<<imaginings, ideas>>

Technically dreams occur during sleep while visions happen when a person is awake.

In a natural dream the sleeper ‘sees’ a series of images that in some way relate to the activities of every day events (Eccl 5:3). These are normal for humans to experience, and are outside the control of the dreamer whose mind can be just reliving daily happenings in a totally liberated way without any boundaries or impossibilities. They seldom have any spiritual significance.

However, there are several accounts of divinely sent messages from God being communicated to the sleeper (Gen 20:3,6;  Dan 2:3). These were prophetic in substance, some were easily understood, others required a divine interpretation (Gen 37:5-10, 40:8, 41:1-32; Dan 2:27,28, 4:5-27). Matthew records five dreams, four of them given to Joseph the earthly father of Jesus, who responded appropriately as each related to the birth and safety of Jesus (Mt 1:20-24, 2:12,13,19,22). Consider the consequences if they had not been acted on.

The Lord appeared to King Solomon in a dream and invited him to ask for anything he wanted and it would be given him.  Solomon asked for wisdom to govern and the ability to know right from wrong.  The gifting of God as requested, even in a dream, became reality (1 Kgs 3:5-15, 4:29-34).  This indicates the importance of meditating and thinking correctly (Ps 19:14). Our heart (the real us) is to be guarded so its motives are God honouring and our mind renewed, enabling us to differentiate the various thoughts and illuminations we receive, clearly determining what is the will of God – if He is birthing something in our heart, as opposed to a fabrication of our desires (Prov 4:23; Rom 12:2).

Today, while a few night-time dreams can have specific meaning and relevance we should not put as much emphasis on this form of guidance as was the case in the OT when they did not have the complete Bible to instruct and the Holy Spirit did not indwell people. Never act on the impression of any dream or vision without other confirming guidance.

Day dreams, aspirations, divine assignments

Unrealistic fantasy or daydreams are an escape mechanism where we are the focus of attention with everything catering to our selfish desires. These should not be entertained. Discern between them and God-given assignments that are conscious desires, longings or aspirations in which we are just a player to bring about blessing to many people with God receiving the glory, not man; and where the personal benefit derived is a by-product, not the sole focus. As we increasingly come to know God, the giver of ‘dreams’, an ‘idea’, or being touched by a need, is often the starting point of God’s call on our life, developing into an awareness of the specific destiny or spiritual ministry He has for us (Num 12:6-8; Ps 103:7; Phil 3:12).

The natural human mind is a complex organ capable of producing solutions to problems you have been mulling over in your mind with the pieces falling into place. Let aspirations nurture hope and be a catalyst to spur you on to action as you consider the possibilities

If I don’t follow ‘my’ dream, who will?

that transcend today’s level of experience. Challenge your limitations, have the conviction to push the current boundaries, to go beyond the known horizons, remaining steadfast in focus and faith, resolute to turn your ‘what if…’ into ‘I can accomplish this’ reality. It is our responsibility to sustain and develop these God-given life-purposes that fire up our spirits, instilling motivation, fueling creative solutions as we envisage their accomplishment.

Don’t let the problems of the past, or present circumstances, determine your future. While we look at what we are God sees us as what we can be. Visualise the realisation of the dream. Without a vision or belief that things can be different people are held captive in their minds to the present, not creative enough to push out beyond the accepted boundaries, and so they are buried in the cemetery of unfulfilled expectations. Plans and goals for the future give hope that keeps a person motivated especially during hard times. Some people only idly dream without setting priorities or putting in the effort and strategies to bring them into reality. A dream will remain just that unless steps are taken to bring that about. What steps am I taking to bring about my dream? Are you living your dream or just living your life? While preparing for this inner longing of the heart to be outworked, you must continue to live in the ‘now’, doing what you can for God where He has put you, understanding  that as you faithfully fulfill what you have been shown more insight will progressively be given.

Joseph was faithful to the ‘heavenly vision’, not forfeiting the fulfillment of it even when things continued year after year with seemingly no chance of becoming reality. He may have been utterly bewildered wondering ‘where is God’ but nevertheless lived for Him and developed skills that were beneficial when the dream was ultimately fulfilled (Gen 50:20). When God puts something in your heart, only you can pursue it and you’ll never be satisfied till you do, so partner with Him to bring it about, being prepared to pay the price as while a dream is free, bringing it to reality is costly. If you have a dream, you need to risk failure to fulfill it.

In humility pray for His thoughts and direction, “Show me the way I should go” in this particular situation (Ps 143:8). Have as your highest goal the focus to bring Him glory as you outwork His will by being a channel through which He is able to touch humanity. Then you also will have a testimony of “He guides mein paths of righteousness for His name’s

God’s dreams are worth the investment of my life

sake” (Ps 23:3, 25:9). Our calling can result from such divine encounters.  There will always be a time of testing between the word coming from God and its fulfillment – don’t quit, use this time in preparation to make the dream a reality besides regularly realigning your life to your vision, dreams and values.

The OT prophet Joel declared among other things “In the last days...your old men will dream dreams” (Joel 2:28). These prophecies began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost and will continue until Christ returns (Act 2:16-21).      

It is written, “David served God’s purposes in his own generation” (Act 13:36). Can this be said of me?

A big dream can be broken into smaller steps, while a dream is not very big if it can be accomplished without the help of others together with total reliance on the Lord.

See also: ambition, call/calling, desires, dreams (shattered), foundation, goals, guidance (divine), Joseph (OT), mind, motive/motivation, plans and purposes, reality, vision.