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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Dreaming God’s Dreams

By Doug Clay
Nov. 27, 2011

Dreams are a picture of the future. They are the seed of possibility planted by God in your spirit that drives you to fully give yourself to the pursuit of achieving it. They help you understand that you are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good deeds that He has prepared in advance for you to do (see Ephesians 2:10).

God has a dream for your life. You can be a dream releaser. People who are not compelled by a dream are susceptible to living a mundane life without purpose. Dr. Ken Hildebrand said, “One of life’s greatest tragedies is a person with a 10 x 12 capacity and only a 2 x 4 dream.” The quicker you can align your ambitions and decisions with what God’s dream is for your life, the more fulfilling your life will be.

Genesis 37 introduces us to Joseph and calls him “a dreamer” (v. 19). Joseph had a God-given dream at a young age, and he began chasing it even during the developmental years of his life. Joseph’s life offers us some powerful principles we can embrace.

A dreamer’s solitude

The first take-away we get from Joseph’s life is this: Don’t give up on your dream, even if nobody else believes in it. There’s a good chance, even if your dream is from God, that other people aren’t going to believe in it. Genesis 37 records two dreams Joseph shared with his family. His brothers hated him for his dreams, and even his father rebuked him.

A God-given dream can inspire jealousy in others. If your dream is from God, it will often be bigger than you are. Most dreams that God gives people are a couple of sizes too big. That gives us room to grow into them.

You might ask, “How do I know my dream is from God?” First, you must develop a relationship with the Person of the Holy Spirit. The ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to help us understand what God’s will is, what God’s dream is for our lives (see John 16:13). The closer the relationship you develop with the Holy Spirit, the clearer the dream is going to be.

Second, you must put yourself in a position to allow signs of confirmation to come to your dream. You need to take time to be in God’s presence and to build friendships with others who will encourage you in your dreams. Spend time with people who are energy-producing, rather than energy-draining, with regard to your dream.

A dreamer’s circumstances

From Joseph’s life, we find this second take-away: Don’t give up on your dream even if things don’t start out well. Joseph was 17 years old when he first received his dream, and he faced many adverse circumstances along the way — circumstances he did not choose and that threatened to derail him.

Joseph did not choose to be sold out by his brothers, or put into Potiphar’s house, or tempted by Potiphar’s wife, or to be falsely accused. Joseph was the victim of ugly circumstances, but he never gave up on his dream. He didn’t play the victim card. He didn’t become bitter toward his family. He didn’t blame the system.

In fact, Genesis 39:3,4 tells us that Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph. Sometimes, when our faith is weak, it’s our dream that provides the motivation to keep going. I’ve discovered in my life that God is always faithful to bring people into my world to help me keep the dream alive.

I went to Central Bible College (Springfield, Mo.) to pursue the dream I knew was God’s will — going into pastoral ministry. I remember my first sermon in college. I was selected to be a speaker in the Friday Senior Chapel. What had been a 20-minute message when carefully rehearsed became a 7-minute, high-pitched speech when I nervously stood in chapel.

But that day, a dream-releaser who has since gone on to be with the Lord — Dr. Gary McGee — came up to me, put his arm around me and said, “You know, Doug, it’s so refreshing not to have a marathon sermon in our chapel.” Dr. McGee will never know what that meant to me.

Don’t give up on your dream even when things don’t start well, even when time goes by and you do not see it come to pass. God is faithful. If He has given you that dream, that picture of the future, then He will deliver on His Word.

A dreamer’s sanctification

Third, don’t cash in your dream for a few moments of sinful pleasure. Joseph was probably in his early 20s when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. After everything he had been through up to that point in his life, he was probably a little vulnerable.

Satan knows the power of a God-given dream. He knows your areas of vulnerability, and he has a way of directing temptations against those areas in our lives. I want to challenge you: Don’t trade in your dream for those few moments of sinful pleasure.

No matter what our culture says, it is perfectly OK to be pure and a virgin until God brings you the right spouse. Yes, our society is obsessed with sex, but when people don’t follow God’s directions for this gift that He created, it can interrupt and even destroy the dream.

God gave the gift of sex within the context of marriage. He created sex to join a man and a woman in a permanent bond. Our bodies are not to be joined to strangers. Paul makes it so clear that our bodies are part of the body of Christ, and we are to live in sexual purity (see 1 Corinthians 6:15).

A dreamer’s stamina

There is a fourth principle we can apply from Joseph’s life: Don’t give up on your dream even if it takes a long time to come to pass.

Too many dreams are aborted because of impatience. We want to rush into a relationship. We want to bypass an education. But God’s timing is perfect. His ways are perfect. Don’t give up on your dream even if it looks like it will never become a reality.

I have discovered this truth in my life and have observed it in others: If the dream is from God, He will make a way for that dream to become a reality. We never have to rush God’s dreams.

I’ve got great news for you. God delights in making His dream become known to you. Faith and obedience are the only raw materials God needs in your life for that dream to become a reality.

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DOUGLAS E. CLAY is general treasurer of the Assemblies of God.

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