Dreams and aspirations . . . we all have them or had them. As kids, we come with a built in sense of destiny and nothing is out of reach . . . I’m gonna be president, a fireman, a ballerina an astronaut. Notice how its all high an nobel, when was the last time you met a kid who said, “I want to be a bank robber when I grow up . . . that’s my dream.”
My dream as a kid was to be the first woman Supreme Court Justice. My passion was to make wrongs right.
But for many of us, somehow these high and nobel dreams have drifted into a permanent dream state instead of becoming living realities in our lives.
God did not create us just to dream . . . but to live. He did not create us to be wallflowers, He created us to be dancers. God did not create us to be spectators, He created us to be world changers. So, how do you get your dreams from concept to reality?
By definition, a dream is a strong desire to do something high or great. In contrast, the opposite of a dream or aspiration is aimlessness. Without a dream, we become aimless. Without aim or purpose. You know the old saying, if you aim a nothing, you’ll hit it every time. But God says . . .
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
My goal here is to try to encourage and challenge you to pursue the dreams that are in your heart, and if your dreams are all but dead to stir those embers into a fire. Because your dreams do not just impact you, they impact others.
It’s said that encouragement is the oxygen of the soul. My hope is to give you oxygen. Here is Key #1 of this three part series from the life of Joseph that just may help.
1. Don’t let your past determine your future.
The story of Joseph starts to unfold in Genesis 37. Here’s the 411. Joseph is the son of the Bible Patriarch Jacob. Jacob had just spent 20 years in Haran where 11 of his boys were born. He had 4 wives Leah, Rachel – who had died giving birth to Jacob’s 12th son Benjamin on the way back from Haran – Bilhah and Zilpah who were originally Leah’s and Rachel’s handmaids. It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to see that Joseph’s blended family is dysfunctional to the max. First off, there is Dad who tried to bring God’s plan into his life by lying, cheating, and conniving. A trait he had passed on to most of his boys not to mention some serious moral flaws and fopaus. To make matters worse Jacob showed blatant favor to Joseph, Rachel’s boy by giving him a coat that many scholars believe made him boss of his older brothers, something that just didn’t happen in Jewish culture. Talk about family tension! So, it is not surprising that his brothers hated him and made no attempt to hide it.
Here’s an interesting side note: the brothers couldn’t say a kind thing about him, and yet Joseph is one 3 or 4 characters in the entire Bible, one of them being Jesus, that not one negative thing is said about. In fact, Joseph is actually a type and shadow of Jesus.
As our story continues, Joseph has a dream. He dreams that he and his brothers were out in a field tying up bundles of grain and suddenly his bundle stands up and all the brothers bundles gather round him and bow low before him. So what does the brilliant 17 year old Joseph do? . . . He goes and tells his brothers. This was like throwing gas on a fire.
Here’s what we can glean from this:
It’s not always wise to tell everything you know! Some things are better kept between you and God. Not the millions of people on facebook.
Second, not everyone is going to be excited about your dream. In fact, the odds are that more people will try to discourage you from achieving your dream than will believe in your dream and help you achieve it. Some will even try to sabotage your dream.
On with the story. Then, if things weren’t already bad enough, he has another dream this time the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed low before me. So has Joseph wised up? No . . . this time he not only tells his brothers, but his dad as well. His dad gets on his case “What kind of dream is that? Will your mother and I and your brothers all bow down to the ground before you?”
The word goes on to say while his brothers were filled with jealousy, Jacob ponder what it could mean.
Soon after this, Joseph gets sent to check on his brothers who are watching the sheep. This was not out in the backyard, this was about a 70 mile trek by foot. Joseph’s brothers see him coming from a ways off and say, “Let’s kill this dreamer. Then we’ll see what will become of his dreams.” So they devise this plot to kill him and throw his body into a cistern and tell their Father he was eaten by a wild animal.
Luckily, his brother Reuben intervenes and says, “Hey, let’s not kill him . . . why have his blood on our hands, we’ll just throw him in the empty cistern, then he’ll die without us having to do it.” And all the brothers thought it was a great idea.
Then they do what any rational thinking group of people would do, they cook dinner like nothing happened. At this point in the story, there is nothing recorded about Joseph’s reaction to all this, but in Genesis Chapter 42:21 some 22 or so years later, we’re privy to a conversation the brothers have after they have come to Egypt to get grain and are accused of being spies.
“Speaking among themselves, they said, “This has all happened because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his terror and anguish and heard his pleadings, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why this trouble has come upon us.” Genesis 42:21
So we see that Joseph must have been terrified and begged and pleaded for his life and they heartlessly ignored his pleas. We also see that 22 years later they are still plagued by the guilt of what they did. 22 years later they are still held captive by sin.
The good new is, Joseph does get out of the well. The bad news is the brothers sell him as a slave to a caravan on its way to Egypt.
Let’s stop here in our story and go back to the point we were trying to make: Don’t let you past determine your future.
Would you agree that if anyone qualifies as a victim, and has the right to play the blame game it would have been Joseph? Later, you’ll find out that this is not how he chose to handle it. But the truth is, No one can keep you from your God-given destiny . . . but you. Others can’t keep you from your dreams. We are the keeper of our dreams. No one can limit you, except you . . . its a choice.
You can choose to be a victim and remain a spectator for your entire life, or you can get up and make the world your dance floor. Your past can’t stop God’s plan, your circumstances can’t stop God’s plan, your education, age, or your color; you are the only one who has that power.
While God did not cause all those awful things his family did to Joseph, it was playing right into God’s plan. God got him right on the trade route to Egypt exactly where he needed to be to complete his assignment.
end part 1