April 2017, pt. 2 – Cowboys, Paying for Steak, and These Things

On or about this day, the NFL released the 2017 regular season schedule. Turns out the Cowboys and Seahawks are indeed playing in 2017: Sunday, December 24, at ATT Stadium. I am planning to go to the game. I am, at best, a casual follower of professional sports. Imagine the family weirdness when I explain that I’m compelled to attend a Cowboys game on Christmas Eve. And the Christmas Eve schedule definitely adds a bit of intrigue to the whole Moslem/security theme.

I feel like I am reading an old journal in my sleep. Something about sliding down a pole to get to something. Something else about ammunition. I hear in my spirit, “Right after we said ‘We are starting again’ is where you will find more of the same.” Then I see a bright flash of light behind my closed eyelids, and I realize I am actually awake. The only thing that is clear to me out of all that is the spoken word. The part about reading old journal content (sliding down pole, ammunition) is imaginary in the sense that I don’t have any real journal content about sliding down a pole and getting to ammunition. I wasn’t paying close attention to any of that. I wasn’t paying close attention to anything until the spoken word followed closely by the flash of light. I know then that I’ve been awake the whole time. I look at my phone and see 05:37.

The time 5:37 showed up on my radar last fall, maybe last winter. I haven’t mentioned it in the blog, and I won’t mention it again unless it’s really necessary. My kids and I have all been seeing XX:37 regularly for the past few weeks, for what it’s worth. But 5:37 alone has repeatedly stood out to me for the past several months. The fact that it was on the clock immediately after the events of this morning was interesting. The message itself was also interesting. “Right after we said, ‘We’re starting over’…”. That was a clear reference to the dream I had back in January or February, in which dream the voice told me something like, “It’s possible that you can be on a path towards a goal and then get knocked off track due to disobedience. When that happens, you have to start over. That’s what we’re doing now.” I sleepily resolved to go back and find relevant dream recordings and blog posts, to see what “more of the same” might mean.

Later that day I realized that the morning’s message was my first “awake” spoken word since maybe “Wichita Falls, Portland, Long Island,” back in 2013. Momentous.

I had lunch with my friend DC, who tried to get me in touch with “Man”, from the very first post on this blog. We hadn’t seen each other since Christmas Day 2016, when another friend gave me the “worthy and desirable” message. DC and I did a lot of catching up at lunch. For my part I shared the highs and lows of all that had transpired since mid-December. We left our visit with a good understanding of how we could effectively pray for one another.

I am driving through a neighborhood that has empty streets. I’m aware that, at some point in the past, the streets had been filled with hundreds of cars. There had been some huge party that has ended. All the party-goers had since left.

I pull into the driveway of a house and get out of the vehicle. The lighting outside is fairly dim, appropriate for dusk or dawn. The ground is covered in soil that looks to be tilled and very rich. There are two earthworms moving rapidly across the top of the soil. They are both moving downhill, leaving trails in the dirt as they travel. I wish that I could show my kids the unusually speedy worms.

I go to the front door and attempt to use my key to open the lock. The door is distinctly colored green. I accidentally drop my key, and it falls down into the door. Fortunately there is a retractable covering over a long vertical groove in the door. I pull down the covering and find my key at the bottom of the door. I use the key to open the door and find myself in an entry way that faces yet another door to the house. I hear a voice say something like, “He thought he was SOL, because he believed that he had the only key.” I notice two other keys on the ground, in opposite corners, on the same wall as the first door. Keys are everywhere.

I get inside the house proper and find young versions of my kids and my wife’s kids from her first marriage. Everyone looks to be an age consistent with a time when we were all still living under one roof. We greet each other as if it has been a long time since last we saw each other. WAKE

It’s been weeks since I’ve been able to remember any dreams, so I’m journalling this one. The rich soil; green door; spoken word; abundance of keys; and all the kids make this seem like a significant dream.

DC texted me in the morning and told me he’d been interceding on my behalf and kept hearing (presumably) ((hopefully?)) God say: “My promise to Joe is still on. The deal is still on.” DC didn’t get a sense that ‘the promise’ was necessarily anything to do with me and my fractured family. More about how God was going to use me. DC mentioned a dream and spoken word as well. He didn’t provide any details to that end, and I didn’t ask for any. He did say that it was rare that he would have such a dream as the one that related to my situation.

My thoughts after waking from the green door dream gravitated to the endless feedback loop that had been dominant for a few weeks: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had possibly offered to covenant with me. It was possible that Jesus Himself had defined some terms of the covenant. I’d ultimately failed in meeting my part of any deal, as far as I could tell from what I’d seen in dreams and in real life. This was a crushing burden and disappointment that, by its nature, pretty much required that I keep it to myself; or else be known as really crazy. Mary, Dave at the Office, and now recently DC are the only people with whom I’d gone into any detail about the whole thing.

And then there was possibly some version of starting over, maybe with a new covenant opportunity. Had I lost out on the opportunity to do everything that was originally offered? Was it any of my business? I toyed with the idea of asking God for some clarification. I didn’t ask for clarification. After DC’s encouragement on Wednesday, some of the sting was gone.

That morning I texted DC and asked him to share the details of his dream from the night after our lunch. Here’s a paraphrase of his description:
“We were at a steak restaurant and you were seated on a fancy chair inside a big plywood box, upholstered on the inside (like a coffin?); you had just come in from a car wreck (yours?) but you were ok and laughing and ordering a steak. Then dancing ladies dressed up in steak seasoning costumes came in. One was dressed as an onion, wearing tights; another as a garlic; another as black pepper – silly, but sexy. You were about to eat this fancy steak, presented by the dancing ladies. But you pushed it away and said “I can’t pay for this.” Then I woke up and clearly heard, “God is buying the steak.”

That dream/word preceded DC’s interceding on my behalf and believing God was telling him that “the promise” was still on.

Clearly, things appeared to be escalating out of nowhere. DC’s dream was a curious dovetail off of a couple of my own dreams: the last dream I remember having back in December 2016, regarding the apparent end of potential, was the dream about me having the head-on auto collision with the two black guys. I wasn’t injured in that wreck, according to my dream experience. The final element in that dream had been me trying to get the attention of an apparent authority figure, who ignored me. Maybe it was a “Sixth Sense” kind of thing, where I was dead in the dream, and the guy was ignoring me because I wasn’t really there. Too much speculation, not enough facts.

No matter the car wreck/casket thing, the most important element of David’s experience was the spoken word: “God is buying the steak.”

A full day after DC told me these details, I am further relieved about the situation. By way of summarizing what I know and believe:

I know that much has been prophesied about me.

I believe that the prophecies were originally supposed to have come to fruition by now.

I believe that God showed me my behavior is what stopped the prophecies from coming to fruition by now.

I believe that God showed me I was going to get another chance at something, despite my blowing it the first time.

I know that I’ve been grieving my failure in such a test of my character, as administered by the Creator of the Universe.

I know that in the past week, after some weeks of apparent radio silence, there have been a number of events that seem to indicate God is again communicating with me.

I believe that God has now spoken directly into this situation via the “paying for the steak” encouragement. Since I couldn’t pay the necessary price to reach the goal He’s got in mind, He’s going to pick up the tab. In that best-case scenario, everything that God intended for me is still available, whenever the time is right.

I know that I’m sick to death of writing about myself and am looking forward to the time when I can write about cool things that happen to other people.

If everything works out such that God finally opens the floodgates through me, I will always know that I didn’t earn any of that via my stalwart character. It will be due to God’s generosity despite my shortcomings; generosity that seems determined to get me involved in some amazing things. I do not know why He is so determined. I am humbled beyond words, even on this side of Whatever It Is.

April 30, 2017
Woke up early and had pre-dawn breakfast. Finished the blog post about 2013, more or less. I accidentally posted the almost-completed entry and went back to bed. As I was dozing off, I had some unmemorable and unconscious train of thought going through my head. The whole deal crashed into the inside of my skull when I heard in my spirit, “He wants you to have these things, Joe.” Full stop. The words had been seamlessly woven into whatever innocuous thing was going on in my thoughts. Even as I sleepily assessed the situation, I already couldn’t remember what the thoughts had been about. The words stood alone. I haven’t received a “spoken” word in…years, maybe. And now in the span of one week, I have had a couple; and my friend DC had the one about God buying the steak. One might suspect that there’s a loving God somewhere who is interested in me understanding some important point.

I tried to go back to sleep but was too awakened by the surprise message. I couldn’t make myself believe that I’d thought the words on my own. It was a statement addressed to me by name and wasn’t part of my own train of thought. Best case scenario, I’d heard from someone who is closely affiliated with whoever might be in a position to both want me to have “these things” and also have the capacity to dispatch a spirit messenger to let me know of that desire. At minimum, in such a scenario, I’d heard from a dispatched angel. I continually ask God to protect me from demonic attack and deception; and I don’t have any besetting sins that open me up to demonic attack in general. So I figured it was a safe to believe in the best-case possible with this.

I wondered: if God is buying the steak because I couldn’t pay for it myself; and if He wants me to have “these things”, then are we still waiting on anything in particular? Surely not a test of my character, which is now at least four months past failure. His wallet is forever fat; so we’re not waiting on the next paycheck to hit His account. Maybe just His timing. This is nuts. I’d resigned myself weeks ago to not hearing from God at all for the rest of the year. Now we’re back to a near-daily string of encounters. Just like 2013.

Later that morning I went to church. There are some interesting things afoot at Upper Room. The evening services are now dedicated to waiting on God to see what He might decide to do with a roomful of expectant people. The morning service continues on as primarily a teaching service. I attend the morning service. I arrived at about 11am. The first speakers were our missionaries in Croatia. They told the crowd about their mission in that spiritually dark nation. Upper Room has grown by perhaps more than 100% in the past year, so a lot of people in any given service haven’t heard of things like the missionaries in Croatia. While everything was going on, I was aware that I felt different – somehow changed. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I didn’t feel like I usually feel in context of that auditorium. I thought back over the events of the past week, and especially the word from that morning. “He wants you to have these things, Joe.” Could that have been a drop-off? As in, “Here are these things that He wants you to have.” And then those things were given to me and made me physically feel different. I may or may not have asked God to confirm. I can’t remember.

That evening I remembered something that seemed relevant to the “things” riddle. I refer the reader (for the second time in this entry) this post from February 2015. The post documents a wake-up voice, similar to the one that happened on April 30. I’d awakened at 0300 and immediately heard, “Would you like to have these sharp things I keep between the pads of my feet?” “These things”, the voice mentioned in 2015. And another voice mentioned “these things” again in 2017. I’ll harness the power of this word processor and run the two messages together:

“Would you like to have these sharp things I keep between the pads of my feet?”

Two years and two months later…

“He wants you to have these things, Joe.”

That makes some sense, from the standpoint of continuity. I wondered if I’d been given “these things”; and if I had, how would I know? Would it be blasphemous to try and make the weather change, just for the sake of doing it? I didn’t want to take the chance. I definitely felt different, after the morning’s events. I ultimately figured if I’d been given some ability, there would eventually be an opportunity to use it appropriately, in context of love and not just curiosity or demonstration.


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