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Posts Tagged ‘Dreams’

 

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Have you heard or read such statements as these?

  • Dream big! With God you can go as far as you can think or imagine.
  • Faith may not make things easy; but it does make them possible.
  • When God makes a promise he also makes a provision.

All three statements are valid IF the promises we’ve embraced coincide with God’s plan. If not, God may not be making that dream come true, or turning the unimaginable into possible, or making provision for a particular fulfillment.

That means the perfect wife or husband may not show up, the perfect job may not open up, the perfect family may not be delivered up, and the perfect ministry opportunity (in our view) may not match up with those making the choices.

What do we do when our dreams seem to be fading away like vapor?

 

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We need to remember:

 

  1. God is not limited to our timeframe.

 

We know that, right?  Sometimes God requires a waiting period before making our dreams reality. The dream will be fulfilled—but in his time.  Scripture is full of examples of those who had to wait; we’ve considered them before:  Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David—to name a few.

Eventually their dreams came true.  Abraham became a father, Jacob was blessed with twelve sons, Joseph  became prime minister of Egypt, and David, the king of Israel.

However, we’d be wise to hold onto our dreams with a light grip, as these same four patriarchs demonstrate:

  • Abraham saw the birth of only one son of promise, not exactly the nation God foretold.
  • The full extent of blessing promised to Jacob was not fulfilled until the birth of Jesus.
  • David dreamed of erecting a temple for God, and though he collected an impressive store of materials, the privilege of building went to his son, Solomon.

 

SolomonTempleCropped2

 

Perhaps, like these Bible heroes, God has chosen to fulfill our dreams after we’re gone.

I have to decide: Will I balk at such a reality or embrace it?

 

  1. Maybe my heart is set on the wrong dream—even though it seems right and worthwhile.

God may desire that I set aside my Plan A and take hold of his Plan B. Oh, but that sounds like settling, doesn’t it? Not at all. God’s plan is never second best. It’s always better (Hebrews 11:39-40)!

Also important to understand: God may have chosen me to be a foundation-builder—part of the preparation process. Someone else will be the presentation. John the Baptist is a perfect example, as he prepared the way for Jesus.

 

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Foundation builders serve as mentors, planners, and seed planters. Again, will I balk at such a reality or embrace it?

 

  1. We can be “certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

That includes this truth: When we do not see one promise (or more) being fulfilled, we can be certain other promises are. God is loving and good. Always. He will demonstrate his grace and compassion–no matter what.

Part of God’s goodness prompts him to foster within us: a) a deeper relationship with him (Jeremiah 33:3); b) greater obedience to his all-wise ways (Hebrews 12:7-11, 14), and c) greater spiritual strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Once we begin to realize the benefit of these blessings, other desires will fade in importance.

(Note to self: When my appreciation for spiritual blessings overrides my celebration of material and circumstantial blessings, I’ll know that the maturity James talked about is taking root.)

 

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I praise you, oh God, for your omnipotent ability to supply, guide, sustain, change, correct, and improve–in your time, for your good purpose. Help me to rely upon your love and wisdom to choose what’s best for me, and your power to live in godly ways for your glory. That is the way to a fulfilling, satisfying life!

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.twitter.com; http://www.youtube.com; http://www.saltlakebiblecollege.org; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.knowing-jesus.com.)

 

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The Bible contains over 2,300 promises, all proclaiming God’s blessings upon us—blessings of provision, protection, and guidance.

And God is faithful. He never breaks a promise (Psalm 145:13b), he doesn’t lie or change his mind (Numbers 23:19), and everything he does is motivated out of love (Romans 8:32). What comforting news in an unsettling world!

But here’s my dilemma. Which promises apply to me, right now, in the circumstances I face? I don’t want to assume; I want to be realistic.

For example, is it reasonable to expect the promise of Psalm 91:9 to be in effect in every situation?

“If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.”

There have been godly men and women who most certainly made God their dwelling. They lived on that elevated plane of God’s presence. And yet they suffered dire circumstances—disease, famine, persecution, poverty, and more. From our finite, shortsighted viewpoint, it appears unfair. And dare I say it? It would seem God was not faithful, or at the very least he did change his mind.

And therein lies the pitfall of promises—not in the vows themselves, but in our thinking. It’s a pitfall of misunderstanding. We look at promises with blinders on, envisioning only the lovely, glowing fulfillment of our dreams, our desires.

We read, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4), and our thoughts head horizontally toward things, human relationships, healings, and accomplishments. Of course, many of those desires are right and good. God may very well grant them. But should I count on those blessings as “good as done” because of this scriptural promise? I hesitate.

It may be that God’s desires for me are on the vertical plane between heaven and earth—to dwell in his presence, reflect his light, and bear fruit to his glory. Those divine delights certainly supersede the earthly variety.

If we take off the blinders that focus attention on ourselves, we’ll widen our view. We’ll glimpse the possibilities of God’s desires for us, which would include the best fulfillment of his promises. Granted, visibility will be unclear, because our finite vision of godly matters is so limited.

But at least the view will be wide, not narrow. Wide = accepting of God’s way to fulfill his promises in my life. Narrow = claiming a promise, and expecting my desires to be fulfilled.

My choice? Jeremiah expressed it first. He was talking to the people of Judah, but these words would certainly be appropriate to address to God:

“As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right” (Jeremiah 26:14).

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Hope.  Such a small word for such a big, important concept.

Multi-syllable synonyms seem to carry more clout:  expectation, assurance, confidence, conviction, and assumption are a few.  (Thank you, Dr. Roget.)

Stir them together to create a definition for faith-filled hope:  the constant, confident, assured expectation that God will see us through every circumstance until we’re standing before him in heaven.  Those are words with heft that we can hang onto in the dark of night.

 

Moonlight

 

You see, hope is much more than wishful thinking.

But sometimes it hides behind the overwhelming issues we face:  health concerns, financial problems, troubled relationships, difficult circumstances, foreboding futures.

 

Grief

 

How can we live with confident assurance that all will be well when uncertainty seems to rule the day, the week, the year?

As always, scripture offers us insight:

  • Understand that hope doesn’t come from a hidden reservoir within ourselves.  According to 1 Peter 1:3, our hope comes from God, provided for us out of his loving mercy.  It’s a living hope, breathing energy and strength into our souls.
  •  Remember:  we can live with positive expectation because He is our all-powerful, grace-filled God—loving, kind, and wise, too.  He’s not just watching from afar; he’s an involved God, tending over us like an attentive Shepherd (Isaiah 40:11a).
  • Rest assured that our faithful God will see us through to a satisfying conclusion—either through events that unfold over time, or perhaps through an instantaneous miracle.  It may be the satisfying conclusion will not come until we cross the threshold into eternity (1 Peter 5:10).  But then, in the glorious ecstasy of that moment, our earthly trials will no longer matter (Philippians 1:21-23).
  • God’s plan is designed for our good (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • Hope involves waiting (Micah 7:7)—expectantly and patiently.

Sometime during second grade I noticed that being a teacher looked like fun.  And soon  my favorite pastime became playing school with whomever I could cajole into being students.  When necessary, dolls were pressed into service.

That dream of becoming a teacher stayed with me all through school.  Finally, after fourteen years, I was the one standing in front of my own class of cherubic first and second graders.  My hope, my confident expectation that I would one day be a teacher, had at long last become reality.  And the import of the moment was not lost on me.  My eyes filled with tears that I had to quickly blink away.

happy adjustment to school: Talking With Your ...

 

Such euphoric joy does not happen often without waiting.  We appreciate more what we have to wait for.  And frequently, hard work is also involved.  God allows us to be part of the process, teaching us important lessons about patience and perseverance along the way.

Here’s what I need to remember, and perhaps the realization will help you too:

Long-term waiting and steady, hard work toward a dream makes the fulfillment all the sweeter when it finally comes.

For now, we can enjoy hopeful anticipation of a new reality that is coming—a new chapter of good health, financial security, improved relationships, or fulfilled dreams.  We can take comfort from the knowledge that our God, who is unlimited by the constraints of time, already resides there.

Let’s step out into each new day with trust and obedience, because God is preparing us for that new chapter.  And may these words ring in our ears:  “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25).

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What hope have you been clinging to?  Are there scriptures which contribute to your confidence and expectation?  What experiences of the past give you assurance for your hopes of the future?  Please share your insights!

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dramatic dream

 

As the new year makes its entrance, a fresh breeze of possibilities and dreams fills the mind:

• Perhaps this year…

• Wouldn’t it be wonderful if…

• All things are possible with God, so…

But no sooner do I start finishing those statements with starry-eyed optimism, than some scratchy, irritating thoughts demand my attention.  Thoughts such as:

• You’re too old, terribly unworthy, and under-qualified.

• You’ve already waited so long. Your dream obviously isn’t God’s dream for you. How could you have missed it so completely?

• You are wasting your time. You don’t even know what God wants. HA!

And my heart cries out: I need your Word, God, your Sword of the Spirit, to slay these lies. And though I am grateful for familiar sword-strokes such as Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, and Philippians 4:13, to wield against the untruths listed above, a few new moves would surely strengthen my resolve. “Strengthen me according to your word” (Psalm 119:28b).

Alright, Nancy, let’s look at each statement from my viewpoint.

You are too old? Not so. Moses was eighty when he became the leader of the Hebrew nation, bringing them out of Egypt and into Canaan. Daniel served as prime minister in Babylon well past the age of eighty. John was quite elderly when he received the Revelation. Age has nothing to do with usefulness.

You are unworthy? Also not so. You are one of My chosen people, a royal priestess, who belongs to me, the King of the universe (1 Peter 2:9a). You are precious and honored in my sight because I love you (Isaiah 43:4).

You are under-qualified? All the better for my purposes! My G.R.A.C.E. (God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense) includes wisdom, power, strength, discernment, all spiritual gifts, all fruit of the Spirit, ad infinitum. My grace is more than sufficient for you; it’s all you need. “My strength comes into its own in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, The Message).

You have waited too long? Think again. Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac. Joseph waited seventeen years for his dream to come true. Caleb waited 45 years for his special parcel of the Promised Land.

You are wasting your time? Please refer to Ephesians 1:11. You have been chosen. I have put into place a plan that will accomplish my will. Your singular purpose is to display my glory, that is, my attributes: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, and more. Wherever you are. ..“whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23).

One closing thought to keep in mind: Joseph would never have been an effective leader without training in humility and trust. Rest assured there is method and reason to every choice I make. I AM the almighty, all-wise God, your Heavenly Father.

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