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Devotionals

Dare to Be a Daniel (Part 24)

There are endless suggestions about the functionality of the brain and why people have dreams. I want to short circuit everything the scientists and people interested in these fields say by saying that what we put into the mind comes out in some format or the other. You have heard the saying … “garbage in, garbage out”. The opposite must be true too. What you allow to be placed into the recesses of the brain must have effects on your subconscious thinking, influencing the content of your dreaming. Take a horror movie. Although it is fake, the use of images, lighting, sound, objects (good or bad) conjure effects in the brain. Fear, anxiety, anger are just a few. On the other hand, looking at a “feel good” romance movie could induce feelings of love, tears, compassion, passion, joy, etc. What you as a person give permission to lodge itself in your mind will have some sort of effect. My wife (Jenny) refuses to look at an accident as we drive past it. Most people have seen some pretty gory scenes, especially relating to injured or killed people. These images stick in the mind. You might have a bad day with your studies. Maybe the professor belittled you publically; maybe your superior at work humiliated you in front of your colleagues or subordinates; maybe you had anesthesia due to an operation … in some way these things affect and influence. Take a moment and consider this logic … you recall the account of Jesus’ disciples eating without washing their hands? The conversation progressed to where Jesus taught

Mt 15:18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man ‘unclean’.

The heart symbolizes the central or control room of the body. All actions, thought processes, decisions, emotions including the spiritual dimension are seen as the “heart”. So thinking of the brain that hosts and drives the mind, emotions and actions … what you put in must come out. Our Lord was insightful to speak about what comes out of the heart … evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. No one needs to tell you that these things as well as worries, frustrations, love life, finances, employment, etc. all make an impact on your mind. They influence your heart! It is no wonder that Paul, under inspiration says

Ro 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. The saved mind needs radical transforming change from its previous condition. Invest the Word of God into your mind and you will think of the Will of God as it applies to your life and circumstances and the world in general. Perhaps a long explanation, but worthwhile when considering dreams. Be careful what you put into your mind and be careful what you think about. It will influence what you dream about! Although king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was implanted divinely, God used the things that occupied his mind in the dream to teach something profound. Already we have seen this huge tree was the king, expanding in his power, might and reach.

3) Everyone under the reign of the king enjoyed sustenance.

Da 4:12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all.

Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed. In the original language, the word construction does not imply food for all people throughout the world, but food for all in the tree, being all in the kingdom. The symbolism of beasts and birds refers to all mankind under the sphere of the king’s reign, not literal animals. Although I am prepared to say that everyone in Christ has their daily requirements met to a larger or lesser degree (understanding that some suffer extremely because of the environment they live in), God does provide safety, security and resources to meet the spiritual needs of His people. Those lacking comfort of the soul and those walking through parched, dry places need to look at their heart and ask … “Lord, am I neglecting my soul?”

4) The change from being contented and prosperous (v4) to being afraid and terrified (v5) was because of the content of verse 13.

Da 4:13 “In the visions I saw while lying in my bed, I looked, and there before me was a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven.

Granted the king does not know the true God personally but the sighting of a “holy one” descending from heaven must have caused the alarm, fear and terror. It is not so much what this messenger looked like but from where he came. This part of the vision is beyond vivid. It is graphic. Could you picture a messenger, a holy one descending from the sky (heaven) in a dream? It must have been electric. What this messenger has to say is too large a section to consider in our remaining space. So let’s ask some provocative questions ….

(1) What are you filing your heart (mind) with? Jenny and I decided many years ago not to entertain any movies that are rated above 13. Now a days even this is inadequate, calling us to drop to mostly “family” or Hallmark Channel movies. (It’s a pity we can’t get “Pure flix” in South Africa.) You see, to be boring, what you fill you mind with overflows out of your heart. Fill you mind more and more with God’s Eternal Word. You whole take on life will be drastically changed.

(2) Are you being nourished from the fountain of delights that God alone provides? Here we are not speaking about reading the Bible. We are speaking of meditation on the Word of God to glean the deeper application for the soul.

(3) Do you have a holy fear of the Sovereign One? I am not speaking about being scared of God. I mean, do I truly fear God for who He is, what He does and what He is capable of doing and will be doing when Jesus returns?

Gracious God. Grant us a more accurate understanding of whom You are, what You are and how You want us to respond to You. Amen.

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