Discerning Dreams

Glen Berry

TODAY, does God use dreams to speak to people as He has in the past.  Obviously not. Now we have the full canon of Holy Scripture plus Christians have the abiding Holy Spirit to take things of Scripture and things of Christ and TEACH us of them.  Without that embedded deep in our hearts, our minds and our souls, we can be deceived into thinking that our lives must be or should be guided by “dreams.”

That is not to say, however, that now God’s hands are tied so that He cannot or will not ever use a dream. In the New Testament there were also dreams, visions, even trances. But they, too, were more prevalent while the written word of God was being written and made commonly available to Christians. Even today we MAY see or hear about some in other parts of the world where God uses more supernatural methods to reveal Himself among people whose situation does not allow them to have the blessed written Word of God for guidance.

To say the least, if any credence is given to an unusual dream, it must—it just must of necessity teach what the Bible teaches, in harmony with and in no way be contrary to Scripture.

An active mind, a brain that is working through the day, may continue to work at night even as the person is resting in sleep. Sometimes excess “dreaming” is caused by what we eat, or may show up in morning hours when the body has received perhaps too much sleep, and the brain knows it is time to be working. So dreams can come in those late hours before arising.

But most dreams are nonsensical. Most of the time we cannot remember them when we awake. And most of the time even if we can remember a dream, we have sense enough not to relate it because it makes no logical sense, but is quite a “hodge-podge” of non-related elements—purely natural but nothing worthy of mention and no spiritual lesson at all.

Having said all that,  I have often “resented” my rest hours being disturbed or taken up with a brain that keeps working in a haphazard  seemingly wasteful way. But then ONCE IN A WHILE—rarely—I do have a dream that I can remember and that has some lesson for life. I pay some attention to it if some Biblical principle or lesson is obvious in that dream.

Just before Labor Day of 2018 I had such a strange dream, possibly with a meaning that we would do well to compare with Scripture, and seeing a need for improvement of daily attitudes in-keeping with the very teachings of Christ Jesus out Lord.

In this particular dream I was going to some restaurant for a meal and fellowship with friends. It seems the main character there that I felt to know most intimately and have tender feelings for, was a man, a Christian, who had a “reputation” of past bad behavior. It seems I knew his face, but he appeared to be more of a composite person with a past and characteristics that are common to sinful man, man as he is by nature.

Before we even went to the table to share a meal, one sister walked up to me and whispered, “You better watch that man; he has a record.” She meant that he had a rough past and had a “reputation.”

As we sat down to eat, there being maybe a couple preachers present, one was outspoken and started very judgmental talk directed toward this brother with a reputation. I noted plainly, as the brother was forced to sit quietly in his seat and take the judgmental abuse, that he looked oh so very pale, having to be reminded afresh of his past. How I felt sorry for him, and felt embarrassed for him.  As my dream unfolded, the man had even been in prison and had served his time as punishment for his supposed crime. It was NOT clear whether or not he had been falsely charged. Maybe he had actually committed the crime and repented, or maybe he was not “guilty as charged.” But I remember feeling sorry for what he was now facing when all that was in the past—the forgiven past. Nothing was stated that charged him with the continuance of that sin. I distinctly remember seeing his downcast eyes, and pale complexion as verbal abuse was thrown at him.

Then I spoke up, addressing the minister that was being so verbal, and would not have anything to do with such a man; he would not shake his hand. And in my dream I said, “You better be careful with your words—just be careful.” “It might be dangerous”—meaning that he just might be speaking out of turn and might be making some false charges. “Just be careful,” were my words.

Immediately in my dream, this very minister then changed his demeanor. He realized, well, just maybe he WAS wrong in his charges and accusations.  A few minutes later he had reversed himself and was reaching out a loving hand to shake hands in fellowship for this brother.

I remember then thinking in my dream, How true to life this all was, as we judge and pre-judge others. After all, ALL are sinners. If we are born-again Christians, it is only because we have been given good that we did not deserve and mercy when we deserved God’s correcting and punishing justice. That is why Christ died for His people. ALL have sinned! In “sinnership” we are all brothers. In salvation we who are redeemed and forgiven, are all “blood-bought” sinners-made-saints. And everything GOOD is not due to our merit but by undeserved grace and mercy.

If we see someone on the other side of the table that has done more outward sin than we have, still we must say, “Except for the grace of God there go I,” for we all were born with fallen, sinful, even desperately wicked hearts.

So, if we tend to demean some brother who has made a profession of Christ forgiving him, and we still want to judge him or look down own our noses at him for not measuring up to OUR standards or OUR knowledge, then the advice remains, “Watch your tongue.” “Be careful.” You just may be on very dangerous ground.”

Remember, the Lord Jesus spoke of sinners like harlots entering the kingdom of heaven before the self-righteous Pharisees, hypocrites!

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“. . . For Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God

by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue

and people, and nation.” (Revelation. 5:9)

 

“The voice of my Beloved! Behold, He

cometh leaping upon the mountains,

skipping upon the hills.”

(song of Solomon 2:8)

One grace preacher I know directs a rescue mission. When men come into the mission that profess to be “saved,” he is faithful with them and insists on them telling him what they are “saved from.” When the angel announced the birth of the Lord Jesus, he did not say Christ would save His people from Hell (though He does that) but that His  name was to be called JESUS “for He shall save His people  FROM THEIR SINS.”

Christianity and hypocrisy are two opposing life-styles. A hypocrite can PROFESS Christ but his profession is false when he does not POSSESS Christ. And to possess Him is to have Him abiding within him. It is to have Christ Jesus delivering him from hypocrisy and sin.  To POSSESS Christ is to have the love and fear of God, and to have hunger and thirst for righteousness with a hatred for SIN, for whatever God hates.

Some say “the sinner’s prayer” but as another grace preacher once said, instead of being “dead to sin” they “have not even been shot at.”  The mark of a Christian is a continual repentance for his remaining SIN and a hatred for it. If there is no growing, thriving hunger and thirst for righteousness and hatred and turning from SIN, there is lacking evidence of true faith and salvation.

Study the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. There you have the evidences stated of one’s salvation and election. There you have the marks of true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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Though heaven afflicts, I’ll not repine – each heart-felt comfort still is mine;

that shall o’er death prevail, and journey with me through the vale.

Jesus, smooth the rugged way, and lead me to the realms of day,

milder skies and brighter plains where everlasting sunlight reigns. – Selected

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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