Joel Osteen — Remember Your Dream
I want to talk to you today about "Remember your dream". All of us have things that we're believing for, something that we want to accomplish. Part of our destiny. We can feel it so strongly but then we hit some setbacks. We didn't get the promotion, the medical report wasn't good, or a relationship didn't work out. Life has a way of pushing our dreams down. They can become buried under discouragement, buried under past mistakes. There are dreams buried under divorce, buried under low self-esteem, and it's easy to settle for mediocrity even though we have all this potential buried on the inside.
But just because you gave up doesn't mean God gave up. Your dream may be buried. The good news is it's still alive. It's not too late to see it come to pass, and we've all been through disappointments and setbacks and life happens but instead of remembering the hurt, the pain, what didn't work out, the key to reaching your destiny is you have to remember your dream. Remember what God promised you. Remember what he whispered to you in the middle of the night.
The scripture calls it the secret petitions of our heart. Things you haven't told anybody about. It may seem impossible. Every voice tells you it's not going to happen. You've been pushing it down. But God is saying, "What I promised you, I'm still going to do. I spoke it to you. It may not have happened yet but I am true to my word. It is on the way". If you'll do your part and start believing again, get your passion back, God is going to resurrect what you thought was dead. Dreams that you've given up on. You tried, it didn't worked out, it's been so long, they're going to suddenly come back to life. Problems that looked permanent, going to suddenly turn around. What should have taken years, God's going to do in a fraction of the time. He hasn't changed his mind.
Now, don't let circumstances talk you out of it. You may not understand why a business didn't make it, why a person walked away, why you came down with an illness. You were doing the right thing but the wrong thing happened. It's all a part of the process. Every disappointment, every delay, every closed door. It's not just a setback, it's a set-up for God to get you to where you're supposed to be, and it may be taking a long time, may look impossible. All it takes is one touch of God's favor.
What are you remembering? The hurt, the pain, what didn't work out? Turn it around and remember your dream. What has God put in your heart? What did you used to be excited about? Now you think it's been too long, it's too big, it's not possible. You don't think you could write the book, finish school, see a marriage restored, start the business. No, get your passion back. You have not missed your opportunity. You have not had too many bad breaks. You're not lacking. You didn't get shortchanged. When God breathed life into you, he put in you everything you need to fulfill your destiny. People can't stop you. Bad breaks, disappointments, loss. The most high God is on your side. You have royal blood flowing through your veins.
There are seeds of greatness in you right now, dreams so big that you can't accomplish them on your own. It's going to take you connecting with your creator, believing that you're a person of destiny, that he's directing your steps, that if he be for when we go through opposition, these challenging times, we don't have to fall apart. God controls the whole universe. He won't allow anything to happen unless he knows how to bring good out of it. But you have to do your part and keep your faith stirred up.
The enemy would love to deceive thinking that it's never going to work out. Don't believe those lies. It's not too late to become all that you were created to be, and every time you remember your dream, every time you say, "Lord, thank you for bringing it to pass," you're removing some dirt. You're digging it back out. Maybe you've struggled with an illness for a long time. Early on, you believed you could get well but now it's been years and you're just learning to live with it.
What's happened is your healing, your breakthrough, your freedom, has gotten buried. It's still in you, it's still alive. If you'll start believing again, God can bring it to pass. Instead of thinking, "Well, it's never going to work out. I've had so many bad medical reports," that's putting more dirt on it. That's burying it deeper. Why don't you get your shovel out and start removing some of that dirt? How do you do that? "Lord, thank you that you're restoring health back into me. Thank you that the number of my days you will fulfill. Thank you that I'm getting stronger, healthier".
If you'll keep talking, thinking, like that, that dream that's been buried is going to come back to life. This is what allows God to do great things. God is moved by our faith. He's not moved by our discouragement, by our complaining, "Joel, I'm never going to meet the right person. I've been hurt too many times". You're remembering the wrong thing. As long as you remember the hurt, you're going to get stuck. Turn it around.
Start remembering your dream. "Father, thank you that you have a divine connection coming my way, somebody perfect for me, better than I ever imagined". Instead of, "I'll never be in management. I'll never get the promotion. This company, they don't even like me". You're putting more dirt on your dream. You're burying it deeper. Get your shovel and start digging that dream out. Some of you have done this so long, you need a backhoe. You need some heavy equipment. That dream is way deep but you can dig it out. You can bring it back to life. It starts in our thinking, in what you're believing, in what you're saying.
No more, "It's never going to happen. I'll never break this addiction. I'll never live in a nice house. I'll never finish college". No, I'm surrounded by God's favor. Blessings are chasing me down. Because I delight myself in the Lord, God, you promised you would give me the desires of my heart. Whatever God's put on the inside, no matter how long it's been, no matter how impossible it looks, I'm asking you to stir it up. You have to get in agreement with God. He's the giver of all dreams. He's the one that put the desires in you, and you may need to get alone. In your quiet time, search your heart. Say "God, anything I've pushed down, anything I've given up on, show me what it is. God, don't let me die with any dreams still buried on the inside".
This is what Caleb did. He and his friend, Joshua, went and spied out the Promised Land. They came back and told Moses, "We are well able to take the land. Let us go in at once". But the other ten spies came back and said just the opposite. They talked Moses out of it. The Israelites became afraid, even though they were camped right next door, they turned around and that group never did make it in to the Promised Land.
I can imagine that Caleb was disappointed, discouraged. He knew they were supposed to go in. God put the dream in his heart, and it looked like somebody else caused his dreams to get buried, caused him to miss his destiny, and a lot of people could have settled there and thought, "Too bad, it didn't work out". But not Caleb. The true mark of a champion is even though some dirt gets thrown on your dream, instead of letting it get buried, you keep shaking it off. You keep moving forward. You keep looking for a new opportunity.
Forty-five years later, at the age of 85, Caleb could still feel that dream stirring on the inside. He wasn't sitting around, feeling sorry for himself, saying, "God, if only those people would have done right back then". No, he went back to that same mountain, that same place the others refused to go in, and at 85 he said, "God, give me this same mountain". What's significant is that mountain had five giants living on it. There were other mountains with less opposition.
I can hear a friend say, "Come on, Caleb, you're 85. Let's go take this easy mountain". He said, "No, thanks. I'm not going to settle for mediocrity when I know God has placed greatness in me. I want that same mountain. That's the dream that's been stirring in my spirit all these years". At 85, he went out and conquered the mountain.
Have you allowed any dreams to get buried in you? At one time, you believed you could do something great. You believed you could lead the company in sales. You believed you could break that addiction. But it's been a long time, had some bad breaks, wasn't all your fault. You could easily settle where you are. Nobody would fault you. God sent me to light a new fire on the inside. That dream is still alive. You may have tried a year ago, 5 years ago, or 40 years ago. Didn't work out. Nobody was there to help you.
God is saying to you what he said to Caleb: "Go back and try again. This is your time. This is your moment. Your destiny is calling out to you". You have to be like Caleb. You can't have a weak, defeated, give-up spirit. "I'll take the easy way out. I'll settle for second best. I don't want to put forth the effort". If you don't stir it up, you can miss who you were created to be, and you may have been knocked down but you've got to get back up again and say, "God, give me this same mountain. I don't want second best. God, I'm going after what you placed in my heart". If you will remember your dream like that, God will help you to accomplish what you didn't accomplish early on.
I saw a report about this man. He was raised in a very dysfunctional environment, in government housing, very low income. His father was not a part of his life. Was never around. From the time he was a little boy, he had a dream to become a writer. He went to school but there was no structure in his house, no guidance. At 15, he dropped out of school. He had never learned how to read or write. He was so embarrassed by it, he started drinking, trying to numb the pain.
For 35 years, all he did was hang out on the streets and drink with his buddies. One day, something rose up in him like fire on the inside. He told his buddies, "This is the last time you will ever see me take another drink of alcohol. I am fed up living like this". They laughed and said, "Yeah, right". But that day was a turning point. He was instantly set free from the alcohol.
Fifty-one years old, he went back to school and learned how to write, got his diploma. He was so proud. He started writing poetry. He was very eloquent, very talented. Under dysfunction, under addictions, but it was still alive. At one point, he entered this very prestigious national writing contest and he won the grand prize, first place. Today, at 75, he continues writing, inspiring others, letting them know that it's never too late to accomplish your dreams.
What am I saying? What you gave up on, God didn't give up on. What you wanted to do earlier in life, just because it didn't work out doesn't mean that it went away. It's still in you. Jeremiah said, "Your word, o Lord, is like fire shut up in my bones". I believe there are some dreams shut up in you. Like fire, you're going to feel your destiny calling out. May not have happened the first time. The loan didn't go through, you didn't get chosen for the part, the medical report wasn't good. That's okay.
This is a new day. What God started, he's going to finish. You may have missed some opportunities but God knows how to make up for lost time. He's going to give you another chance. He said in the book of Joel, "I will restore the years that have been stolen". You may have lost years because somebody else put you at a disadvantage or years because of your own choices. God knows how to make up for it. He's still going to get you to where you're supposed to be.
This is what happened to Joseph in the scripture. God gave him a dream that one day he would rule a nation. In this dream, down before him. Joseph should have used more wisdom and not told his brothers that part of the dream. Certain things you should keep to yourself. Some people can't handle what God's put in you. They won't celebrate you. They'll be jealous, find fault, and be critical.
One day, Joseph went to see his ten brothers. When he walked up, one of them said, sarcastically, "Here comes the dreamer". They weren't upset because he was their father's favorite child. They weren't upset because he was wearing a coat of many colors, a coat that represents favor. They were upset they were offended because he was determined to break out of the mold, to do something great, to leave his mark.
They would have been fine if he was content to be average, but when you stir up what God's put on the inside and believe that you have seeds of greatness, believe that you can overcome that illness, break the addiction, pay your house off, be blessed in spite of past mistakes. Let me warn you everybody will not celebrate you. When you have a dream, you're going to have some detractors. People will get jealous, try to make you look bad, try to talk you out of it, say things like, "You really think you can get that promotion? You don't have the experience, the talent, I don't think so. You really think you're still going to get married? You've tried three times. Hadn't happened yet. You're getting kind of old".
Let that go in one ear and out the other. People don't determine your destiny, God does. The critics, the naysayers, the detractors, they cannot stop your dream. They may do something that puts you at a disadvantage but God knows how to take what's meant for harm and use it for your good. Joseph's own brothers tried to push his dream down. I say this respectfully but sometimes your relatives won't celebrate you. Sometimes the people closest to you will be the least supportive. Don't get distracted fighting battles that don't matter, trying to prove to them who you are, trying to convince them how they should be for you. You don't need their approval.
What stirs them up is the fact that you're moving forward, pursuing your destiny. They would love to convince you to keep your dream buried so you don't rise higher and make them look bad. They don't realize God has put dreams in them. If they would stir it up, they could fulfill successful people, people that have a dream, don't waste their valuable time looking at what everybody else is doing. They're too busy focused on what God has put in their own heart.
Bottom line, the enemy targets people who have a dream. He'll use opposition, discouragement, delays, jealousy, everything he can to try to convince you to bury that dream. If you're going to reach your highest potential, you have to make up your mind that you are in it for the long haul, you're not going to let people talk you out of it, circumstances discourage you, delays cause you to give up, critical people cause you to get distracted. You're going to stay focused on your goal.
Here's the key. You wouldn't be having that opposition if you didn't have something great in you. If your dream wasn't alive and on track, right on schedule to come to pass, you wouldn't have so many things coming against you. But when the enemy looks at you, he says, "Oh no, here comes another dreamer. Here comes another person full of faith, believing that they have seeds of greatness, not moved by their circumstances, not upset because they have a delay. They're a dreamer. They know they have the favor of God. They know because they believe all things are possible, they know God can make a way when they don't see a way".
Friends, when you're a dreamer, you're dangerous to the enemy. You give him a nervous breakdown. He knows you're headed to a new level. He knows you're coming he knows you're going to set a new standard for your family, and here's the most important thing. He knows there's nothing he can do to stop you. The forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. But he will work overtime trying to convince us to settle, to give up, to stay where we are.
You have to remember this principle. When negative things happen, that's not stopping your destiny, that's a sign that you're on your way to your destiny. Every delay, the setbacks, the disappointment, that didn't stop your dream. It's all a part and Joseph's brothers, they were jealous of him. They threw him into a pit. They were going to leave him there to die but they saw this caravan coming by and they ended up selling him as a slave to an influential man named Potiphar.
Year after year, Joseph worked for Potiphar, kept a good attitude, kept being his best. But one bad thing after another happened to Joseph. Potiphar's wife lied about him, falsely accused him. He was put in prison for something he didn't do. He spent years there. One night, this Pharaoh had a dream. He didn't understand what it meant and Joseph was able to interpret that dream. Pharaoh was so impressed with him, he brought Joseph out of prison and put him in charge of the whole nation, just like Joseph had seen in his own dream.
Years later, there was a great famine in the land. People were desperate, trying to survive, trying to find food. Joseph was in charge of the food supply, one of the most important positions of that day. His brothers, the same ones that threw him into a pit, they traveled a long distance and showed up at the palace looking for food. They were right before him, bowing down but they didn't recognize who Joseph was. You can imagine this is a very dramatic moment for Joseph. These are the brothers that betrayed him. These are the brothers that caused him all the heartache and pain. You would think Joseph would be angry, bitter, vindictive.
This was his chance but the scripture says when Joseph saw his brothers, he remembered his dream. He didn't remember the betrayal, the lonely nights, the times he was confused. He remembered the promise. He remembered what God had spoken to him. Now, all these bad breaks, it looked like Joseph missed his destiny. The whole time, God was directing his steps, leading him, guiding him. It was all a part of the process to get him to where he was supposed to be.
When God puts a dream in your heart, when he gives you a promise, it doesn't mean that it's going to come to pass with no opposition, no delays, no adversity. There will be things that you don't understand. You'll have plenty of opportunities to get negative and think, "I must not have heard God right". In those tough times, you have to do like Joseph and remember your dream. God has not brought you this far to leave you. He has you in the palm of his hand. He's directing your steps. Now do your part. Dare to trust him. Dare to believe. Let him fight your battles. Let him be your vindicator.
"Well, Joel, I'm upset. I don't understand it. I got thrown into a pit". Don't worry, another caravan is coming to move you on to your next location. "Well, a friend lied about me. I lost a loved one. I went through a divorce". Don't get bitter. You're moving to your destiny. The palace is coming. The promise is on track. The dream will be fulfilled.
The scripture says, "These light afflictions are for a moment". When you face opposition, things don't go your way, recognize that it's not permanent. That's not your final destination. Quit worrying about things that are only temporary. Like Joseph, the pit is temporary, the injustice is temporary, the betrayal is not your permanent home. It's a temporary stop.
The psalmist put it this way: "Passing through the valley of weeping". It doesn't say, "Settling in the valley," "Getting stuck in the valley," "Building your house in the valley". The valley is temporary. You're passing through it. My challenge: quit losing sleep over a temporary stop. Quit being discouraged over something that's only for a season.
I was in my backyard one time and my grass looked so dead. It was brown and worn out, run down, and I called the man that helps with my landscaping. Said, "What happened to my grass? Why did it die"? He kind of laughed and said, "Joel, it's not dead. It's just not in season. It's dormant right now, but in a few months it will be green.
See, I was worried about something that was only temporary. I thought that's the way it was always going to be, and when I realized that that was normal, I never worried about it again. When I saw my brown grass, I thought, "No big deal. Just a matter of time before it's back to green".
Are you worried about things that are only temporary? Letting something steal your joy because you think that's the way it's always going to be? Can I tell you, your dream is not dead. It's just not in season. Your time is coming. The right people, the right breaks, favor, restoration, vindication. That's what's headed your way. These light afflictions are for a moment. It goes on to say, "They work in us an eternal weight of glory". In other words, the adversity is temporary, the glory is eternal.
Friends, stir up what God's put on the inside. You may have a dream that you buried. You need to get your shovel out and start thanking God that it's still coming to pass. Perhaps you're on a detour right now, something you don't understand. Don't get discouraged, it's temporary. You're just passing through. It's easy to remember the hurt, the disappointment, the failure. I'm asking you to remember your dream. Remember what God's promised you. If you'll do this, I believe and declare dreams that you buried are about to come back to life. Promises you've given up on are being resurrected. Like Joseph, God is going to turn every stumbling block into a stepping stone. You're going to rise higher, accomplish your goals, and become everything you were created to be, in Jesus' name.