Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Invitation

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 12, A Surprising Invitation, of The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, we encourage you to share your thoughts and what you've learned in the comments section below each post. We're sure you'll lift someone's spirit.)

In Chapter 12 of the Dream Giver, Ordinary has made it through the Wasteland, wakes up near a stream and is invited to enter into a new place by his Dream Giver know as the Sanctuary. Sanctuary can mean different things. According to Merriam-Webster it can be the most sacred part of a religious building, dedicated to worship. It can also mean a place of protection and refuge (think of animal sanctuaries where endangered and injured animals can live in a protected environment). In Ordinary's journey this is the place where God cleanses him and renews him and surrounds him with His presence. This is also the place where the Dream Giver asks Ordinary to surrender his dream.

God invites us into His Sanctuary when we need extra rest and comfort. Sometimes we just need to slow down so that we can hear from God. On page 129, our Dream Coach, Bruce Wilkinson tells us, "Sanctuary is a special time in your life. And it will change you. But sometimes we don't heed God's invitation to rest-and He has to press it upon us." There have been many times when I have refused to slow down until I was so physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted that I had no choice. It's as if I think that by constantly striving I am working towards my Big Dream in a more effective manner. It's so easy for things to get out of balance. Sometimes I definitely need a "time out" to regroup and come back stronger.

In the light of His presence we can sometimes see our own sin clearer and are lovingly convicted of how we need to change. On page 130, our Dream Coach tells us this cleansing is necessary for us to become closer to God. He encourages us to "Allow God's light to enter those dark areas of your life. It's a wonderful and humbling experience. Ask for and accept His love, forgiveness and healing." (Bruce Wilkinson, p. 130) Just as we so long to bring healing to our children, our Heavenly Father seeks to first heal our broken hearts. There have been moments, deep in prayer, where I felt the love and presence of God. Often after I have struggled with something on my own and grow weary, I realize that I need to seek refuge in God. I find the comfort, healing love and restoration that I so desperately need when I seek Him with my whole heart.

He uses this time to flood us with His love so that we are able to trust Him with every thing we hold dear. This is when we must believe that God truly knows what is best for us above and beyond all that we can see and understand. I very much relate to our Dream Coach's assertion that surrender is not a one-time deal (p. 132). I have found God pressing on my heart, little by little to surrender more and more of myself to him. First it was the music I listen to, my choice of TV programs, eventually progressing to not just trusting Him with but completely giving Him my Big Dream.

Bruce Wilkinson reminds us on page 135 that "Just ahead is the Valley of the Giants, and God is preparing you to succeed there. If you don't trust Him with your Dream now, you'll probably fall to Unbelief when you face the Giants." He also cautions us against making an idol out of our Dream by making it a higher priority than God. Not surrendering our dream can lead to this. It is interesting that our Dream Coach tells us that we can still pursue our Big Dream without taking care of business in the Sanctuary but our success will not be fulfilling. God's vision is so much bigger than ours could ever be that the only way to the perfect and complete fulfillment of our Big Dream is by allowing Him to own and then give it back to us.

These times in Sanctuary are a precious gift. It is true that reaching an important milestone or an amazing opportunity can really energize and motivate me. Even greater is time spent in the company of my Creator, where I can turn for the love, mercy, correction and healing that will make me into a better Dreamer. This is the ultimate safe place I can run to and the only place where I can find true and lasting peace.

Bible Verses:

Psalm 23: 1-3
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

Matthew 11: 28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

John 7: 37-38
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. "

Isaiah 55: 8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

John 15: 4
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.


aninont said...

I have been reading and studying the posts several times each day.

I was just thinking of you all now at work.

Thank you for doing this study.

Also I loved "The story".

Rochester mom

Karen said...

Jessica, thanks for sharing this with me. I am going out today to get a copy of this book from the library. This couldn't have come at a better time...we have been struggling so much with Nicholas and I am just really in a bad place. :(

Jessica said...

Rochester Mom- thanks so much for the encouraging comments. We are so glad that you are doing this with us.

Karen- I'm so glad that you'll be joining us too. I'll keep Nicholas in my prayers. He's a sweet little guy and I know Matthew really enjoys him. I'll keep you in prayer also. (Hugs)