Time to Dream | The Struggle Behind Every Dream

Understanding The Struggle Behind Every Godly Dream

James Greer
Aug 29, 2021    27m
It's important that we understand that there is always a struggle behind every godly dream. We struggle to surrender to God. But God uses our struggle with Him to build our character and make us blessable before He blesses us. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: [00:00:01] Well, morning, Journey Church. Man, we're going to continue our series, It's Time to Dream. But man, we're going to be talking about a dreamer today that had some struggle in his life. And I can tell you something. You're going to have struggles. I'm going to have struggles. We all have struggles. But one thing about struggles is I usually think the big part of my struggles are usually with the enemy. And what you're going to find out today was Jacob, he struggled and he really struggled with God. And sometimes the devil wants you to think you're struggling with him to miss that you're struggling with God. And many times you're struggling with God because God wants you to struggle with Him until you surrender to Him where He can bless you like you've never been blessed before. God's teaching us today about Jacob. And Jacob's main purpose for the struggle was to, it was a wrestling match with God. And you can't win against God. Amen? But many times, like I said, that we think our struggle’s with some person and we miss what's really going on in our life. Ephesians 6:12. I used to quote it all time. It said, we don't wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and against powers. And many times when I'd say that and I'd go on and say rulers and darkness of this age and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the Heavenly places. It's true. But we also miss that many times we're struggling with God. And we're struggling with God because God says, I want you to surrender something in your life.

James Greer: [00:01:37] There's something that I want you to give up. There's a character flaw. And the only reason God wants you to give it up is where you can go up. Amen? It's because God has something so much better for you. Everyone that's ever accomplished something great, that’s had great dreams has had great struggles. And in fact, I can tell you something. The greater the accomplishments, the greater the struggles. I've seen people that I used to say, man, I really wish I had what they had accomplished. But when I find out what it took for them to accomplish it, many times, I didn't want what they had. We're going to study about Jacob today. And most of what Jacob had accomplished up to this point in Jacob's life, he had got by scheming and deceiving and trickery. And he's the one that schemed and tricked and deceived his own brother, Esau, out of his birthright. He's coming to the point that God wants to use him. God's going to give him this huge dream. It’s so big, it's beyond his own imagination. But to do that, God's got to kind of squeeze him. He's going to squeeze him, he's going to squirm, and he's going to surrender. Many times when God's squeezing you and you're squirming in your struggle, it’s because God wants you to surrender. So we're going to look at the struggle behind the dream in Genesis 28 verse 11.

James Greer: [00:03:09] And when he reached a certain place, now what he’s fixing to do, he's wanting to go back to his original land where his father was. But he scared because he had swindled his brother out of his birthright. And he stopped at night because of the sun had set and taking a stone there. And he put it under his head and he lay down to sleep that night. Oh, I'd love this next verse. And he had a dream. I hope you have a dream. I hope you have a godly dream. When you have a really godly dream, that's the difference between having passion and just living a passive life. I know so many people, their life is just passive. How you doing? Getting by. What are you looking forward to? Nothing. My goodness. Get a life. I know people, they’re in the 30s and 40s. How are you doing? Just getting by. I'm thinking, man, I'm 68 and I'm more excited than you. Get a life. Amen? It may be because I don't have as long live as you do. But I mean let's go. Amen? Anyway, he had a dream. And then when he saw, he saw a stairway. Listen to this. The stairs were resting on earth with the top reaching to Heaven. And the angels of God, they were ascending and descending. This is cool because, listen, I think godly dreams should come from Heaven and to earth. And because really godly dreams, listen, godly dreams, it's like Matthew 6:10. It says, this kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is where? In Heaven. Amen.

James Greer: [00:04:48] Because see, let's get some Heaven going here on earth. That's what godly dreams do. It’s bringing some Heaven down on earth. It’s bringing some of what God has us to do while we're here on Earth. There above stood the Lord. And He said, I am the Lord, capital LORD, the God of your father, Abraham, and the God of Isaac. And I'm going to give you, here's the dream, I'm gonna give you and your descendants the land in which you are lying. This is fantastic, because He said, listen, not only am I going to give you a dream, I'm going to give you this unbelievable dream. I'm gonna give it to you and I'm gonna give it to your descendants. Now, that's important because you understand when you're right with God, God says, I'm not only going to bless you, I’m going to bless your kids and I’m going to bless your grandkids. Amen? You do know what you do matters to your kids and grandkids. Amen? And so it does. And your descendants. Your descendants are going to be, what? Like the dust of the earth. He said, man, am I going to bless you. And you're going to spread out over all the West and over all the East and the earth and the South. And all the people on the earth will be blessed through you. That's a blessing. Amen? But let me tell you, you understand, you are blessed to be a blessing.

James Greer: [00:06:05] Some people don't realize why they're blessed. You don't realize the main reason you're blessed to be a blessing when God blesses you. Stop being a blessing, you stop being blessed. That’s good, Brother James. Listen to this. Personalize this next verse. You ready? God speaking. I am with you. You do know God's with you if you're saved? Amen? I'll watch over you wherever you go. God’s with you. He’s wherever you go. I'll bring you back to this land. God will not leave you until He's done what He has promised you. Man, that's fantastic. God says, I got a message for you. I'm with you. I'll watch over you wherever you go. I'll never leave you. And I always do what I promise. Man, do you know how it's so important that you know what God's promises are? Because God said, I'll always do what I promise you. Amen? How about this? Next Sunday, next Sunday, everybody comes, all three services, we're going to give you a brand-new promise book. Amen? I mean isn't it great to come to a church where Journey Church resources the crap out of its people? Amen? You understand. Now crap in Journey Church means Christ reverses another problem. So I don't know what y'all been thinking. See, yeah, yeah. Y'all thought it meant something else. No, no, not today. My mind is correct. And when you know God's promises, that's what happens. Christ will reverse your problems. Anyway. When Jacob woke up from his sleep, he thought, oh, surely the Lord is in this place.

James Greer: [00:07:36] Well, if you would wake up at Journey Church, you would know that Jesus is in this place. Amen? And he wasn’t aware of it. Some people come to church every Sunday. They're not even aware that Jesus is in this place. You need to wake up. He said, I was afraid and said, how awesome is this place? Man, every single Sunday, I love to go to church because something I know. I know Jesus is in the place. I always said, this is awesome to be in this place. This is no other than God's house. By the way, it's God's house. This is the gates of Heaven. I mean your prayers is a gateway to Heaven. Early the next morning, Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and he set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. You know. And he called the Bethel, though it used to be called Luz. And he's going on. Then Jacob made a vow. Listen to this. God just told him He was going to give him all this land, North, South, East, West. Your descendants are going to be blessed. You're going to be blessed. And he said, God, God. God, if you'll be with me and if you'll watch over me. God already told you He’s going to do that, dude. He just told you two verses back. Anybody say, God, if you'll do that, if you'll be with me, if you watch over me on this journey. Yay, Journey Church. Amen?

James Greer: [00:08:57] Life is a journey. The best way to go through a journey is with Jesus with you and for you. He'll never leave. He says, that I'm taking, you are taking a journey. And if you’ll give me food to eat and clothes to wear. You know, in the New Testament, God says, hey, if you have food and raiment, be content. So that I return safely to my father's house, then the Lord will be my God. God already told you He's going to be that so He better be your God. And this stone that I have set up as this pillar will be God's house and of all that you give me. I'll give you a tenth. You do understand everything you have came from God. I love people say, man, you think everything you got, you think you worked all week and that company gave you that paycheck and it’s yours. No, it's not. Everything you have in your life came from God. Every good and perfect gift the book of James says came down from God. And God says, you better remember to give me a tenth back. You get 90%. That's not a bad deal. Amen? I mean life is a journey. Travel the journey with Jesus. He’s with you and He's for you. But make sure you give Him a tenth back. I mean number one, what a dream. Your descendants, they're going to be there. I'm going to be with you. I'm going to watch over you wherever you go.

James Greer: [00:10:23] I will not leave you. I mean God said, man. Can I be a reminder? Do you understand one of the reasons we give a tenth is to remind us that it all came from God? Don't steal from God. Give it back to Him. Number two, the struggle with God is a stage that we all go through if you want to go to the next level with God. Some people never go to the next level of God because they don't understand the struggle is with God. They think it’s the struggles with their wife. They think it’s the struggles with their kids. They think it’s struggles with their boss. No, no. Many times your struggle’s with God. Genesis 32:22, it says this. And he arose that night and he took his two wives and the two female servants and the 11 sons. And they crossed to over to Jabbok. The reason that he did that is because he was afraid that his brother Esau was going to hurt him and kill him. So he sent them ahead. And he took them, he sent them to the brook ahead of time because he didn't want them to be killed. In verse 24, it says, and then Jacob was left alone all by himself. And the man wrestled with him until daybreak. There was an angel that wrestled with him all night. But let me tell you what. Jacob's whole life was like that. Even in the womb, Jacob wrestle with his brother.

James Greer: [00:12:04] When he became a man, he even fought with God. I mean can you imagine? Jacob most of his life, he just struggled, and he wrestled. Let me tell you. Let me stop and make some application. I want you to think of the biggest struggle and problems you have right now, the biggest conflict that you're going through right now, the biggest struggles you're going through right now. Whatever they are. Without even knowing what they are, I can tell you there's two basic issues why you're struggling. Number one, you're struggling will I obey God and do what’s right? Will I trust God to take care of the situation? So, number one, you're struggling, will I obey God and will I trust God? Or I just want to be in control. I want to be in charge. I'm going to call the shots. And so as long as you're going to call the shots, you're going to struggle with God. So you're either saying, I'm going to trust God and you're not struggling. I'm going to obey God and He's in control. Or you're not going to let go and you're struggling to call the shots and be in control. So we all have these what we call wrestling matches. And some of them get pretty wild. You ought to see these wrestling matches. I mean some of them are even, have you ever seen wrestling on TV? How bad they get? Let me show you some. Either trust and obey or you look like these guys. Some of y’all look like [inaudible]. And people are on the side there, cheering you on.

James Greer: [00:14:08] You do know the point of wrestling matches, right? It's to pin of the person down. It’s to make him surrender. Bam. Oh. I had, y’all probably don’t remember. There was a wrestler one time. His name was Hacksaw Duggan. And he always carried it. And I had him at the store one time. And I was saying, man, you know, it’s really cool. He said, all that’s fake, everything in it. And he grabbed me and he picked me in air and held me up. He said, do you want me to drop you? I said, no, sir. He said, do you think it's fake if you hit the ground and hurt? I said, no, sir. He sat me back down. And said, does that answer your question? I say, it’s okay. We didn't talk anymore about that part. We changed the subject. But you do understand the whole point of having a wrestling match is for you, the other person to say, I surrender, I give up. But the problem is this. God loves you so much. He loves you so much. He knows that we seldom surrender, that we seldom give up until we have enough pain that’s either great enough that we overcome the fear to change or we hurt enough that we're willing to change. That's what was going on with Jacob. Only difference was that dude was wrestling with God. See, the test, the test before the blessing. He tests us before the blessing. He tests us to the teach us to trust Him. So Jacob, he was left alone.

James Greer: [00:15:38] And the man, he wrestled with him till daybreak. Man, that is a long time. Testing to trust Him. He had an all-nighter. I've had those. Have you ever struggled and tossed and turned all night? You just had this wrestling match all night. I can't sleep. With me, I get up from the bed and I go to the couch, I go to the chair. I just kind of make a circle on those nights. And you know, it just, God, what is it? I mean I can't sleep. I struggle. I'm worrying. Now I know y'all don't do that. But I do sometimes. So I know what it's like. And when the man saw that he couldn't overpower him, he touched the socket of his hip so that his hip with wrenched as he wrestled with the man. That is painful. See, struggling with God can be painful. It can hurt. But that pain can lead to a purpose that’ll give you a passion like you've never had before. Then the man said, let me go for it’s daybreak. But Jacob replied, I'm not going to let you go unless you bless me. Now here's where it comes. Jacob is worn out. He's wrestled all night. He's hurting. And he said, I'm not going to let you go unless you bless me. That's very interesting. A man that you're wrestling with all night and you're worn out and he's hurt you and you say, I'm not gonna let you go till you bless me. Something happened to him during the night.

James Greer: [00:17:04] During the struggle, he became aware that he wasn't wrestling with an ordinary man, but he was wrestling with God. And he said, God, even though I'm worn out, even though I'm hurting. even though I'm tired, I'm not going to let go, God. I'm not going to let you go until you bless me. Many of you need to know more than anything else, you need to realize that you're wrestling with God, not man. That the biggest struggle you're going through right now is not some other person. That you're wrestling with God, and He's wanting you to surrender. Ephesians 6:12, that you wrestle not with flesh and blood but principalities and powers. And you got to stop trying to have your will and your way. And you got to tell God, you win, God. But God, I want to be blessed. Many times God says, oh yeah, okay, you say that. But I mean I want to know you mean business this time. You got to be blessable to be blessed. And so what he was doing, the wrestling match was all about getting Jacob to the point where Jacob was blessable enough to be blessed. God tests your faith to see your sincerity this time, to see if it's real. Because, see, most of the time, we don't get ourselves in these situations overnight. It takes time to have character flaws. It takes time to have a sin that’s set in.

James Greer: [00:18:37] It's just like having financial debt. You didn't get into it overnight. It took time. It took bad decisions. It took a long time. And all of a sudden, it comes on, and you say, oh my God, I need out of this. See, it takes time to get out of it. So you struggle. Don't give up. Let God have His way. Say God, you know, I'm not going to give up. Galatians 6:9 said, don't grow while doing good, for in due season you’ll reap if you don't give up, if you don't lose heart. I'll tell you as your pastor. I'll tell you I want what's best for you. Don't give up. Hang in there. This is a test. This is my favorite part of the message. You ready? The confession stage or to admit that I’m the biggest problem is the turning point in your life. Confession comes before the change. Confession builds character. Okay? God’s are more concerned about Jacob's character than He is Jacob's comfort. God is more concerned about your character than He is your comfort. God will make you uncomfortable to build your character. It was Jacob's confession that really connected him with God so that he could really hear from God. And he said, let me go, for it’s daybreak. God did. Jacob said, I'm not going to let you go unless you bless me. Said, I'm just not going to do it. So He said, what is your name? Do you think God knew what his name was? Jacob.

James Greer: [00:20:25] Uh-oh. Jacob meant deceiver, manipulator. Jacob had been deceiving. He’d been a manipulator since childhood. He's the one that stole his older brother's birthright. God wrestled with him and he struggle with him till he came to the point he was willing to admit. He said, yes, my name is Jacob. I've been a deceiver. I’ve been a manipulator. And God said, finally, you're getting to be blessable. Now I'm fixing to bless you. Sometimes God says, listen, do you know what you're, I'm going to struggle with you until you come to the point that you realize what the sin, the character flaws in your life. You've been holding it back and now you're going to admit it. You're going to admit it where I can now begin to bless you. See, you could almost say it was his confession that led to his celebration. Hey, then he got to the celebration stage. He got to the stage the dream was coming true. He got to the stage he fixing to have a new identity so to speak in Christ. Genesis 32:28. Then he said, you're no longer named, you're no longer called Jacob. In other words, it's over. You're no longer a deceiver. You're no longer a manipulator. But Israel. Can you imagine? For you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed. My goodness gracious. And Jacob asked, saying, tell me your name I pray. And He said, why is it that you ask about my name? And He blessed him there. Is that fantastic?

James Greer: [00:21:59] His name is now Israel, the prince with God. He went from being called, hey, man, here comes the manipulator. Here comes the deceiver. To here comes the prince of God. Can you imagine? They name a whole nation after him. That is something. Amen? He said, man, your life has changed. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, anyone being in Christ, you’re a new creature, old things pass away. And behold, all things become new. Man, he struggled with God and prevailed. Some of y’all are struggling with God and need to prevail. In closing is this. Our greatest struggle many times is what you will do with Jesus Christ. Will you allow Him to be your Savior and Lord? See, the real truth, God was Jacob's Savior so to speak. But God wanted so much more for him. He wanted to bless him. He wanted to be his lord. When Jacob surrendered his will to God's will, God blessed him and then some. He said, you're no longer a deceiver and the manipulator you were. Your name is Israel, and I'm going to name a whole nation after you. Some of you need to surrender you will to God this morning. And God's put His finger on whatever character flaw it is. He's put his finger on what you've been struggling with. And today He’s saying, I want you to let it go. Some of you just realize the struggle was with God, and you thought it was some person, some place, or something.

James Greer: [00:23:30] And God’s just been using that to get your attention. God has your attention now. And you've come to the point, you want God's blessings. You don't want to let go till you get it. Some of you need to know that God said, I'm with you. I'm going to watch you after you wherever you go. I'll never leave you. And my promises will always come true. So you don't have to worry about what you do, where you go. You don’t have to worry about it at work. You don't have to worry about it at home. You don't have to worry about it at school. Why? Because the capital LORD is with me. He's watching after me wherever I go. He's always with me. He's going to bring me back. He'll never leave me. And His promises will always come true. What a God we have. There's no reason I don’t cast out all fear, all doubt, all confusion. You ought to have a peace that surpasses all understanding. But He says, hey, this morning, the greatest call of all is just surrender. Just surrender. Would you stand and let me pray with you? Father, what a wonderful call. Surrender. We got to surrender for the blessing. The struggle is for surrender. Some of us are surrendering to accept Christ for the first time. Some of us struggle they’ve never been biblically, publicly baptized and surrender today. Some are struggling with a habit and a hang-up and they should surrender it today. Some of you it’s fear and doubt and discouragement. They will just surrender it today.

James Greer: [00:25:22] Some of them is struggling with another person, and they thought it was all about the person. And God said, no, no, no. I want you to surrender that problem to me today. Let me worry about them, and you worry about you. Hey, some of you been saying, hey, I'm worried about when I get to work, I’m worried about when I get to school, what's going to happen? And God’s saying, no, no, no. I want you to surrender your job to me. I want you to know that I'm with you wherever you go. You don't have to worry about it. You’ve got my promises. I'm going to take care of you. Just relax. Some of you have been trying to take care of your own life. You want to make all the decisions. And God told you today, just surrender. Some of you have fear, and God said, I want you to surrender that fear. I want you have a peace that surpasses all understanding. That's one of His promises. So whether it's to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, to follow through in baptism, some of y'all never physically joined the church. You’ve come and you’ve visited. Today is a day you want to become a member of this church, part of the family. So whether it's that or you have somebody that wants to pray with you and pray for you, I pray that you’d let God have His will and His way. And I ask it in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Bruce Goulart: [00:26:40] On behalf of Pastor James, thank you for joining our online experience today. Man, what an amazing service today with Time to Dream as we talked about the struggles of dreams. Man, if you need someone to pray with you right now, we have people on standby that are willing to pray with you. There's a link down in the description that you click on, fill out, someone here with you right away. And thank y’all again for being here this Sunday. And I hope to see y’all next Sunday as we continue our series Time to Dream. Thank you.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360