I like dreamin'

Honestly I don't dream very often, or maybe I do, and I just don't remember them.

A few weeks ago I did have an extremely vivid dream... I had, under much duress, agreed to accept a new job.  Understandably it was a field in which I had experience, so I was reasonably confident that I could walk right in with some knowledge.  But I knew it was a mistake... I didn't mean to say yes... I needed to back out... I was paralyzed with fear, with frustration with myself... how could I been so distracted!

 I woke up
1.  thinking I was already late for my first day, and
2.  trembling with the thought of such a wrong decision.

After a few minutes I did convince myself, that yes, it was Monday morning, and no, I did not have a new job.  Whew, I was even more thrilled and thankful to embrace and walk into my sweet position that day.

Joseph was a dreamer... Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel - 11th son to Jacob and 1st son to Rachel.  Now that is a crazy story for another day.  Joseph had a dream, and that is where his story really begins.  His dream involved his mother and father and his brothers bowing down to him.  Remember he was the 11th son, so his sharing of that dream with his family, especially his brothers, wasn't met with high fives and cheers.  Genesis 37 tells us that his brothers hated him... maybe the fact that their father chose to give Joseph a beautiful coat because 'he loved Joseph more than the others' and maybe because after the coat presentation, Joseph shared the dream.  Then they hated him more...

Hate does strange things in the hearts and actions of people, doesn't it?  Fast forward, Joseph found himself in prison in Egypt after his brothers sold him as a slave.  We could spend a month or two of posts on Joseph, but today I just want to focus on one little/big piece of his life puzzle.  While in prison he befriended two dreamers.  They had dreams while in prison, and Joseph was given the ability [by God] to interpret correctly their dreams - one with a happy ending and one ending in that dreamer's death.  The happy one, the cupbearer to Pharaoh, was released from prison and returned to his original position with certain access to Pharaoh, the highest official in Egypt.

Joseph asked the cupbearer to "remember him to Pharaoh when he was restored to his position even reminding the cupbearer that he had done nothing wrong to even be in prison".  Wouldn't you think the thrilled cupbearer could just remember Joseph.  Joseph's plan was good - I need to get out of prison now... I don't deserve to be here... I am here unfairly and unjustly...

I would have felt the same way... but alas... Genesis 40:23 clearly communicates Joseph's continued stay.... "The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him."

Two more years, Joseph was still in prison.  His pan that the cupbearer would mention him to Pharaoh made good sense.  They surely were placed together in prison for this very time.  Joseph had a good plan.... God had THE plan.  Two years later Pharaoh had a dream... a dream that Joseph  would eventually interpret leading to Joseph's rise in Egypt as a leader second only to Pharaoh.  Two years was not the time for Joseph to be remembered for God's purpose.  

I wonder if Joseph was frustrated or angry or asked many questions of the Lord concerning "the" timing.  Wondering even today - if I , no how often I, push something or try to make "it" happen when God hasn't purposed that time yet.  

We are so very blessed to have the rest of the story of Joseph when he didn't ...  shouldn't that give us even more confidence in truly trusting God's timing for us?  

Pharaoh realized of Joseph... Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.

Maybe Joseph needed that two years with the Lord so that he could be taught discernment and wisdom... I do know this, God is teaching us ALWAYS as we seek Him through His word and through time with Him.  

Dreaming like Joseph... Depending on God like Joseph... 
Waiting patiently... well, giving that a real try!!  
Trusting like Joshua...
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9


Name the category for the list below:

One inch margins, 12 point font, double spaced lines, number pages...

Your Jeopardy answer:  What is... instructions for writing a research paper.  The word margin has been creeping into numerous conversations lately... and I can tell you, I am way past discussing research papers!?

One applicable definition of margin is "the blank space surrounding the text on a page".  So, just for comparison's sake... let's define our schedules as the 

Can you imagine trying to read a research paper, a book, a recipe, anything without any margins?   Chaos and frustration would define that reading.  So, what about our lives, our weeks, our days?  

Why do we even need margin?  I mean, really, we have so much to accomplish, so much to finish, so much to do.  Honestly some of us seemingly thrive on margin-less lives, just look at our fully-packed   schedules for proof.  Meaningful healthy living and relationships require time.  We know that - we've watched Dr. Phil.

Ideally, creating margin in our lives required intentional understanding of our schedule and intentional choice to allow planned "unscheduled" time.  Many great tools exist that encourage us to literally write out an hour by hour detail of our days.  Evaluating that detail can lead us as we choose "white space" to replace text.  

Reality is that some moments, margin is simply acknowledging  the need to stop - right NOW!  What we do during that margin time should be determined by what we intend our "text" to reflect.

If we intend for our lives to reflect Jesus, then our margin will imitate His ways..

A few ideas:
Time with the Lord... in His word.
Prayer - Communication with God, speaking to Him and listening to Him...
Time with a friend(s)
Absence of cell phone
Absence of computer
Intentional absence of "responsibility"

Do you see any repeat..

I love Peter - the disciple who might not be best known for his priority of margin - he was the "get it done", enthusiastic, close follower of  Christ.  Like me, I think Peter loved the "text".. He liked words.  Frank recently reminded me of that truthful cliche, 'a picture is worth a thousand words.  But honey, I can paint a picture USING a thousand words.  Often Peter spoke first - realized his "margin" need later.  I get that.  

But this one time... when he met Jesus, Peter realized a needed margin... listening - WELL!  Luke tells the story in chapter 5 of his gospel.  Peter and his buddies had been fishing all night... no luck.  They were tired - not looking for any advice about their trade.  They were fishermen, after all.  Jesus simply told Peter to let down the nets.  Peter listened.  He knew it wasn't the best time of day or the best depth of water that Jesus was suggesting.  But Luke tells us that Peter responded, "Because You said so, I will let down the nets."  

You know what happened... they had to call in their friends with a second boat to handle all the fish.  Moments later, Jesus called Peter to "fish for men".  

Jesus was right... He is always right.  The Bible offers some repeated advice over and over again. 
 Be still. 
 Come to Me when you are weary, I will give you that needed rest.  

Take Him at His word... Maybe today is good day for increasing needed margin - the text will benefit, and so will the readers of that life story...

But because You say so, I will let down the nets.
Luke 5:5b

The Book

2015 learn from...

Forever Book... to live by...

I love to read, to hear the perspective and wisdom of others, so I am always interested in books that those folks I respect are reading and writing.  So, just for fun I surveyed my own bookshelf to review books that I had read and that influenced or made an impact on my thinking, on my decision-making, even and especially my actions.  So here are just a few...

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller
The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
the end of me by Kyle Idleman

One proof I used to determine which books had affected or encouraged or even challenged me the most during 2015 was the old-fashioned highlighter 'test'.  I still prefer books with skin on - I know. I know ... my age and my technological challenges are glaring right now, but its just truth and reality.  By scanning many of the books I had read, these four rated the highest number of highlighter marks - most sentences, even some paragraphs.  Looking through an already-read book, highlights are the go to.  Sometimes, during those book reviews, wonder whispers, 'why did that sentence challenge or encourage me?'  Occasionally I will add a date or a thought to the margin of that book specifying the prompt for the highlight.  

Which books now and in the past have impacted my thinking most?...the ones that I had some connection with the author.  Sometimes that connection is based on a friend's assessment of the author - you know, heard them speak in person, met them, found a radio broadcast featuring the author.  Perhaps the subject or "meat" of the book was so applicable to something I had experienced or was currently experiencing that the words gently jumped off the page into my head.

Oh friends, are you with me?  We have at our fingertips the precious word from the Author who created us, who knit us together in our mother's womb, who calls us His treasured possession, His children.  He lavishes His love on us.  He sings over us.  He will NEVER leave or forsake us.  He bought us with the blood of His son.  He holds our hand.  He carries our burdens.

Though the mountains be shaken
    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  Isaiah 54:10

Open His book, allow His words to influence you, to encourage you, to challenge you... to love you with His everlasting love.  Read it... with anticipation... with excitement... with wonder.   Highlight it, thank Him for it.  Live by it.

For the word of God is living and active andfull of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing andjudging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12