The Super Bowl was slow in coming. The pitchers and catchers report for spring training weeks from now. Hockey is boring, and basketball isn't interesting until March. What could we possibly expect from January except frigid nights, disappointing TV programming and fresh academic workloads with the start of a new semester? Maybe God will speak to us?
A few nights ago, I dreamed of a football team. I was the coach. The members of the team weren't athletic, at all. Young adults to middle age adults, they were dressed in light blue blouses or shirts. We met in a school library. One of my brothers-in-law was there, but he sat with his back to me. Everyone seemed reluctant about playing.
The next evening, April and I worshiped together. I endeavored to practice the Presence by being still and listening and worshiping. After a while, I asked the Lord subtly for a word from scripture. "Zechariah 7: 14 in The Message" came to me. The text is edited to conjoin verses 13 and 14.
“So [this is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies
said] if they won’t listen to me, I won’t listen to them. I scattered
them to the four winds. They ended up strangers wherever they were.
Their ‘promised land’ became a vacant lot—weeds and tin cans and
thistles. Not a sign of life. They turned a dreamland into a wasteland.”
After some time, I made eye contact with April. She asked what was up. I told her about and read to her Zechariah 7: 13-14 in The Message translation. She said it sounded similar to what she got in the Spirit - Matthew 25: 3, When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them. April didn't feel moved by these words, at all. In fact, she felt they came from the enemy. I said the Matthew passage seemed to confirm what I felt I'd heard. I believe we were told someone hasn't heard and remains foolish. They're scattered, ill-prepared, and their promised land is a vacant lot. Regardless, I believe the Lord has spoken.
I dreamed that night of being a baseball manager standing in a dugout. The team was incomplete. We didn't have enough players. Perhaps the players are scattered on the four winds and abandoned their promised land.
The next morning I read some verses which seemed to say the Lord is truly at work.
Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful. -- Psalm 149: 1
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. . . I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. . . For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. -- Isaiah 43: 18-19, 25; 44: 3
I believe the Lord is speaking, and we're recipients of evidence.
That night, I dreamed again. I recall images and impressions. I was in the mixture of a former church I pastored and my father's basement. I dreamed I worked at the church again, in addition to working at a nearby radio station. I wondered openly if I should seek an appointment/church assignment as a pastor before ordination later that year. The dream ended with a small snake in my father's basement curled up in the laundry room. It was either two-headed or coiled with another identical snake. I found a shovel. I didn't want to kill it. I scooped it up and put it in a bucket to take it outside.
I told April about the dream in the morning. She said it all had to do with my memories still having an effect on me. The snake was black with red stripes. Red is warfare, and black is anger. I didn't want to kill the snake. I didn't ignore it, but I wanted it removed from the house. The memories that still spawn negative emotions in me should be removed. Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing (Isaiah 43: 18).
Later that morning, as I wrote about recent dreams and events in January, I listened to worship music. As I listened and wrote, I was surprised, surprised by the Presence. The Presence of the Lord overwhelmed me. April came in the room and found me singing and crying with my arms raised. It was wonderful!
After the worship set ended, I went into the bedroom to get ready for a shower. I kissed April, got undressed and overwhelmed again with laughter and tears (but there wasn't any music - how can this be?).
I made it into the shower. As I washed, I prayed for those who've influenced me. I didn't go any further than Bill Johnson. I prayed in agreement for anything he was passionate about in faith in that moment. My shower continued, and I recalled the Lord saying to me years ago, "Jeff, what if you are a prophet?" That morning in the shower, I cried again and recalled saying years ago, "Then I need people in my life to teach me what it is to be a prophet."
As I remembered this, the though came, "I am a prophet." If I was a prophet back then, God needed to bring people into my life to teach me. Bill came via CDs through Cindi Lucas, a United Methodist evangelist. I haven't been the same since. The Presence of the Lord overwhelmed me again in the shower. Alleluia!
January is a cold month for anyone in the northern hemisphere above the tropics. Its after Christmas, and its long before the warmth and beauty of spring. It could be a period of prolonged depression and cynicism. Its natural to be a little pessimistic about what may be coming around the corner if you heard optimistic news in January. That being said, the Lord has made himself known afresh to us episodically while asleep and awake.
Pardon me, but I'm renewed with hope and joy because my Daddy God has spoken to us during some days in January.