When a Dream Becomes a Nightmare

Joseph was pledged to be married to Mary. Matthew 1:20 tells us that he had a dream, and at the time, his dream must have seemed like a nightmare like a nightmare.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)

  1. Realize that God has a great plan.

We are born with the capacity to dream, and godly dreams are meant to help us progress, not digress. Joseph’s dream must have shattered his plan with Mary, but God had a greater plan to save mankind.

  1. Demonstrate the strength of your Christ-like character.

Your character is your moral fortitude, the strength that is within you.

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger. “Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were ploughing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:8-22)

The above scriptures describe Job’s strong character. Joseph responded similarly to the dream God gave him. Life always presents us with choices, and they will not all necessary be good and safe.

  1. We must see things from God’s perspective.

Only through sincere trust in the goodness of God can we be willing to look see our shattered dreams as part of the journey to His greater blessings. Matthew 1:20 tells us that Joseph made a decision based on God’s higher perspective. As a result, the nightmare of his reality became a great testimony of God’s provision.

  1. We need to respond with pure faith.

Resist the temptation to question God. He is still in control. If need be, we should stand up for what is right against public opinion. Be willing to embrace God’s plan. In Matthew 1:24-25, Joseph did exactly as God told him.

Breaking the Tyranny of Routine

The greatest enemy the Church faces is the dictatorship of routine. When our behavior falls into a routine, we begin to die. If everything goes on as usual and nothing out of the ordinary happens, life becomes rigid and we lose sight of opportunities to do the work and will of God.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (Luke 1:5-20)

Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? (Isaiah 29:14-17)

How do you break out of the routine of life?

1. Take responsibility for your life.

The Gospel of Luke tells us that Zechariah was so deeply committed to a cultural, religious routine that he doubted the Word of God through Gabriel regarding the birth of his son, John the Baptist. We easily become like Zechariah, conditioned by our practices. We need to continually check the motives that dictate our life and break out of ungodly routines.

2. Discover God’s will in your life.

We are created to be different than the world. The Bible tells us that we are wonderfully made. Do not let other people control your life. Celebrate who you are; do not try to be somebody else.

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139:13-15)

3. Do something bold.

When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. (Luke 1:57-64)

Following the story of John the Baptist’s birth, Elizabeth made the bold choice to name her son John, going against tradition.

4. Believe that change is possible in your life.

The only thing that is constant in life is the presence of change. Break the tradition of religion where it hinders you from hearing God. We must change according to the season as we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. (Galatians 1:13-16)

Paul was caught up in his practice of persecuting Christians until God set him apart to become a great apostle for the Lord Jesus Christ.

5. Learn to have faith and obey God.

Zechariah lost his ability to speak when he doubted God’s Word, but when the prophecy of John‘s birth was fulfilled through obedience and faith, he regained his speech. The births of John and Jesus defied nature. God did not follow tradition.

Divine Destiny, Dreams and Destination

What exactly is a divine destiny? It is the way of life for Christians. We all think about our future and success, but let us look to Scripture to understand our true destiny in Christ.

1. We are called to serve and worship the Lord.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

We are called to be priests who serve and worship God. What you do makes you who you are; your actions reflect your character. The Bible tells us that we were dead in our transgressions and have been made alive by His rich mercy. In light of the above truths, what should be our way of life and the road to our destiny? We are made to worship Him, obey Him, and be Christ-like.

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:4-6)

2. To fulfil your divine destiny, you are called to conform to Christ’s likeness.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:28-29)

God knew us even before we were born; He has predestined us to conform to His image.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Success in life is not determined by our actions or possessions, but by how accurately we reflect the One who lives within us.

3. Fulfilling in our divine destiny means following God’s plan through lives of faith and obedience.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had an opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:6, 13-16)

In conclusion, our divine destiny is our way of life, and ultimately, the divine destiny is Heaven. Balance your life based on these objectives.

You Wouldn’t Want to Lose the Fire or Anointing of God or Take It for Granted

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. (Judges 13:1-5, 24-25)

The above scriptures depict the miraculous birth of Samson, one of the Old Testament judges who was anointed by the Holy Spirit. The scriptures following describe how he lost his anointing.

So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. (Judges 16:17-21)

Why did Samson lose the anointing?

  1. Personal weakness

Samson was anointed, set apart to be a Nazirite for God. He was not allowed to drink wine, cut his hair or eat fruits or vegetables grown on the vine, nor was he permitted to touch any dead carcass.

The devil will allow you to use your strength, as long as you allow him to exploit your weaknesses. This is precisely what happened to Samson. The devil knows your weaknesses, and when you play with your weakness, slowly but surely, it will get to you. Samson did not give away his secrets immediately, but as the pleasure became deeper and deeper, his strength was sabotaged.

  1. He did not take his calling seriously.

He ate the honey from the lions’ carcasses which God had forbid him to do. It is possible for your anointing to feed your ego to a point that you think you can rely on your own strength instead of God.

He did not take self-discipline seriously, thereby revealing his weakness. You will meet your Delilah, and in the heat of temptation, it is easy to slip into the deep sinkhole of sin. The cunning schemes of the enemy can dull your senses until it is too late and give you false confidence in your own abilities. Delilah may not come in the form of a temptation to lust; your temptation may be to pursue power, wealth, or any other delight of the flesh.

Entice and do not be enticed. No man or woman is strong enough to dance with the devil. Do not play around your temptations; flee. Try to imagine Samson’s position. He lost his strength, he lost the woman he loved so much, he lost his sight, and he became a slave. What a sad, painful fall. Do not let the enemy tempt you to misuse your anointing.

How do you get back?

But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. (Judges 16:22, 28-30)

Get your life right with God. Realize that everything is vanity in life except a life lived for God. We have to learn in the Spirit and not revel in the flesh; this will change your perspective. This is what Samson did near the end of his life when he fully realized the purpose of his calling.

Change your life. Change your lifestyle, know your calling, and understand your purpose. It is not an easy journey, but you need to find the true meaning of your life. Read the Bible, and have fellowship with people of God who will help you understand your unique calling and hold you accountable.

Start doing what is right. There is no greater joy than knowing that you are doing what is right. You will have peace when you are on the right track.

Why We Miss the Anointing

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:41-52)

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” (John 1:24-34)

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Being filled with the Holy Spirit and having the anointing of the Holy Spirit are two different things. The Holy Spirit lives in every believer, but that does not necessarily mean that every believer walks in His anointing. If we have the anointing, we will have a special power that He gives us. We each have a different anointing, like Samson, Elijah, Elisha and so on.

There are several practical reasons why we may miss the anointing:

  1. We fail to seize key moments God places in our path, as a result of fear, pride or even a religious spirit.

Scripture tells us that Mary and Joseph busied themselves with religious duties for three days until they realized that Jesus was missing. We tend to be involved in church activities to a point that we are not focused on worshiping God. We need to be present in His presence to receive His anointing, we need to seize the moment as He leads.

  1. Our lives become too crowded.

Spend time in the presence of God so that you can develop sensitivity to discern important moments.

  1. We get so caught up in the present that we fail to realize the importance of the future.

We are so busy with our lives and daily activities that we forget the future. We will spend eternity with the Lord. How are you actively investing in the Kingdom of God?

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. (1 John 2:20-21, 27)

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (2 Timothy 1:14)

Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways. (Proverbs 14:2)

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

If we realize we have lost Jesus, we need to go back and look for Him like Joseph and Mary did. The Bible says that they found Him in His Father’s house. We will find Jesus if we seek Him.

Breakthrough Anointing Will Bring You out of Isolation

The breakthrough anointing will bring you out of isolation. David had to wait for 20 years before he saw God’s promise fulfilled. Each of us has breakthrough anointing within us, even if we are not aware of it. We need to understand the ebb and flow of God just like a fisherman understands the tides of the sea. Our God is a God of excellence. The difference between excellence and mediocrity is forward motion. If you stop believing, become inactive or fail to follow through, then you will only walk in partial victory.

How can you have full victory?

  1. Continue to ride the tide by faith.

God will teach you and guide you like a child. Your victory will be proportionate to your desire and action. Whatever you do, be it in business, education or family, do it for the Lord with all your heart. It is all about your heart.

  1. Engage and face your enemy or problem.

Shoot the arrow as a declaration of war.

He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along. “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 59:16-21)

Isaiah prophesied about the Lord Jesus. When injustice swept in like a flood, he wrote that the Lord would lift up a standard against the enemy. We need to believe in that promise. Nothing can prevail against the standard of the Lord.

  1. Pray a prayer of dependence that reflects the attitude of your heart towards God.

The action described in 1 Kings 13:17 was done in total dependence on God and not the ways of the flesh. Jehoash, King of Israel, did what the prophet asked him to do, thus becoming totally dependent on the instruction of God. This was followed by a prayerful declaration against the enemy. We need to rise to such a level of faith if we are to see victory in our own lives.

  1. Depend on the Spirit of God.

Elisha’s bones still carried his anointing; that is how powerful the anointing of God is.

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. (Psalm 18:32-34)

What a powerful declaration. Amen.

Arrow of God’s Deliverance

Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The LORD’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.” Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.” Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. Hazael king of Aram oppressed Israel throughout the reign of Jehoahaz. But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence. Hazael king of Aram died, and Ben-Hadad his son succeeded him as king. Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-Hadad son of Hazael the towns he had taken in battle from his father Jehoahaz. Three times Jehoash defeated him, and so he recovered the Israelite towns. (2 Kings 13:14-25)

Even though he held the highest position in Israel, Jehoash was helpless in the face of the enemy, and he ran to God’s prophet for help. Similarly, sometimes we think we have power, but without God’s Word our power is meaningless.

We can draw six principles from the scriptures above:

  1. Make an effort.
  2. Seek instruction and help from those with a prophetic anointing.
  3. Make a specific goal and aim for it.
  4. Act in faith without knowing the outcome.
  5. Remain confident and persevere.
  6. Seize strategic moments; you may not get a second chance.

Know that when God opens the door, you must be steadfast in order to see His promise fulfilled.