Tag Archives: prophetic revelation

Going Low

One of my favorite quotes by famous people is from John the Baptist: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). I think on it often.

Our natural human tendency is to grab as much recognition for ourselves as possible. Those of us who have a business or ministry are constantly being told how important it is to “brand” ourselves, so that everyone knows who we are and desires our services or products. While some of that may be necessary in a practical, functional sense, the whole “Look at me! See how special I am!” egotism that often goes with it is something that we who are believers must continually resist. Our focus should always be to point people to Jesus, rather than ourselves. John the Baptist understood this, and I am so glad that his response to the temptation to strive for personal honor is recorded for us in the Bible.

There is a special place in our relationship with Jesus, where we develop such an adoration for Him that we actually desire to “go low” — where we want to empty ourselves of the desire for personal recognition, to become nothing, so that He might be everything. To make Jesus famous in all the earth becomes our passion, our obsession, where He alone matters.

Surely this must be what is going on in Revelation 4:10, 11, where the twenty-four elders “fall down before Him Who sat on the throne, and worship Him Who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created.'” They are totally fixated on the Lord.

I began to think a lot about “going low” a few years ago, inspired by a dream which Julie Meyer shared of seeing God’s throne room. I hope you will listen to her description and that it will stir your heart, as it did mine:

While we are yet in our mortal existence, I am not sure if we can continually stay in that place of going low, of being emptied of self in adoration of the Lord. I would like to stay there, but at present, it seems as though I can only visit for a time. The fallen nature includes a tendency to drift back into pride and self-exaltation, and I find that I must personally battle against that frequently. The apostle Paul said, “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31), and we must learn to die daily to the old nature’s demands as well.

But my goal is to rest in that “going low” place increasingly, until it becomes more my dwelling place than a visiting place.

If you find yourself falling into the trap of looking for recognition, titles, and honor from people, how about meditating on what John the Baptist said? “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John found peace and rest there. I think we can, too.

Dream Interpretation: Part 10 — Dream Q & A

By this point in the series, I hope I have already answered many of your dream questions. But here are a few more you might have. Do you have additional questions? Please post them as a comment, and I will do my best to answer them for you. (Questions only, please. I will not have time to try to interpret specific dreams for you.)

1.  Can a dream have multiple applications or meanings? Yes.  Sometimes a dream seems to apply to an immediate situation to a degree, but it also has the feel of being part of a larger picture. Record in your dream journal how it fits what you are currently dealing with, but be open to a bigger picture interpretation coming somewhere down the road.

In the Bible, some of the Old Testament prophecies were partially fulfilled on a small level, but they also had more progressive fulfillments on a larger scale. For instance, prophecies were given to David that were partially meant for, and fulfilled in, his son Solomon, but their completed fulfillment was to be found later in Jesus, the Son of David.

2.  Can there be more than one message showing up in the same dream? The norm is to have a dream centralize on one theme. But I occasionally experience a dream that addresses more than one topic. This kind of dream is harder to understand, because the symbols are more disconnected from each other, and the dream therefore seems to be quite fragmented. I would liken it to having two or three jigsaw puzzles jumbled together in one box. Constructing the puzzles all at the same time and figuring out how to divide them up correctly is challenging, but not impossible — especially as we depend upon the Lord to help us with the interpretation. 

3.   Do symbols always mean the same thing, or can the meanings change? The more universal, common-to-man symbols found in dream books can and do have varying meanings, depending on the context of the dream, and whether the current dream is of a positive or negative nature.  You could have an owl showing up as a symbol of wisdom in one dream, and in another showing up as a predator, depending on what is happening in the dream.

However, when God clues me in to a personal, unique dream symbol, it tends to stay consistent in meaning across my dream life. That is a rule of thumb, not a law set in concrete.  And again, it would depend on the context and tone of the dream.

4.  Are the scenes in a dream always chronological? They often are, but they don’t have to be. Some dreams (and visions as well) are like a collage. They depict more than one thing at a time about your life, not necessarily in timeline order.

For instance, in a dream about what callings you are meant to fulfill, God may show you several phases of what He will have you doing, but they may look like they are happening all at the same time, or as if they will follow a pattern of first, second, then third.  In reality, they may not happen all at the same time, even though it looks that way in the dream. And what appears to come first in the dream could actually happen in real life as the second or third phase.

Or, you may have an “inset” dream or vision — a story within the main story. One of the reasons that the Book of Revelation is hard to correctly interpret is because it flows along chronologically most of the time, but then there are moments when we are taken aside into an inset story within the timeline of events. An inset within a dream may also be a “zoom-in” on one particular detail of the big-picture story.

5.  Are dreams always 100% accurate? Sometimes they will be, and sometimes not. Some dreams are straight-up from God, and therefore completely accurate. Some are a mixture of what is going on in our own thoughts and desires, and God interjecting His revelation into those thoughts.  It is not always easy to sort the two out. Add into that equation that we do not always fully interpret the symbols correctly, and we’ve got room for error. Listening for God to speak to you through avenues besides dreams will help ensure accurate hearing over time. The Lord is faithful to get His message through to us, if we wait upon Him.

Next time, we will conclude this series with some links to helpful dream resource materials.

Hearing from God through Dreams (2009)      
Dream Interpretation: Part 1 — Intro   
Previous: Part 9 – Tips for Better Interpretation 
Next: Part 11 — Additional Resources

 

Dream Interpretation: Part 9 — Tips for Better Interpretation

I already gave some tips for dream interpretation in my previous series, Hearing from God through Dreams, Part 2  and Part 3, so to get the full picture, it would be a good idea to start reading there. 

Here are some additional thoughts to help you: 

1.  Create your own personal dream dictionary. God communes with each of us differently, both in our waking hours and while we sleep. Although many symbols seen in dreams will be common to all of us, you will find over time that there are many symbols showing up in your dreams which are God’s personal way of speaking just to you. Events that have happened in your life and how you view certain objects because of those events are partially responsible for shaping what your dream symbols mean.

Get yourself a simple notebook, and assign a couple of pages in it to each letter of the alphabet. Then, when unique symbols show up in your dreams, and you unlock what they mean, write them in your dream dictionary. You will notice God using those symbols consistently in future dreams, once He sees that you understand their meaning. 

Keeping a personal dream dictionary has vastly expanded my ability to interpret my dreams with greater ease. 

2. Keep your dream journal as a file on your computer, rather than in written form. This will enable you to adjust your interpretations or add to them as your understanding about your dreams unfolds over time. Writing in a paper notebook could mean heavy use of  Liquid Paper and finding that you have not left enough space for future notes on your dreams.

3.  Don’t get so focused on details that you neglect to discover the main point of the dream. If you had to give your dream a chapter title, what would it be? That’s what the dream is about, and the overall main idea will help you decipher the symbolic details. 

Getting bogged down in details and missing the big picture tends to be one of my weaknesses, and the next point explains one way I cope with it.

4.  Talk out your dreams with someone. This works best if  the person knows you well, understands how you tick, and is aware of your ongoing circumstances. It is best if he or she is also sensitive to hearing from the Lord through dreams. 

As we talk out our dreams, and the listener asks for details (“What kind of a bird was it?” “What type of coat was he wearing?”), many times God will drop understanding into us just through that talking-out process. One small suggestion from a listener will sometimes trigger understanding of the entire dream. 

My daughters are both excellent helpers to me in understanding my dreams. One is good at drawing out important nuances from the details, while the other is good at cutting right to the main point. I sometimes get so focused on the details that it is hard for me to see the overall picture, and her no-nonsense, “Mom, it’s another dream about _________” helps me get going in the right direction when I am stumped. 

5.  Although receiving input from others is helpful, keep in mind that since you had the dream, you are the best one to interpret it. What they say may get the wheels of your understanding moving, but their interpretation usually won’t trump yours. You may find that someone else’s take on your dream deeply witnesses to your heart, which indicates that God is speaking to you through that person. But if it doesn’t, then just let it fall away. You were the one who actually saw the dream, and you are the one with the life experiences which play into it. Other people’s understanding will be filtered through how they imagine your dream from your description, and the picture they form in their minds will not be completely accurate.

6.  Positioning yourself to hear from the Lord through dreams:

Reading the Bible right before going to bed will prepare your spirit-man to be more receptive to hearing God through dreams. Playing worship music shortly before bedtime is another good way to prepare.

Think about the Lord, talk with Him, and/or pray in tongues while waiting to fall asleep. Prayer is our communication link with the Lord, and we know that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Dreams are one way He responds to prayer.

If you can awaken naturally, without an alarm clock, your dreams are less likely to be interrupted. (This is not possible for many of us, I know, but do it if you can.) 

7.  Watch for revelation to unfold over several dreams. Our dreams are often components of a continuous thread of information on a particular theme. Rather than looking at each dream as a complete story in itself, look for the big picture of what God is speaking over a period of weeks or even months. 

8.  Use the Internet to research what you do not understand. You may see things or hear words in your dreams that you do not understand or only vaguely understand.  This happens to me both in inner voice hearing during my waking hours and in my dreams.  I have learned to use Google to search out unfamiliar vocabulary which God uses in speaking to me.  It is a way that He lets me know the dream or prophetic revelation is really from Him, and the full picture of what God wants to say becomes clearer as I do my homework on the Internet. 

Do you have additional tips for hearing from God through dreams?  Please do comment!  You might be the one who provides that important key to help someone unlock their dream revelation.

Hearing from God through Dreams (2009)      
Dream Interpretation: Part 1 — Intro   
Previous: Part 8 — Spiritual Warfare Dreams  
Next: Part 10 — Dream Q & A 

Dream Interpretation: Part 8 — Spiritual Warfare Dreams

You may experience dreams where you are in conflict or battle, and you see yourself subduing those who are fighting against you. These are spiritual warfare dreams. They may be unpleasant or scary at the time, but God is showing you that you are meant to overcome.

2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “Now thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ ….” 1 John 4:4 reminds us, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world,” and Revelation 12:11 assures us, “They overcame [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony ….” There are many such verses. We must find them, believe them, and learn to war with them.

So, battle dreams can actually originate with God. Dreams of cops and robbers, Western shootouts, or snipers trying to get you can indicate stress you are currently experiencing or spiritual warfare that you are engaged in during your waking hours. Our dreams often express current events in our lives in picturesque ways.

But if you are experiencing dreams of being terrified as you are being chased, or being beaten, murdered, or otherwise seriously harmed, those are demonic dreams. Dreams of being choked, being engulfed in a fearful, thick darkness, or having a suffocating cloak thrown over you are demonic. These types of dreams are usually due to some kind of an open door in your life.

The open door could be stuff you have in your house, such as pagan artwork — Buddha statues, for instance. Souvenirs from foreign nations where witchcraft is prevalent could have curses attached. Movies, games, and books dealing with the occult, such as Harry Potter and Twilight, could provide an open door into your life. Willful sin compromise leaves us vulnerable to attack as well. Yoga is an open door to the demonic realm — whether you practice the meditation activities that go with it or not. If you have ever dabbled in the occult, even if you stopped long ago, and have never renounced that occult activity, you will need to do so. For more information on how, please see my article, What Well Are You Dipping From?

Next time, I will give you a few tips for better dream interpretation.

Hearing from God through Dreams (2009)
Dream Interpretation: Part 1 — Intro
Previous: Part 7 — When Bad Dreams Happen
Next: Part 9 — Tips for Better Interpretation 

Dream Interpretation: Part 7 — When Bad Things Happen

What do you do if you dream that your husband or wife has a fatal accident while driving to work? Do you accept it as a prophetic revelation from the Lord that must come to fulfillment and then make plans for the funeral? Do you chew your nails for days, weeks, or years, wondering when the awful calamity will take place? Do you plead with your spouse to get a work-at-home job? Do you just ignore it?

And where is this kind of dream coming from? Is it a demonic dream, intended only to scare you, or is it from God?

Dream experts will give you different opinions on whether this is a dream directly from the enemy or a dream from God to warn you. That may be because it could be either. Satan will sometimes try to turn us into a melted gelatin puddle of fear through false threats, while sometimes God will warn us of plots that are afoot against us. 

I don’t feel the need to sit around obsessing about where this kind of dream comes from. The important question is how to respond. Some people think every dream or vision they have is God’s will, and therefore unalterable. That’s just not right. In Amos 7:1-6, Amos received two visions of destruction, which he was able to stop from happening simply by interceding against their fulfillment. We need to learn to do that for our nation, our communities, our families, and ourselves.

In addition to pleading for the Lord to not let evil dreams be fulfilled, we must cancel the assignment of the enemy. If you have a dream about something terrible happening, you can pray something like this: 

“Father, You know the frightening dream I’ve had. I claim John 10:10 on behalf of my loved one: ‘though the enemy comes as a thief to kill, steal, and destroy, Jesus has come so that ________ may have life and have it more abundantly.’ So I claim Your protection for ________, in Jesus’ Name. 

“In the Name of Jesus, I also cancel any assignments that the enemy may have against ________, and I nullify his ability to harm ________.”

You can also declare other Scriptures that promise us protection from satanic attack. Psalm 91 is filled with powerful promises for every kind of protection we could need. I pray it and declare it over myself and my loved ones frequently. Even when not using the entire psalm, I’m likely to at least use portions of it daily as springboards for prayer. 

 Here are two more verses which you can use to refute any evil schemes the enemy may have planned for you or your loved ones: 

Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you. 

1 John 5:18We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but He who is begotten of God keeps him, and that wicked one cannot touch him. (About half the translations say “But he who is born [or begotten] of God keeps himself,” so there is some question about what the emphasis is in this verse. The bottom line in either case is, keep yourself from having open doors to the enemy through deliberate sin in your life, and Jesus will protect you so that the evil one cannot harm you.) 

And then, yes, do warn your loved one to be a little extra careful, if that seems appropriate and will not cause anxiety. If concern about the dream pops up at future times, you might need to pray about it or take authority over the enemy again. Sometimes we have to guard the territory we’ve already conquered with additional prayer. 

What we shouldn’t do is live in fear. Nor should we ignore such dreams. Nor should we accept them fatalistically. We simply take the appropriate prayer or declaration action to keep them from being fulfilled. This is just one more aspect of the spiritual warfare all Christians must engage in as part of living as overcomers. 

We will continue talking about “bad” or frightening dreams next time.

Hearing from God through Dreams (2009)      
Dream Interpretation: Part 1 — Intro   
Previous: Part 6 — Dreams Involving the Soul   
Next: Part 8 — Spiritual Warfare Dreams

Dream Interpretation: Part 6 — Dreams Involving the Soul

“Self-dreams,” or “soul-dreams” are those dreams which appear to originate in our emotions or minds. They may involve attitudes that need to be dealt with, repressed fears, deep desires, thoughts which we have been focused on, or stress that we might not even know we are carrying. These dreams are useful in making us aware of things that we should be bringing before the Lord so that He can help us to get them in order.

We might have dreams concerning parts of our body that need attention. Here is an example:

One of my teeth had been hurting whenever I chewed anything firm. I saw my dentist about it and had an x-ray, which detected hairline cracks. The dentist said the cracks could mean a weakening of the tooth, but she thought there was no imminent problem, and suggested considering a crown at some time in the future.

Six days later, I dreamed that there was a gaping hole in that particular tooth. In the dream, the dentist was peering in my mouth, but she entirely missed seeing the hole. 

That was it. When I awoke, I wrote it down, but it was a busy day, and I did not take the time to ask the Lord about the dream right then. That evening, I bit down on a popcorn kernel and broke the tooth.

Whether I had paid attention to the dream or not, I would have required a crown. But if I had been tuned in, I would have realized that the problem was in more immediate need of help than the dentist had thought. I would have scheduled the crown work right away, and I would have stayed away from eating hard foods until I could get the crown, so that breaking the tooth could have been averted.

Was the tooth dream a warning from God, or was it a self-dream trying to tell me something was wrong? If I have a dream that reveals a need for an attitude adjustment or stress that I am experiencing unawares, is that just my mind and emotions revealing themselves, or is God speaking to me directly about it?

My personal opinion is that many “self-dreams” are really God revealing to us what is going on inside of us. The idea of self-dreams being our inner person trying to talk to us sounds New Age to me, and I don’t think we should go there. I don’t usually try to differentiate between dreams from God and dreams from self in my dream journal, other than to note that a particular issue I am having at the time could be affecting my perspective in the dream. I know that whether it is a God-dream or a dream stemming from what’s on my mind or in my heart, God wants to help me take appropriate action.

Many dreams are a mixture of what is going on in our own thoughts and emotions and what God has to say about those things. This should not surprise us, as even in our waking hours, the Holy Spirit influences our thoughts with His inspiration or else breaks in on our thoughts to correct us, comfort us, or lead us in a different direction. He does that in our dream life as well.

Sometimes a dream which seems to be a mish-mash of confused images will have one scene that sticks out. That one scene may be God breaking in to give His message, and the rest of the dream might not be of huge importance, except as a backdrop or context for what God wants to say. Write it all down, and then ask the Lord for understanding about whether the surrounding dream parts are important, or if He is only concerned with the one scene. God works in such a variety of ways through dreams, that the way He does it one time may be different from the way He does it the next.

Next time, we will talk about what to do when we have dreams of bad things to come.

Hearing from God through Dreams (2009)      
Dream Interpretation: Part 1 — Intro   
Previous: Part 5 — New Testament Dreamers     
Next: Part 7: When Bad Things Happen

Dream Interpretation: Part 5 — New Testament Dreamers

Last time, we talked about a few people in the Old Testament who received dreams for guidance, warning, preparation, and revelation of what the future would hold. The New Testament gives us several examples of people hearing from God through dreams as well, and for the same reasons.

While Pilate was in the process of trying Jesus, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19). Pilate, because of his fear of man, chose to ignore her warning, and history tells us that thereafter he was demoted for incompetence over other matters, ending in disgrace.

Jesus’ step-father Joseph received specific direction from God in four dreams, in at least three of which an angel appeared to him with a message (Matthew 1:20 – 2:23). In that same passage, we see that the wise men were also warned in a dream not to return to Herod (Matthew 2:12).

The Apostle Paul regularly heard from God in non-symbolic, directional dreams. God also spoke to him in this way to encourage him. Let’s look at several of those briefly:

In Acts 16:6-10, we see that Paul and his companions had been having difficulty discovering the Lord’s will concerning where they were to preach the gospel next. But then, “a vision appeared to Paul in the night. There stood a man from Macedonia, and requested of him, ‘Come over into Macedonia, and help us.'” This “night vision” was most likely a dream, with clear direction for what to do, and Paul and his team immediately acted upon the direction in it.

Acts 18: 1-17 tells the story of Paul at Corinth. It was a fruitful time for him, but it was also a stressful time, with much opposition. Verses 9 and 10 tell us, “Then the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no man shall set upon you to hurt you: for I have much people in this city.'” In this non-symbolic dream (once again, a “night vision”), God encouraged Paul by letting him know he would be unhurt, so that he would not run out of town. He also encouraged him to be bold, and assured him that there would be a good harvest.

Acts 27 records the story of the shipwreck Paul endured on his way to Rome as a prisoner. Again, in verses 22-26 he had a vision during the night, which was meant to encourage him and the other people on the boat. It also was very specific about how events would play out. He relayed the information to the others on board: “And now, I exhort you to cheer up, for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but the ship will be lost. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not fear, Paul. You must be brought before Caesar, and God has given you all them who are sailing with you.’ Wherefore, sirs, cheer up! For I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. However, we must be cast upon a certain island.”

Here we see that God wanted to give Paul hope and a sense of safety, as well as to reaffirm that God’s plan to get him to Rome would be accomplished. Paul apparently had been interceding for the lives of everyone on board to be spared, and God also assured him through the angel that his prayer had been heard.

In each of the dreams we’ve mentioned, there was no symbolism. They were direct messages, sometimes delivered through angels, with no need of interpretation. The wise men, Joseph, Paul, and even Pilate’s wife, could act upon the messages given, without needing any further revelation. If we have these kinds of dreams, we can act upon them as well.

However, when we have symbolic dreams, where angels are not appearing directly to us with a concrete word of what to do, interpretation will be needed. We will also need to hear from God through other means before making major decisions. It is unwise to make weighty decisions based on symbolic dreams alone. God usually speaks more than once and in more than one way about important life-changes, such as a marriage, career change, or geographical move.

Hearing from God through Dreams (2009)
Dream Interpretation: Part 1 — Intro
Previous: Part 4 — Old Testament Dreamers
Next: Part 6 — Dreams Involving the Soul