Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Does God Speak in 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

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

Seven Foundational Principles for Interpreting Dreams
Most dreams are symbolic (including biblical dreams), so view them
the same way you would view a political cartoon. Throw the switch in
your brain that says, "Look at this symbolically."
You can learn the art of communicating symbolically by playing the
game "Pictionary" or "Bible Pictionary."

The symbols will come from the dreamer's life, so ask, "What does
this symbol mean to me?" or, if working on another's dream,
ask, "What does this symbol mean to you?"
For example, Joseph was a shepherd, and he dreamed of sheaves and
sun, moon and stars bowing down (Gen. 37:1-11). These images surround
a shepherd boy who lives in the fields. Nebuchadnezzar, a king,
dreamed of statues of gold (Dan 2:31ff), which surround kings who
live in palaces.

The dream generally speaks of the concerns which your heart is
currently facing. So ask, "What issues was I processing the day
before I had the dream?"
For example, Paul was wondering where to go next on his missionary
journey and had a dream of a Macedonian man motioning for him to come
on over (Acts 16:6-11). Nebuchadnezzar was thinking his kingdom would
go on forever (Dan. 4:28-33) and he had a dream of a tree being
chopped off at the roots (Dan. 4:9-27). Once you know the thoughts
that were on the dreamer's heart when he fell asleep, it is much
easier to draw out the meaning of the dream.

The meaning of the dream must be drawn from the dreamer. Realize you
know nothing about the dream, but through dependence upon the Holy
Spirit and the skillful use of questions, you can draw the meaning of
the dream out from the heart of the dreamer.
As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all
learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and
dreams (Dan. 1:17).

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of
understanding will draw it out (Prov. 20:5).

The dreamer's heart will leap and "witness" and say, "Aha!" when it
hears the right interpretation, so never accept an interpretation
that does not bear witness in the dreamer's heart.

Dreams reveal but do not condemn. Their goal is to preserve life, not
to destroy it (Job 33:13-18).

Never make a major decision in your life based only on a dream
without receiving additional confirmation from the other ways that
God speaks to us and guides us (peace in our hearts, the counsel of
others, illumined Scriptures, God's still small voice, prophecy,
anointed reasoning, etc.).

Discerning Dreams About Yourself
At least 95% of your dreams will be about you -- your inner self,
your current situation, your relationships. Your dreams come from
your heart and will express the things that are important to your
heart. The most common area your spirit will reveal will be your
emotional, heart struggles and sanctification issues, expressed
symbolically. Body and health issues are also important to your
spirit, so they may be revealed, again in a symbolic way. Your
relationships to other people are important to your heart, so these
may be conveyed in signs and symbols. And the circumstances and
events that surround your life, ministry or vocation are also
important to your heart, so these may be portrayed symbolically in
your dreams.

Because the vast majority of dreams are about your inner self, begin
the process of interpreting your dream with the assumption that it
probably is about something you are or should be dealing with in your
own life right now.

Isolate the feeling of the dream first. How did you feel upon first
awakening? Was your heart pounding in fear? Were you confused,
frustrated, angry, rejected, or threatened? Did you feel loved,
excited, happy, or content? Did you feel exposed, unprepared, or
disappointed? What was the overall emotion that the dream evoked? In
what aspect of your life are you also feeling this emotion? If it is
not immediately obvious to you, ask the Lord to reveal it to you.

Look at the action of the dream next. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you
the symbolism of the action. For example, if the symbol in your dream
is that your car is going backward, ask, "In what way do I feel that
I am going backward, that I am not moving forward in this area of my
life?" If someone else is driving your car in the dream, ask, "In
what way is this person driving or controlling my life (e.g., my
reactions, attitudes, behaviors) at this time?" or "How is the
characteristic that this person symbolizes controlling me?" (See the
section below on the symbolism of people in your dreams.) If you are
falling, ask "In what way do I feel like I am falling, losing ground,
or out of control in my life at this time?" If you are soaring,
ask, "In what way or what area of my life do I feel like I am flying,
that I am rising above my problems or my abilities?" If you are being
chased, ask, "How and why do I feel like I am being pursued or
hunted?" If you are naked, ask, "In what way do I feel like I am
exposed and vulnerable?" If you dream of dying, ask, "What is dying
within me?" (This may be a good thing, for perhaps you are dying to
pride, or to self, or to workaholism.)

Remember, actions in the dream are to be viewed symbolically. If your
dream wanted to really show you that you were going to die, it would
picture that event symbolically. For example, just a few days before
his assassination, President Lincoln dreamed of a casket.

Once you have used the feeling and action of the dream to identify
the aspect of your life that it is revealing to you, the rest of the
symbols will be much easier to identify.

The people in your dreams often represent characteristics within you.
You can determine what facet of yourself they are representing by
simply asking, "What is the dominant personality trait of this
person, as I know him?" The answer will tell you what aspect of
yourself you are dreaming about. For example, your heart may want to
show you the entrepreneur, the hospitable host, the administrator,
the class clown, the spiritual leader, the laid back one, the
workaholic, etc. that is within you by the appearance in your dream
of an individual who epitomizes that kind of person to you. Your
pastor may be the spiritual part of you; a president or king may
symbolize other leadership qualities within you; a policeman, judge,
or dictator may be the authority figure in you; people in uniform
(nurses, waiters, choir members) may represent your desire to

It is also possible that the person's name may be the point that the
dream is trying to bring out, especially if that name is spoken
within the dream. Dreaming of a friend named Charity or Joy or Grace
or Joshua or David may be your heart's way of calling your attention
to the qualities that are seen in the meaning of the name. Or the
name may actually sound like the message the dream is trying to
convey. For example, dreaming of "Sharon" might be your heart's way
of pointing out an area in which you should be "sharing" something
you are not, or should not be sharing something you are. One person
reported dreaming of a friend named "Anita Cook" and finding the
interpretation to be "I need to cook."

It is also possible that the Lord Himself or one of His angels may
meet you in the dream.

Animals often represent your emotions. Ask, "What emotion might this
animal be symbolizing to me?" This will depend on your geographical
home, your personal experiences, your knowledge of the Bible, and
your own culture. For example, a bull might be anger (an "angry
bull"); a fox, craftiness; a cat, curiosity; a dove, peace; an eagle,
freedom; a snake, subtlety; a lion, royalty, and so on. Keep in mind
that in the Bible, a lion is used to represent both Christ ("the Lion
of the tribe of Judah") and satan ("as a roaring lion seeking whom he
may devour"). Therefore, you must maintain your dependence upon the
Holy Spirit to reveal what the animal represents in your specific

When you face the animal representing your emotions in your dream
rather than running from it, you may find that the animal changes
into a different one. It is good to face your emotions.

Numbers in dreams generally represent the identical number in real
life. However, the number will probably be linked to something which
needs to be interpreted symbolically. For example, when Joseph
dreamed of eleven stars, the eleven was literal but the stars were
symbolic and actually represented his brothers. Joseph was dreaming
about his eleven brothers (Gen. 37:1-11). Likewise, the cupbearer's
dream of three branches stood for three days (Gen. 39:12), and for
the chief baker, the three baskets represented three days (Gen.
39:18). In Pharaoh's dream, the seven cows were seven years (Gen.
41:26). So expect the number to mean that exact number of something.
It will take prayer, discernment and the revelation of the Spirit
(confirmed by the leap in your heart) to determine what it means.

Continue to move through the dream, seeking revelation on symbol
after symbol, until you sense in your spirit that the interpretation
is complete.

Occasionally you may have dreams that relate to more than your
personal, inner life. If you have examined the dream carefully, in
full reliance upon the Holy Spirit to bring the interpretation, and
you cannot see how the symbols of the dream apply to you, seek the
input of your spiritual counselors. They may be able to see your
blind spots and recognize the message your heart is trying to give

If your counselors agree that the dream does not apply to your inner
life, you may then consider the possibility that it is a dream for or
about others. One indication that this may be a dream for another
rather than you is if you are an observer of the action of the dream,
rather than a participant.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Is the Church Supposed to Feed The Hungry?

If you hand a tract to a man that hasn’t eaten in over 24 hours without a sandwich, chances are you won’t reach that man for Jesus Christ! Jesus fed the 5,000 not so He could show off and impress people! He realized that sending them away in the middle of nowhere without food could be hazardous to their health. He was not just concerned with them hearing the Word; He was concerned about their well being also. Too many of us go to church in our big cars and SUV’s on full stomachs and sit next to someone whose stomach is empty. God forbid! We are often the miracle someone needs! You may not think you are rich, but $20 to some people might be a miracle! We spend money on newspapers, coffee, and bagels every morning on our way to work, and some people sleep on the morning paper and eat the left over bagel you threw away because it was not toasted to perfection for you! The 12 disciples wanted to send the 5,000 away, so do most churches in America. We call the homeless lazy and say they must “pull themselves up by the bootstraps!” That is Republicanism not Christianity talking! Some people are one missing payday from being homeless. I am disabled and I know from personal experience, only the grace of God keeps some of us from sleeping in the street! Another hard fact is that there are SAVED homeless people! For that matter Jesus was born in a homeless situation! The Bible say’s “When you give to the poor, it is like lending to God.”
(James 2:5; Leviticus 19:15; Galatians 2:10)

Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min

Why is Sexual Immorality Rampant in Church?

The children of Israel were lured away from their relationship with the Lord by sexual sin. God constantly warned Israel not to intermarry and fornicate with the heathen nations around them. Sexual intercourse unites the parties involved emotionally; this is called a SOUL TIE. This is why married couples are not truly married until they have sexual intercourse; it is the consummation of the marriage. When sex takes place between unmarried people they are still emotionally tied to one another, this is why Israel backslid and followed the god’s of other nations. The church is modern Israel! The devil uses the SAME tactics today! That is why pornography is a 90 billion dollar a year industry! Too many pastors have 1st ladies and 2nd ladies on the side! Too many choir directors are sweeter than the morning danish! Too many women in church are being used by Satan to help tempt men to sin! I won’t leave out anyone because there is enough blame to go around WE MUST REPENT! Solomon was the worlds wisest man in the world, he was anointed by God to lead the mightiest kingdom on earth, yet he threw it all away because his desire for women. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and the scripture say he LOVED THEM ALL! Satan knows that woman was created for man. God created woman not only to be a companion, but also as a helper and advisor. Satan always perverts what God creates. Remember King Ahab? He was Israel’s most wicked king, guess were he got all of his advice? His wife Jezebel!
(Romans chapter one; Proverbs 7:14-26; I Corinthians 7)

Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min

Why are Churches Devoid of Power?

“But we have Prayer and Bible Band every week!” That’s what some of you are thinking! Most church prayer meetings are pathetic! The pastor and his family show up, most saints avoid prayer meetings like the plague! A real prayer meeting involves EVERYONE! Not just the Pastor leading it! While stationed in Korea I went to a prayer retreat and I noticed that Koreans pray a looooong time! Most prayed 2 to 3 hours while the Americans gave out in 20 to 30 minutes! Why? We don’t realize how powerful prayer is! We pray in the midst of disaster, Koreans pray to avert disaster. We also don’t pray in the Spirit enough! We brag about how we spoke in tongues 25 years ago when we received the Holy Ghost, but we never pray in tongues anymore! Praying in tongues not only strengthens you spiritually, but when you pray in tongues you are praying God’s perfect will over your life and situation. (Jude 20 and Romans 8:26-28)

The devil is wrecking havoc in your church because you don’t use the weapons of your warfare. (Ephesians 6:18) The prayer ministry in your church is the strength of your church! No prayer, No Power! Little Prayer, Little Power! Much Prayer, Much Power!
The keys of the kingdom are very simple but powerful tools that bring people in through "the door" of Jesus' sacrifice. They are the Name of Jesus, the Power of God, the Holy Spirit, Prayer, Faith, and the Word of God and Love. All of these are "mighty in God, to the pulling down of strong holds" (2 Corinthians 10:4). With these "keys" we can "loose and bind" things in both heaven and on earth (Matthew 16:19). Using them properly we can bring many into the Kingdom of God.

Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min

Why Don't Traditional Churches Use Women More?

This is slowly changing in many churches, but too many treat women like second class citizens in ministry. First let me preface this by saying I do believe God DID call men to lead. However lead doesn’t mean women should be excluded from being leaders within a ministry of church. Women bring something to the church that men lack, that is adoration and love for the presence of God. I believe the first man and woman (Adam) were supposed to labor side by side. Under the new covenant this principal should be restored fully. Men bring an analytical and hard edge needed to lead but women bring detail and compassion equally needed in running a ministry or church. Men need to be men, and women need to be women! If you are a woman preacher, DON’T act like a MAN! You can be feminine and preach the Gospel! The prophetess Deborah understood this principal; she was God’s mouthpiece! Yet she did not try to be a leader in the traditional sense, Barak was to lead the people. Barak was unsure because he had no dealings with God and no confidence in God, but thank God for Deborah! Another example is King Josiah! Josiah reformed Judah, he caused the people to repent of their sins, but when he needed a Word from God he wasn’t afraid to ask for a woman’s help. (Huldah, the prophetess) Pastor’s put your ego on hold and use the women for things other than frying chicken! In many cases the Lord uses women more prophetically than men, why? I believe it is because women are more prone to prayer and worship than men. God inhabits the praises of His people! This why the stories in the bible that involve great faith often center on a woman. (Hannah, Mary, The Syrophenician Woman)

Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min

Why Doesn't Traditional Church Appeal To Young People?

A great number of the youth of America today all have one of these four things in common! We traditional saints have got to get over it! I asked a group of ministers at a conference this question, “What would you do if a young man came to your church and professed his faith Jesus Christ, but had dreadlocks?” Well they frowned a little and said “dreadlocks!” My point is this, I am not a big fan of dreadlocks, but what does that have to do with a young man’s walk with Christ? We focus on the wrong thing sometimes. I know Christians with dreadlocks, long hair, and nose rings. And none of them belong to traditional churches! Why? Because they are not accepted! If Jesus accepted them, who are you to say, “You cannot be a Christian with a pony-tail!” I have a friend that used to be a Hell’s Angel biker, he is now a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He ministers primarily to other bikers. He still has long hair, tattooed arms, and yes he still rides a bike! The difference is that he has a new heart and renewed mind! God delivered him from drugs, sex, and alcohol! He doesn’t curse anymore! He reads the Word daily! And he prays more than many of my black suited fellow preachers. Unfortunately he would not accepted in many traditional churches. Jesus chose fisherman, zealots, prostitutes, lepers and tax collectors as disciples! These were not the cream of Israel’s spiritual crop! God doesn’t judge the outward appearance…He judges the heart.
(I Samuel 16:7)

Chaplain Mark Stevens

What is "Holiness?"

One problem with man’s denominational teaching is that HOLINESS in many churches and groups means stay away from them sinners! The only way sinners can see Jesus Christ is through the Church (The Body of Christ). The local church is a part of the larger body of blood washed believers. Sinners can only see the light of Jesus Christ through US. Now I am not saying Christians should go to bars and nightclubs…BUT we do have to interact with sinners! Jesus went to places where people congregate. I remember many of my fellow preachers telling saints they shouldn’t go to bowling alleys, teens shouldn’t play sports, and saints don’t go swimming! These are in some people’s minds what “holiness” is all about! True holiness means we are set apart for God’s use and purposes. God’s highest purpose is that we influence people to accept Christ! I don’t think you can do that locked up in your church 7 days a week with black suits, long skirts, and doilies on your head! I used to witness on the streets of Song Tan City in Korea, there were nothing but bars, nightclubs, and whorehouses in this sin filled town. Many professed “Spirit-filled” Christians would warn me about going downtown. They would tell me it was dangerous and that there was too much temptation there. I believe the awesome power of the Holy Ghost is MORE than enough to protect us while we minister to sinners! I have led prostitutes, Moslems, drug addicts, and drunks to Jesus Christ in some pretty dangerous places. The Holy Spirit was given to us to insulate us from the World, much like an astronaut’s suit protects him on the Moon.
(Jude 24; Romans 8:28;John 15:1-4; John 15:26; John 16:5-9)

Chaplain Stevens

Monday, February 25, 2008

Is The Apocrypha Scripture?

The Apocrypha (απόκρυφα means "hidden") is a set of books written between approximately 400 B.C. and the time of Christ that is rejected by the Protestants and officially accepted by the Roman Catholic Church in 1546 as being inspired. These books are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch.
But if the Apocrypha is Scripture, then it should not have any errors. But since it does have errors, as will be demonstrated below, this puts into question whether or not the Roman Catholic Church has properly used its self-proclaimed position as the teaching authority of the Christian Church. If it can error in such an important manner as defining what is Scripture, can it be trusted to properly teach the Christian Church? The following references can be verified at

Problems in the Apocrypha

When we look into the Apocrypha itself, we find numerous problems. For example, we see it advocating magic, where the smoke of a fish heart on a fire drives away devils.

Tobit 6:5-7, "Then the angel said to him: Take out the entrails of this fish, and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee: for these are necessary for useful medicines. 6 And when he had done so, he roasted the flesh thereof, and they took it with them in the way: the rest they salted as much as might serve them, till they came to Rages the city of the Medes. 7 Then Tobias asked the angel, and said to him: I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish? 8 And the angel, answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kind of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them."
Is it true that the smoke from a fish's heart, when burned, drives away evil spirits? Of course not. Such a superstitious teaching has no place in the word of God.

The Apocrypha also teaches that forgiveness of sins is by human effort.

Salvation by works:
Tobit 4:11, "For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness."
Tobit 12:9, "For alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting."
We know from Scripture that alms (money or food, given to the poor or needy as charity) does not purge our sins. The blood of Christ is what cleanses us, not money or food given to poor people. "but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

Money as an offering for the sins of the dead:
2 Maccabees 12:43, "And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection."
Can anyone truly accept that money isn't an offering for the sins of dead people? Such a superstitious and unbiblical concept has no place in Scripture.

Wrong historical facts:
Judith 1:5, "Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him."
Baruch 6:2, "And when you are come into Babylon, you shall be there many years, and for a long time, even to seven generations: and after that I will bring you away from thence with peace."

The book of Judith incorrectly says that Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Assyrians when he was the king of the Babylonians.1

Baruch 6:2 says the Jews would serve in Babylon for seven generations where Jer. 25:11 says it was for 70 years. "And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years."

Obviously the Apocrypha has serious problems. From magic, to salvation by works, to money as an offering for the sins of the dead, and blatantly incorrect historical facts, it is full of false and unbiblical teachings. It isn't inspired. Likewise, neither is the Roman Catholic Church, which has stated the Apocrypha is inspired. This shows the Roman Catholic Church is not the means by which God is communicating his truth to his people, that the Magisterium has erred greatly, and that it is infested with man's false tradition, rather than God's absolute truth.