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Friday, January 6, 2012

Dreams and Visions

One of my favorite songs of all times is the old hymn (kidding) "Dream On" by Aerosmith. I am not suggesting that Steven Tyler received an anointing from the Holy Spirit that prompted and facilitated the writing of this song. I may want to stretch a bit and say that at least some of what he says in his classic can serve as a reminder from the Lord.

Dreaming of potential future realities does serve a purpose. There are times for me when these dreams are silly and provide escape. While I don't want to live in that state, an occasional visit is nice. I remember once after having traveled through a particularly difficult period in my life I took a car ride with a friend of mine. He parked the car off Rt. 311 at a particularly beautiful meadow. As we got out of the car we both leaned on the front of it. Neither of us spoke. We leaned against the car for 15 minutes are so. I was wondering why we were there. I wondered why he didn't say anything. I even began to think that something was wrong. Finally, I asked him, "What are you doing”? He just looked at me and said, "Dreaming".

In that moment I realized that the enemy had been successful at snuffing out all of my Dreams. I was like a caged animal that couldn't see beyond the bars of my current reality. Not being able to see beyond the current reality kept me captured in it to a certain degree. That was a long time ago but I am still extremely grateful to my friend for teaching me to dream again. In fact, I believe that moment was one of the sharpest pivotal points in my life and not only do I think of it often, I also see good fruit that has come from it.

So, I suppose there is such a thing as day dreaming but more importantly there are times when God plants dreams in our hearts that He intends to bring to fruition. I doubt that Steven Tyler was aware of the Prophet Joel's prophecy, “And it shall be in the last days that I will pour out my spirit on all mankind and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Or of Luke's reminder of it in the book of Acts to a new and emerging movement that would come to be known as the church. I do think it interesting that just after the Holy Spirit comes at the feast known as Pentecost, Peter stands up to explain what has just happened by beginning with Joel's prophesy. Obviously, a lot is going on here, but it is noteworthy to recognize that among what is being said is the reminder in verse 17 of chapter 2 in Acts, that the Holy Spirit has come and men will now dream dreams. Is it possible that dreaming is a result of the filling of the Holy Spirit we are told of earlier in the chapter?

As you move beyond just simple daydreaming can you identify the dreams that God has put in you? Do you believe He will include you as He brings them to fruition? It is my opinion that in a politically charged election year as we are surrounded by pundits who constantly remind of us impending doom that it is difficult to dream. I wonder if for some of us there are crushing financial realities brought on by decisions that seemed wise a few years ago but have since choked out much of our dreaming. It is possible that some of us are so trapped in cells of our own design that the enemy has convinced us that there is no possibility of an alternative reality. May God, through the filling of the Holy Spirit, renew or restore our ability to dream.

I'm seeing something about this whole dreaming thing. Apparently it happens best in community. Actually, community that looks a whole lot like family. We are told in the book of Joel that old men will dream dreams. We also find that young men will see visions and that sons and daughters will prophesy. One thing that I have seen this past year and am excited about carrying over in to this year is the interdependence that is suggested in this passage. I have dreams. (I suppose that makes me an old man.) Some of these dreams have come to fruition and others are still in process. The Lord is showing me this whole notion of my dreams being interdependent with the vision of an emerging generation and the prophetic declarations of my "sons" and "daughters". I am seeing that my dreams may not be fulfilled apart from the energy of fresh vision from younger men and prophetic reminders from my "children". I am also seeing that their vision can lack direction and their prophetic declarations can lay unfulfilled apart form an "old man's" involvement.

I love this interdependence. It is one of the threads that bind "families" together. My prayer is that for you and me, 2012 is a year where God imparts dreams and visions and as family we watch as they are fulfilled.

David Fuller