In praying about this year, I felt that God wants to speak to us about how to "contend for our dreams" as we navigate through this new season. Specifically, I felt that God wanted to speak to us through the Biblical example of the life of Joseph. God is raising up a Joseph Generation that will know how to operate in the realms of government and commerce, yet stay pure and purposed. The temptations and challenges will be real and pointed. In other words, you may feel like you are being targeted at times but the truth is that you are favored and called to a high purpose.
Conceiving the Dream
For some in this season the thrust may be one of discovery: discovering your purpose, your gifts and your assignment. Many may feel that they are already deep in the process of journeying toward their dream's fulfillment, while others are just starting down this path. Or perhaps God is wanting to release a greater understanding of your initial dreams or a further expansion and birthing of new things out of your life in this season. Joseph started on his journey by receiving God-inspired dreams and a burst of initial favor on his life.
He instantly identified with the dream and wanted everyone to know his calling. As we know, this can bring a wonderful collaboration with others who receive our pearl of revelation but also a resistance, jealousy and even persecution from those who just don't get it. Casting our pearl before swine can bring a wave of negativity and attack on our dream. "Conceiving the dream" is a prophetic process that is necessary to achieve great things and is part of the journey to fulfillment of that dream. Don't let anyone or anything steal your dream! (Photo via Pexels)
Contending Against Fear and Rejection
What a traumatic experience going from the heights of special favor from your father, special gifts being given to you and a special place in the plan of God being revealed to you; then to the horror of your own brothers lying to you, plotting against you, hurting you and rejecting you. The pain must have been unimaginable! The confusion must have been totally bewildering! And the negative turn of events was so disappointing and hurtful.
This, I'm sure, wanted to create a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in him. Something meant to kill the dream in him and replace it with deep-seated fear and insecurity. I hear that this is a year that God wants to not just deal with the fruit of fear and intimidation and retreat, but He is going to the very root of fear in our lives. God is going to uproot the taproots of insecurity in significant ways and secure us afresh in His love, favor and promise to us.
Contending Against The Bait of Betrayal
For Joseph, there were very many direct attacks against him that were targeting his dream and ultimately his destiny. The first and perhaps most insidious was rooted in jealousy and a lack of appreciation of what God was doing in him that originated in his own home. His own brothers betrayed him and sold him down the river.
Betrayal is a terrible attack because it always involves those whom we have trusted and presumed would do us good. What a test! Would he lose his dream, give up in grief and despair because of the pain of betrayal? Would he stop using his gift? Would he stop following God? Would he just acclimate and assimilate with his environment and let go of his dream in bitterness and disappointment? How easy it would it have been to do just that!
How easy would it have been to say that this prophetic stuff doesn't work and doesn't come to pass because of his pain! How easy would it have been for him to toss away his dream of greatness and give way to a life of survival and mediocrity because of things that happened to him that weren't even his fault! Praise God he didn't, because the fate of a nation and his family lay in the balance in the decisions he would make during this dark time of his journey! (Photo via Flickr)
Contending Against Temptation with Faith, Faithfulness and Fortitude
We know that Joseph somehow got himself together enough to get over his great sense of rejection from his family and do the best with the hand that he had been dealt. He chose to continue following God even when the dream was obscured and seemed out of sight. In a foreign land with many foreign gods and ways, what would he do? Would he stay faithful to the dream or compromise, lowering his expectations and live like the world around him? We all know that he worked hard in Potiphar's house. He wasn't lazy and didn't excuse himself because of the negativity that had been injected into his life. His hard work was rewarded and he began to rise up through the ranks until he was again experiencing amazing favor.
The temptation would've been to give up and lay low but that's not what Joseph did. Then the big test came when Potiphar's wife enticed him, tried to seduce him, and even blackmail him. How easy would it have been to say "What's the use?" or "No one else I know is watching," or "You can't fight the system. How can I deny my natural desires and my flesh? How can I not give into this temptation when my life, future, promotion and prosperity are all at stake?"
However, Joseph knew that he could not fulfill God's dream for his life by following this plan and easy path. There would be a day when he would be entrusted with the highest office in the land with the greatest opportunities for corruption. He understood that how he operated with a little would determine how God could trust him to release much into his hands in the future. If you are faithful over a little then you can be trusted with more. Praise God Joseph didn't give up or give in when strong temptation came knocking at his door, but he chose to use his strength to resist evil and to fight to do what is right.
With Hope - Contend to Hold onto the Dream in the Dark of the Night
Joseph's reward for staying true seemed to be nothing more than a sentence of judgment to live out his life in the darkness and defeat of a rank dungeon. Surely, he would give up on the dream now (the enemy must have thought). Surrounded by darkness and then condemned as the result of false accusation? What a predicament!
Would he curse God and die? Would he say that it doesn't pay to do things the right way? Would he say forget the dream, it's only brought me pain and sorrow? No! Somehow, he held onto the dream with hope when it seemed more distant from him than ever before. He must have thought that this is the end and if it's not, then how will I ever get my reputation back?
But Joseph made a determination that his dream was not a pipe dream of his own making, but it was a revelation from God Himself therefore, God would have to be the Fulfiller of it. He decided to continue to be faithful to the same principles that he had believed in and lived his life by, despite the dark circumstances he found himself in. He maintained his hope even if he couldn't see a way ahead.
One person once said, "Don't doubt in the dark what you heard in the light." The enemy tempts us to say, "Hath God said?" Hope is a powerful force and in the same way hopelessness is a powerful curse. God is restoring hope to the Church concerning God's original dream for man, His Church and the earth. If all you have is hope in your dream, hang on to it because it can change everything!
Contending to Advance By Using Your Gifts
How easy would it have been for Joseph to say to God, "I don't want to have any more dreams and I sure don't want to interpret anyone else's dream because this whole prophetic thing has only brought me heartache and sorrow." If he had done that, he would have never seen the fulfillment of God's dream for his life. God knew that there would be a day of "bigger fish to fry". He would be interpreting the dreams of kings.
All that Joseph was going through was a training and proving ground for him. He learned agriculture and management in Potiphar's house. He learned government administration in Pharaoh's prison. And he learned how to use his gift of revelation and wisdom in every challenge he faced. It was all a big set-up for a great comeback!(Photo via Pixabay)
Joseph was the ultimate comeback kid. You just couldn't keep this good man down. Even when he was forgotten for a season after interpreting the dreams of the butler and the baker, he didn't allow this delay to discourage him to the point of giving up on his dream. This is a year to use our gifts more than ever before. Many of you are on the tail end of a process that has seemed a difficult road to traverse but God is saying, "Don't stop using your gifts, they are needed now more than ever before." They will be needed in the promotion and positions of favor He wants to release to you for His Kingdom purposes in the earth.
Can God trust you to continue operating in the spiritual dynamics that got you into the position of favor? Promotion doesn't come from the east or the west but from the Lord! Can God trust you with a position of authority and prosperity in Egypt? Will you maintain your Kingdom focus, principles and priorities and fulfill God's dream for the blessings and breakthroughs you have received?
What Does This Have To Do With You This Year?
I believe God has a dream for His Church, He has a dream for every nation in the earth, and He has a dream for your life. As I said before, it wasn't just the destiny of Joseph's life that laid in the balance but it was the destiny of a nation and his own family that was at stake. The enemy was throwing everything he could against Joseph to kill his dream, but God was using this long 13-year period of his life to prepare him and prove him, so that he could ultimately produce through him the deliverance and transformation God desired to bring.
God Has a Dream For America
This will be a year of great contention that God has purposed to bring reformation and restoration to America. Don't be afraid of the fight because God is declaring that it is a season of victory! God's original intent and dream for the purpose of this land is going to come back into operation. God is restoring the "American Dream" to individuals but more importantly the "American Dream" God has always had for this land. God is looking for those who will contend for the dream! (Photo via Pixabay)
God Has a Dream For Your Life
This is a year to let God go to the root of fear in your life and break its power. It is a year to renew your hope in the dream and don't let anything steal it from you! You may have experienced some of these attacks upon your dream, but don't give up in despair or give into temptation of mediocrity or compromise. Contend for the dream this year as never before by purposing to stay in faith – be faithful and use your gift.
The End Result
Because Joseph stayed true to his principles and his God, he saw his family restored to him, he saw a nation preserved through great adversity, and he saw a new nation arise in the midst of the land of his original captivity that would ultimately be used by God to release God's blessings in the earth. This is what God was after – a people prepared for His purposes. Yes, Joseph had to choose to forgive those who hurt him but as he did, he once again proved who he was despite what others did to him and it released the reality and fulfillment of the dream God had given to him for his life in the beginning.
What dream are you contending for in 2017? What is trying to steal your dream? Let me know so I can pray and agree with you for your breakthrough! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List go here.)
Tom and Jane Hamon are the senior pastors of Vision Church @ Christian International in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Their ministry together is an example to the Body of Christ of a husband and wife team working in tandem and unity to accomplish God's purposes. Their ministry is characterized by a rich deposit of God's wisdom to provide apostolic covering for the Church, prophetic teaching and ministry, and demonstration of Kingdom anointing and power. They travel as an apostolic/prophetic team to the nations, imparting both the Spirit of Wisdom and revelation to establish the Church and break open territories through spiritual warfare for the Kingdom of God to be experienced in a powerful and practical way.
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