Oct 30 2015

Why We Have Nightmares

Published by under Life

It’s never a pack of koala bears chasing you in your dreams. I’ve never been playfully harassed by a litter of newborn puppies as I slumbered.

No, in our dreams, we’re usually chased by some person (often a shadowy figure) intent on ending our life. Even more peculiar… there rarely seems to be any REASON why we’re being chased. During the dream, we have this emotionally powerful question inside us which is never answered: “WHAT DID I DO? WHY AM I BEING CHASED?”

So why is it we have nightmares?

“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Sleep is seemingly one of the most peaceful times a human being can experince. But not even sleep is secure from satan. Even there, he and his demons seek to disrupt us. In fact, the suffix “-mare” in the word “nightmare” is an Old English word that described a goblin who tormented people in their sleep. Our ancestors knew the spiritual dimension of dreams.

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Prowling. Chasing. This is what satan does. He intimidates. He terrifies. In our dreams, we haven’t done anything wrong at all. Just as a dog chases sticks, satan chases humans. It’s his nature.

When we chase kids around, it’s fun. We lumber after them to their delight and shout, “I’m gonna get you!” even as they’re yelling, “Betcha can’t get me!”

Kids don’t fear being caught in a game of chase. They know it’s fun. But when satan chases, it’s different. He has malicious intent. Once he catches someone, he destroys them.

And so most of us are terrified of being caught by death. The bible tells us that a result of Jesus coming to earth was to crush satan’s chokehold of psychological warfare.

“[Jesus] shared in [our] humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Slavery is a 24 hour-a-day experience. And satan tries to hold us captive in a similar way – even in our sleep. Jesus the Rescuer comes to free us from the wiles, schemes, traps, and brutality of satan.

Jesus comes to chase away the one chasing us.
It was David who was trapped in a cave and appealed to God for help in the Psalms as King Saul chased after him and tried to end his life.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” (Psalm 57:1)

Jesus is our protection from satan. Our soul’s garage is God. Let our scary dreams be a reminder that satan wants us destroyed. And let us remember we don’t need to wield a sword against satan ourselves. This is God’s battle. We just experience it. His deliverance from evil and pain is a cause for happiness.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7)

Oh, Lord, keep us safe from satan. We don’t need a life of comfort, God. That isn’t what we’re after. We want the full life Jesus talked about. We don’t really understand what that means or looks like, Lord. But we want it because it comes from your good hand. We’re lost and lonely and in trouble without you, God. Thank you for sending Jesus to chase away the enemy who chases us.

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Oct 24 2015

Don’t Hate Yourself.

Published by under Life

Please be patient with yourself. Trying to quit something? Trying to become something? Trying to heal from pain? Consider this… The beautiful mountains of our world didn’t develop overnight. The Appalachian Mountains, for example, took 100,000 MILLENIA to become what they are today. 100,000,000 years.
And even though our society moves fast, it doesn’t mean human beings can change at society’s speed.
You know, it takes about 270 days for a woman to carry a child to birth. Guess how long it takes a female rat? 3 WEEKS. 21 days. More majesty almost always takes more time.
Occasionally, God waves the wand and does a miracle in a moment. It doesn’t often happen that way. So be patient with yourself. God is. Do you know why love is patient? Because God is. “He is patient with you” (1 Peter 3:9). He knows your struggle to quit, heal, and become. Don’t set a pace God himself doesn’t demand. Rome wasn’t built in a day – and how much greater our souls than Rome!

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Oct 21 2015

The Overflow

Published by under Uncategorized

Have you ever seen oil or water come shooting out of the ground when a drilling rig reaches a pocket of liquid below the earth’s surface? The liquid is under such great pressure from the weight of the earth above that it comes rocketing out of the new pathway created for it.

The same is true of the human heart. As the pressure of life squeezes us, our mouth acts as a pathway to discover what’s inside. What comes rocketing out of us is directly related to what is in our heart. “The things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart,” said Jesus. (Matthew 15:18)

And, Christians, beware of your Christian leaders who rarely mention Jesus or God’s kingdom. Driven inside by accolades, admiration, accomplishment, praise, ego, and insecurity, their language indicates where their heart’s allegiance lay. Don’t be swept away in the non-sense. “Hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:16).

Let us remember that productivity does not guarantee faithfulness. Sometimes productivity is just people getting a bunch of things done. May we spend our precious and difficult hours on this earth under the purifying pressure of God’s good hand and not the pressure of endless deadlines that loom over us like an oppressor. Oh, Lord, help us live!

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Oct 16 2015

Football and People

Published by under Uncategorized

A few years ago, my buddies and I went to a concert. After being inside the gate for about 15 minutes, a bouncer came over and told my buddy he had to take off his red hat because people might think he was in a gang. My buddy refused and turned to talk away. The bouncer then took his massive MagLite flashlight and cracked my friend in the side of the head, knocking him out. My friend never saw it coming.

In layman’s terms, we call this a sucker punch and it infuriates us. In legal terms, it’s called assault. I imagine you have some anger inside yourself about this story.

Now consider this. College and professional football is becoming almost unwatchable at times. The strength and power of the players means that at least once per game, we’re seeing someone go out with a concussion or other major injury. Too many of these hits are occurring on plays where the injured player is defenseless (i.e. not able to protect themselves from a hit). It’s no different than a sucker punch. And yet, I can hear the refrain from people who disagree, “This is a violent game and you’re signing up for hard hits when you play.”

Then what need is there for any rules involving physical contact? Chop blocks? That should be part of the game. Hits in the back? That should be part of the game. Horsecollar tackles? That should be part of the game.
Except they aren’t. Why? Because players get severely injured in those instances.

These defenseless plays are no different. Guys are going down with concussions and season-ending injuries. And it’s affecting them for the rest of their lives!

People say, “Well, back in the day when I played…” Back in the day when we played, we weighed 170 and ran the 40 in 5.5 seconds. These guys are beasts! It’s simple physics of force and deceleration that the way they hit each other now inflicts far more damage than it used to.

My concern about this isn’t logic in the consistency of rules or even protection of players (although that’s part of it). This is a matter of our humanity, brothers and sisters! These men are playing a game. It’s a game. And we care more about our team and the penalty they take (or the “purity” of the game) than we do about the life of the other person. Dude goes down with a concussion and people are in the stands yelling, “THIS IS BULL CRAP!” They’re booing the call when the player who got blown up is lying unconscious on the ground.

We need to be careful in this country. There is no created thing on earth with more honor and glory than another human being. As our games change, our care for people needs to keep pace.

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