Manifold Hope pursues ministry by first researching areas of interest, reporting on findings, seeking God for needed repentance and then developing projects to repair brokenness. We believe that repentance is a key to social change (2 Chron. 7:14) and the release of the Holy Spirit.
That conviction led us to pray for insight on where the current, wide-spread move of God expressed in Isa Dreams is being inhibited by a lack of repentance. Dreams appear to stretch the credulity of Western society. While certainly there is evidence of dream analysis, as a rule, the West does not trust the subconscious and the supernatural. Pride and insecurity often cause us to seek the approval of skeptics rather than God. We stand in danger of what Isaiah prophesied in chapter 6: “Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise, they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn and be healed.” (Isa. 6:10)
The problem with dreams is often incredulity … well, unbelief. We find it difficult to believe that the God of heaven and earth would appear to us in dreams. Like the poor father of the possessed child, we partly believe with our minds, but we cry “I believe, help my unbelief.” This incredible world-wide phenomenon is happening to men, women, terrorists and murderers like Saul, imams. It is stunning that God is not impressed by how far someone is from Him – He has always bridged the gap, He has always made the journey and continues to come for His children. He is appearing in dreams like the Old Testament records.
There is a need to prostrate ourselves before God for our nation. The United States which led most of the 19th and 20th century mission outreach is now firmly eclipsed by other countries that need mission strategies for America. Signs and wonders are happening in other countries who do not consider it strange, while we look askance at anyone who speaks of dreams or visions. Dr. Dudley Woodberry, professor of Muslim Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary states that “Middle-eastern Jews and Muslims expect dreams while most Evangelical Christians do not”. That lack of expectation requires deep repentance. Even if we personally are open to a spirit of revelation manifested in dreams and visions, our country is not.
Dreams are often compelling. Hundreds of testimonies on the Internet speak of Jesus appearing as a figure in blinding white light who invites the dreamer to join Him, to come to Him. The experience is suffused with the Holy Spirit which is working transformation in the dream. Men and women speak of overwhelming awe and peace in the presence of God. They feel His love and bask in it. We can speak personally and have heard other people express hesitance about dreams – that God might ask us to change our whole life and do something we might not want to do. With our mind, we know that this feeling is inappropriate and pathetic, but it is real. We are disobedient to anticipated requests and deeply in need of repentance and forgiveness. This speaks of a lack of trust and a poor understanding of the love of God.
There is unmistakable evidence that God is moving around the world in a wave of the Spirit that is exhilarating. God doesn’t know “closed countries.” He is not awed by the zeal and anger of other gods. He is not afraid to choose His sheep. His dreams not only call His own to salvation, they also often prepare them for resulting persecution. Yet the American church sleeps through most of this activity. The American church has to repent, wake up and become engaged in this move of God. We have an opportunity, no, an obligation to participate in this move of God, but there are definite barriers. We are often too self-absorbed, building our own kingdoms, to give of our time to people in other countries even when the Internet offers an inexpensive and convenient means to do so.
For many of us, that reluctance goes to a root problem of idolatry. We have unbelief because we are chasing after other gods – gods of reason, seeking approval of an unbelieving people, as well as the typical Baals of success and sexual excess.
We love to claim that we are a melting pot and yet we too often treat people as part of a group rather than as individuals (the way we want God to treat us!). This is tribal or familial and it is rife with sin: self-centered arrogance, greed, unforgiveness, revenge … the list goes on. Jesus appearing to Muslims poses a problem to many people who want vengeance on the perpetrators of 9/11. How can God appear to Muslims, even murderers, and invite them to salvation? You can hear first century Christians crying out about Saul. It is difficult to obey the commands to love the unlovely. Televised mobs burning the American flag stir deep emotions. Cries calling the United States “the Great Satan” deeply offend us. So we are arrayed against each other, until we begin to believe that Jesus died for everyone the Father had given to Him. That group is bigger than we might think. Isa dreams remind us that God so loved the whole world.
It is hard to believe that a nation that has been forgiven so much could ever find it so hard to forgive, but we have struggled to extend forgiveness to Muslims. It is far easier to look on them as enemies with a malevolent force behind them than it is to see them as lost sheep. Many believers in America also feel an affinity and loyalty to Israel that also affects us when considering praying for and serving Muslims. The act of researching Isa dreams in Manifold Hope has stretched us and challenged us to bring our hearts before God and ask for cleansing. We have voiced forgiveness, but Jesus’ blood still needs to do a work in our hearts.