Sunday, April 14
what does a nightmare, today's sermon, and a parenting class have in common?
Yesterday, before I went to bed, I put my thoughts on paper.
They were mostly thoughts of confession.
Of honest and deep cry out to the Lord about things in my life, that continued to rear up from time to time.
thoughts recording a cry to the Lord, to forgive me for unconfessed sin in my life
thoughts asking him why I continue to revert to old patterns, or old nature
I went to bed with the Lord in my thoughts. And with forgiveness
Last night I had a dream.
It was actually more like a nightmare, cause it made me a little frightened.
I thought I would remember it, but I am only remembering part of it.
In my dream, I was at the home of family (not that I saw faces of my family, but I felt like it was family, if that makes any sense) or perhaps it was my house, and family was over.
We were sleeping.
When we woke up - in the room we were sleeping in, there was a huge tree/branch that had been tossed in, and was leaning up against the head of one of the beds.
We were shocked, and could not figure out where this massive thing came from.
It was actually very beautiful - deep deep brown, and almost shiny brown as if it was varnished.
But the reality set in, that someone had thrown this at us, and the pure size and weight of it - could have really hurt someone if it had landed on them.
The thing is - we could not figure out who threw it at us while we slept as the door was locked on the inside.
This reality was unnerving to say the least.
How did someone get in with the door being locked.
How did someone throw it at us while we slept without anyone hearing/seeing/knowing
How did the person get up.
As we looked at this big tree - or branch, in spite of the fact that it being thrown at us could have wounded or killed us if we had been hit with it, it actually looked beautiful, with many branches going off it - it was intriguingly beautiful in fact.
Today in church - Delbert preached on “the Promise of God” as part of our series on the Holy Spirit. His text was John 14 - one of my favorites. You know the part (or if you don’t find a bible and read it for yourself) The part where Jesus is telling his disciples that he will be leaving them, and they are - well for lack of a better word - just totally confused at what he is saying. Jesus tells them “believe in God - believe also in Me.”
“I am the way, the truth and the life ...” When Philip was wanting “proof” Jesus told him - “the Father is in me!” I wonder if Jesus wanted to take Philip (and the rest of them, and well, even me) by the shoulders and gently shake us and say - “Watch what I do!!!”
But Jesus - well, what can I say. He is the great I AM - and never seemed to get exasperated with them (and thank you Lord you don’t get fed up with me!) but he goes on to tell them - that He is going to help them through this, and He will send them another helper - the promised Holy Spirit - their helper - their advocate!!
Jesus said to them “IF YOU LOVE ME, OBEY MY COMMANDMENTS ...”
Ah, it is all about love.
HIS love for them. His love for me. His love for us.
And then, Jesus says - “...when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative - that is, the Holy Spirit - he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. ....” (John 14: 26-27)
Delbert said something that I wrote down. He said, “can you allow the Holy Spirit to convict you, lead you, guide you and use you to encourage others? The Spirit of Truth will convict, will humble you and will give you Joy and Life!! Everything that you do HAS to glorify the Father!! Are you able to live life and bring honor and glory to the God, the way that you are living today?
After we left our first service at Eastview, we went to our kids church, where we are joining them in a course called Sacred Parenting. We want to be a blessing to our grandkids, so this is part of attending this with our kids. ANYHOW ...
As I sat there, and listened to how we can parent (or now in our case, how we can grandparent) with either two approaches - 1) Child-centered approach or “God-centered”. The second approach is the one we should seek - as it is the one wherein we are God-honoring in the way we raise children who really are HIS Children first, before they were ours! We are called to bear and raise children for the glory of God. And how when we raise children using a God-centered approach - as Gary Thomas says (he is the writer of Sacred Parenting) “We live in the midst of holy teachers. Sometimes they spit up on themselves or us. Sometimes they throw tantrums. Sometimes they cuddle us and kiss us and love us. In the good and bad they mold our hearts, shape our souls, and invite us to experience God in newer and deeper ways.” Sacred Parenting, Participants Guide, page 29)
SO to summarize - what does a nightmare, Delbert's sermon, and a parenting class have in common???
This post, while being vague about what it is I “gave” to God again in confession - I just have to say that I know we all struggle with stuff that we need to give up over and over again - and we all have stuff!! Big stuff - little stuff - in between stuff - stuff that we give up and it keeps coming back !! This is all about dying to self right? I know that I need to die to self daily and sometimes well, it doesn’t happen, and the old nature sometimes feels like it is just hiding/crouching to jump back into my life!! ANYHOW ... I have had the niggling feeling (if that is a word) that all of this is part of something whole that God is wanting me to see. This is my take on things.
First of all - about dreams ... I do not always remember my dreams. I do not always have dreams that mean anything. However - there are times when I feel like my dreams are about something. I have to say the dream unnerved me. Actually to the point that going to church, it was still kind of hanging over me. I was trying to “make sense” of it somehow.
Delbert’s concluding remarks in his sermon - “can you allow the Holy Spirit to convict you, lead you, guide you and use you to encourage others? The Spirit of Truth will convict, will humble you and will give you Joy and Life!! Everything that you do HAS to glorify the Father!! Are you able to live life and bring honor and glory to the God, the way that you are living today?” Well - those words made me actually sit up and I think it was then that I realized that the tree branch in the dream was likely not a branch but a ROOT and it represented the thing in my life that I gave to the Lord again last night. It was a big root, and very beautiful looking with all of its little roots coming from it. Isn't that just like "sin" - sometimes we don't think it is sin - because it doesn't look bad, and perhaps it is often has an alluring effect on us, or captures our attention. Let’s face it - we talk about cutting out something at the root of it. We all know what roots can do to foundations when the root goes growing undetected, and then causes cracks etc. And the fact that in my dream, the huge thing was thrown in to us while we were unsuspecting/oblivious/asleep seemed to make me think of the subtleness of some things in my life - that don't seem too bad - but perhaps are just not good to do or think or be involved in. And the part of the dream where I realized the door was locked - and yet someone had come in and thrown it at us, and left - unnoticed, made me think that perhaps it is not someone else throwing these things in, but that it is stuff in me that I need to clean up.
And then, going to the parenting ss class just reiterated the need to be living a live that was God-honoring so that my children/grandchildren can see Jesus through me - and that HE will ultimately get the glory.
It felt like the parts all came together - and that they all underscored the other - and it all made sense. And it doesn’t matter really what my struggle is with (don’t worry, it is pretty common, and not anything illegal in case you are worried about me!) BUT the thing is (sin is sin - regardless of how bad we think it is, or how acceptable) I need to cut the root out - once and for all - and let God take it - and live a life of freedom out of obedience and love for the Lord.
Maybe this makes no sense to anyone else but me!!! But hey - what does a nightmare - Delbert’s sermon and a parenting class have to do with it? Everything!! It makes sense - and I know that God uses many ways to get our attention, and well - He has mine.
O Lord God - I continue to give you my life - my all - I want to keep laying down self - so that you can fill me Holy Spirit with your might and your power. I want to live freely in you - and to be an obedient child of yours! I want to live a life wherein others can see you, and can smell the fragrance of the Holy Spirit wthin me. O Lord - I praise you for who you are - for what you are doing - and for how you continue to make yourself known to me - and Holy Spirit - for your ability to convict, guide and give Joy and LIFE. Thank you Father for being the great I AM. Thank you Jesus - for dying for me - and covering me with grace. Thank you Holy Spirit for being my helper, and advocate and for your power at work within me. I praise you Lord God!! Amen.
at 5:15 PM