Acts 16: 9-10, 18 “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. (18-24) And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.”
To experience the dream, you have to endure the nightmare.
Can God trust you with trouble?
It seems every step you take forward, there’s a devil there to stop you. When you ask God to deliver you from this stuff, God can’t trust you with trouble. If you complain and ‘why me?’, there’s a problem. The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord. The dream is the end, the destination, the fulness of the promise. God wants you to endure hardness in order to get there. Can He trust you with the journey?
It’s one thing to say big words, it’s another to actually win battles. You will lose things. Don’t waste your pain on whining. The opposition is just a pathway to your dream. In pursuit of your dream, there will be opposition.
God gives you a dream to give you a sense of destiny and desire to achieve.
Why is there opposition?
- To give you self-awareness. It’s good to learn something about yourself.
- To become God-aware. It’s good to have a greater sense of His Presence.
- To shut the devil up! Job is a beautiful revelation to us to help us to know what’s really going on. God and the devil are having a conversation about a person. God lifted the hedge of protection around Job, but the devil couldn’t touch his body at first. Then, the devil asked if he could touch Job’s body, but he wasn’t allowed to kill him. After it’s all said and done, the devil couldn’t say a word against Job. Job endured to the end. He won against the opposition!
If you are in pursuit of a dream, don’t despise the opposition.
We don’t have the gifts of the Spirit, the gifts are supposed to have us!
God is revealed when you learn how to exercise faith. God dreamt of a church, a bride. In the pursuit of that dream, in the midst of that was a cross. The closer you get to fulfilling that dream, the tougher it gets!
The opposition gets harder, the closer you get to the fulfillment of your dream. But, the opposition is only a springboard to get you to what God has promised.
Can God trust you with trouble?
The enemy might knock you down, but he can’t keep you down! You are still here!
Silas and Paul are stuck in a prison, then they had a revelation. This was still part of the plan. So, they began singing and praising God. They were still here!
If you’ve forgotten the dream, and you’re discouraged, and you’ve made some bad decisions, and you think that nullifies the dream, God hasn’t forgotten. God is completely aware of the opposition. He knows your weaknesses. That’s part of the His plan. You are still part of His plan.
Don’t let anything steal your dream!
Pursue what God has spoken to you! The opposition is not designed to destroy you, it is designed to catapult you into the promise.
Gen 28:11-18 “And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.”
Jacob took his pillow and turned it into a pillar. Pillars hold up the church.
When Jacob met opposition, he sent everything ahead, and it was just God and Jacob. He remembered the dream. He won’t let go the dream. He held on in spite of the opposition. He refused to let go until he had the blessing. A dream is not to die in opposition, it is to come up and rise up in the midst of the opposition. It is he that endures to the end!
Nehemiah worked for the king as cupbearer. Back then, the easiest way to take out a king was to poison him. Nehemiah was the one who headed up the anti-assassination team. He was a dignitary. One day, he asked what was going on back home. Hearing how it had been destroyed, he wept, prayed, and fasted. There is one more step after all of that: pursue!
It’s not about revelation, it’s about motivation.
God put Nehemiah in a place where he had resources to fulfill that dream. But, he had to do something about it. He was sad in the presence of the king and he asked about it. Nehemiah asked for money, resources, and time off. It was a ridiculous request, to ask for the resources to rebuild what that king’s predecessors had torn down. God gave him favor and everything he asked of the king was provided.
He went to Jerusalem and got the people together. They started building. Immediately, they are met with scorn by the enemy.
Nehemiah 2:20 “Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”
When more mocking and opposition came, he prayed and he encouraged the men to keep pursuing the dream. Nehemiah kept going, he kept praying, kept fighting, kept building.
Grab a spear and keep building!
Don’t let trouble squash your dream. It’s all part of the plan. You are still a child of God with His promises. He will still be with you. He is still with you.
People got tired and weary and the dream and vision seemed so distant, but grab that spear and keep building!
Pursue after the dream and deal with the stuff that comes your way!
How do you know God heals? Somebody got sick. Grab your spear and keep building!
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
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If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!