Thursday, September 20, 2012


This post from Colleen Coombs is the fourth in a new series for us, HOPE AT HOME KIDS. So, when you see H@HKIDS! in the title, you know we are giving you something geared specifically to use with your children. For many, these posts will be good read-alouds during family devotions, and for some they will be great to email or print out for your older children to read on their own.We are excited about this opportunity to share with your children!

One of our most popular breakouts last year was one Jenni Means did on helping our children hear God for themselves. We've asked her to do another breakout this year along the same lines. It is called Helping Your Child Hear and Experience God. Watch this video to hear what one adoptive mom has to say about it:

We'd love for you to join us October 5-6 for HOPE AT HOME 2012. You will be refreshed and encouraged in your parenting, and you will experience afresh the love of your Father God for you, His very own precious child. To find out more and to register, click HERE.

From Colleen: 
Job 33:15
“He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds.”

As we are learning, God has many languages He can use to speak to us. One is not better than the other because God created them all, just like He created us. He wants to talk to all of His children.


The most common language found in the Bible is pictures. Pictures can simply be like a photograph in your mind, or a dream or vision. God used pictures more than any other language in the Bible to speak to His children. We see this in both the Old and New Testament, from Abraham in Genesis to John in the book of Revelation.

In the Old Testament book of Joel (2:28), God says that before the Lord comes back that He will pour out His Spirit on all people and they will have dreams and visions. That’s pretty exciting because He says ALL people, not just some, but ALL people!
When we have a picture from God, we may not always understand it at first. God can sometimes use symbols that mean things. A symbol is an image that represents something. It can be a visible picture of something invisible. For instance, a lion is a symbol for courage and a dove is a symbol for peace.
The great thing about God is that He can give us the meaning of our pictures, dreams, and visions. He tells us in James 1:5 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not scold you for asking.”  
In Jeremiah 1:11-15 we see an example of a picture, or vision, God gave to Jeremiah and then explained to him. It is so important that we ask God what His pictures mean, because He is the one who gave these to us and knows their meaning.

The word of the LORD came to me: "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
       "I see the branch of an almond tree," I replied.
The LORD said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled."
The word of the LORD came to me again: "What do you see?"
       "I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north," I answered.
The LORD said to me, "From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms," declares the LORD.


Visions are images or pictures we see in our mind or with our eyes while we are awake. They can be still pictures, like a photograph, or it may be like watching a movie.  God spoke to Aaron and Miriam about how He uses visions to speak to some of his people. (Numbers 12:5-6)
The Lord gave the prophet Ezekiel visions of His glory that we can read about in the book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Here are just a couple examples from the book of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 1:1
I was 30 years old. I was with my people who had been taken away from their country. We were by the Kebar River in the land of Babylonia. On the fifth day of the fourth month, the heavens were opened. I saw visions of God.

Ezekiel 40:2
In visions God gave me, he brought me to the land of Israel. He set me on a very high mountain. Some buildings were on the south side of it. They looked like a city.

Let’s take a look at some people who had visions from God in the New Testament! Did you know that the book of Revelation is all about a vision that God gave to John? It is the last book of the bible and it is filled with symbols and pictures that people are still trying to correctly interpret today. It is one of the greatest recorded visions in the Bible!

In the book of Acts, Ananias’ vision gave him directions on where to find Saul and what to say to him when he did find him. Ananias was scared of Saul, but God told him to go anyway and he did. (Acts 9:10-18)

Peter also had a vision that God used to show him His heart for all people to come to salvation, not just the Jews. He revealed to Peter later what this vision meant. You can read this wonderful account in Acts 10:19-16 & 10:34-36.

God uses visions in the same way He does dreams. He can sometimes give us direction on where and what he wants us to do. He gave Paul many visions that gave him direction - so he knew what to do and where to go! Here are two of the visions God gave Paul.

Acts 16:9-10 
During the night Paul had a vision. He saw a man from Macedonia standing and begging him. "Come over to Macedonia!" the man said. "Help us!" After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia. We decided that God had called us to preach the good news there. 

Acts 18:9-11 
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Keep on speaking. Don't be silent. I am with you. No one will attack you and harm you. I have many people in this city." So Paul stayed there for a year and a half. He taught them God's word. 

Paul did not go around bragging about what God showed him. In fact he actually told people about an amazing vision he had, but didn’t let them know that it was him that actually experienced this vision. God doesn’t want us to brag about our experiences, He wants us to be humble and give Him glory for what He shows us, just like Paul did. (II Cor.12:1-4)


Dreams are a way God can speak to you while you are sleeping. Not all dreams are from God, some can just be from our own thoughts. Nightmares are definitely NOT from God!  We can be sure of this because He says in II Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So we know our loving Father would never give us scary dreams that make us fearful. 

God spoke to Jacob in a dream about a ladder coming form heaven. Many of you might recall this story as ‘Jacob’s Ladder’. 

Genesis 28:10-12
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Joseph with his coat of many colors had two dreams about his brothers bowing down to him. These dreams made his brothers very mad. In fact they were so mad that they threw him into a pit and sold him into slavery. What is so amazing is that after many years of suffering, these dreams came true. It says in Psalm 105:19 that God tested Joseph’s character before fulfilling these dreams. 
Genesis 37:5-9
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
In the Book of Daniel we can see that King Nebuchadnezzar had several dreams that God let Daniel interpret for him. Here is one of the dreams he shared with Daniel. You can read about one of these in Daniel 4:7-17.

Now let’s look at some of the people God gave dreams to in the New Testament! Isn’t it exciting that God gave dreams to people throughout the whole Bible?  The first person we see who had a dream from God in the NT was none other than Joseph, Mary’s husband! In this dream God told him to take Mary as his wife in spite of the fact she was pregnant. 

Matthew 1:18-21
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary and Joseph had promised to get married. But before they started to live together, it became clear that she was going to have a baby. She became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph was a godly man. He did not want to put her to shame in public. So he planned to divorce her quietly. 
But as Joseph was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said, "Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She is going to have a son. You must give him the name Jesus. That is because he will save his people from their sins." 
God gave Joseph two more dreams - these gave him warnings and told him what he needed to do to protect Jesus. Can you imagine what might have happened if God had not given Joseph these dreams? Things might have turned out a lot differently. You can read about these two dreams in Matthew 2:13-15 & Matthew 2:19-22.

After Jesus was born, the Wisemen came to visit him. When they left they had a dream from God that warned them to not go back to see King Herod! It’s a good thing they listened because we all know the terrible plan King Herod had in mind for the Messiah! (Matthew 2:11-12)

Isn’t it so exciting that God can speak to us whether we are awake or asleep! It’s important that we write down our dreams and ask God if they are from him and if so, what they mean. The same is true of pictures and visions! 

God is so good and loves to still speak in these ways today. Why not take some time right now to ask God to give you a picture of how much He loves you? Draw this on a piece of paper and place it in a journal to encourage yourself when you are sad. God loves you and wants to talk to you everyday!

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