"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
December 6, 2017
Monday night I had a dream that I vividly remembered when I woke up the following morning. As I was telling Jon about it, clarity sudden came and as I was talking to him, and I realized that it was a God dream as the Holy Spirit showed me the meaning.
In my dream, my sister Janie was trying to get me to start coloring my hair again. I told her no and asked, "Why would I even want to do that?!" She told me that "they" say that it makes you look younger and I would look so much better and much younger if I would dye my hair. I told her that I didn't care what "they" say. (Who is "they" anyway?!) I had worked too long and too hard to get all the fake color out so why would I start all over again; I was not going to do that! Then my oldest sister and a few other people were there and started messing with my hair. It they brushed it one way, it would look dark.... then when they brush it back like I had it, it would be my natural color of white/gray. They told me that I needed to start brushing my hair the other way, so that it would look dark. At first the color was really dark (almost black) like my natural hair color was when I was young. Then I noticed that the color was this reddish medium brown color and I knew that it wasn't my real color, but was fake. I didn't want that in my hair at all and didn't want to be able to brush my hair and that fake color show through. I had to be firm and say no, I did not want to do that; regardless of what other people were saying and their strong opinions.
This is the interpretation of that dream that the Holy Spirit gave to me:
Janie represented people whom I love and respect; not necessarily her. Sometimes there may be a particular person or a group of people who we are close to and respect that want us or things to go back to how they used to be, saying that things were better back then; and instead of embracing what God is doing now, they want to hold onto how it was in the past. They may not understand what God is doing in our life or it may make them uncomfortable, so they try to convince us that how we used to be made us "look" better... it's the better choice.
At that time, we have to choose to stand firm and follow the Holy Spirit and not try and relive the past or do things how they've been done before. We have worked too long and too hard to get to where we are today! We, also, have to stay true and steadfast to what the Holy Spirit is doing right now and not let there be a tug-of-war between the present and people who want you to look and act like we were in the past. If we do, it may look good at first, but it will be revealed as being fake and not really the Holy Spirit. We can't flip back and forth spiritually! We have to be steadfast, regardless of other people's opinions or suggestions or them diligently trying to pull us back to the "old" ways; even if they are people who we truly love and respect and who are important to us. Sometimes God may ask us to do something that doesn't make sense or that rubs people the wrong way or that they are opposed to (possibly due to their lack of understanding). We have to be strong in our faith and strong in following and obeying the Holy Spirit, not getting distracted by what other people are telling us or trying to convince us is the best or right thing for us. (End of dream interpretation)
Many times when an individual or church have experienced a move of God, they will revisit that time over and over again, longing for it to happen again. They mentally set up a memorial, a monument, at that place and will go back to that memory whenever they want to remember a spiritual high. They may even make comments about wishing that they could go back and experience that once again.
What happens is that they put God in a box, linking Him to that one period of time or one specific experience or event. They want God to once again do what they saw Him do in the past, and are contented if they only see Him from that one perspective and that is the only type of encounter that they have with Him.
The Holy Spirit has been showing me that God is infinite and there is so much more to Him than we could ever even imagine or encounter. The more I know God and the more of Himself that He shows to me, the hungrier I get to continuously stay in His presence and hear what He has to speak to me and show me.
Over the past few months there have been a handful of people close to me that have been experiencing God on a whole different level than we ever knew was possible. In fact, if I shared some of those encounters I'm sure that there are many who would be skeptical and unbelieving. The unknown often causes people to be uncomfortable and brings into question their own spiritualism, so their response is to criticize and judge or try and stamp out what the Holy Spirit is doing within someone.
When someone hungers for God and His presence and glory, and when they begin hearing from Him and He takes them to new heights and levels that they've never before been to, it often makes others around them uneasy. They don't like the changes that they see and want things to go back to how they used to be. People tend to be more comfortable with the familiar and dislike change. Instead of wanting to grow spiritually and get involved with what God is doing, they try to bring that person back down to how they used to be.
That was what was in my dream; people close to me trying to get me to change back to how I once was, criticizing me by saying that if I'd only change I'd look better and younger. People trying to get me to wear my hair so that the old fake color would show, instead of what was real and natural.
The thing is, once you truly experience God and are growing spiritually, you can't flip back and forth from what He's doing to what you once were. If so, you will appear fake and others will soon take notice. We have to be true to what God is doing and let there be no deceit or lies within us; neither can we try to be something that we're not.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?"
Pastor Jack Hayford writing about this scripture said, "When the Lord asks, 'Shall you not know it?' He is saying, 'Do you want to open yourself to My new thing? Are you willing to embrace it?' I believe that if God says He's going to do a new thing, then it's going to have a relationship to His people -- to you and me. It's not for us to watch as spectators. The Lord wants to imprint it on our lives. When God says, 'Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old,' He's not saying that they're unimportant, but He's admonishing us not to confine Him to what He's already done. Moses could never have dreamed what was going to happen when he took an obedient stance, holding out the rod and speaking the words the Lord had told him to speak. He was probably just as amazed at what happened as everybody else was. The miracle at the Red Sea was beyond anyone's ability to speculate or guess, and there are new things God wants to do for us that are beyond anything we can fathom, invent, ask, or imagine."
Sometimes the thought of God taking us out of our comfort zone and doing something new can cause fear of the unknown. Had Moses been unwilling to hold his rod over the Red Sea so that God could honor his faith and part the waters, what would have happened? Moses could have thought, "I've never seen anyone do something like this in the past. What if I stretch my rod out and nothing happens? What if I look foolish in front of all these people? Is it really God telling me to do this? Let someone else do it!" Had he refused to respond, he never would have seen what God can miraculously do and the Israelites could have been attacked by the Egyptians and taken back into slavery. Moses determined to listen to God and respond in obedience, regardless of what others thought or said.
If we want to experience the miraculous, have God show us new things and take us to new spiritual levels, and truly live in the presence of God and in His light, then we have to let go of fear of man. We have to choose to stand firm in our faith, not being swayed by what others are saying, and see what God can do!
Here's a simple science experiment. All you will need are one dark room, one flashlight, and one sheet of white paper (or cloth). Turn on the flashlight, and aim it at one wall. Try looking closely at the wall behind the flashlight. Normally, it will be pretty dark, and hard to make out details, especially if you see the flashlight, too. Now, without moving or turning the flashlight, hold the white sheet of paper about one foot away from the flashlight. Now, the wall that was in darkness should be very easy to see.
The point here might be obvious already. The source of the light didn't really do anything. But moving the white paper in the light helped to spread it all around. Part of what makes paper useful is that it scatters light in all directions. It is part of its very nature.
That is our job, too. God is the source of light. But part of our very nature should be to spread that light around in all directions.
Double Chocolate Cream Pie
1 chocolate graham cracker or Oreo pie crust
1 small box chocolate instant pudding
1 small box white chocolate instant pudding
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip, divided
Beat chocolate pudding mix with 1 cup milk with whisk for 2 minutes or until pudding is thick. Stir in half of the Cool Whip and mix gently. Spread onto bottom of crust.
Repeat with white chocolate pudding mix, remaining milk, and Cool Whip. Spread over chocolate pudding layer in crust.
Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm. This can also be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.
If wanted, garnish with chocolate curls.
This past Sunday our pastor issued a challenge to our church that I am going to pass on to you: As christians we have been brought out of darkness into the marvelous light of Jesus. This week pray that God will show you someone to whom you can give the gift of light. That will mean something different for us all, but the Holy Spirit will show us each who needs to be the recipient and what the gift is that we can share. In the Christmas carol 'Little Drummer Boy', he pondered what gift he could offer, and he used the talent that had been given to him; playing his drum. We each have each been given a gift, talent, and ability. Pray that God will use you to help and encourage someone who is in darkness and needing the gift of light.
Be careful not to entrust someone full of self-criticism
because they may love you like they love themselves. - Bill Johnson
We love you!
Loretta & Jon