The Movie Reel

Movie reel

We all play little movies in our minds.

Some of them are replays. Like last week’s coffee date with a friend. Or a special family occasion. Or that regretful “I wish I could take back what I said” moment. Other movies are musings of the future. Looking forward to a vacation, anticipating the birth of a child, or dreading a difficult meeting.

Whether the mental movie reel is from the past or the future, it’s almost certain that a fair bit of editing has occurred. This is no surprise when it comes to events that haven’t happened yet because – well – they haven’t happened yet! (Unless you’re a time-traveller, in which case, I’d like to talk to you.) The past, however, has a way of becoming blurred, and we edit here and there until we’re convinced that the past we “remember” is really how it was. The reality, if we were able to relive the past, would often be quite different than the movie we’ve been watching in our minds. Compare notes with someone you’ve shared a specific experience with and you’ll see how their recollection is not quite the same as yours.

What’s my point?

All we have is the present. Now. This moment.

We can replay the movie reels of the past over and over again, completely missing the joy and wonder and opportunity of this day. We can also create movies about what is to come, often causing unfounded worry and fear to overwhelm the precious moments of the here and now.

It’s a choice. We always have the choice.

Those movies from the past? Watch them, if you like, but don’t camp out there. And the future? Let God handle that for you. He’s actually a lot better at it than you are!

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” – Matthew 6:34 (MSG)

 

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Breathe Life

bann

Every now and then someone crosses your path to inspire you. To encourage you. To breathe life into your dreams.

I had such an encounter today, and I firmly believe that it was God-ordained. My heavenly Father knew what I needed and He spoke to me through someone completely unexpected, and in a setting I would never have thought conducive.

The thing is, my conversation with this amazing person had absolutely nothing to do with the discussions – okay, arguments – I’ve been having with myself. We didn’t talk about any personal struggles or bucket lists or plans for the future. But . . . and this is what I love so much about God . . . a breath of life began to wind its way through the recesses of my rather cluttered and untidy brain. Foggy ideas are becoming clear. Long-forgotten plans are clamouring for attention. Dust bunnies are disappearing.

How awesome is that? How awesome is our God!

So, dear friend, if you read this, I want you to know how much I appreciate you. The intent of our meeting today was nothing more than to reconnect, but the Lord had other plans that neither of us knew about. Thank you for being a conduit for the download He had waiting for me. And I know your return blessing will be more than you ever imagined.

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Complete

complete_lean2

What comes to your mind when you think about the word complete?

Here’s the dictionary definition:

     – having all parts or elements

– lacking nothing

     – whole; entire; full

– finished; ended; concluded

having all the required or customary characteristics, skills, or the like

     – consummate; perfect in kind or quality

There’s more, but I think you get the picture. Complete means complete. You cannot be more complete than complete. What is complete has no further need for correction or it wouldn’t be complete.

Colossians 2:9-10 says this:

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (NKJV)

Stop. Read that again. And let it blow your mind a little.

You. Are. Complete. In. Him.

Him is Jesus Christ. You are the son or daughter of the Father. And you are hidden in God with Christ. Because you’re in that place with Him, there is no condemnation, no fear, no threat – you are in Him and He is in you.

The second you accept the monumental gift of salvation He offers to every single human being, you are complete.

Let that settle in your brain today.

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Listen

Fire

This is not our house, but our neighbour’s. It is the aftermath of what could have been a complete disaster for the family living there.

I woke up at 3:30 this morning to the sound of crackling, which seemed odd, given the usual silence of our area at that hour. I got out of bed and looked out the window to see flames leaping from the deck of our neighbour’s house, and I had to keep the panic at bay in order to call 911. Everything is so dry around here right now and the forest fire situation is dire. We live on the side of a mountain in the midst of a forest and, well, my imagination kind of flew out of control.

My superhero husband jumped up, got dressed, and ran over to the burning house to make sure the occupants were safely out. They were asleep and hadn’t yet noticed the fire. My superhero then grabbed a garden hose and proceeded to douse the flames, most of which were under control by the time the fire trucks arrived. A firefighter told my husband that had another five minutes passed before the dealing with those flames, the entire house would have been engulfed.

While this post is bragging on my quick-thinking/acting husband, I also want to brag on God.

He’s the one who woke me up.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been meditating on how to better hear God’s voice – to listen and know that I am hearing the voice of His Spirit. There is no doubt in my mind that He spoke in the early hours of this morning, and He was counting on me to listen.

Our Father is the real hero in this story. He saw what was happening and because He has a plan for the family whose house was on fire, He needed His people to get out of bed and do what needed to be done.

What does He need you to do?

Listen. He’ll tell you.

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Words Have Power

Words

Writers are well aware that words have power. Choosing exactly the right words for any given sentence can be a painstaking exercise because you want your reader to experience the scene just like you do.

But the power of words reaches to even the furthest corners of our existence.

This morning, I read Matthew 5:21-22. Here’s what it says:

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” (The Message)

Strong words.

Think about the sixth commandment, which very clearly states, “You shall not murder.” For the vast majority, this is clear enough and we get that God did not intend for this to be a suggestion or a guideline. It’s a command. Period.

But not only does this “written in stone” law prohibit the actual deed of murder, it extends to thoughts and words, to unrighteous anger and destructive insults. Calling another person stupid expresses contempt for their mind, and saying that they are a fool attacks their character. The above passage in Matthew indicates that the speaker of such words is on the brink of hellfire.

Yet, how thoughtlessly we fling words around, giving little attention to their destructive nature, their power, and their ability to kill. The consequences not only do damage to the one(s) to which we refer, but to our own eternal life.

Lord, help us to choose the right words – words that pour life and love and encouragement into the lives of the people around us.

 

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Flip A Coin

Flipping

Who are you, really? Are you who you say you are? Do your actions reflect the person you think you are, or someone completely different?

Let’s flip a coin and find out.

One side of the coin is your belief system, which is what you think and say you believe. The other side of the coin is what you actually believe and how you live it. They should be the same, right?

Wrong.

For most of us, those two sides of the coin are often very different and we don’t even see it. Is it any wonder that we get confused?

The word believe means to have confidence or faith in the truth, to be certain of something and have no doubt. John 1:20 says this:

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”

We think we believe all the promises of God. We even say we believe those promises. But do we act like it?

Next time you pull out a coin, consider which side is the real you.

 

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Undisturbed

Undisturbed

Last week at Bible study, our group talked about the scripture found in Isaiah 26:3 which says,

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Most of us have heard or read that particular verse many times and it never fails to provide a measure of comfort. But if we dig a little deeper, there is more to this seemingly simple sentence.

I wondered about the word peace so I looked it up in the dictionary and found these descriptions: a state of tranquillity; freedom from disturbance or agitation; freedom from internal commotion; quietness of mind; calmness; to be reconciled and live in harmony; silence to a troubled soul. Then I read that the term perfect peace in this passage is the same as the Hebrew word shalom, which encompasses health, happiness, and well-being. Cool.

I also discovered that the word mind, in this case, also has a Hebrew connotation meaning creative imagination. I perked up quite a bit when I saw that.

But what does all of this have to do with a writer, you ask? Oh my, where do I begin!

I think it’s a given that writers have overactive imaginations, and if you are anything like me, that imagination will work hard to keep you distracted from your daily must-dos and your nightly must-sleeps. It has to be put on a leash (sometimes a very short one) and trained to stay under control so that you can focus on the task at hand, whether that be writing or anything else.

That’s where the verse I quoted above comes in.

Perfect peace comes from keeping my mind – my creative imagination – fixed on Jesus, because that place of quiet in Him is where the words flow and the stories rise. It is the place where I am . . . undisturbed.

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