Visions, Dreams, and Prophets

Peter gave his first message about the risen Christ in Acts 2, citing the book of Joel:

 “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. Even on my servants, both
men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will
prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18 (Joel 2:28-29) NIV

I had this thought this morning: All people God? How is that possible when all people are not in the household of faith in Christ? I mean, how, without Your Spirit living within them could they prophesy, have visions, or dream dreams of You, and spiritual in nature? I was puzzled to say the least because that goes against my personal belief that God works through those that are in Christ, not unbelievers.

When I entered into recovery, I learned to disregard much of my “religious” thinking. I heard the phrase inside myself, leave your religion at the door Keith. It is all about Jesus, knowing and pleasing God, and living a life full of and directed by the Holy Spirit within you. Religion is worthless when religion is judgmental. Following that holy internal nudge, I began to hear for the first time, God speaking through the broken in recovery meetings.

I sought to understand this Joel/Peter message. My mental boat was rocked into a spiritual reality. As the Gospel went forth following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus; a light came on in the world, bringing salvation to whoever believes and repents to follow Christ, and an outpouring of unexpected favor of God toward all people. The active presence of the Holy Spirit in the world, opened up the darkened minds of mankind to more discovery, invention, and exploration.

The Light, as it was delivered to men through the preaching the Good News of reconciliation to God, came on. Even those rejecting the Truth, benefited from the Creator’s presence in the world in the Holy Spirit.  (I realize this to be arguable, as prior to this time, discovery and invention existed, the pyramids, the gardens of Babylon, the water/sewage systems of cultured cities, the Roman roads throughout their empire, etc.)

Furthermore, the argument of the Dark Ages and lack of anything new but plagues and wars after the light came on. So, these arguments I acknowledge, yet I realize the Light had an enemy that was a sore loser, and did all he could to destroy wipe out the way and darken men’s minds through the religious hoarding Truth from the world. Not all of the religious were in favor of controlling the minds of the unlearned and ignorant.
The monks of Ireland, for example, began universities throughout Europe. Through education and literacy, the age of the Enlightenment, His Light continued to shine into the New World, where the Puritans began public schools we have today so their children could learn to read the Bible. Within a couple of centuries, the people of Europe, and of the now United States becoming literate, slavery was abolished on both continents. That evil which displeased God removed brought an end to clouded ignorance, and much intolerance. God granted favor once again, giving the Spirit freedom to inspire invention and discoveries, which to this day have been off of the charts in number. Mankind is no longer crawling, but racing to the consummation of all things. Time is drawing to an end.
Men and women today are visionaries, they have dreams then find methods to achieve them. Also, people are learning the words they speak are self-fulfilling prophesies. Words that are positive have positive results. Negative words have negative results. It is, I believe, another dimension of the presence of the Holy One in our world. I do not discount Joel/Peter’s words not to mean God’s Spirit bringing God’s will through a special spiritual gift. The point is, these are the days spoken of in scripture.
Don’t doubt that. Man has undeniable abilities to do once impossible feats, yet this does nothing to grant anyone believer-ship. The spill over of those who believe in Jesus has a world-wide ripple effect. The light is on, but many of the people who benefit, many that discover, explore, and achieve, remain personal darkness, denying Christ, and opposing the Gospel. Pride of personal achievement leaves the achievers ungrateful to God, praising self and mentors opposing Christ’s sacrifice.
Here is the message; These days we live in are the days aforementioned in scripture. The evidence is obvious on every level spirituality, mentality, and physically. The warning bell has sounded for the believers to awaken, unite, and live their faith out in word and deed. In Noah’s day, people were living out their daily routine, eating, drinking, getting married, etc. They had no idea what day the rain would start, judgment be executed.
So it is with many of us today. The only thing that matters for us is getting and personal comforts. We have no time to teach and tell our children the Word at the risk of their eternity. Hopefully when you read this you shake yourselves to the reality of the day’s evil, and the promised return of Jesus. To ignore this has a ripple effect opposite of receiving it.
Who, of your family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors have you decided to lose to the ages?

Play, FF, RWD, Pause, Stop

Prevention may make intervention unnecessary.  I am not convinced that had my parents sat me down from time to time and explained the dangers of drinking, taking me to the scriptures and pointing out the importance of following God with all of my heart would have kept me from living as a derelict for nearly two decades. Sadly, we didn’t get it back then. Just get them to church, they will learn by osmosis  and besides, when they are old, they will come back to God, the Bible says that, the minister said so.
Play the Tape.
You hear this in recovery meetings quite often. It is a warning to all that if they are thinking about relapsing, play out the scenario, and what will happen if they do go back to drinking or drugging. As bad as their life was upon entering recovery, things will be even worse by returning to that way of life. Nonetheless, that insanity will set in if you ignore the warning and stop doing the right things, start thinking about the “good” feeling and the fun of doing things you want to do. Your control of self is deadly.
Definition of insanity: Doing the same things that have not worked, using the same methods, expecting different results. “Keep doing what your doing and you’ll keep getting what your are getting.”
Look where your way of doing things put you. Sitting in  jail cell, or at a recovery meeting may give you a sense of remorse, of gut felt sorrow for your past. Do not forget. Remember the pain you felt arriving into recovery. Having a good vivid memory of how you lived while in the depths of misery you chose, may save your future. Yet you cannot allow remorse to weigh you down and stunt your spiritual growth. By realizing Christ has freed you, and as you work the steps, those past failures will merely be warnings that keep you moving forward.
How do you feel right now? Remember because you will feel that way again.” AA saying
Hit Pause.
Think about recent actions. Are they good or bad? Are you moving toward sober living, or away from it? How are you viewing your past? I hope you aren’t playing the blame game by accusing your family from not teaching you to stay away from dope and booze. I hope you aren’t placing yourself in a dark place over past mistakes either.
All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” Prov.15:15
While you have the tape on pause, look where you are today, clean and sober. You should be overjoyed. Take a moment and thank God that you aren’t at the bar trying to get over last night’s drunk, or looking for that fix, not to get high, just to feel normal. Take the opportunity to think, when was my last meeting? Did I pray today?
Don’t project into tomorrow, stay in today. That is the advice you hear in recovery groups. Good advice. You must plan anyhow. If you have to return to school, taking a new job, or getting ready to face a judge, you need to prepare. That means projecting ahead. More advice. Do this with your sponsor, or accountability partner. Don’t worry about these if you can help it, but do not take important matters with a grain of salt. The past proves we only lived for today and had no ambition, no goals, and the life we lived led to self gratification. So planning is important, looking into the future, but not to just look at tomorrow, and wondering how you can make through without using or boozing.
Don’t hit this button if you are moving forward. Hit it hard if you are complacent or thinking relapse. If you are practicing the principles of sober living and serving where God leads you, you can only see the beauty of life in serving and having the relationship to Jesus. Life can be lived well. In time, you may even smile at the past, no matter how terrible, because you know Who holds your future and beyond this life. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

God is Thinking About You

Do you ever wonder if God thinks about you? If He does think about you, what does He think? Here is something God says in regard to you:
“How precious are Your thoughts to me O God! How great is the sum of them!” Ps.139:17 (NKJV)
“That’s not me the passage is talking about, that’s David who wrote the psalm.” you say. 1Pet.1:20. Says no scripture is for any one person, but for all, given by God. So this is YOU, who God thinks about. He thinks good toward you, all the time. You may be going through circumstances and situations you can’t share with a soul. You may think no one cares for you. You may have befriended the wrong type of people for fear of being friendless, and now have fallen into their ways and are hooked on dope or drinking like they are….He’s still thinking of you.
You don’t have to perfect yourself, quit all of your habits or make yourself clean before He will think better of you. He sees you as you are and where you are, and is crazy about you. No one is preferred by Him. Nobody is more loved than the other. But he does give attention to those paying attention to Him.
Here’s how much He loves you. He gave His very best, in Jesus, for you. Jesus gave His life’s blood to cover your sin, and offers to give you a life beyond your imagination. This isn’t a life free of storms, or without sorrow, but you can have His peace in all of your troubles. In Him, life is full, joy complete, purpose discovered. In Him, you enter into a family that’s international in scope, and your family is there to pray for you worldwide. In fact, someone, somewhere is praying for you now. You don’t know them, nor they you. They may be a brother or sister in Africa, or China, that the Holy Spirit has placed you on their heart to pray for, an intercessor.
Of course, you still may not be convinced He cares for you, I understand. I know if you approach God with a sincere heart, and ask Him about it, He will make Himself known. For me, I know if God carries a wallet, my picture is in it. If He has a mantle over His fireplace with pics of His kids, I’m on that shelf. It is by faith I believe I’m there, and by faith I know He’s thinking about me. There is much more to the story…He has you in mind too, if you don’t believe me, just ask Him.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.