I will be preaching every Sunday for the rest of this month. I’d love to see you guys in person if you should get the chance to come to a service. My schedule is as follows:
July 12 at White Stone Freedom Fellowship
July 19 at Open Door Baptist Church
July 26 at Mt Freedom Baptist in Mountain Rest
Two Nights, Same Dream
And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. – Joel 2:28
Many of His disciples turned and followed Him no more. – John 6:66
Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. – Luke 9:24
I had this dream. I had the same dream last night, but I didn’t realize I had the dream last night until I had the dream again. It was the exact same dream. I already know what it means. Even though I’m crazy sleepy and really, really want to go back to sleep, I know I’m supposed to write it down. I know I will forget if I go back to sleep.
In the dream, I’m climbing this crazy tall tree. When I look up, I can’t see a top. It just keeps going and going. Something in me knows to never look down. I know how far I’ve come. I know that I’ve been climbing this tree for years, and I know that I’ve seen things only because I’ve climbed this tree. I also know that if I slip and fall, I’m a goner. However, I never think about that. As I climb there are three types of obvious branches. There are branches that I know that if I use them, they will break very easily. Sometimes I simply avoid them, and other times I break them off. There are iffy branches that I may or may not be able to use. They simply need to be tested with my weight. If I need to test them, there is always a sturdy branch that I can hold to so I know that I won’t fall. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Then there are nice, sturdy branches. I can trust them. I do trust them. In my dream, I’m very aware of all of this. In my dream, I’m really enjoying the view right where I am. I’m sitting comfortably on a sturdy limb, but I know that it is time to go further.
As soon as I get ready to go, there is this obnoxious kid just above me. He is kind of transparent. I know that I could climb right through him. He starts telling me not to look down. He starts talking about each limb and convincing me that good limbs are bad limbs, and bad limbs are good limbs. I ignore him for a bit, but there is this section where I have to reach up to grab a good limb while stepping on an iffy limb. The kid just constantly laughs at me and tells me how I’m never going to make it. All of a sudden, I’m worried about falling. I’m paralyzed with fear. I start believing that I’m never going to make it. I wake up.
I don’t think it is some big secret that something big is coming down the pike. People right now, especially Christians, are wondering if life as we know it is about to be considerably altered. There are so many sub-groups of people wanting different things. They are fighting for these things. They are willing to steal, kill, and destroy to get what they want. I’ve always thought that the thief in John 10:10 was Satan. Yet, when Jesus was talking about the thief, he was talking to a group of religious leaders. He was calling them the thieves. He was basically saying, “People who follow me know my voice, and they can easily recognize when some other shepherd comes along and does not have their best interest in mind.” He goes on to say that lousy shepherds allow wolves in to attack and scatter the flocks. Read John 10 slowly and carefully and tell me whether or not you believe the thief is Satan.
Here is what I know for sure. In my dream, I was so high above the ground that I didn’t even bother with what was on the ground. I heard a preacher say a phrase last week that I haven’t heard in a long time. He said that were people right now that were “so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good.” I used to believe that. I used to say that. This is not the problem with American Christians right now. The overwhelming majority of American Christians are so earthly minded that they are no heavenly good. I knew that if I climbed down that tree, I’d lose so much. I also knew that climbing down would be just as difficult as continuing my climb up. I knew if I didn’t advance, I’d regret it. I knew if I fell that I would die. I know what I have to do. I must speak to that discouraging voice, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:23)
I bet you know to whom Jesus spoke those words. He spoke them to Peter. Peter was one of the good guys, right? In context, all Peter did was argue against the bad things that Jesus said were coming. Jesus basically said, “Religious leaders are about to kill me. Dark days are coming, but I will be raised back to life.” Peter said, “No they are not! We will help prevent it.” It is at this precise moment that Jesus speaks those words in Matthew 16:23.
What am I trying to say? Be very careful who you listen to. Pay close attention to what the shepherds and leaders of the church say and do. Peter was a good guy, but he had to be checked when he let his emotions and feelings take over. The Pharisees thought they were the good guys, but Jesus quickly let them know that they were thieves and robbers keeping people from coming into good pastureland. Christians right now are making well-meaning posts on Facebook, but they are wrong in their motives. I’ve made them myself. You should filter everything that I write and say through the lens of Christ Jesus and the Word of God. Test my words! I’ve said things in God’s Name that I wish I could take back simply because I said them when I was hurt. The most important thing is that you keep climbing the tree. Test every branch as you climb. You will know which ones you can step on and which ones you can’t. Rebuke those voices that are trying to call bad branches good and good branches bad. The Bible says it like this, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
You and I can navigate this life. You and I can enjoy safe pastureland. You and I can make it to our eternal home. My heavenly home is bright and fair, I feel like traveling on.
Lord, please, please, please help us keep our eyes on the prize! We think it is all about leaving a better earth for future generations. The prize is to receive a crown that lasts forever. Help us to be the true light who guides others well and points them in Your direction. May you use us to inspire others to climb up there with You! May you use us to help others live for what is unseen. For eyes have not seen, nor ears heard. It has not entered into the hearts of people the things that you have prepared for us who truly love You. Help us to live in light of eternity.