Robert Morris is the pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, TX. I really respect him and appreciate him as a man with a heart for God. He wrote a book that was life-changing for me! It is entitled “From Dream to Destiny.” If you wish, you can pick it up at a bookstore, go online to Robert Morris’ website, or order it at Amazon, as a Kindle Book.
[On December 30, 2018, I felt I should begin a series based on “From Dream to Destiny” and the life story of Joseph that is found in Genesis 37-50. This is the “sermon” from that Sunday. Each week hereafter I’ll be adding the sermon notes to this site so if anyone wants to follow along, they can … or if you miss a Sunday at the English service at Emmaus Korean United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia, you can stay caught up. We had a combined service on January 6, 2019, and an ice and snow storm that prevented me from making it to the January 13th service … so, we move right along with.]
In this book Robert Morris writes, “Every person has a dream from God, and every person has a destiny from God. Sadly, many individuals live ‘WITH’ the dream instead of IN the destiny.”
Maybe you haven’t had your dream yet … but before you do, and before you can fulfill your destiny you have to pass 10 Tests. Before you can live out the purpose God has for your life, you must pass 10 character tests.
Throughout the Bible God used dreams, daydreams, and creative imagina-tions to communicate with His people.
One of those people was Joseph, the son of Jacob. His story is found in Genesis 37-50.
God destined and then designed Joseph to exercise great power. Joseph was destined to be the instrument of God’s deliverance for his family and the nation of Israel, but before he could exercise that power and purpose he had to endure great testing along the way.
At the tender age of 17 Joseph had received a glimpse of that destiny in a dream — but he failed to understand that the journey toward his destiny had only just begun when he received his dream.
Between the dream and his destiny, Joseph had to live out 13 years of hard lessons, testing and preparation. It wasn’t until Joseph was 30 years old that he stepped into the first phase of the extraordinary destiny God had ordained for his life. It was only after Joseph passed 10 tests … 10 character tests … that he was prepared to walk out that destiny and to fulfill the dream to its fullest.
Remember … every one of us has a destiny. Do you have a dream?
Perhaps you, like Joseph, have had some dreams that are yet to be fulfilled.
We all have dreams for our families, dreams for our finances, dreams for our chosen vocations — but right now I want to challenge you to dream a little bigger. Allow God to stir in your heart His dream for you. I promise, His dream for you is better because you and I can’t dream a bigger dream than God can dream! His destiny for you is bigger and better! God’s thoughts for us are higher than our thoughts. His plans for us are better than our plans.
Each person’s dream is unique; but somehow each dream is supernaturally intertwined with the master plan of our loving heavenly Father … to share the Good News about His Son, Jesus, and to bring people into relationship with Himself.
God has assigned a role for each one of us — a destiny that is essential to His plans. There are things He has created you to do that only you can accomplish. The same is true for me. Each one of us has a unique assign-ment from God. And if we don’t do our assignments, they won’t get done!
That is why I believe this message about Joseph is so vital at this hour. I believe a day is coming (and has already begun) when we will see a worldwide harvest of souls. Each of us has a part to play — and our parts will be fulfilled only to the extent that our God-given destinies have been fulfilled.
Every one of us is destined to do great things for God and His kingdom. Like Joseph, we must pass TEN (10) tests to get there. I know that doesn’t thrill you … but that doesn’t matter. God is GOOD … and He knows what He’s doing. Do you trust Him?
I’m so glad God doesn’t “flunk” any of us on our tests. (If He did, He could have written “F” on the pages of my life many times!) No, each time we fail, He graciously writes, “Re-TAKE” on that life-page — and He allows us to keep retaking the test until we pass it. Why? Because it is only when we pass the tests that we will be able to step into the destiny He has planned for us. Many people have had dreams, but they haven’t lived out their destiny because they haven’t passed these tests yet.
The first test we have to pass is THE PRIDE TEST.
GENESIS 37, VERSE 1-11.
So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner. This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. Joseph was working his half-brothers. Bilhah and Zilpah were handmaid-ens of Leah and Rachel. Leah had six sons, Bilhah had two, Zilpah had two, and Rachel had two. That would explain the Tribes of Israel.
Joseph and his little brother Benjamin were sons of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife. Rachel died when Benjamin was born. There are a lot of unique family dynamics going on in the tents of Jacob. That would explain the next few verses.
But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
Just notice, before Joseph ever had a dream he was a tattletale. Telling on your brothers isn’t “endearing.”
Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph — a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him. One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.
This is what spoiled 17-year-old favorite sons do. When we read about this dream you’re going to be in awe of the “wisdom” of this kid … that he told it to his brothers … even though they hated him!
Maybe this would be a good time to suggest that if you have someone in your life that hates you … it would be best to refrain from sharing your wisdom and insights from God.
“Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bun-dles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
That just brilliant … to tell your older brothers something like this!
His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!” This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground be-fore you?” But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
About now in the story you might be asking, “How is God going to use someone so self-focused and immature?
Genesis 41:46 says that when Joseph stood before Pharaoh, he was 30 years old.
Joseph dreamed the dream when he was 17, and 30 when he stepped into his destiny. What happened during those 13 years?
I want to establish at the beginning of this study a first point:
God Has a Dream For You!
Joseph was pretty excited about the dream that God had given him. Re-gardless of the consequences, he just had to let everyone know about it! After all, it seemed obvious from the dream that Joseph was destined for great power and influence.
The dream was from God, but the bragging was all Joseph.
There was a test on the horizon for Joseph. Something was standing in the way of Joseph’s moving toward that destiny God had shown him. The reason for the test was really quite simple: Joseph had pride in his heart.
It is important to notice that Joseph had pride in his heart before he ever got the dream from God. The Bible says that Joseph “brought a bad report of them to his father” (Gen. 37: 2). Never mind what the bad report was about. Perhaps Joseph’s brothers weren’t exactly perfect, and they may indeed have deserved some correction. But this verse reveals that Joseph thought of himself as someone qualified to make that type of judgment about his brothers.
Any time we pass judgment on the behavior of others, it reveals a prideful attitude on our part. And Joseph had a prideful attitude.
Now don’t miss this: God KNEW that Joseph was prideful — yet God still gave him the dream. God had a big destiny in mind for Joseph — and He knew that prideful attitude would have to go if Joseph were to succeed.
You may wonder why God would give such a huge dream to such a young man — especially when He knew that Joseph already had pride in his heart. Why not wait until he was a little older, a little wiser, a little more humble, perhaps?
The answer is really quite simple. God planned for Joseph to step into the dream at the age of 30 — and God knew that could never happen until Joseph had dealt with that pride. So God allowed Joseph to see the big dream at 17, so the pride in his heart could be exposed and dealt with.
Joseph failed the first test, yes — but God knew that he would fail it.
Remember, although we may fail, we never actually flunk a test with God — we just keep taking it over and over again until we pass it.
In giving Joseph the dream, God was helping him to take the first neces-sary steps toward his destiny. How? By revealing the pride in Joseph’s heart and by allowing Joseph to start working on passing that test.
Every one of us deals with pride, and every one of us must pass the Pride Test some day.
• Pride – a sense of superiority and willful boasting.
• Arrogance – condescension, or disdain and contempt for others.
• Conceit – narcissistic self-love, cockiness and unwholesome self-importance.
• Egotism – always talking and thinking about oneself, excessively.
• Vanity – excessive admiration of one’s own appearance or achieve-ments.
• Superiority – dominance, primacy, unwelcome leadership, and a sense of one’s own greatness.
We may have to go lower and lower before we finally pass it — but God will see to it that we pass this test somehow.
Never forget the truth of the promise found in Philippians 1:6, And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
There’s something you should know, and that is … WE can have our own dreams.
• Selfish dreams can confuse us, and crowd out God’s dreams for us.
• And there are some dreams you just need to lay down.
Would you like to know what God’s dream is for you? How can you know the dream God has for you?
Let me give you something directly from God Himself. Let’s not get a man’s opinion. Let’s hear what God says about knowing His dreams for you.
Then God said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings
Let me interpret this plainly:
• BELIEVE … GOD HAS A WONDERFUL DREAM FOR YOU.
• AND …. If you want to know God’s dream for your life, GET TO KNOW GOD! GET TO KNOW HIM!
• GET TO KNOW THE GIVER OF THE DREAM.
• GET TO ONE WHO CAN REVEAL IT AND FULFILL IT!
The first step to passing the PRIDE TEST is humbly acknowledging, “My life is NOT my own. God has a dream and destiny for me, and I will have it and live it.”