Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #106 --- Dreams (Meaning Goals)

Quotations on Dreams (Meaning Goals)

People may say what they please about the idleness and uselessness of dreams and visions, and yet they are the very center and soul of any great life. They are the foundation upon which future success is built. A man never goes beyond the star upon which he gazes. He never attains that of which he has not previously dreamed. Life is no chance or accident. A man unmistakenly moves along the line of his own desire and of his former dreams and aspirations.

We are speaking not of those who build air castles in their fancy and sit idly by hoping that they may be realized. Rather we are thinking of those who have real visions and put forth every effort for their attainment. God intends us to use every lawful means at our disposal for the accomplishment of the great purposes which He has put within our breasts. We must put forth great energy. We must ofttimes sacrifice and suffer for the attainment of our ideals. Every ideal is born and nurtured to its attainment with great pain. But is it not worth the price?

—Charles B. Murphy, Salt Lake Herald-Republican, Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 4, 1913.


The quality of your dreams will determine whether you have vision or are a visionary. Real vision must not be confused, as it often is, with the starry-eyed variety of idle fancy, which reveals in irresponsibility. There are those among us who never seem awake to the realities about them; they exist in such a whimsical atmosphere of make-believe as to be completely preoccupied--they are all but oblivious to the practical aspects of day by day affairs. They are not dreamers; they are air-castle builders, who receive their just desserts, the ridicule of their fellows.

Real dreams about life are made of sterner stuff. They are factually founded; they are prepared to take seriously into account life as it is. ...

Your vision must take factual account of the laws of being which operate in the area of your intentions. The inventor's imagination serves no purpose if it disregards the principles which inexorably control the area of his investigation. The extent of his freedom to master is determined by the degree of his disposition to obey; liberty can never by a synonym for license.

Consequently, there is an obligation that your dreams by morally sound in texture. ...

Your dreams should be specifically qualified by deference to personality. ...

You should respect yourself as a person. "Above all things, to thine own self be true. And it follows as the night the day, you cannot be false to any man."

Plumb the depths of the meaning and worth of the human spirit and you will discover elements of the order of the divine. Take what you have found and apply it and the results will be exceedingly constructive and gratifying. ...

Your vision should be venturesome; in quality we sincerely hope that your dreams shall call you beyond the limits set by the pattern of the past.

No one of you will derive any particular satisfaction from having a reputation of "queerness," of being so different from your fellows that you are labeled "odd," or "strange." But as such risk, your vision must lead you considerably beyond the well-beaten paths if you are to make a contribution worthy of the name. ...

The urgency of deep conviction alone can move man across the lines of the customary. Our world desperately needs creatively different men. The trademark of a very ancient vintage is upon much of its wares. Everywhere--in the halls of government, in the pulpit and on the platform, in the classroom and in the marketplace, even in the circle of our homes, traditions which are not altogether right compel us. As Plato prayed centuries ago, "Oh, that a god or a god-inspired man would show us the way."

—Stewart A. Newman, Baptist Message, Alexandria, La., Aug. 14, 1958.


All men who have ever done any great deed have been men of lofty visions. All men of great actions have first been men of great dreams. Someone has said that the dreamers are the architects of greatness. And they are more than that. They are builders of empires, the movers of the world, the creators of things that shall live forever.

From the dawn of history until today, every great forward step has been made by one whose soul was filled with dreams, who was able to live in this world of grim realities, but, at the same time, fix his eye on a star high in the heavens and work with his whole being to reach that star. He faced the dawn, and though he may never have seen the rising sun, his dreams lived on and soon ceased to be mere hopes and ideals and became realities. ...

You cannot kill a dream any more than you can kill a soul. If you try to imprison it, you will get a Pilgrim's Progress; if you blind it, you will get a Paradise Lost; if you deafen it, you will get the immortal music of a Beethoven; if you crucify it, you will get the Savior of all mankind.

Most people are surrounded by conditions that are far from ideal, but there may be songs in their souls that wend their way toward the heavens. You may force a dreamer to spend his days feeding pigs, but there is no power on earth that can take his dreams away from him. How empty, sordid, and useless must be the existence of one whose life is completely filled with the dull and commonplace, who has resigned himself to what he believes to be his fate, and whose very being has never soared out of this world of things as they are into the wonderland of dreams, ideals, and aspirations. ...

Christ tells us that man shall not live by bread alone. (See Matthew 4:4.) Life has its source from within and must be fed from within. The thing that saves our civilization and makes it ever greater is not bread and steel and cotton, but the everlasting search for the ideal.

Man cannot shut himself away from the world and hope to dream himself into a happy, abundant life. He must face realities, but God performed one of His most marvelous acts when He put an upward reach into the heart of man. The man who never dreams, who has no ideals and aspirations, who never sees things as they might be for looking at things as they are, is leaving to waste the God-given faculty of yearning for that which is higher and nobler. He is trying to stamp out the ideal life that is in his blood.

It is the dreamer who fights for bigger things and who sees further than the present. It is he who knows that if dreams are high enough and are dreamed hard enough they will eventually come true, no matter how many others may have failed. To build castles in the air and then leave them suspended far out of the reach of everyone is useless, but it is different to build castles in the air and then struggle to put solid foundations underneath them.

Emerson was not talking nonsense when he said, "Hitch your wagon to a star." But he knew that there was more to it than just that. He knew that it was necessary for the one in the wagon to cling to his seat with all his strength and ability, even until death, before he would find himself gradually drawing nearer and nearer that star. Perhaps he would live to grasp that star in his own hands, or perhaps he would pass on with it still out of his reach, but the day would come when mankind would know that his dream was true.

—Helen Nobles, Southern Baptist College News and Views, Waco, Texas, May 1940.


The ability to dream and to imagine is a God-given gift.

Napoleon said that the human race is governed by its imagination.

Henry Ward Beecher wrote, "The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope." Nothing really happens without a dream. Every great achievement begins with a dream. There is no such thing as a great person. However, the world is filled with ordinary people committed to great dreams.

The Living Bible paraphrases Ephesians 3:20 in this way: "Glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or ever dream of--infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes." Whatever you dream of asking God for, He is able to do far more than that. Thus, our dreams define us. Our dreams mold us and shape us.

Five types of people occupy the world. There are those with NO DREAMS. They exist day to day with no dream or imagination. Going through life without a dream is like going shopping without a list, or as foolish as the Dallas Cowboys showing up to play the San Francisco 49ers without a game plan. Having no dreams results in frustration, boredome, and regrets.

Then, there are people with SMALL DREAMS. I believe that defines a majority of Americans. I am convinced that many Americans have lost their capacity to dream big dreams. We have become a people with small dreams because we are afraid of failure. Many people challenge themselves only to the point of not failing. They aim low and hit it every time. However, there is no sin in trying and failing, but there is the sin of failing to try. Success is often failure turned inside out. If you are going to dream, don't make it a small dream.

A third type of person is one who has the WRONG DREAMS. Before you invest your life in a dream, find out if it is worthwhile. A cat can whip a skunk, but it isn't worth it. Don't give first-class allegiance to a second-class cause. An example of the wrong dream is trying to impress other people. It just isn't worth it. In the eyes of some people, you can be a hero one day and a zero the next day. Have a dream, have a goal, but make sure you don't lean your ladder against the wrong wall.

There are those who have no dreams, or a small dream, or the wrong dream, and there are people who have a VAGUE DREAM. You may have some idea of what you want to be and do in life, but it is vague and unclear and uncertain. When Jesus Christ was only 12 years old, He knew His purpose in life. He lived only 33 years, yet must before He died, He prayed, "Father, I have completed the work you sent me here to do." And when He died on the cross, He said, "It is finished." Many a person journeys through life without ever clarifying and defining his dreams.

Finally, there are people with GOD'S DREAM. These are people who know where they are headed because they have received a dream from God, and are committed to achieving that dream. They are not afraid to take risks. Their faith is great. If you wish to have God's dream, you must never be afraid to attempt something great if it is for the glory of God and the growth of His kingdom. God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or dream of.

What type of person are you? A person with NO DREAM? A person with SMALL DREAMS? A person with the WRONG DREAM? A person with a VAGUE DREAM? Or a person with GOD'S DREAM? W.A. Criswell, paster of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, for almost 50 years, wrote in his autobiography, "If you have a dream be prepared to suffer, and if necessary, to die for it. Or quit dreaming and save yourself the trouble." That's our choice. We can choose to follow, believe, and commit our lives to a God who is able to do far more than we can ask or imagine, or we can quit dreaming and save ourselves the trouble. I have decided to live my life with the confidence that today's impossibilities are tomorrow's miracles. Almighty God is able.

—Reggie Ogea, The Daily Iberian, New Iberia, La., Jan. 16, 1993.


A mere dreamer is one of those fragmentary men that make us regret almost that we belong to the same race with him.

But when the dreamer is, at the same time, the stern determined doer, all nature rejoices as at a finished piece of work and all men join God in pronouncing it good.

The stern determined doer who is not also a dreamer is an unfinished piece of humanity--a hand waiting for a brain of vision to employ it.

Happiest of all is that dreamer whose power of will instantly converts his dream into the full-orbed reality, or at least instantly moves to that end.

—Elam Franklin Dempsey, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 8, 1925.


Dreams, visions, ideals, thought concepts are all expressions of the imaginative faculty of the mind. Some of the dreams are truer than the things of the natural vision and some dreams are a bit of kaleidoscopic foolishness. Some dreams are divinely guided while other dreams are but the restless expressions of unsettled minds.

But he who lets his imagination have free play in cooperation with the Spirit of God will be a better man for having dreamed and will really learn things both old and new. That man, however, who lives altogether in lust of the flesh and the desires of his eyes will find poison in his dreams and things that debase and that do not purify.

—Luscious Robertson, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, May 31, 1926.


We stand gazing into a dream world and wishing it would change, with no sense of activity on our own or of obligation. But mere gazing into the heavens with empty mysticism is not enough. Dreams must be made true. We must have the trust and faith of the true dreamer. The challenge to us is, "Do we dare to have ascension in our own lives?"

If we really believe in the Spirit, we must be able to lift our spirit to action just as truly as the dreams of the Wright Brothers was brought to realization. It is not enough to accept Christ intellectually; we, too, must have a resurrection and an ascension.

—Charles W. Sheerin, New York Times, New York, N.Y., May 22, 1939.


Dreams are of value only when they are used to promote right deeds.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., April 2, 1948.


Some men dream dreams to accomplish the impossible and they support those dreams with a giant supply of integrity that makes those dreams become a reality.

—B. Davis Evans, Spanish Fork Press, Spanish Fork, Utah, Aug. 25, 1976.


No man is as big as his dreams or as little as his deeds.

—J.W. Foley, New York Times, New York, N.Y., Dec. 11, 1904.


Dreams but prove how far giant thought could take the soul if soul but realized that chains which bind it to the earthly clay are made of links of make-believe.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 7, 1923.


Dreams are fragile things, but their golden threads are woven into the woof of tomorrow's facts.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 31, 1923.


Hope is the mother of dreams and a dream of accomplishment.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., April 12, 1924.


Dreams are little boats in which souls put out to sea to discover continents of truth.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 31, 1925.


Life's lanterns are lighted by the candles of constructive dreams.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., April 2, 1927.


When you have ceased to dream great dreams you have ceased to do great deeds.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Dec. 19, 1930.


He is not poor who has kept his dreams alive.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., May 7, 1938.


There is nothing in a dream unless it blossoms in a deed.

—Frank L. Stanton, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 13, 1909.


It isn't a big job to make your part of the earth so like your dream of heaven that heaven won't seem strange when you get there.

—Frank L. Stanton, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 26, 1917.


Don't wait for your bright dreams to come true of their own accord. A few hard licks in the right direction, and you'll soon realize 100 percent, on your dream-investment.

—Frank L. Stanton, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., May 15, 1906.


Dreams are the flowers that the Florist Memory sends to brighten the Heart during the Winter of Age.

—H. Curran Wilbur, Wheeling Register, Wheeling, W.Va., Jan. 4, 1903.


The right kind of success means turning noble dreams into deeds.

—Gloria Young, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, March 18, 1937.


Let your desert of practical common sense have one oasis of dreams.

—H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Nov. 21, 1927.


The young have their visions; the old settle for revisions.

—Walter H. Schmidt, Family Weekly, New York, N.Y., Dec. 19, 1971.


Good thoughts are no better than good dreams unless they are executed.

Amboy News, Amboy, Ill., Sept. 11, 1886.

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