Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dreaming with God, Part 5

We’ve been talking about “Dreaming with God.” Okay, so let’s discuss “Joseph the Dreamer.” Do you remember the portion of Scripture regarding Joseph’s dreams about the bundles of wheat, the sun, and the moon all bowing down to him? You may note that Joseph never gave the interpretation for that dream. Joseph didn’t say, “This means you all are going to be bowing down to me.” Other people interpreted it that way. What was their response when he shared the dream with them? Were they overjoyed, happy, and encouraging his vision? Oh no, the Bible says that they envied him. They were resentful, angry, and bitter. Then the biblical account says something fascinating about Jacob, Joseph’s daddy, in Genesis 37:11. His brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind. Why? Why do you think Jacob kept the matter in mind? I believe it was because he knew the power of dreams.

How did he know the power of dreams? Because he himself was a dreamer, and he had to have been thinking back to the time when he experienced dreaming big dreams. And now his son, Joseph, is dreaming grand scale dreams that nobody can understand yet. How can this be? And so what action do they take? His brothers go on the attack; “We’ll kill the dream by killing the dreamer.” No, they never plotted to kill him. They just wanted to imprison him, put him in a pit.

Listen to me, folks, you get dreaming for God and there will be people around you who want to put you in a pit. They want you thinking small because they think small. And if they can put you in a pit; they put your dream in a pit.

Joseph, I believe having been predestined by God, followed the path that God had laid out for him. It most certainly was not the path of least resistance. By the way, the path of God is not always the path of least resistance. So often we look for the path of least resistance and many times we miss God as a result. Was God’s plan the path of least resistance for Jacob or Joseph? Oh no, no, no! Some twenty years later the dream came to pass. How long will it take for your dream to come to pass? I don’t know, but don’t stop holding onto your dream!

I have dreams I have yet to fulfill. I can testify that many of them have been fulfilled. I’ve shared with most of you that for approximately a year before I went to Haiti as a missionary, I was having dreams. All I could see were the faces of crowds and crowds of Haitian people. My late wife asked me one morning, “Is God showing you something”? I said, “Yes, God’s showing me something. He’s showing me that we’re to go to Haiti.”

This came at probably the most financially secure time of our lives. We now owned a home; I was working at a power plant in Crystal River; we had two cars, the dog, and the boat. We had never been so secure, but we went to Haiti. I was sharing with Vickie that we went on a three-month commitment. I was simply going to build a building; I wasn’t a preacher. I had never yet preached a day in my life! I was just going to build a building that still stands today. Three months led to five years during which we crisscrossed the country doing miracle crusades. We saw  tremendous miracles all over Haiti and into the Dominican Republic. And then one night, standing on the platform and seeing the vast sea of faces, I looked out on the people and said, “Oh my, God.” The Lord said, “Do you remember those dreams back there?” “Yeah, I do.” He said, “This is it. This is the fulfillment of those dreams I was showing you. You didn’t understand it then, but you do now.”

I remember being at a missionary’s conference in Des Moines, Iowa, and I was doing one of the breakout sessions. There was a great preacher up on the platform preaching, and he said, “I want everyone to stop what you’re doing right now and take out a pencil or pen and a piece of paper and write down, as simply as you can, what you believe God has called you to do.” Write it down and make it plain. I remember writing, “I am called to the Caribbean nations.” My late wife looked at what I had written and promptly scratched out Caribbean. “You’re thinking too small,” she said. Huh? Whoa! She was right; God was right. I’ve been to the nations. And I haven’t stopped dreaming; I’m still dreaming. Vickie and I, we’re looking at life and asking ourselves, “Do we still have the ability to dream big dreams?”

Now listen to me, folks. Dreaming isn’t just about having your dream house. It isn’t only about better homes and bigger gardens. If your dream doesn’t have something to do with blessing other people, it’s probably not of God, or at the least, it is too small. You can quote that. If you’re simply dreaming about the bigger house, I hope you get it, praise God, and get that part over with! If it’s just to get the car, get it. I hope you do that. If all of that junk is so important to you, then I’d advise you to get it out of the way, but it won’t seem near as important to you once you have it. Get all that behind you. Get all the STUFF behind you so that you can really start dreaming BIG DREAMS. God’s dream for your life isn’t just the house you live in or the car that you drive. Oh man!  That is so small! God so wants to do something through you that is going to touch the world!  

~ pg 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dreaming for God, Part 4

If I talked to you about biblical dreamers, who is the first one who comes to mind? Joseph, the dreamer dude, right? Yes, everyone thinks about Joseph. Well, I have news for you! Joseph’s father, Jacob, was a dreamer before Joseph was a twinkle in his eye! In fact, Jacob had some pretty wild dreams. At least one of them caused him to prosper tremendously, even when his own father-in-law was trying to rip him off. 

Joseph was at the house of Laban, and Laban kept him there for what . . . fourteen years and then another seven? You ought to read the story in Genesis 31 and 32; it extends through both chapters. 

Let’s look at least one portion of the account and keep in mind that this is Jacob, who arrived on the scene long before Joseph. I want to show you something.

10“And it happened, at the time when the flocks conceived, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams which leaped upon the flocks were streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted. 11Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you’” (Genesis 31:10-12).

God showed Jacob the strategy in a dream some time before it happened. We don’t know how long it was between the time Jacob dreamt this and the time of implementation. We know that he had already received the dream because the flocks were separated by this time, and he was about three days away from Laban. God showed him (in a dream) how to increase his flocks by reproducing streaked, spotted, and multicolored sheep, as all of those would become his.

Now, did the dream come to pass? Yes, it did! Jacob followed the strategy of the Lord, and as a result, his flocks were much stronger and healthier than the ones he was tending for Laban. And then what happened? How did people around him respond? You don’t hear about too many of them being overjoyed. Most of them were envious, jealous, bitter, and resentful. They were angry at Jacob’s prosperity. Think it not strange. Small thinkers will always resent the fact that big thinkers prosper.

Let's talk about "thinking small" for a moment. Basically, if you’re resenting another person's success, you’ve just proven what a small thinker you are. It's a sad state of affairs if all you can do is resent another's blessings and/or prosperity. Do you know what most folks who are "down and out" think about successful people? They think they’re lucky. And most successful people will say: “Yeah, the harder I work, the luckier I get.” But it isn’t just hard work! If that were all it was, then the hardest working people in the world would be the richest! And they’re not! Some of them are the poorest.

Jacob received a strategy. There are some geneticists who believe that what the sheep had their focus on during the conception of their young became reality even in the physical. There are those who believe it; I’ve read it in my research. I don’t know if I do. But I do know that God gave Jacob a strategy, and I know that Jacob followed that strategy. I also know that ultimately Jacob prospered, and as a result of prosperity, that there were many around him, family members, brothers and sisters, and those in Laban’s household, who resented him . . . who were bitter. 

Check your heart, friend. Bitterness and resentment are a result of small thinking, and it will keep you from the blessing of God. It’s not going to keep the successful person away from the blessings, because the successful person has already made his mind up that he’s not going to let others hold him back. If he allowed people to hold him back, he wouldn’t be where he is today! Come on, somebody!

You wouldn’t be where you are if you had listened to all the people who said, “You can’t.” Jacob’s dreams were not forgotten. He understood the power of dreams. I challenge you to think back and consider the dreams that God has placed in your heart. What steps have you taken to make sure that you're on course to achieve them? God can (and does) give us dreams; the question we should ask ourselves is what we are doing with what He has imparted. 

~ pg