God's Word for Today

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Laying out the fleece……

One of the things I have learned in my walk with Christ is this, when I am in need of an answer or a solution or even a light bulb moment the best resource I have at hand is God’s Holy word.

It never fails, when I find myself at a place in my life where I am in conflict or have a dilemma and I do not know what to do the best way to approach these situations is to ask God to confirm my course of action with His Holy word. God’s word is living and active (HEW 4:12) and it can and will meet our every need, we only have to ask.

When I am faithful to place my life and the outcome of whatever is going on in God’s faithful hands He will show up with a resounding answer, whether it be in the affirmative or in the negative, God’s word never fails to be the beacon from which we can all set our plumb line (ISA 28:17).

I know that nothing is impossible for God (LK 1:37), I also know that His desire is for everyone to come to know Him (2PE 3:9), but that did not stop my skepticism from blossoming in this particular situation.

You see, in the days after my brother-in-law’s passing I learned that he had been visited in a dream by someone. My Brother-in-law had shared with his wife that in these dreams God had come to him and told him not to be afraid. He also shared that the images he saw were beautiful and peaceful and that he was certain that God had met him in his dreams and that he was no longer afraid to die.

My husbands and sister-in-law had a very real sense of peace. They were certain that God had come to Mark in the days before his death to bring a message of peace and to give assurance that there was nothing to fear.

I however, had some very definite seeds of doubt. I had been praying that God would show up in my brother-in-laws life in powerful way and that a relationship would be initiated.

I saw the peace on their faces, they had no doubt in their minds that in the weeks prior to my brother-in-law’s death God had in fact reached out to him in his dreams.

So what did I doubt? Was it God? No! I felt very certain that God can and will use anything He choose to reach those that He loves, even while we sleep.

I pondered on my skepticism and my doubt. I wanted the assurance I saw in the heart of my husband and sister-in-law.

When I learned of the dreams and then felt my subsequent doubt seeping in I closed my eyes and asked God to give me that same assurance. I had no doubt that my husband believed that his brother had an encounter with God, I also knew that my sister-in-law felt that same peace as well.

I wanted that same peace and assurance.

Now I need to back up a bit and lay a small bit of framework. I had just the week before began an in-depth bible study, it is a 32 week study of a comparative of the gospels. I had also been in the final preparations for an upcoming Women’s Day of Excellence that the United Methodist Women hold at our church every year.

I was scheduled to lead several workshops. In preparation for these workshops I had put my daily reading for my weekly bible study to the side. I knew that I would have to do some catch up at some point but knowing that you can only accomplish just so much in a twenty four hour period I set my daily reading aside in favor of workshop perpetrations.

On Sunday, the day after my husband shared with me about the dreams his brother had, as we drove out to the visitation I had brought my bible study along on the hour plus car ride out to the funeral home. This was my only window to do the required catch up reading time.

The selected text for that day was Acts chapter two. I began to read and my eyes passed over these words:

AC 2:17 " `In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

I stopped and looked at the words. Old men will dream dreams, now my brother-in-in law was far from an old man, he had succumbed to cancer at the young age of 51, but it was very clear to me that in these six small words God had been faithful to bring me the word I needed to feel that same assurance. Here before me was God’s Holy word, it was an example of God’s ability to use a dream to communicate.

I felt like Gideon must have felt after he laid out the fleece (JDG 6). Do you suppose that as he woke up in the morning and went outside, did he have any seeds of doubt? Did he reach down and pick up the fleece with expectation that he would be able to wring out a full bowl of morning dew, or did he doubt?

Well as I re-read the words before me my doubt washed away. God had been faithful to provide for me His Holy word. I now had the same assurance that my husband and sister-in-law had.

It was a perfect example of Matthew 21:22:

MT 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

I believed completely that God would provide for me the confirmation either positively or negatively in response to my request.

I was satisfied, however God in His mysterious and gracious abundance would not be contained with my human limitations.

In the days that followed, one of the assigned scripture reading for the next week were Matthew chapters 1 and 2.

Let’s count them shall we:

One

MT 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,

Joseph has a dream and receives instruction not to divorce Mary

Two

MT 2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The wise men are warned regarding Herod

Three

MT 2:13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.

Again Joseph has a dream and is prompted to take action

Four

MT 2:19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt

Joseph has another dream, and again is prompted to action

And Five

MT 2:22 …Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."

Joseph again has a dream (the man was a dreaming fool) and the stage is set for the salvation of the world.

I closed my eyes and thankd God for His aundant message. My seeds of doubt had been satisfied with one small passage of scripture, however God in His faithful abundance wanted to shower down His message and His absolute confirmation.

There are many times throughout scripture where God uses dreams to communicate many things to His people. Well let me assure you He defiantly captured my full attention as I read about encounter after encounter in the land of dreams.

The word dream is mentioned in the bible 65 times (NIV version) and specifically referring to God coming to someone in a dream several times. My doubt is gone, God confirmed it six separate times, but God being God, well He had one final word for me.

After Gideon gathers up all his fleece and is in preparation for the upcoming battle with the Midianite's look what happens next:

JDG 7:13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. "I had a dream," ……

And then…..

JDG 7:15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God.

Is God cool or what!

Copyright © August 2008 R. Lambright

4 comments:

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I have felt God's presence in a few vivid dreams over the years. I've also felt him in profound measure in other ways, also. Here's what I come away with...it doesn't really matter what other people think about it. I know it's real, but what I do want people to understand, is that it can happen for them also. There's no magical formula to any of it. It's all about staying in touch with God, via his Word and through prayer.

He longs to reveal himself to each one of us on an individual basis; oh for the eyes, ears, minds, and hearts to perceive him when he arrives in full measure on our behalf.

Thanks for sharing your heart. I'm sorry for your family's loss.

peace~elaine

skoots1mom said...

hands in the air
i had previously counted all the
dream-incidences, too!
hands in the air
He is so creative and loves to get his point across!
Go God!! again!

Sassy Granny said...

I love that He knows the end from the beginning. In my tiny mortal musings I often get it all so wrong.

Thank God for His mysterious ways. They are often His delivery system for profound peace.

Condolences in your loss.

Kathleen

Technonana said...

God is more than cool, Sweetie, Our God is AWESOME!!!
Sometimes I wake up knowing that I am already having a conversation with Him. Taking EVERYTHING to Him is Very Wise indeed!!!
I pray that your family will comforted daily by our Awesome God!!

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