Tag Archives: vision

The Blurriness of Christmas

The Blurriness of Christmas

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew 2:11

Consider the last few days in this month of December.  Lots of people are talking about “holidays” and Christmas. Many people appear to worship Christmas instead of worshiping Christ.  It is an easy thing to do.  There are holiday parties, travel to grandparents, gift exchanges and more.  I enjoy the holiday decorations, lights and nativity scenes we see all over the place.  The movie industry, commercial sales industry, and society as a whole are celebrating.  But, it is clear they are celebrating something other than the events in the Bible. The busyness of Christmas can give us blurry vision.

When the wise men saw baby Jesus they kneeled down to worship Him.  They did not loose sight as to why He was here and what Jesus was doing on the earth.  Just like when the cold temperatures outside and the warm temperatures on the inside causes the windows to fog up sometimes, we can have a hard time seeing Christmas for what it really is.  There is such a disparity in the perceived “reasons for the season” in the world today.

Pray and ask the Lord to help you not loose sight or have blurry vision during this holiday season.  With all the busyness and possible distractions of this season, take some time to kneel in prayer, thanking and praising God for His Son and our Savoir Jesus, the Christ.

 

 

 

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When Dreams Come True

When Dreams Come True

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.”  Genesis 37:5

 

“Dream Big Dreams!”

“Follow your dream.”

“Make your dream happen.”

The world philosophy says much about dreams today.

While the New Testament has several people who are given dreams, there is no evidence that God continues to give dreams today.  Then, the dreams were part of God’s special revelation, the Bible.  The dreams Joseph is given are revelation of the Lord.  Today we do not receive special revelation.  We have a completed Bible.

However, the Lord does burden our hearts.  We are convicted by the Spirit of God to action.  The Lord gives us “desires” that are informed by our Bible knowledge and yielding to His Holy Spirit.

For the Christian, the dream must be rooted in the Bible.  Following God leads to fulfilled dreams.

Don’t just follow a dream; follow the Maker of the dream. 

Here are 3 considerations on the way to seeing dreams come true.

 

The Path to the Dream Does Not Always Make Sense. 

The Lord may not take you straight to the conclusion of a dream.  When the dream came, Joseph saw his promotion and blessing, but he did not see his the problems he was to face.  On the way, he was enslaved (Gen. 39:1-6).  He was accused (Gen. 39:7-20).  He was imprisoned (Gen. 39:21-23).  And he was forgotten (Gen. 40:23).

Many “health and wealth” teachers fail to mention the heartache, suffering, and difficulty that followers of Jesus will truly face.  “Name it and claim it” did not work for Joseph.  He endured much suffering and the path he was on did not make sense.  Truly, Joseph was following God, not a dream.

 

The Hand of God Can Be Traced to the Dream’s Fulfillment. 

Arriving at the fulfillment of the dream is seldom a quick proposition.  For Joseph it took many years before the dream was fulfilled.  All that time, the hand of God was evident in his life.

The Lord prospers Joseph in spite of the circumstances and the lowly positions he held. Everything that Joseph touched was prospered.  The Lord also gave an opportunity for growth.  Joseph was not ready for the fulfillment of the dream until he endured the time and trouble he faced.

Sometimes the Lord allows problems in our lives to make us into the people He wants us to be.  If we never had any problems, why would we need God?

  • Sometimes problems come because of our sin. Genesis 3:17 says, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.”
  • Sometimes problems come because of the sin of others. Daniel and Joseph are examples.
  • Sometimes the problem tempts us quit, but God can help. I Corinthians 10:13  states, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  • Sometimes problems come to grow us. Such is the case with Joseph on his unlikely journey to become Prime Minister of Egypt.

The Lord oversees the dream.  God was the maker of the dream and He was the One who could bring it to pass!  Joseph was faithful, not to his dream, but to the maker of the dream.  Psalm 37:4 -5 teaches, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”  We trust God with His will. 

 

The Equipping of God for the Ministry Enables the Dream. 

Joseph was equipped of God to declare God’s Word (Gen. 41:25-32).  When speaking to his brothers, the jailer, and the Pharaoh, he merely told them the Word of God.  His dream was from God and Joseph was living a life according to the Word of God.

Dreams can come from the world, our flesh, and the devil.  For example, Jeremiah 23:25-27 demonstrates that some believers forgot the Lord and chose to follow the dreams of Baal, a false god.

Or the dream can come from God.  The dreams Christians arrive at are realized because they are living the Word of God.  They are walking through life with the Maker of the dream.  The dreams God has for you are always rooted in the Bible.  God-given dreams are never in contradiction to the written Word of God.

Joseph was also equipped by the Lord to fulfill the will of God (Gen. 41:33-50).  The famine was prepared for.  An administrative brilliance is displayed.  A nation was spared.  Pharaoh takes his advice from the former slave and rejected brother.

The dream of the sheaves is fulfilled in Genesis chapters 43-44.  The dream of the 11 Stars, Sun and Moon bowing down takes place in Genesis chapter 46.  The dreams God gave did come true

Following God leads to fulfilled dreams.  Don’t just follow a dream; follow the Maker of the dream. 

In one interview, Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, told 60 Minutes, “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, it’s got to be more than this. I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.” “What’s the answer,” asked interviewer Steve Kroft. “I wish I knew,” Brady replied. “I wish I knew.””  (Ministry127)

When we follow our dreams instead of following the Maker of dreams, we will feel empty, unfulfilled, and will fall short of glorifying the Lord.  Ask yourself these reflective questions:

  1. Am I following my dream or the Maker of the dream?
  2. Will I be faithful to truth when the tough times come?
  3. Will I grow spiritually through the circumstances?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better or Worse?

Better or Worse?

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Romans 6:6-7

Trips to the eye doctor!  Getting new eyeglasses or fitting contacts can be a good thing.  Being able to see or understanding why headaches are more frequent and that these sight issues can be treated are terrific.  I am amazed at the new machines and the visual tools that the eye doctors of today utilize.  Place your face against a big “mask looking thing” and look at the image on the wall.  Sound familiar?

What does the eye doctor say to you?  You are looking at a wall with letters of all sizes on it.  Then after looking and talking down the list the doctor says “Is that better or worse?”  He flicks a button and the lens in the tool he is using changes and he says it again: “Is that better or worse?”  Over and over again he says the same thing until he arrives at a lens that you declare is working well for your set of eyes to see better.

Eye doctor visits are visual “resets” that help us see better after getting the proper contacts or glasses.

In the aftermath of the Islamic terror strikes on America on 9.11, many Americans had a “reset” in their spiritual vision.  Many people started to consider eternity and getting things right with God.  The attacks shook our world in many different ways, from economics, military, public safety, and even spiritual considerations.   We learned about terror groups that hate Christians and that want to kill those who live with the “western ideology.”  What I am saying is that some people hate the American way of life and the American way of life was initially rooted in Judaic/Christian Values.  The attacks and this hatred we endured changed our perspective.

People changed for the better.   Living with God in mind is living with a better perspective.  Church congregations grew.  People prayed and read the Bible who had not done either practice in years.  Folks said they were turning back to the Lord.  Some people trusted Christ for salvation and were born again and others became religious for the next several weeks, months, and even years.  Priorities, motivation for life, and service to God became key components of the lives of many people.

Then time goes by.  Just like our eye vision, sometimes over time we do not see as well as we once did.

Each human is composed of three components: Body, Soul, and Spirit.  We are a trichotomy.  We are free to choose what we believe and how we will live.  Just like we go to the eye doctor when we need an eye exam, we all need to take time to examine our spiritual lives.

I like the following quote from William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) who said: “Christianity promises to make men free; it never promises to make them independent.”

It seems like people living in America today want to be free. Many want to be free to do what they want to do.  God would rather us be free to do what is right rather than what is wrong.  We are free, but as Christians, we are not independent from God.  If you are a believer in Jesus, you must be totally dependent on Jesus.

Romans 6:6-7 gives us great insight to the old nature and the new nature.  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. 

Your body, the flesh, wants to do wrong.  This is our human nature.  As Christians, God has given us a new nature.  You are a new person in Christ Jesus.  God is not saying to destroy your body in these verses; He is saying to not let the old nature control your life.  When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He made it possible for you to live in true freedom.  You have freedom to no longer follow the mandates of your sinful, fallen nature, but to joyfully live life for the Lord Jesus Christ.  The old nature was crucified too.  Backslidden Christians are allowing the old nature to “revive” and control their lives instead of enjoying the freedom Christ afforded over that old nature.

Jesus gave us real freedom when He died on the cross.  Our lives must reflect the victory that He purchased at Calvary.  As we remember 9.11 once again today, consider your life in retrospective: “Is life better or worse?”  Am I still free to do right, or am I claiming my freedom to do what my old nature wants for me to do.

We don’t have to look far to realize that a giant pendulum of morality and godliness in society is swinging far away from the side of righteousness.  People who once saw clearly their need to seek the Lord are now no longer interested in the things of the Lord.  Even if they are Christians, they have fallen into the traps and fallen for the lies of Satan to “live the way you want to live.”

Why not seek a “spiritual reset” today?  Just like when you go to the eye doctor to get help, go to church this Sunday and discover what you have been missing and see how you can honor the Lord once again with your life.

Are you “better or worse” in your walk with the Lord than you were 14 years ago?  “Better or worse” than you were a month ago concerning spiritual things?  How about today?  As time goes on, the temptation is to “let things go.”  Examine your life.  Make changes for the better… starting today.