“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
We have become like the foolish builder; perhaps, we were never really wise to begin with. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27). And so, beware of the promises of the lawless one; the one who denies the sovereignty of the Lord, whether man or government or some other entity; the one people, some knowingly and others unknowingly, call god. Jesus warned His disciples, and us, in advance, so that we might have peace. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
My dreams are often dark, and I pray for wisdom and guidance. I stood on a high place watching the world below; people went around and around in a circle; the people, themselves, changed, but their activities remained the same over and over again. I saw the enemy teaching children the ways of divination, as a loving grandmother passing on her wisdom to the next generation. The brittle old woman, whose body looks ravaged by disease, visited me again; she embodied death, and on this night, I struck the old woman and she fell as dead in front of me. I was shown an infant dead, hidden under the floor boards of a prominent looking home. The servants’ efforts to hide the infant’s death were in vain; God saw their crime; a life that will never be. A strong man, a literal Goliath, broke into the house where we were and threatened us. We physically struggled with him and finally delivered a massive blow to the left side of his head. The blow should have been lethal; blood gushed out from the wound. The man was broken and laid bare before us; he was defeated but not entirely subdued; he was the enemy. The world we know will be interrupted. People will move from place to place seeking shelter and safety. Buildings abandoned and populations sparse; entire cities empty. I see mostly nighttime then, even during the day, but I saw my own death in the daylight; a vision I kind of hope was metaphoric.
While praying one morning not too long ago, the Lord presented me with a question: How have I commanded my children to respond to the end times? The answer I received was simple (I still remember it coming to me sitting at my desk at work), and it was the same instruction Jesus gave to His disciples two thousand years ago. The answer was not to be alarmed, because such things must come to pass; be at peace. “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36). A simple, even obvious, answer to be sure. A simple answer to live out, ahh… not so much… but lest I forget and be caught off guard, for the earth is not my permanent dwelling place.
In light of all these things, I finally had to ask myself a tough question, “Am I really at peace?” Followed by an even tougher question, “How do my actions bear witness to my measure of peace?” From just a cursory review of my social media posts, alone, it was glaringly obvious to me that changes were in order. My digital footprint has not always reflected peace; it has frequently been quite quarrelsome. And after further retrospection, I realized that my heart wasn’t entirely at peace either, at least not in relation to the question at hand. After this gentle rebuke from above, I realized that my call to share the Good News had not changed. In fact, if anything, that call had never been more crucial. Keep in mind I’m not insisting that Christians remain silent when we observe injustice, but we ought to be careful about getting entangled in civilian affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), because the enemy is there waiting to distract and stumble us from our primary mission (A lesson I’m still learning). It’s too easy to get off track, and then our credibility is compromised, and worse still, our witness suffers. I’m not comfortable with destroying the work of God for the sake of food (Romans 14:20), or over anything else so trivial, nor do I wish to quarrel over disputable matters (Romans 14:1). Sometimes we’re called to speak out, while other times, we’re called to fast and pray, but we’re always called to be fruitful and to be at peace in the Lord.
I am pleased to share that not all my dreams are dark. I have been wrestling with a great deal of anxiety and stress and questions, on and off, for a few months now; I even felt as though I was drowning in it all at times. Last night I had a dream in which I was surrounded by more doves than I could count. The doves were flying and landing on the ground all around me without fear. The Lord spoke peace to my heart last night. I can’t bear the idea of one day looking Jesus in the eyes, after a lifetime of worry and stress, never truly trusting Him. I can’t live that way, not any more. Be at peace.
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