God's truth for today's world

We’re in a message series called “Keep Your Dream Alive.” In this series, we’re looking at the life of Joseph to learn how to keep God’s dream for our life alive. At the age of seventeen, God gave Joseph two dreams about the trajectory of his life. Those dreams were challenged at every turn. Yet finally, today, we’re going to learn how the dreams were fulfilled in an amazing fashion, 13 years later.

Today, my message is entitled “Strategic Planning for Dreams.” What if the difference between a plan and a dream? Let’s start off with a dream. A dream or vision is a goal from God that is given to you, often in a supernatural manner. Joseph had literal dreams as he slept where God showed him his future. Others in the Bible and since have had visions from God when awake. Others have heard God speak to them and sensed the voice of His Spirit. A dream from God is not something that comes from you, it comes from God.

A plan on the other hand, is a course of action to bring your dream into reality. A plan is a blueprint to live out the details of God’s dream for your life. I believe that plans are created by using your mind, anointed by God, to determine the steps necessary in living out God’s dream for your life. A dream without a plan will never be completely fulfilled. A plan without a dream will lead nowhere. But a dream with a plan will produce great results for God.

Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)  In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Some read this verse to mean that we should never plan, everything that happens is pre-determined by God. That’s a fatalistic view and not supported by the rest of the Bible. What this verse shows is that God’s dream and determination of the steps of your life, must be coupled with a man making plans for his life. Both a dream and a plan are required for success in life. Some people think they have dreams from God, but without a plan, it’s not clear that the dream was indeed from God. More people make all kinds of plans, but leave God and His dream for their lives out of it.

James 4:13-15 (NIV)  Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

Here we see planning without considering God’s will and dream. Our planning must fit in with God’s dream and vision in order to find success in life for God. Success comes from using your mind in cooperation with God make the plans that will cause God’s dream to be fulfilled in your life.

So, let’s briefly review the story of Joseph. Joseph’s dreams from God showing him rising to a position of great leadership. Yet, Joseph would spend years as a slave in Egypt, then be falsely accused and put into prison. Finally, through God’s intervention, Joseph interprets the Pharaoh’s dreams which speak of 7 coming years of abundance followed by 7 years of famine. That’s where we pick up our story today in Genesis 41.

Hearing From God (Genesis 40:1-41:32)
Learning Forgiveness (Genesis 45:1-15)
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