After I finished recording the previous two conversations with Michele she launched into two dreams she had had a number of years prior that shaped her direction. I said, let me record that second one! Here it is. When God has called us out there is something to see (if we turn around)… OK I will let her tell it.
No, not a post on the ‘what did the Romans ever do for us…’ but I have just come off another interview with Stephen Hill (I will put a video up here when it is available). He has a way of asking questions that provoke thought and today was no exception. First though a dream.
A few weeks ago I had a dream (short version here) where I went to a city that I knew well. I walked past a big church building that had been built when church-going was at its highest. I almost walked past it as I did not recognise it, the whole place – outside and inside – had been changed beyond recognition. I went down the hill to where I knew there was a cathedral. I went inside it and the inside (formerly impressive but not personal) was transformed. Carpeted, arm chairs, sofas. It felt as homely as any home could be. I am looking at this when someone comes past me that I recognise. This person was from a ‘new church’ background and was working inside the cathedral, absolutely buzzing with the responses of the people. I was very positive in my response, but said, ‘This is not for me I am off to get involved in what I have to do.’ I knew somehow that the transformation was not simply surface but deeply interior, and that it was connected to a decision taken some 30 years before that ‘christendom is over’, and to live in the light of it. (More to it – short version.)
Back now to Rome. ‘Peace on earth and goodwill to all’ – a message from angels or from Rome? Pax Romana, peace on earth, and in the light of it goodwill to all… just imagine and experience the quality of life as a result of this peace. Let us be grateful and offer up our sacrifice to the god of peace. So we make our way past / through the field dedicated to Mars and on to the temple. (Mars – the god of war.) Of course there is peace, there are no enemies, all comply willingly, unwillingly, or are removed – and that included a certain young Jew from Galilee.
Christendom is the result of the ways of Rome. Christianity became the state religion, so it is no surprise that Christendom is peace through war. Our Temple is built on the mountain of war. (The so-called ‘religious’ mountain is exactly that, and the idea that Christianity / the church is to be the top of the mountain speaks volumes… Christendom is long-since over but the war to see it re-established is far from over, though in its last crazy stage, comparable to the many prophets inside Jerusalem in the closing days of the end of Jerusalem – 70AD. God will act as he always has, he is the God of the ‘red sea’; yes another exodus, but this one is a Jesus’ exodus.)
Peace on earth… what happened to the enemies? We saw them differently, we saw them no longer according to the flesh. The contrast of the two ‘gospels’ is absolute.
Only an embrace of the end of christendom can bring about a change to the interior. Embrace, not reluctant acceptance. And an embrace of ‘new creation’, for that is all that counts says Paul.
[A sidenote – the speech on Mars Hill, Athens, by Paul is very instructive. War centralises and controls and unifies through elimination. There on Mars Hill Paul speaks of distribution, freedom and expansion.]
We’re all drinking from cups that are too small. There’s a river. And the arrows that we’re firing that were once sharp are now blunt. They miss the target and fall down useless. Someone suggests we need a new box of arrows…
In the middle of the night I woke with this dream and know better than leave it to the morn to try and recall it. My phone was bright and stuck on bold, which was hurting my tired eyes, three times I tried to get back to normal font but the two words We’re all wouldn’t change and stuck as the title.
There is something in this time, this pandemic era, about unlearning and relearning. There’s a stripping away of what we’ve always done and known.
The emphasis on individuals struck me in the dream. Individuals are important; the pandemic is pushing us into smaller and smaller gatherings. Each of us is finding new ways to live and work.
Individuals are truly essential because we are part of a body. Do we know who we are? And are we functioning in our individual roles? Have we lost sight of the richness of diversity? We’re a body made from remarkably varied parts.
Cooperate identity became bland. Homogeny is disfunction.
It’s time for us individually to really know who we are and to re-function in that revelation.
Many people are going to retrain, move job, begin to point themselves in the direction they’ve actually always wanted to go, consciously or not. Old personal identity issues are going to resurface creating the opportunity for new levels of resolution. Who we are matters.
Why are we drinking from cups? The cups are too small. The cups are individual and inadequate. Our font/source has been held in a limited container. Our resources / life will run out unless we reposition ourselves.
There’s a river in front of us all in the dream. There’s a river.
We are invited to go straight to the water, straight to the source of all life and provision and to put our faces in the river and drink. It’s not about intermediate tools or intermediate people. They are both too small. There is a limit. We are individually responsible for how we drink.
I was recently asked to interpret a dream and immediately reacted to a specific image and believed the symbolism to be negative. After clearing my mind of my own prejudices and thoughts, a totally different interpretation came to me. Our bias and old views have got to be laid aside in order to see the new. Old assumptions don’t cut it.
So, it’s time for the new box of arrows. The arrows are what…? Previously I would have seen arrows to represent prophecy and prayer and word. Now I see the arrows as our very being and also therefore our focus. The new arrows will be sharp and focused. The things that used to work are now blunt and general and ineffective. The ‘same old’ has gone and is now useless. Where, as individuals, are we focused? It’s time to focus on our true being, and being true, truly be focused. An arrow is not a bomb; it’s a specifically targeted, individually fired entity. Aimed at one small space. What is your space? What are you born for? Who are you really?
We’re all in this together so let’s, each of us, be true to who we really are and drink deeply from the one who made us as we reposition ourselves to be truly authentic.
I had an email today asking me if the dream I had in 2010 has a relevance to the current time and asking if I would post it publicly. I was sure I had… but if so it must have been some time ago as doing a quick search I could not find it. Given that I think it is highly relevant I thought I would just go ahead and post (maybe again!). I have certainly repeated it often enough that many of you will have heard / read of it. If not here it is and I consider again it to be very timely.
The dream occurred as one of two in 2010. The other was of the balanced see-saw that would come about as the year 2020 arrived. The balanced see-saw does not indicate a reversal but something akin to a level playing field. When integrity and honesty will have the impact it should as the ‘field’ will not be stacked against us. It means getting a right result for the godly input… not the end of conflict but where things can be changed. Game on!!
So to the second of the two dreams.
I was in a town square and stood on one side of it. The opposite side consisted of a series of buildings, side by side. I understood that each building represented the institutions that had shaped the ‘public square’. They represented institutions such as politics, judiciary, business and trade, the church, etc. While I was looking at them – and my gaze never switched elsewhere – something occurred to all of them at the same time. The fronts (the façades) of each building opened up as if on hinges that swung them forward and then up. At this stage anyone who wished could look right inside them. The inner working (what Walter Wink might call the interiority of the powers?) were visible.
My immediate concern was that the buildings would be very unstable and they or at least the façades would fall forward and the people on that side of the square would be in real danger. I decided my responsibility was to shout the warning, to get away from the buildings and come to safety.
Within a few seconds, while I am preparing to shout the warning, I realise that – although defying physical laws – the buildings were not about to topple. They remained open but many people did not even seem to notice what was being exposed. As I then pondered what is happening and what kind of warning is needed, I heard someone to my left begin a Christian song. I do not recall what the song was but it was well-known and there were enough people in the public square that knew it and they one by one began to join in. In a short while the song was audible in the public square and when it reached a certain volume in the same way that the façades had opened so they now closed back down again. As I ponder what I have seen I heard an audible voice from behind me say:
It is the familiar that restores the status quo,
that brings things back to where they were.
Now I knew what the warning was. At a time when there was exposure and the possibility of a whole new level of integrity and honesty it would be the return to the familiar that would short-circuit the exposure, the cleansing (and in my language of now) the reset.
I cleared my throat, took a deep breath. Then opened my mouth and got the following words out: ‘It is the familiar’. As soon as I go those four words out a person from my right came and stood immediately in front of me, about 5 centimetres from my face, eye-balling me to intimidate me. I knew I had to get the warning out, moved to my left and the scene repeated. This happened three times in total, the fourth time I again moved left, filled my lungs ready, I got the words out ‘It is the familiar…’ and as I got to the end of that fourth word the person (spirit) did not confront me but stepped in front to finish the words with ‘that brings things back to normal.’
Close, but a total conversion of what the original was. The warning was gone, the exposure of reverting to the familiar as the enemy in this time was nullified, the problem was no longer the exposure (re-set) but the interruption to normal life.
I have told that dream in many places, and have often had the reaction that ‘but worship is good’, effectively rebuking me! I can defend it as ‘it was a dream’, but I also want to defend it more strongly than that.
One of the most comforting places for Christians to head to (particularly those in the charismatic tradition) is to go to the worship area. I do not deny that it can re-focus us on Jesus and away from ourselves, but it can also re-engage memory in the sense of recapturing a ‘feel-good’ sense. (Memory is one of the biggest hindrances to faith!) It was in that context (OT-wise) that God said he hates the activity the people were up to, activity that was prescribed for them in God’s law. In the same way the fast that God hated (Is. 58) was the fast from food and devotion to prayer to God (!) when at that time God was requiring a fast that was expressed in social justice. [An aside… contextually, the ‘all our righteousness is as filthy rags’ is not a comment that devalues genuine doing of good, but it is referring to ‘all our religious [and we can expand this to be, ‘activity that has been prescribed’] righteousness is as filthy rags’.]
I am glad in the dream it was the singing of a Christian song that was the issue. It hits hard at the issue of familiarity, the resorting to ‘not sure what to do let’s sing’. There is a time for all things, and therefore a time not for some things. The dream spoke strongly that this is a time to engage and not short circuit the process. [And maybe if there are songs to be sung they are the protest songs…, such as the resisteré song that we all join in with at 8.00pm each evening here. And there are plenty of those resistance Scriptures to pull on!]
I am also glad it was a Christian presence that cocked it all up. I strongly believe that the biggest influence on society is supposed to be those who follow Jesus, not through legislation (top-down) but through so shifting the spiritual atmosphere that there is an inhibiting of certain expressions and a fostering of all that is good. [That deserves a whole blog or ten!]
Of course there will be a strong pull to ‘let’s get back to normal’ form those who benefit from normal. So we will see a rise of unemployment and those on the margins will suffer in this Covid-19 season, but at the same time the big monsters that live off the lives of people will prosper beyond belief. They do not want any changes, let all things continue as ‘normal’.
I am glad to read at least of those talking of a ‘new normal’ provided it is not a refreshed view of what we have currently. A new normal has to align more with the kingdom of God (a New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven) than with a Babylon (that rises up from the earth, seeking to make a name for ourselves).
The next two years are critical. Anything that just brings comfort through familiarity has to be put aside. We do not want things closed back down again.
Much more can be said… but at least I now have the dream up, though maybe not for the first time!
Dreams are a very common occurrence in the narratives of Scripture and play a key part in releasing understanding and revelation. They have proved to be so for Gayle and I on different key occasions, helping us navigate our way through situations and giving clear guidance to what we should be looking for. There are books that can give us some understanding about the world of dreams and how to interpret them, and it is always great to learn from those who have familiarised themselves with the Scriptural and practical side of dreams. I have known Rachel Harris for 20+ years and she has had a passion that we might learn how to harness the power of dreams so that we might be better equipped in our walk with the Lord. She now has a site already up and running, and as it develops will be a great resource to go to on a regular basis. Click on the image and it will take you to the site:
Rachel is both visionary and practical – a great combination! She writes:
Through my site, I will show you how you can start to understand the power of your own dreams and introduce you to ways of starting your journey with dreaming.
In my blog articles, I’ll show you a behind the scenes view of how I use dream interpretation to help people understand the messages and visions they receive…
If what I write below is close to what is here and coming then taking heed could really unlock some health into our world and for the next generation. If we do not heed it…
I have been very exercised about some of the significant global crises that are on the horizon. For the past 3 weeks I have been seeing a very serious economic upheaval. Then a few days ago the global climate report was published with the ‘we have twelve years to address this’. It would be crazy to dismiss this report, as crazy as if I had a group of credited medics in front of me all pushing for the same diagnosis but I argued for something different, someone with no medical expertise. The only, and invalid, reason for dismissing this UN climate report would be because of the economic ramifications to the world we have created.
We have entered a window of time when the façades are opening again, so I wish to repeat a dream I had at the beginning of the decade and in the same season as another dream that seemed to indicate that it was relevant for this decade. For those who have read this before feel free to jump ahead.
I was in a town square and simply standing at one side of it.. I was observing the buildings on the other side and knew that they represented every institution that had shaped the public space as we have it today: education, health, government, business, trade, church, etc. were all present. With no prior warning and all at the same time the fronts of the buildings came froward and then up as if they were on a hinge. Anyone could look inside the buildings. My first thought was I need to warn those on the other side of the square as buildings acting like that will soon become very unstable and fall over, so I considered anyone close was in real danger. I got ready to shout my warning but soon realised that the buildings were not going to fall over. I then held my warning as I tried to work out what was going on. I felt a sense of danger but knew it was deeper than ‘get away from the buildings’. While I am contemplating what the danger was someone began quietly to sing a well-known worship song that focused on the Lordship of Jesus. There were obviously enough people in the public square with Christian faith that a second person added their voice, then a third and so on. The volume of the singing rose some, and then when it reached a certain level, all the buildings simply closed up again. I was very disturbed by what had happened and did not know what I should shout out. While pondering this, trying to get a handle on the appropriate warning I heard an audible voice that came from just behind me (I never looked left nor right but simply focused on the buildings that were across the square.) The audible voice said:
It is the familiar that restores the status quo, that brings everything back to where it was.
Now I knew the warning I needed to get across. The warning was concerning pulling on the familiar, and the shock in the dream of course was that the familiar that caused the façades to close up was the response of singing by those of faith – but familiar is familiar however we define it.
Knowing what the warning now was I cleared my throat, took a deep breath and then shouted out: ‘It is the familiar…’ I got those four words out and a person from my right side stood right in my face, eye-balling me, to intimidate me. I was determined that I would not be put off, so stepped to my left, cleared my throoat, and then once more got the first four words out and the person repeated their intimidating action. This happenned one more time, so three times this person prevented me shouting out the whole warning. I stepped aside once more and again shouted the first four words. This time the person finished my sentence (‘It is the familiar…’) with the words
that brings things back to normal.
Similar but such a false representation.
Given that I consider Scripture calls the body of Christ to act priestly what takes place in the public square is our responsibility. There might be a battle, it might take time for a change to come, we might well also have ‘failures’ as we engage, but the point is we have to step up to our responsibility. We cannot control what happens there, but through our positioning in the world and our petitioning to heaven we can shift the spiritual atmosphere and create boundaries so that there is an opportunity for the growth of righteousness. In the light of that it is not surprising that in the dream it was the response of believers that short-circuited what was happening in the public square. There is evidently a time to sing, and there is a time not to. I say this as I am convinced that the façades are opening up again. We have to learn what the right response is in this season.
An aside on some current reflections – with the acknowledgement they might not be the most relevant and tomorrow they might not even be relevant. Many Western nations are not willing to engage in any level of sanctions against one of the main human rights violators (Saudi Arabia) because they purchase arms from us – this is certainly true of Spain, the UK and the USA. Economics triumphs over ethics. Mammon or God, Jesus said, and although we would be naive to expect some kind of ‘Christian’ standard in a nation we do have the right to expect a level of right action, and nation after nation are putting economics before any humanitarian perspective. In a few days we are in Brazil and will be there for the final vote for the presidency. A figure who seems to have huge support from many Christians is of course pushing a strong agenda that might increase their economy but at what cost to the environment and to the marginalised? No candidate is perfect but to get behind someone because they are pro-a-number-of-moral-issues and pro boosting the economy as if they are God’s candidate is extremely naive. Maybe we can suggest at times a particular approach better accords with our beliefs but it really is time to drop the idea of a God appointed candidate or a Christian nation.
The façades are opening. It is not simply that we will be able to see the bizarre nature of the Western economic system that only operates if there is debt (debt will always result somewhere in slavery and at some measure an inevitable eating tomorrow’s bread today) or the paucity of public political debate but we will be able to see some very deep roots… unless we close our eyes to what is being revealed. The familiar can close the façades down, although I wonder if we (believers) will even be able to do that this time round. And beyond the familiar there are factors that hamper our sight. Those will be found in our commitment to a shallow Gospel that does not challenge nationalism, patriotism, patriarchy and the deep inequalities in society. If we do not heed at this time that the Gospel is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, nor male and female we will find our eyes will not even see what is before us and we will simply look for ‘normal’ to be restored.
What is being exposed in the days that lie ahead (and I am sure much more can be added to this) are:
- greed and consumerism
- protectionism that demonises the ‘other’
The inevitable result will not just be trade wars, but war. It will not simply be a major shift to extreme right wing policies (as we see rise in Europe) but the establishing of a neo-nazi totalitarianism that will eventually be seen not be favourable to faith, including that of the Christian faith.
I suggest we have the next two years, when either a level playing field will be established or we will leave the next generation a Herculean task to bring things forward to something that resembles a God shape for society.
In looking at Pentecost and the background of the tower of Babel narrative there is the implicit message of a boundary being removed. God inserted a boundary at Babel so that there might not be a level of unity whereby ‘whatever they put their mind to they will accomplish’. He did this through the confusion of the languages. At Pentecost where everyone heard them speak in their language there is the gift of languages so that there might be a working, a planning together so that what was in their hearts might indeed be accomplished. Pentecost unlocks the imagination so that possibilities open up.
The imagination is so important. The ‘I have a dream’ speech of Martin Luther King resonates because there is something so strongly of God’s character in it. The dream is of a different future:
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
As believers this is what we bring to the table. Something not based in the Enlightenment ideal of progress, nor in the Marxist ideology of change through conflict, but based on faith in an ‘optimistic’ life-giving God who demonstrated this in Jesus. What we bring is more than a good idea, or simply an ‘imagine all the people’ that Lennon invited us to. We are to bring a faith that true imagination unlocks the activity of heaven. Paul put it like this:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3: 20).
God can do, but we have to do something too – it begins in the imagination, in the asking. What God does is in proportion not to his power, but in proportion to his power that is working among us. That power is not simply measured by how many miracles we can testify to (though that is important) but how much the power of God is transforming our lives from self-centredness to God- and world-centredness. As that takes place and there are imaginations fuelled by God’s loving, redemptive agenda so God shows up. I am convinced it was that intangible, yet very real presence of God that provoked non-believing, with a lot to lose, people, the Asiarchs, to connect to Paul in Ephesus.
If we can move beyond that of ‘saving souls to get them their ticket to heaven’ and see that God is in the business of rescuing people from life as it has been sold to them, to enabling them to engage with his dream and activities of aligning the world with a visible manifestation around us of heavenly values. This is what Luther King articulated.
There is now an incredible battle on for the soul of the world. Conformity, monochromeness that obliterates difference has incredibly become an agenda that wins votes. We were made for difference and it is fear that is the fodder that turns those votes. When the media is in the control of the elite it should not surprise us that it can quickly be labelled the ‘enemy of the people’. Any activity that challenges the status quo becomes sidelined and illegal.
There is something bigger at stake than Britain leaving the EU… the bigger is the reshaping of Europe regardless of levels of government. For any reshaping to be redemptive I consider that the wonderful body of Christ needs to dream again. The future context (and the one that is already here and has been for well over a decade) is so different to the one in which ‘Toronto’ occurred. But ‘Toronto’ prepared us for this. We have been prepared to go places we have never gone before, to no longer exercise in the playground at the set time, but to live with a soul bared, wind in face, looking the conflicts in the eye and proclaim – we still dream.
A while ago I declared a new media is here. It will come. It cannot be silenced, for God is a communicator. I declare today the dream is on. It cannot be stopped. A shift of time is literally now on the EU agenda. From the shift of time comes the setting of ‘true north’. The setting of direction for journey. People have been moving at an alarming and unprecedented rate these past years. The issue now is the setting of true north for people movements in Scripture indicate a great shift in time. There are political and economic decisions that will have to be made… but first has to come the unlocking of the imagination about a future that has not yet been shaped. For this we make room for the artists, the cartoonists, the graffiti-ists, the writers. They will both articulate and make room for the imagination.
The adverse winds are blowing… but I think the dream is still on.
A couple of days ago Gayle posted a dream that opens up some new sight for us. We have to make sure we know the way and seek out who God wants to connect us to who know the ‘how’. We aspire that those connections will be personal relationships but over these past years have also discovered that connections are made in the Spirit, that it is possible to connect with people, even if one never meets them in person, but influences them and impart to them what they need.
Gayle is a prolific dreamer and we have been shaped in our thinking by a number of the dreams she has had, not least of which is our current location. For many years I did not seem to dream, and certainly did not seem to have any ‘God’ dreams. Something shifted mid 90s, and although I do not dream to the same extent as Gayle, there have been a number of dreams that have opened up new sight for me. A recurrent ‘location’ for my dreams is that I am in a specific location, or with people associated with that place. If that is the context for the dream it invariably is either 1) going to have new revelation for me, or 2) those in the dream will simply not get what I am sharing.
Around five years ago I had a dream that was in that location. The background was that we moved to Spain in 2009 and until the beginning of 2014 we did not have a car. There was also a period of many months in the UK when I did not have a car. It was in the year after Sue passed away. I kinda felt that it was the Lord prompting me in that direction, however it was probably more to do with a therapy of slowing down, feet on ground, connecting with the land.
In this dream I went to a gathering that was on the prophetic. I was asked by one of those carrying responsibility for the gathering what was I going to share. I began with
‘God has given me a new mode of transport.’
‘Brilliant’, came the reply, ‘we need these testimonies of how God has supplied new cars.’
I tried to explain repeatedly that I was not talking about a literal vehicle, that in fact we did not even have a car, and I was talking about a whole new way of journeying through life with God, and the ‘car-lessness’ was simply a symbol of that. No matter how many times I tried to explain it, he did not get it. He then went on to enthusiastically introduce me explaining the wonderful news of God’s provision of a new car for us and how great an encouragement that will be. I spoke, sought to explain that this was not about the provision of a car, but of a whole new way of journeying. At the end the same guy came back to again underline God’s provision of a car!! (Maybe the dream was to show me that I probably need a few lessons in communication!)
Assuming that the dream was not about my communication skills… There is a level of the prophetic that unlocks provision, and the testimonies of ‘God provided this’ are vital. God is the God who shows up with manna, and a whole lot more. There is though a level of the prophetic that does not negate the personal and practical provision, but does not always go down to that level, nor accept fulfilments at that level. We can have new transport, and have no car. We can start with a car, lose it, but have gained new transport.
I suggest two immediate aspects from the dream:
- the prophetic has to be pulled up a whole level from that of evident personal or even corporate provision, and the resulting testimonies of ‘success’
- the prophetic has to go deeper into the realities of incarnated living.
We can receive new (literal) transport but little changes in how we travel. Our comfort level might go up, but we are doing the same old same old. The transport has changed but nothing has changed. Or we can embrace a new way of walking – if without a car – slower and more reflective, letting the connection to the land speak to us. We can gain new sight from the landscape which will need fresh gifts of interpretation. The mid 90s marked something of a great shift for many, and I can certainly see a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ from that time, but the mid 90s are some 20 years ago. A lot of provision was given. A lot of answered prayers with ‘new cars’ showing up and testimonies being shared, but I suspect that the Lord wanted to take us deeper with / without a new car.
In the time, particularly in the UK, of not owning a car, my movement was slower. I had time to pray. I could not rush from one setting to the next. If I had an appointment to meet someone I really had to think how long would it take me to get there. I could not do one more thing, arrive in a hurry a few minutes late. I am not sure how good I was at reflecting but I think I began to see that we had to look at the landscape all around and ask for interpretation. For those who have dug deeply, since the mid 90s, into that aspect I suspect they have less testimonies of God’s provision of the brand new car, are not going to be flavour of the month to fill the next conference, have been dis- / re-located so that they are seeing more of the landscape rather than just the arbitrary pausing points.
The landscape has shifted. It is not primarily about the provision, but the release of resources for the job in hand, for the workers in the field. And again to pull on the theme I have pursued for a while, that of ‘royal priesthood’, those workers are not the full-time Christian workers, but the workers, and the field is the world. Prophetic words can have personal fulfilment, but I think there is even something deeper than personal fulfilment, it is fulfilment that brings about change beyond our personal sphere. Fulfilments where we have journeyed with the word about the ‘new car’, and in the journey have discovered new transportation and as a result provision for others that would not have been released otherwise.
It seems far easier to embrace the wonderful stories of God’s evident practical provision, and long may those stories abound, but we also need to embrace, and help others embrace the journey that might not give us that story to tell, but enable others to have a story to tell. Israel was promised a land, and they fought over the land and its boundaries… At one level they contested for fulfilment, and in the process missed the bigger picture. Paul blew into that promise saying God promised Abraham the world, thus making the land all-but superfluous. There seems to have been a lot of fights over boundaries… time to let go and to tenaciously hold on to fulfilments way beyond what we thought would be the fulfilment.
Had a cool dream:
So, I met some people who knew how to do stuff but didn’t know the way.
I said, ‘I know the way but I don’t know how to do stuff!’
They said,’That’s why we need you.’
I said, ‘That’s why I need you.’
So I found the way, the quickest way, to a door.
And we went through the door.
Immediately, I clapped twice and said, ‘I’m so excited. I’m so excited!’
The guy said, ‘You keep doing that!’
And I said, ‘I know. I can’t help it. It’s automatic…’ And,’Look over there! The lion is on that screen on the wall.’
There was a lion on a TV screen on the wall.
(This seemed also to be apart of this repetition: clap, clap, I’m so excited, I’m so excited and there’s a lion over there….)
Then I said, ‘Maybe we can so something here..?’ And I was aware that I’d also said this before but had changed the phrase from ‘Maybe I can do something here?/Maybe God can do something here?’ to this time saying ‘Maybe WE can do something here?’
So we started to carefully look at all the people in the room.
And at this point I realise that it looks a bit like the stock exchange….maybe.
Camping in the pine trees on the most southerly geography of continental Europe – further south than a couple of African cities – was where we were the night before heading home. Being eaten by mosquitos,in spite of mosquito net was less than ideal!
Extreme points are often liminal spaces. In ancient times they had myths attached to them and likewise today there can be new age spirituality attached to them. With Jacob who fled his home we read that he had a major shaping dream at one of those places, a boundary place. In the dream he encountered angels, and likewise on his return he encountered an angelic meeting point. We might add to the liminal space that it was a strategic moment in his journey.
In coming to Tarifa we had now travelled as far west as we were going, and of course as far south as we could go. We had one more place to travel to (I hope to post on that tomorrow) and this would take us on the road past Gibraltar, the last place on this journey from Lugo via Santo Toribio (from May this year). Beyond Gibraltar Morocco might well pull us, and also in our travels the era of the Second republic (1931 to the Civil War) has come into focus. How can it not when for example 4000 of the priests in Madrid were killed. There will always be a next journey, but major phase of this journey ends on September 10th in Gibraltar.
In Tarifa the Lord gave a dream that had many parts to it, much of it relating to the planned time in Gibraltar. There were also tangential encouragements to Gayle and I in it. For example, we met a verbally hostile group who were not impressed with what we were planning and challenging us about our belief in God and how he could send suffering. They referenced one city where God was about to send judgement. We responded with a ‘God is not like that’ kind of response. Eventually even the most hostile calmed down, and the response was ‘we have never heard this about God in Spain’. Very encouraging. Beyond that one of the people in the crowd (a neighbour) said that he understood what we were about to do in Gibraltar and that he too had had a dream, then he went on to say ‘But do not forget Badajoz and the life threatening storm that is coming there tonight’. It was a heart cry.
The dream both helped give a strong focus on Gibraltar and re-shaped the next road trip which begins on Sunday.
Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia calling them over. His dream re-shaped their journey, when twice he found himself pushing for doors that did not open (Acts 16:8-10). I have often wondered about the vision of the man, for the open door he goes through is that of a woman, Lydia. Maybe he did meet ‘a man’, maybe the Philippian jailor was that man, maybe the vision got him there.
We will head to Badajoz over the next two weeks. We had forgotten it, mainly because it does not feature highly on the expulsions of the Muslims. It has a history as per elsewhere of being conquered during the ReConquista, and being a border city has been a strategic place of warfare and conflict, but expulsion-wise it has not stood out.
Badajoz has opened us up to Portugal, and as we were planning these next two weeks we were looking at Portugal and asking ‘when’. The next morning an email came in from David Vincent (London). He had just been in Portugal in the region of the main battle in the ReConquista (Ourique) and suggested that there was a connection to what we were doing. And then… a journey we made in July 2012 came back to mind which again highlighted that a door was opening now for us into southern Portugal. We now leave next Sunday with a re-shaped set of places to travel to. We will not forget Badajoz en route to Gibraltar.
Maybe we will find a strong ReConquista / expulsion connection. Maybe we will come over to help ‘a man’ and find ‘a woman’. Maybe but we are grateful for dreams and seek to take them seriously.
(We do have some thoughts on the significance of Badajoz for the era we are praying into, but are always surprised by what one discovers on the ground. No two geographies are the same. We are grateful for the connection in Tarifa and are wondering if we should sleep there again the night before we go to Gibraltar.)