Dream: Flirting With Demons

Flirting with Demons     3/18/19

I’ve told you before that I have VERY vivid and detailed dreams. Oftentimes they seem to be trivial and interesting, but inconsequential. Not last night!

I dreamed that two friends and I (I don’t recognize their faces, but knew they were friends) and I were hanging out in a part of a city that was a ‘hip’ area…sort of ‘bohemian’ with old houses, trendy restaurants, etc. This was THE place to hang if you were a young, engaged person. (Why was I there, at 56? I don’t know…but I was!) I was seeing this all in the first-person–as if I was literally looking through my own eyes (not in an ‘observational’ mode, as often happens in dreams).

As we were hanging out in that part of town, we noticed several people going into a big, old house—sort of like Kalamazoo’s ‘Stuart Neighborhood’, or even the ‘Student Ghetto’. We decided to go in.

While in that house, a man came and said ‘follow me’ and we did. We went into a large room with a big window to the outdoors. White walls, glass chandelier, and instantly one of my friends started speaking as though he was feeling something going on within himself. The other friend started to back away from him in fear. As I watched, my friend started to command certain things to happen—like the lights going low, then back up, a chair lifted off the ground, etc. He then turned to me, and looked at me and I started to feel some oppression…some pressure almost lifting me off the ground.

I felt angry—at myself, for being in this place, and at my ‘friend’ for subjecting me to this power. I was not ‘scared’, but knew this was not acceptable. I told him, “You better not come after me. In the name of Jesus I command you to cease. In Jesus’ name, leave!” I felt the pressure subside and my friend ‘woke up’ from what seemed to him to be like a trance.

We left the house immediately and I woke up from my dream.

 

As soon as I awoke, I felt an impression that I believe was from the Lord…it was for me, personally, and for Christians, in general.

It was this message: We are flirting too much with the world, and that means we’re flirting with the enemy of our souls.

We have found too much of our identity in ‘going along’ with our culture, rather than standing against it and redeeming it. We have quietly bought in to the pleasures of this world as being our hope, and we’ve bought into the mindset of our culture as ‘the direction’ of where we should go. We take the ‘wisdom’ of this world as though it’s real—settling for political and material victories when it is a Spiritual Battle that is raging all around. We tend to think that, if we simply ‘don’t get too dirty’ with the world, then we’re living for God. The truth is, we’ve become worldly and reflect superficial things more than eternal things.

We’ve even taken on the standards of ‘victory’ from our cultural, worldly standards, and have forgotten that we are Children of God—eternal beings that are to be living for eternity, by faith in Jesus, and taking as many people there as possible, through the Gospel of Jesus! Instead, we are increasingly content to fight worldly battles in the power of the flesh—trading insult for insult, sarcastic jab for sarcastic jab.

It’s as though we’ve completely forgotten our True Identity!

One of the enemy’s best, most effective weapons is the soft blanket of worldliness to help us stay asleep. The Lord says, WAKE UP! NOW is the time to worship the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind! TODAY is the day of salvation! RIGHT NOW is the time of serious spiritual battle…

Am I awake? Are you?

Are you in the fight, by the power of God, or are you asleep?

Even worse, are you so deceived by the enemy of our souls that you don’t even know there’s a battle going on?

Pray for mercy from the Lord—that He would help us to see our ‘flirtation with demons’ and how our ‘worldliness’ plays into that.

Let us repent of that, and truly worship the Lord, in Spirit and in Truth!

Ephesians 6:10-12:

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

 

Revelation 3:1-3:

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars:

“I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.

 

Psalm 95:6-7:

“Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
    for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
    the flock under his care.

If only you would listen to his voice today!”

 

Philippians 3:18-20:

“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven.And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…”

 

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Dream #2: Judge Not?

Judge Not…3/14/19

As I stated yesterday, I have VIVID, detailed dreams. The night before last I had 2…I described one in this post: https://pastordajo.com/2019/03/14/two-dreams-1-sparrow-and-spider/.

Here’s my second one:

In my dream I was at church, talking with a group of people after the service in the lobby. One of the young men—a high schooler—began to walk away from the group, toward the office. As he did so, he pulled out a bottle—a fifth of Southern Comfort! He announced that he “I need me some southern comfort” as he began to drink it.

I walked toward him, and asked him to stop. “What do you think you’re doing?” I asked.

“Drinking my whiskey.” He said.

“You’re under age, and this is CHURCH!” I said.

“Who are you to judge?” he replied.

You should know that, in my dreams, I often get a ‘backstory’—as though it was a movie and I know a lot about each character’s background. I knew this young man was sleeping with his girlfriend and had been busted and suspended for marijuana possession and smoking it at school. He reeked of it even now.

I knew that none of his family came to church, and he didn’t really hang out with anyone here…I was glad he came, but I wondered about his motivation and understanding. “Why do you come here?” I asked.

‘Hey, who are you to judge?’ he answered. “I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I’m born again and going to heaven…I’m just going to enjoy myself on the way there!”

“No, you’re missing the point”, I said. “Jesus is not just a ‘get out of jail free’ card. He is God. He deserves our worship. He is Savior and Lord. That means that, if I’m following Him, I’m getting closer and closer…He’s changing me.”

“I do what I want”. He said. “Judge not”…and he walked away.

I realized two things at that moment—as I stood there in my dream:

1) People—even church-going ones—can ‘miss it’. We can misunderstand what God did by sending His son. It wasn’t only about heaven or hell (although it was that), but about ‘authority’. Who is ‘in authority’ in our lives—us (our appetites, our cravings, our desires), or God? Clearly this young man (and others like him) are not acknowledging Jesus for who He is—God in the flesh, Lord over all, Savior of all who call on Him in faith.

2) The word ‘Judge’ is misunderstood and misused. Calling someone out and challenging them to live a consistent lifestyle is not ‘judging’. This is simply holding accountable, seeking integrity and rooting out hypocrisy. It takes ‘discernment’, but that is not judging. When it comes to ‘declaring who’s ‘in’ and who’s ‘not’, that is not my call…Judgment in that sense is, and always will be, only God’s role—not mine.

However, the tendency we have in our culture to ‘live and let live’, and to embrace the ‘you do you’ concept should not apply to those who claim to be followers of Jesus. We need to encourage, pray for, lovingly confront, and walk with each other as we follow Him.

“Jesus said,  “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye[c] when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5).

Certainly that was calling for humility, authenticity, character and a spirit of repentance before God. I need to let Him do His work within myself, first and foremost—and I, for one, know there’s still a lot to do! However, that doesn’t mean that we are never to confront, encourage, and hold accountable other believers in the family of God. After all, Paul wrote, “you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer[j]yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (1st Corinthians 5:11-13).

Clearly, there is a certain degree of accountability we have to one another, within the family of God. While it does not mean that we should go around being the ‘religious police’ for each other, we should ‘call each other to consistency’ and encourage accountability within our relationships within the family of God.

The young man in my dream was under a delusion: that Jesus is willing to be our SAVIOR with no attention to Him as our LORD. In truth, of course, He is both…and as I follow Him, He effects—for the better—all areas of my life!

This is part of what He meant when He said “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they might have life, to the full!” (John 10:10)

That young man thought he was ‘living the life’, but in reality he continued to be deceived and buying into the lie that ‘sin=freedom’. Sin—including all of the things he was doing and many, many more—is enslavement, NOT ‘freedom’. True Freedom comes when we learn to walk with Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and be changed to the point where we’re able to see and experience the ‘Full Life’ that God wants for us!

It’s not about ‘judgment’…it’s about Vision!

Two Dreams: 1) Sparrow and Spider

When I have dreams, I have VIVID, movie-quality dreams. These things are crazy in their color, detail.

Last night I had (at least) 2 very vivid dreams.

Let me tell you about the first one: The Birds and the Spider.

At the end, go ahead…try your hand at ‘the meaning’ behind the dream.

Sparrow and Spider               3-14-19

In my dream I saw that there were a bunch of Sparrows in the family room.

Upon investigating, I found that the ductwork—which (for some reason) was exposed near the floor—had a hole in it. I had to lay on my back and shimmy under the ductwork to find it, so that I was prone and almost stuck to do it, but sure enough: there was a hole. I realized, to my surprise, that it was a ‘designed’ hole—this hole was installed that way! It had a piece of scrap iron across the middle of the hole, but the birds were coming out of that hole. I was about to slide a piece of aluminum up to cover the hole, when something caught my eye from the left—near the wall.

It was a large spider.

This spider was different than I’d seen before. Much bigger (about 6”) and very, VERY quick. He was almost jumping back and forth, making movements that seemed to communicate (it was a dream, after all) that I should get nowhere near that hole!

I was wary of laying there prone, next to this large spider, but I didn’t know if it was dangerous or not. (After all, as I’ve always told my girls, spiders are much smaller than us–even 6″ spiders–and we can usually conquer them if we keep our emotions in check.)

Luckily for me, I had my ‘Google glasses’ on.

In my dream, Google glasses are basically computers on your eyes. If you touch a button, whatever you’re looking at becomes an instant ‘Google search’ which gives a display on the glasses. I realized, however, that I did not want to move my hand up to the glasses to push the button, since it might startle the spider.

Lucky for me, I realized that I was fortunate to have ‘military-grade’ Google glasses! These glasses worked with a glove. It allowed me to touch my thumb and pinky together and that would do that same thing! (Who knew?)

When I touched my thumb and pinky together, and looked at the spider, a graphic display came up…in great detail I saw the spider up-close. It was called a ‘Pincher spider’ because of the most prominent feature: large pinchers at the front of it’s body. These pinchers were loaded with a venom that would sting—but not kill—a human. Pincher spiders, according to the display, were very quick and hard to kill—because they jumped around so much.

As I turned my attention from the display to the spider, I noticed that it was looking directly at me. Clearly, I was in its territory, and it didn’t like it! I realized that I would need to let the bird situation go until I eliminated the spider.

I would need to make one quick movement to extricate myself from under the ductwork. At the same time, I was able to grab a towel (just happened to be next to my hand), which I would wad up and try to use to squish the spider.

I was preparing to make my move, and I kept my eye on the spider as I did so…three, two, one…I went to pull myself out and at just that moment, the spider jumped toward my face! Last thing I remember is the spider—almost in slow motion—getting closer to my glasses! I was not able to move fast enough, and the glasses enabled me to see the eyes, the pinchers, the hairs on the legs…just as it landed.

Then I woke up with a start!

Fortunately, there are no Sparrows actually in my family room.

I Want, I Deserve, I Need, I DEMAND!

Maybe you’ve noticed.

Over the past several years, a mindset has taken hold.

This mindset is becoming pervasive in our culture. The speed at which it is spreading is breathtaking, but in many ways, it’s as old as humanity.

It is a mindset that says ‘I want…’.

It’s a philosophy which encourages the individual to think about…themselves!

It is, in some ways, nothing new. After all, we all have ‘wants’. There’s nothing inherently wrong with ‘wanting’ something or ‘desiring’ that thing.

Most of the things we want are innocuous. I want nice clothes, I want to be healthier, I want a newer car, a vacation, I want to curl up and read a book, I want a loving relationship….the list could go on and on.

The changes that I’ve noticed in the last several years is that the ‘I want’ thought has begun to be followed up with ‘I deserve’.

In other words, if ‘I want it’, I ‘deserve’ it…and you are wrong if you stand in the way of it.

This turns, very quickly, into ‘I need it’, and if it’s it’s a ‘need’, then society should make it available to me, for free…in the color, style and feel that I want…on my terms. After all, how can an ‘evolved’ society stand in the way of my legitimate ‘need’?

Similarly, if I have a ‘need’ and others decide that they have a similar need…we then have the right to DEMAND it…and to punish those who stand in our way!

I want RESPECT…I deserve your respect…I need it, and I DEMAND it!

If you don’t want to give it, then you must be punished!

What has caused this change? Where has this mindset come from?

In some ways, it’s ancient.

Way back in the beginning, according to Scripture, the first man and first woman were given a choice–to follow God’s will toward an ongoing, beautiful and life-giving relationship with Him, or to follow the serpent’s suggestion to a self-centered, individualistic and short-sighted life ‘wants, needs, and demands’ for our own way.

Genesis 3:6: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”

From that moment, onward, we have had this tendency. No one has to be ‘taught’ to be self-centered–we come by it naturally.

Yet, it’s really only been in the last 10 years or so that our culture has allowed the ‘wants’ to become ‘demands’. What has changed?

Again, we can learn a lot looking back into history.

In the Biblical book of Judges, we read a line a few times: “In those days, Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). 

However, lest you take the easy way out and blame ‘our Leaders’, let me remind you…

Proverbs 21:2: “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”

Proverbs 30:12: “There are those…those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth.”

Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

When we lift ‘My Wants’ to the level of ‘Needs’, then justify it into an ‘I deserve’ outlook, we then move to ‘I Demand’.

That is a bad place to be–for the individual, and a society.

No culture can last long in that mindset…it will lead to its own destruction. It has, throughout history, and it will–very quickly–in our culture.

When we get to the point that our ‘wants’ have justified the killing of over 60 MILLION of our own children; when we become so self-centered that sexual sin–of all kinds–is rampant and now becoming bizarre; when divorce has become commonplace; when parents are irresponsible enough that government–through schools and other places–has to step in and feed, clothe, and otherwise provide basics for children (and the parents now ‘expect’ it to be so), then we have to realize that we’ve become a culture that has lifted ‘self-centeredness’ to the level of an idol. We are all asked to bow down at the ‘altar’ of ‘Wants’. Any challenge of those ‘desires’ is somehow ‘evil’.

Everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes…

What is the answer?

Repentance! Turning back to God! Basing life and morality on the true and living Word of God!

Romans 3:23-24: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

If we are Christians, we MUST stand strongly on the Word of God, and to share the good news of Jesus.

IF we are not Christians, but are concerned about the direction of our nation, then we need to turn to God.

You can call that ‘judgmental’ or ‘narrow minded’ if you want; it is still TRUE!

…and it’s the only real hope for our nation.

Keep Your Head Down…?

Perhaps you’ve noticed.

Today, if you put an opinion ‘out there’ that it not what the dominant cultural norm is (at least, for this week), you will get attacked, castigated, painted some form of creature not worthy of an opinion.

So, what do we do in that case?

Many of us just stay quiet.

hand over mouth

…and that’s a problem.

Here’s the thing: If you look at life from an earthly, temporary, here-and-now-is-all-that-exists mindset, you will be subject to the whims of your ‘age’, your culture, etc.

However, if you look at life from a Biblical mindset or worldview, you will not look at events the same way. You will realize that we are at a ‘point’ in the Eternal Scheme of Things that God is working out, in His perfect timing and plan.

The choice of which way you look at life is profound and important, for a host or reasons–not the least of which is that it will impact exactly how you will respond to cultural things.

Most importantly, it also helps you to know what’s ‘right and wrong’ about these cultural things. After all, if God is real, and He’s working out HIStory with a ‘plan’ in mind, that might mean that there’s and ‘end date’ to history! Certainly, there’s an ‘end date’ for each one of us, as individuals, and if God is real, then we should pay attention to what He thinks, more than what our culture thinks.

This means that God’s Word on the matter would mean more than a Hollywood star, a Politician, a Facebook Meme, or the loudest person at the party. None of those things could change God’s Word. That would be important to know.

I know that I, personally, have been struggling with this whole thing. As a Christian, I absolutely believe in God, in His Word, in His Will, and so on. Not a doubt in my mind.

I also believe that our culture–Western culture in general, but American culture in particular–has long ago turned its back on God and has tried to ‘throw off’ the ‘constraints’ of living life–even a little–according to His Word.

I believe that the biggest, most influential move to make would be for The Church–not a ‘building’ or ‘organization’, but rather all of the Individuals who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior–to experience a ‘revival’ of passion, purity, and power, through Repentance, Prayer, Worship, the Word, and renewed commitment to follow Him, come what may. I still believe that.

However, one thing I must confess is that I’ve sort of taken a ‘let them go their way’ mindset…I’ve disengaged from cultural and political discussions, assuming that ‘the die has been cast’. That is wrong.

Here’s one Key that those of us who are Believers know: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”–1 John 5:19. We know that satan is a liar, a thief, a murderer and that he will do anything and everything he can to deceive millions who are in darkness and think they are ‘enlightened’. He wants to take them down with himself. We know that “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they (His followers) might have Life, and have it To The FULL” (John 10:10, emphasis mine).

There IS a battle raging in our world today. It’s not primarily a ‘political’ battle. It’s not even primarily a ‘cultural’ battle. It is, first and foremost, a SPIRITUAL battle.

…and we Believers need to engage!