Archive for August 17th, 2015

Remember your dream

from JO’s sermon tonight:

all of us have things that we’re believing for, something that we want to accomplish. deep down, we know it’s a part of our destiny; we can feel it so strongly.  but then, we hit some setbacks: we didn’t get the promotion, the medical report wasn’t good, a relationship didn’t work out. life has a way of pushing our dreams down; they can become buried under discouragement, past mistakes. there are dreams buried under divorce, low self-esteem. it’s easy to settle for mediocrity, even though we have all this potential buried on the inside. but just because you gave up, doesn’t mean God gave up. your dream may be buried; the good news is, it’s still alive. it’s not too late to see it come to pass. we’ve all been through disappointments, setbacks, life happens, but instead of remembering the hurt, the pain, what didn’t work out, the key to reaching your destiny is, you have to remember your dream, what God promised you, what He whispered to you in the middle of the night. the scripture calls it:

 Psalm 37:4 (AMP)

4 … secret petitions of your heart

things you haven’t told anybody about. it may seem impossible, every voice tells you it’s not going to happen, you’ve been pushing it down, but God is saying, “what I promised you, I’m still going to do. I spoke it to you;  it may not have happened yet, but I am true to My word.  it is on the way.”  if you’ll do your part and start believing again, get your passion back, God is going to resurrect what you thought was dead.  dreams that you’d given up on, you tried, it didn’t work out, it’s been so long, they’re going to suddenly come back to life. problems that looked permanent are going to suddenly turn around.  what should’ve taken years, God’s going to do in a fraction of the time.  He hasn’t changed His mind;  He has the final say. don’t let circumstances talk you out of it.  you may not understand why a business didn’t make it, why a person walked away, why you came down with an illness; you were doing the right thing, but the wrong thing happened. it’s all a part of the process.

every disappointment, delay, closed door, it’s not just a setback, it’s a setup for God to get you to where you’re supposed to be.  it may be taking a long time, it may look impossible; all it takes is one touch of God’s favor.  what are you remembering? the hurt, the pain, what didn’t work out? turn it around and remember your dream. what has God put in your heart? what did you used to be excited about? now you think, “it’s been too long, it’s too big, it’s not possible.” you don’t think you could write the book, finish school, see your marriage restored, start the business. no, get your passion back. you have not missed your opportunity, had too many bad breaks. you’re not lacking. you didn’t get shortchanged. when God breathed life into you, He put in you everything you need to fulfill your destiny. 

people can’t stop you, bad breaks, disappointments, loss; the most high God is on your side. you have royal blood flowing through your veins.  there are seeds of greatness in you right now, dreams so big that you can’t accomplish them on your own;  it’s going to take you connecting with your Creator, believing that you’re a person of destiny, that He’s directing your steps, that if He be for you, who dare be against you. when we go through opposition, these challenging times, we don’t have to fall apart; God controls the whole universe. He won’t allow anything to happen unless He knows how to bring good out of it.  but you have to do your part, and keep your faith stirred up.  the enemy would love to deceive you into burying your dream, thinking that it’s never going to work out. don’t believe those lies; it’s not too late to become all that you were created to be.

every time you remember your dream, say, “Lord, thank You for bringing it to pass,” you’re removing some dirt, digging it back out.  maybe you’ve struggled with an illness for a long time. early on, you believed you could get well, but now it’s been years, you’re just learning to live with it.  what’s happened is, your healing, breakthrough, freedom has gotten buried. it’s still in you, still alive; if you’ll start believing again, God can bring it to pass.  instead of thinking, “it’s never going to work out, I’ve had so many bad medical reports,” no, that’s putting more dirt on it, burying it deeper.  why don’t you get your shovel out and start removing some of that dirt?  how do you do that? “Lord, thank You that You’re restoring health back unto me, that the number of my days You will fulfill.  thank You that I’m getting stronger, healthier.” if you’ll keep talking, thinking like that, that dream that’s been buried is going to come back to life.

this is what allows God to do great things; God is moved by our faith. He’s not moved by our discouragement, complaining, self-pity. “I’m never going to meet the right person, I’ve been hurt too many times”; you are remembering the wrong thing. as long as you remember the hurt, you’re going to get stuck. turn it around; start remembering your dream. “Father, thank You that You have a divine connection coming my way, somebody perfect for me, better than I ever imagined.” instead of, “I’ll never be in management, get the promotion, this company, they don’t even like me”; you’re putting more dirt on your dream, burying it deeper. get your shovel and start digging that dream out.  some of you have done this so long, you need a backhoe, some heavy equipment. that dream is way deep, but you can dig it out, bring it back to life. 

it starts in our thinking, in what you’re believing, saying. no more, “it’s never going to happen, I’ll never break this addiction, live in a nice house, finish college.”  no, “I’m surrounded by God’s favor. blessings are chasing me down.  because I delight myself in the Lord, God, You promised You would give me the desires of my heart.” whatever God’s put on the inside, no matter how long it’s been, how impossible it looks, I’m asking you to stir it up. you have to get in agreement with God; He’s the giver of all dreams, the One that put the desires in you. you may need to get alone, in your quiet time, search your heart, say, “God, anything I’ve pushed down, anything I’ve given up on, show me what it is. God, don’t let me die with any dreams still buried on the inside.” 

this is what Caleb did. he and his friend Joshua went and spied out the promised land. they came back and told Moses:

Numbers 13:30 (TLB)

30 …“Let us go up at once and possess it,” he said, “for we are well able to conquer it!”

but the other 10 spies came back and said just the opposite;  they talked Moses out of it. the Israelites became afraid; some 2,000,000 people, even though they were camped right next door, they turned around, and that group never did make it into the promised land. I can imagine that Caleb was disappointed, discouraged. he knew they were supposed to go in; God put the dream in his heart. it looked like somebody else caused his dreams to get buried, caused him to miss his destiny. a lot of people could have settled there, and thought, “too bad, it didn’t work out,” but not Caleb;  the true mark of a champion is, even though some dirt gets thrown on your dream, instead of letting it get buried, you keep shaking it off, moving forward, looking for new opportunities.  45 years later, at the age of 85, Caleb could still feel that dream stirring on the inside. he wasn’t sitting around feeling sorry for himself, saying, “God, if only those people would’ve done right back then.”  no, he went back to that same mountain, that same place the others refused to go in, and:

Joshua 14:10-12 (NKJV)

10 … here I am this day, eighty-five years old… 12 Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day

what’s significant is that mountain had five giants living on it; there were other mountains with less opposition, that would’ve been much easier. I can hear friends say, “come on, Caleb, you’re 85, let’s go take this easy mountain”;  he said, “no thanks, I’m not going to settle for mediocrity when I know God has placed greatness in me.  I want that same mountain;  that’s the dream that’s been stirring in my spirit all these years.” at 85, he went out and conquered the mountain; he saw the dream come to pass.

have you allowed any dreams to get buried in you? at one time, you believed you could do something great, you believed you could lead the company in sales, break that addiction, but it’s been a long time, you had some bad breaks, it wasn’t all your fault, you could easily settle where you are, nobody would fault you. God sent me to light a new fire on the inside; that dream is still alive. you may have tried a year ago, 5 years ago, or 40 years ago;  it didn’t work out, no one was there to help you. God is saying to you what He said to Caleb;  “go back and try again. this is your time, your moment. your destiny is calling out to you.”  you have to be like Caleb, you can’t have a weak, defeated, give-up spirit; “I’ll take the easy way out, I’ll settle for second best, I don’t want to put forth the effort.” if you don’t stir it up, you can miss who you were created to be. you may have been knocked down, but you’ve got to get back up again, and say, “God, give me the same mountain. I don’t want a substitute. I don’t want second best. I’m going after what you placed in my heart.” if you will remember your dream like that, God will help you to accomplish what you didn’t accomplish early on.  what you gave up on, God didn’t give up on. what you wanted to do earlier in life, just because it didn’t work out, doesn’t mean that it went away. it’s still in you. Jeremiah said:

Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV)

9 … his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones

I believe there are some dreams shut up in you. like fire, you’re going to feel your destiny calling out.  it may not have happened the first time: the loan didn’t go through, you didn’t get chosen for the part, the medical report wasn’t good. that’s ok; this is a new day. what God started, He’s going to finish. you may have missed some opportunities, but God knows how to make up for lost time;  He’s going to give you another chance. He said:

Joel 2:25 (ESV)

25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten

you may have lost years because somebody else put you at a disadvantage, or because of your own choices; God knows how to make up for it. He’s still going to get you to where you’re supposed to be.

this is what happened to Joseph in the scripture. God gave him a dream that one day he would rule a nation:

Genesis 37:5-8 (NIV)

5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”

8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.

Joseph should’ve used more wisdom and not told his brothers the dream; certain things you should keep to yourself. some people can’t handle what God’s put in you;  they won’t celebrate you, they’ll be jealous, find fault, be critical.  one day, Joseph went to see his 10 brothers:

Genesis 37:19 (NIV)

19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other.

they weren’t upset because he was their father’s favorite child, or because he was wearing a coat of many colors, that represents favor, they were upset because he had a dream, they were offended because he was determined to break out of the mold, to do something great, to leave his mark. they would’ve been fine if he was content to be average, to accept the status quo.  but when you stir up what God’s put on the inside, believe that you have seeds of greatness, that you can overcome that illness, break the addiction, pay your house off, be blessed in spite of past mistakes, everybody will not celebrate you. when you have a dream, you’re going to have some detractors, people will get jealous, try to make you look bad, try to talk to you out of it, say things like, “you really think you can get that promotion? you don’t have the experience, the talent, I don’t think so. you really think you’re still going to get married? you’ve tried 3 times, it hasn’t happened yet, and you’re getting kind of old.” let that go in one ear and out the other; people don’t determine your destiny, God does.

the critics, naysayers and detractors, they cannot stop your dream. they may do something that puts you at a disadvantage, but God knows how to take what’s meant for harm and use it for your good. Joseph’s own brothers tried to push his dream down. sometimes, your relatives won’t celebrate you.  sometimes, the people closest to you will be the least supportive.  don’t get distracted fighting battles that don’t matter, trying to prove to them who you are, trying to convince them how they should be for you; you don’t need their approval, you have Almighty God’s approval. let it go and run your race.  what stirs them up is the fact that you’re moving forward, pursuing your destiny. they would love to convince you to keep your dream buried, so you don’t rise higher, and make them look bad.  they don’t realize, God has put dreams in them; if they would stir it up, they could fulfill their purpose.

successful people, people that have a dream, don’t waste valuable their time looking at what everybody else is doing; they’re too busy, focused on what God has put in their own hearts.  the enemy targets people who have a dream;  he’ll use opposition, discouragement, delays, jealousy, everything he can to try to convince you to bury that dream. if you’re going to reach your highest potential, you have to make up your mind that you are in it for the long haul. you’re not going to let people talk you out of it, circumstances discourage you, delays cause you to give up, critical people cause you to get distracted; you’re going to stay focused on your goal. you wouldn’t be having that opposition if you didn’t have something great in you.  if your dream wasn’t alive and on track, right on schedule to come to pass, you wouldn’t have so many things coming against you.

but when the enemy looks at you, he says, “oh no, here comes another dreamer, here comes another person full of faith, believing that they have seeds of greatness, not moved by their circumstances, not upset because they have a delay; they’re a dreamer. they know they have the favor of God, that because they believe, all things are possible, that God can make a way when they don’t see a way.”  when you’re a dreamer, you’re dangerous to the enemy;  you give him a nervous breakdown.  he knows you’re headed to a new level, you’re coming into overflow, you’re going to set a new standard for your family. here’s the most important thing: he knows that there’s nothing he can do to stop you.  the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you.  but he will work overtime trying to convince us to settle, to give up, to stay where we are.  you have to remember this principle: when negative things happen, that’s not stopping your destiny, that’s a sign that you’re on your way to your destiny. every delay, the setbacks, the disappointment, that didn’t stop your dream, it’s all a part of the process.  

Joseph’s brothers, they were jealous of him:

Genesis 37:24-28 (NASB)

24 and they took him and threw him into the pit… 28 Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt.

Genesis 37:36 (NASB)

36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard.

year after year, Joseph worked for Potiphar, kept a good attitude, kept being his best, but one bad thing after another happened to Joseph: Potiphar’s wife lied about him, falsely accused him.  he was put in prison for something he didn’t do; he spent years there. one night:

Genesis 41:1-41 (NASB)

1 … at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream… 8 Now in the morning his spirit was troubled… there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh… 14 Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph… 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”… 25 Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do… 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall [ah]do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”

years later, there was a great famine in the land;  people were desperate, trying to survive, trying to find food.  Joseph was in charge of the food supply, one of the most important positions of that day. his brothers, the same ones that threw him into a pit, traveled a long distance and showed up at the palace looking for food.  they were right before him, bowing down, but they didn’t recognize who Joseph was:

Genesis 42:8 (NASB)

8 But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him.

you can imagine, this is a very dramatic moment for Joseph; these are the brothers that betrayed him, caused all the heartache and pain. you would think Joseph would be angry, bitter, vindictive; this was his chance to pay them back.  but the scripture says:

Genesis 42:9 (EXB)

9 And Joseph remembered his dreams ·about his brothers bowing to him

he didn’t remember the hurt, betrayal, the lonely nights, the times he was confused; he remembered the promise, what God had spoken to him. all those bad breaks, it looked like Joseph missed his destiny. the whole time, God was directing his steps, leading, guiding him; that was all a part of the process to get him to where he was supposed to be. 

(Joseph’s inspirational response to his brothers was:

Genesis 45:5 (NLT)
5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.

Genesis 50:20 (CEB)
20 You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it, in order to save the lives of many people, just as he’s doing today.)

when God puts a dream in your heart, when He gives you a promise, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to come to pass with no opposition, no delays, no adversity. there will be things that you don’t understand. you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get negative, and think, “I must not have heard God right.”  in those tough times, you have to do like Joseph, and remember your dream. God has not brought you this far to leave you; He has you in the palm of His hand. He’s directing your steps. now do your part; dare to trust Him, to believe. let Him fight your battles, be your vindicator. He has it all figured out.  “I’m upset, I don’t understand it, I got thrown into a pit”; don’t worry, another caravan is coming to move you on to your next location.  “a friend lied about me, I lost a loved one, I went through a divorce”; don’t get bitter, it’s just a detour on the way to your destiny.  the palace is coming, the promise is on track, the dream will be fulfilled.  the scripture says: 

2 Corinthians 4:17 (KJV)

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment

you face opposition, things don’t go your way; recognize that it’s not permanent.  that’s not your final destination. quit worrying about things that are only temporary. like with Joseph, the pit is temporary, the injustice is temporary, the betrayal is not your permanent home; it’s a temporary stop. the Psalmist put it this way:

Psalm 84:6 (AMP)

6 Passing through the Valley of Weeping

it doesn’t say settling in the valley, getting stuck in the valley, building your house in the valley; the valley is temporary, you’re passing through it.  my challenge:  quit losing sleep over a temporary stop. quit being discouraged over something that’s only for a season; it’s not permanent. are you worried about things that are only temporary? letting something steal your joy because you think that’s the way it’s always going to be? your dream is not dead, it’s just not in season.  your time is coming, the right people, breaks, favor, restoration, vindication, that’s what’s headed your way.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (WEB)

17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory

in other words, the adversity is temporary; the glory is eternal. stir up what God’s put on the inside. you may have a dream that you’ve buried; you need to get your shovel out and start thanking God that it’s still coming to pass.  perhaps you’re on a detour right now, something you don’t understand; don’t get discouraged, it’s just temporary. you’re just passing through. it’s easy to remember the hurt, disappointment, failure; I’m asking you to remember your dream, what God’s promised you.  if you’ll do this, dreams that you buried are about to come back to life, promises that you’ve given up on are being resurrected. like with Joseph, God is going to turn every stumbling block into a stepping stone. you’re going to rise higher, accomplish your goals, and become everything you were created to be.

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