No Bible, No Glasses, No Outline

I have recurring dreams where I am back in school, and I always seem to have some sort of crisis.  I have forgotten my books, forgotten an assignment, forgotten the combination to my locker, forgotten where my classroom is, and forgotten to study for a test.  Feeling unprepared and unequipped is the stuff of nightmares.  Translate all that to adulthood and there were years I dreamt of traveling to a speaking or singing event and not having what I needed. Or, not knowing I had been booked to do something that was mere minutes away from happening.  

This was the theme of a dream last night. In it, I was getting ready for church.  My husband, Ron, assured me that he was praying for me as I got ready to speak that morning.  I said, ‘Speak where?’ He said, ‘At our church.’  I had completely forgotten.  I was totally unprepared.  I threw on some clothes, grabbed one of the bibles on my desk, and as Ron and I drove to church, I remembered what topic I’d been assigned.  I was to describe the Word of God with three words that began with the letter ‘p’.   

Several minutes later, I walked into church and went to sit in a corner of the lobby to pray and try to put something together. I reached inside my bag for my Bible and then panicked as I realized I’d picked up the copy with the smallest print.  It was hard to read it – even with glasses.  I reached inside my bag for those but there were none to be found!  Then, I reached for my small notebook but realized that if I made notes, it would be hard to read them without my glasses.  Disaster.

I made my way to the front of the auditorium and joined the pastor.  He smiled and said he was looking forward to what I was going to share.  “Me too,” I thought.  As the last worship song played, I sighed and surrendered to the Spirit.  Suddenly, I was strangely at peace.  I realized that I would do the very thing that I loved to do more than anything else.  I would listen to the Spirit and let Him take me to places inside where the things I treasure are stored.  The contents would bubble out with great joy, like a flood.  

I had no trouble finding the first ‘p’.  The words came effortlessly.

  1. The Word of God is priceless.

So many have an encounter with Jesus as they near the last few hours of their lives.  If they are conscious, they are eager to talk about it with us.  We might ask them, “What did Jesus say?”  His words, whether spoken to a saint on the eve of his homegoing or written on the pages of the scriptures, have a value that is unmatched by anything else in this world.  If my home were on fire, the first thing I would grab when I left the house would be my study Bible that I have used since 1998.  I have had it re-bound twice because it has fallen apart.  Priceless!

  • The Word of God is precise.  

No matter what I’m living at any given moment, the scripture God unveils to me is specific to my need.  It is not generalized, nor vague.  I’m not left to guess how it applies.  As described in Psalm 119, God’s instruction comes as a customized arrow to my heart, intersecting my story.  When the arrow alights upon my spirit, understanding comes like a flash of lightning.  Truth opens the door to spacious places, to nuances that go on for miles.  They are as plentiful as I have time to explore.  Precise.

  • The Word of God is personal.   

It is not theoretical.  It’s not the stuff that makes up dry textbooks.  While the material is intellectually interesting and able to stretch the mind beyond its ability to comprehend, it is its personal nature that makes the impact.  I shared several stories where the Spirit of God had ‘personalized’ a word, a ‘word’ that could only be understood when two people have a relationship;  one with no walls, only trust.  His word has access to places that have been, up to that point, untouched.  Personal.

The forty-minute sermon flew.  I had too much to say in so short a time.  When I woke up, I realized that sometimes the best sermons are the ones that are unrehearsed, the springs of water that flow out of the depths of our spirits.  Powerful to hear.  Wondrous to experience. 

Jesus predicted all of this – outside of dreams.  He said, “He who believeth in me, from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”  John 7:38

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