Does God Use Dreams To Tell Us Something?

Does God Use Dreams To Tell Us Something? June 10, 2019

Does God use dreams as a means to tell us something? How will we know if it’s from God?

Dreams and Visions

Horace Vernet, Jeremiah on the ruins of Jerusalem (1844).

Joel the Prophet wrote of a time to come where God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28), and several men in the Bible did have dreams and visions. The list is extensive, and includes Isaiah the Prophet, the Apostle Peter, and the Apostle Paul, so in the past, God has used visions and dreams among His Prophets and Apostles as a message; sometimes even inspired Scripture. The vision of the unclean meats shown to Peter was God’s way of saying that salvation is not only for the Jew, but also for the Gentiles (Acts 10:9-16). When the baker and the cup bearer both had dreams, these dreams were sent from God (Gen 40). It was the same case with Pharaoh (Gen 41). Joseph acknowledged that he could not interpret dreams, but only God could do that, but God enabled Joseph to interpret the dreams of these men, so dreams are sometimes a way in which God communicates with people. But, does that mean every dream is from God, or most of our dreams are messages from God? Not likely. God can and does use dreams as a way of telling us something, but whether it’s from God or not can be highly subjective…meaning, we could be wrong! Still, from the many people I’ve heard from and read about, I know God is using dreams in their lives. Surely not in every case, but some were obvious from the end results.

Jesus is Calling

There are so many accounts that I’ve read or personally experienced about a person having a dream about Jesus Christ, that we can rule it out coincidence. There are so many different people from all over the world that share similarities in their visions that it can’t be written off as chance. And almost 95% of these reports that I receive are always about Jesus Christ. Usually I refer them to Scripture to let them know more about Jesus, and I believe the Gospel of John is perfectly suited for that. One man who contacted us saw Christ up on a large hill, and He was calling the man to Himself. He exuded a bright, white light, and he had such a sense of peace that he could hardly describe it. There was a feeling of joy, and he felt loved and accepted. This man asked me if it was Jesus calling him. I told him I cannot interpret dreams. Only God can, but I told him that Jesus’ desire is that everyone comes to repentance and faith (John 3:16-17; 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9). Later the man left his false works-based religion, and rested in the sufficient work of Christ on Calvary. Another man had a very similar and recurring dream for six months. When he finally was able to contact a Christian, he told him about the dream, and the man gave him a Bible. The man trusted in Christ that very night after reading the Gospel of John, and incidentally, he never had that dream again. He was sure it was God Who sent it. I believe it was too!


I love one definition of visions. They are like waking dreams. In that sense, visions are more real than a dream, but God has also used visions to inform others, or record something. The Book of Revelation and John’s vision would be a great example of how God used visions in a person’s life, but visions may wain at times due to the sinful state of the nation (1 Sam 3:1, 28:6). The Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. Genesis 15:1 says that when “the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” Most Bible scholars agree that God sent this vision to reassure Abram because he had just defeated an alliance of kings in rescuing Lot, and he may have been worried that they would ally with one another and attack him (Gen 14), so God may have sent this vision to reassure Abraham that he would not be attacked. In the Book of Genesis, “God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am” (Gen 46:2). Today, God speaks most clearly in Scripture.


Antonio Balestra Prophet, Isaiah the Prophet. 18th Century.

God gave Old Testament prophets both dreams and visions. Prophets that had visions included Nathan, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zechariah. Jeremiah wrote, “And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds” (Jer 14:14). Today we must be careful about other people’s claims about visions or dreams. When someone tells me, “God told me to tell you” I stop them. Why would God use a third party to tell me something when He can tell me directly or the answer’s already there; in the Bible. Some dreams you can tell are from God. For example, God used a dream to inform an unsaved king, King Abimelech that he was going to die if he touched Abram’s wife. The Word says, “God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill u kill an innocent people” (Gen 20:3-4)? All of these dreams or visions were clearly from God, and not of human origin.


Does God use dreams as a means of telling us something? How will we know if it’s from God? First of all, God would never send us a dream to tell us to do something that is contrary to His Word. If you get such a dream, it’s not from God, and is just a random dream that we all have. You can’t base your life or decisions on dreams. Dreams are just too difficult to try and make reason of them all. Some dreams may not be from God, but in fact, from the Enemy (2 Cor 4:4), and experience or dreams can never be placed above Scripture. The Bible is the final authority, not dreams or visions. A former missionary had a dream where he felt God was telling him to divorce his wife so he could go into the mission field permanently, but he never made it. Yes, he divorced his wife, but after the divorce was settled, and all the lawyers got paid and the property liquidated, he couldn’t even afford one missionary trip because they had to split their debts too. That man’s dream was not from God but from satanic sources (Eph 6:12), but at times, God does send dreams to tell us things. We must remember that no man or woman can interpret dreams (Gen 40:8, 41:15; Dan 4:18). Some are obvious callings to Christ, so if their dream shows them their need to repent and trust in Christ as their only hope (Acts 4:12), and dozens and dozens of them have, then this dream is from God. God is trying to tell them to repent and believe so that they might be saved (Mark 1:15). I pray that you too, will put your trust in Christ.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is an ordained elder of the Brethren Church and a Pastor and Prison Minister in the State of Kansas, but also a writer at Christian Quotes and What Christians Want to Know which address questions about the Bible. He also plants ministries like nursing home ministries, Outreach for the poor, and other evangelistic activities, and check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • Susan Jane Elohim
  • pud

    Yeah, it would be too much to actually show up wouldn’t it? Funny how that works. Lunatic

  • Why did you refuse my last comment? It was on this article. Why is it still pending?

  • Gary M

    First century Christians seem to have taken their dreams very seriously. Paul had a dream (“heavenly vision”) in which be saw a bright light. Based on this dream, he believed Jesus had appeared to him. Maybe that is what happened to all the other “eyewitnesses” who believe that Jesus appeared to them: dreams.

    • LRH

      Nope. I’ve had warning dreams from God. I’ve had visions while awake.

  • ounbbl

    Why not?

    • Jack Wellman

      Sometimes yes and sometimes not. The hard thing is telling the difference of whether it is from God or not.

      • Gary M

        How often does God answer prayers in the affirmative? Unless you can say 75-100% of the time, aren’t the odds of your prayer being affirmatively answered approximately equal to random chance? And if your prayers being answered in the affirmative are no better than random chance, how do you know that prayer actually works?

        • Jean Camille

          “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7; NIV)

          That’s the Bible answer to your question. We know our prayer is answered when we have the peace of God, which transcends all understanding regarding the matter in question.

          Clearly, that differs markedly from the humanistic perspective common in the West. As you framed it, we like to disengage personally and make it about intellectual observations and mathematical probabilities.

          By contrast, Paul is talking to people who have already worked through the basics of commitment. They have decided already to trust and follow Jesus Christ and this is part of their follow through. Paul assumes they will engage with their whole person, not just their intellect but their spirit as well. They have a personal connection with God. When peace flows from that, it is assuring us that the right answer—yes, no, later—lies in place. It is similar to when we are having difficulty with a loved one. That one may look us in the eye and say with words or body language, “You know I love you and you know I’ve got this.” Even if we do not see the details, that gives us assurance that the answer is there.

          • Gary M

            I know a little girl who has an imaginary friend named Joe. Joe gives her great comfort, security, and peace of mind. I would bet that you will agree with me that her friend Joe does not exist. So does the fact that a belief provides comfort, security, and peace of mind prove the belief true?

          • Jean Camille

            As I pointed out before, we are discussing different groups of people.

            One group are believers. However it is done, they have established their beliefs to their own criteria already. Now it is about praying appropriately, for example deciding when to switch from asking to thanking. That sense of peace is one important marker.

            You ask, “How often does God answer prayers in the affirmative?” Short answer, as often as people ask for what warrants an affirmative answer. If you ask 90% foolish, shallow questions, does your 90% failure rate justify rejecting God? The difficulty is that unwise people lack the insight to see they are asking unwise questions, likely not to get them responses they can recognise as positive.

            Your group are those still deciding their beliefs. For those choices to connect to the depth of our being, they have to involve our whole person, including our sensibilities, intuitions and capacity for insight. If you try to reduce the process to mathematics and physical observations, you are almost certain to ask the wrong questions.

          • Gary M

            “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.” —Jesus of Nazareth

            You said: “How often does God answer prayers in the affirmative?” Short answer, as often as people ask for what warrants an affirmative answer.”

            That isn’t what Jesus said. Jesus said if you ask ANYTHING is his name, he would do it.

          • Jean Camille

            Really? Does that kind of interpretation make any sense at all? Let’s keep our common sense, eh?

            It says, “… anything in His name“. That phrase, ‘in His name’, is there for a reason. It means that, as members of God’s family, Christians can speak with His authority.

            But to do that, we must also be acting under His authority. If a police officer demanded of a random stranger, “Hey, Buddy, go get me a coffee, now!” the citizen may rightly refuse; the officer would be acting outside her authority. Same for Christians.

            The implication of “anything” is that God invites our active participation in His work. Through the scriptures, God is saying in effect, “Here is our goal and purpose; here are your boundaries. Now, you tell Me, what would you like us to create together within that space?”

          • Gary M

            You are twisting Jesus’ words.

            Jesus also told his disciples to go out and cast out demons in his name. That meant that if they encountered a demon they were to cast it out in Jesus’ name. That did not mean that Jesus would only cast out a particular demon if it was “his will”. If they encountered a demon, they were to cast it out in Jesus’ name and it would be done.

            So when Jesus says, “Ask anything in my name and it will be done” it should be read in the same sense.

          • Gary M

            Who is the “you” that Jesus was speaking to in the above passage? Answer: His disciples; believers. Jesus did not say that non-believing Jews could cast out demons in his name. Jesus said that if BELIEVERS (true Christians) ask for ANYTHING in his name, he will do it.

            But he doesn’t, does he? Most prayers are not answered as they were requested. Something is wrong. I suggest it is because Jesus was mistaken. He did not have the powers he thought he did.

          • Jean Camille

            No, once again you refuse to participate and hence miss the point.
            Get some focus and clarify your thinking, Gary: what do you think it means to do things “in Jesus’ name”?

          • Gary M

            Exactly what I told you: If a believer asks for anything in Jesus name, Jesus promises to do it.

            Example: “In the name of Jesus, I command that mountain to move over there.”

          • Jean Camille

            No. My question is not about some hypothetical believer; it is about you and where you stand.
            You obviously have not accepted the standard interpretation of “in Jesus’ name” that I relayed to you.
            So, man up and tell us: what do you mean by “in Jesus’ name”?

          • Gary M

            You are behaving like a cult member. Instead of addressing the inconsistencies of your cult’s belief system, you attack the skeptic.

          • Jean Camille

            So now skeptics are beyond questioning? Since when did you become a protected species?

            And, no, I am not attacking anyone. Stop being so paranoid, and stop trying deflect away from a rational discussion.

            I explained that “in Jesus’ name” means “acting under Jesus’ authority, that is doing what is within His will and program.” You did not accept this explanation (which is stock standard anyway), so, all I am saying is, please give me your alternative interpretation.

            Without that, there is not even a hope of making sense of your queries.

          • Gary M

            “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” –Matthew 7:7

          • Gary M

            There is nothing in that Bible passage about asking “in Jesus’ name”. Jesus simply said to ask and it would be given to you. Period. No conditions are attached to that statement.

            The fact that prayers to Jesus are not answered in the affirmative any better than random chance is proof positive that either Jesus was mistaken about his supernatural powers, or, Jesus never said this. Some clever Christian evangelist made it up to attract more converts!

          • Jane-Tony Mungufeni Bileru

            Again I say to you, if two of you uagree on earth about anything they ask, vit will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

            22 And vwhatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, yif you have faith.”

            24 Therefore I tell you, pwhatever you ask in prayer, obelieve that you qhave received1 it, and it will be yours.

            13 zWhatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that athe Father may be glorified in the Son.

            7 If eyou abide in me, and my words abide in you, fask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

            16 You did not choose me, but zI chose you and appointed you that you should go and abear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that bwhatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

            23 oIn that day you will pask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, qwhatever you ask of the Father in my name, rhe will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. sAsk, and you will receive, tthat your joy may be full.

            5 jIf any of you lacks wisdom, klet him ask God, lwho gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But mlet him ask in faith, nwith no doubting, for the one who doubts is like oa wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

            17 zEvery good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from athe Father of lights, bwith whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.1

            22 and mwhatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and ndo what pleases him.

            14 And this is hthe confidence that we have toward him, that iif we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

          • Jane-Tony Mungufeni Bileru

            If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
            John 14:14 KJV

          • Jane-Tony Mungufeni Bileru

            And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
            John 16:23‭-‬24 KJV

          • LRH

            Yes, but you gotta have faith and you gotta be more persistent. You may need to fast depending on the circumstance or maybe not.

          • LRH

            Takes art of and persistence, faith and honing. Probably not overnight sorry.

          • LRH

            Nope. Prayers answered all the time. It is taken honing, 10+ years of being a christian and learning the art and persistence. Answered all the time.

          • Gary M

            “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” –Matthew 7:7

            Nothing about asking “in Jesus’ name” in that passage.

          • Jean Camille

            Gary, stop playing the fool. You know what you are doing is classic special pleading: taking one piece of evidence that makes your point and then ignoring anything to the contrary. You are like a person who sees a 60 mph sign on the road, so drives at 60 mph, no matter what, even in pouring rain, heavy traffic, through road work sites, past police crash scenes, all because one information point did not mention all the possible conditions attached to that statement. Just because we are discussing God does not mean you have to turn into a mindless stooge.

            A background principle throughout the Bible is that God’s promises apply to those who are obeying Him, those who are genuinely committed to following Him. To so remind us at every instance would be boorish and overly repetitive.

            If you want certainty, be clear what you mean. Jesus himself warns his followers to be confident but never complacent. Matthew 25:31-46 makes it clear. Life will have surprises for his followers, to the delight of those who are genuine and to the devastation of those who are merely playing a game.

          • Jean Camille

            And still you evade the issue of “in Jesus’ name.” All I asked was your better interpretation.
            Why are you so keen to avoid it?

          • Jane-Tony Mungufeni Bileru

            Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
            John 15:16 KJV

          • LRH

            Gary, It’s not as simple as that. If it was as simple as that you would see prayers like that 24/7. As I said before there is an art and persistence to it. You also need to consider Jesus’ words elsewhere. Faith is an element related to this. Fasting is necessary in some cases. Praying with more than one person is a wise move in some circumstances. Sin can hinder prayers (see ephesians). Rarely can you “do it in a day” unless you are specially anointed. This takes persistence, study, and faith. You would need to research faith within the bible to come up with a good understanding. -Good luck.

            Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”;

          • Jean Camille

            Thanks for the update.

            Some have their eyes veiled. Others refuse to see.
            Our education has a lot to answer too. It trains us to focus on a manageable aspect of a topic. The ones who focus best succeed best. They blinker out all distractions and get used to a blinkered view of life. It’s the Ivory Tower effect.

            Do you remember where God says, “I have chosen the foolish of this world to put to shame the wisdom of the wise.”? That made me realise: a pygmy on a mountain top can see further than a giant in the valley. And when those intellectual giants dig down into their specialities, they go deeper into a rut. So, no wonder they lose perspective.

            And when we pygmies stand on the Rock, Jesus Christ, our perspective stretches into eternity. How do we explain light to someone who cannot see the sun? We follow as we are led. The work is not ours but the Lord’s. No one comes to Jesus except that the Father draw them.


          • LRH

            Gary, It’s not as simple as that. If it was as simple as that you would see prayers like that 24/7. As I said before there is an art and persistence to it. You also need to consider Jesus’ words elsewhere. Faith is an element related to this. Fasting is necessary in some cases. Praying with more than one person is a wise move in some circumstances. Sin can hinder prayers (see ephesians). Rarely can you “do it in a day” unless you are specially anointed. This takes persistence, study, and faith. You would need to research faith within the bible to come up with a good understanding. -Good luck.

          • LRH

            My prayers are answered all the time. I have been a christian, follower of Jesus for 10+ years. I couldn’t say that they were answered to this degree before, but now years in, I see answers very soon after because He answers them and also as it is a way of life and takes dedication and persistence and honing. Having an imaginary friend – Sorry, please share if I’m wrong as I don’t see any life transforming power, intervention of real life circumstances, such as at work, within relationships, that something like that could bring about. Only God in Jesus and He does answer prayers like that.

  • Gayle Raif

    I was living with a husband who refused to work. I could not work because I was deaf and the ADA was not yet enacted. God showed me in two dreams that He would take care young son and me. One dream was when I had gone to the grocery store because we were having guests come. I loaded my basket to the brim, but on the way to check-out I thought, “How am I going to pay for this?” When I got out my wallet, I just kept pulling money out…money I didn’t know I had.

    The second time was me in our garden It was January when nothing would grow. I was kicking the stubble left from the fall garden. When I turned around, there was a long row of strawberries in bloom and bearing.

    And God kept his promise through other people who helped us.

    • Jack Wellman

      Knowing God is sovereign, this was no “coincidence” or “random occurrence,” but it clearly looks like the work of God. Thank you Gayle.

  • Jean Camille

    “Why would God use a third party to tell me something when He can tell me directly or the answer’s already there; in the Bible.”

    Thanks for a balanced article, Jack.

    In our group, we usually pass on any message that we think may be from the Lord.
    -Sometimes, the other is wondering if an idea is from God or not. The same idea from an unrelated person can be a confirmation and encouragement.
    -At times we need a reminder of a Biblical principle, someone to bring conviction of something we are neglecting.
    -Other times, God speaks through a third party to give us practice in working as one body and let us experience being here for each other, in Him.

    Our ground rules are much as you stated. We are aware that the message may be our own thoughts or an active deception. It is for the receiver to decide if the word is really from God. So, first, any word must agree with the Bible. Second, it will be given or at least affirmed, by other mature believers. Third, it will strike a chord of agreement in the recipient (You will know yourself that this sense of spiritual affirmation differs from happy emotions).

    Finally, we are watching the one who prophecies, gives the word from God. Any who arch up at being corrected will not get a hearing.

    This approach helps us keep our feet on the ground, our spirits in the heavens and our hearts with each other.

    • Gary M

      “We are aware that the message may be our own thoughts or an active deception.”

      Well said.

      • Jean Camille

        Yes, it’s how we deal with the fact that we are not perfect. Gullibility and cynicism are two ends of the same stick, the failure to think a matter through to its conclusion.

        It is similar with any kind of relationship. In the end, agnosticism is a failure to commit. The unthinking will fail and lose their reward more often than they need to. Agnostics do not even participate. They guarantee there is no reward, but that failure can slip by almost unnoticed.

        We are imperfect. Deal with it and decide anyway.

        • Gary M

          How can you be certain that it is God speaking to you and not your own thoughts (your internal dialogue with yourself)?

          • Jean Camille

            In practice. we check that the thought agrees with the Bible, and share it with mature Christians to see if they agree with it too. That gives two outside reference points. Then, together we can see how broader circumstances relate to the matter. Including the original idea, that gives four reference points, usually enough to decide what action to take if any.

            Remember, all we need is enough certainty to make a decision, and there are different ways of reaching a decision.; For example, the process for deciding to marry someone differs from the process for determining the stress measurements for constructing a bridge.

            So, the critical question here is what do you personally mean by certainty?

          • Gary M

            But how does one distinguish between communications from God that agree with the Bible and internal dialogue (your own thoughts) that agree with the Bible?

            Example: You believe that God has called you to be a missionary to Afghanistan.

          • Jean Camille

            I’m happy to answer your question, but this needs to be a two-way discussion. What do you personally mean by certainty?
            I’m not just being cute here. You as well as I, need to be clear on what definition you give to ‘certain’. Because some people use a ridiculously absolute definition in religious matters that they would never use anywhere else in every day life. I emphasise: you need to be clear on what you are asking.

            Your question on missionaries to weird places is a good one that some Christians should seriously ask themselves. I know of some who have dashed off to Africa only to return as broken failures. By contrast, the Saint family members went to Central America where several of their party were killed for starters, but with persistence, the whole tribe became Christians and now go together with Americans to places like India. In Christian terms, that has been a highly successful missionary outreach.

            So, let’s apply the four questions to your candidate for Afghanistan.
            Burning desire in his heart? Let’s say, Yes.
            Consistent with the Bible? Definite Yes.
            Opinion of mature Christians? A friend of mine was in a similar situation. He decided that if his boss and his parents agreed, he would go ahead (because both had consistently told him to settle down and get a good job, that is, to agree with him they would have to change their previous opinions). They agreed, so he went. But let’s say your guy gets a different response. If his pastor expresses great surprise and the elders show no enthusiasm, then he should reconsider.
            Circumstances? If he is blond haired, diabetic and cannot grow a beard, we would question his call. However, Heidi Baker is blond and a woman who went to Muslim Northern Africa. She is having huge success where she shouldn’t. So, the only one who gets the credit is God Himself.

            You see, it all depends on what kind of certainty you are looking for and where you place your confidence, in human reasoning or in God Himself.
            So, what kind of certainty are you after?

          • Gary M

            “What do you personally mean by certainty?

            Answer: Enough certainty for YOU to believe that a message is from God and not your own internal dialogue. That will obviously vary with each believer. Even if the “message is consistent with biblical teaching and mature Christians view it as God’s will, isn’t it still possible that it is simply you talking to you?

            The missionary question proves that point: It would be impossible to tell if the calling is from God or your own internal dialogue since being a missionary is consistent with the Bible and probably consistent with the beliefs of most mature Christians as long as they believe that you are mature enough to do the job.

            But how about something more complicated. Let’s say that a church needs a new pastor. One group of elders in the church is certain that God has moved them to call Pastor X. However, another group of elders believes that God has told them to call Pastor Y. The number of elders on each side is equal. Both pastors are equally qualified and come highly recommended from other pastors within your denomination. Who is right and how would you know? How would anyone know which group is hearing God’s voice and which group is listening to their own internal dialogue?

          • Jean Camille

            “Answer: Enough certainty for YOU to believe … ”
            No, it is not good enough for you to always bounce the question back to me. That is gross intellectual dishonesty for you to so refuse to participate with your personal opinion. It also limits your own growth when you refuse to examine and clarify your own thoughts.

            With your missionary comment, I have no idea what you are looking for when you talk about proof. The comment itself adds nothing to my understanding and ‘proves’ nothing. You describe a situation that normally rests on individual aptitudes and circumstances, so the issues you focus on are too broad to help judgement at that individual level. You are off track here and that is why I am urging you to clarify and state your position first.

            Your choice of pastor story is complex only because it is concocted and artificial. My experience is that where such division is real, it means someone is not listening to God and may be pushing personal ambition, an ungodly state of mind. Such groups often fall apart.
            When they do not fall apart, I have seen apparently unrelated circumstances nullify the work of a partisan group, to the benefit of all who remained. In short, it can be taken our of our hands.
            Where people are united in their desire to follow Jesus, I have seen a whole group change mind to adopt the view of one person. That was because everyone genuinely desired the Godly response.
            In a God-focused context, your scenario will not arise.

            So, please, get some clarity on what you believe about proof and certainty.

          • Gary M

            If you cannot prove that your prayers are answered in the affirmative more frequently than random chance, you cannot prove that prayer works. Period.

          • Jean Camille

            You still have not done your part. Define your terms. What do you mean by proof?

          • Gary M

            prove: to demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument.
            proof: evidence which substantiates a claim.

          • Jean Camille

            Ok, that gives some sense of the path you are on.

            Next step is to examine what you mean by evidence. If you are like most of them, evidence is limited to what may be observed at least indirectly through the five senses and that by more than one person in different places and at different times. This is a minimum requirement for any kind of certainty.

            For certainty in argument, proof must be based on deductive logic alone. The alternative inferential logic can give the most reasonable option but can never give the logical necessity required for formal proof.

            That leaves very little that we can prove in a formal sense. No one-off events, no personal experience, no history, no ethics, no love or other sentiment. To require this kind of proof in all daily living is impractical, even dysfunctional.

            We do need certainty in scientific areas like engineering and medical research. To promote certainty, we look for outcomes that are both valid and reliable. They are reliable when the rule holds and we get the expected outcome every time. They are valid when the outcomes are what they say they are; they are true to their nature.

            Note that the quality of truth applies only to validity. Conversely, some questions are in psychology tests purely because they give a reliable outcome and have no logical connection to that outcome. Statistics only.

            So, your demand for ‘proof’ is inappropriate if it includes an assumption of reliability. One-off events and personal experiences are valid on occasion even without scientific reliability. The processes we use to establish such truth involve inferences at the conscious level and intuition sub-consciously. There are also cross-checks that give adequate reliability. We assume these processes in daily life. Without them, we tend to become dysfunctional and experience too many fractured relationships.

          • Jane-Tony Mungufeni Bileru

            And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
            John 14:13‭-‬14 KJV

          • Jean Camille

            Responding to your comment “awaiting moderation”(!!)

            Your child’s love, you believe to be a fact? It will be a fact independently of your belief. And for your child’s sake, you must commit to it as a fact. In real life, we go beyond soft “belief”.

            Even more so, I reject the assumption that there is any difference in the reality of an event and that of a universal truth. Why should a quantitative difference of nature and duration transfer into a difference in the quality of reality itself? It is just the same to state that any matter is either real or not, regardless of its characteristics.

            You claim a need for verifiable evidence based on universally accepted standards of evidence. These are the very conventions I claim are firstly pragmatic, and I am challenging their secondary universality. To appeal to them in your response is Begging the Question. To break this circular logic, you must prove their conceptual universality by some other means. I do not believe such proof exists.

            This belief in “universally accepted standards of evidence” is largely a confection of over-enthusiastic devotees. However, I am happy for you to prove your claim. Or we can accept it for what it is, a personal preference.

            Jesus had a philosophical position different again: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). In one sense, this states that the reality we observe is a projection and expression of an abstract reality.
            You may find the following presentation of the idea to be more culturally appropriate to you:

            That is, materialistic humanism reverses the direction of Jesus’ position. With such diametrically opposed constructs of reality, I doubt there would be any parity in how we choose between them.

          • Gary M

            “In a God-focused context, your scenario will not arise.”

            You were obviously never a Baptist.

          • Jean Camille

            The label does not make the person.
            1 Corinthians 11:17-32 shows that, and the price we pay for not being true to our calling.
            It seems the people you met were like these Corinthians, not focused on God. And, like the Corinthians, they may well be paying a price beyond what outsiders see.

          • LRH

            Gary, Christianity is not the same in America as it was before. The book of Acts is being lived out in Asia. The power of God is seen much more visibly in other counties around the world. Keep asking, Keep seeking. Read biographies such as The Heavenly Man by a Chinese christian, translated into English. You won’t find all your answers in America, well you might. Just a clue to help you though. Don’t be afraid to step out in faith even if you don’t have all your questions answered, but do look beyond American Christianity to what is going on in Christianity in India and Asia and read related books. Best.

        • Christiane Smith

          I’m not sure that ‘rational thought’ and a forced-choice decision is what led to ‘commitment’ for myself . . . . maybe people are wired differently as to what ‘faith’ means to them, but in my case, ‘rational’ wasn’t the determining force.
          “Le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connait point.”

          “The heart has its reasons of which the mind knows nothing.”
          (Blaise Pascal)

          There is an element of mystery in how we come to faith, to ‘certitude’, to the peace that is beyond all understanding.
          My response was to be thankful.

    • Christiane Smith

      “Why would God use a third party to tell me something when He can tell me directly or the answer’s already there; in the Bible.”

      whoah! The image came to me right away about the talking donkey. I guess God uses all of His Creation to communicate with us, but we don’t always realize this.

      from Numbers, chapter 22:
      “27 When the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he became furious and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam . . . . . . . . . “

      • Jean Camille

        Perhaps it had to be the donkey, if only to match Balaam’s stubbornness.

        • Christiane Smith

          how wonderful that the animal saw the angel, but Balaam was not able to do so;
          reminds me of the funeral sermon for Rachel Held Evans, where Pastrix Nadia Bolz-Weber told of how Mary Magdalene looked into the tomb and saw angels, but when ‘the boys’ came to check the tomb, all they saw when they looked in was ‘laundry’ . . . .

          being able to see ‘angels’ must make a creature of God blessed above those who are blind to them 🙂

          • Jean Camille

            Hmmm… Cheeky. It is amazing what a little re-frame can do. Perhaps it is not too politically correct to say that each one has gifts among the limitations. And a word to those of more subtle persuasion: we can always show love and refrain from taking advantage 😉

  • Pam Delaney

    Yes, I think He can and does at times. When I was young and searching, my roommate had some Mormon missionaries that were teaching her. I sat in on some of the teaching. It was confusing to me at the time as it didn’t jive with some of the things I knew about Jesus. I think they told me to pray about it…. not sure…but anyway, glad they did. I prayed hard that night for God to please show me what was true. That night, I had a dream. It was vivid. There was a man in my dream..but also it came from myself at the same time, so I would understand…and he said that Christ Jesus is Lord and Savior, died and was raised and that Joseph Smith is not a prophet. The Mormons moved on to another town when I shared my dream with them. Anyway, that’s the only dream that I can say I am sure it came from God. I am forever grateful for it too.

  • Some Christians take the view that dreams ceased to be a means through which God reveals himself when the NT was completed. They say that God only discloses himself, today, through the biblical witness to Jesus Christ.

    This presupposes that God exists, that God has revealed God’s self and that the primary mechanism for this is through Jesus and the biblical witness to him. They maintain that God’s former ways of revealing himself have ceased and dreams were one of those ways.

    Of course, atheists don’t believe that God exists therefore they don’t believe in any revelation of God whether it be through the bible, Jesus Christ or through nature or any other way, including dreams.

    • Christiane Smith

      ‘They say that God only discloses himself, today, through the biblical witness to Jesus Christ.’

      we know that the Holy Spirit communicates on our behalf to God, and that the Holy Spirit points us to Jesus Christ; whereas the Testaments are witness to Christ, we have to realize that the Holy Spirit, God, is present to us in our need whether we are ‘conscious’ of it or not, so we cannot say that ‘the Bible’ is the only way God discloses Himself to us or we do not acknowledge the witness of the Holy Spirit who points us to Christ

      • I leave the point you are making for Christians to fight about. I’m an atheist.

        • Christiane Smith

          Hello John Arthur,

          I had to look ‘atheist’ up, although I thought I knew what it meant. I found this:

          a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.
          “he is a committed atheist”
          synonyms: nonbeliever, nontheist, disbeliever, unbeliever, heretic, sceptic, doubter, doubting Thomas, agnostic, infidel, irreligious person, heathen, pagan, freethinker, libertine, nihilist; archaicpaynim; rarenullifidian
          “he was an intellectually fulfilled atheist”

          John Arthur, where do you fall on the spectrum between ‘non-believer and doubter’?

          I’m Catholic. But I also pray ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief’
          It’s a ‘Catholic’ kind of prayer as we are supposed to be honest about our inability to comprehend the incomprehensible. . . . . . being that we are in a place where we can only ‘see through a glass darkly’ . . . .

          John Arthur, what is your ‘faith’ history? Have you always been an atheist?

          Thanks for responding.

          • By the term “atheist”, I mean that I think there is insufficient evidence to believe that any gods exist. I am a humanist. If people want to persuade me that any particular god exists, it is up to them to provide sufficient evidence that their particular god exists.

          • Christiane Smith

            It would be extremely unlikely that I could provide ‘sufficent evidence’, as thought has been given to that sort of request by much wiser people than myself, John Arthur.

            It’s like that saying which is attributed to Aquinas, this:
            “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
            (Thomas Aquinas)

            I’m not entire sure of how you define ‘humanist’ so I would let you speak for yourself, if you cared to continue our conversation. We may have some common ground in the ‘humanist’ area perhaps. In any case, thank you for the dialogue.

  • Christiane Smith

    our dreams? we are talking about activity that is very deep in the human sub-conscious, and that is a great question as to whether God communicates with us at that level, yes!

    I once wrote about the sub-conscious and human imagination as a gift from God, this:

    ‘We need ‘story’ as much as we need theology.
    Whether it’s a spoken liturgy or a poem or myth or saga or the Book of Genesis, there is something about ‘story’ that fills a collective human need.

    We want to know more than we have the capacity to comprehend, but still we want to KNOW. And maybe there is some truth to the idea that in our DNA, we carry genetic memories of ancient days that find a way into our (sub)consciousness?

    Is there more to ‘story’ beyond the ability to ‘entertain’ ?
    Is human imagination a more intricate gift to us from the Creator?
    Have we overlooked human imagination as another way God is communicating with us?
    Even the question makes me smile.’

  • Jean Camille

    Jack, it is happening again. The spambot has put a hold on my comment (presumably because I had a large cut-and-paste in it).
    My (and other) comments in “The Greatest Father In History” are still on hold after 8 or more days. That kind of bottleneck is totally counter-productive.
    It looks like there is no action and no response to queries.
    What on earth is going on? Is no-one even willing to explain it?

  • Micho Lambwe


  • Connie Gould

    I believe there are several ways to determine if a dream, vision or other communication is from God. Among them are: 1. Is it in Jesus character? 2. Is it Biblical? 3. Does it come true or prove to be true? 4. Does the person give God the Glory? For what Jesus has done in my life, see “Joy In Abuse” and “I Should Be Dead” at

    • This presupposes that God exists. If he doesn’t, then no dreams can come from him. It also presupposes that Jesus existed and that the NT is a reliable witness to him and that Jesus reflects the character and will of God.

      • Connie Gould

        All I can say is I used to be an atheist. I am not anymore. I am convinced Jesus is real, Jesus is alive and He is who He says He is and is trustworthy.