So, I stayed home today to recover from this flu bug that got me on Sunday. I actually stayed in bed until almost 9! I woke up about 8:20 and was thinking about what I would write today and then fell right back asleep. During that half hour or so I had a dream. Upon waking the Lord said, that is what you are writing about...ok, so here goes.
In my dream I woke up, got dressed and went out into the kitchen area to get coffee. In my dream the dining table was where it used to be years ago, near the sliding glass door. As I walk out of my room I see wet leaves all over the floor. I go to the sliding glass door and see that it is unlocked and that someone has moved stuff around outside. I start to panic, realizing that someone has been in the house and may still be in there. I see my kids (they are younger than they are now) and tell them something is wrong. They just keep on with what they are doing, not concerned at all. I find my phone and can't make a call out. One of my kids says a friend is going to pick them up, so I am watching for someone that I can yell at out the window to call the police. I also see that it is snowy, dark and murky outside, and realize that it is not the season for that kind of weather. Finally someone drives up and I am screaming, call the police!! They aren't concerned, they just sit in their vehicle. I try my phone again only to see that someone has dismantled it, the battery is out and there is no way I can make a call. I am frantic at this point. I look outside again, and see more things moved, disturbed. And then I look around in the house and see such disarray, it is alarming. Bikes torn apart and pieces lying all over. Furniture that does not belong to me, broken pieces scattered through the house. I run to the window again and finally get someone to call 911. At this point I see the person who has been doing this, he is in the carport (our house is like it was when we first moved in, no renovation done to it). He is just going through stuff like he belongs. The police finally get here and walk up and talk to the guy. He says, I have every right to be here. I can do what I want. The police seem okay with this and just leave. That is when I wake up.
Here is my take on that dream, as I prayed and asked the Lord what it all meant. The devil is a thieving, stinking liar. There you go. Ok, there is more to it than that, but that is the gist of it all.
Number one, the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. He believes that he has every right to come into my home, my life and try to crush me. He brings up the past; the fact that in my dream the kids were younger and my home was as it was when we first moved in. One of his tricks is to bring up your past. To try to discourage you by showing you all the things wrong that you have done. Bring up your old shames, bring up your mistakes, your moments of disappointment and humiliation. Remember this, you are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Any time the enemy of your soul brings up your past, you remind him and yourself that you have been bought by the blood of Jesus and as the rest of that verse in 2 Corinthians says, old things are passed away, all things have become new. You don't live in the past, you live now and you live for the glory of God.
Second thing the enemy does is to bring disarray into your life. Like those wet leaves and dismantled pieces of garbage, he throws things in your path to trip you up and confuse you. It is like one of those puzzles, what is wrong with this picture? In my dream, as I walked out of my room and saw those wet leaves, at first I was like, hmm, that odd, leaves in my house. But then I realized they did not belong there. They had been brought in to confuse me and distract me from what was happening. The devil does this also. He will try to bring confusion into your life. He will try to distract you from what you are supposed to be doing. He will try to whisper in your ear that all of that mess is ok and hey, just live with it. Mess, what mess? I know when things get weird, that when I am getting stressed and can't seem to think straight that something is going on and I seek the Lord. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace" (ESV). And, you know what goes along with confusion is fear. The enemy will try to bring fear into your heart. In my dream I was so afraid, and it caused me to be ineffectual. Fear does that. Have you ever been so afraid that it has been hard to breath, hard to think? I have and it is a horrible place to be. In my dream I felt powerless and out of control as I tried to run around and get people to help me. But 2 Timothy 1:7 says this, "For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment" (HCSB). If we feel fear, if we feel frantic and panicky, then that is not God. God is the God of love and peace. When and if that feeling comes over you, you need to stop and pray and ask God to fill you with His peace and then you need to tell that old devil to go back to where he belongs.
Another thing the enemy does is to make things seem dark and cold and discouraging, just like in my dream where it was cold and snowy, but it wasn't winter. As Christians we are to walk in the light, as He is in the light. Do you ever have days where if you examined things, everything was really ok, but you just feel off? You feel blue. Oftentimes that is the devil trying to again cause you to be ineffectual for the kingdom by taking your focus off of God and off of what is good, and pure and lovely and making you dwell on something you cannot even put a finger on. You become like Don Quixote tilting at windmills, chasing imaginary foes that have no power over you.
The devil also likes to try to stop you from being able to pray. In my dream, first my phone wouldn't work, and then later it was totally taken apart. If the enemy can get you to stop praying, he has won a battle. Prayer is our line of communication with God. It is our direct line to power, to strength, to hope. When we pray it takes our minds off of what is going on around us and puts it where it should be, on Godly things. When we pray we are not only able to tell God our fears and hurts, but we are able to, if we take the time, hear back from Him and receive hope and courage. That most famous prayer of all, the Lord's prayer ends this way, "and deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever amen." Matthew 6: 9-13 (NASB) All of this world is His, the devil is just an interloper, a toothless lion hoping to destroy you will carnival tricks and mind games. When you feel you can't pray, pray. If it is just a cry from the heart, He will hear. If you cannot even do that, just groan, that will be the Spirit..."In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans" Romans 8:26 (NIV).
The enemy will also try to surround you with people who do not believe as you do. They will scoff at you, they will mock what you believe. They will turn a deaf ear to your words about God. That is why it is so important to have fellowship with other believers. That is why it is so important to have strong Godly relationships. In my dream no one that I told about the danger would listen to me. They went along on their merry way and disregarded my words. They were not able to give me any hope, any encouragement. What we need are people in our lives that will speak the truth to us, even when it hurts. We are to, as it says in Ephesians 4:15, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ (NIV). But that does not mean that we do not interact with unbelievers. It does not mean that we become that Christian who does not lovingly reach out to every person. After all, Jesus came and loved us before we knew Him, before we knew of His sacrifice for us. He loved us in our unloveliness, He showed us kindness when we had no room in our lives for Him. We are to treat every person with love and respect, through Christ. Even in my dream, one person finally listened to me and responded.
No, it wasn't the cold medication talking in my dream this morning. I believe it was a word from the Lord, encouragement to me and maybe to others that we don't have to let the enemy run roughshod over our lives. In Him, in Jesus we have the power to defeat the enemy. We have the truth to combat the lies. We have the strength to live a life that will bring glory to the Lord; we don't have to live in fear and confusion and anxiety. Through Him we have every resource we need to live a victorious life. That triumphant life is not just a dream, it is a reality for every child of God. Now wake up and go live it!