Monday, March 12, 2018


Recently, I had a dream in which I was directing a play. There were several actors standing on the stage awaiting direction for the last rehearsal. Behind them was a nondescript painted set. The actors had memorized their assigned lines, but for whatever reason, a few actors were mocking the child actor who only had a small number of lines. 

Opening night, the packed theater watched as the curtain lifted, revealing the actors standing in their places before a picturesque backdrop. They performed their parts; the play ended; and each performer took a bow. However, only the boy who said a few lines received a standing ovation. I then awoke from the dream. After seeking God for revelation, He showed me the following:

The stage represents a platform for God's Word. The position of director represents pastors and teachers who teach, lead, and guide. The actors, who were prepared with their lines,  represent Christians who study and know the Word, so that they are ready to speak truth into the lives of others. The last rehearsal represents the last days. The non-descript, painted backdrop represents the untold Gospel story. The picturesque backdrop represents the telling of the living Gospel, which brings vibrant truth, freedom, renewal, and rebirth to lives. The audience represents the lost, hurting, broken, and spiritually hungry, who come to receive. Those actors, who did not belittle the child actor, represent Christians who see others as equal in the eyes of God. Those who were critical of the boy represent the hypocrisy of Christians who glory in their abilities and quickly judge others. However, when all the actors (Christians) put aside differences and became united in one purpose, they were able to convey the story (the message of the Gospel).

Why do you suppose the young boy was the only one who received a standing ovation? God is not concerned with the size of a person's talent, abilities, or experience, because He is the Giver of those things. Therefore, we are not to boast in our accomplishments, but we are to boast in the Lord and what He has done. (Proverbs 27:2;1 Corinthians 31:1) 

God is more concerned with our willingness, obedience, the intentions and motives of our heart, and the effort that we put forth in representing Him. While others may see little or no value to our contributions to His Kingdom, He is applauding our faithfulness and obedience to Him.

Since becoming a Christian, God has, at various times, used symbolic dreams to communicate, to encourage, instruct, and correct. By now you might be asking, "How do I know if a dream is from God?" 

Dreams given by God are very detailed, often puzzling, and sometimes disturbing. Upon awakening, God's Holy Spirit urges our spirit to seek Him for interpretation. This is not an anomaly. Many of us have had spiritual dreams that we passed off as simply weird. Yet we couldn't dismiss the dream from our thoughts.

A normal/carnal dream is disjointed, has no order and only bits and pieces of the dream are remembered. A spiritual dream progresses in an orderly fashion from one relatable scene to another and is remembered for its extreme detail.

Throughout Scripture, we can find numerous examples of God speaking to people through symbolic dreams. Here are two examples:

Jacob (later named Israel) had a symbolic dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. Above it stood the Lord Who said:
       "I AM the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants (the Jewish nation) the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples of the earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you (the Jewish nation) back to this land (Israel). I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" (Genesis 28:12-15). The fulfillment of that dream began May 14, 1948, and continues today as the Jewish people, from every corner of the world, are returning to Israel.

During King Nebuchadnezzar's reign, he had troubling dreams and couldn't sleep, so he summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they told him it was impossible to tell the king his dream, he had them all executed. However, the Prophet Daniel prayed, and during the night, God revealed the mystery of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in a vision. He then told the king his dream and its meaning (Daniel 2:24-49).

Next, there are dreams that give explicit instructions, such as when an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). And then again, when Joseph was warned in a dream to escape to Egypt and stay until further instruction (Matthew 2:13).

Pilate's wife, prompted by a dream, sent an urgent message to Pilate stating that Jesus was innocent and must be freed (Matthew 27:19).

Not all dreams are of God. Some result from thoughts, concerns, and fears, while others come from the enemy to torment and deceive. But Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27). God speaks in many ways. That is why He tells us to listen and be sensitive to His voice, which is the Holy Spirit counseling and instructing us.

God is preparing His Church for things to come. However, in that preparation, He cautions us not to look to astrologers, sorcerers, palm readers, spiritualist, or other worldly sources. Only the Holy Spirit is able to unlock and reveal the deepest secrets to us.

God's Word tells us that in the last days, "I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy: your young men will see visions; your old men will dream dreams. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy (Acts 2:17-18 NIV)

God is pouring out His Spirit upon His people and speaking to us. "Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches" (Revelations 2:29 NLT). Are we listening?

Father, awaken me to Your promptings and messages through Your Word and through prophetic dreams and visions. Give me understanding of those things that You would have me know, so that You may use me. Give me courage and confidence to use whatever talents You have given me and resources that You provide to draw others to You. For the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37-38 NIV). In Jesus name, amen.

Monday, March 5, 2018


I watched the funeral of "America's Pastor," the Reverend Billy Graham, and was deeply touched as each of his children honored their father's final request to preach his "last crusade." With passionate, revealing, amusing, and profound words, they interwove their comments with the enduring and powerful message of the Cross—For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). It was a joyful celebration, because their "daddy" was where he had longed to be—in his eternal home with God the Father.

Graham's youngest son's brief but far-reaching message captured my attention and resonated deep within my spirit: 

       "I just want you to know that my father was FAT. He was faithful, he was available, and he was teachable. I just want you to remember that—faithful, available, and teachable. May we all be that way."

Billy Graham was the embodiment of the acronym FAT—Faithful, Available, and Teachable. The following is the New Oxford American Dictionary's definitions of those three faith-defining words:

FAITHFUL — to be loyal, contant, and steadfast. Are we steadfast and constant in our pursuit of God, His Word, and His purposes?
AVAILABLE — able to be used or obtained; to be at someone's disposal. Are we available to God whenever, wherever, and however He leads and directs?
TEACHABLE — someone who is open to being taught. Are we open to God's instructions and to the teaching of His Word?
Listed below are a few examples of what FAT means in relation to God's Word?

Faithfulness of God's People: 
—"Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years"(Genesis 5:22)
—"Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God." (Genesis 6:9).
God's Faithfulness:
—"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments." (Deuteronomy 7:9)
—"...the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one." (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
—"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

Rewards for Faithfulness:
—"The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness (I Samuel 26:23)
—"A faithful person will be richly blessed..." (Proverbs 28:20)
God Encourages Faithfulness:
—"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart" (Proverbs 3:3).
—"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12)
—"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22)
—"Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown." (Revelations 2:10)
—"Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness." (Joshua 24:14)

Our Availability:
—"The Lord called Samuel and he answered, 'Here am I'" (1 Samuel 3:4). Samuel was mightily used of God, because he made himself available.
When God calls us to do something for Him, do we obey or do we feign ignorance?
—"For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding 'Yes!' And through Christ our Amen ascends to God for His glory" (2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT). AMEN means YES. Do we say "yes" to God?
—"I desire to do Your will, my God..." (Psalm 40:8 NIV). Is His will our desire?
—"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'" (Isaiah 6:8 ESV)
God's Availability:
—"Know you not that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49)  Jesus was available to His Father and walked perfectly in His will. Are we available and ready to be used by God?
—"The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth." (Psalm 145:18).

Every Christian should be available to God for whatever He asks of them. Sometimes that demands sacrifice and often stepping out of our comfort zone. Obedience requires a Joshua mentality that faces fears, insecurities, the unknown, and then responds in faith with a firm, Yes God(Read Joshua 1:1-9)

—"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid." (Proverbs 12:1 NIV).
—"Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget My words or turn away from them." (Proverbs 4:5 NIV)
—"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6 NIV)

Oh that all people would be faithful to God, available to Him, and teachable. Sadly, we live in a world that is breaking down and sliding into a dark abyss because of rebellion, unfaithfulness, unteachable spirits, and hardened hearts. Thus God is looking to FAT Christians who will offer the hope of Christ and His truth to a desperately hurting and lost world. Anne Graham Lotz made the same heartfelt appeal to Christians:

       "My prayer on this day of his move to Our Father's House is that his death will be a rallying cry. That tens of thousands of pastors, teachers, evangelists, and ordinary men and women will rise up to take his place. That they will take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race and faithfully pass it on to those whom they come in contact."

As ambassadors for Christ, God makes His appeal through us that on behalf of Christ, we implore others to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). May we all be FAT.

FATHER, help me to be FAT for Your Kingdom. May I always be faithful to You and Your Word. Give me courage to be available to You for whatever You ask of me, and may I always be teachable in learning from You and Your Word. In Jesus name, amen.

Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!
(Psalm 107:2 NLT)


Monday, February 26, 2018


Saint Anne's Church, located adjacent to the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, is a beautiful 12th-century crusader church, erected over the traditional site of the birthplace of Mary's mother. Most of what remains today is original.

Saint Anne's acoustics, designed for Gregorian chant, are so perfect that the church is virtually a musical instrument to be played by the human voice. The acoustics are most amazing when used by a soprano or a tenor solo voice.

On the morning of April 25, 2013, I experienced a miracle in Saint Anne's Church. Our group had just heard a teaching on healing. As others sat and talked, I felt led to locate a quiet place to pray and found a step that led down into the Pool's ancient ruins. With health issues and an impending neck surgery, I had been praying for healing. However, that morning, as I sat on the step, my prayer was different.

Fifteen years prior, I had been a worship leader for five years. God had gifted me with a voice and talent that was not of my own making. However, to my dismay, my voice began experiencing problems and over time, I could no longer sing. Specialists told me that my vocal cords were scarred from acid reflux. Their diagnosis was devastating, because one of my greatest joys had been worshipping God in song. 

Over the years, I prayed for healing. After seven years of unanswered prayer, I asked God why He hadn't healed me. His answer stunned and devastated me, "You love the music more than Me." With tears of remorse, I repented and told the Lord that I would accept His will. 

Eight more years passed, and as I sat on that step of the Pool, I prayed a simple prayer. "Lord, You know that I have asked for physical healing for my body, but more than that, I long to lift my voice to You in worship. If my heart is now right before You, will You restore the gift of song to me? I will accept Your will."

I joined the others as they made their way into the church that had quickly filled with tourists. Our tour guide directed us to the front rows, where she began to lead us in worship. As we were finishing our last song, the Lord spoke into my spirit, "I want you to sing The Lord's Prayer to Me."  Stunned, I answered, "Lord, You know I can't sing." He repeated, "I want you to sing The Lord's Prayer to Me." Suddenly, a current coursed through my body. Trembling, I knew that I MUST sing. In obedient faith, I opened my mouth and began singing an octave higher than I had ever sung. My voice resonated and echoed throughout that glorious church. When I finished, I realized that I had been given my miracle.

People commented, "It sounded like an angel singing." "Who was it?"  "Was it a recording?" With a smile and a hug from our tour coordinator, she answered, "That was Joy."  Yes, that moment was pure "joy."

A professional opera singer and teacher, who was traveling with the group, told me that I had sung coloratura mezzo-soprano, which is the highest and most perfect soprano known. All I knew was that I was overwhelmed with gratitude. 

The most remarkable miracle was not the restoration of my voice. The greatest miracle was the change that had taken place within my heart. I had been unaware of my prideful heart, but because of God's great love for me, He had withheld the one thing that had captured my heart and separated me from His will. When I recognized my sin of pride and humbly repented, He restored the gift.

We must be very careful to check our motives and what we value most. I had thought that I loved God with all of my heart, but somewhere along the way, my heart became enamored with the gift, unaware that I had esteemed the gift greater than the Giver.

We serve and worship what we value most. Where is God in our daily activities? Is He first when we awake to a new day? Do we pursue Him throughout our day, or is He a casual afterthought, a simple punctuation at the end of our day? We must seek Him with ALL OF OUR HEART. He doesn't want our leftovers.

God once showed me in a dream a house that had many rooms, and each room had a door. The doors to the rooms were opened, except for one room that was locked. I was puzzled by this and inquired of the Lord. He answered that our hearts are like homes with many rooms with doors. The opened doors are those places in our hearts that we have surrendered to God. Locked rooms represent those things that we tenaciously cling to and refuse to relinquish to Him.

When we pray and wait and no answers come, it is tempting to ask God if He really cares, or if He is even listening. Be assured; He cares and is listening, but because He is more concerned with our heart attitude, He may withhold or delay answering our prayers, with the purpose of getting our attention. That is when we need to press in and seek Him even more. 

God calls us to first seek Him and His righteousness, and then those things that we desire will be added to us (Matthew 6:33). The caveat to this is that we must trust Him, for without trust there can be no faith, and without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

One of my favorite scriptures and one that I often refer to is Jeremiah 29:11-16, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.

Our heavenly Father doesn't want to be a casual acquaintance or an afterthought at the end of our day. His Word tells us that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Therefore, let us make 2018 the year we open all the doors of our heart to Him, so that He may bless, heal, and restore us, as we pursue Him first and not the blessings and miracles that He so eagerly desires to provide.

FATHER, if there is pride or sin residing in my heart, reveal it to me, so that I may repent and seek Your forgiveness. Show me any locked doors in my heart. Give me a heart that desires to seek You and Your will, and fill my heart with a passion and longing to know and understand Your Word, so that I may walk in truth. In Jesus name, amen.