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What’s In Your Hand?

What's In Your Hand?

What’s in your hand?  Right now, my computer keys, but often you will find a pencil in my hand.  I love to write.  Sometimes, when I talk, I can’t think of exactly the right thing to say right in the moment.  Witty remarks, humorous responses, wise connections – sometimes the perfect response eludes me until after the moment has passed.  At that time, I usually think, “Ugh!  Why didn’t I say THAT?”

Writing is different.  When I write, if I type out something and then think of a more ingenious way to put it, a simple hold of the backspace key allows me to completely re-work the words until they flow off the tongue exactly as I want.  Oh, to be able to always speak with such grace and flow!  Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to reverse what we’ve said and say it correctly all the time with no one wise to our error?

God Doesn’t Miss a Thing

I have been staying quite busy lately.  You, too, huh?  Every moment seems to be filled with work, school, church, side projects, laundry, cooking, yard work, and other chores to take care of my family.  I was just telling someone yesterday that it didn’t seem that I’d had time to write just for myself in quite a while (note the last blog date – shocking!).

Well, I suppose God must have heard my complaint, because this morning’s post came from a heavenly wake-up call at 3:44 this morning.  I heard song lyrics in my waking moment.  “I am the wind in your sails, I am the wind in your sails, I am the wind in your sails” (Cook, Gretzinger, Hesler, & Hesler, 2015).

As I stirred with that song in my heart, I felt the Lord speaking to me that many times we falter back and forth trying to decide on a direction to turn in life.  But our error, sometimes, is just our lack of decision making.  He will bless whichever way we go – we just must decide to do it so that He can bless it.

Just Get Moving

I thought that was a pretty wild thought, especially for so early in the morning, but then I contemplated the lives of my natural sons.  If they are doing something that isn’t essentially wrong, against our beliefs or morals, or different from the way they have been reared – I don’t care what they are doing if it is honoring of the Lord and of our family name.

Want to go to school?  Great!  Do it and do it well, just decide already and get moving!  Want to work full time?  Fine! Get a job that will meet your needs in the long-haul and go after it!  Want to play in a band?  I think that’s a great idea – let’s just make sure that it is in an environment that will make you flourish as a person and grow in your walk with God.  Your dad and I will cheer you on, just get moving!

And this is what I felt the Lord speaking to me before it was even “bright and early” this morning!  Still pitch black outside my window pane without a breeze in the sky moving the trees outside my window, I heard “I am the wind in your sails.”  It was like the Lord was asking me, “What is it that is in your heart to do, My child?  Whatever it is, do it.  I will bless it; I will blow My breath of approval upon it as you step to send you sailing on your way.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, you can use what’s in your hand.”

The Blessing of Our Father

You see, just like I want the best for my children, God wants the best for us.  I want my children to use their natural gifts and abilities to help them decide what they want to do in life.  I’d also love it if whatever they chose to do was something they really were going to enjoy – for it to be something that they were passionate about.  While not everything we have to do in life moves our hearts or stirs our passions, (some things are just needed to get us from where we are to where we want to be) we do have the choice on what we are going to do.

As a child, I remember learning Scripture that became an early foundation in my life.  One was Proverbs 3:5-6, which reads, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all they ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (KJV).  The Message translation reads, “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:6).  The version listed at the top of this writing is, “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success” (Proverbs 3:6, TLB).  So what’s in your hand?

He’s Waiting

In each of those versions, I get the concept that if my heart is focused on the Lord, trusting in Him, He will direct me.  You only need directions if you are moving or planning to move.  In the book of Isaiah, there is a passage that reads, “Therefore the Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you” (Isaiah 30:18, AMP).  He’s waiting – what do you think the Lord is waiting on?  Perhaps He’s waiting on US!  Yes, He could just be waiting for us to do something so that He can bless it!  What’s in your hand?

God is waiting for us to do something so that He can bless it!

Isaiah 30:21 speaks to that concept as well, “Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left” (AMP).  If you are turning, you are making movements.  He is saying that He will confirm the direction AS YOU ARE MOVING.  And as you are making steps, you are doing so by faith, with the goal to please Him with every decision.  That is a lifestyle choice that any natural parent would want to bless, so what makes us think that our Father would do any less?  So what’s in your hand?  Hebrews 11:6 reads, “But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him” (AMP).

Acknowledge HimAcknowledge Him

Lisa Bevere posted a video sharing some insights from her book, Without Rival.  In the video, she shares that God is the one who plants dreams and desires within our hearts.  What’s in your hand?  She says that it isn’t an ambitions or competitive nature in us that drives us to pursue these ideas and desires, but that we actually fulfill Proverbs 3:6 that says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him” when we acknowledge that the ideas come from Him! (Bevere, 2017)   Continuing, she says that we can pray to God concerning our desires, “God, it seems too big for me, it seems too grand, but You are the one that seeded this in me for Your glory.  I’m going to acknowledge You and I’m going to walk in Your way” (Bevere, 2017).

What encouraging words on which to focus!  Those God-dreams, desires, and abilities are given to us for a purpose, and we need to do something with them.  We can couple Proverbs 3:5-6 with the passage in Isaiah 30:21, as Lisa Bevere suggests, knowing that as we go about doing what we feel led to do, while recognizing and acknowledging that the desire is from the Lord, we can expect further directions on the steps we need to take next and for the Lord to bless what we are doing.  What awesome promises are in the Word!  They surely will give us a great foundation from which to make sound decisions.

In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success. Proverbs 3:6 (TLB)

 

What’s in Your Hand?

Cupped Hands
What’s In Your Hand?

So, this morning, I feel the Lord stirring my heart.  There are things that I’d like to do but starting them is up to me!  There’s a song written by Helena Barrington titled “That’s When” that has been recorded by multiple artists.  The version that I had on repeat in my car back in the 1990s was by the group TRUTH.  Some of the lyrics are “What’s that you have in your hand?  I can use it” (Barrington, 1994).

Perhaps the Lord is saying to you today what He was saying to me, “I am the One who gave you that gift – use what your Daddy gave you!”  What’s in your hand?  This passion to write – I can choose to make the time for it, or I can roll back over into the sheets and wait for the day to break.  But if I choose the latter, will I have the time to make it happen?  My pastor has quoted Leonard Ravenhill many times, saying, “The opportunity of a lifetime needs to be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity” (1986).  Another similar expression that I have often heard is to strike while the iron is hot!  We need to get busy doing what we feel called to do and now seems like a pretty good time to start!

Don’t Roll Over

This morning, I had an idea for writing.  I chose to get up and write.  What’s in your hand?  What ideas has the Lord been stirring in you?  What are you doing about it?  Or are you just rolling back over into a comfortable position?

Use what you have in your hand.  Do what moves you!  Perhaps you are waiting to find out if it is His will for your life.  Let me help you with that!  Is it in line with the Word?  Will it minister to others, bless your family, or move you along?  Does it have potential?  Perhaps His will is for you to step, and He’s just waiting to bless that step!  He won’t force you – He’s already given you an invitation to move.  What are you waiting on?  Step out into your dreams.  Start!  There’s no time like the present, so don’t roll back over and get comfortable in complacency.

I encourage you to listen to the song “The Voyage” by Amanda Cook.  This is what the Lord was ministering to me this morning.  Amanda sings, “He’ll send the rain wherever we end up” (Cook, 2015).  You see, He’s ready to place His stamp of approval on your path.  He’s your Father and He loves you!  He wants to bless your steps – you just must take the first one.  He’ll be there to cheer you on.  You can do it!  He wants you to be successful!

Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.  1 Peter 4:10  (CEV)

Other Posts from the author:

Now that you are thinking about what’s in your hand, read about how stepping out into your dreams can fulfill God’s purposes in your life!

More from the author:

Get your copy of the author’s book Believing for a Miracle available on Amazon.

Listen to the soothing sounds of Keith Murray’s song Peace in the Storm here for free featuring Caleb Murray on bass, or purchase a copy of the entire album Peace in the Storm from the artist’s website.

 

References:

Barrington, H.  (1994).  That’s When [Recorded by TRUTH]. On Equation of Love [CD].  Brentwood, TN:Integrity Media.

Bevere, L. (2017, July 7).  Go After Your Dreams – Lisa Bevere [Video file].  Retrieved August 23, 2018 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRb8kJDAGmY

Cook, A., Gretzinger, S., Helser, M., and Helser, J. (2015).  The Voyage [Recorded by Amanda Cook].  On Brave New World [CD].  Redding, CA:  Bethel Music.

Ravenhill, L.  (1986).  Revival God’s Way:  A Message for the Church.  Bloomington, MN:  Bethany House Publishers

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Stepping Out into Your Dreams

“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
(Ephesians 3:20-21, AMP)

“The Lord answered me: ‘Write down what I show you. Write it clearly on stone tablets so whoever reads it can run to tell others. It is not yet time for the message to come true. But that time is coming soon. The message will come true. It may seem like a long time before it happens. But be patient and wait for it. These things will happen. They will not be delayed.’”
(Habakkuk 2:2-3, ICB)

Pom-Poms

Pom Pom, Cheer, Believe, Believing for a Miracle, Dreams

I have some friends in my life who have costumes for seemingly every occasion. These people are so much fun to know! But today, I feel like I need to raid their closets to see if they have any pom-poms. I bet they do! If I could do that, I would be waving them in the air squealing excitedly. I would tell you to keep pressing in. Keep pushing forward and focus on your dreams! Keep dreaming! You’re not too old and you’re not too young! You can do it – don’t give up! I believe in you!!!”

To begin, I think everyone at some point in their lifetime needs their own personal cheerleader. We all have had hopes and dreams.  We’ve had ideas of things we would like to accomplish.  But often, we let the demands of life and fear of our personal inadequacies come between the dream and the reality of seeing it accomplished. Sometimes we need someone who will encourage us to keep going toward those ideals for which we are hoping.

Chasing Your Dreams

This week, my husband was sharing about this very topic at church. He was telling about a God-given dream he had mentioned from the platform several months earlier.  He told about how our pastors had encouraged him to pursue his dream. The first words he used to describe what they did was “pushed him” and then he corrected it to “provoked.”  They had “provoked” him to pursue his dream.

Provoke One Another

The word provoked often has negative connotations associated with it. According to dictionary.com, it can mean, “to anger, enrage, exasperate, or vex” (Provoke, n.d.). I have two children, I was a teacher, and I have 3 brothers of my own.  As a result, I completely understand this definition, and it is the first one that comes to mind when I think of the word provoke. But the next three definitions of provoke are my favorites.  And these are the ones to which my husband was referring. Provoke (n.d) means “to stir up, arouse, or call forth (feelings, desires, or activity). To incite or stimulate (a person, animal, etc.) to action. To give rise to, induce, or bring about.”

For certain, our pastors had used their words and behaviors to stir him up to keep pursuing his dream until the dream came about. They didn’t just leave it to him to do on his own.  They kept asking him about it. Our pastors told him that they were excited about it, and that they knew it would be amazing. They believed that he could do it.  They believed in him and his dream.

Elijah

My husband then shared a story about the prophet Elijah. This story is found in the Bible, in the book of 1 Kings. There was a drought in the land, and the Lord told Elijah to go to a specific brook near the Jordan River. God told him to drink from the brook, and that He had commanded the ravens to bring food for Elijah to eat. Elijah obeyed the voice of God. He drank from the brook.  The ravens also brought him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening.

The brook eventually dried up, however, because there had been no rain in the land. The Lord then told Elijah to go to the village of Zarephath, where he would be fed by a widow. Elijah went to the town, saw a widow gathering sticks, and asked her for a cup of water and a bite of bread. The widow told Elijah that she didn’t have any bread.  She only had a handful of flour and a little oil. She was getting ready to fix that last bit for herself and her son.  After that they would die, since there was nothing else for them to eat.

Do Not Be Afraid

Elijah instructed her not to be afraid.  He told her to make a little bread for him first, then to prepare a meal for herself and her son. Elijah stated that God had said there would always be flour and oil in her containers until it began to rain again and the crops grew. The widow followed Elijah’s instructions. 1 Kings 17:16 reads, “There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah” (NLT).

This part of Elijah’s story is spectacular. But Keith pointed out Sunday that if the brook hadn’t dried up, the widow woman and her son wouldn’t have had enough to eat.  They would likely have starved to death during the drought.  Elijah’s obedience to God’s command brought provision and life to someone else.

Your Dreams Impact Others

This struck me hard Sunday! I don’t know that I had ever thought of it quite that way before, and I made it personal. My obedience to God’s direction could lead to someone else’s breakthrough! God gives us dreams for a reason. They can be a blessing for us, but they can also bring blessing to others.

After church Sunday, there was a precious lady who approached my husband. She wanted to speak with both of us, and I joined their conversation as quickly as I could. The woman told us that she’d had dreams and abilities that had gone dormant in her life.  She reported that as my husband had been talking from the platform about not giving up on your dreams, her own personal cheerleader kept elbowing her. She felt that the Lord was resurrecting those dreams within her. We had the opportunity to encourage her and pray with her before she left and I am now looking forward to hearing reports from her about the progress she is making toward her goals.

Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams

A couple of days later, I saw a post on Facebook from another person telling about how he’d had a dream.  He wrote that he’d been told by a family member that he had believed in his dream all his life, but that maybe he’d missed it. After all this time, it was just time to move on. I found this announcement of defeat heartbreaking. I don’t know what all happened in his life to distract him from pursing his dream.  Legitimately good, noble, or even responsible activities may have caused the delay, but to have your dreams squelched by someone else is regrettable.

Proverbs 13:12 reads, “unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around” (MSG). Sometimes having a cheerleader in your corner provoking you to keep going after hearing what you know God has told you to do is just the break needed to awaken dormant dreams. Once you’ve got that jump start, write that dream down somewhere so that you will see it often and the dream stays alive.

Stand on the Word

You can also find Scripture that you can stand on as a source of encouragement. I saw a video of a friend’s daughter quoting Philippians 4:13. She is two years old, and her mom said that when her children tell her they can’t do something, she has them say their verse. What a terrific thing to train oneself to do! Anytime something negative comes into your mind telling you that you can’t do what God says you can do, quote Philippians 4:13, just as that sweet little girl is learning to do. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV).

There is a multitude of other great Scripture to encourage yourself in the pursuit of your dreams. One is found in 2 Chronicles 15:7. It reads, “But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward” (HCSB). Another favorite is found in the book of Psalms. “May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. Might we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers” (Psalm 20:4-5, NLT).

Get a Cheerleader

Friendship Dreams Healing Cancer Believing for a Miracle

Tell your dreams to someone you trust – someone who will encourage you and hold you accountable toward the pursuit of those dreams. Remember what the Lord has laid on your heart to do, and go after it! God gives us gifts and talents for a purpose, and Proverbs 18:16 tells us that those gifts open doors for us.

Finally, keep in mind that as long as you are living on earth, God has a plan for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 is my most favorite verse, and reads, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (NLT). Your dreams can make a tremendous impact on your own life.  Likewise, they can be the key to opening doors of breakthrough for someone else. God gives us dreams for a reason, and He wants only what is good for us. Keep pursuing your dreams. You can do it – don’t give up! I’m cheering for you!

 

 

For more encouraging words on expecting miraculous things, read the author’s article, Expectation.

 

References:

Provoke. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/provoked

Photo Credit: (Step Out Into Your Dream) – A. Ray

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The Storm Dream

Storm Dream Tree Dreams Healing Cancer Believing for a Miracle

The Dream

Two nights ago, I had a dream.  In the dream, a storm was coming.  I was trying to batten down the hatches.  The wind was blowing.  The storm was dark.  I could see a tornado forming when I looked out of the front of the house.  I knew that my husband and two teenage boys were outside in the office.

There is a black iron dinner bell that hangs beside my front door in lieu of a doorbell. I ring it when I want the boys to come inside.  In my dream, I grabbed the chain attached to the clapper of the bell beside the house.  I pulled the chain and the bell moved back and forth, but I couldn’t get it to make any sounds.  The bell wouldn’t ring out, so there was no warning my husband and the boys of the storm.

I started screaming for them.  The effects of the wind was intense against my frame.  I could see how dark it was.  The tornado was just beyond our property line and we didn’t have much time to get to safety.   In my dream, I could see the trees being pulled up by the massive storm in front of me. I could see the tops of them rising out of the ground from the roots like they were carrots being pulled from a row.

Surrounded

I could see two other twisters swirling on the right side of our property.  There was danger from every side. I stood in front of the deck on the walkway, screaming at my husband and children to come inside the house to safety.  I could see my husband through the office window.  He seemed unperturbed by the storm, though he was aware of it.  It was like the three boys weren’t going to come out into the storm so that they could go to the safest place (inside the house) to hunker down.

At my persistence, my youngest son came out of the office.  He came toward me and the front deck.  The wind was howling around me and my clothes were flailing around me.  I was screaming for my son to quickly get inside.

Next, my oldest son came out of the office building beside the house.  He could see his little dog JJ out in the storm, and he grabbed him on the way inside.  Finally, my husband left the office and headed toward me.  We went inside the house and were all together as a family – my husband and me, both our boys, and both of our dogs.

Hunkering Down in the Storm

The storm was intense outside.  I didn’t have time to text my friends to get them to pray.  Not everything in the house was closed tightly like I’d have wanted it, but there was no time to fix any of that. I just wanted to stay low and remain safe – hunkering down and waiting out the storm, praying for our safety.

As I heard the storm wailing around our property, however, something inside me stirred.  It was like that storm was going to stay right there if I didn’t do something about it.  But what could I do against a tornadic storm?  Then I thought about what Jesus did in a storm.  I knew I had to speak to that storm.  I ran to the kitchen, which faces the rear of our property.

Speaking to the Storm

Standing at the window, I started screaming at the storm as it seemed to be circling the property.  I was telling the storm to go away in the name of Jesus.  I spoke that it had no right to be on my property and commanded the winds to cease.

The storm diminished slightly, and the confidence in my authority seemed to grow as the danger lessened.  Instead of just hunkering down, something inside surged.  I began to get angry that the storm had dared even threaten my family.  Before my eyes, the black, purple, and green storm clouds formed the shape of an angry, cloudy witch.  It felt demonic.  It was terrifying to see.  I continued commanding it to get off my property.  I spoke that it had no authority here, and it began to dissipate instantly.

After the Storm

As soon as the storm left, I heard a knock at my front door.  I went to the front of the house and opened the door.  It was the devil.  (Keep in mind that this was a dream.  I have no idea what the devil looks like, but in the dream, I knew exactly who it was.)

The devil looked like a dark, eerie mist.  Almost like the storm that had just left, only intense and thick right in front of me – like it could be touched.  I was trying to claw at him and fight him.  I kept closing the front door but he kept coming back.  Using my fists, I would swing at him, but it was like my arms got tangled in my shirt somehow and my punches were not swinging fully.  He then turned into flesh.  It was like he thought it was hilarious, my feeble attempts to hit him.  I bit at his chin and tore off chunks of flesh.  I scratched his arms.  But nothing I did hurt him, and it was like he was laughing at me.

Then I realized I was fighting him the wrong way.  I didn’t have time to get out my Bible, but I had to recall Scripture to fight with.  I began to use Scripture, but had a hard time thinking of any.  He continued to laugh.  My mind was coming up blank, and I was terrified.

I woke up at 1:43 a.m.

Making Sense of the Dream

God doesn’t waste anything, especially not something as precious as our time.   We spend a lot of time sleeping, and I know that Father God always wants to commune with us.  Prayer, after all, was His idea.  Because I know this, I try to always write my dreams down, in case the Lord is trying to show me something, warn me about something, or just communicate with me.

This is not an original idea.  All through Scripture you find story after story of God speaking to people.  In Acts 18, after Paul is opposed by the Jews, he goes to share the message of Jesus to the Gentiles in Corinth.  God speaks to Paul in a dream, telling him to remain there to preach as he would be safe (Acts 18:9).

Though I don’t always know what my dreams mean or what He might be trying to communicate, if anything, I look at them to see what He might be speaking.  This dream was very different, however.  As soon as I woke up, I realized that God was speaking to me through the dream and I knew exactly what He was telling me.

The Lord immediately spoke to me of the importance of being in His Word every day.  How can we expect to victoriously defeat the enemy when we aren’t hiding the Word in our heart?  We will have no sword to wield if we aren’t in the Word.  The devil has to flee at our resistance, but we have to be equipped.

God Speaks because He Loves Us

When I woke, I did not feel condemned, but convicted.  Like most people, I get busy – teaching, taking care of the house and the children, researching and creating things, writing, cooking – all noble callings.  I also spend time on Facebook and watching TV when I’ve wanted to decompress.  Those are not necessarily bad things, either.  But how much time am I spending in the Word?  How many times have I disregarded the notices that come on my phone to take 10 minutes to read Scripture and meditate on the Word?

Sword, Bible, Word, Dream, Cancer, Scripture, Healing, Believing for a MiracleHe wants us, His children, to be equipped.  It is not because He wants us to be afraid of the enemy or of the storms of life, but so that we will have a way to FIGHT them!  We fight them with the Word of God.  And there isn’t always time to text or call a friend to ask them to pray – to battle for you.  Sometimes you must act fast and take on the battle for yourself, to defend yourself, your family, your home.

His Love for Us is Personal

God was even specific about the time He woke me up from the dream.  143 might not mean anything to anyone else, but it means a lot to my family.  My husband often sends me the message 143.  For us, it means “I love you.”  God knew that I would recognize the time.  He wasn’t waking me up at 1:43 to scare me, but to tell me that He loves me and wants to spend time with me.

God wants to speak to me.   There are probably other nuances of things in the dream that He is saying if I took the time to really pray it through and ask Him.  I am only writing about the big picture – the very first thing He spoke to me upon my waking.

But God wants to equip me for the storms of life.  He wants to equip me to be a warrior who will victoriously overcome the enemy no matter what form he comes in.  God doesn’t always want me to hunker down and just endure the storms of life.  He wants me to stand up against the storms and speak to them with the authority Christ died to give me.

He wants that for you, too!

 

Connect and Learn More!

Connect with Holly on Twitter or Facebook.  How is God speaking to you?  You can also receive more encouragement when you read her new book, Believing for a Miracle – available on Kindle and in paperback.  Stay up to date with the book release by clicking here.

Read about using the gifts God gave you in the post, What’s in Your Hand?