Saturday, December 30, 2023

Looking Back


Regrets only clutter the mind and drain spiritual energy, for once we repent God forgives us and forgets our sins (Psalm 103:10-12). Resolutions seem to be a type of foolish vow that may be broken due to our own lack of discipline or an unanticipated turn in events (Deuteronomy 23:21-22; Judges 11:30-40). 

Resting in God is far better (Joshua 1:13; 1 Chronicles 23:25; Psalm 37:7), remembering His faithfulness (Deuteronomy 7:91 Corinthians 1:9, 10:13) and realizing that He is infinitely good and infinitely great (Psalm 143:10, Matthew 19:17; 2 Samuel 7:22; 2 Chronicles 2:5; Nehemiah 1:5, 8:6, 9:32; Job 36:26; Psalm 77:13,86:10,95:3, etc.).

As the moments of 2023 dwindle away, I find myself reflecting on God’s blessings not only this year but throughout my life. Reviewing how God has prepared each of us for our own unique ministries helps us to appreciate how He not only equipped us with gifts and talents appropriate for His calling on our lives (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13), but that He engineered our trials and even our weaknesses for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

When God uses a timid, stammering man like Moses to deliver His people (Exodus 4:1-13), a disobedient rebel like Jonah to spread revival that saved Nineveh, and even a Christian-persecuting Pharisee like Saul (1 Timothy 1:12-15) to write most of the New Testament, He gets the glory. He operates in the supernatural, and not in the limited plane of man’s abilities or expectations (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:27; Ephesians 3:20).

Looking back on how this blog came into being, I remember way back to high school when I dreaded the daily English class assignment of “Responses.” Every day, regardless of our mood or the press of other assignments, we had to write a brief essay, poem, or story that reflected our mood, thoughts or circumstances. That discipline, seemingly unneeded at the time, no doubt helped to generate a weekly blog post even when I am preoccupied with life’s distractions.

Decades later, and a few months after I was saved, my husband and I were flying to Japan to perform in dance shows. I was hoping to sleep on the long, crowded, flight, but God laid it on my heart to dig my laptop out of the overhead bin and to write about His omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. I felt truly foolish as I started this task, thinking that I really knew very little on this subject; that I desperately needed the sleep as we would start rehearsing the day we arrived in Osaka; and that if I were going to write anything, I’d be much better off working on medical stories that were due once we returned home.

But I followed His lead and wrote about His attributes, the words springing to mind and leaping onto the computer screen with surprising speed and clarity. As soon as I had completed the essay, the battery died, and I settled into a peaceful sleep, knowing that I had been obedient in this assignment. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it would turn out to be a trial run for writing blog posts in the still distant future.

In our lives as amateur and then professional ballroom dance performers and competitors, God began preparing my husband Richard and me for our dance ministry long before we were saved. And the variety of beautiful songs we heard in our daily practice later helped inspire me to write Godly lyrics to these secular tunes.

But i might not have started writing song lyrics had it not been for our son Brendan, gifted in piano among his other God-given talents. Shortly after he was saved, he wanted to compete in a Christian musical competition by playing a Chopin prelude. But the rules were that any music played had to have Christian lyrics, so his youth pastor asked if I might be able to write words suitable for singing along with this piano accompaniment.

So I did, marking my debut in writing Christian lyrics, a passion of mine to this day. And when I provided a recording of my singing these words to my son's playing, his youth pastor asked if I could sing specials in church. So God worked these events together (Romans 8:28) for my good and His glory, opening the door for me leading to two new ministries!

One Sunday a few years after I was saved, I prayed my usual quick afternoon prayer to be Spirit-filled and yielded while singing in choir in the evening service. I sensed that God was saying, “Yes, but there is something else I want you to do.” So I prayed that He would reveal it to me, and literally moments later I bumped into the associate pastor in the hallway. He asked if I would consider teaching a weekly ladies’ Bible study class, as their teacher was moving out of town.

Despite my lack of formal Bible training, I agreed, after praying on it. I found that my knowledge and understanding of the Word grew far more quickly and in depth than it would have had I been only a student and not also a teacher (2 Timothy 3:14-17; 4:2). God was and is always faithful to lead me to Scripture verses, sermons, and other readings (including many of your blogs!) to encourage and guide me in teaching and in writing (Psalm 119:11,105).

But the class suffered many setbacks, including illness and trials of several members, and other circumstances resulting in their leaving the class. Some weeks I was teaching only one or two ladies. I became discouraged that the time and effort I was putting into my weekly lessons was reaching so few people and thought that a weekly blog of these lessons might be a way to reach more.

I knew nothing about blogging, but God had equipped me with computer skills needed for my occupation as a freelance medical journalist. As I began my blog on Memorial Day weekend in 2011, I wondered if anyone would read it. But God sent encouragement my way in a strange format – the movie “Julie and Julia,” in which the writer of a daily blog sees no activity or comments on her blog for six months, followed by an exponential and rapid growth in readership.

Looking back on all this, I am thankful for God’s provision, as the statistics, rankings, and followers continue to grow. But it’s not about the numbers, and if seeds planted in this blog lead even one soul closer to Christ, it would be well worth the effort. The blog has taken on a life of its own, covering topics independent of the Bible study class.

The greatest blessing is comments indicating that readers were blessed by the post. I am so thankful for each and every reader, and for the relationships with new and dear blogging friends all over the globe. I pray that God would continue to use me to spread His Word in this way. 

As time went on, my Bible study class again began to grow, not only in numbers but in fellowship with the ladies of all ages. I was thankful for this blessing, but God was leading my husband Richard and me to consider serving at another church. Sometimes God tests our obedience by leading us to a different ministry even when things are going well where we are,

The church we had been attending was about a 20 minute drive, yet every day we passed by another Baptist church just a few minutes away from our home. 

"I wonder if God might be calling us there instead," Richard mused one day. That Sunday our preacher used Acts 1:8 as his sermon text, stressing the importance of first witnessing and serving in Jerusalem -- metaphorically speaking, your own back yard. 

Richard and I sensed that this was a confirmation that we should explore our neighborhood church -- Fowler Ave. Baptist. We first visited on a Wednesday evening when no services were scheduled at our home church, and were blessed by meeting the Pastor, by discussing spiritual matters with him, and by his sermon with a clear exposition of God's Word. 

Shortly thereafter we visited Fowler Ave. on a Sunday morning, praying fervently that if it were God's will for us to serve there, that He would make it very clear to us. As we pulled into the parking lot, the Pastor was just getting out of his car, and he greeted us enthusiastically.

"I know you haven't decided yet whether we should be your church home," he said. "But if you did join, would you be interested in teaching a ladies' Bible study class?"

"Why, yes," I answered in surprise. "Do you by any chance also have any openings in your music ministry?"

"Would you like to sing a special today?" he offered.

As if these signs were not sufficiently clear, our jaws dropped as we entered the sanctuary for the first time (the Wednesday service we attended was held in the Fellowship Hall). There on the back wall of the sanctuary was a huge banner with the full text of Acts 1:8 !

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Could God be any clearer in His confirmation that it was His will for us to serve at Fowler Ave.? We joined a few weeks later, and I immediately started a ladies' Bible study. Praise God, this has grown over time, not only numerically but spiritually. It is such a blessing to teach a class of women so devoted to wanting to know God better, and His plan for their lives, and to supporting one another in fellowship and in prayer.

I am also blessed to have the opportunity to sing a special in most services, including the Christian lyrics I have written to secular music. Richard and I are both blessed to serve in several capacities and to know that we are fulfilling Acts 1:8, not only by witnessing and serving in our neighborhood, but even around the globe, as our church supports about sixty missionaries in foreign countries. Praise God for His direction and faithfulness!

But as 2024 approaches, may we not be preoccupied with the past, but instead live in God's will in the present moment and look forward to His unfolding plan for us. As the apostle Paul wrote:

Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

In closing the post and 2023, a New Year’s blessing to all of you:

Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. 

© 2012 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives, edited and expanded 2023

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Lord Jesus Christ



Photo b y Paciana 2011

Our Savior, Son of God, has many titles, but in Scripture, and particularly in the writings of the apostle Paul, three of His Names often appear together: Lord Jesus Christ. These three titles help to describe His relationship to mankind, to the world, and to God’s perfect plan of salvation.

“Lord” refers to His relationship to mankind. He is One Person of the triune God, often referred to in the Old Testament as “LORD,” all in capitals to emphasize His supreme power and preeminence.

He is “Lord” to all who have been born again (John 3:3-8) by trusting in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). In this mysterious transformation, we are changed from God’s enemies (Romans 5:10) to God’s children, as well as joint heirs with His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:14-17) and ambassadors for His kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20). Should we not fall to our knees in awe and gratitude to our Lord for His unspeakable gift? (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Yet those who pray the sinner’s prayer wanting to escape eternal punishment in hell, but unwilling to surrender their lives completely to Him, may want Him to be their Savior but fail to follow Him as Lord. He is not just our “get out of hell free” card, but our Master Whom we should reverence in total submission and holy fear (Hebrews 12:28).

He is not our “buddy,” even though He is the Friend Who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). He is not some glorified version of Santa to whom we bring our wish lists, even though He is the source of all blessings (James 1:17). We should never refer to Him casually as “the man upstairs,” even though He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for us and defending us from Satan’s accusations (Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22).

The Lord Jesus Christ is our Lord, without Whom we are nothing, have nothing and can do nothing (John 15:5). He deserves our utmost respect; our time, talent, and treasure; and our very life presented to Him as a holy, acceptable, living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service (Romans 12:1).

If we honor Him as our Lord, we will trust in Him and not in our own “wisdom” and acknowledge Him in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6). We will love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). How dare we call Him Lord if we do not obey Him? (Luke 6:46)

Those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ in their earthly life of course do not recognize Him as Lord, but the day is coming when He returns in victory as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). At that time every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord, whether they are in heaven, on earth, or in hell (Philippians 2:9-11). There is no escaping or denying His omnipotence and Lordship!

But sadly, the unsaved world does not realize that He is God, the self-existent One Who spoke the worlds into existence (John 1:10), present as part of the Trinity since before the beginning of time (John 1:1Revelation 1:8; 22:13). They refer to Him merely as “Jesus,” which was the name He had in His earthly ministry, as proclaimed by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:31).

Some despise the Name of Jesus, even though it is the Name above all names (Philippians 2:9) and the only Name by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). Others accept the historical presence of Jesus as a man who lived two millennia ago and may even agree that he was a good man, prophet and teacher (Matthew 16:14). They may believe that he was crucified, but for them the story stops there, falling short of His resurrection giving victory over sin, death and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:12-57).

Interestingly, the disciples of Jesus never referred to Him by His given Name, but always as “Lord,” “Master,” “Teacher” or “Rabbi,” appropriately emphasizing His Lordship and absolute authority over their lives.

The third part of our Savior’s appellation, “Christ,” helps explain His essential role in God’s perfect plan of salvation. The Greek word “Christos” means “Anointed One of God,” and it is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Mashiach, or “Messiah.”

In Scripture, “God’s anointed” also refers to a king chosen by God (1 Samuel 24:6), and as it pertains to Christ, it foretells the day when He will rule over all nations while seated on David’s throne in the Millennial Kingdom (Genesis 49:10; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; Psalm 72: 10-11; Zechariah 9:9; 14:9; Matthew 2:1-12). Christ is God’s anointed King, foretold in prophecy to deliver His people as well as to reign over them (Daniel 9:25; Isaiah 32:1).

Kings were anointed with oil to symbolize their holy calling by God (1 Samuel 10:1), and two women anointed Christ with precious oil and ointment during His time on earth (Matthew 26:6–7; Luke 7:37–38). God Himself anointed Christ with the oil of gladness to demonstrate that He is King of Kings, holy and without equal (Hebrews 1:9), and with the Holy Spirit and with power to do good, for physical healing, and for casting out evil spirits (Acts 10:38).

Isaiah prophesied that Christ would be anointed by the Holy Spirit to bring good news to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, and set free the prisoners of sin, proclaiming liberty (Isaiah 61:1). This deliverance from the power, the penalty, and ultimately even the presence of sin (Luke 4:18; Romans 6:23) is only possible through our Messiah, the One Who came to this earth to reconcile sinful man to Holy God (1 Timothy 1:15).

By taking on human flesh (John 1:14), He could experience all our sorrow, weakness and frailty, including physical, emotional and spiritual suffering, epitomized by His agony on the cross (Hebrews 4:15). Yet He was without sin, so He was the perfect Sacrifice, the only Lamb of God Who could take away the sins of the world (John 1:29) by paying in full the price demanded by our sin debt (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

In this Christmas season, church celebrations honor the baby Jesus. But let us not forget that His mission did not begin in Bethlehem nor end at the cross. He is not only Jesus, but the Christ Who saves all Who ask Him (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13) and Who will return victorious to rule over all nations. May we honor, obey and serve Jesus Christ as our Lord, for He alone is Lord of Lords! 

© 2017 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives

Saturday, December 16, 2023


Three Appearings of Christ

During Advent and the Christmas season, we celebrate the first appearing of Jesus Christ, when He left His heavenly throne to clothe Himself in human flesh (John 1:14; Luke 1-2), to appear on Earth. But the New Testament actually refers to three appearings of Christ: past, present and future (Hebrews 9:24-28). Two thousand years ago He appeared on earth at His first coming; currently He appears at the right hand of God the Father to intercede for us; and in the future He will again appear on earth at His second coming.

Before these three appearings of Christ summarized in Hebrews, there were also preincarnate appearances of Jesus Christ in human form, in which He is often referred to as the angel of the Lord, such as when He appeared to Hagar to provide a great promise for her son Ishmael (Genesis 16).   

Predating by millennia His appearance as a Babe in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ appeared to Abraham as a human visitor, accompanied by two angels also in the form of men, to tell him that his wife Sarah would conceive in her old age and that Abraham would thereby be the father of a great nation (Genesis 18). Later the angel of the Lord appeared to keep Abraham from sacrificing Isaac as God had commanded him (Genesis 22:10-12).

Other visible manifestations of God in the Old Testament include the burning bush from which the angel of the Lord spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:2; Acts 7:30), and the Shekinah Glory, or fire inhabited by God, which led the Israelites through the wilderness into the Promised Land (Exodus 13:21).

As prophesied in the Old Testament, the promised Messiah, Son of God and God Himself, would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), given by God the Father to save us from the penalty of our sins and to reign forever (Luke 1:31-33). This appearance was known by God and actually prophesied since the beginning of the world (Luke 1:67-79) as the solution to redeem man from the curse of sin brought about by Adam’s disobedience (Romans 5:12-19).

Although Jesus would be tempted and tested as we all are, He would never sin (Hebrews 4:15), and therefore was the perfect atoning Sacrifice to pay our sin debt in full (Romans 3:25). Holy God could not allow sinful man into Heaven without Jesus Christ taking on Himself the burden of all our sin as He died on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Before Christ’s first appearing, the high priest had to enter the most holy place in the temple once every year with an animal sacrifice to temporarily cover the sins of himself and of the people (Hebrews 9:6-15). But the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), then “appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

The Greek word used here for “appeared” is “phaneroo,” meaning to become evident or visible after being hidden. The Triune God knew that God the Son would appear in this specific form for the specific purpose of salvation for all who trusted Him, and spoke of it in veiled terms through the prophets. Yet His actual appearing was a mystery hidden through the ages until the fullness of times had arrived (Ephesians 1:10).  

Jesus cried out “It is finished,” as the agony of His crucifixion ended, for His work on the cross abolished the need for animal sacrifice or for any work as an attempt to obtain salvation (John 19:30). We are saved only by His grace through our faith in Him, and not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). All who trust in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) will therefore have eternal life (John 3:16).

Once Jesus Christ arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, His second and present appearing is in the presence of God (Hebrews 9:24). He is now seated at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 10:12), constantly making intercession for us (Romans 8:34) to the Father as the Holy Spirit brings our prayer requests to Him (Romans 8:26). There He is also our advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1), defending us against the accusations of the devil. In this active and vocal role it is fitting that the Greek word for “appear” is “emphanizo,” meaning to be manifest or declare openly.

The third appearing of Christ Jesus (Hebrews 9:26) refers to His future appearing, or Second Coming, when born-again Christians (John 3:3-8) eagerly anticipating the blessed hope of the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) shall see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). How appropriate that the Greek word translated here as “appearing” is “optomai,” meaning to gaze at face to face!

In our glorified bodies we will be freed not only from the power and penalty of sin, but even from the very presence of sin (1 Corinthians 15:35-50). Our justification (Romans 3:24-28), sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30), and salvation (Romans 1:16) shall be perfected and made complete, for we shall sin no more! At the Rapture, or first phase of Christ’s future appearing, that appearing will be evident only to God’s children, for those who are left behind will not witness His presence or our ascent to meet Him.

But in the second phase of Christ’s future appearing, all will see the King of Kings return to earth in all His glory, and we shall accompany Him in glory as His troops (Revelation 17:14) when He defeats sin, death and Satan! The apostle Paul writes: When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4).

The Greek word used here for “appear” is also “phaneroo,” as used to describe His first appearing in human form in Bethlehem, meaning to become evident or visible after being hidden. Clearly all will then witness Jesus Christ in physical, tangible form, just as experienced by those Jesus encountered in His earthly ministry.

While those who walked the earth with Jesus.saw Him as a frail newborn (Luke 2:12), humble servant (John 13:5), and suffering Savior (Hebrews 12:2), all who see His future appearing shall witness the King of Kings in all His power, glory and righteous judgment. May all trust Him now in His present appearing to hear the plea of a sinner seeking salvation, to ensure that they will one day appear with Him in glory!

© 2017 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives

Saturday, December 9, 2023



Photo by Paul Berzinn 2006

I had a dream in which there was a worldwide famine. Many years previously, world governments had entrusted individuals in different countries with seed pods that were to be frozen and maintained in cold storage. Now that farms needed to be replanted, these individuals were to transport their store to designated locations so that agricultural specialists could grow food, combat world hunger, and feed the starving population.

I searched for the frozen seed pods in the deep recesses of a freezer in our garage and finally found them. Their container had been jostled sideways and covered over by frozen foods and ice packs. As I removed it, I was distraught to see that the thermometer on the container read 78 degrees Fahrenheit – far from frozen! My heart sank as I realized that this portion of the future food supply for the world was endangered and might even be lost altogether, because of my carelessness.

As I awakened with a shudder and considered the meaning of the dream, I remembered the Scriptural analogy of the good seed of God’s Word (Matthew 13). Once saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), every Christian is to sow the seed of that Gospel into the hearts of the spiritually dying world.

That is an enormous privilege, blessing, and responsibility – even greater than that of preserving crop seed to feed future generations of those starving from famine. In the dream, I had neglected that duty by piling other, immaterial items on top of the essential treasure; by pushing it out of its rightful place; and by failing to maintain its needed storage temperature, or even to realize that I had done so.

It made me wonder how well I care for the priceless treasure within my heart --- the saving message of Christ’s Gospel planted there by His Holy Spirit. How often do I pile heaps of clutter around it, like sinful thoughts, worldly desires, and even the extra baggage of weights (Hebrews 12:1) that are not in themselves sinful, but that keep me from putting Christ first in my life?

Do I nurture those seeds of truth, waiting for the Holy Spirit’s leading to sow them, or do I often forget they are even there? Do I carefully tend to them, making sure they are stored under optimal conditions of a clean heart, washed daily by the watering of God’s Word? Do I study and memorize Scripture, so that when God calls on me to sow the seed, I can explain the Bible basis for my beliefs (1 Peter 15:3) and be a more convincing witness?

In the parable of the sower, the poor conditions in which God’s Word could not take root included the hard, stony ground, similar to frozen soil, like the freezer in the dream. The seed sprouted quickly but was soon scorched by the hot sun, representing the sinner who received God’s Word with joy, but soon lost faith, because the Word had not grown in their cold heart (Matthew 13:5-6; 20-21).

When we speak of assets being frozen, we mean that the owner has no access to using them, usually because of criminal activity, and they are of no good to the owner or to anyone else. Today, people attempt to preserve their fertility by freezing their embryos, or even their lives by freezing their corpse for cryogenic storage. In both cases, the hope is that viable function can one day be restored. But in the meantime, these frozen specimens are in a state of suspended animation, where they have no meaningful existence or impact on anyone or anything.

Surely God does not want us to do that with His Word – to lock it away in a freezer and attempt to revive it only in dire straits or under optimal conditions. He wants us to be instant in season and out of season, always ready to preach the Gospel to whomever He places in our path (2 Timothy 4:2). We are not to wait for the ideal time or conditions to sow the seed or to harvest (Ecclesiastes 11:4), but to sow liberally and abundantly in all seasons, knowing that we shall reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow, according to the law of the harvest (Hosea 8:7; 10:12; John 4:36; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 6:7-8).

In the dream, the thermometer on the seed pod container read 78 degrees Fahrenheit – certainly not frozen, but lukewarm. Jesus Christ wants us to be on fire for Him (Luke 24:32), as was foreshadowed in the Old Testament by burnt offerings given to the Lord (Leviticus; Numbers). But He would prefer even a stone-cold heart to our lukewarm attitudes, which make Him want to vomit us out of His mouth! He criticized the lukewarm church of Laodicea, foreshadowing today’s church in the End Times, for being materially rich but spiritually blind and naked (Revelation 3:14-18).

Rather than cherishing and caring for the one thing of importance in the freezer – the seed pods – I had destroyed their value by heaping groceries and ice packs upon them. A frozen steak might make a tasty meal, and an ice pack might soothe a sore shoulder, but neither has any lasting value. In contrast, the seed pods could have fed many people, and by preserving seeds from the crop harvest, many future generations.

But in the dream, I favored temporal things over eternal things, and then had to face the consequences (2 Corinthians 4:18). If we devalue God’s Word and neglect its study, we may be rich and wise in worldly terms, but failing to store up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:20), like the church of Laodicea.

Today, more than ever before, there is a worldwide famine amongst the lost seeking for truth to satiate their spiritual hunger. If we as Christians fail to do our part, countless souls will perish. Truly the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37-38).

May we take the precious Gospel seed out of cold storage, sow it to the lost and dying world, and be on fire for the Lord, until He comes again! 

© 2023 Laurie Collett


Saturday, December 2, 2023

Mission Accomplished?


I had a dream in which I was shopping with my husband and my late father. The layout of this huge department store was similar to an IKEA in that there was a very convoluted path through a vast array of displays and merchandise. If you wanted to purchase anything, you had to take a ticket and pay for it at the cashier, not visible and seemingly miles away.

Unlike IKEA, however, the store building itself was amazingly majestic and resembled a historic bank building in downtown Tampa where we live, with towering granite pillars and elegant marble floors. Surprisingly, however, embedded into the flooring at various intervals were small, shiny mosaics in the likeness of different Pokemon cartoon characters.

An announcement came over the loudspeakers that closing time was fast approaching. We had become so caught up in the experience of this unusual place that we had forgotten why we came there, which was to purchase a baby gift! We decided that my husband and father would attempt to find a suitable gift while I would return to where we had spotted a couch my husband and I wanted to buy, so that I could get the ticket and meet them at the register before it was too late.

They indicated where I should go and took off in the opposite direction. As I ran toward the furniture department I suddenly realized that in my haste, I had dropped the coat I was carrying, and I rushed back to try to find it, to no avail. Even worse, now I had totally lost my bearings, I had no idea where I was, and the store was deserted, with no one to ask for help.

It seemed that there was only one way I could go, which was downward toward the center of the store, even though I sensed that I needed to be upward near the periphery. I ended up in the central court, where a sparkling three-tiered fountain was overflowing into a lavish pool lined with shining gold tiles.

When I awoke, I had mixed emotions of regret over not accomplishing my mission, and yet relief to have found the refreshing fountain. I might have forgotten about the dream, had it not been for an experience the following day of seeing the movie “Mary Poppins Returns” with my family. A preview before the main feature was of the latest Pokemon movie, reminding me of the strange mosaics embedded in the floor in my dream. In the Mary Poppins movie itself, much of the action took place in a London bank building very similar to the setting of my dream.

From the opening scene of the movie I found myself smiling and was encouraged by the positive themes of remembering our blessings no matter how dire the circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Psalm 68:19; 103:2); believing that all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and can work together for good (Romans 8:28); and knowing that we can be reunited with loved ones who have stepped out into eternity (2 Corinthians 5:8).

It is not a Christian film, so there were no explicit references to the Biblical basis for these convictions, but the symbolism and allusions were there for the viewer who was aware of these. Most encouraging of all was the repeated reminder to “Look up!” which of course brought to my mind that the Christian should be eagerly awaiting Christ’s second return (Luke 21:28)! And also that our help comes from above (Psalm 121:1), from the Father of lights (James 1:17).

But back to the symbolism of the dream. Traveling through the twists and turns of the building, seldom being able to see what was right around the bend, was a suitable metaphor for our earthly journey. I was with my late father, who represents the past that we cannot change, and my husband, who is the central person in my present reality. Yet our purpose in coming to the store was to purchase a baby gift, preparing for the unknown future, as it was unclear to me who the parents were or when the baby would be born.

Sadly, the dream ended with mission unaccomplished, leading me to consider the obstacles that hinder us (Hebrews 12:1from fulfilling the unique purpose God has intended for each of us since before the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10). 

The setting in what appeared to be a bank building may have been a warning not to get caught up in the world system, now governed by Satan (Ephesians 2:2), with its emphasis on earthly riches, power and status (Matthew 6:24), and its spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). We must be on the lookout, because the devil himself is prowling about like a roaring lion eager to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).

In fanciful contrast to the austere architecture were the cartoon characters inlaid as mosaics in the marble floors. The preview for the Pokemon movie also reminded me of today’s disturbing trend toward virtual reality, as people spend exorbitant amounts of time interacting with technology instead of with one another. This is an effective strategy of Satan, as it distracts from meaningful relationships and conversations (Luke 10:38-42) through which we can be an effective witness of salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

Another trap that Satan sets for us is to become absorbed with creature comforts, which appeal to the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16; 1 John 2:16). My desire to purchase a sofa in the dream may have reflected the danger of being a “couch potato,” getting too lazy and comfortable (Romans 12:11) to be an effective warrior for the Lord (2 Timothy 2:1-4).

In the dream I lost my coat and had to retrace my steps to try to find it, only to lose time without regaining the coat. At the moment we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), Christ clothes us in His robe of perfect righteousness (Job 29:14; Isaiah 61:10), but if we willfully sin or rebel against Him we act as if we are attempting to remove His protective, cleansing, holy garment.

The loudspeaker in the dream announced that time was running out. Surely in our own earthly lives time is our greatest asset, and its loss or waste our deadliest foe (James 4:14; Job 14:1). As the End Times draw nearer and our own allotted days on earth draw to a close, it is vitally important that we redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). May we use these precious moments to draw souls to Christ by witnessing (Matthew 28:18-20) of the need for faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven!

My father and husband chose the right path by seeking a baby gift, symbolizing preparing the way for souls to be born again (John 3:3-8) and to be nurtured as new babes in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1). I didn’t know the identity of the baby in the dream, and it may be that witnessing online or in public, living a Godly life, or praying for strangers may lead people to the Lord even if we don’t know who they are in this life. It also reminds me of the gifts brought by the Magi to the young Child Jesus (Matthew 2:11), and that wise men still seek Him and honor Him with gifts of their time, talent and treasure.

Yet I found myself on a different path, backsliding away from the intended goal. Thankfully, when I could go no further down that wrong road, I was in the presence of a beautiful, refreshing fountain. Jesus Christ Himself is the Living Waterthe Fountain Who forever cleanses us and quenches our thirst (John 4:10-13; 7:38; Revelation 7:17).  The fountain was three-tiered, for in Jesus is the fullness of the Triune Godhead bodily, God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Colossians 2:9).

Once we are truly saved by trusting Him as our Lord and Savior, He is ours and we are His, no matter how far we go astray (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:35-39). Heaven will be our home, replete with streets of gold (Revelation 21:20) and the Lamb seated on His throne, sparkling like a jewel with halos of rainbow light (Revelation 4:2-3).

But how sad it would be to leave this earth without His mission for us being accomplished, and to miss out on heavenly rewards (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) He longs to give us! As this year ends, and if He grants us a new beginning (Lamentations 3:22-23) by bringing us into the New Year, may we resist the wiles of the devil (James 4:7), set aside earthly distractions, redeem the time, and devote our whole being to serving Him!

© 2018 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives