Laurel Thomas

Monthly Archive: September 2013



September 2013



Dream in the River

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Don’t be lured away from Him by the latest speculations about Him. The grace of Christ is the only good ground for life.

(Hebrews 13, The Message)

Have you ever been maligned, falsely accused and misunderstood by someone who should know better? Ouch. Nothing hurts quite like that. It might help to know you’re in good company. God finds Himself there, too. This is despite the fact He is a God Who can not lie. His nature, the same for all eternity, is perfect in goodness, faithfulness, and love. He already fully paid the debt of sin we couldn’t pay. Whoever receives that gift has open access to all He is.

I know I am fallible and that at times people’s criticisms are based in fact. But God is perfect in goodness and perfect in truth. The problem is a case of mistaken identity. I want to believe in the real deal, not a bad imitation. But my heart can get deceived. So I discovered a litmus test. It isn’t the only one, but it works for me. It unveils in vibrant Technicolor where my heart is with the real, living God.  It is the question, “Where is my dream?”

This is not a dream disappearing like a vapor as I slip out of sleep into a new day. God deposited this dream when I wasn’t looking. It is a desire rooted in hope of His goodness and infinite plan.

I learned that the words “dream” and “create” have the same root in Hebrew. We are made in the image of the Creator. Our dreams carry strength to create. Just as the river shapes the land around it, God wants the dream in us to shape our world. Dreams are so precious, they are worthy of grand larceny. Armored trucks and guards don’t gather around litter. Vigilance to guard relates to value. When we consider our dreams negotiable and issues of life scream, the voice of our dreams become a whisper.

A “dream catcher” is at work. Simple distraction turns a few minutes in cyberspace into hours. A  book waits to be written, a painting begun, a gift unveiled, as gaming consumes precious hours. The dream requires time. It also requires humility. Maybe the dream is in baby form. Pride says, “Why put yourself out there? Why risk failure?” Fear and intimidation raise their snarky voices, “Who do you think YOU are?” We might even hear covert dictators like, “OUR people don’t do that,” or “In THIS family, we…”.

A dream, like a young child, needs faith and encouragement. It thrives in affirmation and withers with undue criticism. Wise dream stewards are like good parents. They know a dream doesn’t need perfection to grow. They value the dream by guarding it. They know how lies stalk in dark alleys of discouragement and insecurity.

God forms the dream with great care, not as an off-handed toss. It develops by meticulous care, strategic planning and lots of faith. He listens as it unfolds like a song – first a hum, then a ditty, then a full symphony of hues and tones that fill the spirit, soul, and body with satisfying richness. Lord, give us ears for that song!

My heart bursts in its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. I pour out a poem to the King, shaping the river into words.  

Psalm 45, The Message



September 2013



Help in the River

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Dreams are funny things. Often we just think, “Well, that was strange” and move on with our lives.  Dreams we remember are often worth “decoding.” Let me give you an example.

A few nights ago, I had a nightmare. I was competing on Food Network’s “Chopped”. Remember how odd it is that me, a non-foodie, loves to watch others master the skill on the fly.

It was the first course, the appetizer segment. I took lettuce, added other basket ingredients and put them in a blender. Then, I placed the entire chopped mess on a paper towel and started plating for the judges. As I pulled bunches of salad onto the plate, I noticed small bits of wet paper towel mingled throughout. Not just a few. More than I could pick out.

I panicked, remembering this was not home, but a televised competition. How could I face the nation with such a disaster? Then I noticed a lovely mango salad, precisely sliced and arranged on a bed of fresh greens. It didn’t appear to belong to anyone. Would I stoop to stealing? Mercifully, I woke up before I made the decision.

I noticed something about our river scene in Ezekiel 47. There was a man with Ezekiel. He measured the first segment of the river, then led the prophet through ankle-deep water. He measured again and brought Ezekiel through the knee-deep water. Again, he measured and led his friend through water reaching to his waist. When the water became so deep it could not be crossed, he stood and pointed out life all around that river. Life in the river, life outside the river, life wherever the river touched.

Back to my dream. Was I in deep water, far beyond my ability? Yes! But help was there. I just had to turn from my own miserable efforts and see it. Here’s my interpretation. Yes, the river is for us. He wants us to participate in the magnificent life of His river. We disqualify ourselves by our mistakes and freeze in fear. But there is help in this journey. Look for the Man. He isn’t far. He is as near as our cry. He is well able to help and doesn’t shame us when we fail.

What’s not to love about that?  Joining you in the river, ready to swim!