page 2 of 2)

DREAM

As we pause to remember a man with a great dream today, I am reminded of another dreamer. Joseph’s life-journey revolved around his dreams and his God-given ability to interpret other’s dreams.IMG_6557

Joseph innocently shares his dreams with his brothers and his father. Both of his dreams highlight that one day his family will bow to him and be at his mercy. Through the visuals of sheaves of grain and heavenly bodies, God begins to drop hints of His great plans for this shepherd.

‘Ha Ha Ha’ is their  laughing response and Joseph is mockingly referred to as “the dreamer” in Genesis 37:19.  I can hear them roaring with laughter, “That’s a good one, Joey. Tell us another one.”

Their jealously becomes darker and more evil; “Come now, let’s kill him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” Genesis 37:20.

God-ordained dreams don’t die; even if the dreamer does. Joseph’s brothers don’t know Whom they are dealing with. They don’t kill Joseph but sell him as a slave for 20 shekels of silver. Now Joseph is on his way to Egypt.

If Joseph’s highs and lows in Egypt caused him to scratch his head  and wonder if God had abandoned him and those now-hazy dreams, we don’t read of any. We don’t read about any wavering or questioning. We don’t read about Joseph chucking his faith during those dark days.

He suffers through false accusations and false imprisonment. “But God was with him” as we are reminded in Genesis 39:2 and 39:21.

The next dreams belong to Pharaoh’s officials and Pharaoh himself. Joseph interprets the good news for the cupbearer (you will be restored to your position) and the bad news for the baker (you will die). Don’t shoot the messenger.

When Joseph is brought in from his prison cell to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph shows his amazing, unwavering faith. No bitterness. No “it’s about time, God”.  No “You forgot about me, now I will forget about You”. Nope. Joseph gives credit where credit is due. “I can’t, but God can.”

“I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis 41:16 NIV

Joseph’s dreams and their interpretations have caused him much pain and now much praise and admiration. Egypt and the surrounding lands will survive the famine. Joseph is reunited with his family and offers forgiveness. Forgiveness that resonates of “I cannot, but God can.”

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us. Ephesians 3:20 NIV

Sweet dreams!

Photo credit: Sarah Bessey

 

Wrestling

My husband was a high school wrestler and I attended many of his wrestling matches years ago. Wrestling is such an unique sport.  No extra equipment like a  racket, bat, club or any-shaped ball.  One on one using just muscles, motions, and maneuvers. The wrestler tries to control and maintain restraining power over his opponent.

Most of the time, I was unaware of what was going on, but I decided if my boyfriend was on top, that was good. If he was on the bottom, not so good. And based on this definition, I guess that was a correct assumption. Wrestling is the activity of grappling with an opponent and trying to throw or hold them down on the ground.

wrestlingIn Genesis 32, we can read about a divinely appointed wrestling match.  One opponent is Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. Yeah, the big guns. Jacob has a super-impressive Godly heritage with the line of Jesus continuing through his son, Judah.

But Jacob wasn’t perfect or righteous.  He tricked his brother, Esau, out of his birthright and deceived his elderly father. However, Paul reminds us in a God-written history lesson from Romans 9:13, “Just as it is written: Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

The other Opponent was God, the Creator of Everything. The Big Man. This match seems lopsided from the start; the opponents aren’t in the same weight class. Jacob is a lightweight; God is the Ultimate Heavyweight.

The match occurred beside a stream during the night. I think a lot of my wrestling with God happens at night too. Mental takedowns and escapes; reversals and stalling. I plan, plead, plot.

God wants me to let go.  He wants me to let go of people, in particular. People whom I think I can fix or change. People whom I have measured and judged and have concluded they should change.  “If these people would just do what I tell them to do, everything in my little world would be so much better. Life would be easier for all of us.” Wrestling with big control issues.

Jacob left the wrestling match with a limp, God’s Mighty Blessing and a new name. God renamed him, Israel, meaning  “he struggles with God”.

Face-to-face, eye-to-eye, and toe-to-toe- this is the kind of close relationship God wants. When God allows something in your life that you don’t like or understand – honor Him by wrestling with Him about it. Step into Him – not away from Him. And while He may not reveal all of the answers to you about your situation, God will meet you, as He did with Jacob, and give you what you need.

Discover God’s Heart, Devotional Bible, NIV

God is OK with me wrestling with my issues; it means I am aware of them and it honors Him. He is OK with all my issues, my questions, my cries, my many why’s, my confusion, even my doubts. Because wrestling involves working through all this stuff. Wrestling develops my spiritual muscles and causes me to seek Him out by getting into His Word.  It keeps me coming back for more of Him.

Jacob, now Israel,  says in disbelief, “I saw God face-to-face and yet my life was spared.” He was not the same after his wrestling match; I don’t want to be the same either.

Wrestle and Walk Worthy!

 

The Scales

bathroom scalesIt’s January; time to think about losing weight. Time to try to eat more broccoli and not as many chocolate chip cookies.

To demonstrate how serious I am, I head out  to buy new bathroom scales. I am convinced that my tight-fitting jeans must be due to my current scales malfunctioning and not from peanut M & M’s. New scales must be the answer!

I scan the large selection and see some offer a feature that records the history of the weight up to 2 individuals. What? With the push of a button, my husband or any relative/guest could see my weight history! Horror of horrors!

Why would I want my husband (or anyone) to see the glaring LED display of how much I weigh today or last week? That numerical display would also be proof (like he hasn’t figured it out yet) that I outweigh him. I don’t want to talk about it.

I don’t need brainiac scales with a memory and will happily share my private information with a push of a button to anyone. I have issues.

Another selling feature is how this evil machine will flash RED, if I gained weight, and GREEN, if I lost weight and pigs were flying around. That is not what I want to see in the early morning hours. Again, no thank you.

So I am all stressed out about what number my husband could see when I  know he loves me no matter what the stupid scales illuminate. What about when I stand before God and I have to give an account for all my thoughts and actions? What will my life-scale show? My weight and vanity won’t matter an iota.

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. Matthew 12: 36 NIV

 On display won’t be my weight, but my life. All of my life.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things while in the body, whether good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV

It’s time to take my words and actions more seriously because God certainly does.

Let’s Walk and Talk Worthy!

 

 

Tentacles

tentacleTentacles. Yeah, those slimy, far-reaching, creepy arms that envelop you and squeeze the stuffin out.  They latch on and they don’t let go.

I am pretty sure satan has tentacles. He is commonly portrayed with a forked tail, horns and pitch fork but my visual  has him sporting tentacles too. Lots and lots of them. Tentacles equipped with suction cups to suck me in and thorny hooks to secure me.  He uses them to grab me and pull me under pressuring  my mind and body in his death grip.

He squeezes and squeezes, tighter and tighter. He wants to suffocate me with his lies. Lies that I am unworthy, God doesn’t really hear my prayers and certainly doesn’t  care about little ol’ me. Then stupid-head (satan) adds a jumbo dose of guilt.

I become entangled. I get twisted and knotted. I can’t breathe; I can’t think clearly. I am prey caught in his sickening grip. He drags me under, going deeper and darker; away from any light and air.

How do I battle back? How can I loosen his grip? How do I get free? Is there any hope? Can I free myself? No, I can’t. Not on my own power. I am powerless.

Realizing this and admitting this is part of the battle plan. Another key battle plan component is know your enemy! Call him by his disgusting names:  father of lies, destroyer, accuser, murderer, wicked one, prowling lion, and poopy-head.  Be aware of his tactics and tricks.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12 NIV

What tentacles are entangling you? What lies are being whispered in your ear? It’s a New Year but we have the same ole enemy. Always prowling, always searching, always reaching out with his nasty tentacles ready to grab hold and squeeze the Life out of you and me.

But the Battle has been won!!! I came up for air today. A big gulp of God-air.

My dear Krista, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over these false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world.

1 John 4:4  Personalized from The Message

I lift my face towards the Son and I breathe Him in deeply and fully.

I return my swords of worship, praise and Scripture to their sheaths. I am ready to do battle but I never battle alone.

Be strong, Krista. Take courage, Krista. Don’t be intimidated, Krista. Don’t give your enemies a second thought because God, YOUR GOD, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you, Krista. He won’t let you down, Krista; He won’t leave you, Krista.

Deuteronomy 31: 6 Personalized from The Message

 

 

 

Beef and Cheese

There is a scene from the Christmas movie, Elf, where Buddy the Elf (played by Will Ferrell) accuses the Santa Claus at a department store of being a fraud. Buddy, who grew up as a human at the North Pole, certainly knows who Santa is and he passionately declares  “He is not Santa!” as he pulls off fake Santa’s beard.

He can recognize Santa by his scent too. I love the lines, ” You smell like beef and cheese. You don’t smell like Santa!” Obviously the real Santa would smell of pine, peppermint, cinnamon and maybe  Old Spice (for Mrs. Claus).

thISCVQSHYSeveral years ago, my husband and I found a piece of furniture listed in the Classified Ads. The owner didn’t live too far away so we called and arrived at the appointed time to take a look. An elderly woman answered the door and lead us inside.

While we were there, we made some small talk with her as we inspected the item. Then surprisingly she asked, “Are you Christians?” We responded “Yes” but wondered why she blurted out that question. Then she made a statement which I have never forgotten, “You smell like Christians.”

Hmm.  We smell like Christians. I was never told I smelled like a Christian before. Growing up on a farm and spending time around pigs and cows, I was convinced I smelled of manure long after my hot showers. My father  burned a wood stove and enjoyed frying bacon in the mornings and I remember trying not to reek of those smells as a prissy teenager.  “Eww! I just washed my hair and now I stink!” (I was a mess.)

So what did she smell? What fumes were we giving off? What had she sniffed out the few minutes we were there? We weren’t quoting scripture or waving a Bible around; we were simply being kind, respectful and polite. We were giving off an aroma and it was Christ.

You smell like Christians.” We said ‘thank you’ because we took it as a compliment. According to 2 Corinthians 2:15, it is a very kind compliment.

As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us. 2 Corinthians 2:15 (The Living Bible)

I asked the real Santa for some perfume this Christmas. Perhaps I will find a bottle of sweet-smelling  fragrance under the tree but whether I realize it or not, I am giving off an aroma everywhere I go.  So are you. In the very long check-out lines, in the mall and at the bank, at family gatherings; every where we go. Whether we realize it or not: we smell! Let’s make sure we smell of Christ; we reek of His Love.

Splash on some of your favorite fragrance (leave the beef and cheese behind) but most importantly, let the love of Christ leave a lasting impression on everyone this holiday season and beyond.

When we walk with God, we leave behind a sweet fragrance that can inspire others to follow.

Photo credit: New Line Cinema
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