Don’t Give Up on Your DreamJuly 15th, 2013 by Rev. Ruel Camia
Posted under Worship
DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM
– I doubt that there is a person here today that doesn’t have a dream.
– It might be a dream of being a great leader, or of being successful in sports or business, it might be a dream of being the best mom in the world, or being at the top of your class in school.
– I don’t know what your dream is this morning, but whatever it is, I want you to keep it in mind as we study together this morning.
– And if your dream is a God-given dream, I want to encourage you today by demonstrating from Scripture that you should never give up on that dream.
– Today we’re going to look at the life of Joseph, a man who literally dreamed for God and attained those dreams in his lifetime.
– Joseph’s life covers 13 chapters of Genesis; so I’m going to attempt to summarize enough for you to get a handle on how God used an ordinary person to achieve great things, and then we can look at some specific verses that will help us better understand.
– When Joseph was 17 years old he had two dreams that showed he would become a great man and that all his brothers would bow down to him.
– His brothers became very jealous of him and one day while out in the fields, they sold Joseph into slavery to some merchants who in turn sold him to one of Pharoah’s officials in Egypt who was named Potiphar.
– Joseph’s brother lied to their father, leading him to believe that some wild animals had killed Joseph.
– Joseph found favor with Potiphar, the Egyptian who had purchased him, when he saw how successful Joseph was and that the Lord was with him at all times.
– So Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his entire household and God’s blessing came upon that household.
– Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and tried to seduce him – when Joseph refused she accused him of attempted rape and he was thrown into prison.
– While in prison he interpreted two dreams for some other prisoners.
– After two years he was called upon to interpret a dream for Pharaoh, the leader of the entire nation of Egypt .
– God interpreted the dream for Pharaoh, using Joseph as His vessel.
– Joseph told Pharaoh that Egypt would have 7 prosperous years followed by 7 years of famine.
– Joseph then gave Pharaoh a plan that would see Egypt through the years of famine with an abundance of crops – and Pharaoh named Joseph the most powerful leader in Egypt , second only to himself.
– In time, Joseph’s family back home were struck by the famine, and eventually Joseph’s brothers and father and their families all came to Egypt and bowed down to Joseph, just as he had dreamed so many years before.
– Now I don’t want you to get the wrong impression – the main reason for Joseph’s dream was not to get people to bow down to him – the main point to this historical account is that God will use the man or woman that is fully devoted to Him.
– You might not have been given a dream while you were sleeping, but perhaps God has instilled within you a dream, a vision, for your future.
– Joseph’s story should encourage each of us to not give up on our dream.
– Let’s look a little more in depth at Joseph’s story and see why we should never give up on our dream.
Don’t give up on your dream, even when…
1. People Are Opposed To It
– Let me throw the disclaimer in here that we need to know for sure this is a dream that is pleasing to God – and if it is, it doesn’t matter who tries to stop you, you need to move forward with it – you need to be tactful, loving, and all that, but you must continue to move forward.
– Did Joseph face opposition? You better believe it!
– Genesis 37:10 This time he told his father as well as his brothers, and his father rebuked him. “What do you mean?” his father asked. “Will your mother, your brothers, and I actually come down and bow before you?”
– Genesis 37:18-20 When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance and made plans to kill him. “Here comes that dreamer!” they exclaimed. “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into a deep pit. We can tell our father that a wild animal has eaten him. Then we’ll see what becomes of all his dreams!”
– Most people that will oppose your dreams don’t have any dreams themselves.
– You receive a vision from God for the future, and you have the faith to step out into whatever God has called you to do.
– The negative people around you will try to stop you, discourage you, and say negative things about you – if it’s from God, you must move on no matter who tries to stop you.
– When I cast a vision and someone is negative about it, one of the first things I do is evaluate what that person has accomplished for God in his/her own life.
– Usually there is nothing to speak of, and they assume that since they don’t have the faith to move out into the wilderness, that you shouldn’t either.
– Tell them, in as nice a way as possible, to hit the road and get out of your way – because you’re going places, whether they are or not.
2. You Experience Serious Setbacks
– Everyone that has ever accomplished anything for God has been knocked down plenty of times on the journey to fulfillment.
– In fact, if you never experience what most would consider failure, you’re not trying very hard.
– What setbacks did Joseph experience?
– First, his family rebuked him for the dream – then he was sold into slavery – he then found favor with Potiphar, his owner – he was then accused of attempted rape of Potiphar’s wife – next he was thrown into prison – then he was put in charge of the other prisoners – he interprets a dream for another prisoner who is supposed to help him once he gets out, but he forgets about Joseph for two years – then Joseph appears before Pharaoh and soon his dream is fulfilled.
– Joseph’s entire life was a series of setbacks, and then accomplishment.
– What about you? Are you letting some setbacks keep you from fulfilling your dream?
– Maybe you dream of being the best mother or father around, but you didn’t grow up in a healthy family environment – that’s a real setback, but it can be overcome.
– You need to recognize your setback for what it is, and then take the steps necessary to push forward – learn from others who are can be models for your dream.
– Maybe your dream requires a college education and it’s going to take you four years or more to get that out of the way – don’t let that stop you, recognize it for what it is, plan your steps, and conquer.
– Perhaps you have the call of God on your life to be a minister or missionary, and you have people trying to talk you out of it – move out in faith and watch God lead.
– Don’t look at setbacks in a negative way – recognize them as stepping-stones to accomplishment and you will see your dream fulfilled.
3. It Takes a Long Time to Realize It
– “Dreams are by nature, cursed with short life spans” – Candice Bergan
– It took Joseph over 20 years to see his dream fulfilled.
– Dreams are conceived long before they are achieved.
– The period between the birth of a dream and the realization of it is what we call the “process”.
– This period can be filled with doubts, adversity, surprises, changes, good days and bad days.
– Often during this time we’re faced with a dilemma, “Do I give up or go on?”
– As we run life’s race, Joseph shows us that the journey is always worth the cost, if the Lord is in it.
Joseph’s Words of Encouragement
– If we could talk to Joseph right now, I think that he would have at least three words of encouragement for us as we journey toward our dream.
1. God Will Always Be With You
– Joseph understood God’s presence in his life no matter what he was going through.
– When Joseph was sold to Potiphar the Bible tells us (Genesis 39:2), The LORD was with Joseph and blessed him greatly…
– After Joseph was accused of attempted rape and was thrown into prison we read (Genesis 39:23) The LORD was with him, making everything run smoothly and successfully.
– This statement, “The LORD was with Joseph” leaves us scratching our heads at the irony.
– From son to slave, from slave to convict – and yet “the LORD was with Joseph”?
– We might have expected this statement to apply to the good times in Joseph’s life, but the Bible states the truth even when the truth appears illogical.
– What is amazing is that after this point – after Joseph begins to prosper and is living out the dream, is that we don’t find this statement any more.
– It should strike us that Moses, the author of Genesis, doesn’t at this point accentuate the reality of God’s presence in his life.
– From son to slave, “The LORD was with Joseph” – from slave to prisoner, “The LORD was with Joseph” – from prisoner to Prime Minister – “Nothing”.
– What’s going on here? Could it be that we need the reminder during the hard times but that during the good times God’s presence appears self-evident?
– Is it possible that God is more active in our lives when we are hurting and need His presence?
– Could it be that in God’s hierarchy the good times are only the good times – but the bad times are the best times?
– When is the Lord with us? Always.
– When do we need to know that? Always – but like Joseph, we need to feel God’s presence most when circumstances hide Him from view.
– When it seems as though someone has sold you into slavery or thrown you into prison, remember when “the LORD was with Joseph” and why.
2. God Will Develop You During the Downtimes
– That is, God will develop you during the downtimes if you let him.
– You know that in 13 chapters that record Joseph’s story, and with all the garbage he had to put up with, I can’t find one single time when he complained about his circumstances.
– When Joseph was sold into slavery he took that time to develop himself into the best household servant Potiphar had.
– He didn’t whine because he was a slave, he set his sights on being the best slave there ever was.
– And that time of development would be used later in his life when he was given greater responsibility.
– When Joseph was thrown into prison he didn’t whine about it, he used that time to develop himself and was put in charge of the other prisoners.
– When Joseph was brought before Pharaoh and God interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, Joseph used the skills he had developed in the downtimes to explain to Pharaoh how he could overcome the dilemma of the famine.
– I know that this is one of the hardest lessons for us to learn, but we need to learn it – God will use some of the worst experiences of our lives to develop us so that when it is time for our dream to be fulfilled, we’ll be ready to take charge.
– Once I was going through a horrible season of ministry and was talking to a Baptist pastor friend on the phone – he said “Barry, maybe God will use this to prepare you for a greater calling in the future.”
– I prayed after getting off the phone – “Lord, if you want to use this experience to develop me, I accept that, but I think I’ve learned enough already!”
3. God Will Finish What He Has Started
– If your dream is a God given dream, God will complete it in your life.
– Many years after Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery, they came to him to beg for forgiveness – but Joseph had this to say (Genesis 50:20) “As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people.”
– Joseph could look back on his entire life and see that the whole time God was leading him toward the fulfillment of his dream.
– Even those things that were meant to hold him back, the many stumbling blocks thrown in his path, God was able to use to further His purpose.
– God never leaves His business unfinished, and if your dream is a part of God’s business, He will accomplish it in your life.
[- It was a fog-shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island.
– She intended to swim the channel from the Island to the California coast.
– Long distance swimming wasn’t new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.
– The water was numbing cold that day.
– The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party.
– Several times sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire.
– She swam more than fifteen hours before she asked to be taken out of the water.
– Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog.
– So she quit – only half a mile from her goal.
– Later she said, “I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land, I might have made it.”
– It wasn’t the cold or fear or exhaustion that caused Florence Chadwick to fail – it was the fog.
– Two months after her failure, Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same channel and swam the distance, setting a new speed record, because she could see the land.]
– I hope that you can see that the foundation for realizing your dream is found in God alone.
– Let Him take you, like He did Joseph, on the journey of a lifetime.