The Ship Dream - Part 5 - A Voice of Alarm

Part 5 - A Voice of Alarm and Division

After a short tour of the ship and meeting some of the crew I was jarred by the sound of a woman’s scream. It was coming from the very area I had first come onto the ship. Though I could not see her, as she was on the other side of the bulkhead on the outer rail, I knew she was sitting on some kind of a tall perch. And from this exalted perch she was watching over the water as if a watchman.

From her position that was higher than those around her she began to cry out “Shark!”and to rile the people considerably. The sound of fear was in her voice. Apparently upon seeing the sharks in the water around the ship she was alerting the whole ship as to their presence and it was drawing many people to go look at the terrifying guests.

I didn’t go, nor did any who I had just spoke with, as I was already well aware that we were in an ocean filled with innumerable sharks.

Then, I heard a strange thing after the woman delivered her desperate cry. A loud sound of what could only be described as murmuring broke out. I could hear many people talking yet I couldn't understand a single word they were saying. Many had gathered outside to see the sharks and were now murmuring loudly while many of the workers stayed on the main deck to continue working.

Basically what had happened, was a voice had exalted itself on the ship that drew people away from the work by scaring them, and had effectively created a division. At this point, there were two distinct groups of people on the ship, those working on the main deck, and those murmuring on the outer deck.

What was this all about? What was the Lord giving me a heads up and spiritual perspective on though this strange scene?

Just as I had seen so it came to pass. Not long after we formed our new church an event, or a series of events, came to pass that matched this with shocking accuracy. I, and my closest partners, saw fear and murmuring quickly break out causing a serious division to grip our young ministry. There was literally nothing we could do. The church quickly had a serious split that ended in people leaving, distrust, and significant damage to friendships. Some relationships were repaired and others were never the same.

Without going into unnecessary details, one of the people involved in this actually came to me and admitted that they had been totally overcome with fear. Shortly afterwards they began to draw people after themselves. What followed was destruction. Let me explain.

The Lord showed me that the root of this original division on “His” ship was fear. The Lord hates fear and sees it as a sin. Even in the book of Revelation the fearful are the first group of sinners doomed to the lake of fire. Whenever people are given over to this demonic influence they reject faith and go into self-preservation mode. And fear motivated self-preservation is the exact opposite of living the cross in faith. Those who are saved in faith deny themselves, seeking not to save their own lives, and embrace the cross. Those who fall to fear reject Jesus’ command, seeking to save their lives. Ultimately, when people give themselves over to a spirit of fear they begin to angle inside the church, to whisper, murmur, and seek to protect themselves more than to obey the Lord and carry the cross. This creates havoc within the body and opens the door to increasing manipulation. It’s hard to overestimate how much division one exalted voice of fear can do to those of faith. We saw early on. Again, this is the root the Lord showed me though it manifested in a number of behaviors.

Just as the voice I heard began to magnify the reality of the sharks (the demonic realm) around us, so this happened before my very eyes. I understand better now that fear motivated self-preservation can be effective in dissuading those who are not in fear, yet are a little on edge about the situation they are in.

For the record, I do believe in the need for real watchmen in the Body of Christ, its just that when people self appoint themselves into this position without being properly submitted to Christ and his delegated authorities they can bring tremendous damage. Real watchmen have the gift of being able to alert people to dangers without inspiring fear in people but rather faith to overcome.

In our case, the situation we had found ourselves in was extremely challenging. There was nothing easy about dealing with this but God gave us the grace to remain in faith through it and to lay hold of what God was trying to do in our midst in this small Costa Rican town.

It was hard enough wrestling with the demonic principalities we dealt with in those days as we sought to break through new territory in the spirit realm. Yet, having people begin to announce how powerful the demons were, and how great their influence over the people, in the fearful manner that they did, only exacerbated the problems.

There are many more details and dynamics to this part that the dream represents. It was basically a split. Though many of us tried to do all we could to mitigate the damage, and I appreciated those efforts myself trying to be merciful in the experience, there were also other views on the whole situation. Bottomline, what I saw came to pass. My closet friends would probably agree with much of this while also have different insights, and perhaps God inspired revelation, on that difficult time. I also saw more than just fear as a factor, however, having had much time to think about it I do believe fear was a major factor. I try to remember that no single person can see the whole thing perfectly except God. What I was shown was what I needed to see and has served as a great lesson for me for many years.

This is a great lesson for all ministers of the gospel. We are called to shine in the dark and to confront and dispel dark spirits. This is no easy work and though it pays well in heaven for those who will take it on; it usually doesn't pay much on earth.

Finally, when we are surrounded by darkness the worst thing we can do is to become overly focused on it so as to magnify it. This is something that the Lord spoke to me about in a later dream as well. We are not to be ignorant of the schemes of the devil but we are to not become paranoid and fearful of his power, regardless of how much of it he exerts over people. Perhaps the greatest thing we can do is to magnify the light when darkness is present. We can praise, read scriptures, and make prophetic declarations based on the scripture that cause the enemy and his kingdom to shake.

In the end, magnifying the Lord’s goodness and power in our conversations and prayers was something that helped us through this test.

Next time we will see what this was seeking to thwart. That is, the destiny of the ship.

The Ship Dream - Part 4 - A Walk Amongst the Crew

As I mentioned in the last blog, the ship was basically a ghost ship until the moment my mother asked “Who are all these people?”, at which the deck came alive with workers.

At this point my tour of the vessel began. As I started walking across the deck I quickly realized that some level of authority had been given to me from the Captain as people on the boat were supposed to salute me just as a commissioned officer in the military must be saluted. This was strange to me because during my enlistment in the Coast Guard no one ever had to salute me as I was not an officer. However, to my surprise, it seemed that on this vessel I served as an officer which meant that there was a corresponding responsibility to the Captain for my execution of that office.

Keep in mind that as I went around the deck and viewed people and things; these were all future at this point and soon began to come to pass like a timeline. Some of the events actually happened in the order that I saw them and others may have been placed there simply because of their importance to the mission.

To the port (left side) of the ship I noticed that were many workers but I turned to the starboard (right side) and began to walk. The first thing I walked up on was two shirtless men that looked like strong sailors. One of them was visibly larger than the other like a father and son would appear. They were working hard on tying a thick line of three strand cord around a large stake that had been nailed into the boards of the deck.

I then moved toward the bow (front) where I met with a small framed man who quickly approached me. He had sharp features and a fresh crew cut in his hair. Another thing that stood out was that he was wearing a black and white suit with a tie. He was the only person on the entire ship wearing clothes like this. He wanted to talk to me, and we did talk, however the words of the conversation were not revealed. Perhaps just the fact that we were meeting and talking was itself a message indicating that we would be working together closely - and indeed it was.

Okay, let’s dive into the imagery now…

In this section, I experienced a real turn around as a sense of merely trying to survive shifted to adventure and curiosity. This is what happens when we move a step further away from the world and one closer to what the Lord wants us to do. I had experienced mercy in being rescued by the ship but tremendous grace had now been given to me to be serving as an officer. Perhaps, knowing my own unworthiness helped me more than I realized during this season. Again, I’m reminded of Jonah who is known for both having a blend of weakness of character and yet also a prophetic gift that was able to be used outside of his country of birth. And after having severely rebelled against the Lord he was quickly restored to his purpose. Just like Jonah I had experienced a rather quick turn around and restoration to my calling.

Now, for the first two men. I actually met them several months after seeing them in the dream. It was a father and son who brought a lot of spiritual strength to the ship. Chris, the son (the smaller of the two), actually became our minister of worship and did a great job especially for his young age. He was also a Timothy like I had originally seen would be part of the ship’s call. Just as I saw them first working hard so they were when I met them as they were on a business venture. Just as they were working on a stake they had apparently nailed into the deck, so these were spreading out their tent stakes by becoming land owners in Costa Rica with a rather large stake of land. Interestingly, about three years after I first saw them in the dream after having returned to U.S., a picture was emailed to me of both of them together with their shirts off baptizing a new believer at the beach. This reminded of how they looked to me in the dream.

One more thought. Just as I had originally seen Chris with cord in hand this is related to how he served the Captain. As a guitarist/vocalist he used chords as his main gift on the ship.

After this, the man in the suit was my friend Eben who fits the physical description of the man in the dream. He was wearing a suit and tie because he became a pastor on the ship along with myself. He was wearing black and white which is funny to me because this seems to match his personality very well. He was one of the most black and white personalities I’ve known having the gift of letting you know where he stood at all times. We spent a lot of time together for about a two year period and weathered quite a few storms during that time. Though, unlike the others on the deck I had actually met Eben before the dream, still, just as I saw, he later cut his hair to match the short crew cut. His fellowship not only strengthened me during trying times, but also empowered me to serve God in new and creative ways that I didn't realize were possible at the time.

A final comment on the purpose of dreams. This is often how things happen in dreams for me. I will see details ahead of time and then they come to pass like a timeline later down the road. This serves as confirmation and also helps with orientation on God’s prophetic timeline. Sometimes the small details that seem insignificant or strange, like the particular haircut, or a stake nailed into a wooden deck, are infused with meaning that help me to understand where I am at, and also the people the Lord allows me to serve with me with in his kingdom.

I had now seen details about some of the most important people in my immediate future that helped me to identify them and their purpose. In the next blog we will look at the first crisis that took place on the ship and how the Lord handled it. For now however, you the reader may be like a Jonah running from the Lord. If you are truly willing to repent the Lord can restore you and sometimes faster than you realize.