Mar 23, 2009

The Power of Dreams

I was walking through St Joseph’s hospital in Tacoma. It was packed with patients today. It was standing room only. Something strange was going on. None of the people I saw were being treated for medical problems. As I walked the hallways I kept seeing more patients everywhere I looked. I saw people I hadn’t seen in years. They were sitting in hallways and lobbies socializing. Some were in wheelchairs, some sat on the floor and others were standing as they talked in small groups. The noise of people talking and laughing created an atmosphere that was more like a wedding reception. I could tell they were all excited about the same thing. There was a joy I’d never seen in a hospital before. These patients weren’t here to be treated. They were here for check ups. Somehow they all knew that miraculous healings were about to take place. They wanted to have their conditions documented by their doctors before they were healed so there would be no question about how it happened. That’s when I woke up.

I was one of the coolest dreams I’ve ever had. I was excited for weeks afterward and I was willing to pray for anyone who was sick. I believe this dream was more than just wishful thinking. I can’t recall having any dreams in the last 25 years. I’m having them regularly now and many of them are like this one. If you stick around, I’ll explain why I believe it was a taste of things to come. I’d like to take you on an exploration of dreams; why we have them, where they come from, what they mean and how they shape our future.

I took psychology classes in college because the human mind fascinates me. I learned a lot but I was a little disappointed. I learned about the different theories proposed by Freud, Jung, Skinner and others. But one thing bothered me; the different theories of psychology don’t form a cohesive, unified explanation of how the mind works. Instead, every theory proposed disagreed with the others. We were asked to review all the different theoretical models then pick the one we liked. There wasn’t much scientific research supporting any of them. Some experts have theories for dream interpretation. I didn't find any compelling methods among the ones I studied.

Another thing was missing from the field of psychology; they claimed to know nothing of the spiritual dimension. Some disciplines like behaviorism deny the possibility of the spirit. Even as an atheist, (during the 1980's) this bothered me. They relegate spiritual matters to experts in religion, or deny it altogether. We fall short in our attempt to study human behavior if we fail to account for all the components of our existence. If the spirit-world is real and dreams are connected to it, we should investigate that possibility.

I heard Chuck Missler report on an interesting discovery. Experts found that in attempting to divide particles of matter into smaller and smaller parts, at a point in the process the particles lose their location. You cannot infinitely divide the matter of our world.

What relevance does this have?

This forced experts to conclude that our universe is not analog, but digital. That has startling implications. It means that we live in a universe that's similar to a computer game. Our universe is really a replication or simulation created by another universe. The parent universe is analog and its a lot more real than ours.

We live in a world like the one portrayed in the movie “The Matrix”, that eerie world in which everything that seems real is only a cleverly devised simulation. There’s an invisible world we can’t see with our natural eyes it’s the real deal in every way that matters. Most of us are oblivious to it our entire lives, unless someone tells us about it. That eternal world is accessible every night when you go to bed as the physical world is put on hold and your spirit takes over. Just close your eyes and enter the eternal universe.

While you’re here you should take notes, your physical body doesn’t understand or want to participate in the spiritual universe. As soon as you wake up, the body will try to force the spirit back in its box and your memories of the eternal dimension will vanish. This is why we seldom remember dreams in detail. The apostle Paul said, “The spirit wars against the flesh and the flesh against the spirit because these two are contrary to one another.” (Gal 5:17) When he taught on the reality of the invisible universe he said, “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2:Cor 4:18) And how do we see the unseen? With the eyes of our spirit, which Paul mentioned in his prayer for his friends in Ephesus, “that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened.” (Eph 1:18)

The Foundation For Dreams
I’d like to establish a biblical foundation on which to build an understanding of dreams. Some scholars believe the book of Job to be the oldest book of the Old Testament. Although the events of Genesis pre-date Job, it is believed that Job lived before Moses. Some experts believe it's one of the oldest texts in the world. Even a few thousand years ago, men had a keen understanding of how God worked. Job’s friend Elihu reminds him of the diverse ways in which God speaks to us. Because we often fail to perceive God’s voice, He reveals secrets to us while we sleep:

For God may speak in one way, or in another,Yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, While slumbering on their beds, Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction.I n order to turn man from his deed, And conceal pride from man, He keeps back his soul from the Pit, And his life from perishing by the sword. (Job 33:14-18)

Types of Dreams

Warning / Correction
In Genesis 31, Jacob had a dream in which an angel told him that God knew how his father-in-law, Laban had cheated him over the years. The angel told him to leave Laban’s land secretly. Laban was also warned by God in a dream not to speak harshly to Jacob about it.

Abimelech was warned in a dream not to sleep with the wife of Abraham or he would die. (Gen 20:3).

Joseph’s cell mates had divine dreams, one was promised freedom; the other was warned of his impending death. (Gen. 40:5).

Pharaoh was warned in a dream about a coming famine lasting 7 years. (Gen. 41)

When Joseph learned that his wife Mary was pregnant, he considered leaving her, but an angel came to him in a dream and revealed that her pregnancy was a divine miracle and that he was to fulfill his marriage commitment. He was also warned in a dream of Herod’s plan to kill Jesus and to flee to Egypt. The accounts are from Matthew chapters 1 & 2.

Divine Provision and Protection
In Genesis 28, Jacob falls asleep by a river. God comes to him in a dream and gives him several covenant promises; to bless him all of his days, to make a great family for him, to give him the land promised to Isaac and Abraham, and a promise that all the nations of the world would be blessed through him. It is interesting to note that Jacob did not have a dream about God, but that God manifested his actual presence to Jacob while his body slept.

God also manifested His presence to Solomon while he slept. Solomon had a conversation with God in a dream. God told him to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom to rule over God’s people. In the dream God gave him wisdom greater than anyone who ever lived. He also received great honor, riches and a promise of long life if he would be obedient, because he didn’t ask for any of these things. Then Solomon woke up and realized all these things happened while he was sleeping. (1 Kings 3:5-15)

Strategies for Victory
Gideon was told to spy on his enemies. As he listened in he learned that one of them had been given a dream of a loaf of bread rolling down a hill and smashing their tents. The enemies interpreted it as a sure sign of defeat. Gideon went back to his camp and confidently led his troops to victory. (Judges 7:13-15)

King Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream concerning his own kingdom and all the world kingdoms to follow. It was revealed that his kingdom was the greatest of the kingdoms of man. He was greatly encouraged by this dream. (Dan. 2:36-45)

Direction in Ministry
Both the apostles Peter and Paul were given assignments from God in visions. (Dreams and visions are very similar. The main difference being that visions occur while we are a wake) In his vision, Paul saw a man from Macedonia praying. God told Paul and his friends to go there. Peter had a series of visions in which God showed him (symbolically) that the ‘unclean’ Gentiles he disliked were the ones God wanted him to reach next. (Acts 10:9-15 and 16:10)

The Prophet
God spoke to Aaron and Miriam about the way in which he would communicate to His prophets. “If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream, not so, with my servant Moses, who is faithful in all my house, with him I speak face to face, even plainly, not in dark sayings.” (Num. 12:6-8)

When the prophet Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel, he knew in advance all the details of the encounter. He knew where Saul would go after he left and all the people he'd meet. It's likely that God revealed some this information to Samuel through dreams or visions. (see 1 Sam. 9-10)

Both Daniel and the apostle John saw events that would take place thousands of years in the future; much of it was revealed in dreams and visions. God is able to transport us in the spirit to the future and show us things to come.

I've heard some wonderful testimonies about healing that people have received while they slept. Particularly in the area of inner healing for emotional trauma during childhood. Is it strange to believe that God is able to heal us regardless of whether we're awake or sleeping?

There are many other purposes for dreams that I haven't mentioned. Here are few examples of what God has done through dreams and visions in modern times:

Charles Spurgeon, the famous 19th century preacher was given an entire sermon in a dream. His wife wrote it down and he preached it to the congregation the following Sunday.

The city of Spokane, Washington was once called the healthiest city in the world, due to the healing ministry of John G. Lake. He was a millionaire who held an influential seat on the Chicago Board of Trade. While in prayer one night he had a vision from God that lasted 4 hours. In the vision he was given all the details of the next season of his life. Later he moved to Indianapolis, then to South Africa, where he had an incredible ministry in healing and church- planting. Later he moved to Spokane and started the healing rooms there. Records show that over 100,000 people were healed there in a span of 5 years. All of these things were revealed to him in the vision.

Dream Basics
Most of us spend a third of our life asleep. While our physical bodies require rest, our spirit doesn’t need it. It's always able to interact with the realm of the spirit. It’s when the body is asleep and there are fewer distractions that God can speak to us and perhaps get through. Even so, there’s a rebellious soul to deal with, and that’s why dreams are often symbolic. As much as we think we’d obey God if he just told us things plainly, the truth is our soul is rather stubborn and independent. God uses symbolic language to get our soul to cooperate. If we become curious about the messages in a dream, the soul will engage in a journey of discovery. Peter had to be shown his vision 3 times and argued with God about it repeatedly. I’ve done the same thing myself on more than one occasion.

I’ve learned that the major obstacle (for me) in hearing God’s voice is getting rid of all the distractions. Once my soul is quiet, I see and hear God much more clearly. But when our physical body is completely at rest, there are almost no distractions and revelation flows more freely. God is a Father who wants to share His secrets with us. That requires us taking time to listen without distractions.

Dreams come from different sources; from our own soul, from God or from his enemies. I’ve had all 3 kinds. Dreams from the enemy are often dark, with sickly colors. There are feelings usually associated with these dreams like fear, guilt, shame, or unhappiness. The subject matter often involves something evil. I’ve heard creepy, demonic voices in this kind of dream. At times it may be hard to discern the origin of a dream. I've had some that I wasn't certain about. God will tell you what you need to know, so ask.

Dreams from the soul are those odd dreams that often seem pointless. There may not be a particular “feel” to some of them. They aren’t very symbolic or inspiring. But some dreams from God can be dismissed as ones from our soul. I've mistakenly thought some of my dreams weren't from God, but after asking the Holy Spirit, about them a profound truth came forth. Always ask God about your dreams.

Divine dreams are usually different from soul dreams. I can sometimes feel the presence of God in them. The feelings we have in a dream may contradict the feelings we would normally have about what's happening. How you feel in a dream is one key to it's interpretation.

I had a dream in which I killed an older man who lived down the street from me. (Hang on- let me explain!) In the dream we were friends and we did a lot of things together. I never met him in real life (in the natural) but in the dream I knew he had to die so I poisoned him and left him to die. I had a slight sadness about it, which turned into a sense of peace. The emotions I felt were nothing like I would have felt in reality. As God gave me the interpretation, I understood the lack of remorse I felt. In describing our call to walk in a new type of conduct, Paul says we should get rid of the old man in our life and consider him to be dead. The ‘old man’ represents our former way of living. Killing the ‘old man’ was symbolic of getting rid my old ways and submitting to God’s plan. That’s why I wasn’t full of guilt or remorse. (See Rom 6:6, Eph.4:22, Col.3:9)

Divine dreams can also follow you around through the day in your thoughts. This is especially true if you write them down. It transfers them from the spirit world to the natural making them permanent. As they come to mind, and as you meditate on them you’ll gain insight into their meaning. You’ll also notice more divine appointments. You’ll have a dream about someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, then a day or so later you''ll ‘mysteriously’ run into them. Your dream may describe something that happened to them. I had a dream with 2 scenes in which I was in a shop helping a friend fix a car. We were removing the drive shaft which is necessary before you work on the transmission. In the second scene, I was helping him put a roof on one of his buildings. I saw him 3 days later and told him about the dreams. He said that 3 days ago he was in his shop putting a transmission in his son’s car and told me the roof collapsed on his shop earlier that day.

When God begins to speak to us in dreams, He establishes a set of issues relevant to us, and a common language. If you’re struggling with some form of rebellion against God, it’ll show up in dreams, often in repeated themes with different settings and people. When you deal with that issue and put it behind you the subject of your dreams will change. God is always trying to get us into the best relationship possible. As He shows us one problem, we begin fixing our end of the relationship.

We each have a unique dream language. It’s an environment and set of symbols that represent a world familiar to us. I have a lot of dreams that take place in hospitals and ambulances. My daughter is a swimmer. Most of her divine dreams have a pool as the backdrop. My wife is a graphic designer. Her dreams often involve computers. Your dream setting and language will be familiar to you. I can’t possibly do justice to the intricate work of interpreting dreams in this message. But I’ll pass along some things I’ve learned and mistakes I've made. Hopefully you'll find a few pearls of wisdom:

* If you aren’t having dreams from God – Ask! He is always speaking to us. He never quits. David said in the 40th psalm that God’s thoughts toward you are as numerous as the sands of the seashore. Wouldn’t you like at least a handful or two of that sand? Aren’t you curious to know his plans for you? Ask and you will receive.

A few dreams are easy to interpret and can be taken literally. But most are not. I’ve had a number of “message’ dreams in which I’ve heard an audible voice speaking to me. These dreams are rare and need no interpretation. I’ve had dreams in which I see myself praying for someone to be healed or something similar. These dreams also don’t require a lot of interpretation.

Most, but not all divine dreams are symbolic in some way. Some have symbolism that is easy to unravel; some have complexity that is impossible to figure out without God’s help. There are some books on dream interpretation and symbols. The book of Daniel is probably the best book to start with. The book of Revelation is helpful with symbols. As you plow through the bible trying to decode your dreams, you’ll find God saying even more. For other books, stick with an author who is prophetically gifted. They tend to be a lot more insightful. James Goll is my favorite.

Joseph and Daniel both had skill in dream interpretation. Because of it they were promoted to the position of highest power under the rulers in their respective lands. They both said dream interpretations came from God. If it worked for them it should work for us. (see Gen 40:8 and Dan 2:28) In every case where the meaning of a dream is not absolutely plain, ask God.

Names are significant. Look up the origin and meaning of the names of people in a dream. Sometimes the name is the key to the interpretation. Sometimes it's the ministry they are in that God is speaking about. if you have a prophetic calling you can expect to have dreams in which prophets are present. The same goes for evangelism and other callings.

Symbolic dreams are like a puzzle. Work on one piece at a time. Decode each person’s name or place or color and think of each as a separate idea. Then bring the ideas together to make a complete picture.

I had a dream in which I was on a computer registering for a prophetic conference in Corpus Christi, Texas….yup, I spent the next week looking online for the conference and didn’t find one. Then one day I asked God what the dream was about. And He told me. ‘Corpus Christi’ is Latin for the body of Christ. I wasn’t supposed to go to Texas. God was informing me I had a prophetic gift to be used for the body of Christ.

The bible says “It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search a matter out.” (Prov. 25:2) God conceals his plans in symbolic language to draw you into a closer relationship with Him so you come to him daily and ask, Hey – what are we doing today?

Always look up names, colors, places, objects, directions, numbers etc, in the bible – most things have a symbolic meaning and it’s the best place to start. I use a computer program with a Strong’s concordance number linked to each word and a searchable text. It makes the job a lot easier.

If you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, especially at the same time each night, look at your clock (I prefer digital). Everyone I know who takes dreams seriously gets bible verses from their clock. The numbers usually represent the chapter and verse, you just need to ask God which book.

My wife received a prophetic word that she was in a season of rest. She was having a hard time believing it. She'd been dealing with health problems in this so-called season of rest. She was waking up at 4:10 every morning for no reason. She finally asked God what He was trying to tell her. He told her to look in the book of Hebrews. Wanna guess what Hebrews 4:10 says? "For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His."

ALWAYS write down your dreams as soon as you wake from them. Middle of the night dreams are usually forgotten. Some people use a voice recorder or a word processing program on a laptop by the bed. I have note cards and a small flashlight on the nightstand. I copy the note cards to a daily spiritual journal. If you don’t write down your dreams, most of what God is trying to tell you will vanish with the dawn, as for me I want everything He can give me in those 8 hours while I’m sleeping. I hate it when I have a great dream and tell myself I'll remember it or I'll write it down later, then wake in the morning and it's gone forever. God rewards faithfulness. If we faithfully steward the things He has given us, we will receive more.

Record the interpretations as you get them. Some will come immediately, some in a week or two and some in 20 years. Extremely symbolic dreams are sometimes ‘locked’ with a time key. God doesn’t intend for you to solve the riddle until the exact time approaches. Work on these dreams over time and little by little the interpretation will start to appear.

Revelation from God is like a river – its going some place and hopefully taking you with it. Review your flow of revelation regularly. Find out where it’s going. I review my dreams about every 3 months. I’m surprised how many dreams I forget. When I take a look at the big picture, I always see a pattern developing that I wasn’t aware of.

Dreams will warn you of things to come and changes in the seasons of your life. Financial blessings or hardship, relationship problems, travel problems, and hassles at work are all fair game. God cares about every part of your life. You don’t have to be taken by life’s little surprises if you pay close attention to your dreams.

You may have ‘visions’ as well as dreams. There isn’t much difference between them. I classify something as a vision if I’m awake and a dream if I’m sleeping. I have a surprising number of visions. They're a lot like daydreams except for the content which usually involves your calling by God. Rules for visions are the same as dreams. And yes, all these things are valid for the times we live in. On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit empowered those present, Peter recognized it as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.” (Act 2:17) I heard a report that thousands of Muslims are becoming Christians in the Middle East during this season. Most of them aren’t in contact with anyone who is a Christian. They’re having encounters with Jesus through dreams.

Most of the dreams you have pertain to you, not others. Seeing and interacting with people in your dreams doesn’t always require you to knock on their door the next day or fly to New York to see them. Relax…most interaction with people in dreams is symbolic, not literal.

I had a dream in which Luis Palau was present. I spent a few weeks trying to find out when he was coming to my area so I could see him. Eventually, God showed me it just represented an evangelistic calling on my life. If God wants you to travel or meet with someone, He’ll tell you – just ask.

Most people have a lot of dreams involving vehicles. Bicycles, cars, trucks, boats, airplanes, and spaceships you name it. They’re modes of transportation and they represent your spiritual mode of travel at the present. They can also represent your ministry. Anything powered by your own strength is symbolic of working in the power of the flesh. God wants us to work in the power of the spirit. Vehicles with more power indicate greater spiritual power.

Buildings represent our life, typically seen as a house. The kind of house and its environment describe the present or future conditions of your life from God’s perspective. I had a friend who told me of a dream in which he was shown a glass house that was beautifully decorated. The usual piano was prominently on display (he’s a piano player). We concluded that the glass house represented transparency before God and man. God was calling him to a life where he didn’t feel the need to hide anything.

Angels - At the risk of sounding weird, I should mention the subject of angels. The Greek word most commonly used in scripture angelos can be defined as 'messenger'. The bible is full references to them and they are usually seen delivering a message to someone who's scared half to death at their appearance. They often deliver messages in dreams as noted above. I've had a lot of dreams in which I hear an audible voice speaking a simple message. My wife also has them. On a couple of occasions we received almost identical messages a few days apart from an audible voice. We haven't seen the messengers, but the bible would support the idea that we've had a lot of angels hanging out at our place speaking to us at night. My theory is that these messages are important enough to God's strategy that He doesn't want to risk an incorrect interpretation. To make sure we get the right message, God sends an angel to deliver the exact words.

God’s revelation to us involves a series of dreams in which He reveals both a big picture and smaller details. We may have dreams in which we interact with an evangelist we know, a pastor, or a worship leader. These people represent our calling in the ministry they operate in. We may not function at the same level of authority or in the same amount of gifting, but we are given the same type of calling. God will likely reveal your spiritual gifts and your particular calling, how you will operate in that gift, the geographic location in which you'll operate, your level of authority, sphere of influence, measure of gifting, the impact your service will have, people who’ll support you, opposition you’ll encounter, your eventual successes, and the rewards waiting for you. Some people get a 'big picture' dream or vision in a single encounter. Mine came over a span of about 3 months. My entire scope of ministry, people I'd work with, places I'd travel to, problems I'd encounter and many other details were all revealed in my dreams. God wants us to know the plan in advance. We need to receive it and walk it out.

For some reason the church is rather ignorant of the way God speaks to us in dreams. We worry a lot about what will happen if we step out in faith and try to impact the world for God. We doubt our abilities and fear failure. We imagine terrible opposition or a lack of resources. The enemy kicks all our hopes and dreams to pieces before we ever get started. God can settle all these issues with us before we step out the bedroom door for our coffee in the morning. I’ve listened to literally thousands of sermons in my life. I’ve never heard one message in which the speaker discussed dreams as his main subject. I can’t recall a message in which dreams were even discussed briefly.

I have a theory about why this problem exists. There are 5 leadership ministry positions given to the church as described in Ephesians 4:11. How many prophets and apostles are on staff at your local church?

Not many?

Church leadership is comprised mostly of pastors and teachers. Prophets are the leaders who are the most gifted in supernatural revelation, and their 'office' in the church was taken away long ago. It's returning (slowly) and with lots of opposition. The majority of our leaders aren't into visions and dreams. They're good at teaching. So they tell us to read the bible, and if we really want to know the secrets of God we can learn Greek or Hebrew. The typical advice is to pray and listen for the "still, small voice".

I suppose It's not their fault. They're gifted in teaching and that's what they know best. When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. We need to support the development of prophetic ministry a little more. Yes, prophets have done some disservice in the past. They've also done a lot of good. We don't terminate the office of the pastor or teacher because people abuse those offices. We train them to mature in the gift. The people of God would benefit greatly if we'd wake up and start dreaming again. If God reveals His will to us through dreams and visions we need to change the way we think about it.

My Dreams
Joseph suffered a lot of hatred and envy from his brothers when He told them about his dreams. Please consider this as a word of encouragement for you. I’m not trying to boast about the things God has shown me. I’m nobody special, just another dreamer like you. I'll describe some good things God has shown me. He's also shown me my faults.

When I began having dreams, I was confronted with something I’d never read about or heard a lecture on, let alone imagined in my wildest dreams (which I wasn’t having yet). God was talking to me. And he had a lot to say.

The first dream in which God confronted me was sort of meeting in which He said, ‘I’ll show you some things, and you tell me what you see’. It reminded me of the call of Jeremiah (see Jer.1:11-13) I was able to interact as I wanted in the dream. I saw a series of images that were different organs of the body, like illustrations from an anatomy textbook. There were 2 of each organ, one healthy and one diseased. God happened to give me a test I had studied for. He picked diseases I could identify by sight. I saw cirrhosis of the liver, a brain tumor, esophageal varicies etc. I told Him what I saw each time. When the test was over He said, “I’m going to show you the medical conditions of some of your patients and if you pray for them, I will heal them.”

I can’t tell you how many dreams I’ve had since then in which I was in a hospital or my ambulance praying for people to be healed; not just patients either. I’ve had dreams in which I’m praying for co-workers, hospital staff, church members, family members and total strangers. In some dreams I’m reading books about people who had healing ministries years ago. In others I’m alone trying to hear the voice of God and discern what he wants to do. The ‘flow’ of my river is in the direction of prayer, healing and prophetic ministry. These dreams represent my sphere of influence and my calling. As I've been obedient to the revelation God gave me, I've seen an explosion of healing miracles over the last two years. You should expect a similar pattern of dreams to develop, in the area you are called to.

I have a lot of Facebook dreams. Some are words of knowledge for healing. Some are God's confirmation of whom He wants me to build relationships with. Some contain revelation about the Kingdom, which I turn into notes or post on blogs. I also receive burdens to pray for government leaders or groups of people through dreams. Many people learn about healing through books or videos. Most of what I know about healing has been taught to me through dreams.

Today I’m doing the things I saw in the dreams I had a few months ago. God is making my dreams come true. Through them I finally found out what my calling is and discovered my purpose for being on the planet. God has brought me through every experience of my life so that He could use me to heal people and demonstrate His love for them. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to finally know that. I’m waiting patiently for the day to come when I walk into the hospital and everyone there expects to be healed by God. Here’s the cool thing; I’m not a special case. God is willing to tell anyone their calling and purpose and show them their future just like He did me. And that means He’ll give you all the tools and information you need to do the things He’s planned for you long before you were born. Are you ready to have God make your dreams come true?

Mar 21, 2009

The Supernatural (normal) Christian Life

I wonder how Luke’s practice as a doctor was impacted as he watched a carpenter go from town to town healing everyone who came to him. I think he would have been envious. I know I would have been. Jesus modeled for His disciples an incredible thing. For 3 years he went about doing amazing miracles. One day he turned to them and said, “Ok, now it’s your turn. I want you go and do all the things you saw me doing.”

He modeled the kind of life we are all invited to follow. It’s been given to us the authority, power and opportunity to participate in all the miracles Jesus performed. Before he went to be with His Father, he said, “he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12)

Yes, Jesus wants us to live the same supernatural lifestyle he did. If you’re skeptical, please hear me out. I’d like to explain why I think we aren’t doing so. Jesus knew his disciples wouldn’t have the courage (faith) to do the miracles unless they watched someone else do them first. He was their model and every time they watched another miracle, they believed a little more that they might be able to do the same thing. Their faith had to grow and it did. After years of watching Him the disciples had the faith to do it themselves. We fear that God won’t back us up if we attempt something that requires supernatural power. We fear the embarrassment, shame and ridicule that come with failure. So we never try. And we seldom see others doing it either. It’s imperative for us to have a model who shows us that it can be done.

This is the place I’m at right now. I’ve never been a supernatural person. I’m more of a book collector/ believer. I like systematic theology, doctrinal statements, apologetic arguments and I sometimes believe the bible is the 4th person of the trinity. It’s just easier that way. But God is not a book, a collection of theological statements, a world view, a concept, a force or anything else I want him to be. He’s an intelligent, funny, creative, loving person who wants to spend time talking to me, hearing my ideas and using His power to change people through me.

In reading about the Christian experience of the first century, I see a large gap between where they were and where most of us are now. Paul asked his friends in Corinth (rhetorically) about their practice of spiritual living when they came together. They were all eager to prophesy, sing psalms, speak in tongues, teach, etc. (1 Cor. 14) Paul told them “my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:4-5) The disciples of Jesus routinely worked in the realm of healing and miracles, also demonstrating God’s power. It seemed to be the ‘normal’ Christian life. I know many of us believe the signs and miracles of those days have ceased. I once thought so myself.

I see two things that challenge this idea. It’s hard to support that teaching with scripture. And there are people today who are still working in the realm of miracles. If one takes an honest and objective survey, you can’t conclude that everything miraculous is a hoax. Some of it might be, but there seems to be validity to much of it. If any of these things have really happened in modern times, i.e. miracles of healing, angelic encounters or resurrections from the dead, then we must conclude they haven’t passed away. That presents a challenge to us. If these things are valid today in any small way, perhaps God wants them expressed in a larger way. If God’s desire is to show his nature through the power of miracles that means the normal or expected Christian life might be a routine display of the supernatural. Does that challenge you?

It challenges me. For many of us, our experience with God is confined to occasional worship, occasional study of the bible and occasionally praying to a God who seems distant and unpredictable. It isn’t very supernatural; most of us are content with this kind of experience. We are very ‘Greek’ in our world-view. Unlike most of the world, our western culture is based on rationalism and pursuit of understanding. Reason has replaced supernatural revelation. As a society, we are anti-supernatural. We prefer to think about God rather than experience Him. We’d rather read about him than hear His voice, we’d rather recite a learned pattern of prayer that converse spontaneously with our creator. We’re afraid of the supernatural. It’s an intimidating and risky proposition. The closer I draw into relationship with God the more I lose control of the terms and conditions of the experience.

We like the idea of God as long “god” conforms to our ideas of divinity. When I’m confronted with something outside my understanding of “god” I’m quick to find something to shoot down the threatening idea before me. I want God to be neatly defined, logical and predictable. Most of us in the west really believe God made the universe, and is busy with other things right now. Yes, He’s out there and He hears us when we pray (sometimes) But we think it’s rude to interrupt or He’s to busy running the universe to be bothered with our affairs on a constant basis. We ascribe to a kind of deism that’s really not biblical.

More ‘primitive’ cultures of the world are exactly the opposite. They are extremely spiritual. They expect the supernatural to collide with their daily affairs. They pay a lot of attention to dreams, visions, demons and angels. Magic, voodoo, curses and spells are a big part of their cultures. They may have some incorrect understanding, but their life is very supernaturally oriented. We see them as ‘primitive’ and they may be so in philosophical or technical knowledge. But in the realm of the spirit, we are far more primitive. The apostle Paul noted there are basically two kinds of mind-sets; Greek and Jew. Greeks seek wisdom, Jews seeks signs and wonders. (1 Cor. 1:22) There are those who prefer knowledge and those who prefer displays of supernatural power.

Unfortunately the church always seems to fall into one camp or the other. There is the generalization (sorry) against the charismatics that they are only after the supernatural and don’t develop sound theological understanding. The other camp is content to develop great depth of understanding but they neglect the supernatural. I think it’s best if we have a balance of both. Sadly, few of us do.

As I began praying for my patients last year, I developed a pattern. I prayed for the patients I thought God wanted me to and I prayed about the things I thought were important. But I didn’t always ask God who to pray for and what to pray about. I developed a formula. It was easier that way. But God began to tell me not to pray for some people. Then he asked to pray for people I didn’t want to (arrggh!). Then he showed me some things in their life that I couldn’t learn from reading their chart; things only He and they knew about. I actually had to begin my calls by having a meeting with God and asking him a bunch of questions first. That forced me to quiet my soul and ignore any internal emotions, feelings, fears, assumptions and anything else that distracted me from hearing and seeing what God wanted to tell me. It forced me to establish a more regular relationship with God and to trust what I heard Him saying. I had to throw away a lot of assumptions I worked hard to acquire.

But that’s the supernatural life. It’s being led by the Spirit of God. I think it was the normal Christian life a couple of thousand years ago. I doubt it’s very normal these days. It’s different, and sometimes it takes me out of my comfort zone. It requires me to let God direct my interactions to the greatest degree possible. If God asks me to pray for the woman behind me in the check out line, I need to trust that He knows it will be received by her and bear fruit. It requires obedience and forces me overcome my own fears.

What I am talking about would have seemed bizarre to me a year ago. Many of us see angelic encounters as weird. We see faith-healing as a hoax, resurrections as phony and third heaven experiences as a deception. We question experiences we haven’t had ourselves. I believe there’s a reason for this. For many of us, our ‘spiritual life’ has been sub-normal for so long, that when someone operating in a truly normal spiritual way, we see it as bizarre. Isn’t it time for a change?

I was in the ER recently, picking up a patient. As I waited for the nurse to give me report, I was aware that in the next room there was a patient who had been resuscitated from cardiac arrest. They weren’t doing very well. Their heart was beating but there was no sign of neurologic activity. The patient was probably pulseless long enough to suffer brain death. The family members were very distressed as they went to and from the room. The doctor struggled to find the words to tell them about the poor chances for survival. It was a very difficult time for everyone.

As I tuned in to hear what God had to say about it, I saw the word ‘resurrection’ in my mind’s eye. I’ve been seeing it more often as I go past rooms where patients have died and/or been resuscitated. God gently told me he wanted me to pray for this patient, though I’m not sure He was planning on a resurrection. I struggled with fear for a while and finally gave in. I approached one of the family members and asked if I could pray for the patient. They agreed so I prayed with them for a complete recovery. I couldn’t hang around to see if anything happened. I had to transport the patient in the next room. As is almost always the case, I pray and run and rarely get to see the results. For all I know the patient may have sat up in bed a few minutes later and asked for a cup of coffee.

The fear that I have when God asks me to go out on a limb is natural. It’s something we experience in unfamiliar places. I don’t want to look weird, and I don’t want to give people false hopes. There are a lot of things I’m afraid of. But not everyone has this fear.

I’ve been thinking about Todd Bentley a lot lately. Every time I think about his life and ministry I hear God speaking to me about mine. Say what you want about him, there’s one thing in his life I’d like to have – his fearlessness. I’ve heard him tell stories about his ministry in Africa that would have scared the hell out of me. He was constantly confronted with large angry crowds that wanted to destroy him, but he stood in the fire and God backed him up. He’s a guy who lives in the supernatural and he does it fearlessly. And that requires a lot of things I don’t have yet. He trusts God a lot more than most of us ever will. That requires a surrendered soul. He isn’t afraid of opposition to his ministry. That requires confidence. We all know about his mistakes, but you and I make them too. I’ve learned from mine, and Todd will learn from his. This isn’t about mistakes, it about success.

I’m convinced there will be a wave of supernatural Christians showing up in unlikely places soon. I think they’re going to turn the world upside down. You-tube is great in that it allows us all to experience the ministry of others who walk in the supernatural. We can learn from their successes and their failures. As we watch others heal the sick, raise the dead, and proclaim the kingdom, it builds faith in us to go out and do the same things. Just as the disciples walked in the supernatural after watching Jesus do it, the folks today are beginning to believe they can do it too. The supernatural life really boils down to a closer walk with God. It should be the normal Christian experience. I’m ready to be challenged, stretched and transformed. Are you ready for a supernatural life?

Mar 20, 2009

A Prophetic Word on Medicine

A short time ago I posted part of Kim Clement's prophecy from Humble, Texas with my own commentary on it. There is much more about medical breakthroughs in that prophecy. In this post, Kim offers his own observations. The purpose of his ministry is to tell us in advance what God is up to and what we can expect in the near future. I saw him in Auburn, Washington last year. His high-energy music and powerful prophetic insight is unmatched. He’s returning to Washington in a few weeks, and I’m sure he’ll bring more encouraging words for the Northwest area. Here’s the info about his visit:

Date: April 3-4, 2009 (7pm)
Location: New Heart Worship Center
33415 Military Rd South; Auburn, WA
Contact: 253-939-0553

"Now is the Time to Exercise Dominion Over the Earth and Discover Its Secrets"

Prophets. They are the villains of today and the heroes of tomorrow. They do predict the future, but even more importantly, they deal with the present as it pertains to the future, not the future as it pertains to the present. Prophets prophesy. Prophecy is the voice that God has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor, to the profane riches of the world. He sustains us not by bread alone but by the words that proceed out of His mouth.

Over the past few years, I have been driven by the Spirit of the Holy God to look into God's "other door," if you wish. I found myself seeing all kinds of miracles, not divine or supernatural, but rather miracles in the Earth, the soil, and the creatures of the sea. I gazed into this treasure-filled room and realized that my prophetic gift was not necessarily to predict the future only, but to save the future. After prophesying a number of times over the past several years about various cures coming from the Earth, fish, dolphins, etc., I found that my discourse was not in vain, and actually quite Scriptural, to my relief.

"And Elisha returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. Now the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said to his servant, 'Put on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.' So one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, though they did not know what they were.

"Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said, 'Man of God, there is death in the pot!' And they could not eat it. So he said, 'Then bring some flour.' And he put it into the pot, and said, 'Serve it to the people, that they may eat.' And there was nothing harmful in the pot." (2 Kings 4:38-41)

Elisha is with the sons of the prophets and had instructed his servant to "put on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets." They gathered herbs and found a wild vine and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds. (A gourd is a typically large fleshy fruit with a hard skin.) They sliced them into the pot of stew and as they began to eat, they suddenly realized that there was death in the pot. Instead of being nourished, they were eating poison, and instead of Elisha calling 911, he confronted the circumstance with a solution. He never prayed for divine healing, but instead he said, "Bring some flour" and he put it into the pot and there was nothing harmful left in the pot. God showed Elisha where to combat or negate the poison in the pot.

I got excited as I read this and realized that he had created a formula to combat the death and poison, and I believe that this is part and parcel of the prophetic mantle. I believe we have entered into this era again and this aspect of prophetic insight is about to be restored to the world.

Earth. We live on it, feed off it, are nurtured by it and basically, we are alive because of this big round ball, and yet some people have no expectations from it other than disasters and judgment. I speak of a large percentage of Charismatic Christians, or those with extreme religious persuasions. If we show the slightest interest in the preservation, upkeep or nurturing of the Earth, we are labeled as "new age believers," whatever that's supposed to mean. The Earth is home to millions of species, including humans, and is the only place in the universe where life is known to exist.

Since the very moment that life appeared on its surface, Earth's biosphere has significantly altered the atmosphere and other abiotic conditions on the planet, enabling the proliferation of aerobic organisms, as well as the formation of the ozone layer, which together with the Earth's magnetic field, blocks harmful radiation, permitting life on land. Most importantly is the fact that the Earth is the third planet from the Sun and is the largest of the terrestrial planets in the Solar System, in diameter, mass and density.

"Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" (Genesis 1:28)
I love Earth. I have great expectations from it and according to my Gospel, I am expected to fill the Earth, have dominion over ALL of it, subdue it, have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves on the Earth. How do you have dominion over fish? To take a net and catch fish or to take a gun and shoot a bird is NOT having dominion over them. If I follow Christ and how He dealt with the Earth and all it's moving parts, I realize that the dominion God was speaking about was for our betterment and to use in combat. Most people can't even imagine that mankind would have this power but it's the truth.

Can a fish bring healing? Apparently, it can. Fish oil is derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oil is now recommended for a healthy diet because it contains the omega-3 fatty acids and various acids that reduce inflammation throughout the body. Oddly enough, fish do not actually produce omega-3 acids, but instead they accumulate them by consuming micro-algae that produce these fatty acids. Even these fish, that we obtain this beneficial medicine from, play their part in "subduing" other fish like mackerel, lake trout, flounder and salmon, all in God's original pronouncement of "dominion."

In September 2005, a study from the Louisiana State University found that fish oil assisted in protecting the brain from cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer's disease. A study from the Orygen Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could also help prevent or delay the onset of schizophrenia.

My point is that the living creatures of the Earth have more inside of them than a delicious meal. Over the past 3 years, I have been prophesying about the fact that there would be radical cures for Alzheimer's disease, brain disorders, various forms of cancer, Aids and other crippling diseases. Coupled with these prophetic statements were puzzling things like, "look to the sea, the whales, dolphins, etc." God was sharing with me the fact that I was to reveal the deep secrets of His original plan, which is for us to TAKE dominion and subdue.

Jesus used this power to assist in the payment of taxes. Instead of the fish being a meal, it was now a completely different instrument - a mini bank. Read what happened, dear warriors. Jesus said Peter, "Go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a silver coin. Take it to the officials and give it to them for My tax and yours."

I enjoy reading this because you will notice that Peter was the one who threw his line out for the fish and it was Peter's taxes that were taken care of—no one else's. Many of my prophetic words have been about the Earth yielding its produce to us, as opposed to God dropping it from Heaven. Recently in Houston, Texas, God uttered something through my mouth regarding a fascinating healing secret. Because I went ahead and prophesied it, something that has been uncovered will now be discovered.

Healing from Berries

Prophesied on December 14, 2008, in Humble, Texas:

"And they shall say, 'Do not touch this plant, it is poisonous; it contains a deadly poison.'" And God said, "They shall say, 'You cannot eat that; you cannot consume it.' But that which once brought death by consumption will actually bring life and energy," says the Spirit of God. "For a plant - for it shall come from a soil - that a thing that would kill the human being, in a tree," God said, "so it shall bring a cure to many cancers," says the Spirit of God. Why would I tell you this?

"For it is time for the prophets to get above all of these fears and all of these commandments that they give. My prophets must begin to prophesy the cures that will come to the human bodies. My prophets must prophesy the cures that must come," for God said, "did I not tell you to go and cleanse the leper? There is leprosy out there. Alzheimer's disease is leprosy," says the Spirit of God.

"I command you to cleanse the lepers. And therefore the prophets will prophesy that from the earth shall come healings, and it shall begin to manifest. Even though some of those have already happened, the next year I will show you great things, because a revival of healing from the earth shall take place," says the Lord. "A revival of the healing from the earth shall take place!" Now berries, these are berries, berries - poisonous - shall bring healing.

Berries? Yes, berries. Could it be that simple? Think about penicillin. On September 28, 1928, Dr. Fleming was at his laboratory in the basement of St. Mary's Hospital in London, where he noticed a halo of inhibition of bacterial growth around a contaminant blue-green mold and concluded the mold was releasing a substance that was inhibiting bacterial growth. It was the Penicillium mold. Today there is family that came from Penicillin; ampicillin, flucloxacillin, diclosacillin and methicillin. So when various strains of infections emerged, other forms of penicillin were developed.

I am trying to show you that one discovery can do more than simply cure one disease; it can also develop and combat other emerging forces.

The Earth has all We Need for Healing, Energy and Prosperity

Why we find it "strange" that God would be directing me and other prophets in the Kingdom of Heaven—to speak to the Earth and the sky—is incomprehensible. Jesus spoke to the wind and the water and it obeyed. Water is for the purpose of drinking to quench thirst and has many healing agencies in it. Of all things, nobody expected Christ to turn it into wine for another purpose altogether - a wedding celebration!

Today, scientists have not only suggested, but also proven, that red wine has healing agencies. Although excessive alcohol consumption has adverse health effects, epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated that moderate consumption of wine is statistically associated with a reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular events such as heart failure. Red wine contains polyphenols, and these are particularly protective against cardiovascular disease. A chemical in red wine called resveratrol has been shown to have both cardio-protective and chemo-protective effects. One study concluded that wine made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Again, excessive consumption has adverse health and mental effects and the reason for my writing this is to make a very valid point.

The Church excessively condemns certain "sins," while blatantly excusing other "sins." Gluttony and obesity are ignored, while healthy consumption of wine is condemned. Jesus knew what He was doing when He turned the water into wine. He would never feed human beings something that was in fact sinful and harmful. The problem is not what the soil produces, but our addictions and lack of control. Is eating bread with mayonnaise wrong? NO. The wrong happens when greed takes over and instead of enjoying one slice with a small portion, you eat five thick slices. I think you understand.

Jesus Christ spoke to the tree, to the wind and water and spoke of signs in the skies. He took a few loaves of bread and multiplied them to feed thousands. My conviction is that the Earth has all that we need for healing, energy and our prosperity, but it is waiting to uncover its treasures. We, as a people, have the power of the Word and His Spirit to guide us to discover these hidden treasures. I am excited about the future of America and the many Nations who are pressing forward and demanding a demonstration of power and dominion from the Believers. Now is the time. It's time for us to exercise dominion over the Earth and discover the secrets He has placed in it from the beginning of creation.

We must begin to offer solutions rather than allowing ourselves to remain a part of the problem. As God's prophets, we must not only see the unseen, but also guide a generation to the hidden cures and solutions He has already provided for us, even within creation. It's great to pray for someone and see God miraculously heal their body, but how much greater is it when He shares a secret that leads to a scientific discovery or a medical breakthrough that completely eliminates an incurable disease so that mankind never has to be effected by it again?

These kinds of Kingdom breakthroughs are of infinite value, fulfilling God's command to take authority and dominion over the Earth, and establishing new standards of quality of life that would have been impossible otherwise. Don't let anyone rob you of these great promises He has given us.

This year we are anticipating many great marvels to come from the sea, the soil, the living creatures and the skies that will impact medical science, energy, and many other areas of the world we live in. Let us together enjoy what the spring season is soon to bring.

The entire text of the prophecy from Humble, Tx can be found here:

Mar 8, 2009

My Friend Scott

An exception to the HIPAA privacy rule is being made for this patient. I received permission from Scott and his wife to tell his story.

On his birthday in 2004, Scott was having one of the worst days of his life. He had recently been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and was growing tired of the continual thoughts of dying. While driving home, he began to cry and said out loud, “I don’t want to die!” Immediately another voice spoke to him and said, “You are not going to die.” Scott knew there was no cure for his disease. His doctors offered him no hope of survival. He said again, “I don’t’ want to die!” The voice of God spoke to him again, “I will heal your speech and heal you completely.”

Four years later, in October of 2008, I transported Scott from the ICU at a local hospital. I asked if I could pray for him. He couldn’t answer for himself. He has a tracheostomy and isn’t able to talk. His wife shot me a big smile and said, ‘yes.’ As I touched his arm, I closed my eyes and saw the words, “I will heal.” I was a little shocked. His wife asked if I had prayed for him. I said ‘not yet’. I told her I believed that God wanted to heal her husband. She became very excited and told me that Scott also believed God was going to heal him.

The average life expectancy for people with Lou Gehrig’s disease (Amyotrophic Lateralizing Sclerosis or ALS) is about 5 years from their diagnosis. Scott was diagnosed in 2004. He is almost completely paralyzed. He communicates by blinking his eye as his wife points to letters on a white board. One blink means yes, two means no. In this way he spells out words one letter at a time. He requires mechanical ventilation to stay alive. Standing next to him, I closed my eyes again and saw the words, “I will heal him.”

As I prepared him for the ambulance ride to the nursing facility, he was having trouble getting adjusted to my ventilator. It felt different than the hospital ventilator. He felt as though my ventilator wasn’t working correctly. After I placed him on it he began to sweat and his face turned red. I could tell something was wrong. He tried to spell out the words to his wife but it was taking too long. I put my hand on his shoulder, closed my eyes and saw the words “it’s not working”. I asked Scott if this is what he was thinking. He blinked once to indicate ‘yes’. I put my hand on him and closed my eyes and saw the words, “Can’t breathe, it’s too slow”. I turned up the rate on my ventilator and asked him if it was better then placed my hand on him and saw the words, “yes, it’s better now.” After a few minutes of adjusting the settings he was breathing fine.

Later that day I was alone with God. It occurred to me to ask when Scott would be healed. I closed my eyes and saw the month and day with no year. I didn’t know it at the time but the date I saw was his birthday; the same day when God spoke to him 4 years earlier and told Scott about His plan for healing. As his birthday approached last year, we were all hoping he would be healed. Instead of a miracle we were given more hope. Around his birthday, his family members began to have visions. One was a vision of angels cutting the chains off of Scott as he was in bed. In another vision Jesus was walking with them through a valley and said they were going to the top of the mountain. We realized his healing would take a little longer.

Scott and I have become friends since I transported him. We found out we have some things in common. We both like to cook and play golf. When I visit him I like to remind him of the things we’re going to do when he’s healed. I tell him we’re going to play golf together and that I’m coming to his house and we’re going to make a huge feast for our families. I’m not just saying these things to make him feel good. I believe with all my heart we’re going to do these things when he’s healed. Our friendship is limited now, but I expect things to change when he’s home. We have a bond of faith that’s special. We’ve both received a promise from God that defies medical science.

I’ve never had a very consistent prayer life. When my daughter has trouble sleeping, I tell her to pray because it usually puts me to sleep. When my wife developed some health problems last year I began praying more. Since meeting Scott I began praying for him almost every day. I’ll probably never be a prayer warrior. But God is slowly getting me to pray more by putting people in my life who need healing. God knew the best way to get me to spend time with Him was to give me some promises of healing and then wait for me to come to Him in prayer. I believe Scott will be healed. So will many other people. Some healings happen immediately, some take a long time. I’m not sure I understand why. All I can do is trust in what God said and continue praying for him. When he is healed, Scott will have an incredible story to tell. I can’t wait to write about it. Stay tuned.