Friday, May 29, 2009
Dreams, Dreams, DREAMS!!
It's time to resurrect the "Spirit of God" blog! I'm shamefully neglected it for too long. And what better way than to re-start it than by talking about dreams. Over the last few weeks I have been having an increasing amount of interesting and significant dreams. I am a big fan of the hit TV show "Heroes" and one of the characters I find the most fascinating is Angela Petrelli. She has an ability and that ability is precognitive dreaming;
"Precognitive dreaming is the ability to see the future through dreams".
But this is far more than just pie in the sky. This is purely and clearly biblical. And yet the church has abandoned it and ignored it and despised it at our peril and I cannot understand why. Let's start with Scripture and then I want to detail my dreams. My intent is that as I get dreams I will document them here. So what does the Word of God say about dreams?
Acts 2:17; "And it shall be in the last days' God says, 'That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; ... your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams".
So we can be certain that dreams form part of New Covenant life. But dreams go back further to Old Covenant days also.
Genesis 29:12: "He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it".
What a dream! Deuteronomy 13 carries some warnings that I believe are Old Covenant - and some anti-charismatics wrongly apply to today still. But it is interesting that the verse distinguishes between the two giftings;
Deuteronomy 13:1: "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder ...".
Then of course there was the famous dream during Gideon's assault against Midean:
Judges 7:13: "When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, "Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat."
The interpretation of that dream? It was even clear to a heathen Mideanite;
Judges 7:14: "His friend replied, "This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand."
Of course the book of Daniel is the famous book of dreams and there are countless ones - even to Nebuchadnezzer the king of Babylon. Daniel's gift in particular was this;
Daniel 1:17: "Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams".
But again - as I said dreams were occuring in the New Testament period. Angels would appear in dreams to warn and to speak. For example;
Matthew 2:13: "An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said; "Get up! Take the Child and His mother to Egypt".
I wonder why in a dream? Angels can appear in the flesh - as Gabriel did to the Virgin Mary. But clearly they can appear in dreams also. There's an interesting account in Acts where I am not quite sure whether it is a dream;
Acts 16:9: "A vision appeared to Paul in the night; a man of Macedonia was standing and saying; "Come over" ... when he had seen the vision ... concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them".
So my question is this - why do New Testament scholars and academics seem to either place dreams and visions in the "closed" category along with most other spiritual gifts or just ignore it? I think that James and Michal Ann Goll have a very useful insight into dreams and why this attitude exists;
"Through dreams God communicates directly with us concerning our destiny as well as the destinies of our families, our nation and our world. Many people today, particularly in the Western culture, never recognise God speaking to them in this way because they have been conditioned by a skeptical and sophisticated society to discount the language of dreams.
Unfortunately this includes many Christian believers also. For many years much of the church in the West had virtually lost dream language as a viable language of the Spirit. Yet within our generation the tide has begun to turn. God is re-awakening His people to the efficacy of dreams in their lives. He is reconnecting us to a vital part of our spiritual heritage that had all but disappeared".
"Dream language is the mystical language of Heaven. And even though it is a language of mystery and parable, we need to understand that God likes to reveal rather than conceal".
It is my personal belief that God actually is starting to speak more and more through dreams because Western culture particularly makes it exceedingly difficult to set time to be with God alone and in quiet. I try - honestly. But even when I am home alone in my flat there is a phone ringing, a mobile, the internet, neighbours banging. Go up a hill in Birmingham? There are planes flying over head, yobs doing drugs in the bushes (!!!) and so on! So dreams are the perfect forum - we are asleep, we can't move very far and God has got us where He wants us.
In my life I have had a number of very significant dreams which have stuck with me.
1. My call to ministry.
I believe this dream was when God spoke clearly to me and said that I would work for Him somehow. The year was 2001 and it was one of the darkest of my life upto that point. I had gone away to Dublin with some friends to recover from the breakup of my relationship to a guy. Isn't that the grace of God?! Some churches would say I should have been spending months indeed years in penance "repenting". Rather God chose it to speak to me through a dream!
I dreamt that I was walking in Cornwall along a country lane with my former senior pastor Dr Stanley Jebb. And I turned to him and actually gripped his arm and said fervently; "Stanley I MUST preach!".
More of Stanley Jebb later - he appears quite frequently in my dreams and I think God's revealed why.
2. The Tidal Wave - Promises to Come.
I had this dream on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 and it was quite simply a dream of a massive tidal wave speedily approaching the Brighton seafront. I felt God ask during the dream whether we were really prepared for what was coming? We all were praying for revival to come - but were we ready for the devastation that a tidal wave would cause?
I felt that this was partially fulfilled by the awe and wonder and manifest glory at "Together on a Mission 2007" and through Rob's ministry of the Spirit. Partially - but not fully. More's to come!
3. Mind and Matter.
A little more recently I had a dream about Dr Stanley Jebb and Stuart from Big Brother on Tuesday, September 16, 2008. At first I wondered whether this dream was my secret envying of Dr Jebb's incredible mind and razor-sharp logic and Stuart's incredible physique! But God spoke again graciously here.
This is a rather amusing and odd one. Isi de Gersigny said at "Glory and Grace" that significant men appearing in dreams often represent God in some form. For her it is her husband Fini. I obviously don't have a husband but I do very much enjoy the TV reality shows like X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent and I greatly admire and like Simon Cowell! As many know he can either be brutally harsh or nice when he likes someone.
In my dreams I have frequently been in company with him and he is always smiling and winking or accepting me.
I hope that means that deep down I am allowing the grace message to sink into my spirit and realise that God is totally and 100% for me and accepting of me and will never reject me!
So my dream last night!
I had a very vivid dream that Pete Day and I were in a massive rolling field and it was dry, dead and barren. There was a water sprinkling system set up across the massive field very similar to the kind that they have in vines where the hoses work their way along wooden structures and gently sprinkle the vegetation. As Pete and I looked at the sprinkling system we noticed that it was broken and the hose had been vandalised and needed to be reconnected.
Dr Stanley Jebb again was present and was speaking to us throughout - and as he spoke - we found ways to fix the water system and instantly the field was lush and fruitful again. Here's what I felt God was saying to me;
Rob Rufus has said frequently that he feels this coming massive move of God needs to come through a theological reformation in the earth - a changing of mind. Christians need to re-orientate themselves from legalism to grace. For me Stanley Jebb represents a teacher. That is what he is! And that seemed to symbolise this truth - that it is the teaching of the grace message that will cause the fruit to spread across the earth and the gospel.
So here's to more dreams and whatever way God wants to speak to me. I'm not sure I would pick dreams to be honest if it were to be a spiritual gift. I'd love to be a healer or a guy with words of knowledge or even better a teacher/preacher. But when God gives gifts they are GOOD gifts and they are given for a reason and I am going to accept and cherish them and use them for the good of His Church if I can!