The following is a looong post, but please bear with it as I unload my heart.
The above photo is from the perspective of the window of my upstairs bathroom. This was my favorite tree on our property. Before it split (sometime before Christmas), it was lush and full with no sign of disease. It is also how God chose to speak to me.
I’ll try to explain. One night several weeks ago I was awakened by a loud crash. For some reason I immediately went to the bathroom adjoining my bedroom to look out that window, instead of the window which over looks my backyard and our barn. Though it was dark, I could still see that this tree had randomly split in half. I say randomly because there was no high wind that night and though it was cold, it wasn’t frigid and no notable ice accumulation. Plus, as I said, the tree had looked so healthy.
Upon beholding the tree, I immediately received a message in my spirit to “pay attention”. I went back to bed but on my way I noticed the time was 3:33 a.m. Again, a stirring in my spirit to “pay attention”.
The next day I couldn’t shake the feeling there was a message for me in that tree and, more specifically, in the 3:33. So I do what we do nowadays and Googled 333. I was directed to some new age mumbo jumbo about number significance, which I discarded. If this was the enemy trying to trick me, I was having none of it. I pray very earnestly every day for wisdom, discernment, and to not be deceived. Eventually my search led me to a verse within God’s Word.
The very wording of the verse made me feel kind of dizzy, like when your mind is struggling to focus in and fully comprehend what is being said. I knew this was what I was supposed to pay attention to, but at the same time, I didn’t know. You see, I’m a “what if” kinda person. I look at a situation and can see half a dozen ways it can be different than how it appears at face value. In short, I analyze everything to death. This can be helpful, but it’s also exhausting and often leaves me feeling indecisive and unsure. So. When (or IF) I finally reach a conclusion about something, you can be sure that conclusion involved a long process and lots of praying.
I prayed. And prayed. Then I decided to just wait. If that tree held a message from God, He’d reveal it soon enough. Then it came. Last week I read a book by a man named Charles Simpson. It was a memoir of sorts about how his walk with the Lord was influenced by the late David Wilkerson. But more than that, he shared specifics about his personal journey and ways God spoke to him. He recalled the time he dreamed about the woman he was going to marry. When he awoke, it was 3:33 a.m. That got my attention. I pick up on patterns rather easily. Then later, that verse came up in something else I was either reading or watching, I can’t remember which. I finally told God, “If you mean that verse to be significant to me personally, I need one more confirmation”. A few days later I was listening to Charles Stanley on YouTube about prayer. Guess which verse he quoted. Yep. I sighed, decided to give up the struggle, and step out in faith that God wants me to pay attention to that particular verse. I’ll get to which verse in a bit.
First I want to explore the possible significance of the split tree. Though I haven’t gone through my usual analyzations, I may now know the message found within the tree. It seems rather obvious and you probably picked up on it right away.
The split tree itself reveals two lessons: 1. I must abide in Him and 2. I must cut off and discard that in my life/flesh which is unfruitful and/or ungodly. Note: while typing this I realized the verse above happens to be “Youversion” Bible app’s verse-of-the-day. So there we go. Ha ha, isn’t God AWESOME?!
But that isn’t the verse. The time (3:33), significantly enough, is the third lesson. I must learn the first two lessons before I can receive the full blessing of the third, which is the verse.
I have had dreams that felt significant for most of my life. I’m also able to sense when something else is nearby, even though that something is invisible. The world would call them ghosts, but ghosts by the world’s definition is unbiblical. Twice in the past 5 years something unseen has pushed me in an attempt to harm me: Once while I was going down the stairs and again outside where, if I had fallen, I would have hit my head on a metal feeding trough. Both times something else stopped my fall, pushing me the other direction so I stood back up. I felt it as surely as I feel this chair on which I now sit. Don’t tell me there isn’t a real battle going on around us. I’ve literally been in the middle of it.
My point is, for quite a while now I’ve been asking God why I have these dreams, if they are indeed from Him and why I am able to sense this stuff around me. I’ve also asked Him why He won’t just tell me straight instead of putting me through all these steps! Ha ha. He doesn’t usually work that way. The process, the waiting, the walking by faith is important.
And now I have Jeremiah 33:3.
I’m writing all this to encourage you.
God has a plan for you. He has a purpose for you. Seek His face, call upon Him. He will answer. The process is important.
My son is 8 years old and this summer he begins Bible Boot Camp here at Blessed Hope Homestead. This is just my way of training him, not only in verse memorization, but in beginning to think deeply about the bible and applying it to everyday life.
Boot Camp will be divided into parts, with The Word being part one. My aim is to explore and study the importance of God’s Word and all it entails, while keeping it on his level of course. He is an excellent reader so a big goal for the summer is to begin transcribing what he reads into written form: to develop his writing skills.
I appreciate all prayers over this endeavor, for both him and me and of course that God be glorified in my son’s mind and heart. We know that God’s word does not come back void.
We have brothers and sisters in Christ dying every day for their faith. I consider the Christians in Pakistan and other highly persecuted places and cannot help but wonder: why? Not why they are persecuted, but why aren’t I? I mean sure, being a Christian in America isn’t what it used to be. We are called names, shunned, made fun of, sued for our beliefs, but very few of us are actually killed for it. We do not live in danger, like Christians in other parts of the world do.
So then I have to ask, since we’ve been blessed to live in general safety (thus far), what is God’s purpose for this? What, then, should we be doing? Is there anything we can do for our persecuted brothers and sisters? We have it “so good” here in the U.S., are we taking advantage of that?
It seems many of us are not. We sneeze one time and decide we couldn’t possibly make it to church that day. Oh, but if I send my child to youth group on Wednesday night, he’ll miss soccer practice and won’t be able to play on Saturday. The Super Bowl is on tonight so we better cancel services. The minister has gone over ten minutes, someone needs to have a talk with him about that. Boo-hoo. Puhleez.
There is nothing wrong per se in enjoying football or other activities, but when it takes precedent over serving the Lord……
Meanwhile, we have those in Africa and the middle east who go to church services knowing full well they may not make it home alive. More likely, their building will be burned down while they sit in it or demon-filled hoodlums will come in wielding their machetes and chop them up. This is the reality of so many who choose to follow Christ. When they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they are very much aware they may be signing their own death sentence. Yet the rate of conversion to Christianity grows!
So then maybe, just MAYBE, we should get off our lazy patooties! Maybe we should be on our knees praying for those persecuted and thanking God we do not have to worry about our children being stolen and traded or killed. Maybe we should ask Him what we can do to advance His Kingdom. Maybe we should be proclaiming the gospel to every lost soul we encounter. Maybe we should wake up and get busy doing what we can, while we can.