Forsaking Christ

Last night I had a very disturbing dream. Some dreams are forgotten instantly, others stick with you. This one, I can’t seem to shake.

The first scene was at a church (I do not recall which one, and it did not seem familiar), and the pastor was giving a rather inspiring message. Two married men were seated, each holding a Bible and looking at it with confusion and disgust. They were married to each other.

The pastor realized this, and I could see he was torn about whether to continue on with his message, or tone it down so as not to offend the two married men. He decided to risk offense, and went on with his message. The married men stormed out of the church, leaving the Bibles behind.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6, 7 NIV)

The next scene of my dream was probably what is the most saddening: Another church, another time. Walking into the youth room, I discover that the students had written their own “Bible” to create a “gospel” that was more relevant to their lifestyles – to allow them to do anything they desired to do. Devoid of the true Gospel of Christ. On the table lay a Bible that had been completely ripped apart and replaced with handwritten pages of pop culture doctrine and lyrics from secular music. Because they refused to devote themselves to the commandments of Jesus.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. (Galatians 5:7-10 NIV)

My heart ached at this discovery. Why would anyone want to leave the protection and love that Jesus offered? Why would they want to create their own Bible? Their own gospel? Their own religion? Because what the world offered was better?

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13 NIV)

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:16-21 NIV)

Is what the world offers truly better than what Christ offers? Is that why these guest stars in my dream were so convinced that they could do life better without Jesus? That they could do it on their own?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:22-26 NIV)

I do not mean for this to be an anti-(anything) type of post. Because it’s not.

I cannot help what I dream about.

I am not against the world. I am just not of the world.

I have merely been pondering this in great depth today.

What is our generation coming to that it wants to push Jesus out of it completely?

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:7-10 NIV)

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Apocalyptic Prison Camps, Wizardry Wreaking Havoc on Local Farms, and So Much MORE!

Sounds like the header for a tabloid news paper, doesn’t it?  In reality, or subreality(?), this is what played out in my subconscious two nights ago as I was tossing and turning in bed.  Sleep is supposed to be restful, however I play out a whole other reality in my sleep.  This particular sequence is played out in 3 different parts or phases, none of them connected, but equally action packed.

Phase 1: Apocalyptic Prison Camps

The end of the free world began shortly after a famous celebrity was put behind bars for a little DUI incident.  The threat of an apocalyptic war loomed on the horizon, in which chaos ensued and the governmental system collapsed.  Loyalists swept through the nation, arresting anyone who was in complete rebellion of the new “system”.  A “make-up-rules-as-we-go” system.  Meaning you could be arrested for anything and everything.  I was one of those arrested.  Then came the prisons.  Since the “judicial” prisons were already filled to capacity, mobile homes and trailers and any type of small out building were set up as prisons.  Armed guards were posted at each mini-prison round the clock, with the exception of shift change, and even that was sparse.

My prison was a single-wide mobile home in the middle of no where. Dirty, peeling linoleum floors. Bare wood paneled walls.  The cliched “bread and water” meals.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.  I was given “room mates”.  The infamous celebrity who had little care for authority or reason…well…she became my new “best friend”.  Her ability to anger the guards at every turn astounded me.  I tried reasoning with her to stop freaking out and to be normal and not cause any undue attention to turn our way.  Alas, she never listened.  On the last occasion that I saw her, she had a crazy idea to bring the guards’ barbecue grill into our prison during shift change and grill up some of their fare.  Bad bad bad idea.  But with her knack of getting into trouble, I wasn’t surprised, except I didn’t want to be in this.  I begged her not to do it, to put the grill back, to no avail.

And this is when everything exploded in a flurry of events.

A group of insurgents burst through the door, at the moment when the guards should have returned.  They issued the invitation to escape with them under the cover of dark.  I jumped at the chance.  My roommate opted to stay behind.

My new found rescuers rushed me along a fence line, urging me to stay low and to make no sound.  We noticed lights from a small farm house in the distance.  We could hear a search team pursuing us from behind.  Many in the group wanted to head toward the house and stay there for the night, until the search for our escape was over.  But everyone knew, during this time of pre-apocalyptic war, that seemingly innocent farm houses with warm beckoning lights were anything but.  Anyone not captured by the Liberalists were spies for them.  And those were the types of people that took up residence in seemingly innocent farm houses.  This was a bad idea, and I knew it.  However the insurgent group’s leader was swayed by the majority of our group to take over the house.  I followed them, unsure of where else I would go.

Spotlights threatened to reveal our cover.  Our small rebellion weaved our way through a fence and crawled for the longest time toward the house.  Lights were on in nearly every room in the house.  It had to be occupied.

Silently making our way to the back of the house, the leader of our group eased himself through the back door, after picking the lock.  Doing a quick sweep of the perimeter he determined it was safe, and he called us all in.  I kept thinking that we should turn off the lights, so that our cover wouldn’t go noticed by the search team.  However, not one in our group seemed concerned about this.

Some of the guys in the group started raiding the pantries, laying a bounty on the table.  It had been weeks, even months since any of us had had a decent meal, let alone supplements.  My eyes kept darting toward the doors, the windows, knowing that we were going to be found.

As I began to let my guard down, the guy sitting to my left, at the end of the table, slumped over suddenly.  I looked up, and there was a person standing in the shadows wielding a crow bar.  Blood pooled on the table before me.  Disorder ensued.  Another individual appeared before the first shadowed person.  I screamed.  Our group’s leader drew a sawed off automatic shotgun.  The second individual, who obviously had a death wish, launched himself at our leader, slamming a crow bar into his body, the gun flying out of his hands.  I panicked and grabbed the gun escaping out a side door.

I began running through the darkness, not knowing which direction I was going, or even what I was going to.  I just knew I had to get out of there, away from those trying to kill me and enslave me.

Phase 2: Wizardy Wreaking Havoc on Local Farms

I was driving down the highway in the country when I noticed several fields were on fire.  And a short, old man that was familiar to me was standing at the edge of one of them, a wizard’s wand glowing in his hand.  I watched as he cast his wand setting another field to a pre-fire ember, unbeknowest to my presence.  I realized I had to get help.  I drove to a relative’s house a few miles away, who I knew would believe me, because he knew this particular individual.

I drove as fast as I could, hoping that the little wizard man still hadn’t noticed me.  As I raced down another country road, I saw the path of destruction that he had already been privy to.  I pulled out my cell phone and called my relative.  I relayed to him everything that I had seen, and that we were all in danger of these fires that were spreading over the country side.  He sympathized with my concern, but didn’t think there was anything we could do at the moment.  I urged him that we had to, because his field had already been attacked with the fiery embers, and the surrounding fields were next.

We decided the best place to form a battle plan was at our grandparents old house up the road.  We, as well as several others in our family and community met there.  The fire departments had already been called and dispatched to the fields that were burning.  Smoke filled the horizon.

Then the little wizard man appeared throught the clouds of smoke waving his wand toward us.

We had to fight back.  There had to be a way to combat this otherworldly attack!

Phase 3: Rainy Days, Escalators & a Native American Sweetheart

It was raining and I was running late to the gym.  I had left my gym clothes at the gym from the day before, which was contributing to my lateness.  As I walked to the entrance of the gym, there were huge puddles everywhere, and there in one of the puddles amidst trash were my gym clothes! I was ticked and frustrated that they would do this to me! I gathered them up and rushed into the gym, anxious to find a dryer in the built in laundromat.

I had to make my way up several levels of the building on ancient escalators to reach the laundromat, because it had apparently been moved since my last memory of it.

To make the snail’s crawl of the escalators go faster, I started running up them.  I was going to be late if I didn’t get my clothes dried.

As I was racing around a corner to the next level I nearly careened into a Native American couple and their four tween children.  I apologized profusely when the man turned to me with shock and awe on his face.

“It’s me,” he said.  “Do you remember me?”

I searched my mind for some recollection of him, but found none.  I apologized again, that no, I didn’t remember him.

“We spent summers together, in the country, at your grandparents’ farm.”

Suddenly long-buried memories assaulted my senses and I was transported to a time when two kids, merely young teens, spent hours wandering the farm, talking and laughing, and making plans for the future.  These weren’t my memories, were they?  As surely as this thought flitted through my head, his eyes met mine, and I knew that it must be so.  The memory of when we confessed our love to one another as two headstrong kids ready to take on the world (and our families).  Sadly that memory ended with his elders ripping him from his summer haven and our plans for a life together.  That was the last time I saw him.

His eyes held sadness, yet a wisdom that had been missing from his eyes of youth.

“Yes, I remember you now.” I said.  I returned a sad smile.

He turned and put an arm around the young woman standing next to him, eyeing our brief exchange. “This is my wife.  And our children.”  I didn’t hear her name, or their children’s names as he spoke them.

I said how nice it was to see him again after all these years.  A cordial goodbye was issued from his lips as well.

As they descended the escalator, I couldn’t help but wonder what could have been.

I Met My Husband in 1943

I was on a plane traveling to New Zealand.  When I got on the plane it was 2010.  When I got off the plane.  It was 1943.  Yes, that’s right.  Somehow we traveled through some kind of time warp, and arrived more than 50 years in the past.  My friends Saz and Si were with me, and did not seem concerned that were no longer in present day.  It was like they didn’t even remember being in the 21st century.  How odd.  We made our way to our accommodations for the trip.  A cute little bungalow home on the beach.  It was a friend of theirs (which I considered odd, since we were no longer in our time, even though we were in their hometown).  He was a tall, dark and sweet young gentleman (our age), who lived with his father in this cute little bungalow.

Our time there was quite pleasant.  We took in the sights, complete with a classic 40’s Holden.  Although, reflecting, it wasn’t a classic at the time.  We were only supposed to be visiting for a couple of weeks, but we remained longer. As we did, this tall, dark and handsomely familiar gentleman (why was he familiar?), whom I had grown very close to, had brought something to light that I wasn’t expecting.

He asked me to stay forever.

Not just move to New Zealand and live in their quaint little city.  But to be his wife.

Then it hit me.  If I become his wife in 1943, what would become of me in 2010?  Wouldn’t this completely wreak havok on the space time continuum? If I accepted his endearing proposal of marriage, would I even exist in my present? My future? Would I become my own grandmother?  How could I stay with the man who so obviously loved me, but not mess up the timeline of my life? Not only my life, but my family’s life, even the life of complete strangers.

I had so many questions.  And not enough plausible answers.  I had to make the toughest decision of my life.

I had to leave him.

I had to leave him behind in 1943.

And then I woke up.