Those who study and research sleep patterns and dreams suggest a person averages between four and six dreams each night. Each dream typically lasts in the range of five to twenty minutes. Over the average person’s lifespan, that amount of nightly dreaming equates to six years of their life.
Dreams and dream references have been written about and conveyed via art throughout history. Not only are dreams referenced over one hundred times in the pages of the Bible that include how God supernaturally communicated to people through this medium, but also people today convey stories on a regular basis of the same Divine communication. While research suggests 95-99% of a person’s dreams are forgotten after they awake, some dreams both are unforgettable and life changing.
Dr. Jim Denison has written extensively about a global phenomenon that is happening especially among Muslim people that includes the presence of dreams. He notes how statistics and stories suggest more Muslims have come to Christ in the last fifteen years than in the previous fifteen centuries. Many Muslims are responding to visions and dreams.
Denison notes, “God speaks to us in whatever language and ways we can understand. He became one of us that we might be one with Him.” He goes on to say, “Muslim miraculous stories are especially persuasive to me because those who share them have so little to gain and so much to lose. Many Muslim converts are exiled from their families and homes; many are tortured and many are killed. Their courageous faith is testimony to the hope found only in Jesus and the transforming power of “the Spirit.”
One of Dr. Denison’s dear friends is a man named Tom Doyle. Mr. Doyle is a longtime missionary to the Middle East. Denison goes on to write about how across Mr. Doyle’s many years living and serving in the Islamic world, he has witnessed first-hand these great miracles of how Jesus is revealing Himself to Muslims around the globe through dreams. He notes how Doyle’s book Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? tells the story of this astounding movement.
From Egypt to Saudi Arabia, from Iran to Jordan, from Syria to Iraq and Afghanistan, his stories read like the pages of the Book of Acts.
He recalls how one chapter tells of an Egyptian evangelist who was rousted from his bed at gunpoint and forced into a room where he was convinced he would be executed. There he met a group of Imams (mosque leaders) who had been converted to Christ through visions and dreams and wanted him to teach them the Bible. Another chapter introduces the reader to a woman in Saudi Arabia who met Jesus in her dreams and now worships in her bathroom as she prays for her husband to come to Christ.
Denison asks a great question. “Why is the Holy Spirit using dreams to reach Muslims today?” His answer: because they are open to such revelation, as their faith began with the visions of the Prophet
Muhammad. Since 60-80% of the Muslim world is illiterate, God would need to speak to them verbally and directly in their lives. He writes, “The God who spoke to patriarchs, prophets and apostles through visions is now speaking to Muslims in the same way. Long ago the Lord did what He continues to do today. As Isaiah the prophet once wrote:
“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me.” Isaiah 65:1
God is revealing himself in ways they are radically changes people’s lives because their purpose of plan was too small
That verse certainly summarizes the Call of Christmas for Joseph.
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
Joseph and Mary had signed a marriage contract. Engagement did not mean the same as it means today. Engagement then, meant they were legally bound to each other. The bride price had been paid. They were 100% committed to each other. Legally if a split occurred it was like a divorce today.
Both of their futures were tied into this marriage they had set all expectations on their future idea.
But then God…God messes with their expectations.
Joseph was disillusioned his expectations where now dashed. Some of you are in that place, some of you will be in that place at Christmas.
It is easy to become disillusioned and have expectation fail when are hope and our eyes are on us or what we want.
If you are choosing to follow the Lord with Heart, Mind, Soul, Strength; he may mess up your plans because your plans are too small. His plans are much bigger.
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
God messed with Joseph’s plans because he found a man he could trust completely. A man He could trust to be absolutely obedient to Him. A man he could so trust that when Jesus was thinking about a way to describe the love relationship God has with us he remembered Joseph’s example and said “Pray our Father”
What of your plans is God beginning to mess with? What of your plans are way too small?
Can you trust that he has a bigger better plan?
I need you to notice too that God spoke to Joseph in the way he could understand…dreams. God doesn’t need to put up a neon sign to speak clearly to you, he will most likely begin speaking to you in ways you too can understand…through people, through the teachings, through little things happening in your life, through His word… we simply need to learn to expect and pay attention
We see that Joseph has several other dreams later and each time he doesn’t wait, but responds immediately. Some of our struggles are the direct result of delayed obedience or direct disobedience.
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
God uses people to fulfill His word and plans. Story of the woman and groceries
God’s plan is for people to come to know Him
God’s plan is for the broken and the hurting to be healed
God’s plan is for people to know they are loved
And it may be more specific like meeting someone’s very specific need, spending time with someone, doing something special to be Jesus hands extended.
God met our needs through the birth of His Son…Joseph is told to name Him “Jesus” which is the Greek name for Yeshua which is the Hebrew name Joshua.
God used Joshua to deliver Israel from their enemies and into the promised land and God has the second Joshua which means “God saves” to deliver the world from their enemies and into the kingdom of God
Jesus is also called Immanuel which means “God with us”
God has met our need through the birth of his son by letting us know we are never alone, never face any battle or struggle alone, God is always with us
Matthew 1: 24,25
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Immediately Joseph sacrificed his “public view of righteousness” and took Mary to be his wife. They moved in together he put himself at risk through public shame as they saw she was pregnant and his reputation on the line to trust and do what the Lord had told him to do. He kept her pure until Jesus was born. Later we know from scripture they had children together.
God blessed Joseph with a relationship with him no one ever had
God supplied all that Joseph needed
God personally lead him
God blessed him with a wonderful wife and family
Joseph was a man that God could trust to not delay in his obedience regardless of the personal cost. Delayed obedience is really disobedience.
When we live our lives in obedience to the Lord we can expect great things. Bigger things than we can imagine to take place.
What are your dreams today?
What has the Lord challenged or called you to do?
Has there been disobedience in your life that you need to correct?
God’s plans for you are far bigger Paul says they are exceeding and abundantly beyond all we could hope or ask.
Dare to dream, dare to trust, dare to be obedient and dare to expect great things, God to give you a bigger dream