Don’t Get Distracted

Biblical End Times artwork, image. A painting of people fleeing from the wrath of God (tornadoes) during the Biblical End Times, Matthew 24, Biblical Book of Revelation.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES SERIES

ONFS, Panel 1 (left) 70cm x 40cm (27.5″ x 16″), Panel 2 (center) 110cm x 55.5cm (43.5″ x 22″), Panel 3 (left) 70cm x 40cm (27.5″ x 16″), Acrylic on Canvas
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This painting is based on an End Times dream that was given on November 15, 2008. It has most relevance to Christians. From left to right, the 3 panels tell the story of the dream. The circumstances in the beginning of my dream symbolically fit what I was going through in real life at that time.

I believe this dream was God’s warning to me to stay focused. The troubling events in my life at that time were taking my attention away from God, taking away my sense of urgency of the End Times and taking me away from the Lord’s work I was meant to be doing. I see that God gave this dream to me to awaken me, to put these earthly circumstances back into their proper, eternal perspective and to aright my focus once again.

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man [Jesus] ” (Luke 21:34-36).


 

THE DREAM:

Panel 1:

I was walking out to my car through the parking lot of the local grocery store. With me was my husband, Joe, and my sister (with whom I have a mildly strained relationship). (*In my dreams from God, my earthly sister is sometimes symbolic of a sister in Christ (Mark 3:31-35). That was the case in this dream. The way my sister treated me in this dream was symbolically the way a particular sister in Christ was treating me in real life at that time.)

When we got near the car, she got impatient with me for no reason. In disgust she walked over to the driver’s side and sat down behind the steering wheel. She turned on the ignition while Joe and I were still standing outside the car. I thought to myself, “What on earth are you doing? You’ve just taken over our car without even asking.” However, I mostly trusted her because she was my sister, so I assumed she had some good reason for what she was doing despite her presumption.

That all changed when, in the next moment, she pulled out of the parking space and began to drive away without us. Confused and irritated, we chased after her on foot.

She was still driving through the parking lot when she had to stop for a car that was backing out of a parking space. (*This driver, I believe, was symbolic of a brother in Christ whose actions fit our real life situation at the time). We caught up with her as she was waiting for him. The other driver clearly saw my sister had the right of way. Nevertheless, he was completely bent on pulling out of that parking spot irregardless of her. He was being completely selfish and impatient and refused to yield to her and let her go her way.

The only problem was that my sister was just as selfish and impatient and refused to yield to him too (even though she did have the legal right of way). She was bent on getting where she wanted to go irregardless of him.

Though she had initially stopped for him, she soon changed her mind and began driving forward as he was backing out. I could see there was going to be a collision and that both cars would be damaged if someone did not stop and yield to the other. I began to yell out to my sister (who could hear me because she had the windows rolled down), “Stop! Stop! Stop! You’re going to hit him!”

Nevertheless, she didn’t listen to me and kept pulling forward, so I lunged after the car to bang on it with my hand to get her attention (even though she could fully see the situation for herself). Joe and I yelled out again more frantically, “Stop!!!! Stop!!!! Let him pull out!!!”

However our yelling was to no avail. My sister, in stubborn selfishness, deliberately rammed him, damaging both cars. To make matters worse, the guy then deliberately rammed her back. I kept yelling, “Stop!!! What in the heck do you think you’re doing??!!!!!! Are you absolutely crazy??!!! Stop!!! Stop!!! STOP!!!!!”

I could hardly believe it when my sister then reversed the car to have another go at him….and she deliberately rammed him again, a bit harder. I was even more shocked when the man then pulled forward to have another go at her. They kept reversing and ramming each other back and forth as I stood there helpless and completely appalled (and terribly confused) as to what was going on. What on earth was possibly making them behave like this? Had they thrown out all reason and gone completely crazy? I kept yelling at them, trying to get them to stop, but it was to no avail. Both drivers ignored me because they were too hardened and bent on their desires to continue ramming each other.

By this point, I was starting to get really angry and exasperated with them. I was also becoming more and more distressed about the increasing damage needlessly being done to our car. I could tell that they were going to continue ramming each other until they totalled both of the cars. I was very upset with them and their wicked, sinful, unyielding attitudes. Soon our car would be completely wrecked! I was also greatly distressed that all of this was wrongfully being done to me for absolutely no reason, nevermind by my own sister!


 

Panel 2:

I was completely engrossed in this situation when all of a sudden my husband cried out in terror, “Tornado!!!!” Like being slapped out of a stupor, I looked up at him, for we were facing each other, and I saw he was looking towards the horizon behind me.

I whirled around and saw a big, black tornado in very close proximity to us (under 2 km (just over a mile) away). Not only that, but there were a few other tornadoes in the sky that were beginning to drop out of the clouds and form. The entire sky was very dark and threatening and heavy with torrential rain. It was quickly approaching us, and I was terrified we wouldn’t make it to safety in time.

In that split second, I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I was so engrossed in what was going on with our car that I was completely oblivious to these tornadoes and to the perilous, life-threatening situation that I and many others are actually in. I have wasted valuable time–TIME THAT COULD HAVE SAVED LIVES!!! I could have warned many more people about this tornado….if only I had not gotten so caught up with this petty squabbling (petty, now that it had been put into proper perspective by this life-threatening situation).”

I whirled back around and Joe and I yelled at both my sister and the other guy to get out of the cars and to run with us to cover. I turned around again, for the direction to safety was actually in the direction of the tornado. Within those couple of seconds between first seeing the tornado and yelling at my sister, and then turning back around to run, the tornado had grown in strength and size and had traveled considerably closer to us. Sheets of heavy rain began to obscure my view of it, and I really feared we would not make it to safety in time.

All four of us began to sprint through the parking lot, scrambling over cars to try and get to shelter. We were trying to get to our (Joe’s and my) house, for we knew it was the only sure place of safety. (*In my dreams from God, my home is sometimes symbolic of a place of refuge in God, for God dwells with us in our home.) It was in the exact direction the tornado was coming from. I didn’t know if we could safely make it there before the tornado did, for we no longer had a car.

(*In my End Times dreams, these storms are symbolic of God’s wrath being poured out during the End Times. “See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly” (Jeremiah 23:19-20) ).


 

Panel 3:

As I was sprinting, I looked to my right and saw a few people scurrying in and out of the grocery store. One guy was holding a newspaper above his head like an umbrella. To them, it was only a temporary downpour, and their biggest concern was not to get wet. All of these people were COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS to the tornadoes and to the perilous life and death situation they were actually in. I was amazed that though these tornadoes were nearly upon us, none of these people seemed to see them at all! As I was sprinting for cover, I yelled out at the top of my voice, “Tornado! Tornado! Tornado!!!!” But the people did not seem to hear me because I was too far away and the storm was so loud.

In all honesty, it was pretty much too late for effectively warning people anyway. I only had time to scream at the few passersby in closest proximity to me. A sick feeling of dread overcame me as I thought about all of the people inside the grocery store and the connecting mall. They were completely oblivious to the tornadoes, which would soon be upon them. Within a few minutes all of them would be dead.

I felt absolutely horrible about the extremely precious time I’d wasted getting upset over the cars. That was valuable time I could have spent warning these people, and it may have saved many lives.

As I was sprinting to cover, I thought: Should I run into the grocery store to warn the people, or should I run and take cover myself?

Even though I debated, inwardly I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the storm was too imminently upon us now. There was no time left to go in and warn the people in the grocery store. Even if I did, none of us would have had enough time to escape anyway. We all would have died because there was not enough time to get to shelter.

(*In my dream, the only acceptable and safe place of refuge in my dream was our house, symbolic of God’s dwelling place. The mall would be destroyed). Though it was the most horrible feeling to leave all those people behind, instinctively, I knew I only had time to save myself……IF there was enough time to do even that.

I was literally running for my life.

Then I woke up.


MY THOUGHTS (Adapted from how it was originally recorded in November 2008):

I see that God gave me this dream to awaken me and to put my earthly circumstances back into their proper, eternal perspective. This was the strongest message of the dream to me though there were other strong messages as well.

One thing that puzzled me about the dream was why the only place of safety (my house– symbolic of my Heavenly Father’s house, the only sure place of refuge) was in the same place as the tornado. One would think to run away from the tornado, but all four of us Christians were actually running in the direction of it. Why was the only safe place in the same area as the danger?

As I sought the Lord about it, this Scripture came to me: “Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:11-12). (See all of Psalm 2). This Scripture made it all make sense. I realized that God was both the source of the tornadoes (his wrath) and our safety (our house, his dwelling place). Both wrath and refuge came from the same place: God.

God promises that those who take refuge in him through faith in Jesus Christ will be completely and eternally spared from his wrath. (To take refuge in God and to be spared from his wrath, see “Message“).

“They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

This dream is also a very powerful commentary on how we Christians (mis)behave sometimes and how we get entangled in sin and lose our focus on God and our sense of urgency about the End Times.

I am ashamed to say that sometimes we behave more like the pagans of the world rather than the citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:18-21).

“As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.'” (Romans 2:24)

Sadly, too many of us Christians get involved in petty squabbling and bickering with each other. Many of the divisions we see in the Church today are a product of this. Sometimes we allow these situations to distract us and consume us until we lose sight of spiritual reality and forget about what is truly important. These things take our eyes off God and cause us to neglect our Master’s business.

How awful it is when we neglect our Master’s business in order to beat our fellow servants!

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:45-51)

Aside from beating our fellow servants, the other sin Jesus mentioned in this parable is eating and drinking with drunkards–that is glutting ourselves on the things of this world. That is interesting in light of this dream because one of the things I clearly saw through it was way too many of us Christians are far more focused on the earthly, material, temporal world rather than the eternal kingdom of God, which is rapidly advancing.

“Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” (Proverbs 11:4)

God powerfully exposed the worthlessness of our fleeting earthly possessions through this dream.

Aside from the fact the tornado was going to completely destroy all our possessions within a couple minutes anyway was the fact that our two cars were complete bombs! Our car was an old, pastel yellow clunker from the early ”70’s while the other guy’s car was an even older, clunkier, rusting car that was falling apart from the ’60’s. In my dream, God portrayed our cars, one of our priciest and most valued material possessions on earth, as complete clunkers that were falling apart! How opposite was that from my own earthly valuation of my car! In my dream, I did not seem to notice my car was a complete bomb; I placed the same value on it as I would a nice, modern car.

We cannot afford to waste time by valuing, stressing over and getting caught up with our perishing earthly possessions.

“What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who were happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

When we allow ourselves to get distracted by earthly things, not only are we wasting precious time, but we are also wasting our lives.

“Jesus answered, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’

And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15-21).

Something else that really disturbed me in my dream was the selfish, unyielding, harmful, vindicative attitudes of the two Christians. I could see that they were so hardened that neither one would have given up the fight. They would have continued ramming each other and damaging each other until they had completely totalled their cars. How opposite is that from the meekness, gentleness and love of Christ!

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15)

It is appalling to me that even the most minor of offenses (if backing out of a parking space at the wrong time can even be called an offense!) can actually lead to complete destruction of one another when we have hardened, sinful attitudes! How foolish! How tragic! How un-Christlike!

“…serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:13-15)

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:1-5)

(*As this event unfolded in real life, however, I realized the real reason why this man pulled out of the parking space was to specifically block my sister from going where she wanted to go. He wanted to keep her in the parking lot. She was angry at him for trying to control her and take away her freedom. When he would not let her go her way, she resorted to ramming him in order to get through. “There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt” (Ecclesiastes 8:9).)

Furthermore, how often do we stick up for our own “rights” and refuse to turn the other cheek and yield to our brother, even if we are the ones who have the legal “right of way”? We must be willing to turn the other cheek because we cannot afford to waste time by asserting our “rights” and trying to aright and justify the situations that only God is qualified to justify (1 Pe 2:23).

Lives are at stake, and we should put up with every kind of suffering and injustice in order to stay focused and to preach the gospel, even if this injustice comes from our fellow Christians. In my dream, I would have saved precious time had I only turned the other cheek to my car being stolen and wrecked.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:38-41).

“The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.” (1 Corinthians 6:7-8)

“For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:19-24)

Another thing I clearly saw through this dream was that so many of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, fail to recognize the End Times in which we are living.

We cannot afford at so late of an hour to have any more of our precious, precious time stolen, for so many precious, precious souls are at stake. We must invest every last second into warning as many people as possible about the coming wrath of God, in the hopes that they will be saved (1 Corinthians 9:19-27). In the light of this, what else on earth possibly matters?

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:10)

The final significant thing God showed me through this dream is: I am to live my life in light of the reality of Jesus’ Second Coming and of the Last Judgment. I am not to compromise the truth or tone it down in order to fit in with the world more. I am not to fear making waves by speaking the truth in love. I am to let my belief in the reality of all that is about to happen completely shape my actions and the way I live.

When we choose to live like this, many will mock and laugh (2 Pe 3:3-14). Even well-meaning but mistaken Christians may try to deter us with human reasonings such as, “You’re too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good “, (see Colossians 3:1-4). Jesus tells us, “Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last” (Luke 13:30). It is better to fully believe now (and act on it) than to rationalize with the world (Colossians 2:8) and later regret wasting your life, as Jesus said, “…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

Jesus lived in the light of the Last Judgment. He was constantly devoted to preaching the gospel so that people would be saved (Luke 19:10). If we profess that this same Jesus lives within us, then he will certainly manifest his same concerns, mindsets, passions and actions within us, regardless of what the world or other Christians think of us.

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-26)