I wrote this chapter in my book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World, and I received many compliments on it. It was a real dream, I just added a little excitement for your enjoyment.
A Dream is What We build our Life on
Blessed I the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
I had a real dream the other night, and it was a western. It had me tossing and turning until the outcome unfolded.
The wonderful thing about dreams is that no matter how terrifying they are in the beginning, they almost always turn out for the good in the end. You notice that you never quite get caught by the monster that is chasing you. Isn’t it fun when you are flying and you can see everyone below you? I just flap my arms, and I fly. (OK, I know you’re thinking, This guy is crazy!)
How about the fact that you are the hero and you always save the day? Everything is wonderful. That is how life can be if you follow God. It doesn’t pay to worry, have anxiety and be full of fear. It doesn’t pay to be full of shame. It doesn’t pay one cent to be gossiping all the time. My dream is an example of that.
The good guys: Matthew, Mark, John
Stranger on a white horse
The bad guys: Anxiety, Gossip, Shame, Death
Matthew, Mark, John and the Stranger—the four good guys—were riding on their horses through Sin City towards the Not OK Corral. Hiding from them were Anxiety, Gossip, Shame and Death—the four bad guys. They didn’t want the good guys to find them and stop the harm they were doing. They had control of all the people in the city and they wanted to keep control. Matthew, Mark and John were riding on brown horses because that was what they rode in those days. The Stranger was riding on a white horse.
The good guys were not gunslingers, they were Bible-slingers. The good guys got down off their horses and went searching for Anxiety, Gossip, Shame and Death.
Matthew found Anxiety leering around a corner trying to see where everyone was. Anxiety had a worried look on his face. He kept looking everywhere in fear—in back of him and in front of him. He didn’t know what to do.
Anxiety (aka worry) can be caused by a doctor’s appointment that holds the results of a blood test. It can be wondering if you can pay this month’s bills. It could be from a dispute you had with your wife. Whatever the case, from stage left comes Matthew, who says to Anxiety: “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done” (taken from Philippians 4:6).
Anxiety felt like a ton of weight had been taken off his shoulders, and he left the Not OK Corral much happier. Anxiety was gone.
Mark was looking for Gossip. When he found him, Gossip was talking so fast Mark couldn’t understand him. Gossip said, “Did you see Clem at the Horse’s Breath Saloon? He said he would never take another drink, and I just saw him walk in there!”
Gossip can ruin a person’s life. Talking about someone behind their back can only spread hurt and can cause unwanted hardship.
Mark put his hand over Gossip’s mouth and said: “As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts” (Proverbs 26:21–22).
Gossip was dumbfounded and was unable to speak further. He went away with a swollen tongue and was gone. There was no more gossip.
John found Shame hiding in a closet because he was so ashamed of what he had done all his life. He didn’t want anyone to see him this way.
Shame is often the last fatal nail in the heart of a person who is hurting from something they did in the past. Turn anything you are ashamed of over to God, and He will wipe it out of His books.
John felt pity for him and said, “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:16).
Shame rose and came out of the closet. He was a different man. He felt self-worth. He felt he was loved. He wanted to learn more about God. After this, Shame was gone. There was no more shame.
Then the Stranger went right to where Death was, for He knew where everyone was, and what they were doing every second of the day.
Death was a hideous creature. He was caring a sword and had a look on his face that would melt anyone who looked into his eyes. He really was the leader of this gang. There was fire coming out of his ears, and he laughed a chilling laugh. (This is the part where I was tossing, and turning!) He said, “You may have calmed the rest of my gang, but you have no power over me. Everyone has to die, and I will wait until they come to me.”
Yes, death will happen to all of us, but if we are under God’s you have a protective wing, we do not have to fear death. It is just a stepping stone to be with our heavenly Father. You can be assured that the angels are waiting for the moment you are ready to be with the Lord. It is like a parent anticipating a newborn. The angels will say, “Cool, here comes another one to be with us in heaven.”
The Stranger took off His cloak, and uncovered his head. It was Jesus. Jesus walked up to Death and said, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).
Death spun around in pain and, weaker but still standing, turned back toward Jesus.
Jesus said, talking to God: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (from Psalm 23:4).
Death began to wither and fell to the ground. He had no more power over people any longer.
So there was no more anxiety, no more gossip, no more being ashamed, and most importantly, no more death.
God is the final power. He controls all things. We can stop worrying about anything. Worrying and fear does not gain us one more minute in a day—and it saps our strength. Turn your anxiety, gossiping, shame and the fear of death over to Him, and He will send them on their way.
The four horsemen got on their horses and headed to the next town to see what gangs might have settled there. As they rode into the sunset, they all sang praises to God and worshipped Him.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life.
Have you had one of those bad guys come into your life? Have you been faced with anxiety? Has someone said something about you to someone else that wasn’t true? Do you live in shame for past sins that you cannot get out of your mind? Have you lost a loved one? Always remember that God is always there. He knows what your anxiety is. He knows about the gossip that has been spread about you. He wants you to throw away your shame, like it was a broken toy.
And remember that death has no power if your loved one was a Christian. God is the final Word. He controls everything. Lean on Him through whatever trial you are going through. You will have some storms come into your life, but God is there to help calm them for you.
Something to ponder
Isn’t it funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says?
(Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World) Chapter 12