Two Dreams: One Solution

Dream Forest

I fell asleep quickly; I was so tired. I don’t remember dreams very often, but this one was significant. Or rather…these two were significant.

As I dreamed…

I walked through a lifeless forest, devoid of all its beauty. No verdant leaves or blooms. It was naked and dead. The ground seemed hard and bare without the beauty of flowers or the cushion of grass, only the crunch of dead leaves beneath my feet. All was dark and dreary. I shivered in the gloomy surroundings.

Mushrooms began popping up everywhere. Instantly, I knew they were poisonous. Walking without stepping on them was next to impossible. I felt frightened.

I awakened and bolted upright. “Lord, what does this mean?” I received no answer and fell immediately back to sleep.

I began to dream again.

Dream Forest 2

I walked through another forest, though nothing like the first one. This forest burst forth with lush, green underbrush. Trees displayed golden-bronze, bittersweet, tangerine, bright red, and burgundy highlights. Grass and flowers were profuse.

I rubbed my eyes. There seemed to be a slight fog over it all, yet it did not alter the beauty of the forest. No, it was not a fog; it was something else.

Remember the stare game? I’m sure you’ve played it. You stare at an object for about one minute, then look away and stare at something else. The impression of the object first focused on is then superimposed upon any other object looked at.

What did I see? Impressed over all the forest was the image of Jesus.

Movement of some sort caught my attention. I glanced over to see a mushroom pop up and immediately disappear. Then, just as suddenly, a flower replaced it. I was surrounded by mushrooms popping up and disappearing and flowers appearing. I felt a deep, full joy.

The dream was over and I awoke again.

Puzzled, I asked, “Lord, please, what does all this mean?”

The Lord answered…

“In your first dream, all seemed dark, lost, and devoid of life and beauty. Why? Because the mushrooms symbolize your thoughts of worries, doubts, and anxieties that pop up concerning your circumstances, even over your future. They are truly poisonous. They darken your whole outlook on life and your surroundings. They expand in your mind and can even bring disease and toxic emotions.*

Clinging to these troubling thoughts is harmful. Bring them into the captivity of Christ.

“And what about the second dream?” I asked.

In your second dream, you walked through the beauty of a life focused on Me. Life, with its blazing colors of joy and comfort I create for everyday living. The mushrooms disappeared because you did not allow them to become poisonous matter. Every time a negative thought of worry or doubt arose, you immediately replaced it with praise and it filled you with joy.

I am your focus. Look away from your sordid circumstances and behold Me with such intensity that My image is impressed upon everything else in your life.

Love, joy, peace, comfort, hope, strength, power, healing, patience, humility, wisdom, forgiveness, provision, and victory…all can be yours. Just remember Paul’s words to the Philippians, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Live by faith, not by sight. Your faith-vision is to see Me. Concentrate on Me and your thoughts will be more positive, your praise more abundant, and your joy more full.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” (Phil. 4:8 Voice)

My sweet readers, may all your dreams be filled with solutions.

~Lord, help me to turn all my toxic mushroom-thoughts into beautiful flowers of praise.

* “Change in your thinking is essential to detox the brain.” Dr. Caroline Leaf

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Does This [blank] Make My But Look Big?

But looks big

Buts! We all have them. I mean the verbal kind.

Excuses, excuses! We all make them.

* I’m afraid
* Me? Never!
* It’s too hard
* I can’t do this
* I don’t want to
* I’m too whatever
* I never learned to…
* Someone will laugh at me
* I don’t have that talent/gift
* I’ve never done this before
* Why should I be the one to…

We aren’t satisfied with those, so we start inserting the negative in with the positive by adding the but…

* I like my job but…
* It’s great day but…
* My wife is caring but…
* My husband is kind but…
* He’s a great worker but…
* She’s my best friend but…
* My children are good but…
* We had a wonderful time but…
* The people at work are nice but…

I know. Some buts are necessary to explain circumstances. However, I think we have fallen into a but pit!

We limit ourselves with all the buts.
We kill our joy and positive thinking with all the negatives! Negatives are fetters that bind us to earth, tether our souls to the world and keep us from soaring in the heavenlies.

For every negative, we need to substitute a positive.

How many negatives and buts do we put into our prayers? We expect an outcome to be positive, so we pray how? With a negative, I can’t… I’m not…But if You don’t…I trust You, Lord, but…

Instead, we should add plenty of positives by worshiping, praising, and thanking God for the answers, for what He is doing and will do, and just for Who He is.

And what about after we pray? What do we do? If we pray positively, we go right back to speaking the buts and the negatives. Out of our mouth comes: I prayed and believed but I don’t think God will work it out for me. I know God is good but…

Solomon warned, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23 Masoretic Text) Another version says, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” (New Century Version) And so do your words!

Knowing the consequences of his thoughts and words, David was wise to pray, “Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.” (Ps. 141:3 NLT)

I’ve learned that thankfulness and praise are the best replacements for any complaints, turning each negative into a positive.

Have “you confessed the good confession” lately? (1 Tim. 6:12 Amp)

Negativity will always make our but look big. I hope my but is shrinking! (Ha! In more ways than one!) However, God is always bigger than my but!

So, how’s your but?

Hooking up with…

katherines corner



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At the End of the Driveway

As soon as hubby drove out the driveway, I started my daily housewifely duties: picking up his socks and turning them right side out, turning off the lights he left on, closing the doors and cabinet doors he left open, putting his dishes in the sink, and whatever else I could find that he had done or left undone.
And then, it started:
Why does he leave his socks all balled up? Why can’t he turn off the lights? Why can’t he close the cabinet doors? Why can’t he put his glass in the sink? Why can’t he…
On and on, I mumbled, all in my heart and under my breath. I grumbled while I washed the clothes. I complained while I did the dishes. I murmured while I vacuumed. This negative attitude seeped into other areas of my thinking. Its tentacles grabbed my thoughts and slowly began to suck the life out of me.
I noticed negativity taking a foothold. I started to frown more often. My heart became two sizes too small, just like the Grinch’s heart.
I mumbled to myself that…

…my children wouldn’t clean up their rooms or make the right choices.
…my server brought my salad after my entrée, didn’t fill my water glass, brought me someone else’s meal, or ignored me altogether.
…the person in the car in front of me drove too slowly in the fast lane.
…the nosy neighbor across the street was always watching to see what we were doing and why couldn’t she mind her own business.
Oh, the endless list! I stumbled over all the negative pebbles I flung in my own path.
All this happened many years ago until it finally dawned on me: What is my grumbling and complaining doing to me? What is it doing to my marriage? How is it affecting others? I knew that if I did not change the thoughts in my mind and heart, my negative attitude would spill out as poison on my husband, the kids, and everyone else, if it hadn’t already.
The Bible says, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt. 12:34b NIV) What would be the outcome if I continued? I certainly did not want negative criticisms to roll off the end of my tongue.
The Canadian preacher A. B. Simpson once said of the apostle Paul, “Paul did not carry a cemetery with him, but a chorus of victorious praise; and the harder the trial, the more he trusted and rejoiced, shouting from the very altar of sacrifice.”
So, I learned to give that sacrifice of gratitude, sometimes even through gritted teeth.
I learned that thankfulness and praise are the best replacements for any complaints, turning each negative into a positive. For instance, if my husband does something that irritates me, I replace it with a positive, like having a husband who loves the Lord, or having one who isn’t an alcoholic, who doesn’t fool around, who isn’t an addict, or whatever. And I do the same for anything else.

I found that, if I am constantly negative and boo-hoo my circumstances more than being thankful and positive, I magnify my circumstances above everything else. And if I am not careful, I will be just like the Israelites thousands of years ago, as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, whining and complaining, which resulted in dire consequences.

What is my response today?
Now, when my day is darkened with a multitude of problems that cause my gratitude to stick in my throat, I strive to remain positive anyway. When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, I attempt to find a way to be grateful.
I do my best to focus my thoughts on what is “true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.” (Philippians 4:8 The Living Bible)
When faced with circumstances beyond my control, I try not to respond with feelings but try to purposely choose to be positive, thus invalidating the negative.
I do not want my gravestone to read: Died from too much whine!
Now, as I watch my hubby leave the end of the driveway, nothing fills my heart but gratitude!
***I originally wrote this for Chicken for the Soul’s upcoming book The Power of Positive. It never made it {sniff-sniff} so I’m using it for this month’s Christian Writers’ blog chain topic of change. Please visit the other participants are in the right sidebar.
Life: Unmasked
holy experience
katherines corner
Reflections of His Grace

What Are You Wearing Today?

What garment did you put on this morning when you got up? Whatever was necessary for the day’s events or chores, right? Were they rags or well-cared-for garments? Did they show off your best or worst features?
You dressed your flesh, for better or worse. But how did you dress your spirit? Was it for better or worse? 
Did you go through the day dressed in the rags of…
…and accessorized with…
*a mean spirit
*a negative tongue
*selfish actions
How did you look? Did anyone tell you, “That looks awful on you!”?
Or did you dress in intricately woven garments, embroidered with the precious threads of silver and gold and stitched together with a scarlet cord? 
This wardrobe consists of…
Did you enhance them with…
*good deeds
*kind words
Did they show off theLord’s best features? Did anyone tell you, “You look wonderful today!”?
The moment you awaken in the morning, dress yourself properly. Put on…
*the belt of truth
*the body armor of God’s righteousness
*the shoes of peace
*the shield of faith
*salvation as your helmet
*the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:14-17)
Peter reminds us, “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT)
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14 NLT)
Happy dressing!
Today, I’m hooking up with…


Ooh…Did I Say That?

I love the old Andy Griffith Show. A gentler time…then.

In one of the first season episodes with the new regular star Elinor Donahue, Ellie, Andy, Opie, and Aunt Bee are enjoying a picnic out in the woods. Opie and Aunt Bee decide to go for a walk, while Ellie cleans up and Andy lies back on the blanket, covering himself with the local newspaper.

An article catches Ellie’s eye: those running for city council. Ellie wonders why there are no women running. She gets huffy trying to defend womanhood as Andy tells her she’s taking it too personal.

“That’s a silly attitude!” he tells her.

“Silly?” she retorts.

“Ooh…ooh…I didn’t mean to say that. No, I didn’t mean to say that a bit. It just slipped right out of my mouth. Here, give it right back to me. (pretends to put it back in his mouth) (slurp!) It’s back. And it had a ba-a-a-ad taste. A whole lot of times, we do things and say things even though deep down we know they’re just plain silly.”

Ellie glares at him.

“Ooh, did that bad tastin’ word slip out again?”

How often do we let those bad tastin’ words slip out of our mouths?

Sometimes, we speak negatively, spewing out empty, worthless words, like death, fear, doubt, unbelief, defeat, hate, depression, and discouragement when we should be speaking Life-giving words, like peace, faith, hope, love, encouragement, and blessings?

Jesus said, “On the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak…Your words now reflect your fate then: either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36 Amp, Matt. 12:37 TLB)

Whew! That’s a lot to think about!

He also said, “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.” (Luke 6:45b TLB)

What overflows your heart into speech? Do you have to say, “Ooh…did I say that?”

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