"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
January 25, 2017
Last week I had a dream, that at the time was very disturbing and upsetting. It's a tad graphic, and I'm going to share it with you (just hang in there with me -- there is a point!); but will preface it by saying that it was not R or X rated. I knew what was going on, without seeing all the details.
I dreamed that there was a prostitute on her way to meet a client. There was a man standing by the roadway who was calling out to her. He told her that he loved her; wanted to marry her; would protect her, and offered her safety and a good home. She told him that she needed to do that one last job, because she had a debt that needed paid and this would give her the necessary money. He told her that he would gladly pay her debt, if only she would go with him. The man begged her to please walk away from prostitution and accept his love.
The woman then entered a house and met a man, who wanted her to have three-way sex, with him and his wife. (Yes, it was disgusting; but keep reading!) They did so, and afterwards, an older lady walked into the room. She said that she had never seen anything like that and offered to pay the prostitute double what the man had initially paid her, if they would do it again, so that she could watch. The prostitute really didn't want to, but the offer of the additional money was enticing, so she agreed. Afterwards, she was walking away from the house and the man was following her, trying to entice her to stay and tempting her with various offers.
Then I woke up. Honestly, I was sickened by my dream! I got up to use the bathroom, and sat in there praying and pleading the blood of Jesus over my mind; rebuking Satan from influencing my dreams; begging God to wipe away anything that would cause me to have those type of dreams...... I thought, "Why in the world would I dream something like that?!"
I went back to bed and fell asleep again. When our alarm went off and woke me up, I was praying and then realized that in my sleep, God had given me the interpretation of that first dream. As awful as it was, God had given it to me for a reason and there was great significance in the meaning of that dream.
First of all, the prostitute represented many who struggle with the stronghold that sin has on their life. Jesus is calling out to them, professing His great love for them and urging them to turn aside from their sinful life and come to Him. He offers not only love, but also freedom and protection. He promises to meet their needs and take care of them. But so many think that they must participate in whatever sin it is that has them bound, one more time, then they will go back, repent, and be reconciled to Jesus.
But once they walk away and keep going their own way, they find that Satan will entice them over and over again to stay where they're at; taking them deeper into sin than they ever wanted to go, and trying to keep them entrapped. In fact, they are miserable and very unhappy. They want to walk away and be freed, but the temptation to remain where they're at overshadows the promise of freedom and all that God offers. Perhaps they think, "Just one more day... one more time of indulging in this sin... I can walk away later when my life and my situation are better... I'm too weak..." So they do things that they don't want to do, and those chains of bondage become stronger and tighter, making it more and more difficult to walk away permanently. Jesus never walks away from them; they walk away from Him.
The truth is, just as the shepherd goes after the lost sheep to bring them back safely to the fold, Jesus will continually go after those who stray from Him. It's His will that none should perish, that all come to repentance.
Secondly, there are many christians who would never dream of or even consider prostituting themselves. They would never partake of evil or ungodly acts. But, like the older woman in my dream who didn't want to participate herself, but offered money to watch; that's what we do. We pay to watch movies, pay for cable or satellite TV, pay for Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu and watch sinful acts. We watch people partake of sins that we would never dream of actually becoming involved in ourselves. We will watch couples having extra-marital affairs, two people of the same sex kissing or making out or marrying (sometimes it's gays and lesbians; and sometimes movies or shows will just throw in a random scene of this taking place), unmarried people going from one sexual relationship to another, drugs, references to porn being glorified as a normal way of life, sex scenes, sometimes partial nudity being shown..... and think nothing about it.
If we do feel bad or are convicted, many times we will try and justify it. "Well, that's just how the world is.... you can't watch anything on TV or see a movie without that type of stuff in it.... it really has no affect on me or my thinking.... I'm an adult and can handle it.... it could be worse.... other than a few things like that thrown in, I really like the show.... I'm not actually doing any of those things, I'm just watching.... etc..."
In my dream, the older lady didn't personally partake of the sinful activity, instead she paid to be an observer; so does that make her action acceptable? If we don't personally get involved in any of the sins that we watch, whether it be in real life or at the movies or on TV or in books/magazines that we read, does that make it okay? What do you think that God thinks about that? Something to think about!
Psalm 101:3 (NLT) says, "I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them." That verse in the Amplified version says, "I will set no worthless or wicked thing before my eyes. I hate the practices of those who fall away [from the right path]; It will not grasp hold of me."
It's really no secret that sin and evil practices abound in Hollywood. Time and time again, they have blatantly (which means openly and unashamedly) spat in the face of God and everything that He has declared holy. They glorify every sinful practice and lifestyle, and flaunt it without apology; and seemingly no conscience. They use their position to try and influence the American people to accept the very things that God has declared as being sin. Perhaps many christians don't like it or agree, but they continue to support that type of behavior by watching the movies and shows that depict ungodliness.
I wonder what would happen if every time we watched or read something we asked ourselves, "Would I be doing this, if I could see Jesus sitting here beside me? Is it something I'd be comfortable with Him watching or reading with me? If the answer is no, then don't do it. The truth is, Jesus really is there with us all at times and is all-knowing and all-seeing.
We need to wake up! What God has declared as unholy, we need to declare unholy. What God has spoken and said is an abomination to Him, needs to be an abomination to us. What God declares as sin, needs to be considered sin by us. Stop justifying and making excuses and allowing Satan to keep us deceived into thinking that condoning sin, whether it's in personally being involved ourselves or in watching others be involved, is okay and acceptable to God.
This dream has been a wake up call to myself. It's made me more aware of what I'm putting into my mind, through my eyes. I can't partake of ungodliness, while trying to live a holy life. If I want God to accomplish great things in and through me, then I can't clutter my mind with anything that is contrary to His Word. I have to choose to say no. I have to choose to either turn off the TV or change channels when something is shown that would be offensive to God, or watch things that are clean and don't depict sin as being okay. How you respond is your choice.
"God made me this way. So there must not be anything wrong with indulging in my weakness." Right? I've heard this about several different kinds of sin. I've even thought this myself, but would never have said it out loud. In my head, it seems to be a fair excuse. But out loud, it just sounds stupid.
Saying "That's just the world we live in," doesn't really work any better. It's an excuse that might cover over something wrong, but doesn't really get rid of it.
It looks like most people have some temptation they have to face. But that doesn't make it fine. God's mercy is new every morning. That is great, but doesn't make it fine to embrace the temptation, either.
We can find one excuse after another, but it really comes down to: do we want the sin more, or to please God more?
French Onion Soup
1 stick Butter
4 whole large Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
1 cup Dry White Wine (optional)
4 cups low-sodium Chicken Broth
4 cups Beef Broth
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Gruyere Cheese, grated
French Bread or Baguette, sliced
Preheat oven to 400.
Melt butter in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add thinly sliced onion and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Place soup pot into the oven, with the lid slightly ajar to ensure the onions will brown. Allow onions to cook in the oven for 1 hour, stirring at least once during the cooking process so onions won't stick and burn.
Remove pot from oven and place back on stovetop over medium heat. Stir, scraping off all the brown, flavorful bits. Turn off heat and pour in wine (if using). Turn heat back to medium. Cook wine for five minutes, allowing it to reduce. Add broths, Worcestershire Sauce, and minced garlic; reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Butter one side of the bread slices and broil over low heat, allowing bread to brown and become crispy.
When soup is ready, ladle into ovenproof bowl or ramekin. Place crispy bread on top, and then sprinkle generously with grated Gruyere cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.
My niece has two daughters, ages 6 and 9. My niece was cooking dinner a few nights ago, when the youngest came in to tattle about her sister looking at Five Nights at Freddie's pictures on the school bus; which their parents have banned their kids from playing or looking at. (Apparently, this is a creepy new game that kids are playing that causes nightmares and other negative effects.)
Mom: "What do you want me to do? Get her in trouble?"
Mom: "I think you should go pray for your sister to guard her heart."
Daughter: "Ugh. No!" (She walks away.)
Then the oldest daughter from the living room yells, "Mom! She's not praying for me!"
The impossibility of your situation doesn't disqualify God.
That's the very thing that makes Him God! - Christine Caine
We love you!
Loretta & Jon