Just typing the word "snakes" makes me feel woozy. I have an intense fear of that animal. I don't think it would have to bite me to kill me....just coming face to face with it would be enough for a heart attack.
Over 25 years ago I had a horrible nightmare. I dreamed I was waving goodbye to a friend. I got in a little car - a VW bug - and reached for a helmet. I put the helmet on and started the engine. When I reached to put it in gear I felt something move under the helmet. There were small snakes under the helmet and they were crawling all over my head. As they squirmed out of the helmet, I screamed and apparently woke myself up. I was horrified and sat on the side of the bed crying for about an hour.
I was going to include a picture of Medusa here. In Greek mythology Medusa was a Gorgon, a chthonic monster. She was beautiful but had been cursed by Athena. Enraged because Medusa lay with a suitor, Athena transformed Medusa's beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone.
Thinking back on my dream, my head felt like the images of Medusa. Unfortunately, my hatred/fear of snakes is so strong that just looking at pictures of Medusa made me uncomfortable. So...if you want to see her, you will have to google it yourself :)
After the nightmare, I called my mother and asked her to pray. We prayed for just a few minutes and she interrupted the prayer by asking, "Do you want to know what the dream means?"
You have to understand that my mother and father have a very powerful prayer life and a direct connection to God. I've seen hundreds of miracles happen in their life and I am positive that God often directs their thoughts. "Yes...of course mom....what does it mean?"
"The dream is about your brain. You have to protect your brain from infection."
"Not a virus or anything like that. The one thing that can infect a Christians life is believing a lie. Lies will change your life. Lies will destroy the good in your life. Nothing else matters except knowing the truth. After all the Bible says, "Know the truth and the truth will set you free." You can't grow as a Christian or go anywhere God wants to take you if your beliefs are wrong. In your dream you were preparing to go somewhere. You've always wanted to be on God's path. The one thing that will stop your journey - or change it and take you in the wrong direction is lies. I think your dream is about the fact that you need (like all of us) to be very careful about the information you believe. You need to make sure that any new idea or belief is strictly based on the scriptures. And...you also need to be careful about what you believe about life. You know as well as I do that you can't arrive at the right decision if your information for that decision is flawed."
I've never forgotten that dream or that conversation with mom. Even before the dream I was careful about "investigating the truth". After that dream I've been a compulsive truth seeker.
Over the years I've watched a lot of people accept flawed information and try to base their lives or important decisions on that flawed information. Basing a decision on lies will always turn out bad. Why would I ever want to do that? Why would anyone want to make a decision when they know there is a possibility of failure?
Unfortunately, that is what is happening to our country. Men and women who have not been successful in their personal lives try to give "instructions" to those around them. They desperately want to be respected, they know they have messed up, but they stick to the premise of lies and distortions. Once you dig into a person's life and actually find the truth - you may find that the thing they are holding on to so desperately may be the thing that is ruining their own life. You may find that they are not all that happy or fulfilled. That's why I'm so adamant about finding the truth in any situation. That's why I lay all my beliefs out before you in a logical way. That's why I try to center in on the truth....without truth no life can ever be right!
So why would some people hide the truth about their lives? Why wouldn't they be honest? Pride and avoidance of their own pain can cause them to lie. They don't want you to know they are hurting. They want to be respected. They don't honor your life by trying to prevent you from hurting. They would rather lie and puff up their own life than admit to anyone that they made a mistake. They keep moving, keep talking, keep pretending because facing the truth of a failed life is too hard to face.
Once I met a young man that was in the gay lifestyle. It was just a quick acquaintance and once our business was done I would never see him again. I asked if he was happy. He shrugged, "Is anyone?" I shared how happy I had been and how my life had turned out. I told him about Jesus and said that I hoped he would find happiness. I was very careful not to ask him to change. Instead I was chatty about what I was experiencing. His eyes filled with tears and he quickly swiped them away. "I wish I had known the truth. There's a lot to this lifestyle that no one wants to talk about. There's a lot of pain and a lot of disappointment." He closed down and didn't want to talk anymore. When our transaction was done I smiled and put my hand on his. "I will pray for you that God will give you truth."
Truth is the most important thing in this world. Without it you are destined for pain and sorrow. You must face the truth about yourself and your own feelings no matter what kind of pain that causes. You must be willing to discuss any area that causes you or others pain. You must put every desire and need on the table to be examined from every viewpoint as well as inside and out. You must closely guard your feelings and be sure that you deal with others in a logical and careful manner. You must always be willing to say, I'm sorry or I was wrong.
Our country, our churches and our families will never be successful until we get the snakes out of our brains and face the hard cold truth. I have a problem with liberals and spoiled Christians who refuse to face facts or investigate problems by being logical. It's not about truth for them. It's about what they "think" is truth.
Suppose I decided to make a simple yellow cake. I don't have all the ingredients necessary to make it the traditional way...or maybe...I just want to do my own thing with the cake. I dump flour into a bowl and use tea instead of water for the liquid. I use baking power, salt and eggs but for flavoring I use tomato paste. I add chocolate and coconut just to give it texture. I mix it up and bake it. Because of the baking powder, eggs and flour it looks like a cake. It rose properly and I can transfer it to a plate. Since I didn't have sugar I decide to frost it with solid Criso and butter. I even take the time to put the Crisco in a bag and decorate the cake.
Finally, I present this concoction to you and say, "Look I made a wonderful yellow cake. Would you like to try it?" I dare say that after just one bite you might insist that it's not a yellow cake. "Oh but it is! I followed most of the recipe. I used flour and eggs. I used baking powder and salt. And...just like the recipe called for I used Crisco and butter in the frosting. It has to be a yellow cake!"
That's the problem with so many "new and contemporary" decisions being made in this country. When you move too far from the truth or the "absolutes" the end results of your decisions will be disastrous. Just because you use a traditional church building, mention Jesus a lot and ask people to pray - does not mean the building is inhabited by the spirit of the living God. There is a specific formula for bringing the power of Jesus into your life and into your church. If you stray from that formula - you will not have the blessings of God.
You can insist that sugar water can be substituted for gas, but when the engine freezes up you can't deny the absolute that sugar will not run an engine. You can go on insisting that something else is wrong, but you are still sitting on the side of the road while everyone else passes by. Ignoring the cause of your predicament doesn't get the car moving.
When you advise a young child that sex is okay at any age and that multiple partners in a lifetime is fine, you must accept the fact that diseases, heartbreak and unwanted children will follow. Just denouncing that fact doesn't relieve you of the responsibility for telling a lie or for ruining a life.
Churches in America are becoming less and less powerful. According to a Barna study group, more people are leaving the church every year than are joining. More young people would rather "create" their own faith than to submit to the teachings of the church. Almost 90% say they are Christians but 70% say their faith doesn't affect their life in any way.
The truth is that the Church is losing it's power because there are snakes in the pew. My grandmother was a wonderful evangelist and traveled all over the south. She built 5 churches and held huge tent revivals. As a teen I remember being sad about some problems. I sat close to her while we talked. I put my head on her shoulder and whispered. "Grams, why is there so much trouble in the church?" She patted me and softly gave me this very wise answer.
"When the church was being persecuted from without, we grew. We held to the scriptures, each other and God and we grew. All our problems got worse when Satan got smart and joined the church."
That statement is so true now. I hope you will join with me today and pray for the churches of this country. So many of them are playing with the souls of their members by concentrating on "marketing" and appeal more than the simplicity of Jesus.
God loves you,