Snippets from my Journal #2 Aug. 14, 2018

Some years ago, an elderly saint who has gone on to glory said to me: ‘Pay attention to your dreams, especially the ones you remember best.  Those are usually the ones the Lord gives you just before it’s time to wake up.  The Lord spoke through dreams to Joseph, the patriarch, to Joseph, husband of Mary and to many others throughout the scriptures.  He still does.  Pay attention when you have a dream you remember and always ask the Lord to grant you understanding of it for those are the dreams that carry a message from heaven most of the time.  It may be for today, it may be for years down the road.  Write it down and wait upon the Lord who gives understanding in His time.’

I don’t dream very often at all, at least not that I remember when I wake up.  It’s unusual for me to have a vivid dream that I can clearly remember – very unusual.

But the admonition of the old saint came back to me early this morning with the sense that it needed to be shared. At the same time, a dream I had not thought about in a long time, floated across my mind. I pulled out my journal from 2012.  Flipping through the pages, suddenly, there it was.  As I read, I got more and more excited for I saw in the dream meaning that I had never seen before.  I pray it will speak something to you as well.

January 2, 2012 – Journal entry

I had a very vivid dream just before waking up this morning.  I was standing on top of a high dune, looking down. There were four fully mature lions “hanging out” on the sand by the waterfront.  One was lying down right at the water’s edge, looking out to the sea. The other three were milling about on the sand in a casual way, several feet steps away from the water’s edge. There was a young woman among them – clearly unafraid – with her left arm over the neck of one of the standing lions, like a very loose embrace.  There were a couple of palm trees off to the right and the left, swaying in the light wind.

4-lions-at-seaside

Lions don’t naturally belong on beaches so what were they doing there? I wondered initially.

The Holy Spirit impressed upon me that the four lions represented His people from the ‘four corners of the earth’.  One lion is ‘at rest’, lying down peacefully at the water’s edge. The other three are moving about, restless.

The sand is symbolic of the instability of the nations and the world system whose support for or right attitude towards the Body of Christ comes and goes like waves hitting the beach.

The young woman represents the grace of God ministering to the restless, who are stirred but as yet undecided about taking the plunge into wholehearted acceptance and joy regarding the return of the Lord Jesus.  Therefore they pace back and forth indecisively.

The shoreline represents the border between heaven and earth and the sea itself, a reminder of the crystal sea before the Throne of God, spoken of in Revelation.

The peaceful lion, with his focus fixed firmly on the sea, speaks of those disciples who are eagerly awaiting the return of the Lord from a place of inner peace and joy at His soon coming. Like the lion, they are ‘looking out to sea’, un-distracted by this world and its seductions.

The other three lions are unsure, insecure and struggling to come to terms with the radical implications of the coming of the Lord to take us home.  They’re not looking out to sea but are focused on their own questions, doubts, worries and circumstances.

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This dream is dated January 2, 2012 – six and a half years ago.  As I read through it this morning, I was stunned with its relevance to TODAY.

There’s a reason that in the dream I was watching this scene from the top of a high sand dune. Was it a call to pray for the restless lions? Was it something else?

What does this dream say to you? I believe the messages contained in it can be as varied as the people who read it.  I’d love to hear back from some of you if you’re willing to share what the Lord says to you through this post.

May His grace reveal more and more to all of us.

Snippets from my Journal #1 August 7, 2018

Having completed our series on the Presence of God last week, I have been asking the Lord what He wanted me to focus on next for this blog.  I was quite surprised with His answer:  ‘Share from your own journal.’  Initially I was aghast and thought, ‘My journal? My personal journal, Lord? That’s just between me and You!’  But after struggling with it for a couple of days, I believe that’s what He wants so here goes.

Early 2017

Matthew 5: 14  ‘You are the light of the world…’  In the Greek, the word translated ‘you’ literally means ‘you and you alone’.  So this is a very personal exhortation to each individual disciple of the Lord.  It is spoken to simple and entirely unimportant people from the world’s point of view.  It’s to ‘you and you alone.’  That means me.

oillamp

This implies that:

(1) the world is in darkness though claiming to be ‘enlightened’.  Though there has been an incredible advancement of knowledge, yet most people still have no true understanding of what LIFE really is.  And when we don’t know what to do with the knowledge we have, it becomes a source of tragedy producing broken relationships with God and with man.  Paul said it this way: ‘Knowledge makes arrogant but love edifies.’  When our knowledge makes us feel superior, we lose the ability to love our fellow man as we have been commanded to do.  ‘You are the light…’

(2) it is a disciple of Christ who can impart truly helpful advice and understanding.  It is not more ‘knowledge for knowledge’s sake’ that improves society but the knowledge of God and His Word.  “You are the light…’

(3) you – the ordinary Christian with a living relationship with Jesus understands more about life than the greatest ‘expert’.  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its knowledge did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  I Cor. 1:21

The same Lord Who declared ‘You are the light…’ also said, “I am the Light of the World.” These two statements are inseparable for He that follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life. John 8:12

And again, For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.  Ephesians 5:8

What does light do?

(1) It exposes the darkness and what is hidden in the darkness until the light appears.  You are a light switched on by the Holy Spirit.  Lights don’t talk; they don’t make a sound. They simply reveal what was not seen before. The influence of the Christian as light in the world is to expose what belongs to darkness.  This was the cause of the antagonism towards Jesus.  His transparent purity and honesty exposed the darkness and hypocrisy of His contemporaries who had no interest in changing their ways.  So they hated Him.

The condemnation of the world is this: Light came into the world but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  John 3:19

(2) Light not only exposes the darkness but – good news – it shows the way out of it!  So let your light shine that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.  Matt. 5:16. Our example gives the unbeliever a look into what can be.  People who never read a Bible read you – what are they learning?

A lamp in Jesus’ day had two essential elements – oil and a wick. To keep the lamp burning, oil was not enough. You had to keep trimming the wick.

You are the wick! Continually trimming the wick so the lamp will give light is descriptive of disciplining our character so that our light shines brighter and brighter.

Though this has been true for 2000 years, in these last days God is looking for those who will shine brightly, allowing His love and goodness to be demonstrated by our lives.

Let your light shine!

Has this spoken to you? Leave a comment or testimony below!

The Presence of God #10 Aug. 1, 2018

Note: My apologies that this week’s posting is a day late.  I’ve spent the last five days at the hospital with my husband who had surgery a few days ago.

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BroLawrence

For this week’s post I’d like to highlight a classic book on our topic, The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  Or if you read it years ago, it’s worth reading again.

Brother Lawrence, born Nicolas Herman in 1614 in France, was an uneducated Catholic lay monk who served in the Thirty Years’ War before joining the Carmelite Monastery in Paris.  For many years he was a simple cook and later in life repaired sandals.  From this humble, unknown monk came the classic and profound work named above which has now been read by millions.  His book is equally popular with Catholics and Protestants and was a favorite of John Wesley and A.W Tozer among others.

It is reported that he lived with such a profound peace emanating from him that church leaders came to him for spiritual guidance.  The peace of soul and mind which he enjoyed was not simply an absence of anxiety or worry but rather his consistent awareness of the presence of God within him.  In I Thess. 5:23 He is called the ‘God of peace’ and Paul further wrote that this peace ‘surpasses all understanding.’  It also ‘guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’. Phil. 4:7

This French monk was in touch with God in a most profound way and encourages every believer to seek and attain the same experience.  Keeping in mind that he was uneducated, the reader will notice that explanation of what he senses does not always make sense to the casual reader.  But let me encourage you, if you pick up his book, keep reading and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten and inspire you.

Brother Lawrence commented that the prescribed times of praise and worship in the monastery did not give him an increased sense of God’s presence because he sensed God’s presence constantly.  Now wouldn’t we all like to be able to honestly say that?  Brother Lawrence says we can…if we will pursue the Lord’s presence relentlessly.

We should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s presence,’ he wrote, ‘by continually conversing with Him.’

How often during the day do your thoughts turn to the Lord?  How often during the day do you speak to ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory‘?  How naturally does your mind turn to Him when it is not occupied with duties or responsibilities?

These were some of the disciplines that led Brother Lawrence to that blessed state of being continually aware of the presence of God.  And yes, it does take discipline but here’s what we all need to realize:  the Lord delights in you and loves it when you think about Him and talk with Him.  He loves it more than we do!

Love for Him is the driving force that will propel you to grow in the awareness of His presence with you and in you for one naturally thinks consistently about those whom one loves dearly.

Four hundred years ago, a simple, uneducated monnk fell in love with his God and the legacy he left has inspired millions to do the same.  Once His presence becomes a daily focus of our everyday life, we will wonder why we didn’t pursue it sooner!

Application:

I have found that cultivating a thankful heart is a major step towards learning to live in God’s presence throughout the day.  Start your morning thanking Him for the gift of knowing Him.  Thank Him for Who He is and how thankful you are that He loves you so. Soon you’ll find His peace increasing within you and His presence becoming more real than it’s ever been, even during the simplest of daily tasks.

I close with this last quote from Brother Lawrence: ‘The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer.  In the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Supper.’

May we all have a similar experience of His presence.