Category Archives: Dreams

Wanted: Dreamers

Of the human experience, one of the saddest realities is the adult who never achieves his or her dreams. Statistics reveal this description fits eight out of ten of us. Perhaps even sadder is the fact that most of this eighty percent won’t even remember as adults the dreams they imagined as children. That’s a disheartening stat for a dreamer.

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Our childhood dreams are clues to the destiny God has for each of us. Yes, I believe those dreams are given to us by God in seed form. He plants them in the cracks and crevices of our soul and spirit, and over time, they sprout in our heart and mind. If we partner with God, those dreams begin to produce fruit and move from the realm of imagination into the realm of reality.

As children, we are all fitted with an aptitude for imagination—the ability to perceive something before it has become a reality. Imagination can be the stuff of far-fetched fantasy or the genesis of a reality yet to be discovered or created. Both find their residence in the heart and the mind of a child. And this imagination fertilizes and irrigates the dream God has planted in us.

But sadly, most of those dreams are stolen. We accept the limitations of others, their crushing words, our insatiable appetite for acceptance, or we bow to the altars of reason, intellect, and cynicism. Those dreams entrusted to us by God are eventually lost under the debris of unbelief somewhere deep within in the dusty, cobwebbed corridors of a no longer needed childhood imagination.

Our world desperately cries out for a handful of dreamers who will once again entertain those God-sized dreams. We long for a few visionaries, who glimpse through their imagination what God’s reality for this world looks like. We crave some romantics who will lead us out of this malaise of skepticism and back into the authenticity of a society marked by genuine love. Without the ability to transact in the currency of the imagination, the hearts of those who profess to be Christ-followers will calcify and eventually petrify, leaving the world to its own hopeless, apocalyptic implosion.

We must reclaim our God-given capacity to dream. Dreaming is not a waste of time, it is a necessity to rescue and redeem our limited time. I challenge you to ask God to awaken the dreams he’s sown into your soul and spirit so long ago. Stop gorging yourself on what culture, society, intellectualism, or business says is equitable, acceptable, and financially feasible. Stop listening to the naysayers and the doomsdayers. Blow off the dust, take it in your hands, hold it close to your heart, and nurture that dream until it becomes all that God says it will be.

Let the dreamers arise and ascend until these divine aspirations move from the fertile fields of imagination into the fruitful place of realization.

Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice of the Church (Part 3)

God is still speaking but we must learn to listen. Scripture illustrates numerous methods God used when talking with his people with his prophetic people. Prophetic people are the ones who will listen and then speak what God said. In our last blog we looked at the Bible, personal visits, angelic visitations, and the audible voice of God. Let’s consider some other examples found in Scripture.

Sometimes God speaks one word or through fragmented words in a sentence that seem to have no clear meaning. He did that with Isaiah and told him to write down the words in a scroll. Isaiah was forced to pursue God to find the meaning. These kinds of words draw us closer to God.

A word from God often has no voice—it is simply something you know all of a sudden that you didn’t know a moment ago. God puts the word in your head and you know that you know without any rational explanation.

He also speaks through impressions. Impressions are a bit less certain than that inner knowing. They are feelings that we should do or say something. God used impressions numerous times throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

God also employs dreams, visions, and trances to speak. Dreams occur when we sleep and our defenses are down. Visions are similar to dreams, but they normally occur when we are awake. Scripture makes no real distinction between them. A trance is a vision in which the person loses the use of their physical sense. Peter and Paul fell into trances. God has promised in Joel 2 and Peter testified that this Scripture had come true in Acts 2 that in the last days all God’s people would speak prophetically. Some would dream dreams and others would have visions. These are commons means by which God speaks.

The Lord also uses nature to speak to us. The analogies he can draw from between the natural and the spiritual world are endless. Those things happening in the natural often mirror what is happening in the supernatural.

God can also use physical manifestations in our bodies to share insight. He often does this when he wants to heal another person. You might feel something in an area of your body that another person is suffering with. Through a word of knowledge—a prophetic word—God may use you to be the conduit for his healing presence and power, if you are tuned in and turned on.

God also speaks prophetically through music and songs. He has even scratched messages in plaster walls.

You may be thinking, “But…but…but…but.” But nothing—God does not change. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and yes—tomorrow. If we want to hear God speak we have to understand how he speaks. He even wrote these methods down for us so we would not miss the prophetic word when it comes.

Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice of the Church (Part 2)

To reclaim something you must first believe it is has been misplaced or lost. A large number of Christians no longer believe God still speaks through people with prophetic gifts or through people who are passionately pursuing him. Therefore, the only place they believe God speaks is through Scripture. I happen to believe that God does speak primarily through Scripture, but I also believe he speaks present tense to people who are listening in other ways. I also believe if God speaks in a secondary manner apart from the Bible we should check what we hear to make sure it bears witness with his written Word. When God speaks in one of these methods it will never contradict what he has already said in Scripture.

To hear God speak we must learn to listen. One of the best ways to do this is to simply look at the ways in which God speaks. We have a record of the various ways God communicates in the Bible. Being aware of these will help us tune in to God’s wavelength and enable us to hear his voice.

When God speaks we call it revelation. He reveals who he is, what he is doing, or what he wants us to do. Revelation is God making something known that we did not know or could not know through our natural senses. Revelation comes in a host of different ways. People are different and they hear God communicate differently. Why? I don’t know, but God will communicate with you in way you can hear if you will learn to listen.

As I said before, God speaks primarily to all believers through his written Word. The Bible is God’s authoritative word to all people no matter where or when they lived. If you want to hear God speak—read the Bible. Learn the tenor of his voice sound and immerse yourself in the makeup of his will. Develop a sensitivity to the things that please him. This will help you hear him when he speaks to you through a secondary method.

Another way God spoke in the Bible is through a personal apearances. Sometimes it was in a vision or dream, but he also appeared in physical form. I believe those personal appearances in the Old Testament were made by the pre-incarnate Jesus. He did not have to appear—he could have sent angels—but he did come. If he appeared this way in the past, there is nothing in Scripture that says he can’t do it again if he wants to. Many Muslims in the Middle East are reporting visitations of Jesus, which are resulting in their turning to faith in Christ.

The Lord also sends messages by his angels. This is a common method he uses. The Greek meaning for the word angel means messenger.

God also speaks audibly. He did so throughout Scripture to individuals, groups, and even the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai. He spoke to Moses, to Jesus (at his baptism, transfiguration, and before his crucifixion and others heard it), and to Paul. He has not suddenly gone silent. He can use this method if he chooses.

God can also speak audibly for your ears only. Samuel heard God speak, but Eli did not.

There is also the internal audible voice of God that you hear, not with your ear, but with your heart. Many of the prophets heard this as the word of God came to them.

Next blog we will look at some other ways God speaks.

The Lord of the Dance (Part 2 of 2)

imagesIt blows my mind to think about the fact that God is extending his hand in search of a partner who will accept and step out on the ballroom floor with him in this relational dance of life. Likewise, it boggles my mind to image what style of dance we might be doing.

It’s O.K. to daydream—to imagine —and allow the right side of your brain to run a little wild here. God created the dance as a passionate expression of worship, love, and joy. It was humanity that perverted it into a sexual exploitation and manifestation of self. So relax a little here—we’re setting that aspect aside and allowing our minds to imagine what it would be like to dance with God—the Lover of our soul. That fantasy might become a genuine reality if we can somehow click off those Victorian religious do and don’t systems we have wrongly saddled ourselves with in an attempt to define holiness. (Holiness is growing in maturity—becoming more like Christ, not ceasing to be human). Instead of exploring what God thinks for ourselves, we often allow others to interpret it for us through their restrictive lenses and filters.

Someone asked whether I thought this dance might be a waltz, a tango, or a rumba? I thought about this long and hard, and finally arrived at this place—whatever dance you can envision participating with God in is likely the dance you would be willing to do. If we can’t see it through the eyes of faith in our imagination, then it is highly likely it will never become a reality.

Perhaps you can conceive an elegant waltz spinning around and around the floor with fluidity and grace. Perhaps it is the precision and the passion of a tango in rapid tempo that leaves you with a shortness of breath and a flushness of the face. Or, perhaps is the slow, rhythmic movement of the rumba. Each of these requires an intimate partnership and a graceful flow of two becoming one in purpose and step. Any of these dances could be a beautiful metaphor of what our relationship with Christ was designed to be (a bridegroom living life with his bride). What your spirit can conceive here pales in comparison with the depths of Christ’s love for you (just read the Song of Solomon).

Forget about the crowd surrounding you. Clear your mind for a moment of all the portraits you’ve allowed others to paint of God.  Step away from the negativity and step into that quiet place where it’s just you and Jesus. Take his hand, close your eyes, and allow his selfless love and grace to embrace you.

And then…dance.

The Forgiveness Factor (Part 3)

We struggle with forgiveness because we really don’t understand it. We have be taught all kinds of things about forgiveness. Some of it was true, some were half-truths (which by the way are “whole” lies), and some of it was plain old bull (a Greek emphatic for “a bunch of worthless garbage”). Some of it was biblical, some it was psycho-babble, and some of it was nothing more than lies from the devil.

Perhaps you are being held hostage right now to a specific moment in your past—a person’s words or actions. Perhaps it was a deep disappointment that hurt, offended, wounded , or emotionally destroyed you. And…you’ve never dealt with it—with that infection that is hidden deep within you and affects you in ways no one knows but God. Perhaps you pushed it all so deep into your soul that your conscious memory can’t retrieve it, but the enemy is still destroying you with it. Perhaps it’s a pride issue or some misplaced code of honor. Perhaps for some of you it’s an unspeakable atrocity that was perpetrated against you and was beyond your control. Perhaps in the beginning whatever it was wasn’t a big deal, but now it has morphed into a major issue. Perhaps you think you need to forgive yourself or you’re still angry at God because you blame him for what happened. Whatever it is—it is killing you and you know it.

To truly understand forgiveness, we must first understand the anatomy of unforgiveness. We must dissect it and see how it works. Unforgiveness comes with causes and a deadly curse. Once we shine the light on the darkness of unforgiveness, the cost of forgiveness and the cure it brings to the spirit, soul, and body will be better understood and easier to grasp.

It is vital that you understand two simple things. First, all you need is faith to take this journey, and rest assured, forgiveness is a journey. It will take faith to face the past, but God will give it as you need it if you will turn to face it. He is faithful. He has all the strength you need and the desire of his heart is to heal you.

Secondly, you must surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He wants to lead some of you into places you may have forgotten. In doing so, he will allow you to make a choice to step out of the past and into your future. The Holy Spirit will do this gently and he will take as much time as is needed. He knows you far better than you think you know yourself. Trust him! He will walk with you. He will not embarrass you. He only wants to heal you.

Some of you are just hard-headed. You know what you need to do, but because of pride, honor, or the need to get even, you refuse to do it. If you continue to read these blogs, I promise the Holy Spirit will bring a deep sense of conviction not condemnation. Conviction is one of his works and it means there will be no doubt in your heart that your refusal to forgive is wrong. He will convince you and you will not be able to refute the truth he presents. He will show you the futility of what you are holding on to and call you to repentance. Then the choice will be yours. If you repent, he will bring you to the place where you can forgive and he will heal you.

The journey awaits but the path is perilous and tough. Hold God’s hand and he will make sure you reach the destination of forgiveness.  

Musings from a Madman: The Reality of Relationship (Part 17)

Over the past several weeks we have explored what it means to have an intimate relationship with God. Sadly, most believers are not experiencing these things. They are convinced that salvation is enough and one day they will see Jesus in heaven. But there is a big gap between the two and that distance is called life. Convinced they have all they need, they have seized the religious bait of Satan rather than an intimate relationship with God.

Religion allows us to measure our spirituality and compare it with others around us. Relationship forces us to realize we have nothing to offer and the best we can do is simply not enough. God does not need us! Period! And yet—God wants us! He has chosen us for relationship.

Sadly, most Christians have settled for the empty expressions of religion—the do’s and the don’ts—because we are too lazy to pursue relationship. We have turned it into an empty legalistic expression will all kinds of rules, rituals, and regulations. Most have given up, living lives of silent desperation.

Jesus came to restore and model this intimacy, this relationship of the heart with the Father. He also came to demonstrate what this relationship was capable of producing. His own relationship with the Father produced the fruit of love expressed by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Everything Jesus did or said was the fruit-filled result of his intimate, ongoing relationship with God.

Every intimate relationship produces fruit. The deeper the relationship, the more powerful the fruit will be. That fruit also produces seeds and those seeds are sown producing even more fruit. Relationship reproduces itself again and again.

As we come to the end of this series, examine your own fruit. Take a long look at what is being produced in you. Is it active? Is it alive? Is it passionate? Or is it sterile, stagnant, or lifeless? Fruit is the evidence of whether or not one has a real relationship with God. A name on a church roll, a stroll down an aisle, a prayer with a pastor, or submerged in a baptismal pool has no validity if there is no fruit. The reality of what you may have done does not prove the fruit, but the fruit is proof of the reality.  If there is no fruit, it is likely there is no connection to the root who is Jesus Christ.

Is your relationship with Jesus producing fruit? Is your faith growing—are you willing to step out and into the promises of God? Faith is never developed without trust and trust is a by-product of relationship. Are you obedient or disobedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Jesus said if we love him we will do what he commands. True obedience is the result of love. If you love someone you will desire to please that person.

Relationship is a privilege every believer can access. Jesus bought and paid for it on the cross. It was purchased by the breaking of his body and the spilling of his blood. Therefore failure to experience this depth of relationship, this intimate friendship, is due to our lack of desire—we simply don’t want it.

Perhaps you’ve gorged yourself on religious garbage and you are still empty. Perhaps the time has come to feast on the delights of an intimate relationship with God. What you choose will determine whether or not you experience satisfaction or starvation.

Which will it be?

It really is your choice.

Musings from a Madman: The Reality of Relationship (Part 14)

Speak God your servant is listening!

Once the need to do something subsides and the joy of being in God’s presence settles in, things happen that defy explanation. Often in these moments of enjoying his company, God will whisper a fresh promise or revelation into our spirit and soul. That word is a gift that gives us a glimpse into our future. It is something we can deposit in our bank, begin to build on, and know that it will surely come to pass.

Often it will be a verse from the Scriptures you have read in your quest for a deeper relationship with God. It may be a verse you’ve memorized and prayed for years. This word now takes on a fresh meaning as God speaks, interprets, or applies it personally to you and your life. This utterance or rhema word is timely and will be extremely valuable in your future pursuit of God. Wrap your arms around it—it’s yours!

Sometimes the Holy Spirit will speak a specific word to your spirit. This word may be the answer to a situation, the solution for a dilemma, or clear directions for the next phase in your journey. It may even be a word of commendation or validation, precisely tailored for you. A word that settles so perfectly into your inner being that the very act of hearing those words comforts and confirms for you that God knows what you are facing or struggling with—that God is intimately aware of your every thought.

All of us hunger to hear the answers to the questions we hesitate to ask or the ones we cannot even put into words. It is here in the silence of these moments that those answers come or the solution is given that radically alters our life. This is not just any word, this is God’s word for you—his heart revealed.

 Listen carefully. God may disclose a word that allows you to destroy the enemy’s stranglehold on your family, your finances, your job, or any number of things associated with you and your sphere of influence. Often God will pour out warfare strategies that when implemented bring freedom and a rapid expansion of your territory.  A word spoken over someone who humbly hears it and then obediently applies it without hesitation, almost always brings a powerful anointing and an equally powerful demonstration of God’s power. This kind of word will transform your destiny, as well as those around you.

One sentence or one simple word spoken from the mouth of God has the power to change everything. Lean in closer and listen. Listen with your spirit and grasp what it is God is speaking into you right now. As he etched the Ten Commandments on a stone with the tip of his finger, so too will he engrave his instructions into the recesses of you heart if you will only listen.