Today is a contemplation day. Just a few thoughts to ponder…
May the Lord bless you with a special touch of His presence this week!
New Year’s thoughts popped into my head, but you’ll never guess where they came from! Here’s what happened…
The Empty Cup and Coffee Part
I stare down at the coffee cup. As I lean over it, I can smell the aroma of coffee…it’s coming from the coffee pot just inches away. I can even taste it before it touches my tongue. My palate knows that familiar hazelnut flavor.
I pour some half and half in the empty cup and fill it with coffee to the brim. I add a little sugar to sweeten it. My thoughts spill over into the cup as well…
Lord, may I be an empty cup this year. Emptied of selfishness, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, whatever sin crowds my heart, leaving no room for You. May I be ready to receive the infilling of Your presence, Your love, joy, peace, and all the rest, for without it, I cannot overflow.
The Thumbprint Cookie Part
As I stand and stare at the filled cup, I hear a faint sound. Something is calling my name.
It’s coming from the end of the kitchen counter. I move down.
There it is again! It’s coming from…sure enough…the cookie tin!
I open the tin and, lo and behold, a thumbprint cookie is calling me. Well, you just can’t let a thumbprint cookie call your name and not respond. So I did…respond. He and one of his friends no longer live in the cookie tin. They went so well with the coffee!
As I was making the cookies this year, the dough didn’t turn out right. It was all crumbly. It wouldn’t even squeeze together to roll into balls. So, I stuck it in the refrigerator while I made macaroons with almonds and dried cranberries. Yum!
Afterward, I got the dough out of the refrigerator and tried again. Worse. So, I decided to add a little bit of half and half. Ahhh! Now, I could make them into what they were meant to be.
I finished rolling them into balls, dipping them in the egg white and pecans, and pressed in the obligatory indentation, the necessary well for filling with red currant jelly.
My thoughts overflowed again…
The Lord calls us, but if we do not respond, He sometimes sticks us in a situation for a while to transform us. And if that doesn’t work, He adds a little more cream of life, a little more love, to make us malleable and respond to His touch.
Lord, add to my life all that is necessary to make me malleable, that I may be transformed into what You desire me to be and filled with Your presence.
And the Movie Part
I so love Christmas movies, don’t you? I know one of most everyone’s favorites is It’s a Wonderful Life. I always love the part where the Martinis move into their new home and all their friends and family gather outside the front door.
George and Mary Bailey stand on the front porch to welcome the Martinis. Mary holds out a loaf of bread to Mrs. Martini and says, “Bread: that this house may never know hunger.” Next, she holds out a box of salt and says, “Salt: that life may always have flavor.”
George then hands a bottle of wine to Mr. Martini and says, “And wine: that joy and prosperity may reign forever.”
My thoughts go at it again…
Lord, as the salt of life, I will weaken and not be the flavoring I am supposed to be if I do not partake of You as the Bread of Life and the Wine of the Spirit. Be my joy and prosperity forever.
So there you have it. My thoughts and prayers for the New Year…from the strangest places!
My prayer for each of you: I pray each one of you will be an emptied cup, ready to be filled to overflowing with the love and peace of the Lord’s presence. And if you find yourself stuck in some situation, may your heart be malleable and respond to His call, and may your life be made into all it was meant to be.
I pray your home be blessed with the Bread, that you may be fed and Life may go on; with salt, that you may be the flavoring in the lives of others; and with the Wine of the Spirit, that your life may be filled with joy and prosperity throughout the New Year.
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.
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