Archive for the ‘Counting Down The Days Until…’ Category

i have been sitting on this park bench at the crossroads for several days. To my right is Sanctuary, to my left, the land of the Giants. i shared that i have not seen any giants but know they are there. Well that all changed yesterday, The words found in Numbers13:32 are how i am feeling today. The line of Giants seems to start just across the road from me and goes for as far as “I” can see. Endless Giants!!!

Numbers 13:32 But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

I wondered why God makes it so hard to inherit what He has already promised to give me. When someone offers to do me a favor, i normally expect no strings to be attached.

But then God has a long history of requiring human activity to carry out His will – not because He needs my help, but because He wants my heart. I’m not so sure i would give up this vital organ any other way.

i realize that if God did everything, He’d become my genie and if He does nothing, He becomes an afterthought.

Today, as i sit on this park bench and look out over the future, i see some very real problems. Today they are a big deal to me – failure, fear, guilt and worry.

If God wanted to, he could remove these giants in the blink of His eye. Truth is i sometimes slide into bed at night hoping He’ll do just that. He rarely does, and for this, i should be thankful. If He magically removed all the problems in my life without asking me to do anything hard, anything “impossible,” i would never be able to demonstrate faith. That means i would live my entire life without ever pleasing God. i would gain the Promised Land in such a way that it would cost me the very thing i need most: relationship with my Creator.

i serve a God who has the ability to do anything, but chooses not to. He doesn’t let me off that easy. When He requires me to do the seemingly                 impossible, it’s never as difficult as it appears. Sometimes, it’s almost easy – at least after the first step which is the most difficult.

In the end, i need faith. That’s what is required to face the Giants, trusting God to either make them smaller, or to make me bigger.

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It is such a privilege to be able to post my thoughts every day regarding things in my life. It is a greater privilege to have a few who are willing to give up their time and read these posts. i shared yesterday that i was sitting on a park bench waiting, for what i do not know? Anyway i went to post today and saw a comment that was made on yesterday’s post and i can’t tell you how encouraging it was for me. It’s as though the Dream Giver sent me something to read while i’m waiting.

The reader says, “It’s like we don’t even know how to allow God to give us that rest, that peace, that we long for. I like the way you said it – “unforced rhythms of grace”. The idea of living freely and lightly is something I’ve been contemplating, especially this week. It’s back to trust, Proverbs 3:5-6.

Sunday at Cowboy Up the trainer was showing us what it looks like when a horse and rider have a trust relationship. The truth is, there was no fear or worry on the part of the horse, just alertness to the non-verbal signals the rider would send, telling him what to do. The horse never wondered what to expect next, he just responded to the light touch, the subtle tap, and in that there was beauty. The trust relationship without fear, even when the rider did things the horse would normally fear; the horse was able to shine as he trotted around the arena under the rider’s direction. He did not HAVE to obey, but when he chose to, it was beautiful. It’s that simplicity I’m after. Relationship that flows from an awareness of Him, His leading, His guidance, without fear or worry.

I’m wondering if in some ways we never leave sanctuary as He perfects this attentive peace within us.”

Thank you to all that read these post and especially share thoughts like this that are personal yet they make them available here for all to read. TRUST!

Until… 2012 ends and 2013 begins. Unlike past years i would be very excited to have just made it through another year, and almost dreadfully anticipating yet another year. Not this time! i am sharing my personal journal of “Counting Down The Days Until… which is based on the book “The Dream Giver.

If you read The Dream Giver Book you would not find any reference to today’s post other than after wilderness you come to a road which offers the opportunity to go left or right. Left is Sanctuary and right the Giants.

Where i have been for several days, is in a place that it would appear, i have created. Being the creative person that i am i built a park bench at the crossroads i just described. There are trees which offer plenty of shade and in the background there is the sound of rushing water which is very soothing and restful to me. What am i doing there one might ask? i am waiting. Waiting for what one might ask? i have no idea! i am just waiting.

i shared about the idea of Sanctuary, coming to the water, coming to the light, going higher in response to His invitation. As i sit here and wait, i sense that i have not actually experienced the full reality of Sanctuary. i shared prior that i have on different occasions, gone there but only as far as the Water. In the past 90 days i have gone there again, but only far as the Light. Now as i sit on this bench i am wondering why i have not accepted the invitation to its fullness and drawn closer in the higher elevations of Sanctuary.

Then there is the other turn, the Giants. It’s like one of those bouncing heads that you see in the back window of a car. It just sort of bounces from one direction to the next as the motion of the car changes. One moment i am looking down the road to Sanctuary and then find myself staring down the road toward the Giants.

Looking at Sanctuary i have questions as to what will be required of me? i do not take this lightly. To actually take the entire journey and enter into the fullness of the Dream Givers invitation. i say that it’s where i desire to go but it is a lot easier to talk about it than to actually experience it, especially with consistency.

Looking toward the Giants i really don’t see any or i should say, i didn’t see any until last Monday night. In our weekly gathering someone spoke about their giant being themselves. That’s what i’m seeing as i look toward the land of Giants, myself! i am hesitant of going down that road because of me and as i type this i know why. It’s because i have not finished my journey in Sanctuary.

In Sanctuary, at each stage of it i am restored to God’s intended order for my life. i see, understand and experience more of His love for me, thus i am able to love me and who i am more, which then allows me to love others as myself. If i do not experience Sanctuary to its fullness then i am unable to deal with all the Giants. my age, my current position, my resources, my connections are all in question as just sit on this bench. i am just pondering what could be, in exchange for experiencing.

This is what i know. i do not want to go back to wilderness, in spite of all the gems i have gained by going through it, more than once i can say. So i find that have only three remaining choices. One, sit and do nothing, this nothingness becomes my new comfort zone. Move on to face the Giants with a fifty-fifty chance on not getting my brains beat out of me. Possibly experience burn out, give up on God, hope for an end to remove me from any more of life? No i traveled that road before and as with wilderness i do not desire to go there, not yet anyway. That leaves just one more option. The option to go back to Sanctuary, accept the invitation to join the Dream Giver as given in Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

i am not intending this to be a marriage counseling session nor even advice on marriage. It is a part of explaining what the Dream Giver is asking of me. This was written years ago even though i fall short many times it impacts my life to this day.

The Gift – by Ed Beatty

Twas a Sunday afternoon, in late summers Light; I saw the Gift standing there, wrapped beautifully in white.

With heart a pounding, knees so weak, and tear drops in my eyes; I could scarcely believe so rare a Gift, could in reality be mine.

It was like no other gift I ever, had received; for it glowed even through its pure, white wrap with love aimed just for me.

I reached out with a trembling hand, to take the Gift so fair: and as I did, I heard a voice say, “It’s yours for you to care.”

With so much excitement I accepted it, the Gift I long had sought; and took it home into my life, this prize which I had caught.

I looked at it, and handled it, and used it at my leisure; and for a while this Gift of mine, brought to me so much pleasure.

I took it with me where’er I went, and showed it to all my friends; I was so proud of this, my Gift, my joy it would not end.

The days, the weeks, the months, the years, all passed so hurriedly; ere long my Gift which I had won, soon lost its novelty.

I stared at it with bewildered eyes, as it lay calm in its place; I could not believe the sight I saw – I hoped ‘twas not the case.

But surely as I inspected the Gift, the one which once I prided; I noticed it was not the same – it’s changed I boldly chided.

“It’s not as bright as when brand New, its love grows cold and dim; it bears some marks I did not see, it’s imperfect – not a gem.”

The more I looked, the more l saw, the more I could not stand; I was displeased with this Gift, to me “twas as worthless as the sand.”

So, I left it home as I went out, in search of something better; to fill the space disappointment brought – it bound me as a fetter.

I saw my friends, and others too, with many gifts and presents; and there, at first it seemed, at least, their lives were joyous… pleasant.

So, I tried their way and to my surprise, it did not fill my need; in fact the very opposite, my life was worse indeed.

Bewildered, befuddled, all sad and alone, I wondered what could I do; when I heard a small voice calling my Name saying – “This is my message to You.

The Gift which I gave you, more precious than gold, is yours for the keeping to have and to hold.

“I did not give it for you to treat thus… to leave it alone and turn it away with disgust.”

“The reason it glows not is your fault – not its; for it needs your attention, your love and your kiss.”

“It’s marks you think imperfect were not there at the start, but came from the handling and neglect on your part.”

“And like anything of value, you can gain in this life; the Gift which I gave you grows more priceless through strife.”

“And time, only time, can determine the value, of my Gift too precious which I freely gave you.”

“But ‘though you rejected and paid it No mind; your Gift still awaits you, come home while there’s time.”

So , hurriedly I ran as tears stained my face, into the house and came to the place; where the Gift I had left, stood patiently by, expecting my return, not asking me why.

It embraced me, and held me, kissed away all my grief; and then with a voice that brought sweet relief – Said, “I forgive you… welcome back home.”

I felt so ashamed of the wrong I had done.

Then with eyes opened wide, as wide as could be, for the first time I saw her, This Gift that was she.

My love abounding, my heart longing so; to hold and caress her, the Gift i now know.

She was given a helpmate, to love as myself; to work alongside me, not to leave on a shelf.

I’m to love her, to care for her, all my days, all my life; for this Gift which God gave Me, is my friend and my wife.

Until… 2012 ends and 2013 begins. Unlike past years i would be very excited to have just made it through another year, and almost dreadfully anticipating yet another year. Not this time! i am sharing my personal journal of “Counting Down The Days Until… which is based on the book “The Dream Giver.

Okay i have to back track as i tried to ignore sharing what the Dream Giver is currently asking me to give Him. It was 1:38 in the am today that i was awakened and it took until 4:42 am for me to work through that amongst a few other things as well, with the Dream Giver. Be forewarned that this will be longer than norm.

While the book speaks about Dreams, i interpret them as Gifts. As i shared, my children, gifts from the Dream Giver, have been surrendered to Him for many years and almost every other area of my life as well. But there remains one that is still in my charge, so i think. This gift was given to me over 43 years ago, when i had no clue about much of anything. Some people would say that i am co-dependent and they may very well be right, but that’s okay. If this is co-dependency then i would have to say that i am co-dependent on God as well.

Forty-three years ago, as i sat in the high school cafeteria, i looked across a row of tables, chairs, and students, as my eyes were drawn to this absolutely breath-taking young girl. It was then and there that i felt like the Dream Giver gave me the person i would spend the rest of my life with. It was three years later when we were married and to this day, i am still enamored with her, that’s not to say that she doesn’t have her moments when… i’ll just leave it there.

For many, years i have said that i would die first, as i do not want to live life without her in it, of course that’s my plan, not necessarily the Dream Givers. Enough gushy stuff. When i need a hug, a touch, a kiss she is who i go to. When i need input she is who i go to. When i need encouragement she is who i go to. When i need help to understand something, she is who i go to. When, whatever, she is who i go to. She has always been my love and i might add my only love. She is my best friend, even when we disagree. She is my confidant, my companion, my dream, my gift. Now for sure many will say that i am co-dependent, go ahead, i am okay with it.

Seriously, if men and women were more co-dependent on each other there wouldn’t be an over 50% divorce rate. If people were more co-dependent they would respect others verses stealing, murdering, slandering, ignoring, cheating on, and all the other unthinkable things that we do to one another.

The Dream Giver is asking me to surrender her to Him. On the surface i have but deep within me… not so much. All those “i go to her” situations are all fine with this exception, i go to her before i go to the Dream Giver. Who would have guessed? Truth is, i trust her. Yep i just said that, “i trust her.” i trust God in so many areas but, not so much when it comes to her. i am not sure that He will do with her what i think i want and need. It sounds ridiculous. i could quote a dozen verses regarding His plans for me, but in this area i like my plan just fine.

Don’t get carried away with what your thinking, God is at the very core of my being, He is in control, i trust Him with my life, just not in this instance. How foolish this all sounds as i type it.

But… in closing i could only hope my children are having this problem in their relationship with their spouse. Further as my grandchildren grow up and look for a spouse, i hope they to experience a look across the table that will last them their entire lives, that will keep them strong when things (life) is difficult.  i feel as though i have not done this justice so i will spend more time on it in the days to come. And of course i must find a way for me to surrender to the Dream Givers request. SANCTUARY time?

Until… 2012 ends and 2013 begins. Unlike past years i would be very excited to have just made it through another year, and almost dreadfully anticipating yet another year. Not this time! i am sharing my personal journal of “Counting Down The Days Until… which is based on the book “The Dream Giver.

In the morning, Ordinary entered a broad valley that seemed to lead up to the high country. The Land of Promise was near. Soon he came upon a sign that

read: “Beware, Dreamer! Valley of the Giants!” Ordinary stared at the sign. So the returning Dreamers were right. Giants were real.

Wilkinson, Bruce; Heather Kopp (2009-01-21). The Dream Giver: Following Your God-Given Destiny (Kindle Locations 1450-1454). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

So now what? i have no weapons. i have no plan. But the Dream is more real than ever. i have more trust in the Dream Giver but this is not what i expected. As we say around the Onething Campus, “Whatcha gonna do?”

Today i don’t see any giants but i’m relatively sure they are there or why would there be a warning sign. I could use some encouragement today. Some reassurance that i haven’t made a mistake or taken a wrong turn. i sense that it, would be foolish to turn back! But??

Bruce Wilkinson says, “Because my Giant is strong evidence that i’m right on track to achieve the Big Dream God put in my heart.”

“Whatcha gonna do? Press on is all that seems to be reasonable, but the giants are still scary even though i can’t see it today. Even though i tend to be spontaneous and an adventurous kinda person, when i am made to sit down and face potential obstacles before i see them is causes me great angst. my normal confidence and strength becomes like a wet noodle.

So the Giants are very real and can be overwhelming. Overcoming a Giant will require me to apply everything i’ve learned on the journey thus far, courage, wisdom, trust, endurance, and surrender to God. Now God’s power will be required for me to overcome any Giant, and most likely i’ll need a miracle or two.

Since my Dream is unique, i am aware that nobody else can really help me, that is other than God. All the people around me can do, is encourage me to continue the journey, that will have to be enough, my complete and utter trust and dependence must be in God. Sanctuary was one of my “Recycled” moments. It was a time for me to pass through a cycle, to undergo reuse or renewal; be subject to or suitable for further use, activity. i know that trusting God is the only way but i can never hear it to many times thus i am being “recycled.”

In closing, Upon the completion of Moses special scouting mission of spying out the Promised Land, the scouting party of twelve returned unto Israel after spending 40 days evaluating the land and its defenders. However their highly anticipated return unfortunately did not produce a high degree of hope for occupying the Promised Land. In fact the quotation from the fourteenth chapter of the book of Numbers says it all, “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.”

The reason the people wept was not because the scouts had returned with information indicating that they’d had been misled by God about the goodness of the land. Rather, they wept because the occupiers of the land that God had promised them were mightier, stronger, and were in fact giants, men of legendary exploits. These giants presented an intimidating obstacle.

In otherwards they saw the Giants as being bigger than God. i have been in that place in the past, but not this year, “And ed lifted up his voice, with praise and is exceedingly greatful!

 

 

Until… 2012 ends and 2013 begins. Unlike past years i would be very excited to have just made it through another year, and almost dreadfully anticipating yet another year. Not this time! i am sharing my personal journal of “Counting Down The Days Until… which is based on the book “The Dream Giver.

Okay so i was sitting in front of my computer pondering what to post today. i thought i would go ahead and share what the Dream Giver was asking me to give Him that was more difficult than giving him my children… but not today. Someone was leaving and had asked if i had seen this movie that she thought went well with my current look at the book called the Dream Giver. my response was no and so i googled it, found it and watched a clip from it. Thus this is why todays post can be found by watching a video clip which can be found by clicking on the following link.

Some will hate it because it will stick in your mind for a day… or maybe two. That’s what i liked about it. It will make me think beyond the initial reading or listening. A fair warning would be that it’s like It’s A Small World. With 27 days left i have time to let all this get into my spirit which this clip will do for some extended period of time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbVlGESh9Mc

Until… 2012 ends and 2013 begins. Unlike past years i would be very excited to have just made it through another year, and almost dreadfully anticipating yet another year. Not this time! i am sharing my personal journal of “Counting Down The Days Until… which is based on the book “The Dream Giver.

Now that… or i should say, “that as” my relationship with God deepens into a genuine trust in His character, i will be ready for His final invitation. “Come higher.” God will… i should say “is asking” me to consecrate myself to Him— and surrender my Dream. This invitation has a great resemblance to Step 3 in my 12 Step process. i’m speaking of the consecration portion not the surrender of the dream. But i am beginning to see how even that is part of my 12 Steps.

my first thought, is the same as Ordinaries, shocked, to say the least. Give back “MY” Dream, after all the hardships i have faced on “MY” journey? i am holding onto my dream tighter than ever. How could anyone including the Dream Giver expect me to give it up?

I’ll never forget a time when we first mover to Florida, God asked me  to do what seemed to be an impossible. One day while working in my study and wondering what we were to do now, i heard “Give Me your children.”  i couldn’t believe my ears. Then I said “no,” and for several weeks i was in turmoil. The struggle was intense and filled with emotion, anger, frustration, guilt. When i was finally able to release my children completely into God’s care, it was painful, but  freeing at the same time. Two weeks later my daughter was in a serious car accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. But God! We are enjoying the more than 10 years she has been living life with us since then. From that day on, my children no longer belong to me, but to God. They are His gift to me, to love and cherish. In this instance God saw fit to give her back to us but i am well aware that there may come that day when His plans will be other than what i will view as favorable. As a parent, you especially understand my intense struggle during these times. The things i love the most, i hold most closely.

There are many times when i felt as though a certain chapter of my life was over. It was as though i was being forced to choose between God and my Dream, fortunately,  i have most often chosen God’s invitation to surrender my Dream, but it is difficult to accept. Surrender isn’t a one-time event.

Every choice in Sanctuary is an invitation. And the truth is, a huge majority of Dreamers choose to keep their Dreams. Dreams are meant to be about more than itself or me. A God-given Dream brings me together with what God wants to do in His world through me.

There are millions of Dreamers that are more selfish than the Dream Giver intended. They get corrupted. They make people “successful” but not fulfilled. They build the reputation of a person but often bring dishonor to the Dream Giver. They do as much harm as good— and sometimes a lot more.

In closing, i have been challenged to unconditionally release more of my Dreams to God, to put them in His hands and walk away. Not a symbolic surrender, but a real one. Surrendering my children and grandchildren were my most difficult thus far but this new challenge is even greater.

Bruce Wilkinson says, “I remember a time when sickness forced me to slow down and receive the restoration I desperately needed.” This past weekend Ann Marie and i went away, guess what….? i got sick and we found ourselves just resting. In fact we didn’t even go to one of my favorite restaurants which i had a free meal certificate for from my birthday. When i say favorite it’s number 1 or 2. They come to the table and offer you almost every kind of meat and over 80 items on the salad bar, and it’s all you can eat. But we passed, did i mention mine was free?

i now understand that the water in the pool is water of restoration and it is preparing me for what comes next. i have thought of it as the destination. God is inviting me into closer relationship, but somehow i have missed that fact. First, i am to “Come to the water”, now it’s, “Come into the light.” Diving into the pool is one thing but exposing myself to more light is a little more challenging. What about my… baggage? My flaws, my sins, my addiction to sin,  it’s so, so, so unattractive. This is so much in align with my Step 4 “Fearless” moral inventory thing and helps me build on Steps 1,2,and 3.

Coming into the light is about allowing God’s light to enter those dark areas of my life.

2 Samuel 22:29 You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.  Job 33:28 says, “He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.”

Living to enjoy the light is a humbling experience and an awesome experience, that is when i surrender and go there. It’s in this place that my relationship with God deepens into a genuine trust in His character. Notice that nowhere have i attached a time stamp on any of this. It could be moments but most likely from my experience it’s days, weeks, months and even years.

Then, while in that place, while in the light i can do as David did in Psalm 104 1-4 and 33-35 “”O my soul, bless God! God, my God, how great you are!     beautifully, gloriously robed, Dressed up in sunshineOh, let me sing to God all my life long, sing hymns to my God as long as I live! Oh, let my song please him; I’m so pleased to be singing to God. But clear the ground of sinners—no more godless men and women! O my soul, bless God!

Until… 2012 ends and 2013 begins. Unlike past years i would be very excited to have just made it through another year, and almost dreadfully anticipating yet another year. Not this time! i am sharing my personal journal of “Counting Down The Days Until… which is based on the book “The Dream Giver.

In the parable, Ordinary awoke by a stream and heard an invitation from the Dream Giver to come to His Sanctuary. So Ordinary followed the stream into a forest. In a clearing filled with light, he found a pool of still waters and sensed there the Dream Giver’s presence. When you enter Sanctuary, the first call you hear will invite you to leave behind the dirt and hurt of the WasteLand. “Come to the water.” (Wilkinson, Bruce; Heather Kopp (2009-01-21). The Dream Giver: Following Your God-Given Destiny (Kindle Locations 1349-1352). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.)

Voluntarily resting is not an easy task for me although it has become easier in the past few years. For most of my life i was a freight train, now i’m more like the little engine that could. i still can, but it’s measured more in inches than miles. But it’s okay, because i am learning to enjoy the actual journey, the sights along the way, the people who i meet versus just hurry up and get there. i’d love to take a train trip across the country instead of flying.

“When Ordinary emerged from the pool, the last traces of the WasteLand had been washed away.” It has taken time to wash the WasteLand from my life, things like giving a sarcastic answer when someone hits a sore spot. Then there’s not saying what i’m thinking but saying it kinda hidden within what i’m supposedly not saying. Also there are the body expressions that add or take away from words so that someone would be able to tell what i’m really saying when i’m again supposedly not saying it.

Slowing down can seem like such a waste, but i know that i know it is anything but. There was a temptation to bypass Sanctuary altogether so that i can get on with my journey. There have been times when i have fought my way through WasteLand and became so comfortable with fighting i figured forget Sanctuary bring on the giants. Why not, it’s just one more fight, right? Wrong!

i relate this time to my trips to St Maarten where i do nothing other than sit in one corner of the pool which has one palm tree that provides just the right amount of shade and i sit there quietly reading or listening to worship and just wait. For how long? No predetermined time frame, i sit until. Waiting for what, i do not know, but i have always come back from St Maarten rested, refreshed, and restored. i can’t be there everyday of my life so i need those places and times while i am in everyday life mode.

i have made the journey to the pool many times, washing myself in the healing waters and coming out cleansed from a wasteland experience. But… there is more to the journey, which until this season of my life i have not actually been willing to accept the invitation. It’s been a pattern of wasteland, go to the water, then back to the journey and facing the giants. Obviously it’s not been very successful most of the time. i often feel like i could have done more but for whatever reason, while i achieve some limited level of success, i never experience the fullness of it.

In closing, “The king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and i will give thee a reward.” 1 Kings 13:7