It Ain’t Over Yet!

Genesis 37: 5

Then Joseph had a dream.

When God gives you a dream, you have to hold on to it with both fists. In truth, when God speaks to us, or shows us a dream or a vision, we expect to see it begin to unfold immediately. Why does he give us a vision of our future or a promise of prosperity and a good life without immediately putting the plan into action? I think the answer goes back to Jeremiah 29: 11, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

The emphasis should be placed on the word, “hope.” Joseph had several dreams in which God communicated Joseph’s purpose. He saw himself being elevated above his brothers and even above his father. The dreams were clear and they encouraged and excited Joseph. You have had one of those dreams too, or a word from God. The very next thing that seems to happen is that you are flung down into a pit.

You know the story of Joseph. From the pit he went into slavery. However, the blessing was on him and he prospered his master. Although he found favor with his master, the next thing Joseph knows, he is in prison. From the pit, to slavery, to prison Joseph must have been wondering about the great promises from God. “Did God lie to me? Was He wrong? Have I done something wrong and frustrated the purpose of God in my life?” These are all the same questions we have asked when the vision from God looks nothing like our life.

The story of Joseph is good reading, but it is not in the Bible just to make a good Bible story. It is there to encourage us when our lives are in the pits. I am sure Joseph had his moments of doubt, but he hung onto the promise of God and believed despite his circumstances.

The facts don’t count. When we are in bondage, bowed down with the weight of life, we need to hold fast to the dream God has given us. There may be days of doubt, but we need to remind ourselves that God is not a man that He can lie. He will deliver us to the promised land. When you are feeling like life is the pits, and you wonder where God has gotten off to, remember Joseph. God fulfilled every dream and saved the nation of Israel through Joseph. He became the second most powerful man in Egypt behind Pharaoh. Not bad for a slave boy.

Don’t give up! The story isn’t over yet!

Sweet Dreams

Psalm 139: 17 – 18

How precious also are Your thoughts for me, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.

Check this out! David was having a grand encounter with God, in a dream. Then he awoke and God was still there with him. The dream and the reality were simpatico. They were contiguous. I had a dream like that once. When I awoke, I was still in the dream and it lasted quite a while.

David was aware of the tender thoughts God had about him. He was also surprised at the sheer volume of kind thoughts Yahweh thought about him. That is precious. God is thinking lovely thoughts about you too and He thinks masses of them daily. Think about that just a moment. All day long, your heavenly Father is thinking lovely thoughts about you. It is a constant flood of love thoughts. Were you to get in His head, you would find He is thinking how beautiful you are and how much He loves you and He thinks those things all day long.

That should give you something fun to ponder today. Moreover, when you go to sleep tonight, ask Father to share them with you as you sleep. I bet you will awaken tomorrow in a good mood. Be blessed.

Rewarded

Jeremiah 31: 16

Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord.

Have you ever labored in vain, or at least what seemed in vain? Are you spending time and energy right now that doesn’t seem to be bearing fruit for you? Well, God has a good word for you today. Your labor is not in vain. Your work will be rewarded.

I have to believe that God’s word is true and that as you sow, you shall reap. If you are sowing seeds with your effort, then God will produce a harvest. Right now, it may look like all hope is lost, that none appreciate the hard work you have been putting in. Maybe you have been working for a while now without the fruit of you labor showing. God is not a man that He should lie. Your seed must bear fruit. It is the way the universe was created. Maybe you don’t think your boss appreciates you or that anyone even notices how hard you have been working. Maybe not even your spouse knows about the sleepless nights you have had because of thinking about a project and how you can improve it. There is one, however, who sees all you have done, all you are doing. God is a witness to your hard work and dreams.

When God gives us a dream and a vision, we are propelled into a state which almost feels like a parallel dimension. We see so clearly what could be and throw the full force of our dreams and our energy into following God’s plan. We must pray and stay on His track. We must partner with Him, letting Him guide us. Then, no matter what happens, keep your faith in your vision and your God. Don’t be sidetracked by what mere men do. This is between you and Yahweh. Leave the results to him. Just focus your eyes on him and do all that is in your heart to do. Let the Lord, your God be your rewarder. He promises, “Your work will be rewarded.”

Banner of Love

Song of Solomon 2: 4

He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

Have you ever read the Song of Solomon? Would you believe that in the 2500 Word of the Day devotionals I have written, this is the first time I have chosen a passage from this book? Do you wonder why this is the first time? Me too! Well, frankly, it is a little bit of an awkward book. If you have read it you might have felt the same way. The book is a very intimate dialogue between two lovers. As you read it you may feel that you are violating the lovers’ privacy. I think there may be an additional and deeper reason this book disquiets some of us. As I said, it is very intimate and many of us are uncomfortable with intimacy. Ultimately, this underlies a hindrance we have in developing our relationship with the Father.

Let’s go one step further. Why do you suppose this book is in the Bible? Why did Father choose to include it? This book is a love letter from the Father to you, from Jesus to his bride. It is an expression of God’s deep, deep affection for you. Knowing that may make the book harder to read instead of easier. All of the expressions of adoration, affection and longing are the Father’s feelings towards you. He sees you as beautiful and flawless. Sometimes I wonder why He loves us so but reading this book moves you beyond denial.

As I said, many of us are uncomfortable with such outspoken endearments. We are challenged by such intimacy. It embarrasses us. Because intimate thoughts, feelings and expressions are awkward for us, we find it very arduous to allow our heavenly Father to express the intensity of his devotion to us. Subsequently, we never really develop a true love relationship with Him. Most of us just walk in some sort of religious construct with Him. We are lost somewhere between God and Father. We know He is more than a far removed deity and thus we move our thoughts towards relating to Him in a more personal manner. However, most of us cannot reach into our hearts and receive the relationship He has designed for us. We labor to believe we are worthy of His love and so we stretch our minds to a picture of us in a close, personal relationship with Him. We reach longingly but reluctantly for the love our hearts crave. Here is where we enter into limbo. We are caught between service to our God and loving our intimate friend. Should we dare engage with this book of Solomon then we are forced to see ourselves so beloved that we shy away like a spooked horse.

In July of 2005 Yahweh interrupted my life with what I call a prophetic dream. This dream was clearly the Father speaking to me. I now find it interesting to note the topic of this dream. If God is going to completely arrest your life for a day what would you expect Him to want to show you or talk with you about. I would think perhaps His plan for our lives or a new calling on your life. Interestingly, He used that whole dream, which was pages long when I wrote it out, to show me how I resist intimacy with Him. All I wanted to do was serve Him but He wanted to bless and honor me. In the dream, I couldn’t and wouldn’t let Him. He commandeered my sleep to communicate with me because I could not hear Him in my waking life. This message was so important to Him that He insinuated Himself into my dream so we could connect on a level which I was consistently foreclosing to Him. Now He wants to speak to you.

He has brought you to His banquet hall so He can honor you. The sign hanging above the head table has your name on it and the message is love. You have been designated as the one He loves. What will you do with His outpouring of affection? What will you say in return? Will you receive the adoration from His heart? I hope so.