Listen: A Lion, A Girl & Oppression

” … all the people looked disheveled and/or sad, oppressed. So, I walked in and asked what happened to the place. No one gave me an answer …”

A Dream, A Prophetic Interpretation and a Word

The Dream

Scene 1 – Sudden Darkness

I was walking down a road near where I grew up in Tennessee. Except it was now a dirt road, with very light dirt. I was going to visit the area where I was raised. I don’t remember if in the dream my mom still lived there or not. As I was walking down the street, which is pretty barren on both sides for a long stretch—no homes, only corn fields, as it is in the country—all of a sudden there was a boom sound and everything went completely black, no lights anywhere. Before there were street lights and it was about dusk. After the blackout the only light was the moonlight. And that was really dim. It felt as if the entire geographical region of Tennessee and beyond, maybe the world, was suddenly dark. I speeded up walking to get to the neighborhood quicker, where I figured they were other people and I would be safe.

Scene 2 – A Lion and a Little Girl

No cars came by, but I did pass a few people walking briskly on the other side in the opposite direction. So this one lady passed by; we didn’t speak and then I noticed a little girl following her. The lady was walking very fast and seemed completely focused where she was going, not glancing over at me or even looking back to check on the child. I believe she was Caucasian or maybe Hispanic. I know her skin color was pretty light. After passing me, all of a sudden, the little girl turned back and started following me. I urged her to go and catch up with her mother. She tried to do so but her mother had gone so far and she really couldn’t see her. The next thing I know the little girl was stuck in the ditch and crying out for help. She was literally hanging on something by her dress, head downwards into the ditch. I started walking over to help her, and before I could reach the ditch, I noticed what looked like a lion slowly going down toward her. It seemed young but large enough to do damage to any human. I froze and was really scared. I turned back because I reasoned that both of us would be killed by the lion. So in fear I kept going. I heard the little girl scream, and then I didn’t hear her anymore. I felt extremely bad. I kept going in the direction of the community. At that point I realized that I had somehow veered off the actual road and was about to walk straight into a swamp. So I doubled back and got back on the road. I was worried that I had to go back in the direction of the lion, thinking surely, he would get me too. But he was nowhere in sight, so once I found the road I headed back toward the community, as fast as I could.

Scene 3 – Shantytown

When I got to where our subdivision used to be, the streets and homes that should have been there were not. Instead, it seemed to be a huge camp of people like a refugee camp of sorts, with just little small pockets or rooms, like a shantytown, set up like a maze, seemingly with no streets. Chaotic and full of people. It was very dark and depressing, and all the people looked disheveled and/or sad, oppressed. So, I walked in and asked what happened to the place. No one gave me an answer. Most of them looked rather unapproachable, and I was a bit afraid so just kept moving through the maze hoping that soon I would break free of this and find my old neighborhood as it was. I came to this one door, and as I passed I looked in and it was full of foreigners, maybe 20 people or so. They appeared to be Indian or of some Asian country, all fairly dark skinned but with straight black hair. A man who seemed to be a leader (I think he was American but not sure) made them line up and begin marching out of the room single file. They were all men and were all with such a sad countenance. I caught one’s eye and gave him a smile to encourage him. The next guy in line looked at me and said, “It’s bad. It’s really bad.” I responded, “Are they abusing you?” And he answered, “Yes.” Then I told him I would try to help. And then they kept going. I had to stop to let them pass by. I followed behind them into the next room, namely because there was nowhere else to go, and heard the leader asking the guy I had spoken to what I had said. The guy told him that I would try to help them. Then the leader was very angry, and he grabbed my hand to try to twist it to frighten me. I became bold and looked at him right in the eye, and I grabbed his hand to try to loosen it from mine and said something like, “I’m not afraid of you, let go of my hand. You’re not the boss of me.”

The Prophetic Interpretation of This Dream

Some of the children in this world are in grave danger. We, as adults, are allowing this danger. How? From neglect. Being so concerned with our own safety, our busyness, our schedules, our safety, that we’ve forgotten about the children. There are so many being abused. ‘Hanging by a thread’—and headed in the wrong direction, even the opposite one they should be going in. Once they realize they are in trouble, they cry for help, but in fear, or disinterest, many ignore their cries. And so the ‘lions’ of this world—sex traffickers, abusers, pedophiles, child soldier ‘recruiters,’ kidnappers and other evildoers—easily devour them. They become ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and I would add, ‘out of hearing range, out of thought.’ We sympathize with their issues, but how often, do we actually do anything about them?

There are also adults being abused and oppressed around the world. No one can deny this truth. There were people of all kinds of nationalities in that ‘shantytown.’ Oppression is an international issue. Many nations are in turmoil as a result. God is shaking things up, majorly. He is showing us these things in our dreams for a reason.

A Word

Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we pray! It is also necessary for us to get involved in standing up for children, rather, to their abusers. The children cannot do it themselves. The enemy is behind all evil, which is why, when we decide to fight him, it’s important that we wield a sword of great power: the word of God. Praying the word of God is powerful. And prayer changes things. This is a call to warfare prayer. And for those who are able, a call to action. For the children. And for those who are oppressed. Let’s press in to God, actually listen to Him, get insight on how we are to pray, and what we are to do.

Selah.

GIDEON – Man  of Valor

“OK, you brought me through the obstacles to get here, but now that the show is about to go down, will you be with me then, too?” 

 Gideon wasn’t afraid to ask questions or to confront, even an angel of the Lord. Although he didn’t know it, he was a man of valor. God did not give up on him but consistently led him so that eventually through his actions, Gideon blessed the people of Israel, delivering them out of oppression resulting from disobedience and back into God’s favor.

The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you.” Gideon’s immediate response was akin to a phrase we often say today, “Yeah, right,” meaning, I hear you, but I don’t really believe what you’re saying! Gideon was not afraid to confront even the angel of the Lord and ask, in so many words, if the Lord is with us, why are we in this condition, then? The Lord just kept going—He always knows He is right. He didn’t explain why they were in that position to Gideon just then—Gideon likely already knew, as this pattern of disobedience and punishment had gone on in Israel for quite some time. The angel simply urged Him to go, with his “might” (a declaration from God of what Gideon had, although he didn’t see it himself) and “save Israel from the hand of Midian.” Furthermore, he reminded Gideon that it was God Himself who was sending him to do such a thing. 

At this point, Gideon realized he was hearing from the Lord, but in his human weakness, he still protested, telling God he was in the weakest clan of Manasseh and the least within his own family. God, in His supreme patience, gave Gideon further encouragement and assured him that he would not be alone. God would be with Gideon, and when Gideon fought the Midianites, it would be as if he was fighting one man. Wow. Think about that … what if all the obstacles I think are in the way of me publishing my first book are all really as one thing?

Did Gideon jump up and down and say, “Yes! Let’s get ’em now”? Nope. He needed some everyday, concrete, bona fide proof that if he were to be bold enough to fight the Midianites, God would come through. He even went back into doubting it was God in the first place, and said, if this is really you show me a sign. 

Of course, God passed Gideon’s tests with brilliant colors and even allowed Gideon to see His angel vanish right in front of him! That, you might think, should have been more than enough! 

Then God had a test of his own, one of obedience, where he asked Gideon to tear down the altar of Baal that his people had been worshiping. Gideon knew this would anger the people but he did it anyway. Your decisions may not always be popular, but if God says do it, then do it. 

Now Gideon fully trusted that this was God; and God knew He could trust Gideon to be obedient, so “the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon,” and he gathered the warriors he needed. Before Gideon was bold enough to do the unthinkable and tear down their altar of Baal, the people weren’t even thinking of going against the enemy—the one whose gods had become theirs. But now they saw God’s hands upon Gideon and followed him, preparing for battle.

Even with troops backing him, Gideon had more tests for God! What does this mean? Could this have just been Gideon’s way of checking in and saying, “OK, you brought me through the obstacles to get here, but now that the show is about to go down, will you be with me then, too?” The strongest human would probably have been exacerbated by this time. God’s response? He simply did what Gideon asked, assuaging his unease about the upcoming battle and strengthening him to keep moving toward it. God is rooting for you. He knows that sometimes you need both spiritual and natural signs to forge ahead with what He’s told you to do—even if He’s already revealed to you that you are on the right path. That’s just our human nature. So don’t beat yourself up about it. Keep doing what Gideon did: check with God. You will need His detailed counsel, His wisdom and His strategy. God’s words do not lie; they do not return void. What has He told you lately? Are you still testing Him at His word? Or do you now believe it?

What could Gideon possibly say, after all his tests were met as yes and amen from God? I believe that God placed such detail of Gideon’s story in His word because He knew we would be able to relate to Gideon. In our human limitations and our doubt, fear and worry, sometimes we need more than just a word we think is from the Lord; we need to test it and make doubly sure. I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing. On the surface, a judgmental person might see this as, “You aren’t trusting God.” But think deeper. Perhaps Gideon just wanted to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, and knowing the great feats the Lord had shown Israel in the past, if this same God was indeed the one running the show he was about to start, then who could stop Gideon? If you knew beyond a doubt that this same God, who parted the red sea for Moses and the Jordan River for Joshua, was going to be with you in all His power when you go to the battle—when you send your song demo to producers, or open your doors for business, or send your book manuscript to chosen agents—then there would be no hesitation and you would be, as my good friend Lisa always says, “All in!” 

So now Gideon has encamped his men, weeded down from 32,000 to 300. You can do the same: Just ask God and He will sort out the wheat from the chafe of all the choices you have to help get your assignment accomplished. So, now Gideon and his 300 warriors are ready for the showdown. Yet, Gideon is still a bit wary. God knows this, but this time, He offers Gideon assurance even before he can ask! He allows him to overhear what happens in a dream—by the enemy—as well as its interpretation, which points to Gideon’s victory, even naming him in the interpretation. Gideon worships God in thanksgiving and relief. Now he is as ready as he will ever be, and he moves that very night in obedience to God. 

Here’s one of my favorite parts about this moving story: When Gideon’s 300 men were obedient to him and followed his exact instructions, they didn’t even have to actually fight to win the war! God not only went with Gideon but fought for him! When the enemy heard the trumpets blow from Gideon’s men, they were afraid. Perhaps they thought to themselves that surely there must be a great number of Israelites about to attack if so many trumpets are summoning the men for battle! So afraid, that they were obviously bewildered, for they turned and fought each other! Those not killed from that melee turned and ran, and the Israelites were able to pursue, capture and subdue. 

Likewise, you can pursue your dream with confidence. Be sure to check with God at every step, listen for His specific instructions, and go! Step out there. And God will say to you, as he did to Gideon: “…but I will be with you … peace be to you … do not fear.” 

For the full story of Gideon, read Judges 6 and 7 in the Bible. 

 

Just Listen

“Some don’t even try to know Me. They think it’s too difficult because they are watching others.”

Be still … 

And listen … 

And know that I am God. 

Some praise Me but they do not know Me. Some worship Me but they do not study My word. Some study My word but they do not apply it to their entire life, only some of it. Some don’t even try to know Me. They think it’s too difficult because they are watching others. Some are strong but only within, not without, so that others might see My glory shine upon them and be saved. Some witnesses are devout, but only in public. Some pray daily to me, but hardly listen.  

If we sometimes find ourselves in these words, let’s correct the course. 

Selah. 

First Dust Then Life 

“… I’m at the bottom of the well with no rope, and no one can hear me. I feel awful and I’m mad at God. Thanks for asking. Bye.”

When you’re down in the dust of life, at your lowest point, in the dirt, a natural reaction is to feel as if there is no hope. You wonder why God is seemingly ignoring you. Your friends can’t help because the depth of the dirt clinging to their feet is just an inch lower than yours. Most of the people at church echo roughly the same thing: “Hello! I’m blessed and highly favored; how are you?” And as you consider your circumstance, truthfully, you should say, “Terrible. I’m at the bottom of the well with no rope, and no one can hear me. I feel awful and I’m mad at God. Thanks for asking. Bye.” But instead, you give the obligatory response: “Wonderful! Doing well. Be Blessed!” And you walk away, dirt cloud wafting up and up and up …

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground …” 

God began His creation of man in the dust. His work of art needed to begin at the root. Dust does not look appealing; consequently, we swish it away and are embarrassed when it’s seen in our homes. It belongs outside, and in fact, in “civilized” societies, most of it is covered by vast concrete jungles. There is a limited amount that remains, only to shelter the grass, herbs and trees. Although unpleasant and messy, dirt is a necessary growth stimulant. When the vegetation, the herbs and the fruit grow, we marvel at the natural beauty and the sweetness—and we eat it! We forget that before beauty, there was dirt, and even mud when mixed with water. When dirt gets in our way, we scoff and clean. If we’re in a big hurry, we may even sweep it under a rug, anything to keep the unsightly from being seen.

Most dust is under your feet. It’s on the ground, down low, constantly trod upon. Just like you may feel sometimes—smashed by humanity emotionally, financially, mentally, even physically. Furthermore, you may feel like God Himself turned His back and shook the dust off His feet, leaving you there to wallow in … the dust.

“… and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life …” 

Just as plants and trees grow and become useful, and therefore have value (that’s been there all along), so too, can you! First you have to be nourished in the dust. Something magical happens there. Perhaps it’s like wine in the fermenting process, clay in a potter’s hand, or a man when God decides to reveal his purpose. So, God singles you out, sees you in your dust—for you have claimed it personally by now—and breathes on you. He gives you favor with man, institutions, governments and kings. Now the dust rolls off effortlessly as you stand taller and your life welcomes increase once again. The breath of life deposited by God within your spirit dances freely,

 “… and man became a living soul.” 

If your current circumstance has you wallowing in the dust, take heart. For that’s where God plants, nourishes, builds, grows … life. Your life—the life you were meant to live—awaits. Be patient and allow this cycle of development, proof perfect since the dawn of creation, to run its course. No, it doesn’t matter what you did to get there, who or what caused your downfall, or under what societal conditions you landed in the dust. God is waiting for you to stop writhing, lest you shake off too much of His nourishment, His wisdom. Inhale slowly and steadily as He breathes into you, learning every nugget and lesson intended for this phase of your life. Do what He says, go where He says to go. And when God decides that His creation is ready, you shall burst forth anew, in full bloom and brilliance, as He intended.

Welcome the dust in your life, for in it, a glorious creation is underway. Selah.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7

Listen: Mountains & Hills

… many people were running into the forest, most with just the clothes on their backs …

A Dream, an Interpretation, and a Word

The Dream
Scene 1:

I was outside, very high up on a mountain with jagged edges. I could see other mountains all around me, some snow-capped. There were children playing around me, various races. They were running to and fro, chasing each other, and running  dangerously right up to the edge. It appeared as if they were running to the edge on purpose, pretending as if they were going to run off and fall, and then another kid running directly behind them would pull them back just in time. I was observing them and wondering why they were being so careless with their lives. They were laughing a lot and seemed to be having a lot of fun. They were not taking the danger seriously at all; in fact, it seemed as if they were being flippant about it.

Scene 2:

I was outside, this time on ground level. There was a hill nearby, maybe a couple hundred yards away. There were several people standing in various places on the hill. All of a sudden, it began to move as if someone were on the other side pushing it. The people began to run down the hill to get off it because it was moving. They were afraid. I began running as well with them. The only place to go was into a forest. The forest was not very thick, but many people were running into the forest, most with just the clothes on their backs, and some with a few items they had grabbed before running from wherever they came from. As we ran deeper and deeper into the forest, we ran across several areas where people had decided to just camp out where they could. I kept going until I got to an area that looked safe, a clearing of sorts. In this section, the forest floor seemed to be carpeted, with some soft material over the ground, with various pastel colors, going around trees as if perfect circles had been cut out for the trees. Several people were laying down and some were asleep. It was quiet and peaceful, and so I decided to stay there as well.

Scene 3:

I was some place inside with another female and a  guy I was dating. He seemed rather young. I was sitting across from the other two on a small couch. The scenery appeared to be a sitting area inside the lobby of a building. I believe other people were milling about around us, but not closely. Apparently, I had, had a  serious  argument with my boyfriend. He and I, as well as the other lady, had some sort of short swords in our hands. Both of them held the sword out in the center toward me. Somehow there was an agreement that if I also touched my sword in the middle with theirs, that he and I would be finished and could kill each other or fight to the death. I don’t believe I wanted to, but I think I felt forced to also put my sword out and touch his. And everyone knew what that meant. However, the next minute our swords were down, and he began walking toward me, but not in a threatening way. He came closer and closer so that his face was very close to my face, and our lips were almost touching. I stood very still and didn’t say a word. Then he puckered his lips to brush mine briefly, and I hesitated slightly but also followed suit. So, then we were OK and were no longer going to fight or kill each other.

The Symbolic Interpretation of This Dream
  1. We are ‘playing dangerously’ with the things of God. To choose Him is to choose eternal life, but not to choose Him is to choose  ultimate and final death. People are laughing at this concept, ignoring its truth, and don’t realize how dangerously close they are too losing their life, for all eternity—when they could actually save it.
  2. God gives us warnings in life. If we heed the warnings, we will arrive at a safe place in Him. Although chaos will occur around us in the world, we will have peace.
  3. There will come a time when others, including people you are close to, will be at great odds with you about God, maybe even to the point of threats against you. However, if you  remain steadfast in the ways of God, even in the midst of such turmoil, all shall be well.
A Word
Listen to what the Spirit of the Lord has spoken:

Naked you are before me. I see all. I hear your thoughts before they become words. There is no rock on earth I cannot see. No sea who’s depth I do not know. No bird flies or eats without my knowledge. Do you recognize who I am? I am your loving God—with an outstretched hand before you. Will you choose my eternal love? Or will you wait and test my wrath?