Skip to content

The Daniel Kolenda Dream

One night I had a dream I was sitting across from Daniel Kolenda, and world-renowned evangelist.  His face was serious, and his eyes fiercely and firmly held mine until he knew he had my absolute and total attention and focus.  As his eyes unflinchingly held mine, he authoritatively asked, “Are you a lawbreaker?” His piercing gaze and authority demanded a completely truthful response.  I felt myself surrender internally to conviction. I was willing to die rather than lie or hide. I unflinchingly held his gaze in return and said, “Yes, I am a lawbreaker.”  Then I woke up.

I asked the Lord what this dream meant and puzzled for a few days.  I knew that Daniel Kolenda was a man and minister of integrity, but I knew it was the Almighty I had just encountered.  He took the form of someone who I would recognize as a person of great integrity and authority so that I might relate to Him as such within the encounter.  I am very sensitive to a clean and clear conscience so lying is not something I am comfortable with.  But a lawbreaker? This was not something I perceived in myself. I knew that this was a prophetic dream for the body at large.

A few more days after the dream, the Lord caused me to stumble on this verse:

Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws

– Isaiah 26:8, NLT

And there it was in black and white.  The revelation I wish to leave you with is this: It takes trust to obey God, the Lawgiver.  It requires a ceasing from your own works and finagling to trust and obey His laws and believe that things will come out right and prosper in the end.  The surrender I experienced was a willingness to die rather than live in the discomfort of a lie.  God is beckoning you into a place where you will cease striving and simply trust and obey His righteous ways, look Him in the eye and begin to establish your life in truth.

In a real-world context, this means that we, as believers, do not need to cheat on our taxes because when we do what is right, God will provide.  In fact, we can even tithe and offer, because we trust Him enough to obey Him and He will prosper us. It means we can tell the truth and not worry about the results; our life is in His hands.  We do not need to fear man but obey God. He will prosper our way, be our defender and promoter. We do not need to satisfy our lusts of the flesh because He will give us the desires of our heart in a wholesome way and satisfy our souls.  No finagling required. No mental gymnastics. Just trust and obey!

God, as a good Father, desires you to be steadfast in your faith and established. Your stability comes from building upon something sure, unchanging, and enduring. His word endures forever (1 Peter 1:25 NIV). You demonstrate your trust in God’s unfailing character by following His instructions and ways outlined in His Word.  Doing so will result in a lasting and solid foundation for Jesus said, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but My words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:35, NIV).

Through Isaiah, God describes how He will lay your foundation as you allow Him and His Word to be your teacher. It is not one of concrete, but of precious gems to be treasured and stones of antimony—far more beautiful than river rocks. Scripture says He will build upon that foundation with precious stones and gates of crystal. He longs for you to treasure the foundations of God—His Word—like precious jewels.

Sometimes, however, our desires are out of step with God’s righteous ways and can pull our affection away from Him, creating that loyalty tug-of-war. Isaiah, like James likens this “back and forth” state to the instability of the sea being “storm tossed and afflicted.” Isaiah also spoke a clear word from the Lord, that He will lay the foundation for His people that they may be established in righteousness:

O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
Behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
And your foundations I will lay in sapphires.
Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies,
And your gates of crystal,
And your entire wall of precious stones.
All your sons will be taught of the Lord;
And the well-being of your sons will be great.
In righteousness, you will be established;
You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear;
And from terror, for it will not come near you.

— Isaiah 54:11–14, NASB

As you devote yourself completely to Jesus, with no “mistresses” vying for and dividing your heart with another desire, you will become steady and established through righteousness. No matter what storms arise that may contend for your heart’s loyalty, or trials that hit that may cause you to doubt God’s character, you will not be like a house that falls or a storm-tossed wave on the ocean of life’s circumstances. You will be solidly established thru the trials, internally instilling a deep trust in God’s character.

In Step with God’s Heart

Because God has put an understanding of what is right and wrong inside each person’s heart, the human heart will never be at peace in doing what is wrong (Heb. 8:10). That is why “storm-tossed and afflicted” is such a great word picture. Have you ever seen a poorly behaved child who was happy or peaceful?  The child is often miserable, crying, whining in their wayward desires. They are angry, confused, and insecure. The moment a parent has had enough of the willful behavior (unrighteousnes and, in love, intervenes, the child settles down into peace. When the child is no longer misbehaving, his or her conscience becomes clear and after adapting to being good and doing right, the child becomes happy and full of joy.

No one is happy doing wrong, even a child. Bad behavior troubles a person’s heart and conscience, and often hurts those around them.  

I remember when one of our sons was developing a haughty attitude. We had tried without success to train him at home, but his attitude remained the same. I grounded him from an upcoming mission trip but changed my mind because I figured it would be good for a young person to serve in missions. But when he returned home, his bad attitude showed up at work and he was fired. He was stunned and so were we.

I asked the Lord what happened, and He said, “Tyrelle, you have always prayed ‘All my children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be the peace of my children. In righteousness, they shall be established. They shall be far from oppression for they shall not fear.’” I understood immediately.

God had provided the necessary teaching, that I hadn’t, to ensure long-term peace in his life. If our son learned righteousness and acted it out, he would not be in fear of losing his job in the future and would be established and secure. Thankfully, he did realize he was being unrighteous, and decided it was better to adapt to the heart and behaviors of God’s kingdom and be good toward others. My son treasured the lesson and God quickly supplied a new job. Our young man has kept it for nearly three years, enjoys his co-workers, and is one of the most valued employees in the establishment.

Living in step with God’s righteous commands results in peace and rest. Doing things that are wrong will produce a sense of being out of step. Believers must march in time to the drum beat of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. When followers of Jesus do what they know is right, their lives will prosper and produce wonderful results. This is the joy of a well-disciplined and fruitful life.  God will establish the lives of those who treasure the Lord and His ways, as He has established His own unshakeable and everlasting kingdom.

Roots of Righteousness

Our Father uses tree imagery throughout Scripture as a picture of an oasis of hope for those who long to be steadfast, immovable, and fruitful. God articulates clearly how a person can easily become this way:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

— Psalm1:1–4, ESV

The tree is a picture of followers of Jesus who cling to His Word. Notice that it did not spring up from a little seed that just happened to fall near the stream.  No, God Himself planted this tree “by streams of water.” He chose both the tree and the place in which to plant it with the intention of establishing the tree and growing it to [WH5] [TS6] become a steadfast, enduring, and glorious tree. Streams are reflective of God, the fountain of abundant, living water. He is the source of life and enables believers to bear fruit in season and retain life so that their “leaf does not wither.”

Those who do not delight in righteousness, but rather in wickedness, become like chaff; they are susceptible to every wind of temptation because they have no roots to hold them fast. They are here one moment and gone the next with the ever-changing wind.

The Lord used this image of a tree in Isaiah 61 to describe how He plants and establishes His children when they operate in righteousness. They will be called “oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. (Isa. 61:3 NIV).

Righteousness has a steadying nature to it. To walk in righteousness means rejecting the fleeting temptations and benefits of doing wrong in exchange for the lasting benefits and peace of doing right. Oak trees are strong, enduring, and have long lifespans—often up to 600 years. Winds may blow them and cause them to bend a bit, and branches may break, but they are not likely uprooted. When you live in righteousness, the wind of temptation can blow, but you will remain rooted, established, and flourishing as God’s oak, planted to display His splendor (Isa. 61:3).  You are in this process right now! Isn’t that great news?

Reflect with the Holy Spirit

You are now at the end of inspecting your heart for division. You have shifted into a season of wholeheartedness. Your whole heart will now find it far easier to believe God’s incredible character and enduring love. With an undivided heart, you will be able to live out your purpose and fight every battle with joy, knowing victory is your birthright and inheritance as a child of the living God. This will be the focus of the second half of the book. Spend some time reflecting with God on how far you have come and the new stability and confidence you are developing to fulfill His purpose for your life.

  1. Lord, show me how You think and feel about establishing me in righteousness.
  2. What does it do to You as I become wholehearted?
  3. Thank Him and celebrate as He rejoices over you singing.
  4. Invited Him to show you areas where there is now more peace and single-mindedness.
  5. Where is my faith at this point?  God doesn’t change by my faith in Him does.  Is it getting stronger? Am I becoming more steadfast?
  6. What new adventures would You like me to embark on now that we have so much of these things out of the way?
  7. Lord, tell me how You feel and what You think of our new faith adventures ahead?  I’m listening wholeheartedly.

This teaching devotional is part of a series based on Tyrelle Smith's book: From Double-Minded To DestinyEach week we will publish more on how you can remove doubts, insecurities and fulfill God's plan for your life in a greater way.

Evangelism and JusticeA ping pong ball goes bounces back and forth across the table batted by two eager paddles vying for victory, only I am the ball.  I bounce daily, weekly and seasonally between two callings; preaching the gospel and justice for those who have been sex-trafficked.  

Isaiah, the prophet, said, “The Spirit of the Sovereign God is upon me because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free." (Isaiah 61:1)  The same Spirit that anoints us to share Christ everywhere we go is the same Spirit that also anoints us to set captives free and heal their hearts.

At times, I long to rest quietly at one end of the table, preferably the evangelism end.  If I had to choose a mountain to die on, it would be that one.  Souls safe in their Father’s arms for all eternity and the Father overjoyed to have them within His dwelling.  Forever safe from hell.

But then, those who are living in hell made by man, are ever in the heart of the Father also.  Righteousness and justice are the foundations of His throne.  He gives us His righteousness but then expects us to participate with Him in justice.  Justice is simply this- loving your neighbor as yourself.  Injustice is man participating with Satan and filling the earth with hell.  Malachi the prophet speaks for God saying, “You have wearied the Lord with your words…. By saying….. Where is the God of Justice?”  God is there, but he has given us  the task to:

seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow (Is. 1:17 NRSV)

Am I not compelled to fish for those as well?  

God has given us all that we need to bring justice.  But the thing that stops us most is fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of a lack of finances, fear that we will be put to shame when we try and fail which we probably will a few times, and fear of not knowing how.  Our God can overcome all of these obstacles, even if we are not.  International Justice Mission describes it this way.  It is like a Father and child who need to bring in the luggage.  The child says, “I can’t carry the heavy ones!”  The Father replies, “Carry in the ones you can, and I will take in the rest.”

And see to it they are also delivered from a horrendous and torturous hell?  I wish I could leave it.  I wish I did not have to do these things in my heart.  But the only other option is disobedience.  I know that we are to serve the Lord with gladness, but the problem is not as thrilling to solve as souls getting saved and angels rejoicing in Heaven over one saved sinner.  But is there really less rejoicing over one trafficked person rescued, healed or delivered?  Of course not.  And this is where our gladness must come from.  The joy of making God joyful at one little girl rescued, or one bonded slave or shrimp fisherman set free.  Is it not also salvation?

First Thessalonians 5:23,24 remind us that God wants to set us apart spirit, soul, and body.  Jesus died for our souls to be healed, our spirit to come alive and our body to be healed.  Isaiah 61 also describes the anointing and gospel is for the body to set captives free, the spirit to be alive through the preaching of the good news and the soul to be bound up and healed after it’s been broken.  Physical freedom is the salvation of body and ought not to be separated from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So it must be that I and many others will ping and pong across the table between the paddles of preaching the good news and setting the captives free.  I must remove the net dividing the table.  There is only one wonderful saving gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is for the whole tri-part person, and it is a joy to play the table.

Which cause are you drawn to the most in your life?

--TC Smith