My congregation has heard me talk a lot about dreams lately. I’m not necessarily talking about the kind we have while we’re sleeping, although there are references in Scripture to God using those to speak to us. What I’m really talking about is the dreams / visions that God gives us for mission and ministry.
For example, a parishioner came to me recently with a dream to provide affordable cars so that persons could gain (or keep) employment with reliable transportation. The vicious cycle is that someone needs a car to get to his or her job, but can’t afford a car without a job. I believe this was a God-given dream, and my prayer is that it will become a reality in the village of Owego.
As we can read in Acts 16:6-15, Paul, Silas, and Timothy had set out on what is known as Paul’s second missionary journey. Paul was trying to go to present-day northern Turkey, up toward the Black Sea. At the time that area was called Asia Minor. Paul and his friends were prevented from going there by the Holy Spirit, whether through circumstances or perhaps by some other way that God made it clear.
You’ve heard that when God closes one door, He always opens another one. That is what happened here. Sometimes circumstances point to the right decision, while other times it may be the counsel of a wise friend, while other times it is directly through prayer or scripture that direction comes.
It’s important to remember that the Holy Spirit not only guides us to the right choices, but He also guides us away from the wrong choices. Of course, we have free will, and can choose to follow His leading – or not.
Paul and his friends ended up going to what we today would call Greece. We also don’t know how in Paul’s vision he knew the man was from Macedonia. But do you know how sometimes when we dream there are just things we know about the situation? Perhaps that’s the way it was for Paul.
Because Paul heeded the direction of the Holy Spirit, he and his companions met Lydia, a non-Jew who believed in God, but who had not yet heard about Jesus. Paul preached to her and her friends, and Lydia became a Christian – a follower of Jesus. The church in Philippi was then established.
What we need to remember is that when it was clear to Paul that the Holy Spirit was calling him to Macedonia, he went obediently. Paul was available and open to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and I hope the same can be said of us!
Lydia was told about Jesus, and she told her family and friends about Jesus, and on and on until someone told me about Jesus and someone told you about Jesus.
There was a man who prayed this prayer every morning, “Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign to show me who it is.”
One day, a big, burly man sat next to him on a bus. The bus was nearly empty, but this guy sat next to our praying friend. The timid Christian anxiously waited for his stop so he could exit the bus.
Before he got to his stop, though, the big guy next to him burst into tears, asked the man next to him if he could tell him how to come to faith in Jesus. The Christian immediately bowed his head and prayed, “Lord, is this a sign?”
How much clearer can God get? Don’t we wish things were always that clear?
I hope we will always be obedient to and seek the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In my last column in this publication, I mentioned that I needed to dream bigger. God has been showing me that A LOT, lately.
Let’s share our dreams with each other. It may result in someone being able to buy affordable, reliable transportation, and God knows what else!