Sure, something smells fishy – but what are conspiracy theories distracting us from?

OQTGLNQVS4Just woke up from a dream that had a couple I know personally in it. They are going through a time of discipline but haven’t figured it out yet. In the dream they had some sort of store dedicated to secret communications – the stuff they were selling was vile and was only supposed to be bought by people who were “in the know” – but the stuff they were selling was defiled, things that should not be eaten, much less bought. To say that something about that place wasn’t “kosher” was an understatement – even though this couple does eat according to Leviticus 11. So right away I knew that this dream had nothing to do with actual food – very much like Peter’s Acts 10 vision that used food to talk about people. Well, except of course my dream isn’t anywhere near as earth-shattering or important as Peter’s vision for a great many obvious reasons.

There were a lot of customers in that place considering there was nothing in there worth eating, not for anyone. Even the descriptions on the packaging would keep just about anyone (who wasn’t literally starving to death) at bay. Monkey pastries and caterpillar delicacies – dang.

As I walked to the back of the store I found the family on the floor trying to identify where the “fish smell” was coming from. They were convinced that it came from below the house. And yes, there was a fish smell but it wasn’t coming from below because I took a quick sniff at the gaps in the floorboards and compared to the air around me, it smelled pretty neutral.

Not three feet away, however, was their toilet – crammed to the top with feces and they couldn’t care less (even though they were aware of it and everyone who cared to look could see it). They were focused on what smelled fishy.

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First, I want to share how I got the interpretation. Unlike Moses, God doesn’t speak with me face to face as He would with a friend, whenever I get a dream it is full of riddles. My dreams are always full of puns and idioms, they just are, and it is fun to unravel them – usually. The #1 thing in dream interpretation is to consider the audience – which is why I put no stock in dream books because each person is unique in what certain things mean to themselves. I dream from the context of my own life, which is also why I am hesitant about interpreting other people’s dreams. I am not a Joseph! (Or a Peter..)

So, my friends were selling secret information but it was so defiled that no one who was following God’s laws should have been able to get past the packaging. The description itself should have kept them a mile away. In other words, idiomatically – no one who keeps Torah should have ever bought it in the first place or even spent time considering it.

As I got deeper and deeper in, my friends were on the ground searching for the source of the fishy smell and yes, there was a slight fishy odor but it was not coming from where they thought it was coming from, which was below. I told them that, but they weren’t listening to me.

So here we have an acknowledgment that something really is fishy, although it wasn’t THAT fishy, I never smelled it until I got in that specific spot, but that their identification of the source was incorrect.

I have had countless dreams in my life about clogged toilets in bathrooms – when they are about me I know one thing for certain, I am not getting my issues dealt with. Bathrooms are places of purging and cleansing, and when they are not in proper working condition in a dream there is a reason for it. This toilet had a special quality to it, it looked awesome on the outside, pristine, but inside was packed almost to the brim – and they were ignoring it. Not just ignoring it though, they knew it was full but were so focused on locating the source of the smell that it seemed unimportant.

I knew one thing in my dream, neither they or I were going to be able to locate the source of whatever was fishy, the only thing we could do is smell it.

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So, this the season between Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) when I can’t even bear to look at my social media newsfeed. The frenzy, in fact, has already begun and this year in the US we have a Presidential election thrown in just to make everything worse. (This is the point where a lot of folks will stop reading and will get defensive and react, but I want you to keep reading to see the point I am trying to make in all of this – which actually isn’t about conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories are simply a common avenue of distraction from what we are called to do – which is, to prepare ourselves from the inside out. There are a great many other distractions that we deal with – like “paganism” witch hunts and so many other side issues we get hung up on.)

Isaiah 8:12-13  “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”

This is the point where I point out that since I started noticing this in 1999, not one prediction this time of year that I have ever seen has ended up happening – and the really obvious tragedies happened without warning from anyone on social media. Of course, afterwards, they claimed to have known all about it…

Does something smell fishy? Yes, but do the people peddling all of these conspiracies know where the source of the smell is coming from? Evidently not, and in fact theories are thrown against the wall like spaghetti – but to what end? For all of the selling of this or that theory going on across the internet, the promoting of the secret information – it seems to simply be a distraction.

We are preparing to know about things that very probably can never be known with certainty, and certainly we have no power to prevent, and while we are busy making sure that our outsides look clean, we aren’t getting our issues dealt with – even when we know they exist. The lure of chasing down what smells fishy is too distracting – even more distracting an an open toilet filled to the brim with vile sewage.

We are called to prepare ourselves, first and foremost. That’s what the time in the wilderness was about, that’s what the first exile was about, and it’s also what this final exile has been about. If you want to prep and store food, that’s awesome – but if we are not spending ten times the effort and resources prepping our characters and dealing with our own issues, then we will just end up well fed corpses in the wilderness who were not prepared to be that generation which enters into the Land. I am not expecting you to believe or create any doctrine based on my dreams – heck, I don’t even do that – but we are nowhere near the end. I have seen a movement increasingly swelling to prepare the children, because I believe they will be the ones upon whom the heavy lifting falls. All of us, we are still too Egyptian with our jealousy, infighting, and outright rebellion against any manner of leadership whatsoever. Our kids have a chance to get it right, however, if we get our attitudes and distractions out of their way.

If we want to be a part of what they will be doing, we need to focus on the dirty toilet in the room, our toilet full of our own… well, I don’t really have to say it. Do we think that Yeshua wants that stuff in His face when He returns? Will He want to hear, “I was too busy telling people about things that didn’t end up happening every year, and researching a lot of things that my knowing about couldn’t change, and I didn’t spend much time preparing my own heart or my own kids to have the kind of character it will take to get through the Tribulation – actually, I spent far more time on conspiracy and controversy websites than in Your Word.”

Hmm… it just occurred to me that the couple’s children were nowhere to be seen in the dream. Considering what they were selling, I am not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

Character is job #1 – and character isn’t defined by keeping the commandments any more than making a sacrifice constituted repentance. Then and now, our commandment keeping and their sacrifices were only pleasing if our hearts are right with God, and that takes a lifetime of concentrated effort and much pain in order to get right. It takes getting into the Word and allowing it to change us, it takes being willing to see our own issues, no matter how badly it hurts, and it takes the kind of person who can embrace discipline instead of blaming it on the enemy.

 




Practical Dream Interpretation Pt 3: Dreams that show us that it’s time for a major change

Still editing  the book (halfway through the final edit) and so I am publishing from my emergency reserve – the blogs that come from weeks when I write three but only want to publish one or two.

dreams2My son Matthew came to me with this dream yesterday morning and I was thrilled because it’s just a classic, straightforward communication from the Spirit (indeed, personal correction is, I find, the most common communication from the Spirit). I immediately knew what it meant and was able to relay that to him.

Why? Because I’ve had the same sort of dream many times and it always leads to something amazing. This is the sort of dream where, if we respond correctly, our lives will take a new and positive direction.

In the dream, Matthew walked into his bathroom and closed the door. It was dark but when he flipped on the light nothing happened. He tried everything he could but to no avail – he was totally in the dark.

I know, you’re either saying, “Big deal,” or you’re jumping up and down because you’ve had the same dream or something similar. It’s one of the most common types of dreams, as well as one of the best.

In dreams, bathrooms will often show us our spiritual state. The filthier the bathroom, the more work that needs to be done. Sometimes the bathroom will be filled with other people’s messes – which can either mean that we are inappropriately cleaning up after someone or that there are places of wounding in our lives, damages caused by someone else, that need to get cleaned up. In this case, Matthew didn’t notice anything about the bathroom so the cleanliness was not an important element.

Bathrooms, as I intimated above, are the places where we get cleaned up – but what happens when we are in the dark? Simply put, it means that there is something that needs to be taken care of but that we can’t see it ourselves no matter how hard we try. This is a special revelation from God that He is going to have to step in and reveal something that we generally don’t want to know about ourselves. We all have these sorts of disconnects in our lives where we think we are hot stuff and we end up being kind of a hot mess instead.

The advice I gave Matthew is this – pray for that revelation no matter how much it hurts or how embarassing it might be. Being given the gift of seeing a truth about himself so young is an opportunity I never had. I was twenty nine before I started having such dreams, and he is being blessed at fourteen. I also told him that when he finds out what the character flaw is, to not ignore it or turn his back on it – God only shows us things about ourselves when we are mature enough to get it dealt with and at the moment when He is most willing to work with us on it. Unlike people, who don’t wait for the most opportune time but generally spring as soon as they are irritated enough, God patiently waits until the perfect opportunity.

Matthew prayed the prayer and last night he had another dream which gave him another piece of the puzzle, encouraging him to pray again for the full understanding of what in his life needs cleaned up.

You know, God loves it when we respond to His promptings and even though it is painful when we are being shown our faults, Matthew is really encouraged by the fact that the Spirit really is communicating with him. He has always wanted this to happen, and now he is learning the benefits as well as the price of hearing from God. He’s discovering that the Spirit is a whole lot more about correcting us than showing us cool stuff.

I will add that I had one of these very dreams just last night, but in the middle of it I realized I was dreaming. There was a person there that I could actually talk to and so I said, “Please, tell me what’s wrong with me, whatever it is, I don’t care. I am willing to do anything to fix this.” I don’t remember what he told me, although I listened intently in the dream, but upon awaking  i had a deeper understanding of why I do certain things and why that needs to change. Painful, but good. The bathroom in my dream was spotless – in fact it was a house full of practically spotless bathrooms, I was the one who needed cleaned up on the outside. It’s a good thing to know, in this life, what can be fixed while there is still time to do so.




Relational Sanity Pt 10: Moving the destroyers out of your line of sight

destroyersWoke up from an amazing dream.

I started out in a bad place in the dream, although to be fair, it wasn’t ever supposed to be a bad place but instead a sanctuary of rest. In it were people from my life in the past and present. You know, the kind of people who have or presume authority but often lack good character?

It was time to leave a this place (it was like a rental cabin, not someplace anyone is supposed to actually live forever), but a ton of work had to be done first as there were things to clean up and things to sort through in order to find out what was good, what was bad, what belonged to me and what belonged to others – but there was a sense of being pressed for time as it was time to go. I knew that if I left the place uncleaned, it would be someone else’s problem. In the midst of this, one of the biggest challenges was the critical people who have been in my life. These are the types of people who apply pressure and never let up, who misrepresent situations because of ignorance and refuse to be corrected or educated about the things they are talking about as though just the fact that a thought popped into their heads made it true and needful of being spoken. I saw people who had betrayed me, long forgiven but whom I still grieve over. These people, throughout the dream, did absolutely nothing to help but only to hinder. I am cleaning – people who aren’t cleaning give me grief. I find a woman’s purse out on the property and try to return it, someone snatches it away and expresses disapproval – not that they want to keep the purse, but they simply are irritated that I am pausing in my cleanup (that they are not helping with) to see that something is restored to someone else. Someone else is blocking my view of the person who I need to speak to (and who has asked me to speak).

So what did I do? I cleaned anyway, I labored to return the purse anyway, and I stepped forward until the man who was blocking my sight was out of my line of sight.

Those of you who are familiar with my house dreams will see a recurring theme – whenever I am in a new phase of my life, I move into a new house in my dream and that house always needs to be cleaned of other people’s stuff. This was the first time in a long time that some of the stuff was actually mine, stuff that needed to be kept and other stuff that could be tossed. What I couldn’t do was just leave it behind for someone else to clean up – it did have to be dealt with. Too much of my own life has been spent dealing with the garbage that others left behind for me to deal with – it’s time to break that cycle. This is my third such dream in two months, three new houses and so things are changing at a rapid pace.

My house dreams – always cleaning up the mess that other people have left in my life that is holding me back and from dealing with the things that need to be overcome. In the past, I was only having to deal with the stuff because the old owners were long gone. This dream was different – relatives and a former ministry leader were there. Although some relatives were there in the house I was trying to get cleaned up, hampering me, and keeping me from returning to someone else what was theirs for no reason other than to have the illusion of control – it was the former ministry leader who was in my way of seeing the person I needed to talk to so I could address a gathered crowd about a problem. By walking forward, and putting him out of my line of sight, I was able to see the person I was addressing and I gave this stunningly brilliant speech that concerned the giving of loans to the poor but OF COURSE I can’t remember a word of it, only the topic, so even though it was brilliant I can’t remember any of it so it was totally wasted on my dream audience. Figures. LOL. I will probably never know what I said or even say it in broad daylight. Bah humbug….. it is not the first time this has happened. I should imagine we have all had such dreams where we do something amazing but alas – no witnesses!

The moral of the dream? People from your past often don’t want your life cleaned up – they want you to be that person they used to be able to control, keep down, discourage, frighten, misrepresent, judge, and get in the way of. They want to be better than you, more spiritual than you, able to pretend that you are still that ‘messed up’ person who they criticized, slighted, kept from doing what is right, got in the way of or betrayed. It’s the crab bucket mentality – live crabs in a bucket who try to escape will be pulled back in by crabs beneath them and it works with humans too. Oftentimes the very people who should want us to succeed the most really don’t want us to – they want us to be the people they look down on, or feel better than. Some people need that – they need to critique, judge, control, and get in your way – because if you move past them, they may have to turn around in order to really see you. Turning around (Hebrew “teshuva”) is symbolic of repentance, and in my dream, when I moved forward so that the one who betrayed me was out of my line of sight, even he had to turn in order to see me and he clapped along with everyone else at my speech. Dang it, what did I say anyway??

So pay attention to the direction that people are facing when they oppose you – as well as the direction you are facing. Sometimes opposition is a good thing – not everything we do should go unopposed – but when we are in fact truly cleaning up our lives (as opposed to trying to forcibly clean up everyone else’s life), truly doing good towards others (for their sake and not for show), or truly moving forward (when invited) then anyone opposing us is facing in the wrong direction.

Oh, the woman who lost her purse? It isn’t uncommon for people to lose their identity in the midst of critical, controlling and treacherous people – being restored and then restoring others is some of the purest work within the Kingdom.

Flip side of that – who in our own lives do we want to keep in that place where they were when they were abusive to us? How often do we truly want them to repent and be restored and to get cleaned up, and how often do we secretly (or not so secretly) want them to die evil so they can be banned from the Kingdom? Do we stand in public, scream and point at them until everyone hates them? While we look out for the people who are unrighteously standing in our way (as opposed to the ones who are righteously standing in our way), it is equally important to look and make sure that we aren’t unrighteously standing in the way of someone else (Warning: at first and easiest glance, we will always assume that we are righteously standing in someone else’s way). That’s tough, that requires real love – to want restoration for those who have sinned against you and have not repented, who in fact show zero remorse, oftentimes because they do not question their own actions. Not questioning our own rightness is an epidemic in the Body – and it is probably the most valuable thing we can do in the service of others.

 




Climb the narrow staircase or ride the wide escalator?

0D9713A6E0So, as you know I only share my dreams if they are relevant for the entire Body. Last night’s fell into that category.

I was in a two story office building, it was a legislative sort of building. I and a whole lot of other people were on the ground floor looking up. There were two ways up; the first was for the legislators – a very wide escalator, big enough that maybe four or five people could ride side by side – and the second was for the judicial branch – a narrow staircase. I found it odd, but knew that the Justices could only go up the staircase and were not permitted to ascend the escalator.

I climbed the staircase and went to the people who were in administrative positions upstairs, smiled and asked, “Will the justices be shot if they go up the escalator?”

Woke up pretty puzzled and spent some time praying before the meaning became clear. There are two types of people in the Body who are heading to higher levels. The first type is the legislative – they tell people what to do. Doing this requires no effort because they simply ride their way to the top by critiquing others, by endlessly dictating to them what they should do. They reach higher and higher levels of “legislation” without any real work to show for it. The second group was the judicial, those who make sure that justice is being done and they got to the next level through their own works – by actually accomplishing something. I knew instinctively in my dream that someone who is called to justice is doomed if they dare to ascend that wider and easier path.

We do not want to ride that escalator – it’s fatal. It’s easy, it’s a super broad path and it might feel like righteousness but righteousness is not about telling other people what to do – it’s about doing righteousness and making sure that our actions are just. We are not called to be legislators – God is the legislator, He already gave us the laws. Our job is to be just, to administrate justice though doing the works. We are called to obey, yes, but our focus is to be on the weightier matters – out there on social media I see a lot of focus on the gnats while camels slip by unnoticed. Human legislators only worry about enacting requirements whereas justice is always tempered with mercy. That’s why that escalator was so disturbing – people with no works simply legislating – they weren’t walking the walk, indeed they weren’t walking at all but standing still. Unlike the people on the stairs, they weren’t really doing anything.

To be our brother’s keeper means that we cherish and edify, encourage and support – not disregard and criticize, discourage and undermine. We’re killing each other with callousness over whatever is big in our eyes as though it is also God’s driving concern. We obligate others to participate in the arguments we start with them. We listen only in order to find fault or disagree. We too often engage only to degrade. Our primary goal is the projection of self onto every situation. Those who do not prop up what we already believe and hold dear, even if we are dead wrong, must be dehumanized and minimized in the eyes of others so that we can remain unchallenged and unchanged. Our egos must be massaged and pampered.

“This is MY opinion… MY right… MY definition… MY requirement… MY level of understanding… and you must equate it with or elevate it above yours. You must assimilate and become what I want you to be, at any cost.”

We see our annoyances as His outrages, and so we try to remake men and women in our own image – dictating to them how to be more like us, as though God is like us or that we ourselves are the end goal. But who on earth should strive to be more like me?

Folks always have reasons to justify being critical, but the plain truth in the matter is that critical people drain the life out of everyone around them while giving little, if anything, of benefit. Some people out there have very little life left to drain, and so we must be their keepers. Takes nothing to drain the life out of someone, but it takes real effort, love and maturity to fill them up. Filling people up costs us, it takes work and it is hard – like climbing those stairs of justice and forgoing the easier path of simply telling everyone what to do. Rebekah filled up a servant and ten camels with water from a jar that was 3 gallons or less in size – she knew about hospitality towards strangers and became the bride. She didn’t stop to make sure his theology was perfect before she gave him a drink. We cannot afford to treat each other with less courtesy than that – doing justly towards one another is a tough climb, a long walk, and a lot of work.

Folks, there is a real live person at the other end of the computer – treat them like you would treat your spouse, your sibling, your parent or your son or daughter. We’re a family, and so that is exactly how you should be treating them. If you would howl at someone speaking to your loved one the way you are speaking to someone else, then you need to back off. We are our brother’s keepers folks – that means we aren’t allowed to club each other to death or believe me, their blood will be crying out against us from the ground.




Practical Dream Interpretation Pt 2: Don’t get emotional

dreamsSo this one woke me up sobbing.

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I had been recruited and commanded to run some sort of a gauntlet – it was a strange situation and hard to describe. It wasn’t the normal sort of gauntlet where punishment is being meted out, but instead more of a gladiatorial situation. I was informed that an unseen enemy was running “our people” through this trial and I had been chosen by “our side” to do this even though I had no experience. A more experienced woman was going with me – I was given the easier weapon to use and she had the weapon that actually needed the skill and experience. The rules of the gauntlet were simple, we were to pass between two rows of people who were armed with knives, and who were not permitted to approach us unless we came within a certain proximity of them. The people along the way were a strange mix – people in garbage bags who were intermixed with people in wheelchairs. So, the strategy (if I had been thinking in those terms) would be to only engage the people we actually had to engage (the people who attacked us), clearing them out slowly (and by clearing them out I mean killing them). The  gap down the middle of the two rows was very wide.

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When the start was signaled, I rushed forward in my fear and inexperience. I left too many enemies for my more experienced partner and even though she fought valiantly, she died. I didn’t die, I made my way through and by the end of the first round, people were marveling at my skill on the battlefield. Everyone was impressed. But I was devastated. I had been thrown into a battle that I did not really want to fight, assuming that it was important and that there was no choice, and I had killed my own ally, someone who was more skilled and experienced than I was. And the people that I killed with my own weapon – I felt the knife go in every single time as though it happened in real life. Why didn’t I ask her what I should do? Why didn’t I let her go first? Why didn’t I lean on her experience instead of acting as though I was in the fight alone. And why was I placed into a fight without any training whatsoever and expected to survive? Who were these people I killed?

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This was a difficult dream to come to terms with because my emotions were running so high afterwards. I had to calm down and get a grip. One of the biggest mistakes people make in dream interpretation is trying to interpret while they are still upset. Some dreams from God are incredibly upsetting, but so are normal run of the mill nightmares. If we have allowed ourselves to fall prey to our emotions, we might mistake a simple nightmare for a warning from God and this can spell disaster for ourselves and others. So the first thing I did was to sit on this dream until I could think straight and sometimes that can take quite a while. Be patient – I have never had an upsetting warning dream happen the night before I needed to act on it. If a warning puts you into a state of panic, leaving you unable to act wisely in response to a threat, then it wasn’t a very effective warning. I had a dream three years ago while on my way to a vacation that made it very clear that if we kept driving there would be terrible consequences (an explosion). I was very unhappy, but was able to calmly go to my husband with the warning and we turned around – only to find out when we got home that our blown tire on the popup camper had ruptured the propane line and if we had tried to light the grill in the RV park at our destination, we could have killed ourselves and potentially a lot of other people. The dream was a bad one, but was delivered in such a way that I was able to calmly make a rational decision. The point of the warning was to get me to turn around, not to confuse me – the dream was meant to be clear so that I could act immediately on the warning.

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In this case, I simply said to myself, “Okay, I am too emotional right now to really look at this so I will write it all down and pray and come back to it in a bit. Until then, I am not going to allow myself to be dragged into any fights against my will. No matter how much someone “needs me.”” Really, until I stopped crying and feeling like a murderer, I was in no condition to really think straight anyway.

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It took about a day to start being able to process through everything I saw, even though I got my emotions completely under control after a couple of hours. At this point, I could look at the dream without emotion and without judgment – this is one of the really good reasons why it is important to cultivate the fruit of self-control. Self-control isn’t just about how we conduct ourselves at the pot luck or about how we treat people; self-control is also about not allowing our emotions to have dominion over us. If we are running high (or low) on emotions, we will almost always mistake our feelings for the leading of the Holy Spirit and we will not be able to tell the difference – no matter how mature we tell ourselves we are. My initial gut reactions about this dream were not the best and I missed a lot of the really important questions.

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Was the person I was fighting alongside really my ally? Was it really my fault that she died? Was she recruited or was she there because she wanted to be there? And who were these people who recruited me? Why did I assume they were the good guys? Why did I assume that the people on the sidelines would attack me – after all, until I rushed out towards them no one budged. Why did I assume that everyone had to be killed? What was this about, really? And who was in charge? Why were my “enemies” curled up in the fetal position and wrapped in garbage bags, while others were in wheelchairs? Why didn’t any of them even get a blow in against me, and why don’t I remember even seeing any weapons, but only suspected or assumed their presence? And how did my ally die without my seeing it happen?

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When I was new to “online religion” on facebook, I allowed myself to be recruited into fights by people who seemed like my allies. They loved being on walls that more resembled gladiatorial arenas than assemblies of faith. I would charge forward and start some trouble with people I didn’t even know. I would see them as garbage and hopelessly crippled by their “ignorance,” instead of looking at them as the “babes” in Messiah that they were, obscured by a bunch of “garbage,” or as people who had problems with their “walk.” The things I said — I brought much shame to my King and Master in the eyes of the world through my contempt for people who didn’t see things my way. I didn’t care how far in I drove the knife, or if I wounded them badly enough to cripple them more than I already thought they were. They weren’t people to me, even though they were my brothers and sisters in belief (separated only by denominational dogma), and I assumed they were my enemy so I preemptively jumped into the fray and drew first blood. No time to reason, no time to make sure who was who and what was what. I got recruited into it by people who either enjoyed it or invited it and got themselves in over their head. I was obsessed with winning back then and so I went, even though I hated conflict. I wasn’t contending for the faith; once my blood began boiling I was a conqueror bent on destruction. I am no longer ashamed of the things I did before I was saved, because when I look at that it is like I am looking at someone else’s life who is dead now. I look at her and weep because she was so lost and without hope. I am deeply repentant, but no longer ashamed. But it’s the things I have done as a believer that bring me to feel shame because I am aware that there are people out there who I can never reach with an apology who carry the memory of my pointless cruelty. If I had the guts to actually look my victims in the face I might, at one time, have been an effective Inquisitor. But now, looking back at the gauntlet and focusing on the people waiting along the sidelines, I see that my initial sin wasn’t the murders, my initial sin was my failure to question the situation in the first place.

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So the interpretation of the dream involved symbolism, puns and experience:

1. Recruitment into a battle by people I assumed were fighting a needed battle on behalf of God, but the people who they were fighting against were not worthy opponents and it was in no way a fair fight. I was inexperienced because I was still very immature.

2. Men wrapped in garbage bags in the fetal position = babes in faith obscured by garbage. Men in wheelchairs = those in Messiah who still do not know how to walk according to God’s laws.

3. The weapon I was given – a chainsaw. Not a sword, but a man-made device with a bunch of tiny blades designed to rip, not to divide between bone and marrow. My ally’s weapon, a cross between a bludgeon and a knife, good for beating people over the head with something.

4. I killed 19 people. I am assuming that is 19 people I drove away from the faith, or at least away from the laws of God. And people were so impressed with that.

5. I assumed that the people standing along the sidelines were the aggressors, but the truth is that we were the villains. Just because we are right doesn’t mean we are right.

6. What purpose did the emotion serve in my dream? It wasn’t there for no reason. The emotion showed me how entirely wrong we can be about a situation when we are not fully in control of ourselves.

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So now that the dream was broken down, when asked to join a fight I had to ask things like, “Why are you even on that thread involved with this?” “Why do you have these divisive, argumentative people on your friend list anyway?” “What do you hope to accomplish when everyone simply desires to win and no one wants to weigh the evidence?” “Why are you recruiting me into this situation, honestly; is it to persuade people of the truth or to be proven right?” “I see you have already recruited others to the thread, why do you need me?” “If you need to recruit people, why not admit that you have decided to get involved with something that you cannot handle yourself and delete the thing? If this was of God, then He would have given you the words to fight His battle or He would recruit people personally.”

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But the biggest thing I had to do once the dream was broken down was to repent, because like Paul, I am a murderer. Paul just held the coats and approved while others threw the stones. I was throwing the stones, and evidently 19 of them hit the mark. Like Paul, I have to spend the rest of my life trying to get those lives back.

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The gauntlet is a place for barbarism, it is not a place for love or teaching. No one who comes to a gauntlet is there in order to truly represent Messiah, because He cannot be represented in such a place. Tell me, if you know, when was Yeshua (Jesus) ever part of a gauntlet? On the day He died, when the group of elders and chief priests beat Him and abused Him. There is no honor to be had for our Master when a bunch of believers gang up on someone, seeing them as trash instead of as babes, or ignoring the fact that they are badly disabled by their walk. That’s the problem with online religious debates and why I see them largely as evil. I despise any debate when I cannot face my opponent, when I cannot know anything about them and I am encouraged not to give a damn. If I don’t care about the humanity of the person I am talking to, then I will not talk to them and I certainly will not argue with them. If I don’t love them, then how can I correct them? Nor am I inclined to get into any conversation with someone who does not value me as a human being. It is the antithesis of Kingdom life to place no value in the life of another, to boil them down to mere opponents.

Gauntlet
A classic military gauntlet where people endure pain and punishment and cannot strike back.




The importance of restoring honor (especially when we unrighteously stole it)

shameI had a dream a few nights ago that puzzled me deeply. In it, I was in a schoolyard and I became aware that I was a carrier of Tay-Sachs, a rare, tragic genetic disease that begins at 3 to 6 months and slowly takes the life of a child by their 4th birthday. To develop it, a child must have two parents that are recessive genetic carriers (meaning that the parents have no symptoms whatsoever, the affected allele being effectively hidden by the dominant allele and therefore dormant), and the odds of these parents producing such a child is 1 in 4. It is almost entirely limited to the Ashkenazi Jewish population and is one of the most horrific things I can imagine a child or their parent having to endure.

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I awoke entirely puzzled. Despite any appearances from my last name, I do not have a drop of Jewish blood in my ancestry. On top of that, I am barren. Not only can I not have the Tay-Sachs mutation, but even if I did it would not matter because I cannot have children and my husband is not of Jewish descent either. So I knew that the Tay-Sachs represented something else, something hidden, something I would have in common with someone who is Jewish – something hiding in them as well but potentially devastating. And it was something I was about to learn about, hence my presence in the schoolyard.

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I prayed about it for two days and mulled over different possibilities, knowing they were wrong. Sometimes the dream is there to get us curious enough to really listen to what God has been saying for a long time, but in this case, it was waiting for a trigger to help me understand what it was about. I will be brief in explaining the trigger because I want to emphasize our duties towards one another and how we can more effectively love each other. I honestly think this is one of the most important things God has ever revealed to me.

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A couple of weeks back, I wrote a letter to someone who viciously betrayed me 10 1/2 years ago. I did what I could not do at the time as a new believer; I confronted this church pastor about his lies, about the gossip and about his misrepresentation of me to the entire congregation over the phone and behind the pulpit even though he never once came to me with his accusations.  It went on for months before I quietly left, very confused. Well, his response was that he didn’t even remember who I was (which, if I revealed the entire situation, you would see was quite impossible) and that he “wasn’t accusing me of lying BUT” the elders at the church were “too nice” to have ever allowed him to do such a thing (even though one couple came to me later deeply ashamed).  So, long story short, he is still a liar and had no intention of owning up to his sins (which he said were covered by Jesus’ blood anyway so he wasn’t worried about it).

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So last night I was praying for justice.  I was ruined in that community, and over the years I have prayed for a resolution whenever the feelings of hurt would surface. I asked God to judge and rule between him and myself. This proclamation from the Amidah (the prayers Jews make three times daily) came to mind, “And let us not feel inner shame forever.” And I finally got an answer, “You are praying for the wrong thing. You are willing to settle for revenge, for Me judging him, because you still don’t know what the problem is. The problem is that he unrighteously shamed you in front of the entire community and your honor has never been restored. Revenge can’t restore the honor that was taken from you and can’t remove your shame. All you want is to not feel ashamed anymore and you want your honor back. It is a good thing to want. He wasn’t willing to give it back so ask Me for that.”

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I was dumbfounded. All that time it wasn’t hurt, or bitterness, or unforgiveness, but a very deep feeling of inflicted shame and a profound sense of powerlessness to do anything about it. I stopped to think about my past and all the horrible things I did before I was a believer and I feel no shame over them. After all, the shame I once had over those things was a righteous shame, and when I repented I had no more need of it.  I was no longer Karine who wrote internet porn but Tyler who helps believers learn about the character of God. The shame I earned could be taken away through repentance and restoration through the blood of Messiah and learning to live as a new creation in righteousness – but the shame that was forced on me as an unwanted violation was not a shame I had the power to remove from myself. I could not change the lies people believed about me and I could not make the liar retract them. So I prayed.

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“Father, please remove my shame and if it be Your will, restore my honor.” And my shame was gone, like it had never even existed, but it left open roads all through my awareness and I could see everything that shame had touched and influenced.

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Once it was gone, I realized why my dream had compared it to the evil Tay-Sachs mutation. It was there, invisible and even I wasn’t aware of it – but it was always ready to taint anything that came from me. I have lived my life doing everything possible to avoid being shamed anymore; I was living defensively, desperately needing constant validation, looking to be honored by others, seeking for ways to overcome that deep sense of shame that was brutally and cruelly inflicted onto me by someone I loved dearly and trusted in my naivete. And I am not alone in this. This world is filled with people who are deeply ashamed – oftentimes because their parents used it as a control factor, or because someone wanted to destroy them personally, or for whatever reason. Because the shame did not result from personal sin, but came externally, they cannot simply repent and live with honor and have that shame just vanish. The shame was inflicted by others, and must either be removed by those who inflicted it (if they are merciful), by those who can make a public legal ruling of vindication, or by God (Who is indeed merciful). The honor was stolen, and must be restored.

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Because we do not live in an honor/shame culture, but an innocence/guilt culture, people often feel misplaced guilt because they do not realize that what they are really experiencing is shame. They feel condemned, and this can often grow so overpowering that it becomes full blown depression or even results in suicidal thoughts and actions. This is why, when we realize that we ourselves have wrongfully or even needlessly shamed someone either privately or in public, we must work towards the restoration of their honor if we indeed desire to live out the commandment to love our neighbors. If we shame privately, then we restore them privately (or publicly if the damage we did was bad enough and will not cause them more embarassment) and if we shame publicly then we must seek to restore publicly. It is never “no big deal” when we erroneously damage someone’s honor either carelessly or with intent – but our current culture considers it to be somewhat of a hobby, as well as a first amendment right.  Even believers who claim to follow the commandments are quick to shame people on social media without feeling even a twinge of remorse (or actual evidence). Shaming people is fun, but it is also deadly and it is oftentimes unjust and presumptuous. No one has the right to shame someone if they have not sinned, and especially if they have not sought out private correction first. And if the whole world is already shaming someone, we have no righteous need to add to it. But we don’t generally want to restore, because restoring those we hurt is embarassing. We have to lose face by admitting that we were unrighteous in our actions.

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When I was 27 years old and not a believer, I did something very callous and uncalled for to one of my employees and shamed her publicly. When I found out that I was wrong, I restored her publicly. I didn’t have the option of making my sin go away, but I was able to sacrifice some of my public honor in order to give hers back.  I owed it to her. We all owe it to each other. When we refuse to restore honor to those we unjustly have shamed, we are choosing to allow our personal egos to hold their souls in slavery. I have no doubt that everyone who reads this can remember having their honor stripped from them and never restored – and from my reading of scripture, it is a basic human drive and need to have honor in the eyes of one’s peers. We don’t have the right to deprive someone of that honor lightly. Torah says that when we steal, we must pay back four fold, and I think we would do well to apply it to the concept of stolen honor.




Practical Dream Interpretation Pt 1: Function over form, and looking for cultural idioms

One of my passions is interpreting dreams, and teaching others how to do it for themselves.  I am going to tell you right now that the books on the market are practically useless, they are one person’s opinion and although they can be right on some concepts, an American writing a book about dream interpretation often won’t be able to help someone living in an entirely different culture.

dreams

 

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What I like to focus in on is how to look at dreams, and when I teach this I use my own dreams as an example — after all, that is how I learned to do it.  If you look at your dreams using the same general principles, you will be better able to decipher them.

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So I am going to tell you the dream I had 8 days ago and then take you through my process.

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In the dream I had a man I used to be associated with approach me about desiring to have my wheelbarrow because he wanted to use it (stop laughing, this will make sense!) but I responded, “No, I still need it.”  Behind me, my husband said, “No you don’t.” I turned to focus on my husband and then went to look for my wheelbarrow, wondering why I didn’t need it.  The wheelbarrow I found was not the one we have in real life, but larger, and it had nothing in it but was badly rusted along one side of the rim.  I reached out and touched the rusty area and it crumbled off, leaving it unsafe to be used.  The man took it anyway without a word to me for his own use.

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I actually puzzled over this one for about a week.  I would come up with scenarios but I knew they weren’t correct.  So last night while praying in bed, I said to myself, “Okay, what is the function of the wheelbarrow?”  Wheelbarrows carry our burdens for us.  Then I had to say to myself, “Why a wheelbarrow instead of a suitcase (which oftentimes represents personal “baggage”) and why don’t I need it anymore?”

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So I started thinking about what wheelbarrows carry — stuff that belongs outside the house, oftentimes manure (which is what a lot of the burdens we carry amount to, if you get my drift), or dirt, but always stuff that has no place inside the house.  So now, why not a wagon?

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Wagons trail behind us while wheelbarrows present our burdens in front of us.  So really, this would be a way of placing our burdens between ourselves and others, carrying them around with us, and really no one can ignore a wheelbarrow that is between them and the person pushing it. Heck, you can ram a person with a wheelbarrow and harm them. This is going to represent a way of life, living with your burdens in plain sight, an obstacle to people getting close, you get the idea.

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Now, my husband told me that I do not need it.  I knew right away that this wasn’t literally my husband Mark, this is a representation of Messiah as represented by husband, the Master of the House (being a place where no wheelbarrow belongs).  After I turned my focus upon Him, hearing Him and devoting my attention to Him, I saw that my wheelbarrow was not as I expected — it was now empty, and rusted.  It had outlived its usefulness and when I touched it again, it started to crumble.  If you have ever seen this happen, you know that metal that has rusted to the point of crumbling is sharp and no good anymore.

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Sadly, this man took it anyway without another word.  (Honestly, I am sad to see that he has taken this.  I have lived this way, pushing my issues around in front of me and making it difficult for people to get close, and really forcing people to deal with my burdens.)  I don’t wish it on anyone, and especially not on their family and friends.

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So, do you see what I did?  I focused on function first and foremost, what does the wheelbarrow do?  Where is it used? What does a husband do? What function does a rusty wheelbarrow have?  Secondly, I looked at comparisons — why this and not that?  Why a wheelbarrow and not a wagon or a suitcase?  Third, I looked for cultural idioms — and the idioms of my culture will be different than those of other cultures.  In this case, carrying a burden is an idiom that means living with emotional trauma, resentment, a desire for revenge, or to be justified; there are many possibilities.  My wheelbarrow was empty – meaning that I do not have these burdens to carry before me anymore.  Fourth, or maybe first in any dream — be prepared to look at yourself in an unfavorable light.  If you can’t assess yourself honestly, you will never get the right interpretation; you have to be able to see the encouragement and the rebukes.

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I love this dream.  Not only is it confirmation of some changes in my life, but also because it is an easy dream to use as a teaching tool.  Notice what I did not focus on – color, numbers, etc.  I find that dream books often overemphasize these things, but the Bible doesn’t.  The Bible uses a lot of cultural references, and is really heavy on puns and idioms.  Colors and numbers can be important, but are often just side issues. Oftentimes when I see people trying to interpret Daniel’s dreams, they are doing so as 20th century Americans — presuming that a bear is Russia and not even bothering to find out what a bear represented in the ancient near east.  Now our dreams are different, and God will use things that will make sense to us.  Jacob’s ladder was not a wooden ladder, but probably a ziggurat, which in the ancient near east represented the gods ascending and descending to earth via the ziggurat stairway into Mesopotamia. Jacob would have understood this, he would have seen this and known exactly what it was and that it was saying, “No, Ur is not where God has established His Kingdom, Israel is the place where He sets His Name.” Dreams are specific to the person receiving them.  The Baker dreamed about baskets of bread, which meant something to him, and the cup bearer dreamed about grapes and wine.  When God is talking to us, He will use His intimate knowledge of our lives.

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I hope this helps.  Have a blessed week, and remember, if you want me to see your comment, I am still off facebook until December 26 so you have to make it on the blog.  My blood pressure is textbook beautiful 120/78 and I am having a wonderful, restful time of study and prayer.

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Update:  Interpretations are often incomplete until what is in them comes to pass.  This morning the man who was in my dream got in touch with me and apologized for hurting me a couple of years ago, no excuses offered.  I was right about the wheelbarrow, it’s function, and about the identity of my husband, but I was wrong about the man because of my preconceived notions.  He was the only person who could take that wheelbarrow away and he did it.  I include this in order to caution people not to get locked into an interpretation as being the gospel truth.  Dreams can guide us, rebuke us, encourage us, but they are not the same as scripture.