Psa 137:1-4 “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”
The Israelites were being taunted as they were led away into captivity and slavery.
Psa 126:1-6 “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. 3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. 4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. 5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Years later, they were set free and going home, it felt like a dream. When Peter was miraculously set free from prison, he thought it was a dream until the wind outside hit him.
In cartoons, as someone dies and goes to heaven, they see everyone flying around playing harps. The symbol of worship is someone playing a harp. The Israelites were known for that. When they were mocked, the mockers asked them to play their harps and sing. How could they sing when they were in chains? They hung their harps on willow trees saying they didn’t need them anymore.
Paul had a burden for churches.
Eph 1:18-23 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
Jesus has authority and has given the church authority as well.
John Goddard, famous adventurer, wrote down 127 goals. He accomplished many of them during his youth and completed over 100 by the time of his death. His goals included climbing 14 different mountains, becoming a doctor, typing 50 words per minute, learning to speak French, Spanish, and Arabic, circumnavigate the earth (he did this four times!), milk a poisonous snake, read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica.
“There’s something about the human spirit that when you accept challenge and work on it and have deadlines and capture your potential, it’s astounding what you can do.” —John Goddard
Paul prayed that the church would get a vision.
What the eye is to the body, the mind is to the soul. Paul wanted their hearts and their understanding to be right. Let the vision of their minds to have enough light to see. He wanted them to see the hope of the calling of God to heaven in their minds’ eyes. This would drive them forward. He wanted them to see the wealth of God’s splendor and majesty that the church are heirs of. Hang onto the reward in their minds. The third thing Paul wanted was for them to know God’s power given to us. This would give them confidence and great faith.
Champions and the best athletes all have some common practices, visualizing themselves succeeding at their goals, whether it be the perfect ice skating jump, a three-point basketball shot, or a home run.
Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”
Acts 2:17-18 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:”
There are many distractions in life, entertainment, fun, good things. There are also oppressions, disasters, difficult situations and events. These can both cause the loss of the dream.
We can reach souls, rich and poor, people from all walks of life, those who don’t know God yet. They need to believe God loves them and is able to help them.
Have we lost the vision? Have you lost the dream?
Joseph had several dreams. His first dream was about the harvest.
Even though you’re a weeper today, you’re a reaper tomorrow. Farmers sow, knowing they will someday harvest.
Joseph’s next dream had to do with the sun, moon, and stars. Everyone ridiculed him, including his parents. He was the only one who believed in those dreams.
Joseph’s brothers tried to snuff out those dreams, but God made them come to pass. However, Joseph still had to endure the pit, slavery, prison, and being forgotten by those he helped. Joseph was betrayed and lonely. Did he ever have a bad attitude? Did he ever despair? God never forgot him.
If God has called you to do something for Him, He hasn’t withdrawn that call. If He has gifted you, He won’t take away those gifts. The devil tries to cause us to lose our vision.
See with spiritual eyes like Joseph did.
Joseph suffered for thirteen years. Finally, years later, as his brothers bowed down before him, not recognizing him, he remembered his dream.
Instead of getting revenge, he remembered his dream. Joseph recognized that what man had meant to use to destroy him, God used as a set up for the saving of many, many lives.
The things that try to destroy you, God will use for good, to bless many, many souls.
There are people with needs, desperate, lonely, depressed, lost. You can have many friends who don’t really know you. Jesus knows you—everything about you—and loves you.
God will give you a dream to be a vessel of honor, something you can rejoice about, something you can be excited about, something you can tell your grandma and little children about.
Has your dream faded?
Phil 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (KJV) “I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (TPT)
Jesus always finishes what He starts. Hold onto that dream that Jesus gave you.
There was a prophecy that the Apostle Paul would be bound and taken prisoner if he went to Jerusalem. His response was, ‘Who cares? I’m still going!’
Hebrews 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
Your vision, your dream, will take you beyond the troubles and discouraging things that happen in life. You may not see your dream come to pass, but keep moving forward. God will work it out. Get an indomitable spirit. Keep the faith! Hold onto hope!
Abraham never saw the Promised Land, but Israel is a nation today. David never saw the temple, but his son, Solomon, built it.
You are in control of your life. God will only take what you allow Him to.
Are you a weeper or a dreamer?
You can’t know the number of days you get, but you can determine how you’ll spend those days. You can’t control the atmosphere, the weather, but you can control your own attitude.
You can fight the darkness by turning on the light!
Weeping is for the night, joy comes in the morning. It’s morning time. Time to rejoice—NOW! We’ve got hope! Share it. Tell people about what you’ve got. Shine that light!
The mundane man believes only what he sees. He lacks depth and vision. The poorest man is the one who has no dream.
The church is like a really fancy expensive sports car. Sometimes, however, the church has no gas. We’ve got what we need, but we need to make sure we stay full—full of hope, full of truth, full of knowing God’s grace. We face enormous odds, but God will take us through.
You don’t have to see to know where you’re going. Hang onto the dream. God will make it happen.
Acts 20:20 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,”
This is 2020! Acts 20:20! This is the dream: to offer to others what Jesus has given to us, to show, to teach, to reach into every home.
Rome was messed up, but Paul never talked politics.
Acts 20:22-24 “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
Bad things happened to Paul. He died because he kept preaching, but almost all of Asia was impacted by Paul’s preaching. His dream came true.
Move away from the willow tree. Chase after that dream! All things are possible.
D. L. Moody said, ‘I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. That which I can do by the grace of God, I will do.’
We can all do something. Will you?
Nehemiah dreamt of a wall surrounding Jerusalem again. He was ridiculed, but it didn’t stop him. That wall got built.
Movements have passion and courage. A demonstration has people that are kind of crazy in their desires. They will run over the things that people call impossible.
If you will pursue, with God all things are possible. Nothing is impossible to them that dream.
Go back to that willow tree and get your harp. Take back your song. Choose to rejoice. Get back your vision. Take back your dream and do it. Remember the song. Remember the dream. Take hold of hope. Know the God of Hope. All things are possible through Him. Press forward.
More Questions for Personal or Group Study:
- What really spoke to you in this sermon?
- What are some of your goals? What is your dream?
- Read Prov 13:12 “When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul.” (TPT) What realities does this verse address and how does this help us to hang onto our dreams?
- How can you help others to resurrect their dreams?
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.