Tag Archives: leave the past behind you

Greater Dreams

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I recently heard a preacher say, “Our dreams must be greater than our memories.” Immediately that struck a chord with me. As I continued to think on that phrase and ponder it’s implications, I began to think of examples in the Bible where that was true. I thought of several examples, but the one that stood out to me the most came from the book of Exodus. The Israelites had moved to Israel about 400 years earlier to escape the famine, but they never returned to the land God promised Abraham. Now they had become slaves in a land that was not theirs.

In Exodus 6, God spoke to Moses to tell the people that He would deliver them from slavery and would take them to the land He promised Abraham. When Moses told them what God said, they didn’t even listen. Verse 9 says, “They didn’t even hear him – they were that beaten down in spirit (MSG).” The dream of being free had been forgotten, but God wasn’t done. He wanted to revive that dream. He kept at them until they began to dream again. It culminated with them walking out of Egypt and heading for their Promised Land.

It didn’t take long after they were freed for their memories to become greater than their dreams. In Exodus 16, they began to cry out, “Why didn’t God let us die in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat?” They forgot that dreams require sacrifice. It’s hard work to make a dream become reality. Instead of putting in that hard work to realize the dream, they did something much easier, they remembered how easy it was before. Given the choice of working hard to achieve their dream or to go back into slavery, they wanted the later.

It’s easy to sit in judgement thousands of years later, but are we really that different? We have each been given unrealized dreams that we are no where near accomplishing. Why? Because it’s easier to sit and talk about the vision for our life than it is to accomplish it. It’s not hard to dream. It’s hard to make it a reality. As soon as it gets difficult, we start remembering how “good” we had it before. The dream, even though given by God, gets overpowered by our selective memories of the past. We turn back to go the Land of Ease instead of to the Promised Land.

The dream God has given you will not come without sacrifice. It will not bloom unless it is tended to. It requires you to get up from where you are, to take that step of faith you’ve been afraid of and to move in the direction God tells you to go. It won’t be easy, but nothing good ever is. There will be roadblocks along the way, but don’t let them stop you. Keep the dream God has given you at the forefront of your mind. Don’t entertain old memories. Keep pushing them back until you’ve arrived at your destination. When you get there you’ll be glad you believed in your dreams rather than your memories.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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Forgetting The Past

When Joseph was finally set free in Egypt, he was placed second in command. He was given a wife and an Egyptian name that means “Treasury of the glorious rest”. When his firstborn came into the world, he named him Manasseh, which means “God has made me forget my suffering”. For over 13 years he was a slave or prisoner, yet when God had finished preparing him for his calling, and placed him in it, he forgot how bad it was.

When we go through suffering, it’s hard to think of anything else. It’s difficult to imagine that we would ever forget that time, but that’s what God does. He takes our difficult times, and what seems like misfortune, and turns it into opportunities for greatness. If we are trusting in His plan, when that opportunity presents itself, we won’t be too bitter to capitalize on it. When we are then fulfilling our purpose, the years of suffering and doubt seem to be forgotten.

Here are some Bible verses on forgetting the past.

1. Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons by Asenath. He said, “God has made me forget all my sufferings and all my father’s family”; so he named his first son Manasseh. He also said, “God has given me children in the land of my trouble”; so he named his second son Ephraim.

Genesis 41:50-52 GNT

2. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14 HCSB

3. But the Lord says, “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.”

Isaiah 43:18-19 GNT

4. Be kind to me, GOD; I’ve been kicked around long enough. Once you’ve pulled me back from the gates of death, I’ll write the book on Hallelujahs; on the corner of Main and First I’ll hold a street meeting; I’ll be the song leader; we’ll fill the air with salvation songs.

Psalm 9:13-14 MSG

5. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety.

Job 11:16-18 NLT

Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

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