The power of dreams: A picture is worth 1000 words

Do you love movies?  I do.  I love being swept away into an imaginary world, even if it is just for a few hours.

In this series, we are discovering some good reasons to pay attention to our night dreams.

This article explores how dreams, just like movies, can take us beyond our natural life to a place filled with adventure, intrigue, and a wealth of heavenly insight!

The wonders of imagination

I have a vivid imagination.  As a child I used to sit for hours, daydreaming, making up stories and acting them out in my mind.

We all know that children tend to have a vivid imagination.  This is encouraged through imaginary play, through drawing, craft, building blocks, dolls and action figures… the list goes on.  But as adults, having a vivid imagination is sometimes frowned upon by western culture, as though we should somehow have just ‘gotten over it’ by now!

But I suggest that we would be much poorer without it!  Visual images, stories and illustrations are very much part of our lives – you just have to look at social media to see that!  Without the imagination of artists and creative types, we would not have all the wonderful books, films, music, pictures, etc. that we can enjoy today. 

Dreams are like movies!

This brings me to this second reason that I love dreams. I love the fact that dreams are not just pictures, they are movies, and ones that we are personally involved in. They take us to new places beyond the realm of our natural lives. They allow us to fully engage the scenes with our mind and emotions.

If, like me, you have ever woken up in a sweat in the middle of the night because of a scary dream, or conversely, not wanted to leave behind a beautiful scene because it felt so peaceful, then you know what I mean!

I humbly suggest that our imagination is a gift from God, and that He loves to fill it with pictures and thoughts to communicate with us; moreover, when we are asleep, He fills our imagination with wonderful scenes and images to help us navigate life.  This has been my experience anyway.

Has God always used visual images?

Abram (better known as Abraham) is one of the well-known characters in the bible, and also one of the early ones, living around 2000BC.

In Genesis 15:5, God wanted to communicate to Abram how much he was going to be blessed, and how many descendants he would have in the future (even though he didn’t have any children at that time).

In order to make this point, God told Abram to look up at the stars. Of course there were far too many to count!  The point was, that neither would it be possible to count Abram’s descendants, as God was going to give him so many.

And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”  Then he believed in the Lord; and He credited it to him as righteousness.  Genesis 15:5-6

Can you picture the scene?  I bet that when you read that verse, you saw in your mind’s eye Abram going outside and looking at the stars!  That’s the power of imagination!

What a wonderful image it would have been for Abram.  Whenever he felt discouraged, he could remember the stars (or look at them if it was a clear night) and be encouraged.  No wonder he was able to become one of the great heroes of faith.  What an incredible gift God gave Him! When God speaks to in a vivid way like that, it surely does inspire faith.

So how did God speak to Abram?

Do you sometimes wonder how God spoke to Abram?  The bible tells us that God appeared to Abram in a vision. God still speaks through visions today – I personally know people who have encountered God like that.

In this chapter we read that in the evening of that same day, God spoke to Abram again and gave him a prophecy about his own life and his descendants:

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. Then God said to Abram… Genesis 15:12

Did you notice it?  God spoke to Abram while he was asleep! It doesn’t actually say that he was dreaming, but if Abram was asleep, it sounds pretty much like a God-encounter within a dream to me!

Can we encounter God like Abram did?

Well, the good news is, that even if we’re not used to having visions, we DO all dream!  (I covered that in the previous article: Everybody dreams). Therefore, we can all potentially have the same experience as Abram did! The opportunity is open to all who will take their dreams seriously.

I have found that God doesn’t require more of us than we can manage.  He understands our humanity and our weaknesses. So He loves to encourage us like He did for Abram.  He loves to help us by giving us promises to hold on to and illustrations that will cause our faith to grow.

Some reasons why dreams are so powerful

1. They engage our emotions

I bet that you have sometimes been relieved upon waking, to realise that a dream was… well… just a dream!  They can feel so very real.  The 3D-emotional experience catches our attention and communicates at a very deep level.

2. They produce faith

I have found that God doesn’t require more of us than we can manage.  He understands our humanity and our weaknesses. So He loves to encourage us like He did for Abram. When we have a vivid dream (and understand the meaning) it inspires faith.

3. They quickly communicate complex messages

Sometimes in a dream we can understand the message in an instant, with no need for complicated explanations.

Dreams provide a wealth of insight as we pray over the images and ponder the messages they contain, so much more than a few words could ever convey. For example, seeing an open door in front of us speaks of an opportunity to enter into something new. But what kind of doorway is it? What can you see beyond? Is it inviting or scary? How do you feel about going through it?

A real dream example

I had this dream when I had just started learning to interpret dreams.

Dream: Danielle Street

I dreamed I went to a conference where John Paul Jackson was speaking. Afterwards I came out of the front of the building.

I was walking along a road with a sign saying ‘Danielle Street’. There was a river, and also a canal running along the road: I was walking between them.

I could also see a hill with a castle on it in the distance. The dream was lovely, sunny and bright.

Some of the symbols explained

John Paul Jackson: I took his training course in Understanding Dreams and Visions, so this conference represented me learning to understand dreams. The front of a building represents the future, so as I came out of the front of the conference, it was telling me what would happen as a result of my training.

Danielle Street: I immediately understood this to me a female form of the name Daniel: a reference to one of the great dream interpreters in the bible! So this dream was about me walking in a similar path to Daniel, with respect to dreams.

The river and the canal: A river is usually the flow of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, a canal is a man-made channel. So understanding dreams would help me walk a path between heaven and earth: bridging the natural and the supernatural realms.

The castle on the hill: It is only now, years later, that I have understood this. A castle represents a stronghold: a big challenge to overcome. A hill is a place where you can be seen. (Jesus said that a city on a hill cannot be hidden in Matthew 5:14). So I would have to face my biggest fear: being seen by other people. And this is what I have overcome this year, as I have started writing this blog!

The interpretation

Learning to understand my dreams would lead me on a path similar to Daniel in the bible. This would help me bridge the gap between the spiritual realm and the natural life. Ultimately I would be called to overcome my fear of being seen on social media, to share what I had learned with other people.

As you can imagine, this wonderful, bright, encouraging dream gave me the motivation I needed to persevere with my dreams, even during the frustrating and difficult times.

Conclusion

Dreams provide a wealth of insight: as we pray over the images, and ponder the messages they contain, we glean so much more than a few words could ever convey.

I encourage you to think of your imagination as a gift.  Why not dedicate it to God, for Him to use to communicate to you right now? 

Prepare to receive wonderful truths – from His heart to yours – as you sleep.  Expect heavenly encounters, answer to problems, guidance and promises to hold onto… plus much more!

And most of all, enjoy the fun of those Technicolor-dream-coat style night-time movies!

“I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain,
To see for certain what I thought I knew”

Lyrics from ‘Any Dream Will Do.’ Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Written by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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5 thoughts on “The power of dreams: A picture is worth 1000 words

  1. Hi Jenny I agree that dreams are so intriguing. I lost interest in movies a couple decades ago when I started dreaming. How cool, I also took several of JPJ’s courses many years ago in person and by digital media, have seen him in my dreams. He was truly a forerunner and left such a wealth of knowledge to train up seers in the Body of Christ. God bless!

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  2. Jenny I had a dream recently that I was in Russia with a large group of people. We were walking down a straight man made road that was travelling beside a river. As we walked on the road we named all the different rivers we knew in Russia the Volga, the Dnieper, the Neva. The river we were walking beside was the Dnieper. We were leaving. Russia is a place my family suffered greatly and lost everything several generations ago. There was no justice. Now generations later I am experiencing the same thing where I live in Canada – great injustice. I have a book about my family’s history in Russia It’s entitled Road to Freedom : Mennonites Escape the Land Off Suffering. Your post reminded me of this and I searched for it and found that it has pictures of Mennonites leaving walking en mass beside a train track. For me the train represents the internet. Several days before I had this dream I read a poem by Langston Hughes called The Negro Speaks of Rivers. I had never heard of John Paul Jackson. I looked him up and felt moved to listen to a YouTube post where he speaks on the justice of God. He put into words what I have been seeing for years but could not articulate so well. He spoke of the very injustice my children and I are experiencing. I believe God wants me to not lose heart praying for justice and asking for wisdom. Thank you for being faithful to help me hear better from Him. God bless.

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    1. I am so glad that God was able to speak to you through my experiences! I looked at your website and saw some of the pictures. I lived in Canada for a year when I was a child and remember the Mennonites. You are truly on a journey, but I think the river shows that God sees your suffering and is with you.

      John Paul’s teaching on justice is very good. I pray that you will see God’s hand moving on your peoples’ behalf to turn things around, and bring good out of it.

      “Every seed buried in sorrow will be called forth in its time”.
      (From There is a Cloud by Elevation Worship).

      Jenny

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      1. Thank you Jenny. I am actually no longer with “ my people” because our particular group and my extended family although they suffered did not repent of really wrong attitudes and practices. I have been puzzled by why God has been sending these Mennonite and Russian images in my dreams as my story has been very non Mennonite and Canadian but John Paul Jackson’s message helped me see that there will be justice in my situation if I don’t follow in their example but instead let God show me the ways I need to repent in my own life. My situation relates to children with autism in Canada being sedated with wrong medications and put away in institutions. My ex-husband was a minister and claims to be a Christian but he left when are children were diagnosed with autism. Recently during COVID he and his new wife used his custody rights to take them and medicate them inappropriately. I have not seen them for six months. The medical system is hurrying the deaths of these children who do not have classic autism but are being medicated with drugs only safe for classic autism. This issue never gets addressed because less then perfect children do not matter. By refusing to give the medication I am black listed as if I am a mother who has a diabetic child and will not give him insulin. This is the furthest thing from what is actually going on. I have to wait on God but He has shown me in dreams that this is about many children and not just my own.

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      2. And I apologize for the strangeness of my blog. I’m actually just using it as a scrapbook for my dreams and current reading and am not even trying to really make it make sense.

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