Posts Tagged With: Religion and Spirituality
I’m never one to remember my dreams. In fact most mornings when I wake up, by the time I walk to the bathroom, whatever I had dreamed is already gone. But last night I dreamed of Yeshua.
2016 has started off really rough. My job is demanding technically, legally, emotionally and spiritually; most days I even drag myself home physically exhausted because all of my other capacities have been run dry. Since January, all Hell has broken loose at the housing properties and my office team (who are very supportive of each other) have been struggling with morale issues because everyone is under attack in some way. I’ve also been struggling personally with the patrilineal burdens I’ve inherited from the men in my life who have come before me. My struggles with personal identity, value and success (or lack thereof) have been loud and ugly…and it’s all the arguments going on inside.
Needless to say I’ve been fighting off or hiding from depression for the last couple of weeks. I can play at it for a while, being strong for everyone else, but I finally asked yesterday: “Who’s being strong for me?” Once that question was out of the box, there was no putting it back. And I fell to pieces.
I prayed. I pleaded for God to show a way forward. To allow me to answer a greater call. I demanded for Him to acknowledge and answer my dreams that have been laid in their grave.
What I didn’t know was that my wife was desperately praying for me at the same time. She pleaded with Jesus to meet me, somehow.
And then last night I fell asleep.
I found myself in a great white stone palace in a large room. The stone was almost like crystal, but even that description can’t do it justice. It felt very Greek, but was timeless.
The large room I found myself in was dark, backlit with blue and green light and there was a blue mist winding around the black tile floor.
I held a sword in my hand and knew at once I was under attack. The things coming at me were everywhere and they looked like rotting corpses, like zombies. Some were missing limbs but they could talk and were saying all kinds of horrible things. They were demonic, and they looked exhausted because they weren’t able to put up much of a fight when I began to fight back with my sword. Yet all the same I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of them.
It was then I realized that someone else arrived and was helping me to fight them back. By the time the battle was almost over, my ally had easily slain most of the horde. I remained fighting one enemy, the captain. My ally did not intervene, but let me finish the fight as I cut off its appendages until it simply laid upon the floor unable to move.
“You’re done,” I said as I turned to walk away.
The demonic captain looked up at me with his gruesome face and exposed eyeballs and spoke: “Just do it already.”
So I cut off his head. I then realized I was covered in greasy guts. I turned to look at my ally, my helper.
He stepped out of the shadows and I immediately knew his face and I spoke his name in my heart: YESHUA. It was the name his mother would have called him. I knew him and I knew he knew me. Yet all I could utter from my lips was: “I’m a mess.”
Then Yeshua smiled; he was kind and spoke: “You ordered the Greece.”
I knew it was a joke, a play on words about the battle we had just come through, and yet there had to be a deeper meaning, a puzzle to solve. He helped me, but he didn’t do it for me. I had guts on me and the sword in my hand to prove that I had done battle in the heavenly realm alongside Yeshua my Messiah, against my enemies.
I woke up amazed, pondering the meaning of what he said and I’m still not sure but there are some clues in my life and the things I’ve been working on in my writing that might yet prove true.
My wife is a big time dreamer; she remembers her every dream each morning. And sometimes they are spiritually significant. This was the first time I had ever had a spiritually significant dream and I relayed it to my wife.
When I finished, she asked about the meaning of Yeshua’s words. I told her I wasn’t sure.
Then she asked: “What about Greek warriors, are they tough?”
I immediately could see scenes from the movie 300 in my mind with King Leonidas fighting with his fellow Spartan brothers against the hordes of invading Persian troops. I told her that historically the Spartans were among the toughest, hardest soldiers ever bred for war.
She then told me about how she pleaded with Jesus to meet me in my dark time of struggle. My wife is certain that who showed up was Jesus/Yeshua as his hardest, warrior self to help fight against the forces of darkness coming against me personally. Yet during the whole battle, I never doubted his love.
There are still so many pieces to put together regarding this dream. As for what he said to me: “You ordered the Greece.” I think it will take time to reveal the meaning, but perhaps some of the interlinear work I’ve been doing in the bible may be the key to unlocking my way forward.
“Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He had the unlimited certainty of knowing that prayer is always answered.” ~Oswald Chambers
The first thing that I would have to admit is this: be careful what you pray for because it will be answered.
There’s been so much that Caity and I have been praying for over this last year, that when we sit down and talk about what has gone on we see the heavy gravity of God’s faithfulness to answer our prayers.
This last Spring we realized how stuck we were in so many ways and we cried out in prayer for God to initiate the changes that we could not do for ourselves. That was the beginning of a swift journey of upheaval for us beginning with our hearts, then our marriage and finally our jobs.
God started with both of our hearts, removing the layers of scar tissue blocking us from Him and each other. It was immediate, it was critical and it was painful. Yet by the end of the divine surgery, Caity and I discovered that even our old hearts were gone and replaced by new, fresh hearts each with its own deepened capacity to love and desire for vulnerability in our marriage. Humbling and incredible. We have spent more time over the last six months laughing, crying, sharing, loving and praying together than we ever did in the last ten years.
Then at the end of July, our children began asking for more “family days”. We had been a seven-day work week family for the last seven years; it was the only reasonable way to make ends meet. One of us was always working and the other was always at home with the kids, but we never had days off together. This had created quite a strain on us all and the kids were beginning to get sad with the system. There were no sabbath rests for us.
So Caity and I talked about our work situation and realized that it too needed to change but we didn’t know how. Yet we did see the benefit of family days, of regular sabbath rests. So we decided to get the kids into it also and asked them to pray with us, to pray and ask Jesus to change Mommy’s and Daddy’s job situations to provide for days off together.
Again, be careful what you pray for because it will be answered.
We found out at the very beginning of August that Caity’s store would be closing. We realized immediately that God was at work answering our prayers, but not in the way that we would have wanted or expected. She worked until September 11, 2013 with Haggen until they closed the Shoreline store. Then she was done, and all of a sudden we had weekends off as a family.
It was shocking and we could have responded by falling into anxiety over our decreased income, but instead we did something different: we celebrated! We celebrated by going out to dinner. We celebrated by praying over a portion of our savings we wanted to give away and the Holy Spirit led us to two families in desperate need. We celebrated by getting up early and spending time together reading the bible and in prayer. We celebrated by intentionally spending time with our children and doing things that brought them joy. We celebrated by turning off the television and tuning into our marriage. We celebrated for the cause of liberation in our lives.
And finally we have had one more prayer answered in regards to the job changes—I will be promoted beginning next week to take over my own property and become the property manager for the Woodland North Apartments in Lake Forest Park. Monday, November 11th will be my first day, exactly two months from the date of Caity’s last day of work. Trust me when I say that this was all God’s doing—I didn’t seek it out at all.
Initially, the way God chose to answer our prayers looked backward. Truth be told, we all want so badly to have our circumstances changed, thinking that a change like that alone will be enough to change our hearts. Yet God knows better. He desires heart change first before any change of circumstance. To surrender to Jesus in gratitude before anything else. And when all was finished, Caity and I recognized that we were the ones who had been moving backward; God was the one now taking us forward. Our perspectives were all wrong and we learned to surrender to His direction for our lives.
Again, be careful what you pray for because it will be answered.
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
An Excerpt from Olde Mysterium:
Saba closed his eyes and breathed deep. “My time here on this earth is coming quickly to a close. Oh how fast it has fled me. Have you ever wondered at how people are engineered for eternity?…I have never met an old man that didn’t wish he could live longer. Eighty years. Ninety years. Even a century old. It doesn’t matter. We might want to go to end the pain but never because we are finished with life. The human spirit is engineered to want to live. To live forever. We don’t understand it. I don’t understand it because our experience on this earth is designed to be finite. Everything here has an expiration date except the human spirit.”
Saba’s face pulled taut into a mass of wrinkles for a moment but then subsided. Daniel offered to go find a nurse but the old man protested, keeping his grip firm on his son’s hand. “Will you do something for me?”
Daniel nodded. “Absolutely. Anything you want.”
“Kneel by my bedside.”
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;’” ~John 11:24-26
The sun sets only to rise again. Plants die off in Winter only to reemerge in Spring. Among the many things in our existence that point to life beyond the grave, I would have to admit that one of the strongest arguments for me personally is the human will to live. Nobody wants to grow old. Nobody wants to grow infirm. And nobody wants to die. For the soldier surrounded by the enemy and the guilty man on death row each must face their fate, but neither of them wish for it. We inhabit finite bodies and exist in a broken world. Death comes to us all in this life but we don’t want it. The human desire for life is infinite and we are each engineered for eternity. And eternity is a gift given to each of us…should we so choose to accept it.
I often ponder upon the idea that this life is very much like being in utero and upon death we are reborn into the reality we were originally designed to inhabit…if only we would follow the One who breathed life into us. Are you engineered for eternity?
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~Psalm 46:10
How often do we take the time to “be still”–physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually? This idea today is as foreign to the average man or woman as would be the idea of living on Mars.
We live in a culture with the just do it mentality. Keep busy. Perform well. Look good. Make sales. Be professional. Attain success. And ultimately when we become overwhelmed by all of these things, to where do we escape? Television. Video games. Shopping. Disconnecting in our relationships. Yet there never seems to be enough time in the day to take one minute and just be: just breathe and remain still.
Caity and I have been learning (over this last summer) how to exercise the art of stillness and the act of resting. In other words, we’ve been learning how to just be. Just be silent. Just be calm. Just be alive. We fill these moments with prayer and connection with each other and with God. We learn how to be in each others’ presence without needing to fill the silence with words. It’s a form of meditation where instead of trying to disconnect from ourselves, we instead submit our individuality before the feet of the Creator in silence.
I knew that taking time to be still would help to relieve stress and usher in calm, but I was unprepared for what would happen next: hearing God’s voice. It seemed like all of a sudden I would hear a clear message in my head, or gather something profound from a passage of scripture I’d read several times before, or hear a message on the radio or snippet of passing conversation that would change everything and lend a fresh perspective. Every time I turned around, God was saying something new to reassure me of His presence and that He was gathering Caity and I under His will; enacting a divine plan.
And before I knew it, I had stopped the wild flailing and ceased fighting against the current, trying to just do it on my own. I am learning how to just be still, listen to His voice, and be ready to participate when the divine opportunity arises. I am no longer on my own. I am in a partnership with the Creator of the universe.
What do you think would happen if you took 15 minutes out from your day to simply be still and sit in silence with no obstacles between you and God? I encourage you to give it a try…and see what happens.
SED EGO DIGREDIENDUM
My hands do long to bless the lost with hope,
My pen does long to soar long the pages,
I stand, I run and stumble down the slope,
Will my work be unreached through the ages?
Are my efforts feasting last on Maundy?
My work be shattered on the Corner Stone,
Eli, Eli lama sabacthani?
Oh Father, raise my light that once had shone.
God of mercy, bless this shadowed spirit;
My God of grace, descend and make me whole.
I am humbled, grant to me Your merit;
Creative work does much to joy my soul.
My spirit is broken beyond my pen,
Oh Lord, when will this purgatory end?
Originally written sometime in March 2009 as a prayer sonnet. I was obviously struggling with feelings of inadequacy regarding my writing and any lack of progress thereof. Funny enough, this prayer has indeed been answered line for line (although not in any way I would have wanted or imagined at the time).