Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What Dreams May Come

Dreams are funny things. Most of the time, I don't remember mine. Occasionally, I'll remember something about one or two, but for the most part, they don't stick in my conscious memory long enough to make any lasting impression. When I do tend to remember, it's usually because the dream comes in the morning, when I'm really supposed to be getting up and getting ready for work or whatever.

This morning was one of those mornings, though, when I didn't want to get up. I dreamed about seeing my grandparents, who have been dead for years, at a picnic. Only they didn't look like they did the last times I saw them; they looked like themselves only I don't remember ever seeing them like that - my grandfather was 58 years old when I was born, and my grandmother was 57 years old. I've seen pictures of them, although not very many, but what I remember of the pictures was not what they looked like in my dream.

The other thing was, my grandfather on my dad's side was there, too, and I've never met him. He died when my dad was 8 years old, but I saw him. Other people were there that I knew were family and old friends, although I don't have a sense of who they were. It was just weird - good weird, but weird.

If I had to draw a conclusion about the dream, I would say that it felt like a reunion, only a reunion in the hereafter. I don't normally dream of heaven - I know it's there, and I know I will be there and I know that members of my family who knew the Lord will be there. And honestly, this didn't feel like a dream of heaven, in the sense that the place wasn't the focus - the focus was the people.

The best part about it was that my grandma hugged me. When I woke up, I could still feel where her cheek had pressed against mine. It was so tangible and real that I tried to go back to sleep to find her, only I couldn't.

I've been trying to figure out why I would have a dream like that now, and while there is probably a certain amount of "cell-memory" at work in the sense that the dates of birthdays and anniversaries tend to bring up memories of those events whether you're conscious of them or not, the other side of that is that everyone will die. Where they spend eternity depends on the answer to one question: what did you do with Jesus?

I took this from Billy Graham's website because I think he explains it well. If you've never heard this before, please take some time to read it now.

Step 1: God's Purpose: Peace and Life

God loves you and wants you to experience peace and life—abundant and eternal.

The Bible says ...

"We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." —Romans 5:1 (NIV)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." —John 3:16 (NIV)

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." —John 10:10 (NIV)

Why don't most people have this peace and abundant life that God planned for us to have?

Step 2: The Problem: Our Separation
God created us in His own image to have an abundant life. He did not make us as robots to automatically love and obey Him. God gave us a will and a freedom of choice.
We chose to disobey God and go our own willful way. We still make this choice today. This results in separation from God

The Bible says ...

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." —Romans 3:23 (NIV)

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." —Romans 6:23 (NIV)

Our Attempts to Reach God

People have tried in many ways to bridge this gap between themselves and God ...

The Bible says ...

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." —Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)

"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." —Isaiah 59:2 (NIV)

No bridge reaches God ... except one.

Step 3: God's Bridge: The Cross

Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose from the grave. He paid the penalty for our sin and bridged the gap between God and people.

The Bible says ...

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ."
—1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV)

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."
—1 Peter 3:18 (NIV)

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
—Romans 5:8 (NIV)

God has provided the only way. Each person must make a choice.

Step 4: Our Response: Receive Christ

We must trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and receive Him by personal invitation.

The Bible says ...

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will
come in and eat with him, and he with me."
—Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to
become children of God."
—John 1:12 (NIV)

"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised
Him from the dead, you will be saved."
—Romans 10:9 (NIV)
Where are you?

Will you receive Jesus Christ right now?

Here is how you can receive Christ:
1. Admit your need (I am a sinner).
2. Be willing to turn from your sins (repent).
3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and rose from the grave.
4. Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit.
(Receive Him as Lord and Savior.)

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