(These events took place over ten years ago, I have used no names, and I hope no one who was involved who may happen to read this will take offense, these are the events from my perspective, and things that I’ve learned from them.)
So I had joined a ministry training program whose focus, centrally, was operating in spiritual gifts. We had about a months worth of training – much of which was very good – after which we started our ‘tour.’
In the tour we went to various churches in the area; our goal was simply to assimilate the vision of the church we were sent to, and assist in whatever ministry they were doing. If you read the prequel post, I described a dream I had which was about to be fulfilled. Actually, the Lord was speaking to me a lot through dreams in those days (I think because I had faith for it), not as much so recently.
(On dreams: I have to concur with George Fox‘s assessment of dreams; some are fabrications of the soul, some are demonic in origin, and some may be from the Lord. There have been periods of my life when the Lord spoke to me much through dreams, though I have also found that it eventually led me to put too much stock in that method of hearing from God by attempting to interpret every dream, and attach signifigance to them all. One thing Kenneth Haggin said that I dissagreed with when I heard it initially, but believe has wisdom after considering it further was this: “If you think a dream was from the Lord but you can’t remember it, forget all about it. It wasn’t from the Lord.” Here’s the wisdom behind that statement: John 14:26 – ‘But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, AND BRING ALL THINGS TO YOUR REMEMBRANCE, WHATSOEVER I HAVE SAID UNTO YOU.‘ If it was Jesus who told you something (prophetic), the Holy Spirit will remind you what He said. That is a good test of prophetic experiences if the Holy Spirit won’t remind you, its probably because Jesus didn’t say it to you in the first place.)
During the days prior to the training, I dreamt that someone on our team was smoking, which seems insignificant, but one of the members who we picked up from the airport (I think the day following the dream) we were told had backslidden not long before, and was rehabilitating from drug use. He had shown himself repentant, and had been off drugs for a fair ammount of time (I don’t know how long that constitutes, but he was allowed on the team), but he still smoked ciggarrettes. He was allowed on the team – I think – because his parents were notable ministers, and because of his experience in street evangelism.
On the first night of our first week on tour I had another dream. We had just arrived at a church in the deep south, and were to spend a week there – our main activity (besides street evangelism) was to keep a 24 hour prayer tent which the church had set up in operation.
The dream: In the dream I had the night we arrived at the first location I saw everything that had happened on the trip up to this point: our arrival and training up to the point that my girlfriend (now wife) flew back home (for proprietary reasons we were not allowed to go on the tour together, although we had both gone through the training). Then I saw our team planning this mission; we were coming to this town to heal the water-supply: a river running through the city (whereas in dreams, often a river that flows through a city represents the spiritual life of that place – there was no literal river in the city). We had expectations that the job would be easy, and in planning we were shown pictures of a fresh, blue river. However, when we arrived the river was polluted terribly; it was not blue, but green as thoroughly tainted by acidic pollution. We meant to commence to our work, but there was a witch present; he acted as though he was not a witch, but one who meant to help us. But he began to secretly drop charms with curses when he thought we weren’t looking as he did I began to scoop them up, and break the curses. Finally, the team went into the church, and I followed but as I did, a spirit from the witch jumped on my back. End dream.
Interestingly, that first location which we had been led to believe would be a spiritual ‘walk-in-the-park’ so to speak, was not one at all. Our team leader had visited the church just a few weeks before, and said that the place had been in a state of revival – just as in the dream we were led to believe the water of the river was more, or less clean, and expected our job to be easy. In fact, when I shared this dream with our team leader (as it was our first night there), I don’t think he believed it was prophetic because of its negative implications… although he informed me that one of the gentlemen who had been staying at the church might represent the demonic, having been delivered (so he said) of several demons the few weeks prior, but did not seem to have been fully delivered (i.e. may have had other demonic attachments.)
I’ll not go through everything that happened that week in detail, but a brief overview recount: there was some pretty intense friction within the team based on expectations vs. what the church leaders expected us to do (which was fully reasonable, and probably beneficial for us). As mentioned, one of the team members was still rehabilitating from drug use, another was bipolar. Long story short, the dream of types that I had at the begining of the week came to pass – not that it was solely due to the two team members with deeper issues, for it most certainly wasn’t, rather there was an immense ammount of spiritual warfare that the team wasn’t prepared for which conflated those issues (and others).
As I mentioned, we were in the deep south; our first day there (after the dream) a guy from the church gave us a driven tour of the town, showing which areas we should stay out of; he also took us to the courthouse and showed us the town’s old lynching tree.
One notable supernatural event: At one point during the week, I was praying with another gentleman in the 24 hr prayer tent (we had the 3-6am shift). He and I stood in the door of the tent, looking out into the field between the tent and the church. There were lamps inside the tent, and a street light nearby so though it was dark, we could see the field fairly well, and into the trees somewhat by the field. We both could see creatures moving in the field, and off in the trees; I may have chaulked it up to the 3-6 am shift we were on, and assumed my brain was dreaming while I was awake, except the gentleman I was with saw them, too. What we saw was like shadows of living creatures solid black forms that would move and then dissappear as though they were only visible to us while moving. There were what appeared to be snakes that slithered in the grass, then dissappeared; there were larger man-shaped ones that appeared long enough to take a step, or two then dissappear. There were demons all over the field which appeared long enough for us to make out their form, then dissappear.
Unfortunately, I think what happened at the church was this: they had an anointed evangelist arrive and minister there powerfully, and stirred a brief revival there. But the members of the church were not invested in the labor of continuing with the spiritual mommentum (the prayer tent had been an innovation to keep the people engaged), however, when we arrived the church body by-and-large was not invested; we as an itenerant team had to maintain the 24 hour prayer which none but a few of the leadership were continuing. I believe we got to the church right when the zeal for God’s move had ended, and the dragon was counter-striking the gains that had been made.
In this first week our team splintered, (both the bipolar gentleman, and he who was rehabilitating left the team at the end of the week) fulfilling both dreams (for before leaving for Florida I’d dreamt an unreliable person joined the team, and left it at the most crucial momment of need) I personally fell under demnonic attack that rattled me for some time (just like the demon leapt upon my back in my dream). We still had several weeks to go on our tour, but now our worship leader, and one of the more forward street evangelists had left.
Interestingly, I also had a dream the last night we were there. In that final dream, I was working at the church – vacuuming the floor there was gold dust in the carpet, and it grieved me to vacuum it, but it is the job I was told to do. I continued to vacuum when I came into a room whose floor was covered in chocolate chips; the vacuum caught one or two, which were too large and hard to suck up easily; further, they were perfectly good chocolate chips. I went to get a little bag to put them in before cleaning the rest of the floor; by the time I got back someone had already vacuumed them all up. Then it was time for the church service to start, but the power was shut off in the building, and the lights were out. Nevertheless the people gathered in the sanctuary, and held their service in the dark as though they still had power.
I never have followed up with that church, by my inerpretation of that dream is this: that God had visited them, but they did not appreciate it (gold ‘glory dust’ in the carpet, being walked on – vacuuming it up); the chocolate chips *I think* were people (maybe blacks – it was the deep south) savory in the eyes of the Lord, but likewise their value was not regarded (though I sought to save them, someone removed them before I could – God’s intention was to go further, and save many lost). Despite the fact that the Lord shut off the flow of His power, the people went on meeting in the dark as though they still had it.
Revelation 2:4 & 5 – Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
To me, this is a warning to return to our first love – even as I said in my last post: our salvation is the seed of every further thing. Revival isn’t impressive manifestations of the power of God (rather, signs FOLLOW them that are saved (Mark 16:17)), revival is salvation en masse in a community.
May the Lord bring revival, and may we be the right stewards of it. Amen.