Wednesday, November 28, 2007
"Does God Speak to Us in Dreams?"
Defining Dream and Vision:
Dream - "A sequence of images, etc. passing through a sleeping person's mind" (Webster's Dictionary)
Vision - "A mental image" (Webster's Dictionary)
"In a dream, a vision of the night..." (Job 33:15)
You will note from this verse the close connection the Hebrews maintained between the dream and the vision. The words are used almost interchangeably.
Both dreams and visions involve the viewing of images on the screen within one's mind. Often we would think of a dream as the flow of these images while sleeping and a vision as the flow of these images while awake.
Daydreaming is MAN utilizing the visionary process. This is not encouraged, and may be what is referred to in Ecclesiastes 5:7. It is better to present the eyes of the heart to God and ask Him to fill them with a divine flow of dreams, visions and godly imaginations.
Some Scientific Observations Concerning Dreams
Sleep laboratories have proven that everyone dreams one to two hours each night during a certain period of sleep known as alpha level, which is light sleep. Every 90-minute cycle of sleep begins with alpha, then goes into deeper sleep which is called theta, and finally deepest sleep which is called delta.
At the close of the first 90-minute cycle each night, the individual returns to alpha level sleep, where he has a short, five-minute dream period. The next time he cycles up to alpha, he has a ten-minute dream period. The third time in alpha, the dream period is about 15 minutes, and so on. If one sleeps a full eight hours, the entire last hour is essentially spent in alpha level sleep. Thus, the average person sleeping for eight hours a night will dream about one to two hours of that time.
Alpha level sleep is where one has what is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM). Rapid Eye Movement is exactly what it sounds like: the eyes of the dreamer begin moving rapidly. He is actually watching the scenes in the dream, and thus his eyes are literally moving back and forth, observing the action. By observing the alpha level sleep when Rapid Eye Movement occurs, researchers in sleep laboratories have determined when a person is dreaming and how much time is spent dreaming in an average night.
They have discovered that if they awaken a person every time REM begins, preventing him from dreaming, after about three nights the individual will begin to show signs of having a nervous breakdown. Clearly dreams are an inner release mechanism which helps provide us with emotional balance and maintain our sanity. Dreams can be considered guardians of our mental and emotional well-being.
Seven Reasons We Should Listen to Our Dreams
God declared that He WOULD speak through dreams and visions in the Old Testament.
And He said, "Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream" (Num. 12:6).
God declared that He DID speak through dreams and visions in the Old Testament.
"I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets" (Hos. 12:10).
God declares that He WILL communicate through dreams and visions in the New Testament.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days," saith God, "I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" (Acts 2:17).
God declares that He WILL COUNSEL us at night through our dreams.
I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind (inner man) instructs me in the night (Ps. 16:7 NASB).
Rather than our dreams being fatalistic, dreams are calling us to change SO WE WILL NOT PERISH.
For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That He may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword (Job 33:14-18, emphasis mine).
God does very significant things WITHIN dreams. For example, He established the Abrahamic Covenant in a dream.
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him....And God said to Abram....In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying... (Gen. 15:12,13,18, emphasis mine).
God grants supernatural gifts THROUGH dreams.
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, "Ask what I shall give thee...."
"Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people?"
"...Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee...." And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream (I Kings 3:5,9,12,15).
Summarizing the Importance of Our Dreams
God has chosen to communicate with mankind through dreams. He guides and counsels us through our dreams. He establishes covenants with us through our dreams. He grants us gifts in our dreams. He utilized dreams from Genesis to Revelation, and declared that He would continue to use them in the last days. When you total up all dreams and visions in the Bible, and all the stories and actions which come out of these dreams and visions, you have about one-third of the Bible, which is equal to the size of the New Testament! Dreams are a central way God has chosen to communicate with us, and thus they must be given great weight!
Five Things You Can Do to Help Recall Your Dreams
Say to yourself, "I believe dreams contain a valid message."
This is a signal to your heart that you are taking it seriously and want to hear what it has to tell you. You are giving it permission, and even asking it to awaken you after each dream. Your heart will do exactly that. You see, if you do not awaken within five minutes of the dream ending, you will not recall it. If, however, you
tell your heart that dreams are leftover undigested pizza, then you heart lets you sleep through the dream and doesn't awaken you after it is over, and thus you do not recall it.
Ask God to speak to you through dreams as you fall asleep.
God does answer prayers, especially when prayed in accordance to His will!
Put your journal beside your bed and immediately record your dreams upon awakening.
You will forget most of your dreams by the morning, so get up and write them down when you awaken.
Get eight hours of sleep, as the entire last hour will be dream-time.
Awaken naturally, without the use of an alarm clock, as alarms shatter dream recall and blast tidbits of dreams into oblivion where they are never found.
If you will do the above five things, you will recall dreams every week.