The Dream Mix
Since God gave us our dreaming nature, and since He has a purpose and destiny for each of us, it seems obvious He would want a voice in our choice of dreams.
There is a verse of Scripture that addresses this and has meant a great deal to Ceci and me over the years: “Roll your works on the Lord. Commit and trust them wholly to Him. He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and so shall your plans be established and succeed” (Proverbs 16:3 AMP - classic edition).
This wonderful verse seems almost too good to be true. God declares that He will super-naturally shape our thinking and plans, aligning them with His, which will then ensure success. The word plans in this verse comes from a word meaning “to weave, plait, or mix.” It can even refer to craftsmen inventing musical instruments, artistic objects, weapons, and other objects. The concept is simple: combining two or more substances to create something new. When used in reference to the mind, it refers to thoughts mixing together to form plans. This obviously would include dreams.
Placing this definition back into the verse, God is saying to us: When you dream, I want to be in the mix. If you will allow Me, I will infuse my thoughts into the process and shape your plans according to the purpose and destiny I have created for you. This will guarantee success.
What a great promise!
I recall a time when Ceci and I were searching for the next phase of God's calling in our lives. We had recently married and I was about to graduate from Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas. We had four opportunities with which to begin our world-changing ministry. (What can I say? We were dreamers!) The leading possibilities in our minds were overseas. We were standing on this verse, Proverbs 16:3, from the Amplified Bible.
We quoted the verse daily, usually picturing ourselves somewhere in Guatemala or Zimbabwe. Our bags were practically packed. Then something strange occurred. While praying one day, I had the thought, CFNI is going to offer you a position, and you’re to accept it. “Where did that come from?” I thought. This was nowhere on our radar!
Sure enough, within days, the offer came, and we said yes. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that those next two years working at CFNI became invaluable preparation for what God has done through us for the last forty years. Proverbs 16:3 had happened. God infused His thoughts into ours, and we listened, allowing Him “into the mix.” Dreaming works out much better when we bring the Author of dreams into the plans!
Proverbs 19:21 uses this same word: “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.” Most of the time, we humans make our plans and formulate our dreams without bringing God into the process. This began with Adam and Eve’s original sin in Eden. Satan, the tempter, knew he could throw a wrench into God’s dream if he could cause humans to dream without divine influence.
God’s plan wasn’t to have a family of independent dreamers; He desired co-dreamers. It was never His plan that we dream apart from Him and His influence - not because He’s a control freak, but because He wanted partners and associates. God wanted someone to dream with and someone to dream through. He needed outlets for His dreams.
During the late 1700s, the Lord chose a remarkable destiny for a young man in England, one that would help shape the history of a nation. And as Steven Dyer writes, the date of that man’s departure to heaven, well, that too would prove to be profoundly significant.
The movie Amazing Grace tells the true story of William Wilberforce, who led the efforts to eradicate slavery from Great Britain. When asked by his butler after his conversion if he had found God, Wilberforce’s reply was, “I think He found me.”
Indeed, God found Wilberforce, who became so joined to His heart and desires that ultimately, no price was too great for the dream. His passion to see slavery end was so overwhelming that it resulted in stomach ailments, nightmares, ridicule, and four decades of tireless work. But days before his death, the decisive vote came to eliminate slavery from England. When the law became formal three days after the vote, Wilberforce’s spirit left this world. Thomas Buxton, a member of the House of Commons at the time, said of Wilberforce, “The day which was the termination of his labors was the termination of his life.” (1)
God has need of you, just as He did Wilberforce. Since He never acts without purpose, the fact that you’re alive is proof that you have something this generation needs.
Most people, however, go through life pursuing personal careers and goals without ever considering that God wants to dream through them. Too often, He’s a lonely dreamer. There must be millions of written but unfulfilled destinies in God’s dream book in heaven. The plans, accomplishments, and dreams He wrote about for so many are tragically undiscovered and unrealized. He and His plans never make it into their dream mix. Thankfully, this isn’t always the case.
James Taylor, a chemist, was intrigued by all things Chinese, according to biographer Roger Steer. In the early months of 1832, Taylor knelt beside his wife, Amelia, in the parlor at the back of his busy chemist shop in England. “Dear God,” he prayed,” if you should give us a son, grant that he may work for You in China.” When their child was born on May 21, 1832, James and Amelia called him James Hudson Taylor.
Immersed in a Methodist family fascinated with China, the young Hudson sometimes blurted out, “When I am a man, I mean to go to China,” though his parents had not told him of their prayer. He prepared himself by reading books on China, analyzing the gospel of Luke in the Chinese language, and studying medicine. Finally, on September 19, 1853, Hudson left Liverpool harbor and headed for China.
In 1865, with great faith but limited financial resources, Taylor founded the China Inland Mission, with its goal being to present the gospel to all the provinces of China. By the time of Taylor’s death in 1905, the CIM was an international body with 825 missionaries living in all eighteen provinces of China and having seen twenty-five thousand Christian converts.
J. Hudson Taylor’s parents put God into the mix of their dreams. Just as He promised in His Word, God infused His heart into theirs, and when they conceived a son, He stamped into his DNA the divine-human dream. Amazing. Only heaven knows the full extent of the fruit. Whether you become a missionary, an attorney, or a school teacher, let God into your dreaming mix. Become the outlet for one of His dreams. (2)
Pray with me:
Father, as we are challenged to dream, we look now at the importance of keeping You in the mix. Teach us how to allow Your thoughts, Your ways, and Your heart to leaven the process. You have promised that if we do this, our plans will be established and succeed. You tell us in Your Word that many plans are in a person’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord - Your counsel - will stand.
Forgive us for taking You out of the mix in our personal lives, and also for doing so as a nation. We repent on behalf of our nation and ask for the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from our rebellion and rejection of You. You have determined that we would be outlets for Your dreams. We choose this day to walk in the fullness of that revelation.
Psalm two makes clear Your dream of a great harvest in all the nations. You told Jesus to ask You for this, and You would do it. He has asked, and now You will accomplish it. As part of Your dreaming family, we partner with You to see this accomplished. And we do it in the unfailing name of Jesus. Amen.
We declare that God is in our thinking, leading us down His paths. Therefore our plans will succeed.
Today’s post was taken from my book Dream.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
[Dutch Sheets Dream, Discovering God’s Purpose for Your Life (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2012), pp 49-50, 77-82.]
Steven G. Dyer, Transforming a Nation (Grove, OK: Steven G. Dyer, 2010) p 54.
Adapted from Roger Steer, “pushing Inward,” Christian History: Hudson Taylor and Missions to China 15, no 4 (1996): http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1996/issue52/52h10a.html ; and adapted from Ralph R. Covell, “Taylor, James Hudson,” Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity, ed. Gerald H Anderson (New York: MacMillan Reference USA, 1998), reprinted online at http:www.bdcconline.net/en/stories/t/tayor-james-hudson.php.