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Archive for the tag “Distractions”

Imitation Game

Last week, I was reading in Genesis 37 about Joseph’s dreams. God gave him a couple of dreams in his teenage years that were not fulfilled until much later in his life. God gave Joseph a sign of how he would be used in the future. It was a promise that was eventually fulfilled. Dreams and visions are powerful tools that God uses to get us in the right frame of mind so that we will fulfill His work. God uses dreams and visions to introduce Jesus to others of different faiths. There have been a couple of times in my past when God has used a dream to move me in the right direction.

I had another dream over the weekend. I don’t yet know the implication of the dream. I was left with two impressions. The dream showcased God’s glory in the sky. I was watching the sky fill up with shooting stars. They were streaking across the sky in a most spectacular way. At the same time, in the opposite direction, fireworks started to go off. The attention was drawn to the man-made attraction instead of the God-made glorious display. We are told in Scripture that God puts signs and wonders in the sky to give us warnings and announce His big events. He chose a new star to announce the birth of His Son.

The first impression that I had when I first woke up from the dream was that Satan always tries to draw our attention away from God. He uses imitation man-made attractions to get our attention away from God’s calling in our lives. He cannot create so he imitates. It’s a far more inferior appeal than the original glorious design. Is it not the case that we chose the thing that gives us the short term gain, instead of waiting on the long term increase? We choose the imitation when we should wait for the great thing that God has promised us. We lose our focus.

I read an article the other day that the Inuit people (who look to the sky for their guidance) noticed the stars were no longer in the same place. The article mentioned that it could have been due to a large earthquake that recently happened that changed the position of the earth. I too have noticed something a little different about the placement of the sun. I thought it was rising a little differently over the last couple of months, but I thought it must have been the winter season placement. I just couldn’t remember if this was the same place in the past. Maybe it truly is different.

If this is the case that the earth has moved slightly, then does that explain the unusual weather patterns that we have experienced lately? Is God announcing a big event in the skies? I know this is also the four blood moons year as well as the solar eclipse happening in just a couple of days from now. We are to pay attention to the signs of the times; to be ready for whatever God is doing in the world around us. Also, I am looking to see the imitation that will surely come to draw us away from our intended God-given focus. Distractions are Satan’s best tool.

The other impression from my dream was that not everybody was ready to see God’s glory. There were a few people in my life that would not focus on God’s glory; they ran toward the imitation and missed what God had intended for them. Let not that be the case in the real world. Let my dream remind us that we are to be ready for what God is going to do. We are to make sure those around us know of God’s glorious work that has already taken place and what is to come. We are to stay alert for what is happening in the world. And stay alert for the imitations so that we will not be drawn away from God’s purpose and plan for each of us.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13:32-37


Going, Going, Gone!

Last week, I found out my next door neighbor is moving. I told them I was sorry to see them go – and I meant it. They were nice neighbors. English is not their first language so there was always a barrier to communication. But we spoke the occasional “hi” from the yard. They have lived beside me for at least five years. But the thing I got a little bit excited about was that when they moved, they would be taking their dog with them! Disclaimer – I am not a pet person; I never grew up with pets, and I just don’t have a love for them. This dog has been my nemesis. Whenever I am outside the dog barks continuously until I go back in the house. Front yard or back. If the dog sees me in my living room, it will bark. I haven’t been able to enjoy any time in my yard since the dog has lived with them.

The dog is a rather large dog; mostly mutt but has some German shepherd in the mix. When the dog has been off the leash, it has charged at me – three times. The encounters have put me in a fearful mode when I attempt to go outside. I always check to see where the dog is before I venture outside. The past encounters have given me flashbacks to my childhood with other encounters with large dogs. I am not a big fan to say the least. So yes, I am glad this dog is going away. I did a little happy dance when I thought I could at last be at peace in my yard. Not only has this dog been a nemesis for my peace, I have had other neighbors bring dogs home and there’s a chorus of barking dogs whenever I am trying to write or study God’s word. I have started referring to those times as Satan’s tool of distraction. Once I submitted my annoyance to God, the dogs have no longer been an issue during those special times.

As I was contemplating these last three years of doggie distractions, I realized this was the time that Jesus had set aside time for me to begin a new work in me. I was reminded of the study we just finished up in my small group time. We studied the book of Jonah with Priscilla Shirer. She wrote (and spoke) about navigating a life interrupted. God has plans for us. Sometimes we have these “divine interventions” to get us on His plan. Over the last three years, He has been working on my heart and His plan. He wants me to be aligned with the things that He has in mind. It’s not too difficult to figure out that His plan involves people. He wants everyone to know about His love for us; His plan of salvation through Jesus, His Son; and how He wants to use each of us to reach our neighbors. Satan doesn’t want this to happen and will send whatever distractions or obstacles so the work will not be done!

For those of us who follow the commands of Jesus, we are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus suggested – I mean – told us to go out into the world and disciple others; to teach them to obey everything He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). I think we all understand this is what we are to do. But if you are like me, you might not actually do it. The world is too big to conquer. We can’t reach it by ourselves. But my world is a bit smaller. God has placed me beside these neighbors. For the last few years, I have understood this is my world. I was happy the dog was going away, but I should have been sad about the fact that I would not be able to be a light to this neighbor anymore. I should be heartbroken that I will not have the opportunity to tell them about Jesus. The language barrier was always an excuse. Now, the dog won’t bother me, but the thoughts of missed opportunities might.

God’s plan is always about people. Jonah became angry over God’s compassion for the people of Nineveh. There are always obstacles to share the Good News. We need to have the compassion that God has because compassion always leads to action. The barriers will never stand in our way if we understand God’s perspective that everyone is worth the effort because Jesus died for them too. We will be compelled to tell! The opportunities like the dog will be going, going, then gone for good.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

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