Originally published Sunday, 06 July 2014.
It's amazing when dreams are approved by God.
Because it means your dreams are not dead.
They are alive.
This weekend I caught a cold, and instead of going to church -- my husband and I listened to a sermon from Times Square Church. Pastor Conlon preached on raising the dead and bringing our dreams back to life.
He referenced Lazarus and the Shunammite woman.
It was very powerful to hear how he recounted Jesus standing in front of Martha asking if she believed her brother could rise from the dead.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:21-27).
Maybe I hadn't heard the Scriptures explained properly, or maybe God opened my eyes for such a time as this.
Jesus asked Martha to believe. She said she believed for the future, but not the present. When Jesus proclaimed His character, that "He is the resurrection and the life," Martha quoted a Scripture passage instead of simply saying she did not believe God could raise her dead brother back to life.
Pastor Conlon said that is what we do when God is standing in front of us. Instead of saying we don't believe for our own lives -- we turn our focus on others. We get busy serving the church. We quote Scripture. Basically, anything but admit we're timid, scared, and afraid to believe.
Now about the Shunammite woman:
One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’” She replied, “I have a home among my own people.” “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked. Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.” Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.” “No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!” But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her (2 Kings 4:11-17).
Pastor Conlon said the Shunammite woman told Elisha not to lie to her. She had become content in serving others that she pushed the glaring obvious, her barrenness, out of the realm of possibilities. Even when Elisha the prophet was standing in front of her like Jesus was standing in front of Martha, the answer was still the same.
Do you believe God can do what He promised? Do you believe God can raise your dead dreams back to life?
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill (Numbers 23:19)? For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20).
When, not if, your dreams are approved by God -- you will stand and see the deliverance of the Lord today.
Not during the second coming.
When I was at the Dream Culture Conference -- they encouraged us to write out 100 dreams and stamp them approved when we were finished. So I did. A lot. I stamped approved multiple times on each page. It felt so good to know that my dreams are approved by God. That I wasn't just making things up or trying to push open the door myself.
This morning, Pastor Conlon, also spoke on God's encouraging words to the Church at Philadelphia. Since I was just in Philadelphia last weekend, my ears perked up. He read from Revelation 3:7-8 that says,
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Friends, it's not up to us to make our dreams happen.
It's up to God.
Thankfully we are already approved. Jesus stands at the doorway of our heart and asks us to simply believe Him. To take Him at his Word. He IS the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Dream Giver. He is the one who opens the doors so wide no man can close.
Today, ask God to reveal any unbelief in your life that is hindering you from moving forward. If you have $8, I encourage you to buy the Approved stamp from Amazon for your dream journal. Mine just came in the mail this weekend, and it has already brought so much joy. I got out my list of 100 dreams and saw this:
57. Go to NYC
I'm grateful I serve a God who brings my dreams to life, and reminds me to believe when I think my dreams are dead.
Question: Do you believe your dreams are approved by God? Why or why not?