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Archive for the tag “Dreams and Visions”

The Floater

The start of a new year is always a little daunting to me. New slate, new beginning, new… what? I really detest making goals. I detested it for my employers – because you know making goals never reflect in the raises we are given. It was always a budgeted amount regardless of what was stated on our reviews. I got a few promotions along the way because I was a good worker and did more than what was expected – but the raise was never given in proportion to the amount of effort put in and the goals that were attained. I did the work because I was given a job to do and I did it without much fanfare.

But I must tell you, through much of my life I have floated from one decision to another. I have led a quiet life. I don’t put things on a goal list or things I want to attain before I die. However, my Pastor challenged us today. He wants us to think of our funeral. I don’t like to think in those terms, but I see his point. God is a strategic God. And He wants us to be involved in His plan. His goals for our lives should be reflected in the way we live.

I have started reading through the Bible as my yearly endeavor. Right now, I am in Genesis – yep, just starting out. But I am reminded of a few things of significance – God has an order to things He creates; He puts things into place exactly at the right time and in the right order. He uses unlikely people for His purpose.

I am in the story of Jacob at this time. He’s an interesting character. Jacob’s name means deceiver and he lived up to his name. He stole his brother’s birthright and his blessing through deceptive means with the help of his mother. Jacob married a woman through deception – his future father-in-law switched wives on him and Jacob didn’t realize it until after the wedding night. Oops – married the first daughter and not the one he truly loved. Hate it when that happens!

But eventually He did marry his beloved Rachel. His first wife, Leah started having sons before his second wife Rachel. Jacob didn’t love Leah but yet she kept producing sons. Rachel was barren for many years then had Jacob’s favorite son Joseph and eventually Benjamin. He had twelve sons and one daughter through four different women – fascinating story; you’ll need to read it for yourself (Genesis 26-35).

It’s interesting to me that God didn’t use Jacob’s favorite wife to produce the heir to God’s Kingdom – His story is through the least favorite Leah and not through the favorite son but through one of Leah’s sons, Judah. Interesting, right? Jacob’s name is eventually changed to Israel and the blessing that was given to Jacob has been transferred from one generation to the next. The blessing given to Jacob (Israel) is that those who curse Israel will be cursed and those who bless Israel will be blessed (Genesis 27:29). God’s blessing is still reverberating through the centuries. God’s promises never fail.

As I contemplate God’s strategic plan, He has a place for me too. My Pastor told us we are to be intentional about our lives. We will never create a life of influence by accident. God has given us a vision for our lives – we are to bring Him glory in whatever we do. He has left it open to how He will use us, but He leaves nothing to chance. He uses it all for our good and for His purpose (Romans 8:28). When we go in the wrong direction, He uses it to build our character; for our future. But we are to surrender today and let God direct our steps for our future. He did this with Joseph, which means we will be exactly where God wants us to be at just the right time.

God gave Joseph a dream. The dream looked like nothing Joseph experienced along the way. However, Joseph stayed the course and chose to honor God in each and every situation until the dream was fulfilled. Joseph’s life wasn’t easy – first sold into slavery (by his brothers), then prison for something he did not do before he ever knew God was still working out the dream through him. The dream was fulfilled when Joseph rose to the second in command in Egypt. It was a road full of obstacles but one that finished at the right time and right place.

When I contemplate my own funeral, will it be a quiet affair with just a few friends and family in attendance? Will I have a life of significance? As long as I have breath in my lungs, I have an opportunity to live a life of purpose – glorifying God and letting Him lead me on a path with complete surrender of my own hopes and dreams. It’s His vision and dream that will be the most influential in all of history.

Can I be a part of His story? God’s Word tells me I can and you too. His Word also says to lay down our lives and take up the cross. That’s the life we’re meant to live – not a floater, but intentionally surrender every day. Not my will, but Yours be done; forever and ever. Amen.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)

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

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