Tag Archives: dream again

Little by Little

What are you dreaming about?  I’m not necessarily talking about sleepy-time dreams, but the dreams and aspirations that drive you to keep on pressing, keep on pursuing.

Maybe you’re dreaming of becoming a doctor.

Maybe you’re dreaming of becoming a home owner.

Maybe you’re dreaming about the day you will become debt free.

Or maybe, like me, you’re dreaming of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Just over two years ago, a dream was birthed in me to leave the comfort and security of regular employment, and launch out on my own.  (you can read more about that here).  Today, I am President of a small manufacturers rep firm, and I’m continually amazed at God’s faithfulness to me as I make this day-by-day walk of faith into the future I believe He has called me to.   But some days … well, some days I just wish things would happen a little faster, success would come a little sooner.

That’s when I like to go back to a few scriptures that “re-center” my perspective.

“I will not drive them out in one year – lest the land become desolate and the beasts too numerous for you.  Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased and you inherit the land.”   Exodus 23:29-30

Here I am reminded of the simple truth that the success I am believing for must first be prepared for. 

When I first started out, quite honestly I barely knew what I was doing.  I’ve never Incorporated before.  I’ve never been President before.  And it took a while to quit viewing myself as an employee under someone else’s management, and grasp the truth that I was now Captain of my own ship.  If it was going to happen, it was going to happen by my actions under the leadership and blessing of my Daddy God.  It was also going to require more of me – more dedication, more humility, more discipline, more gratefulness, more leadership

“Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.”  Proverbs 13:11

In my Bible, there is a note that the phrase ‘gathers by labor’ could be translated in Hebrew to ‘little by little’.   Not only does this tie the two scriptures together, but it reminds me that success done right takes time.

There are no short cuts to character building, and if we are dreaming God inspired dreams, we should expect that our character must be developed to increase in relation to the size of the dream we are pursuing.   And that takes effort, energy, and yes … time.

Now one last scripture, and this probably my favorite.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…”  Zechariah 4:10

Little by little.  Success upon success.  Start where you are, and keep pursuing that dream under the leadership the favor of the Lord.  You’re gonna get there!

 

 

 

Seeds planted, with high expectations for the harvest!

I love to garden – to slip on my gloves and green rubber boots, and get out there to play in the dirt.  Especially in the spring, when gardening energies run high.  The blackberry patch invites me in to cut back last years fruit vines, and stake the canes that will bear this summer.  My Weigela is already budding out and is sure to be overtaken with blooms by late June.  And this year, I am absolutely certain I have cracked the code for a high-producing vegetable garden.  The seeds are planted, and I am anticipating a bounty large enough to keep my daughters and their families fully stocked with berries and vegetables for most of the summer.

But I like gardening for more than just the fruits and vegetables.  I like it because it reminds me of two beloved passages that have transformed my life.

Luke 8:11-15
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

 

Faith Like A Seed
My “Faith Like A Seed” craft project (summer vacation 2011)

Mark 4:26-29
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.
  Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.

In these two passages, I’m reminded that the Word of God is a like a seed that a farmer plants into the soil of his heart, which if it is held onto and tended will produce of its own kind.   In other words, just like those Kentucky Pole Bean seeds I planted are guaranteed to sprout green bean and not orange trees, I can be certain that all those “Word-of-God Seeds” that I have planted into my heart over the course of my lifetime, and most especially over the last few years, will produce for me from the type of seed sown.   It’s the way the Kingdom of God works, just like Jesus said it works.

And so as I carefully planted my zucchini, green beans, beets and other veggie seeds a few weeks back, I was also reminded of the “Healing Seeds” I’ve got in the ground for the healing and full restoration of family members.  Oh, and over there, I’ve got some “Provision Seeds” for financial blessing upon my income and retirement accounts.   I’ve even got me some “Husband Seed” planted, and I’m waiting in faith for that godly man to come along.

And guess what!  The “Career Seed” I planted two years ago is just about to start producing fruit, just like those berry vines will later this summer.   Yes indeed, for two years I’ve been callin’ in my harvest for that ‘perfect, well paying, and satisfying job’ to manifest … and in May 2014, after months of prayer and multiple confirmations from the Lord, I launched my own small business!   Turns out my perfect job wasn’t one that someone else was going to give to me, but one that the Lord Himself called me to create.   I’m a small business owner! 

Friend, if you’ve got some “Word of God Seed” in the ground … don’t give up on it!  Keep on tending to it by making sure you keep those ‘pesky critters’ of doubt and fear out of your garden and off of your seed.  And keep your seed watered, by continually reminding yourself of His faithfulness to you, and His faithfulness to His Word .

It may not look like anything is happening right now … but you can’t see all that’s going on underneath the ground.  So keep taking care of your seed, and believe (trust in) God.  With faith, patience, and a little TLC … that seed will produce!

Blessings,

Jenny

 

Receiving Instruction (part 3)

In my last post, I spoke of being ‘thumped’ and asked the questions:  What has God called you to do that requires more of you?  What are you facing that requires the very best that you have? 

As followers of Christ we are called put on the Armor of God and stand against the powers of darkness.  I have written about this to some extent in previous posts, and will come back to it again another time. But not every challenge encountered is a demonic attack.

Sometimes, we are tried (tested) simply by encountering other peoples stuff or other natural circumstances of a fallen world.   I believe this is the enemy’s A#1 go-to plan to come against those who bear the Name of Christ.  To put circumstances around us that test our character and test our beliefs – hoping we will take offense at the test and walk away from the very One who has given us the victory (through Him) in all things.

And sometimes, what we are experiencing is the consequence (delayed or immediate) of our own choices, words, and actions.  It is easy to point to outside circumstances for our pain and suffering, but it requires humility before God and a teachable spirit to allow Him to poke at and point at the areas in our life that need to be addressed for our greater good.  In the same way that a loving parent will teach independence to an infant by allowing them to stand  and fall over and over again until they develop – through testing – the balance, coordination and strength required to walk and eventually run on their own, our loving God allows us to undergo periods of testing in order to help us identify and confront the beliefs, circumstances, and behaviors that are holding us back from His best for us and poorly represent His character and His name.

Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.  Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.  (Matthew 5:13-16 MSG)

Lord, give us wisdom to recognize an attack from a trial, and show us through your Word the proper response for the challenges we may encounter in our lives.  When under attack, may we be quick to respond with boldness under the authority You bestowed upon us as Your ambassadors on this earth.

And when I’m ‘thumped’ by trials, may I recognize them as opportunities to be developed, strengthened, and even pruned/corrected.  As opportunities to be ‘proven’ as authentic and of quality, reliable and durable.

Who will I be when I’m winning?
Who will I be when I’m loosing?
Who will I be when stuck between a rock and another rock?

Will I choose to act in a way that is unbecoming to someone who bears the name of ‘Christ follower’?  

WilI I choose to stand boldly and confidently on the Word of God, fully relying on Him to bring this to a conclusion that is both for my good and His glory?

So what about all those challenges I have been journaling about for months and in some cases even years?   Well, I would like to end this post by declaring who I am and what I have!

I have the Wisdom of Christ residing in me (Proverbs 2:1-6, 1 Corinthians 1:30-31), and am quick to implement the corrections that God asks of me, because I am a doer of the Word and not just a hearer (Proverbs 15:33, Colossians 1:9-14).  That I take as my very own every benefit promised me as a joint-heir with Christ, knowing that nothing is impossible with God and no Word from God is without power or impossible of fulfillment (Isaiah 55:11, Luke 1:37, Romans 4:16).  That I am now experiencing victory in managing all my attitudes and behaviors, and that I am more than a conqueror over every evil scheme of the enemy. (2Timothy 1:12, Philippians 1:6-11, 1 John 4:17)

Yup, that’s me  – speaking of things that ‘be not’ … as though they are, until they are!

Be blessed,
Jenny

From my journal
From my journal

 

Receiving Instruction (part 2)

I pray I am always honest with God, with myself, and with you – my reader.  I never want to represent myself here as having figured out the answers to all of life’s questions, and/or be walking in constant victory over all manner of trials and temptations.    Nor, I pray, shall I focus too much on the unanswerable questions of life.  Why do we always feel this need to have an explanation for the problems of life?  This world is broken.  Because of Adam’s sin, it doesn’t operate (at this time)  in the way that God originally intended. It seems I am always wrestling my thoughts to the ground to put down that one recurring question … “Why God?”

Photo by Sarah Vaughan
Photo by Sarah Vaughan

As I shared in Receiving Instruction (part 1), I had been looking back through some of my older journals and was feeling a bit discouraged.  But as my morning devotions ended, I began to notice that throughout all those seasons of challenge God was at work in me. He brought correction to my heart about prideful attitudes.  He gave light to ‘stinking thinking’ that needed to be brought into alignment with His word.  He taught me about the power of my words to either bring blessing or cursing into my life and the lives of those around me.  He renewed my mind and mouth through the power of His Word and Spirit at work within me.

And He also gave fresh vision to the dreams I wrote about years ago.  Back then, I was at the very beginnings of this journey I’m on to step into His calling for my life.    A little slip here, a little stumble there, but it certainly was fun to read my notes from along the journey, and thrilling to be able to point to a place in time as the very ‘birthing place’ of dreams I’m acting upon in 2014.

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.  But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-4)

With that revelation, and believing God has called me to rise up and step forward as a woman of influence, I concluded that these seasons of trial, while not issued by God, can be used for a higher purpose to “test” or “prove out” my character as a leader. And I began to ask different questions about some of the challenges I’m facing today – now viewing them from a higher perspective.

Who will I be when I feel mistreated or falsely accused?
Who will I be when I don’t get what I think I deserve?
Who will I be when prayers seem unanswered?  

The truth is, I don’t much like being pressed and tested!  And it usually doesn’t bring out my most alluring personality traits.  But I was reminded that if I want God to open doors of influence for me, I shouldn’t be surprised to find that more is expected of me (reference James 3:1), for He is not going to give me greater influence if I am not presently a good steward of, or influence upon, the hearts and souls that are currently within my circle of influence.

TEST:  a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, esp. before it is taken into widespread use.
PROOF:  able to withstand something damaging; resistant.

I like the way Max Lucado compares testing to the thumping process a potter uses when testing (or proofing) his pottery.  If it ‘sings’ when it is thumped, it’s ready.  I need to sing more, and thud less!

What has God called you to do that requires more of you?
What are you facing that requires the very best that you have? 

I’ll take a break here, allowing you time to ponder that question as it relates to your own life and circumstances.  And I do hope you will take the time to post a comment or share your thoughts below.  We don’t live in a vacuum and I don’t have all the answers.

Until then, be blessed!
Jenny

 

Receiving Instruction

myAKDxiIt happens to us all.  You feel a prompting in your gut about something, or a light bulb suddenly goes off in your head.  Sometimes you may have a full understanding of it, and immediately know what your response should be to that revelation.  But other times it may be more akin to catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye, or hearing a snippet of an instruction – perhaps even just a single word or small phrase.  You may ask yourself, ‘Did I really see/hear that? What does it mean?’     Then just a few days later, you turn on the TV and come across a program discussing just that subject.   I’m describing those times when it seems like everywhere you turn, the same word/message seems to be coming at you –  from TV, to radio, to friends even strangers.

Some would say ‘the universe is trying to tell you something’.  But why listen to the universe, when we can instead seek understanding and revelation from ‘the God of the universe?’

Well, I’ve been having that kind of experience lately.  There are certain words/phrases and snippets of knowledge that have been peeking out at me from books, podcasts, and around the corners of my mind/understanding.  I’m hungry for them to unify into an cohesive understanding, and so as free time allows I have been setting aside quiet time to dig deeper, seeking His heart and His word for discernment and revelation.   This morning is one of those times.

“Leadership Is Influence: Nothing More, Nothing Less”  ~John Maxwell

From my journal
From my journal

In the course of my quiet time this morning, while talking with the Lord about certain challenges I’m facing, I paused to look back through some of my older my journals.  And in doing so, I was a bit surprised to see that I was writing back then about some of the same things I journal about now.  In some ways, that was a bit discouraging – because I would rather have read about former challenges that I now (in this present moment) have victory over.

For example, in 2010 I was responding to a prompt to ‘step up’ as a woman of influence/leadership, and had crafted a “Statement of Purpose” for my life inspired by John Maxwell’s book “Developing The Leader Within You“.   Oh, to read the enthusiasm and faith displayed in those 2010-2011 entries.  God was leading me, teaching me, I was being challenged and also changed.  I was letting go of (at least in part) the insecurities that had kept me ‘living small’ and was daring to dream of things impossible for me to achieve based on my own qualifications.

Then life happened, and it rather grieves my heart to say that some of the same fears and insecurities that I was writing about conquering back then are still stalking me now.  Oh, yes, I’m now much quicker at dismissing them as falsehoods (issued direct from the pit of hell) but in truth – I have not entirely “broken up with fear” as I so boldly declared in my journal back in 2010.  Fear was alive and well in my life throughout 2012 and a good chunk of 2013.  Which is why I (again) declared a Break Up with Fear in 2014!

Or what about all those entries pouring out my heart during seasons when I felt persecuted by unfair circumstances, or under attack in some area of my faith-walk.  In some cases, it was exciting to later read an entry about a fresh revelation or victory seen – but there were also plenty of entries that sounded a lot like my writings in recent months.

I’m going to pause here because otherwise this would be a very lengthy post.  Please check back in a few days for part 2, and while you’re waiting please take a moment to leave a comment or two.  Have you ever heard the same message coming to you through TV, radio, etc?  Or have you ever looked back to old journals, diaries, or photos/videos and what were your experiences?

See you again in a few days!

Be blessed,
Jenny