Encounters

Story Time

Tormenting Dream

Daniel 2

King Nebuchadnezzar is pitching a fit because he has this dream that is tormenting him. It’s keeping him awake at night and basically never leaves his mind. He refuses to tell anyone the dream because, in his way of thinking, the only way to know for sure the wise men are interpreting it correctly is for them to first be able to tell him what the dream was. (Dan. 2:5-9) Well, no one can do it, so he orders all the wise men to be killed. I can just picture it, he just kind of waves his hand and says, “Okay fine, just kill them all. They’re useless to me.”

Then Daniel pops into the story asking the king’s captain what is going on… because Daniel and his three buddies are part of the group about to be killed. So, he pops in to King Nebuchadnezzar (which will now be referred to as “Nebby”) and says, “Hey, give me a few and I’ll get back to ya on this whole dream business.”

He goes home and seeks the Lord. He doesn’t expect to be able to do it on his own. He even gets his buddies to pray with him. (2:17-18)

God answers by giving him a dream revealing Nebby’s dream. Daniel gets up, praises the Lord, and then goes in to tell Nebby the dream and the interpretation of it. The king honors Daniel by making him ruler over the province of Babylon.

The 3 Buddies

Daniel 3

Looking on in Daniel 3. King Nebby gets his statue built and tells everyone to worship it … I’m guessing that statue looked a bit like the king, himself. Nex we get to see the 3 buddies in action. Their focus is on their King – the One True God – and they say, “Nope! Not happenin’ dude! Our God is God and we ain’t bowin’ to that thing. You see, our God – the Real One – has the ability to deliver us from that stinkin’ hot furnace. You can’t stop Him. And dude, even if He chooses to let us fry, just let people know we refused to bow to your lame statue that has no power. We only serve the One True God. Your gods, well, they simply do not measure up!”

Nebby orders the fire to burn hotter and then for them to be thrown in. His soldiers cannot survive the heat from outside of the furnace. Then the miracle happens.

They stepped on out of there like, “See dude, no bonds, no burnt hair, not even the smell of smoke. That’s our God! Now, what’s your god, I mean statue, got?”

Dreaming Again

Daniel 4

Next, Nebby has another dream which Daniel interprets. Basically, King Nebby is going to learn who the real God is. You’d think he would’ve already gotten it, but he was a little hard-headed and it just didn’t stick.

The dream this time tells Nebby that he’s too full of himself. Since he’s just not getting it, he’s going to lose his mind and go live with the animals – even act like them. Then, after 7 years, his kingdom will be given back to him – after he finally comes to know that the Most High is the True God.

Next we see Nebby looking at Babylon being all proud of himself for the great job he did in building such a grand place… by his own might and power. (4:30)

And God said, “I warned you. Now here goes.” And the king is out eating grass with the oxen. Until finally, he lifts his eyes toward heaven and blesses God, praising and honoring Him.

Nebby’s First Encounter

King Nebby is about to kill a bunch of super smart guys, including Daniel and his 3 friends. Daniel steps up and gives him the answer he needs – showing him the power of God.

Bringing it home…

Mark 4:3-9, 14-20

So, you’re listening to a sermon and the teacher mentions Romans 12:2 – how you are transformed by renewing your mind. You think about it for a minute, “I need to remember that. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to change this thing about me. If I get into this mind renewal thing, it’ll help me overcome it.”

You spend 5 minutes and a paragraph or two in your head and then realize you’re missing the sermon. Ten minutes later, the service is over and you go out to hang with your friends for a few minutes before heading to lunch. Then you head home and the message you heard is forgotten.

And then Nebby praises God.

Nebby’s 2nd Encounter

Nebby immediately turns his focus back to his own greatness and builds himself a golden statue. Which turns out, is just a dead monument to himself, and God comes on the scene.  Nebby praises God and gives the 3 guys a promotion!  (3:28-30)

Home Again:

Mark 4:18-19

You’re just sitting around killing time on your phone and realize you haven’t done your devo for today. Maybe it’s even been 3 days … so you switch apps and the devo title is “Mind Renewal.” Suddenly you remember what you heard on Sunday. You look up the verse – after searching “renew” because you have no idea where the verse is. After finding it and reading it, you go back and read the devo – realizing Romans 12:2 was in it. So you did all that unnecessary work to find it. You screen shot the verse so you don’t forget. Even make it your wallpaper so you can see a word or two of the verse behind all your app icons.

Then, it’s time for the show you were waiting for to come on… the cares of the world…

Nebby’s Third Encounter

Another dream. He gets Daniel immediately … he knows Daniel’s God … yet, even after the warning, he just cannot look past himself and how awesome he is. Finally though, it is settled within him that God is God. (4:34-37)

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Mark 4:20

After several encounters with Romans 12:2, running into it through sermons, devos, friends, bumper stickers, etc. It begins to sink in that God is trying to get you to renew your mind and be transformed. God isn’t shy about encounters. He will give you as many as you need to get that thing settled in you. He isn’t going to stop pursuing you and there’s nothing, NOTHING, you can do to get Him to stop because He loves you.

That’s a Wrap!

There have been many times I’ve talked to people who are, in a sense, torturing themselves over where they are. Beating themselves up because for a few days they get super fired up – being sure to chase after God and that thing He revealed to them. Then, they slip back into routine and a week later, God is speaking to them again. It’s okay.

You know that person you’ve watched and admired for the relationship with God they have? They slip too. In fact, at several times in their life, they’ve looked back and said, “Why did I stop pursuing God regarding this?” or, “Why, when I know how wonderful it is to sit and talk with God, do I not do it more?” “Why do I often find it difficult to go to that place?”

So, relax. You’re not going to be perfect. But, when you hear Him calling – instead of wasting precious time beating yourself up for not going yesterday – just go today. When suddenly you remember that you’ve missed three days of the studying you promised yourself you would do, just go do it.

The Take Away:

  • It usually takes many encounters to get a word from God settled within you.
  • Beating yourself up wastes time. God isn’t mad at you, so don’t be mad at yourself. Just get back in there!

Name It Claim It?

Name it and claim it

There’s a difference between the “name it and claim it” belief and in believing what the Bible says and receiving it from God.

I have led many Bible study meetings and sometimes certain things stick out that people say; either during the study or some time after. The one I’m thinking of right now happened the Sunday after the Tuesday morning Bible study.

Do you know how frustrating it is to have someone form an opinion about you based on something you said, but without knowing the context of your words?

Context matters!

I was teaching a series about healing at this particular time and the regular attenders knew it was a series. They would come with questions from weeks before and such. The thing is, it was a series and if you missed one, you probably missed something important. Anyway, this person had been to no prior teachings on the subject and missed out on important things like believing to receive from God what He had already provided through Jesus. On Sunday, she came up to me and I’ll never forget what she said because it labeled me – and I’m not that. She said, “I don’t believe in that name it and claim it stuff. You’re one of those people.”

So, let’s talk about the difference between a person who believes what the Bible says and receives it into their life and a “name it and claim it” person.

Doing the research

I looked at several articles on what people think about the “name it and claim it” movement. Basically, what I get from it is that people who believe in name it and claim it think they can pick some random thing out of the air and if they claim it using their words,  it will be theirs. So like, I want a new car so I’m going to just go lay hands on the car I want and say it is mine – without me having to actually purchase it – and I will get this car!

Now, this same attitude can be applied and related to money or even health, “If I just speak these words, I’ll have all kinds of money… or perfect health.” I read articles that took verses and showed how they were used out of context and then the person writing the article used the same verses … out of context.

For instance: Name it and claim it people believe they should never have any pain. Then the person trying to refute the name it claim it says that Jesus died the most excruciating way possible. So, Jesus had pain. Well, do name it claim it’ers believe in pain from persecution? Jesus wasn’t sick. He was being persecuted.

Believe and Receive

To believe and receive is to look at what God says He has already provided for you and receive it into your life. And here’s where it gets interesting – you cannot learn to receive from God without renewing your mind to the Word of God. In other words (Romans 12:1-2), you have to get to the place where you completely believe what the Bible says. And sometimes, that means you have to name it.

I think this is the reason that person said I was of the “name it claim it” movement, because I talked about how it is our responsibility to renew our minds to what God has already provided to us. And, in order to renew our minds, getting rid of false thoughts and unbelief, we need to speak. Speak the Word of God over and over until it erases the lies in our minds and replaces it with truth.

Words and Power

Our words do have power.

We can use our words to grab hold of Biblical truths. Our mouth will help the seed planted in our soul to grow. I read the books by Dr. Caroline Leaf (a brain specialist) called “Who Switched Off My Brain” and “Switch On Your Brain.” In these books we find out a lot of sciency stuff (that I struggle to understand) about the brain and how it works. We all know that without the brain nothing in our body can function, but do you know the power within the brain to heal itself? Dr. Leaf tells many stories regarding patients with various degrees of brain damage and how, through her process, they have recovered completely. Even autistic kids who have been healed.

The premise of the process is to build new trees to replace the bad ones. Each thought process produces a start – like a seed – and depending on how far you take that thought will determine if it plants itself and develops into a blooming tree. (The picture taken and magnified through sciency stuff actually look like trees!)

Part of the process of replacing the bad trees with good ones is using words to force yourself away from the toxic thoughts that have taken root. Hmmmm, I think the Bible tells us the same thing. She explains that it takes like 21 days to get a root established. Another 21 days will get it budding, and still another 21 to get it looking like a tree. (Sounds like seed-time-harvest to me) Words have power, but it takes time to get the words to really sink into your soul – your thoughts becoming closer and closer to what God wants for you.

Renewing the mind

We must renew our minds in order to see the power of God working in us and through us. And we must use our words to do it! Our words speaking His words.

So don’t be someone who thinks if they just claim it as there’s they’ll get it, look at what the Bible says and believe it. Then you will have what it declares you can have. Just one final thought, think about this verse. Ponder it for a while. Let it speak to you deep in your heart and see what God speaks to you regarding the words written.   Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2

Prepare your heart for what He has for you!