Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
Everyone starts off in life with great enthusiasm and expectations for the future. People have dreams and set goals to reach their destiny. But quite often life can often bring circumstances that can come against us. Sometimes when we are heading towards a goal, failure can often blow up the flame of our life. How is your dream today? Are you advancing to your goal or are you stagnant and dreams shattered?
Dr. Abdul Kalam “You have to dream before your dreams come true.”
Today I want to exhort to you to attempt great things in life.
Dictionary – Dream is an achievement that is longed for.
John Maxwell ‘“A dream is an inspiring picture of the future that energises your mind, will and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it.”
Let’s take a look at the life of Caleb to help us realize how we can see all of our dreams and desires become a reality.
Brief Background: Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt en route the Promised Land. Canaan had been their dream for centuries. Just 13 months into the journey here they are standing across the Promised Land. The Lord spoke to Moses, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan.” Out of the 12 spies who went, 10 came back with a negative feedback; but Joshua and Caleb gave positive reports. Soon the negativity spread and people rebelled against Moses. They did not want to possess their dream just because of fear.
What we find here is that God had a vision for the Israelites. God promised them Canaan and brought them all the way near it, but they were not passionate enough to possess it. God said: Numbers 14:30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
They got discouraged midway and God told them that they would have to wander for 40 years, until every man of Israel who had voted in fear had died in the wilderness. At the end of those 40 years only Moses, Joshua, & Caleb were left from the older generation of men. However when God told them again that it was time to go in and take the Promised Land, this younger generation was ready to do it.
Yes, the giants had so frightened their fathers, but this time they obeyed God, and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. God gave them victory after victory and within 5 years the majority of the Promised Land was theirs but there were other areas still occupied by the enemies. However, there was enough land for the people to share and settle down.
That meant that some tribes still had to contend with enemies in their own region. Now, it is at this point, as the 12 tribes are dividing up the land that we come upon the 2nd part of the story of Caleb’s life, as recorded in Joshua 14.
Joshua 14:10-12 10“Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”
Caleb was a dreamer, wasn’t he? For 45 years Caleb had been dreaming of this land that God promised to him. So now, 85 years old, he steps up & says, “I want what God has promised me. See that hill country? I want it.” He had dreamed about it, & now it was time for his dream to come true and he was willing to chase after it.
Illustration: A study was made of 200 people that were “very successful.” It was discovered that all 200 had one common denominator: each had dared to dream big dreams & set goals, & reach out to achieve those goals.
Basketball superstar Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. However, he didn’t give up. He practiced and committed to shooting 300 baskets a day, and his dream became a reality.
Rudyard Kipling received the following rejection letter: “I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”
When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2,000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000 step process.”
Maybe we need to dream, too. As a congregation we need to see the greatness of our potential, & the possibilities that God sets before us. As an individual you need to dream to grow wherever God has placed you. Dream about your career or business, family, dream about your ministry. Little dreams lead to little service, but big dreams lead to big service and great results.
If we look more closely at this scripture there are at least 4 lessons that we can learn from Caleb this morning.
1. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO DREAM.
Joshua 14:10 “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old!
Now usually by age 85 most people are often preoccupied with dying. They’re not usually thinking about starting out on some new adventure, right? But Caleb teaches us that we are never too old to dream, & I like that.
Illustration: George Foreman, the former heavyweight boxing champion turned out to be a preacher. As a pastor at age 42, he came out of retirement to box once again in order to support his ministry. Foreman said, “I decided to go back & challenge the present heavyweight champion because I needed the money to build more recreation centres for young boys & get them off the streets & out of trouble.”
Evander Holyfield, the then heavyweight champion was 28 years old & 215 pounds of solid muscle. George Foreman was 42 and was overweight, 257 pounds. Boxing experts said that he didn’t stand a chance, he would not last more than 2 or 3 rounds against Evander.
But on that Friday night Foreman stepped into the ring with a dream. And when the bell rang at the end of the 12th round, he was still on his feet, 42 years old giving his best. But as the 2 fighters embraced at the end of the fight, the crowd in the arena stood up & gave them a standing ovation in appreciation of both boxers & the battle they had waged.
I like what Foreman said afterwards when he was being interviewed. He said, “I lost the fight, but…as long as you’re alive you can dream.” He’s saying, “You’re never too old to dream.”
Now if you are never too old to dream, you’re never too young to dream, either. Whether you’re 10 or 15 or 20 you can have a dream for your life.
I do not know how many of you are sitting here with shattered dreams and experience of failures. I have good news for you, you can still dream. If you failed in the past does not mean that your dreams will not come true, if you are old does not mean that you cannot dream. As long as God is on our side, no barrier can stop a dreamer.
2. DREAM IN HARMONY WITH GOD’S WILL.
God will help us accomplish our dreams only if it is in line with God’s will. Joshua 14:12 Now give me this . You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”
Joshua’s dream was based on God’s promise. Listen, not every dream is from God. Sometimes we can have selfish, godless dreams. But when your dream God’s dream, it’s unstoppable. Every person must come to Jesus for his or her dream to make sense. Without Jesus, you might pursue a dream that God never wanted in your life. The question is: How do I know which dreams in my heart are from God?
You know it is God’s dream for you if:
a. It is bigger than you.
Is your dream beyond your capacity where you need God’s help for its fulfilment? Is it is too difficult for you to handle? Your dream should be so big that it takes your breath away and makes you cry out to God for help and guidance. That is where God chips in and makes it a reality.
Joseph dreamed symbolically that his brothers and parents are bowing to him. Joseph is the second youngest in the household and in reality it was impossible without God’s intervention. Joseph trusted God and his dream was fulfilled.
b. You can’t let it go.
Does your dream keep bothering you? God-given dream is a bothersome thing: it won’t leave you alone! It keeps bobbing to the surface of your heart calling for your mind’s attention. You speak about it always. If that’s how your dream behaves, then it is probably from God.
Coming back to Joseph, once he had the dream he could not let it go. He talked about it to whomever he found. The dream became a part of his life. I believe it was the dream that kept him going through all stages of life.
c. It meets a need nobody else has met.
Your dream must be to build on a human need. If you are dreaming to become the CEO of a company for higher salary and benefits, that is not a Godly dream. But if you want to become the CEO for bringing a change to the lives of people, to root out injustice and corruption, it can be a genuine dream from God’s heart.
The question you need to ask is: Will it help people? Improve lives? Alleviate human suffering. If so, you can be sure that dream is from God. God will enable you for that.
d. It brings glory to God.
Does the fulfilment of your dream in anyway bring glory to God? Is God the number one reason you are chasing after that dream. That dream is birthed in the heart of God.
These are just indicators for you but once you know that your dreams are in the will of God then:
3. CHASE YOUR DREAM.
God never drops dreams in your laps and says, “Here they are.” Even if our dream is from the Lord, there can be opposition, we need to chase after it.
Ecclesiastes 5:3 KJV For a dream cometh through multitude of business. Be willing to fight for it, take risk for it. That is why many people abort their dreams before they reach full term. Caleb, at age 85, 45 years later says: Joshua 14:11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.
Caleb realizes that even though this land has been promised him by God, the only way for him to get the land is by going to battle. There were giants that had to be driven out. God wasn’t going to hand him the land on a silver platter. Caleb was going to have to fight for it.
That is true of our dreams, too. If we dare to dream a big dream, never think that God is just going to drop it in our laps. We must work for it, roll up our sleeves, & sweat & strain for it. We must be willing to do things that we never thought we could do in order to accomplish our dreams. And there will always be giants before us.
a. Giant of opposition.
Every time you try something new there will be those who will criticize what you’re doing. Every time you explore new fields, someone is going to say, “It won’t work. You’re foolish even to try.” You face criticism today, understand you have a dream.
b. Giant of failure.
Whenever you plan to do something, & it is new territory for you, be ready for failure because we all fail at times. Maybe we made a mistake, or we overlooked something and failed but then try again. Proverbs 24:16 The righteous fall seven times, yet they rise again.
c. Giant of laziness.
Most people never realize their potential because they’re too lazy. They do not work hard. You see, it’s much easier just to sit & be content but hard work leads to success. Do whatever you do with utmost dedication and commitment. Even though you do not get the recognition keep doing the best and you see how you inch closer to your dream. Proverbs 10:4 He who has slack hands become poor, but the hand of a diligent man brings wealth.
These are many giants, big giants in the land. But Caleb said, “Bring on the giants! I’m ready for them.” And if you want the land, the giants must be evicted.
4. TRUST GOD IN DELAYS.
Too many people quit half way through their dreams. When there is a delay, when you see a roadblock; trust God who gave you that dream. Stay in faith even when it is difficult. Keep doing the right things even when the wrong things happen. You must have that rest that God is in control over your life. Hebrews 4:3 Now we who have believed enter that rest.
Illustration: I heard the real story of a man who applied for a high position in a big company. His church was praying and he got selected in the interview. Weeks later they called him for another interview. He was so excited that his dream job is coming but in the second interview they said that he was overqualified for that job. His dreams were shattered. He dreamt about this position for long. He prayed about it but it did not materialize. He went back and started working in the previous company all bitter and unsatisfied. Two months later as he was reading newspaper the saw the news of the same company he applied for job had gone bankrupt and closed down. Had he joined that company he would have been jobless but he just got a promotion in the present place.
You got to trust God even when you do not get the answer that you are looking for when chasing your dreams. When you do not see the dream in the natural, keep trusting God. God knows what he is doing. God has the right season of favour for your dream.
Illustration: In the initial days of our ministry we used to minister among the college students. We know of a sister who loved a boy. She would tell me to pray over that issue. She somehow wanted to get married to him. Things were going fine but one day he walked out of her. She was devastated and bitter. She kept praying and fasting that he would come back to her but it never happened. Years passed by and one day I get a call from this sister all the way from North India. She said she was happily married to a different man and thanked us for standing through those times. She said, “Thank God the previous relationship did not work out because he was not a good man. She said he just married and is divorced.”
Maybe you are single and all your friends are married, trust God in the delays. Maybe your plans are not working out trust God in your delays. We get so upset over our delays when chasing a dream. When God did not answer that prayer, when the situation did not change, when the door closed; God knows exactly what he is doing. God has already laid down the plan of your life. He knows your dreams and he knows when to fulfil your dreams. If you give up now, it is all over.
God has a big dream about our life. This morning I want to encourage you to dream big. You are not too old to dream. Dream based on God’s will in your life. Chase your dream even when you fail. Just because things are not working out does not mean that our destiny is not going to come to pass. Make up your mind not to be frustrated because things are not working out. Our attitude should be, “Lord I trust you. I know you are in absolute control. I may not like this situation but I am not going to give up. I still pursue my dreams.”