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Jack Graham - Dream Weaver


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    Jack Graham - Dream Weaver
    Jack Graham - Dream Weaver
TOPICS: DESTINY: Your Future - God's Favor

Take your Bibles and turn with me, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 37. Every life is a plan of God. God has a purpose, a plan for you, for your life. This is called providence. The word providence sounds like an archaic word; something that George Washington would say. Maybe it sounds, oh so, well, Presbyterian to you this morning. But the word providence has to do with the provideo of God, that God sees in advance and knows what He knows is everything, and that He rules and overrules in all the affairs of life. That God controls heaven and earth and everything within, and that includes you and me. What I want to do with this message is to make providence personal. The word of God is given through the biographies of great men and women of faith.

Have you ever wondered why so much of the scriptures contains stories of men and women, their lives, their ups and downs, good days and bad days, all these experiences of life. Why is so much of the Bible told in stories? I, as a child loved the stories of the Bible. Listened and learned the stories of the Bible. They've always fascinated me. I still thrill to these magnificent adventures of faith of which we read in God's Word. They never cease to excite me or to amaze me. So when you realize that the Bible is written in so much biography, it is because the Bible is not only a book to be believed, it is a book to be lived. And so all of these great truths are for life, whether it is the truth of providence or predestination or the sovereignty of God, the control of God in all the affairs of men. That means that this is very practical and it is very personal to all of us.

And so when you come to the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, it is an illustration a perfect example of the providence of God. The providence of God in the life of a man, imperfect as he was, and yet a man that was yielded to God and uniquely the Spirit of God rested upon this man whose name is Joseph. His name means "the one who adds... the adder". And he lived an abundant life and this life was because God gave Him a destiny and God gave Him great dreams that he would turn into his destiny.

So I'm calling this series DESTINY: Your Future - God's Favor. Or maybe I should put it: God's Favor - Your Future: because every Christ follower is endowed by the grace of God with the favor of God; and therefore, the faithfulness of God to bring about His plans, His purposes, in our lives. God gave Joseph great dreams, and those dreams became the reality of his life. These are dark days in many, many ways. Not only on a global and national scale but on a personal scale. Many of you are facing bad times. But let it be said of us in these days, that in the worst of times that we do the best of things. And I can't help but believe that the best of things is to build a church for the glory of God. To rise up as the people of God and to stand for the Glory of God in our generation. May God always give us a dream and may that dream live in our hearts. My view is that the moment you stop dreaming is the day you start dying.

No wonder the scripture says, When the Spirit of God fills a man or a woman that even the old men shall dream dreams. I hope you have a dream for your life, a God given dream! A dream for your marriage, a God given dream for your marriage, for your children, for your career, for your calling in ministry in life, that God would give you a dream! And if God gives you a dream that by His grace, He will fulfill it and that you will walk in His ways. Verse 2, chapter 37 of Genesis says: "These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old (just a teenager) was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah (Just a boy among these men, his older brothers who were carnal and calloused men.) And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel (that is Jacob) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he was the son of his old age. He was also the son of Rachel. Jacob worked seven years for the love of his life, Rachel. And Joseph was the son, the firstborn of Jacob and Rachel. And (watch this) he made him a robe of many colors".

Now many people know about Joseph, who don't even know the Bible, because of Joseph and his Technicolor dream coat! And because he was beloved by his father, favored by his father, this man, as a sign of the dignity of his family gave him a coat which signified that he was the blessed one, the favored one of the family. It was a coat of many colors, probably a kind of quilted, embroidered, mosaic kind of cloth. And it's a reminder to me of that providence of God in our lives. Just as that coat was quilted together, pieced together, patched together, woven together, so is our lives like that mosaic, embroidered by the Dream Weaver. Not that old seventies song, but the Dream Weaver is the Dream Maker! This is our providential God! Our God who is weaving and working His way daily in the details of our lives. It's said that the devil is in the details. I doubt it. But I know this, God is in the details of our lives. That he rules and overrules in every season, every situation, every circumstance! God is in control!

Now that makes some perhaps uncomfortable. The idea that God is in control of my days, the details of my days, and even the destiny of my life? Well, yes, God is in control of your life! This is not blind fatalism, but rather it is clear faith in a God who has favored us in Christ, and therefore, is faithful to bring about His plan for every life. I promise you this, God's dream for you, just as God gave Joseph some dreams, we read about it here in verse 5. "Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more". This wasn't Joseph dreaming after he had, you know, too many tacos to eat before he went to bed at night. This was a God given dream planted in his heart that became a prophecy of his life. It described Joseph who would one day rise from riches to rags to riches again. From the pit to the pinnacle of power, to be the statesman of Israel in a foreign land.

And what a story it is. It's an emotional story! It's a wild ride this man Joseph takes! The story is so fascinating because it includes so much. It includes fear and anxiety and suffering. It includes jealousy and hatred and had forgiveness. While it includes suffering and adversity. It includes success and all the rest. And through it all God is working through a tapestry of life experiences this beautiful coat of many colors. Take your Bibles now and turn to Romans chapter 8 because really the story of Joseph as we're just getting started here today, the story of Joseph, it is the story of Romans 8:28. If you've been a believer for a length of time, no doubt you know Romans 8:28. If you don't know it, I want to encourage you to underline it in your Bible, mark it, memorize as one of the great verses in all the Word of God. And really it is illustrated in the story of Joseph.

Romans 8:28 says this: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good". Joseph would one day say, after a life full of experiences, this wild ride through the providences of God, that while his brother meant evil towards him, God meant it for good. That God takes evil things and even makes them great things. But verse 29 tells us the purpose for which we are made. God's plan, God's dream for your life. Are you ready for this? Here is God's ultimate dream for your life: "For those who He foreknew He also predestined (watch it) to be conformed to the image of His Son". Because you are favored by the Father, graced by His love, now a part of His family, wearing the robe of righteousness, His grace, you now are in process in becoming more and more like Jesus. It is said that Joseph is the most Christ-like man of the Old Testament. I said that his life is indicative and even predictive, prophetic on the life of Jesus Himself.

There are so many examples and comparisons, types if you will of Joseph as you compare him to the Lord Jesus. For example, Joseph was rejected by his brothers; Jesus was rejected by His brothers. And many other times in which Joseph and the life of Jesus are comparable. So Joseph is a Christ-like man ultimately. And that is the goal of God in everyone of our lives. That's providence. When God foreknew, look at it, he predestined to be made to the conformity to the image of his son? Why? In order that we might be the firstborn among many brothers, the favored children of God. And those he predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. Notice all of this is stated as a fact. Foreknown, predestined, called, justified, glorified! It is already done! The pattern for the believer's life is Christ Himself. And the process is the providence of God working in us through all the seasons of life, through the good times and the bad, through the ups and downs.

We will see Joseph moving through these experiences in life and God making him more and more like Himself in the process. And that is what God is doing in your life right now. I'll give you a definition of providence: "That continued exercise of the divine energy whereby the Creator preserves all His creatures, is operative in all that comes to pass in the world and directs all things to their appointed end". Now that's a rather staid and technical definition of providence. But to make it practical and to make it personal, look at the life of Joseph. Or to make it even more practical and more personal, look at your own life. Because the Dream Weaver, God, is in control of your life, your days and your destiny and all the details.

You know providence is that time in your life, you know when you're in the middle of it, especially if it's a dark season in your life, you can't see the providence of God. His hand is invisible. Sometimes we wonder, "God, what are You doing? God, why are You not working"? Sometimes we cry out to God and say, "God, why have You left me alone? Why aren't you working in my life"?, and all along invisibly, imperceptibly, yet invincibly God is working. And when we get to heaven, when we get to the other side, we'll look back and we'll say ah-ha! That's what God was doing! That's when God was working! Just when I thought He left me alone, He was right in the middle of my life! God is at work in our lives, "working all things together for good".

And so if you are God's child, favored by the Father, graced by the Son, the Lord Jesus, God has a dream for you. And if you don't see it before you see it, you never see it! It's like, you know it's not a puzzle that we have to keep finding all the pieces, or that God keeps trying to find the pieces to put it together. And don't think of your life as being a broken mess and God is just trying to fix things. No, it's already fixed. God sees the perfect pattern. God sees the perfect picture. God knows what He's doing in your life. God knows what He is about! At times it is mysterious; at times it is uncomfortable and painful, but God knows what He's doing. If you are someone who maybe works with cloth... maybe you do needlepoint or what is it? Embroidery, say, that kind of thing, you know when you look at a beautiful patchwork, like that coat of many colors.

Maybe on one side it doesn't look like much, maybe even tangled pieces underneath, but when you turn it the right side up, it's a beautiful pattern. It includes some dark threads, some scarlet threads, some bloody threads. From this side of heaven sometimes we look at the mosaic, we look at the coat that the dream that God is weaving, we say, "God, this looks like a tangled mess that You're weaving here"! But from the perspective of heaven, we will see it perfectly. And the beauty of Jesus will be seen in our lives. This is what the Dream Weaver does. Joseph advises us on this. There's more space given to Joseph in Genesis than any other person among all the Patriarchs. I believe it's because Joseph is so representative of us. He's such a great representative of our providential God, our powerful God who's also a good God.

Sometimes life is so hard to understand, isn't it? We have questions that we can't answer. And it's impossible to unscrew the inscrutable! But for the Christian, we know that life is not a series of incidence and accidents but a series of providences. Even when life doesn't make sense. Providence is when God chooses to be anonymous but always there, always working. You know the Hebrew language is written for us backwards, right to left, from bottom to top.

John Flavel said, "Some of the providences of God like Hebrew letters are best understood backwards". It's true, isn't it? We look back and we see the providences of God. And just because it doesn't make sense, doesn't mean it doesn't make sense! Because God knows, God sees, it is His provideo! And God's determination is your destiny with Him! And the plan of God, invisible and invincible, is for your good and always for His glory. So, number one, be certain that God is at work in your life, be certain of that. We know that God is working all things, that the Dream Weaver is giving us a dream for our lives that will be fulfilled. Be confident that God is in control. And then be conformed to His purpose and His will in your life.

What a beautiful way to live! With this coat of many colors that the Dream Weaver is preparing for us! It's a beautiful way to live when we trust God with our future, when we give Him our plans, when we come to Him and say, "Lord, you are in control of my life. You're in control of my health. You're in control of my emotions. You're in control of my business. You're in control of my finances. You're in control of my children. Lord, things are not out of control; they are in your control". You're in Romans 8, I think you have it marked.

Look over at Romans 11, verse 33. I love this verse. You might put Joseph's picture right by this verse. "Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are His judgment, and how inscrutable His ways". And then verse 34 says: "For who has known the mind of the Lord". Look, it is not our job always to understand God's will, but to undertake God's will in our lives, to obey Him at any cost in doing the will of God. It's like that wonderful hymn we used to sing; still sing it from time to time. "Have Thine own way, Lord. Have Thine own way. Thou art the potter; I am the clay. Mould me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still".

God took the prophet Jeremiah down to a potter's house where saw a potter making a piece of, maybe a dish or a drinking glass, and Jeremiah saw as it was marred in the hands of the potter, some flaw, some imperfection showed up, so the potter took it and broke it. It says he made it again. The Dream Weaver takes our broken lives, our broken dreams, our broken blasted hopes, and He makes them anew, He makes them again. Who am I to say God, what are you doing in my life? Who am I to question the mysteries of the will of God? How many times have we repeated these words, "Have Thine own way, Lord". But now is the time to live it! Now is the time to say, "Lord, I mean it! I'm tired of living my life my way on my own terms, thinking that I'm in control! Lord, I give my life to you. I give control to You".

This could be a turning point, this could be a tipping point in your life today because you're not here by accident, you're not here by chance, but you're here by divine appointment. You may think my life is in shambles, my dreams are dead, but Lord, in spite of everything that happened me... How many times have I met men and women through the years whose lives are in pieces. Their dreams seemingly dashed and gone forever, who in the crisis of that moment find the power and the plan of God to begin again. God is doing great things in their lives. Isn't it true that so often we say that in these times it was the worst of times, but God did the best of things in my life. It was in the brokenness in your home, your family, your marriage, or the brokenness of your career, your job.

And all along you thought it was all gone, but God was working, God was weaving. And now you're ready to say, "No matter what, Lord, I have to lose, no matter what I have to change, no matter what I have to give up, Lord, I want you to be in control of my life! Jesus, I want you to be first. Not my finances first. Not my career first. Not my success first. Not even a good thing like my family first! But Jesus, You, first in my life"! Wouldn't it be awesome if that could happen to you today? If you would follow God's plan for your life without reservation, fully knowing that God is determined to fulfill His purpose and plan in you, in making you more like Jesus. The path of the just is like the dawn, like the breaking of a day, shining ever brighter unto the perfect day. God knows what He's doing in your life. And He knows what He's doing right here, right now. Speaking to you. Weaving His plan in your life.
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