I was anxiously making my way down the side of a mountain on foot with another man who seemed to be a mixture of my earthly and spiritual fathers. The mountain we were descending from was desert like, covered with rock, cactus and stumps. Not a single tree remained on the mountain, while the valley below was lush and inviting with green forest and clear streams. Though I could not see them from the rocky trail, I knew the valley to be filled with people, shelter, food, fellowship, etc. Conversely, the mountain I recognized as “snake country” (if I’ve never mentioned, I hate snakes!) Despite my best efforts to convince my “father” to continue on to the valley, which we could have reached by nightfall, he decided instead to camp out on the mountain for the night. We unrolled our sleeping bags, even while I was objecting to it and the danger posed by snakes. My “father” laid out his sleeping bag next to an old rotting stump, from which a vine-like fern was growing and he began to eat the fern, which I thought was most unappetizing. Finally in response to my concerns about snakes, my “father” pulled a full size wall calendar from his pack and showed it to me. In the dream, I was aware it was the month of December, and the calendar was marked “snakes in hibernation” beginning in November. Upon seeing the calendar, I thought to myself “it’s the cold that sends them into hibernation but it’s unseasonably warm!” Consequently, I believed the signs of the times more so than the calendar. As we settled into our sleeping bags with our heads pointed up hill, I did seem to get over my concerns about snakes. We went to sleep.
End of dream.
The dream confused me for several reasons. Continue reading
The Vision. Spring of 2000.
Suddenly I was standing in the middle of a vast rolling wheat field. How I got there, I had no idea. It was as if one moment I was a stalk of wheat and the next I was a man. As the vision continued to unfold, I thought to myself I need to look for others and began to look around for a building where I might find other people or a phone where I could call someone to come and pick me up. Turning completely around I didn’t see ANY evidence of buildings or other men in sight. So I stood there, waiting.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, Jesus was hungry. Three times the devil tempted Him; three times Jesus rebuked the devil saying “It is written …”. Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (excerpted and paraphrased from Matthew 4:1-11 ESV).
Time and again I’ve heard preachers and teachers refer to this passage of scripture as our definitive example for overcoming the devil, often suggesting that every believer should commit volumes of scripture to memory to draw upon when caught up in battle with the enemy.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I’m in pitched battle, my ability to think and react coolly and rationally is greatly impaired; fight or flight mode is engaged and survival is my only concern. Victory over my adversary? In all honesty, my hope is either to escape the enemies grasp and run, or to inflict enough of a blow to stun him and in the letup, escape to safety.
Following a shameful display of spiritual pride, a brother or sister once cautioned me with the words “the ground is level at the foot of the cross”. Though not a quote from scripture, the saying has occasionally prompted me to reflect upon my standing before the Savior. On the surface, it is a humbling reminder that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that all of us, no matter how upright and moral, need the Savior.
A few days ago, while writing a friend with with a word of encouragement, I found myself thinking about the word “the ground is level at the foot of the cross” once again. But the saying seemed unfitting for the situation my friend faced: applying salve to wounds received from a controlling pastor. As I was about to dismiss the thought, the Lord prompted me to consider it from His perspective on the cross. Continue reading
The Lord gave me a dream several years ago, wherein I was fishing from a large rock that extended into the river. There was someone with me, but I do not remember who it was – a faceless friend would be a good way to describe my fishing buddy. I was using my steelhead pole with a level wind reel, cast the bait into the water and reeled in slowly to work the bait along the bottom of the river where the big fish are.
With the first cast, I reeled in too quickly and the bait did not reach the bottom. My fishing buddy suggested I reel in more slowly and keep my rod tip up to achieve more depth. With the 2nd cast, I felt the sinker bumping along the bottom of the river and I waited for the hesitation that would tell me I had a bite. When I felt what seemed like a bite, I set the hook and began to reel the fish in quickly. My ‘fishing buddy’ instructed me to slow down and take my time reeling in the fish, as a slow retrieve is better for landing Continue reading