DREAM. Day 14 of LENT. I dreamed a dream.
DREAM. My first thought about this word was a song- I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables but not the way Anne Hathaway sang it. I thought of that infamous episode of Britains Got Talent, did you see it? If you have time watch below; if not I’ll tell you about it. This “nearly 48” year old woman, Susan Boyle steps out like a wiry-haired church lady in a vanilla colored frock and is presented to Simon and staff. Susan said she’d always dreamed of being a professional singer but no one had given her a chance. No one in the audience was giving her a chance either until she began to sing. In moments she had the nay-sayers on their feet with a standing ovation even as she still singed. And truthfully, the video account is so shocking and awe inspiring to me it is the best account of what dreams are all about when they suddenly come true. Unbelieveable!
We all dream in the ordinary way. Unless you pulled an all-nighter, you had one last night. Do you remember the Technicolor series of images, ideas, sensations and emotions which told that involuntary story while you slept? Dreams occur when one first enters into what is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM), the deepest sleep time. The average person sleeping for eight hours a night can dream up to one to two hours of that time. Once you get the brain down to the minimum possible activity . . . your mind is free. In the dream state the mind is more impressionable to the day’s events and often plays back composites of what was said, thought or done. It replays events and puts together bits and pieces that can make sense or not make any sense. Fragmentary ideas or loosely connected circumstances and thoughts make up dreams and it can be totally subjective sorting out its meaning with varied interpretations.
Biblically speaking we know God used dreams. God planted the DREAM of leadership that was longed for by Joseph and jealously ridiculed by his brothers as an unrealistic and foolish hope-“us, bow down to you, not.” Solomon was given the promise of wisdom in a dream and Gideon was encouraged to victory through the interpretation of a dream. Jacob dreamed of the stairway to heaven and Joseph was given the blessing to marry Mary and step-father Jesus and the warning to escape Herod and flee to Egypt all while asleep and dreaming. The visions and dreams recorded in the Bible were given to specific people for a specific purpose- God’s purpose.
Just because one receives a dream or vision does not mean it is from God. Satan can give dreams and visions. He did so with Jesus “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” (Luke 4:5). This was something seen-a vision by his supernatural power to tempt Jesus to sin but Jesus resisted. We have to test the spirits to discern their intent-is it for good or evil? Solomon reminds us, “For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.” Eccl 5:7
Dreams are different than visions.
A dream is a story communicated in picture that takes place when you are asleep.
A vision is when you are awake and see reality part and are either watching or end up participating in it as John did in the book of Revelation or Isaiah did in the throne room of the most high God. God formerly used a variety of means to communicate with man, which would include dreams or visions. Scripture more often tells us the word came to the prophets- in other words they had an encounter with the word, the Son of God. But in our day, His revelation is not normally through these means but through the Lord Jesus Christ whose revelation is final and superior and revealed in the Word the Bible.
Yet Luke records, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17
Putting the two definitions of DREAM together- what if you had to exist in a culture of oppression and fear. What if you always dreamed of a life where you were free and loved and fulfilled and alive. And what would you do if suddenly Jesus began to appear in your dreams? There His presence brought peace and love, ALIVENESS and FULLNESS like nothing you had ever experienced. With Jesus you felt absolutely safe for the very first time, valued and perfectly loved in the dream. What if He came to you with the same single message? And what if that same dream continued for over thirty days? Thirty weeks? Thirty years? What if on the thirty-first time he told you that tomorrow you would meet His friend and you were to ask His friend to tell you all about Him? And what if it happened? The friend of Jesus was there, at that place you went to every day, they were dressed just like they were in the dream and when you approached them and ask if they were Jesus’ friend, they said, “yes,” and they told you all about their friend and savior from the Bible.
What if I told you this story is true?
It is about a Muslim woman. And she wasn’t the only Muslim experiencing this dream. A staggering number of Muslims are being introduced to Jesus through a vision or dream so powerful that they eventually turned from their lifelong religion of Islam and embrace Christ as their Savior. These conversions are despite living in a culture where converting to Christianity can result in execution. Jesus is reaching out to the Muslims and they are responding. Did you know that Iran has the fastest growing church in the world?
Tom Doyle has spent the last 11 years working as a missionary in the Middle East. He was initially skeptical about reports that God was speaking to Muslims in supernatural ways. But his mindset changed when his friend told him: “God showed me that my theology does not determine His action.” Doyle says these dreams are opening the door for Muslims to hear the testimony about Jesus from Christians in countries where spreading the Gospel is forbidden. While the West associates Islam with terrorism, Doyle believes the majority of Muslims are peace-loving. “I believe Islamic terrorism is Satan’s attempt to keep the Gospel message away from Muslims,” he writes. Nothing can stop the Gospel from spreading. “More Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus today than ever before. In fact, we believe more Muslims have become followers of Jesus in the last ten years than in the last 14 centuries of Islam.”
Unbelievable! I had no idea this was happening, did you? We should pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the bold witness to, and courageous conversion of Muslims. You can read more about it in Tom Doyle’s book:
And watch for the dreams to convert one of my characters in the FURY series Book Three Effect this fall. DREAM ON!