Don’t Ignore Your Dream

Ruth McDe

“There is still a vision for the appointed time; it testifies to the end; it does not deceive. If it delays, wait for it; for it is surely coming; it will not be late.” Habakkuk 2:3

The book of Ruth

In Ruth’s day, every little girl’s dream was to grow up, get married, have lots of children and have at least one son to carry on the family name. And so, as a young girl, Ruth’s dream seemed to be coming true when she married her husband, the son of Naomi. Unfortunately though, 10 years into the marriage, she had no children and her husband died along with his brother and father.

Naomi and Ruth decided to move to another area where they thought they could have a better life, but bad gave way to worse. Ruth had to scrounge in the fields for food the harvesters would drop behind them just to survive. Until… Ruth revived the dream she once had, and with the help of her mother-in-law, devised a plan to make it happen.

(If you’ve not read the story of Ruth you might want to, so the following short notes make more sense.)

  • Ruth decided Boaz was part of her dream and did her part to get close to her dream. – God has placed in each one of us a purpose. It’s our job to uncover it and move towards fulfilling it.
  • Naomi told her to spend the night on the Threshing Floor. – Threshing is the process of releasing grain from crops by crushing stalks. Our Threahing Floor is in our mind. It’s a battlefield that must be won by the Word of God and the weapons He provides for us. Our minds can hold us back from living the dream God puts in our hearts but the Lord is faithful to release us when we seek Him.
  • Long story short – Ruth and Boaz married and according to Ruth 4:13, “The Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son”.

Muse

  1. YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN
    Even when you feel alone, you are never alone
    Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you
  2. KEEP MOVING FORWARD
    At least keep moving towards the Lord
    Do the next thing: learn, do, etc
  3. GIVE GOD GLORY
    Give thanks
    Point to Jesus

Jesus died so you could live the life you were created for on earth as much as for life with Him in eternity. He has plans and purposes for YOU!  Life can get down-right dirty at times and there are many dream-stealers lurking, ready to pounce on your dreams day after day and year after year.  But know this. Stand on this. Believe this. ‘That’ dream from God, the  one that won’t go away, it’s doable, it can happen.

…If it delays, wait for it; for it is surely coming; it will not be late.

Ruth McDe

Change Your Stinkin’ Thinkin’

You may notice something that keeps popping up when you start making changes in life.  That would be enemy #1…ourselves!  We seem to be getting in the way of our deep desires and go-get-em goals.  For some reason, we allow self-doubt to seep into our best laid plans.  It gets into our minds and simmers into a ridiculous stew of; I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it, what was I thinking, I don’t have what it takes, so and so was right, it’s just not in my genes, and a hundred other negative platitudes we think will bring us comfort, but instead, drag us deeper into the mucky mire.

Most likely we did not learn this behavior all by ourselves, we learned it from others around us; a parent, teacher, coach, a sibling, peer, etc.  It may have been a one-time comment, or words that were spoken over us day after day, year after year.  Either way, it warps our thinking; who we think we are and what we think we can do.

My precious English grandmother had a boyfriend as a youth who told her, after a photo shoot, that she didn’t take a good picture.  She has not posed for a photograph since.  None of her children or grandchildren has had a picture taken with her, ever.

So can you change?  Can this madness be stopped?  Can the real you that keeps trying to break out, really make it through to the victory that keeps calling your name?  Absolutely, positively, YES!!  Your self-worth wasn’t developed overnight, and so it will take a while for you to walk in freedom.  But it is worth the work to be free.

First off, you need to know you are something special.  God created you in His image.  He sent His only Son to die for you – that tells me He loves you like crazy.  You are important.  I Corinthians 7:23 says, “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves to human beings.”  If you have a relationship with the living God, you are no longer to give power to other people and what they think or want for you, nor should you submit to your own feelings of inferiority, but you are to follow what your heavenly Father wants and says about you.  In the words of my friend Jim Casselman, “Our greatness comes through taking our eyes off ourselves and placing them on our Creator”.

Find out what your Creator says about you.  Read it.  Memorize it.  Think about it all day long.  Write it out and post it.  What He says is true, and if you will believe it, your stinkin’ thinkin’ will change.  In the normal world, we would think doing that could not change anything, but we are talking ‘supernatural’ and it does happen.  I’ve seen it.  I live it every day.

As you do this, when your negative thoughts come to mind, and they will – change the channel.  As soon as you think a negative thought, immediately think a positive thought or a scripture.  Don’t indulge that familiar pattern for one second because it will become a minute before you know it, and it will remain your life.

You can do this!  Remember; I can do all things through Christ.

Habits

Habits

Habits.  We all have them.  Good.  Bad.  And yes, ugly ones too.

Bad habits will cause us to lose a job, ruin relationships, drop out of school, end up broke, land in jail or even die young.  On the other hand, good habits will cause us to be the esteemed employee, the go-to person, the pillar of the community, the success story, financially secure, fit and in good health, and of course, a good example.  In general, we all have at least a few habits we could, and should, lose.  And we all definitely need to implement some new, good ones.

We are all great at thinking about starting a new habit or kicking a bad habit, and some folks are even good at planning it all out.  It’s the doing that we have problems with.  Yep, you know who you are, and I am just as guilty.  So, together, right now, let’s choose a habit to change and get started.  Only one though.  It’s much easier to focus on one issue at a time, but after a month, when your new habit is set or the old one is gone (we’re told it takes 28 days to form a new habit) it will be easier to add or remove another one.

There are two kinds of people when it comes to changing a habit.  The first group is excited about the possibility of change.  Something new and better in their lives is a good thing and they are pumped about it. They are telling other people, posting and tweeting about it and gathering everything they need for the big change.  Then there’s the other group – they are more fearful or concerned about the changes.  They are not telling anyone.  They are almost comfortable with life the way it is.  It’s what they know.  Change gives them palpitations and fear of the unknown creeps into their dreams with ‘what if’.

Both those feelings are not unusual.  Just don’t let either one rule you.  You rule your feelings.  Don’t allow yourself to get on such a high that you crash on day 6 and don’t let fear rule you and hold you back from doing what you want to do.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. –  Philippians 4:13.   Whenever you become discouraged, (and you will) remember this verse.  In fact, I suggest you write this out on paper and post it everywhere you frequent; bathroom, bedside, work, kitchen, tv area, exercise area, inside the fridge, anywhere your new or old habit would have you go.  Write it, think it, believe it, read it, speak it out, and whatever else you can do with it. lol   Jesus will give you the strength you need to do the right thing.

If you have not yet decided which habit goes or stays, you should hurry!  Don’t waste another day.  Life is too short not to live it better.  You can do this.

What is your new habit or which habit is getting the boot?

Are You Living Murphy’s Law?

‘If it can go wrong, it will go wrong’.  Does it feel as though this is your life’s motto?  Everything you put your hand to crumbles.  All your good intentions fail.  Nothing goes right.  You get up in the morning, and it’s down hill from there.  That’s Murphy’s Law.

I have good news!  Let me tell you about God’s Law.  His Law is every bit as real as Murphy’s Law and as reliable as the Law of Gravity.  It is, however, melded with lots of grace and mercy, and laden down with love and acceptance.  Strength and courage are required, but those are just an umph away (that would be British for tri-umph :0)), and direction and purpose can be asked for at any time.  Oh yeah, and we can totally trust that “all things work together for our good” if we love and serve the Lord.

After World War II had come to an end, there were some towns and rural areas in Europe where nothing changed.  The enemy still engaged in military bullying, lives continued to be snuffed out, Jews stayed in hiding, people remained on guard, all because they didn’t know they were free.

Read God’s word.  It is very clear that if you have accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, you now live in freedom.  A few folks don’t know that, but many more know it, they just don’t believe it or live it.  Jesus died for your freedom from the things that have you tied in knots; depression, sexual sins, inferiority complex, lust, pride, fear, anger, abortion, ___________ (go ahead, fill in your blank), and so much more.

So how can you live in freedom?  Here are a few steps from the battle field:

  1. Surrender to the Lord. Give in.  You know you can’t fix what you can’t fix.
  2. Say you’re sorry for your part in whatever got you to this place and whatever has kept you there.
  3. Change what needs to be changed. For example; if you have a problem with pornography, get filters on your computer and block channels on your TV.  If it’s self-esteem, do not allow your mind to think negative thoughts.
  4. Read the document. Find out what the Bible says about ___________, then believe it and do it.
  5. Become a new you.  You can do all things through Christ, all things can become new.
  6. Trust God to be who He says He is and do what He says He will do.

Get started today.  Name at least one thing that is holding you captive.  Now, begin the process.  Freedom is so worth it.

God Didn’t Answer My Prayer

Have you ever prayed for something really important and God didn’t answer your prayer?  Sure you have.  We all have.

When I was a young girl in Ireland, my family lived in a semi-detached house with about six small back yards attached to each other.  They were all fenced, but not enough to keep any human, or animal for that matter, in their own space.  It was in this place that I decided God would surely love to bless me with a horse, and I would settle for a pony if necessary.  So, I began praying for this equine blessing.  Every night before I climbed into bed, I would get down on my knees and ask the Lord to deliver a horse to my back yard, and every morning I would look out my parent’s bedroom window, to view the backyard in search of my blessing.

After a few days of petitioning the creator and owner of the cattle on a thousand hills, ‘I’ll Have Another’ did not appear in my back yard, thus it was obviously time to get more serious in my request making.  So I went to church and filled out a prayer request card, after all, this was important business.  I dropped it in the offering plate, and funny thing, my mom gave it to me a few years ago.  Anyway, I believed God would answer my prayer, and I kept checking for my horse every morning for…hmmm, at least a few more weeks.

The moral of the story is that God knew better than I did: there wasn’t enough room for a horse, the neighbors in our subdivision might have had a problem with it, not to mention my parents.  How would we feed it, I would only be able to ride it if it learned to take mice size steps, and the list goes on.

God does answer our prayers, but not always with a ‘yes’.  Sometimes it’s a straight up ‘no’ and sometimes we get a ‘wait’.  Personally, I can’t stand the ‘wait’ answer.  Limbo is way worse than ‘no’.  At least with a ‘no’ I can move on (usually) but that ‘wait’ has the potential to drive me crazy!  Until…I let go and trust the Lord.

We don’t see the big picture, but He does.  He knows ultimately what’s best, we don’t.  Let go.  Go ahead, trust Him.  It’s ok.  He’s trustworthy.

 

(For those outside the USA, ‘I’ll Have Another’ is the name of a recent famous race horse.)

Stress Less

I told you in an earlier post about having a regular stroke and multiple mini strokes last summer.  I did not fit any of the American profiles for stroke, and especially being so young (be nice), but I did fit the profiles of the Brits, Scandinavians, Japanese, and a few others – I had been experiencing excessive stress over a long period of time.  According to some experts, I was a time bomb waiting to happen.  And…I happened!

Since August, I have been learning to live with less stress and give to the Lord the stress I can’t change.  It is such a humongous learning curve for me.  And frankly, I don’t like it.  At all!  I must say, though, I can really feel a difference.  I still have crazy stress, but there is calm.  I’ve always felt peace, but now there is calm too.  (If that makes sense.)

Anyway, for those of you who are looking for some relief from stress, however that looks to you, here are my top 10 tips.  Some I am going gung ho at, and others, well, let’s just say I’m working on them (haha).

Here we go:

  1. Fresh air.  Go outside and breathe deeply
  2. Eat healthy, good, nutritious food
  3. Exercise
  4. Drink plenty of pure water
  5. Give of yourself to someone in need
  6. Think and speak the ‘good stuff’
  7. Talk it over with a trusted friend
  8. Learn to say, “No”
  9. Take time for yourself (including a good night’s sleep)
  10. Make Jesus your best friend. Spend quality and quantity time with Him.

Of course, each section could be a post all by itself, but this is a starting point.

The biggest difference, I find, happens when I take myself away to be alone.  Maybe just to another room, the tub, the back yard, or a park.  It’s in the quiet that I can think, and where I can hear my loving Heavenly Father speak to my spirit.  When my kids were little, I would head for the bath tub after dinner and be there a long time.  They would send messages to me under the door, but I was able to destress a lot.  To this day, I do the same thing and my young adult kids still slide ‘stuff’ under the door!

Training Puppies And Children Brings Peace To Us All

I just arrived home after a grueling puppy dog class. I have a 6 month old, Old English Sheep Dog lovingly named Belle (as in Southern Belle) by her supposed owner, my 21-year-old son, Josh.  (That’s a whole nuther blog right there!)

She has a sweet, loving temperament that turns into puppy hood madness at the drop of a hat.  She jumps, she deems it necessary to run between your legs, she barks (I know… she’s a dog), her licks turn into sharp nibbles, she tries to eat inedible stuff, she annoys other dogs, and because of her size, scares the life out of the children she decides to play with.  So, we took her to a puppy trainer and the first words out of his mouth were, “this class is not really to train the puppy, it’s to train the owner”.  Well, immediately I wanted my money back, but I did stay long enough to figure out he was right.  I stepped up to the ‘top dog’ position and the training has been going smoothly ever since.

I’m going to transition here, with love, to our children.

When we become pregnant, women and men, we realize how little we know about giving birth and raising kids.  It’s a very exciting and scary time with endless questions:  “Will it hurt?” (haha!)  “Home birth or at a hospital?”  “Will it be a boy or a girl?” “What will we call him or her?” “How do you change a diaper?” (nappy)  “Which school will we choose?”  “How will we discipline?”  “Should they ever have sugar?”  “Will they be allowed to date before they are 21?”  “What about driving, college, and sooo much more?”

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed.  Then add lack of sleep into the mix.  Oh, and don’t forget a toddler’s favorite word, “No!” and the fact that they (and teenagers) prefer not to do as they are told.  Waa!!  But wait.  There is hope.

Our loving heavenly Father brings us hope just by the mention of His name.  He knows all about kids; the good, the bad and the ugly.  He knows how to deal with them, what each one needs and how to love them through life.  And the best part, He will share all that with you when you surrender to Him yourself and your children, whatever age they are.  He wants you to train up your children in His ways, and when they are old, they will continue to walk in them.  It’s never too late to start even if you have grown children.

Here are a few of my training practices

  1. Pray every day (and some days all day) for your children
  2. Fill up every day on Jesus, so you can give out the good stuff to your family
  3. Let your ‘no’ be ‘no’ (don’t be a pushover)
  4. Listen to your children, let them talk (give them time)
  5. Teach them to make things right with others by doing so yourself
  6. Read the Bible.  It’s your training manual
  7. Have rules and consequences (that you enforce)
  8. Know their friends and their families
  9. Teach them about God, because others will teach them about everything but
  10. Say you love them and show you love them

Obviously there are so many more, but this is a starting point.  Just start!

Fear Be Gone!

I was spending the night in the beautiful home of brand new friends who were part of the church I was speaking and singing at in Connecticut one sunny, cool and beautiful week in the fall.  This lovely couple had done well in life and their surroundings echoed that fact, but even more, God had blessed them and they both carried a sweet, serene spirit.

Serenity ended when Ruth came to town!

At about 2am, a few hours after our introduction, I was awakened to Judy in my room telling me it was ok.  Apparently I had been dreaming, nightmare-ing to be exact, screaming my head off, and still asleep.  Talk about being embarrassed.  Oh my!  I was in ministry, but I had FEAR, and now everybody knew about it.

I used to say I wasn’t afraid of the dark, it was what might be in the dark.  Either way, I still had fear.  I would go into my room at night and literally check under the bed and in the closet before I would settle in bed for the night.  Yes, I have been known to sleep with my Bible and a cross. (I know, I watched too many movies.)

After the Connecticut fiasco, something had to change, so I decided to take God at His Word. (What a novel idea.)  I figured if He has promises about fear, then I’m going to find out what they are, believe them and trust Him to do what He says He will.  I found about 10 verses in the Bible relating to fear, wrote them on a yellow legal pad and read them every night and every morning.  I believed they were true and I trusted God to deal with my fear.

Within a few weeks I noticed my fear had gone.  Gone, I tell you.  GONE!

It’s still gone.  This from the girl who has since ministered to men at Ryker’s Island Prison where I was told most of the 80+ men in the room were guilty of violent crimes, including rape and murder.  I’ve shared Christ in the heart of Cabrini-Green in Chicago (also known as Gangsta City), literally stepped in between 2 grown men who were physically fighting.  I realize this is a little radical, but the point is: Jesus took my fear away!  And He can and will do it for you too.  Here are a couple of verses that I used.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  II Timothy 1:7

Perfect love casts out fear.  I John 4:18

Are You A Stressed Mess?

Job insecurity, ill health, straining relationships, financial struggles, too busy and raising kids are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to issues that can cause stress in our lives.  And stress does not come alone.  With it comes; anxiety, depression, fear, anger, loneliness, tension, and in more extreme situations; drinking, pills, illegal substance abuse, pornography, cutting, violence and even suicide.

The list above sounds devastating enough, but the medical community adds even more bad news.  Stress can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, stomach problems, skin diseases, and possibly plays a role in cancer.

According to Merriam Webster, stress means: constraining force or influence as a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.

Last year I had a severe headache (unusual for me), so I visited my Chiropractor for an adjustment to remedy the problem.  As the hydraulic bed was being slowly raised, I suddenly lost all vision in my left eye and was limited in the peripheral of the other.  Freaky!  The whole incident lasted no more than a minute but it would change my life.

The doctor came into my cubical in the emergency room, sat at my bedside and proceeded to tell me I had experienced a regular stroke in one side of the brain and multiple strokes in the other side.  You’ve heard people say that when they were given bad news they basically ‘checked out’.  Well, I had one of those moments.  The doctor’s lips were moving but I heard nothing.  It was quite surreal.

This major interruption has caused me to reevaluate just about everything in my life.  The one issue that reared its ugly head in most of my pondering was stress.

Jesus came that we might have life and experience that life to the fullest.  He does not give us fear, anxiety, confusion or more than we can handle.  He brings peace and joy, direction and hope…even in what could be stressful times.

Have you been stressed lately?  Give God control.  Trust Him with your ‘stuff’.  You can’t change what you can’t change…You would already have changed it by now!

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  I Peter 5:7