by Gwen Shaw
“And when they saw Joseph afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.”
The world resents a “dreamer.” They hated Joseph because he saw wonderful things ahead of him, and he had faith that God would make all his dreams come to pass.
It was Joseph’s dreams that got him into trouble, and it was his understanding of dreams that got him out of trouble and elevated him to Viceroy of Egypt.
It takes courage to be a dreamer, because a dreamer has to go against the conventional, the status quo, the systems of man and the rules of society. He has to believe for what no one else has ever even thought of. He is a revolutionary, a rebel, a dissident, and because he is so different, the world sometimes thinks he is insane.
A dreamer doesn’t give up easily. In fact, he usually NEVER gives up. He keeps on trying and trying until he either succeeds, or dies in the attempt. Only success or death can stop a real dreamer.
A dreamer sees things in the spirit which man cannot see in the natural. But through seeing in the spirit he can, through faith, materialize it into the physical and natural. You can have anything that you are capable of dreaming for. All reality begins with a dream.
It was Joseph’s dreams that made his brothers hate him. If he had just been an ordinary lad like they were, or, if he had kept his dreams to himself, he wouldn’t have made enemies. But it was his dreams that made them hate him, because they were jealous. They couldn’t dream, and they didn’t want him to dream either. So when they saw him coming, they said, “Here comes the master of the dreams!” (as one version gives it). They said this in contempt and mockery. And of course, that is what you will receive from the “non-dreamers” also. Nevertheless, dare to ask God to give you a dream!
EVERY REVIVALIST WILL HAVE PERSECUTION
Why do revivals make good men jealous? When God anoints someone’s life and begins to use that person in a special way, we often see some of his best friends get jealous of him. Anyone whom God is going to use to bring revival in these days will soon find some of the people he most highly esteemed are fighting against him in a quiet and subtle way.
At the turn of this century there was a young man by the name of Evan Roberts, who worked in the coal mines of Wales. He had a dream that God would send a great revival to Wales, so great that God would bar the gates of hell to Wales for one year and 100,000 souls would find Christ. By day, he worked in the mines, and at night he spent hours in prayer for that revival. He prayed so hard that his whole bed shook with the shakings of the Holy Spirit, as in the day of Pentecost, when “all the house was shaken.” In a God-given vision he saw that God had answered his prayer. He left his Bible school and went back home to Loughor. When he reached his home, he told his mother, “There will be a great change in Loughor in less than a fortnight. We are going to have the greatest revival that Wales has ever seen.”
Roberts got permission from the elders of his church to minister to the young people. He preached on Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Seventeen young people were seated in that Fellowship Hall of the Moriah Chapel. The Holy Spirit fell upon them and there was weeping and shouting and confessing of sins. The meeting lasted until midnight. The town was shaken up by what was happening to their teenagers.
The following night they gathered together again. That meeting never ended; it continued, day and night, until all of Wales was shaken by the power of God. People came from all over the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, United States, the British Empire and the rest of the world to experience this great revival and take it back home with them. It was the flame that kindled the fires of Azusa Street, Los Angeles.
God used that young man in such a mighty way, but some of his own country’s clergy were jealous of him and turned against him with great persecution, breaking his heart, and causing him to have a breakdown that led him to give up his ministry.
Why is it that when God uses someone who is chosen by God, and not by man, people get suspicious of him, like they were of Roberts and John the Baptist? When God anointed John to preach and warn the people, the religious leaders gave him his greatest opposition. They thought, “If God is going to do something big, He will do it here in our Temple in Jerusalem, and not down there on the banks of that muddy Jordan.”
But John had paid the price. He had seen the vision. He knew his calling, and he was bold enough to preach the Gospel that cost him his life. Anything worth living for is worth dying for.
A TWO THOUSAND YEAR OLD DREAM
For two thousand years, ever since the dispersion in 70 A.D., the Jews have prayed for, and believed, that they would return to the land God gave their father, Abraham. Three times a day in their prayers, the Jews pray for Israel. And every year, at Passover Time, they repeated their dream, “Next year in Jerusalem!”
When the years went by and the dream seemed farther than ever away from being fulfilled, and the Jews of Europe began to assimilate with the Gentiles, their God raised up an Austrian Jew, and renewed this dream in his heart. His name was Theodor Herzl. He called out for his people to start dreaming again. They came together, and the struggle began. Righteous Gentiles caught his vision and tried to help the Jews make it come to pass. That is how Zionism was born. For a time, it seemed as though the dream could not be fulfilled. It was even suggested that the Jews accept Uganda as their homeland. But how could Uganda, Africa, ever become “The Land of Promise?” It had not been Uganda where Abraham had walked through the length and the breadth thereof, nor where Isaac dug his wells, nor where Jacob saw the ladder that reached to the sky.
Again the years passed by, and the dream of a Judenstaat was unfulfilled. Yet, some courageous ones came to The Land of Promise, and with their last coins bought up portions of the swamps which would later become the great orchards and farms of the State of Israel.
Then, one day in 1948, fifty years ago, David Ben Gurion stood up before the elders of the land and declared that Israel was a state. In that same hour, war began, as their enemies rose up against them with a force much greater than that of this infant state. But they did not succeed, nor will they ever, because God too has a dream. And His dream is to return Eretz Israel to His old friend, Abraham.
NEVER LET DIFFICULTIES CAUSE YOU TO LOSE YOUR DREAM
It is not enough to receive a dream. One must keep that dream alive in one’s heart every day, every night, every hour, every moment. And one must never allow the darkness and the trials of life to cause such discouragement that one loses his faith in its final fulfillment.
Even though Joseph was thrown in the pit, and suffered as a slave, was thrown into prison, and tested to the extreme, he kept his vision in his heart. If he had ever, even for one moment, given up, he would never have seen it fulfilled. Joseph went as far down as any man can go, but he also rose to greater heights than any man ever has in positions of power and honour.
When Joseph was a youth he was anxious to tell others his dreams. But when he became mature, he was able to listen as others told him about their dreams. Great men and women take time to hear what others see and hear. Great men and women know that they do not know it all. Your brother and your sister may have a vision which they need to share. They may need encouragement. Don’t “roll over them” with your own vision when they are opening their hearts to you. Listen to them. It could be that you might learn something from them also.
THE WORLD WOULD SOON BECOME DESOLATE WITHOUT A DREAMER
The original word for “vision” in Hebrew is chazown2377. It means “a mental sight, a dream, a vision, a revelation, an oracle, a prophecy.”
One of the greatest proverbs is, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18).
In German it is “Wo kein Weisagung ist, wird das Volk wild und wust…”
It can be translated, “Where no vision is, the people will become wild and desolate, confused, depraved, vulgar, filthy, void.”
What a picture of much of humanity today! It is a picture of many of our inner cities, and also some of our most luxurious, wealthy and famous people. If we knew the sins and the miseries that are in the lives of the men and women in powerful positions in the political, religious, and entertainment world circles, and in the business and great industrial fields, we would be appalled. For many have sold their souls to the devil to reach the top. As a result, they become ruthless, though they outwardly appear to be gracious. They think nothing of walking over people to get what they want. They have a dream too, but it is not a dream from God; it is the result of not having God’s dream, nor plan for their lives.
In the days of the Judges, when Samuel was a child, there was no open vision in Israel. That means there was no one with the Word of Prophecy to lead and guide the people in the ways of God. As a result the priesthood became depraved, vulgar, filthy and vile. This finally resulted in the Ark of the Covenant being captured by the Philistines where it was kept for many years, — all during the forty year reign of King Saul. Only after King David had the vision to bring it back to God’s people, did it come home again; and that cost him many great trials and heartaches.
There is a big difference between a dream and a scheme. We must be careful that we never let go of our dream or exchange it for a scheme.
FOUR KINDS OF VISIONS
1. OPEN VISION: It is given when one is fully awake.
2. NIGHT VISION: It is given when one is asleep.
3. AN INWARD IMPRESSION UPON THE HEART AND THE MIND: This is given by the Holy Spirit within us.
4. A PROPHETIC WORD: A word of prophecy can create a vision, or a dream in the heart because it is the oracle of God. And as such it has creative word-power that can make it come to pass.
The Holy Spirit says in Joel 2:28, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”
Peter confirms this on the Day of Pentecost when he says, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” (Acts 2:17-18)
A VISION WILL CHANGE A MAN’S HEART
It was the vision Saul of Tarsus had on the Road to Damascus that turned him into Paul, the first great World-Missionary and enabled him to immediately preach Christ in the synagogues, “that he is the Son of God.”
By a vision Paul heard the call to Europe, when in a night vision he saw the man of Macedonia calling to him, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” And although he suffered a severe beating and imprisonment in their city of Philippi, he was undaunted, and continued preaching there. In fact, it became the city of his first love. To them he wrote his most loving epistle. A vision will give you a great love for a nation.
I had never thought for a moment of going to China. In fact, I hate to confess that I was afraid of the Chinese people, and did not love them. But when God called me in a prophecy and vision to go to China while I was a young student in my second year of Bible School in the city of Toronto, He implanted such a great love for the Chinese people in my heart that I was ready to give China the rest of my life. That dream was what I lived for. It took me to Shanghai in 1947, where I was able, by faith, to begin a missionary career which has lasted until now.
Without a dream, you cannot have faith to endure hardships, nor to accomplish great things for God. You are limited by your ability to dream.
GREAT MEN WITH GREAT VISIONS GAVE THE WORLD GREAT GIFTS
Alexander Graham Bell, a Scottish American, had a dream that he believed it was possible to transmit speech by electric waves. People thought he was crazy. But today we speak to people around the world by picking up our telephone.
Marchese Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian American, had a dream that messages could be transmitted from one point to another. The first wireless message was transmitted in 1895. It was received one mile from where it was sent. But he kept on working on his dream, and in 1901 the first wireless message was transmitted by radio across the Atlantic.
Thomas Alva Edison had a dream that he could light up the world through an incandescent lamp called a light bulb, and also gave the world a song through the gramophone. Today hundreds of thousands of people can hear a man on a distant platform speak to them because of Edison’s microphone. The world would have been a much different place if Edison had not dreamed. When he perfected one dream, he went on to another, and another, and many more.
A couple of brothers by the name of Orville and Wilbur Wright owned a bicycle repair shop in the humble town of Dayton, Ohio. But they too had a dream — a dream that bicycles could be made to fly. Their first “bicycle” with wings “flew” less than a city block, but it flew! Today the mighty Boeing 737’s, 700’s and 800’s fly half way around the world without stopping to refuel. Some of them are so huge that one can hardly believe what one sees with his own eyes. And the flights can be so smooth that one can imagine he is in his own living room. The tea doesn’t even spill!
In Germany a man by the name of Karl Benz believed that the time had come when carriages could be made to move without horses. People thought he was crazy. But he had a dream, and in 1885 he invented the first horseless carriage. One year later, another German by the name of Gottlieb Damler had invented his own horseless carriage. Today the Mercedes Benz is still one of the finest cars on the markets, but it is expensive.
In America, a man by the name of Henry Ford said to himself, if they can make a carriage move without a horse in Germany, we can do it here too. But we need to make one that every man can afford. The first Model T Fords came off the assembly line in 1908. Soon, even women were driving these dangerous high-speed vehicles called “automobiles.” My husband’s mother, Olga, was one of the first women in Sacramento, California, to own and drive one of them. She left many people in shock as she “flew” by in her “Overland” at the break-neck speed of twenty-five miles an hour!
WOMEN CAN HAVE DREAMS TOO
Today, women not only drive sleek automobiles, they drive eighteen-wheeler trucks, conduct trains, fly planes, captain ships, operate computers, run printing presses, conduct choirs and orchestras, govern nations, preach and teach the Word of God, pastor churches, preside over universities, manage factories, all the while fulfilling their roles as wives and mothers.
But are we going to be content with a dream that makes us “great and famous?” Are there not other wonderful dreams that we can have? Dreams that will help others, and change the world into a better and happier place — dreams of hope, of love, of goodness, of righteousness and peace between neighbours?
“WE’VE GOT SOME DIFFICULT DAYS AHEAD”
There was a man whose forefathers had been brought to America as slaves. He too had a dream. His name was Martin Luther King, Jr. His dream took him all over America, and many parts of the world. But it cost him much misunderstanding, pain, persecution, loneliness, and finally, in the end, an early death. Everywhere he went he told the people about his dream, and he inspired the downtrodden, the rejected, the poor and the outcasts who lived “on the other side of the railroad track” to have a dream too, a dream that would give them something to live for.
His dream was so alive in his heart that, even though he knew that he would have to soon die for it, in his last speech on April 3, 1968, he spoke these immortal words:
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. I won’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.
And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.
So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.’”
A few hours later, on April 4, King was killed by a sniper’s bullet as he stood on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was staying — but his dream lives on. A prophet of the Lord has recently seen a vision in which the Lord told him, “I am changing the heart of my people in America and soon race will no longer be an issue.”
MY DREAM FOR GOD TO RAISE UP TEN THOUSAND HANDMAIDENS
In 1966, after ministering in many cities in Argentina, I was coming to the end of my time there. I will never forget that night, after a meeting in Buenos Aires where God had so mightily poured out His Holy Spirit upon us. I lay in my bed in an inexpensive hotel room, exhausted, after a long, hard day and heavy ministry. As I looked back over the past weeks, and the three years preceding them, when I had preached in many parts of the world, I saw a trail of fire had followed me wherever I had preached. I asked the Lord, “Why can you use me, Lord? I know I am nothing. I make so many mistakes.”
He answered me, “It is because you are willing to do anything I ask you to do.”
I said, “If that is all, then you could use anyone who is totally dedicated and surrendered to You, Lord.”
He answered, “Yes.”
I begged Him, “Lord, the harvest is so great, and the labourers are so few. So few of your servants are willing to come to the mission fields to preach the Gospel. Please, send the women. Lord, I ask You to raise up ten thousand handmaidens who will totally surrender their lives to You, like I have, and be willing to do anything you ask them to do.”
I truly believe that this experience was the “dream” that later turned into the ministry of the End-Time Handmaidens. Today, God’s Handmaidens and Servants cannot be numbered. They are found all over the world, serving the Lord with a dedication seldom seen in the lives of men and women, because they too have my dream, the dream for the salvation of the lost — a dream so powerful that it takes them anywhere the Lord sends them. They make sacrifices which only they and the Lord know anything about. But the day will come when they, like Joseph of old, will be promoted from the Lord’s love-slave to His viceroys, and shall rule and reign with Him.
If you haven’t got a dream, I feel sorry for you. You have nothing to live for. Fall on your face and cry to God to give you a dream, even His dream for your life, for even if you have no dream for your own life, God certainly has one for you, and you need to find it.
And you need to let that dream get such a grip on your heart that it will give you the strength to fulfill your life’s calling in such a way that when people see you they will say, “Behold, this dreamer cometh!”
Copyright 1998 by Gwen R. Shaw