Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dreams...And All That Come With Them!

This post will be a slight departure from my usual writing style & topics. All with good reason of course...writing isn't intended to be stale. Think of this as a literary vacation. The Greece to the written state in which I live, if you will.

I've recently had a few conversations with a friend that broached the subject of the future...the plans of God and the dreams of man.  Obviously I have hopes and dreams for the future, but I also have a heart to be submitted to the plans of God for me (even if they’re contradictory to mine...I should actually say, especially if they are).  But with the recent passing of my friend, Ricky (Let me pause here and take a moment to say that TSgt Ricky Smith was a great friend and an even greater Patriot if ever I met one.  I had the distinct honor of escorting him home to Pennsylvania.  My deepest sympathies are with his wife Calyssa, his parents Rick and Caren, and the rest of his family.  My heart cries for you...Ricky, you will be missed.) I’ve been thinking about just how fleeting life is and what that means to the dreams that dwell in the same places of my heart and mind that hope is cultivated in.

I sometimes wonder if we dream too small or if we too easily dismiss our dreams as unattainable, ridiculous, or irrational.  I’m not sure when it became not acceptable for adults to dream the same way we did as children.  I think back (and I look at my 11 & 13 year old sons) and as a kid I had some (and they do too) amazing dreams.  It’s not that I wanted to do or be everything, but that I totes (heh, totes) believed I could.  It’s that right there that made the difference...I (we) believed I (we) could.  Because I believed I could, I was willing to dream big. Whoa! Dream big!

Sadly, at some point that all changes.  We’re told to be reasonable.  We’re told to dream rationally.  The ability to dream big is conditioned out of us and replaced with acceptance for what the world says we're capable of.  I don't for one second want to give the impression that we can dream big, then have the ability to achieve it.  Some people are able to achieve great success and make it "big" and NEVER give a second thought to God.  But, they also never reach the fullness that God intended for them.  Our humanity comes with a limit to the "fullness" we can experience, a thresh hold if you will.  Christ meets us at that threshold and allows us to cross it, into complete fullness.  <----That's another blog.

When we get to the place where we realize we can still dream big and God can still move us toward those dreams, there are a few things that come connected to those dreams and need to be realized.  Things that if not realized can send us crashing back to rational.

1. Hope
Dreams are built out of hope.  Hope is that thing we can only see with our heart.  It is attached to things unseen and unrealized.  Our logical side would call it silliness for us to hope.  But, here's the rub...dreams also build hope.  When you dream of the future it gives you a hope of what's to come.  The bigger the dream the deeper the hope.  A "dream" that is rational and easily attainable requires little or no hope.  Without hope we begin to lose faith in bigger stuff.  Hope is what our faith is built on, but not hope in the dream.  Hope in the God that can fulfill that dream.

2. Expectancy
With any unfulfilled and longed for notion there is an anticipation of it's expectancy.  Whether it is known or not as to when the desire will come to fruition, anticipation still hangs low. defines expectancy as anticipation and anticipation as hope.  It all returns to the idea that hope is the basis for all of this.  Essentially the idea remains that if we are to dream big, we should hope in God big.  We should be taking our desires and dreams to God in the deepest sense of the word.  When we depend on our own strength and ability to see our dreams through, the results are mediocre compared to when we let God meet our expectations.  Why settle for average when we have amazing available to us?

3. Disappointment
I didn't want this post to be negative, but this next part is a reality.  Sometimes, sadly, our dreams are not only unrealized, sometimes they're shattered.  Although it is amazing to dream big, if we live in a state of delusion in which we cling to the idea that just because we dream it, we can have it.  When the dream is shattered and disappointment comes (because it sometimes will) devastation surely follows.  And because your hope is tied up in the dream itself, there is no comfort.  On the other end of that, if you live in a state of surrender (in which you see the One that can fulfill the dreams and not the dream fulfilled) then you place hope in the one that can comfort you when disappointment comes.  I don't  say this to cause you to dwell on the fact that that your dream may end in disappointment.  I say this to draw you to a realization that although what we dream may not ever be realized, if your hope is correctly place, so to will your openness to be comforted by the One your hope is in.

Dream BIG, hope deeply, expect the amazing and realize that disappointment is not synonymous with devastation.  What was is not the best there dream dreams that make your memories jealous.

Dreaming Big,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Loved People. (HP/HP, LP/LP Part 3)

So I’m almost totally done with this series and it’s only taken me FOREVER to write. Honestly I’ll probably reread these and rethink them a number of times until I’m satisfied that I’ve got everything God put on my heart out in an orderly & sensical fashion. This is Part 3 of the 5. You can read Part 1 (HERE), Part 2 (HERE) and Part 5 (HERE).

I don’t think I can…correction…I cannot talk about “loved people” without talking about the Gospel. When I talk about loved people, technically I’m talking about everyone. Loved people are defined by the God that loves them and our God loves every single one of us. Sadly the real fact is that most people don’t realize or accept this to be truth. Because of that and for the sake of this blog and the whole Loved People, Love People idea, the loved people I’m talking about are those that believe and accept the truth that God loves them and embrace that love with the intention of reflecting it back to God and those He loves.

The entire Bible tells us how God loves us, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” In this verse we learn that God loves us, the price He paid for us and the promise associated with our belief in Christ. But many still question why? The answer is simply that He loves us. No matter what we've done or do, He loves us. Romans 5:8 tells us, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Loved people understand this. They understand that while we are still filthy, dirty people and on our best day what we have to offer God is filthy rags, He still loves us. They understand the mercy and grace aspects of God. They get that though we deserved what Christ received, God compassionately and undeservedly held that justice back from us. He extended to us unmerited favor and kindness...simply because He loves us.

But God does not aim to love and leave us where we're at. God’s true desire for us, the foundation of the Gospel is so beautifully delivered in 2 Corinthians 5:21 which reads, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The Amplified bible explains "the righteousness of God" as - "what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness." Us being separated from God was not ever an option for God, He took His perfect and blameless Son (a beloved part of Him) and literally MADE Him to BE sin for us. Then He was beaten, killed by crucifixion and buried, receiving the punishment we deserved.

Loved people understand that because of what Christ did on the cross, we are brought into right relationship (RELATIONSHIP...this is important and will be seen in the next part) with God. God aims to change us into what we ought to be and not without reason.

Bottom line is this: If you claim to love God and are allowing God to pour His love into you, you WILL be changed by it and you'll understand that there is one reason that God fills you with His love. It's NOT to horde it or to be set stagnant. It's to be emptied out. Emptied on those that don't get it. Emptied on those that need to be loved. Sometimes you may feel as if it's wasted on certain people, but it's NEVER wasted. Whether you see the fruit or not, it isn't wasted and it's not yours to protect from being "wasted." If you pour it out and it's rejected, you did your've only "wasted" it at the feet of Jesus. Ok, this kind of got into the next part, so I'll end with this (which is the title of the next post), Loved people, love people.