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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dreams from God

I must admit that I have never had a dream that I could say was a divine revelation from God of what He wanted me to do or what He wanted me to be. That doesn't mean they didn't happen nor does it mean that they don't happen. It just means God has not spoken to me in this type of dream.

I remember hearing a lady speak of a vision she had of her family's ministry. This vision was an allegory of Satan attacking what they were doing. Satan was placing a cloud around them but the Holy Spirit was piercing the clouds to bring them what they needed just as they needed it. I thought, "What a bunch of balony!" Then, I had a "vision" within a couple of weeks.

This vision was one of understanding what was going on in the church I served at that time. I saw the people as children who were completely out of control. I was telling them to stop acting like they were and they were responding to me, "Who are you to tell us what to do?" I knew that their actions came from immaturity and the failure to recognize any authority. I understood what was happening through this explanatory vision.

So, I do not deny that a God-given dream can come from either a trance-like state or from sleep. I just know that this has not been God's method of speaking to me.

This does not mean that God fails to give us His plans. I have learned some things about those plans as I have served in the ministry. This learning came at a great cost to me. It came because I abandoned my plans for His plans. This is what I have learned. I call them dreams even though they have come to me in a more conventional way.

Your dream cannot be like someone else's dream. You can't dream to be like Billy Graham. You can't dream to be like Albert Einstein. Your dream is your dream. You will not be like anyone else. Your God-given plans (dreams) will be especially for you.

Your dreams will take into account your gifts and talents but will not be limited by them. God uses us to the fullness of what He desires. He takes into account how He has created us, but He is not limited by it.

Your dreams cannot be measured by any method on earth. You cannot look at what you have accomplished and say it is more or less than anyone else's work. You may have only led ten people to the Lord but those ten have influenced thousands of others. You may have only discipled twelve people in your ministry but they may have turned the world upside down.

Dreams do not come because we ask for them but because we are ready for them. Joseph received a dream thirteen years before he would start to see it accomplished. His dream didn't actually come to fruition for twenty-two to twenty-three years. He was ready for the dream because there were things that had to happen in order to fulfill God's plans. Joseph had to get to Egypt. He had to be brought before Pharoah. He had to establish himself as one who had the authority for his father and brothers to bow before him. His brothers could not recognize him if they were to come to Egypt. All of his hardship and triumph required that he start down the journey soon after receiving his dream. He didn't see it accomplished for a long time but the dream had to at that time to do what it was supposed to do.

I wrote in my prayer journal in March 1987 that God had called me to become a senior pastor of a church. I believed He would bring it about. In June 1995 a church in Houston called me to become their senior pastor. I absolutely needed those eight years and three months to be prepared for my dream to be fulfilled. I prayed each day and night without much exception that God would fulfill my dream. God didn't give it to me because I asked for it but because I was ready.

Dreams are not given to us to make us feel big. They will make us feel small if they are God-given. They will make us realize that we desperately need His wisdom and power to do something as big as the dream He gives us. It makes us humble. It forces us to walk daily with Him. Standing next to Him always makes me feel small.

Our obedience to His dream will not determine whether or not He loves us but it will determine whether or not we love Him. Love, not self accomplishment or approval, is the only true reason for doing as God says.

God has dreams for everyone but many refuse to listen. They can't hear because of the noise in their lives.

God has a dream for you.

Genesis 37:5a (NIV)  
5  Joseph had a dream,

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