NO FEAR!

 

“As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him.”

1Samuel 17:48 NLT

The other night I had a spiritual warfare dream.  In this dream, I had just moved into an older, two-story home with a large porch on the front.  I found myself in the living room area immersed in fear of an evil presence.  I tried crying out and rebuking the devil to cast out the evil but I had no voice.  I felt helpless and paralyzed.  I prayed for Christ to rebuke the enemy for me and to restore my voice.  Suddenly I became bold and angry.  Amidst a terror inside of me that was almost debilitating, I ran upstairs and started kicking in doors hollering at the enemy to show his face, daring him to come at me.  I ran into dark unfamiliar rooms not knowing what would be on the other side of the door, terrified but determined to face my enemy.  I was fed up with being afraid and I was chasing after this evil presence.  There was a room at the end of the hallway with a light on.   I never made it to that room.  When I noticed the light on I called the enemy out again and told him to show himself.  He came out of the lighted room cowering. When he appeared, he was nothing but a wiry, thin, pale faced thug-a thief who ran with his tail between his legs when I started ranting and thrashing at him to GET OUT!

Although I woke up exhausted, I had no doubt what my dream was telling me.  I have lived in fear most of my life.  Fear caused me to not try out for the softball team my freshman year of high school.  Fear kept me from studying in France for 5 weeks when I was a college student.  Fear kept me from pursuing my dream of being a professional singer/actor.  Fear also kept me in an abusive relationship.  It even still keeps me from visiting my dentist regularly.  God used this dream to show me what I needed to do with fear.  Face it. Run after it and kick it out of my soul.  Fear has no place in ruling my life or yours.

I have read repeatedly that the Bible says “Do not fear” 365 times.  Although I haven’t googled the validity of that statement, I’ve read enough of in Deuteronomy, Joshua and Isaiah alone to believe it’s true.  In His word, God repeatedly tells us to NOT FEAR, to not be afraid and to be still.  Each time He says it, He also adds, “for I Am with you…”  The Great I Am is with us all the time, everywhere we go.  Focusing on that alone should be enough to make us fearless.  But for most, for me at least, it’s not.  I needed God to show me how to not fear.

He not only showed me in my dream, He confirmed it this week through the story of David and Goliath.  You don’t have to be a Christian to be familiar with the story of a shepherd boy who took on a 9 foot (2.74 meters) giant and killed him with a slingshot and 1 stone. Some probably think it’s simply a fictional Sunday school story.  But the true believer knows it is truth because God’s word tells us so.

1 Samuel chapter 17 tells us David was Jesse’s youngest son.  While his older brothers were at war, David went back and forth between the soldiers’ camp and the sheepfold to help his father keep watch on his older brothers and the family sheep.  One specific day, Jesse, sent him to the camp with food for his brothers.  When David arrived, the Israelites and Philistines were in the midst of war. David ran out to meet his brothers.  This is the first time he sees Goliath taunting and terrorizing the Israelite army.  Men older and “braver” than David were frozen in fear because of one enemy who towered over them and taunted them.  To this point, anyone who had attempted to take on Goliath was murdered.  In human thinking, their fear was completely valid.

David was a man after God’s own heart before he became King of Judah.  What was David’s response to Goliath’s threats?  “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?(vs 26b)”  David had no fear of Goliath because David knew his God was bigger, stronger and mightier.  He couldn’t understand why the Israelites were so afraid of this giant. David recognized who Goliath really was-He wasn’t an enemy of the Israelites, Goliath was an enemy of God.  David knew no enemy of God’s ever wins-that confidence, made him fearless.

Even though David trusted God to defeat Goliath, he still received backlash from even his own family members regarding facing the giant.  David’s older brother, Eliab, was angry with David for talking to the other soldiers and asked him, ““What are you doing around here anyway? “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle! (vs 28)” Eliab’s faith wasn’t as big as David’s and he didn’t see David as the man God created him to be.  Eliab only saw David as his annoying little brother who was just an action-junkie going to get in the way and get himself killed.

I love David’s response to his older brother.  “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question! (vs 29)” Then he walked over and asked other soldiers the same question.  He didn’t bat an eye to his brother’s naysaying.  I imagine David was already hearing God calling him to face this giant and he was determined to obey God.  Nothing anyone said was going to deter David from his God ordained destiny or make him falter in his faith.

At this point, King Saul hears about David’s question and calls for him.  When David meets King Saul, the young shepherd boy boldly and confidently tells the king, “Don’t worry about this Philistine…I’ll go fight him! (vs 32)” To which Saul replied, ““Don’t be ridiculous! …There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth. (vs 33)”  And here’s what verses 34-37 tells us David’s reply was, “But David persisted. ‘I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,’ he said. ‘When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death.  I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!’”  The best part of that whole passage is the first sentence, but David persisted.   In spite of his own family not believing in him, in spite of the law of the land at that time having no faith in him, David persisted because he trusted God to defeat the enemy.  His persistent faith is what prompted Saul to finally say, ““All right, go ahead…And may the Lord be with you! (vs 37b)”

Even though Saul consented to David’s request, Saul still didn’t see David as the warrior God made him to be. Saul tried to dress David up in protective armor that actual held David back. If he had worn the man-made armor, David would have readily been defeated because it was too heavy, weighed him down, and not what David was used to. So David refused the armor and prepared for battle-how? He used what he knew, his staff and his slingshot.  His ammunition was 5 stones.  He ran toward his enemy, fearlessly and was practically a laughing stock to his family, the army he was fighting for and especially his enemy.  David looked square at his enemy and said, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us! (vs 45-47.) He loaded his slingshot, took aim and nailed Goliath square in the forehead, then cut off his head.  Did you catch that-David, a small shepherd boy killed a 9 foot giant by knocking him down with a slingshot and cutting off his head!  Why was David victorious?  Because he knew it was the Lord’s battle and he TRUSTED God to deliver the enemy to him.

When we lay our fear down, face the giants in His way and trust His might through us, He moves in a mighty way and makes us victorious too.  David had no battle plan. He was simply a natural born warrior and he used what he knew trusting God to do the rest.

As I write this, I’m listening to a sermon by Todd White, entitled, No Longer a Slave to Fear.  In this sermon Todd says, “[We] are not victims of circumstance-[we] are victorious.  We are sons and daughters of the King.  Let us not be bound by [the enemy’s] lies.  Don’t let your hope be deferred.  If it’s deferred, it’s because your hope isn’t set on what God says you are.  It’s impossible to have your hope deferred by circumstance when your hope is set on Jesus.”  The Israelites lived as victims.  David lived as the victor through Christ.  The Israelites lived without hope.  David’s hope was set on His God.  He knew, deep in his heart, that he was a mighty warrior made by God and that no enemy would be victorious in destroying his God-ordained destiny.  Because he was not a slave to fear, God’s destiny for him came to fruition over and over again.  David only knew defeat when he sinned against God or handled life by his own might.  But even then, when David repented, God raised him up again and made him victorious over all his enemies.

We all have a God-ordained destiny.  The only thing that can keep us from achieving that destiny is paralyzing fear.  We have a choice to be like David who ran after his enemy or be like the Israelites who doubted God and fought battles in their own human strength.   We can live to know who God made us to be, or we can live with a hope deferred and sick hearts (Proverbs 13:12.)  We should definitely pray and know God’s destiny for ourselves but once we know, we have to go.  As Todd White says, “we’re not going to pray about where to go, we’re just going to go.  Why?  Cuz’ ‘go’ is two-thirds of God (G-O-D.)”  If God is telling you to go-then go, fearlessly, and let God guide you along the way.

To blindly go, we will need faith like David and like Abraham.  When God told Abraham to go in Genesis 12, He didn’t spell out the plan step by step or detail by detail.  God only said, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. (vs 1)”  God said GO then He promised to SHOW.  Too often we miss out on what God is calling us to do because we’re waiting for God to show before we go.  We need to take that leap of faith and go first.  Then trust God to show us the way.  We need to trust that God is moving mightily defeating every enemy that attempts to block us from His destiny for us.  But remember, He calls us to first GO.   He calls us to run after our enemy and trust Him to bring the victory His way, and in His time. Let us stop floundering like a wave tossed to and fro and let us go after what He has already laid on our hearts to achieve for His purpose and glory.

Its Snowing…In May?!!!!

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Like most people I have BIG plans for my life.  As a little girl I aspired to be a Solid Gold dancer or a singing contestant on Star Search.  Don’t judge (but please feel free to laugh out loud!)  Any child of the 80’s with a creative mind like mine and a gift for making a fool out of themselves in front of a crowd, had the same dreams.  When I was 12, I wanted to be president of the United States.  By the time I completed high school my goal was to earn my college degree, get married, become a mom and have a successful career helping troubled teens.  On my 25th birthday I cried-I had only accomplished one of my goals and I was working 3 jobs just to make ends meet.  Now at 40, I am a single mom working 2 jobs, still struggling to make ends meet and clearly in the midst of a mid-life crisis.  Today I want to travel and touch lives all over the world letting people and orphans know they matter and they are loved.

The past couple of months I have been restless- physically, emotionally and spiritually. This restlessness has boiled into fear and anxiety.  It’s become a serious condition like a rash that takes over your entire body or a virus that eats you from the inside out.  It invades my dreams, it wakes me in the middle of the night and it robs my joy during the day.  The simplest task can become easily overwhelming when fear is hitting me full blast.  I become easily angered or I sob.  I’m exhausted but can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep because my mind simply won’t shut down or be still.  People who know this struggle about me often ask what I’m so anxious about.  Sometimes I tell them I don’t know. But I think I’ve figured it out.  I simply feel stuck.  My life feels stuck in a season of winter and at this age of my life, I am afraid I will stay stuck in winter forever.

Did I mention I HATE winter?  I’m speaking of the actual season.  Where I live we get very cold, very long and very snowy/icy winters.  Days are dull and skies are gray.  Many days I drive to and from work in the dark and never see any daylight.  I get quite depressed.  By the time February and March arrive I am anxious for warm days, sun filled skies and for all the snow to melt away.  We tend to get a mid-winter thaw-a few warm days here and there but then we get slammed with more cold, more snow and more ice.  April arrives and I check the weather daily hoping for a hint of even 50 degree (10c) weather.  And in May, I celebrate the colors of green, the blooming of apple blossoms and spring time flowers.  I relish the smell of the first lawn mowing and celebrate the year’s first real thunderstorm.  I buy my park pass and count down the days until the lakes are warm enough to swim in while planning out my beach days for the summer.  My spirits lift as I think snow is finally gone and my toes will be buried in the sand in not time.

This past weekend, in Mid-May, it snowed!  As I woke Sunday morning to a dusting of white powder covering my lawn, I reflected on my life and feeling stuck in a winter season.  I have so many plans for my life, yet none of them seem to be coming to fruition.  It’s like my life has come to a standstill with no hopes of moving forward relationally, financially, spiritually or even in my career.  Seeing that snow outside my window, I thought “That’s it, winter is never going to end, summer is never going to arrive.  All my beach days are never going to happen.”  Reflecting on my life, I tend to think “My dreams are dead.  This is it.  This is as good as it gets.  God just wants me stuck.”

But God has a different answer.  Weather wise, He’s shown it by gifting us with a prediction of 70 degree temps (21c) later this week.  Life wise, He says “Don’t worry,” (Matthew 6:34.) He keeps sending me Proverbs 19:21 and a few other verses like Job 23:14 and Isaiah 46:10.  He gently reminds me that His way is better than my way and I simply need to surrender my hopes and dreams to Him.  After all, every dream He planted in my heart will come to pass in His time.  Because patience is not a virtue I was born with and God knows I LOVE being in control, He makes me wait, refining me and conditioning me into the Kingdom Woman He designed me to be to do the big things He has planned for me.  Dreams He’s already shown me, I’ve turned into idols and tried manufacturing my own miracles instead of trusting Him to bring them to pass.  I always lose when I get in God’s way.

Winter is a time when days are shorter and life slows down.  This winter season in my life is God’s way of teaching me to just “be still.”  I make myself restless because instead of obeying Him, I act like a crazy hamster in a plastic wheel running a race that will never end, chasing after empty things, and going absolutely nowhere.  If you’re in this same season, remember this-a wise woman recently told me, “There’s never been a year summer didn’t come.” With that I will add, there’s not a story in the Bible where God’s dreams and purpose didn’t happen either. Practice being still, practice trusting in Him and read His word every day.  When someone I love dearly was going through an incredibly difficult time, we read the book of Psalms together.  Psalms was the same book suggested to me just this week to read and pray, as a means to overcome my fears and anxiety.

Lastly, find contentment in every day no matter how long you’ve been waiting, longing and praying.  Most importantly-don’t lose hope, but place your hope in the One who gives us something to hope for.

Want versus Need….

“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

Matthew 7:11 NLT

Have you heard the saying, “God doesn’t give us what we want, He gives what we need.”  I have-many times and unfortunately I believed it for many years.  After all, there are many things I want, have asked for in prayer even, but since I haven’t received them yet, this saying must be true, right? Wrong!

God has always provided me everything I need from the very basics of oxygen to breath to food, water, clothing, a roof over my head and even reliable transportation.  But is that really all God is going to give me, or you?  No, God gives us more than the bare necessities.  His word is full of promises that go beyond what we need.  Psalms 37:4 tells us if we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts.  Desire is another word for “wants”, not “needs.”  Abraham desired a child.  He didn’t need an heir.  He told God he planned to leave his fortune to a servant. (Genesis 15:2) Attempting to manufacture his own miracle he created a son with Hagar.  But God still gave him the heir He promised. God still gave him Isaac.

David and Bathsheba committed adultery and from their sin produced a son. As punishment for David’s attempt to cover up his sin God took the life of that child shortly after his birth.  But that wasn’t the end of David and Bathsheba’s story.  What did God do next? He gave David and Bathsheba another son, Solomon.  David had other children already-Solomon wasn’t a need.  Solomon was a want that God gave them. (2 Samuel 12:14, 24)

Matthew 7:11 compares God to earthly parents.  If you’re a parent I am confident you wear yourself out providing for the basic needs of your children, but you do more than that.  Don’t we as parents strive to give our children what they want too?  Don’t we delight in seeing our children’s joy when they receive that special present they longed for, not necessary something they need but something they will find true delight in.  I believe God does that for us too.  Within reason, God gives us what we want too.

Provided our desires line up with His will, He promises that whatever we ask for in His name, it will be done. (John 14:13-14) “Whatever” certainly doesn’t sound like just our basic needs. Whatever means everything we ask for in Jesus’ name, will be given to us.  The key phrase is “in Jesus’ name”-meaning in His will.  And God’s will is to definitely give us more than what we need-He longs to see the joy on our faces as we receive His blessings, that special present we’ve longed for no matter how long we’ve been asking Him for it.

What is the desire of your heart?  Is it a godly marriage, children, a dream job?  Have you aligned it with God’s will for your life?  Marriage, children, even careers aren’t anything we need.  But if they are part of God’s plans “for good, to prosper…to give us hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) then we have to trust that He will give them to us. Just like our children ask us for wants (or if you aren’t a parent, remember the wants you asked your own parents) we can boldly approach our Heavenly Daddy asking Him for our wants too.  Keep in mind, God is not a genie-we can’t rub a lamp and ask Him to grant us 3 wishes.  But God does delight in showering His blessings upon us, including gifting us with “the desires of our hearts.”

Testing, Testing, 1-2-3…

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1

Ever find yourself waiting endlessly for an unfulfilled dream?  Perhaps it’s something you prayed for and believed God to give, maybe even a desire you believe God planted in your heart.  No matter how close you get to achieving that dream, the door seems to shut each and every time.  If you’re like me, you’re left wondering why?  You may question if you heard God correctly.  You may even think God must want the complete opposite for you (yep, I’ve thought that one many times too.)

Whenever the desire of my heart becomes a deep longing ache that seems like it will never be fulfilled, I think of Abraham and his dream of an heir.  God promised an heir to Abraham before He changed Abraham’s name.  But the promise didn’t happen overnight.  It didn’t happen 9 months from the day God spoke to Abraham.  It didn’t happen when Abraham tried creating his own miracle by sleeping with Hagar and producing Ishmael.  It took 25 years for God to give Sarah and Abraham, Isaac.  He was nearly 100 years old when he finally received God’s promise specifically for him.

There are a lot of studies on the lessons learned from Abraham’s waiting:  trusting God without questioning, undying faith, refinement through the process of waiting.  But the greater lesson learned is not Abraham’s waiting, it was the test God put him through after he received his promised heir.  Abraham’s waiting for 25 years, moving to a strange land, separating from his nephew, fathering a child that wasn’t God’s promised child-all of that was enough testing to break the average person’s faith.  Even though Abraham remained obedient, God still tested him further by asking Abraham to sacrifice his promised heir.

Some of you not familiar with this story might be thinking “Are you kidding me?  What kind of a God would not only take away the promise He gave but ask someone to kill their own child?  Is God playing mind games with Abraham?” Some might even think God was cruel to do that? But it wasn’t about cruelty or mind games, it was about opportunity.  The opportunity for Abraham to show who he loved most-God or his promised son, Isaac?  And Abraham proved his greater love for God.  Because of Abraham’s faith in that final test, God spared Isaac.  Abraham’s obedience brought the rest of the promise to fruition for we are all descendants of Abraham.

What is the desire of your heart?  Has God fulfilled your desire or are you still in the waiting season?  Have you received the promise but suddenly faced with the possibility of losing it?  God may even be calling you to sacrifice the very thing He gave you, the dream or person you prayed for and love most in this world, merely to see if who or what you love more, the dream, the person, or Him? If the promise came from God, no matter what happens, God will provide the ram, just like He did for Abraham. He will give you the desire of your heart.  God always keeps His promises.   So don’t doubt Him, just obey.  Obedience is the best way to pass God’s tests.  Abraham was the picture perfect example of that.   For greater details on Abraham’s faith read Genesis chapters 12-22.

What is Your Testimony?

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel 3:17, 18 NIV

Anyone who has ever experienced a hardship can certainly say, “I have a testimony.”  But what is that testimony?  Is it the hardship?  Is it the trial and the suffering endured?  Is it the wound we suffered?  No it’s not.

Someone in my life, a mate whom I deeply love, is engulfed in darkness-experiencing a hardship so foreign to them and no clue how to handle it.  The enemy is attacking hard, at times even giving this person no opportunity to catch their breath let alone have a clear thought to stand on God’s truth.   If you knew the details of the circumstance you’d be in awe at how ruthless the enemy truly is.  The devil clearly takes all as a prisoner and doesn’t hold back when you’re a huge threat to him.

A beautiful sister-in-Christ struggles with an undiagnosed illness that causes severe abdominal pain. She’s been in and out of the hospital and frequented doctors but still left mystified as to what is going on with her body.  Her dream to grow her family was even threatened by this illness. I use the word “was” because she is currently expecting her second child.

Another beautiful sister-in-Christ has a child struggling with a newly diagnosed illness also-one that could bring a lifetime of health issues including severe pain. I know a brother-in-Christ struggling with a brutal cancer and was recently told by one doctor there was nothing more that doctor could do for him.  Although I don’t know every detail of his cancer I’ve seen the ups and downs physically and through prayer requests that remission and growth in the tumor have brought to this man.

I too have faced darkness unknown to me and no idea how to handle it.  I have battled with unknown health issues and know what it feels like to see my child struggle with health issues also.  At this point you may be asking-what does all this have to do with testimony?  The answer-everything.

A few days ago, I was listening to some praise and worship music.  I was thinking a million thoughts at the same time because well, that’s just how my brain works.  I was thinking of my own health issues, my mate’s dark struggle, my friends’ struggles, and I just started praying.  I laid my hands on my throat and prayed for God’s healing touch because He has gifted me with a singing voice and the enemy has attacked it.  I prayed for my friend suffering with cancer, my other friend’s fears regarding her unknown health issues and the effects to her unborn child, my friend’s daughter suffering with a new illness and of course, for my mate and the darkness he is currently enduring.

While I was praying, the song “Overcame” started playing.  I was filled with the Holy Spirit and began declaring victory over each person’s struggle, including my own.  I literally heard myself yell out, “This situation will not defeat him/her/ me.  This situation is not his/her/my testimony-God’s deliverance, God’s redemption, and God’s almighty healing will be our testimony.  And then it “dawned” on me (I really don’t use this phrase a lot considering my first name is Dawn but saying it “Holy Spirited” on me isn’t grammatically correct.)  Our struggles are NOT our testimonies.  How God gets us out of the storms life brings to each of us, that is our testimony.

The book of Daniel is a prime example of testimony using a fiery furnace and a lion’s den.  Captivity was not Daniel and his friends’ testimony.  God’s protection and deliverance was their testimony. (Daniel chapters 3 and 6.)

In Genesis we learn that Joseph’s brothers assaulted him and sold him into slavery.  This was after he dreamt that his brothers would bow down to him.  He was promoted to the Pharaoh’s right hand, then falsely accused of sleeping with Pharaoh’s wife, and imprisoned.  But THAT was not his testimony.  He was promoted again to governor (Genesis chapters 37, 39, and 41.) In Genesis 42 we learn that a famine brings Joseph’s brothers to Egypt seeking food.  Verse six tells us “Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.”  Joseph endured a lot of unjust suffering, but what an amazing testimony he was gifted because of it.

The best example of testimony is Jesus’ Christ himself.  If you’ve ever watched The Passion (which I have yet to view entirely because I can’t stomach watching my Savior brutally tortured) you get a visual of what Christ endured.  But His suffering, the beatings, His barbaric death, was not His testimony.  We don’t celebrate Easter for His death.  We celebrate Easter to honor His life!  Christ’s resurrection was His testimony.  Victory over death WAS. HIS. TESTIMONY.

Are you stuck in a pit so dark you think you’ll never find your way out?  Are you or a loved one facing an illness that feels like it’s sucking the life right out of you?  Whatever hardship you are enduring-it does not define you.  It is NOT your testimony.  When you surrender it all to Jesus, when you cry out to Him and trust Him in the process, His deliverance, His redemption, His provision and healing WILL. BE. YOUR. TESTIMONY.  How do I know?  Because God delivered me from abuse, near homelessness, scary health issues and he even delivered my son from a life sentence of asthma.  I know because my life is a living, breathing, walking testimony and I give God all the glory!!!

Miracle Making or Miracle Baking?

I am neither a butcher, a baker nor a candle stick maker.  In a nut shell-I am no “Martha Stewart.”  So when I heard a sermon recently about being the active ingredient in our miracles, I “googled” bread making for a better understanding of the concept.  I had to “google” it because, well, I’ve never actually baked bread.  I’m so undomesticated I felt I’d never be a Proverbs 31 woman simply because I also don’t know how to sew.  Thankfully I’ve had a few studies on that chapter to realize I don’t need to know how to sew or cook to be a Proverbs 31 kind of woman.  But I digress…

What does bread baking have to with miracle making?  The answer is, they both have an “active ingredient” and without the active ingredient, neither turn out the way they’re supposed to.  You see, in bread making, the active ingredient is yeast.  Why is yeast so important to the bread?  It makes it rise-it makes it fluffy-it MOVES the bread.  Without it, you have flat bread, plain and simple.

Yeast is a very sensitive active ingredient.  In bread-making research, I learned there is a special way you must prepare the yeast in order to properly activate it.  You only use a small amount, mixed with just the right temperature of water.  Too much yeast-your bread will over rise.  Get the wrong water temperature in your mixture and your yeast won’t activate.  All these tiny mistakes can lead to a big disaster in your oven.

There are a lot of references in the Bible regarding yeast.  Most are instructions given to the Israelites and specific to food preparations that prohibited the usage of yeast.  But there is one verse I found that really describes the power of yeast as an active ingredient.  Matthew 13:33 says; “…‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.’” (NLT)  Jesus was explaining how mighty the kingdom of Heaven really is-so powerful that everything is affected by it.  Here’s where the miracle making comes in to play…

God places desires upon hearts.  Psalms 37:4 reminds that if we delight ourselves in Him, He gives us the desires of our hearts.  But we also know that a God-given desire can take a VERY long time to come to fruition.  Abraham is a prime example from our biblical history showing us how God is not in a hurry, but always on time and He’s definitely not opposed to making us wait lengthy periods of time before our dream becomes our reality.  That’s where our role of being the active ingredient in our miracle takes place-in the waiting season.

God told Abraham about Isaac twenty-five years before Isaac’s birth.  And what did Abraham do? He left his home country and went where God told him to go.  He tried to manufacture his own miracle and fathered Ishmael.  But when God reminded Abraham what He had promised, Abraham slept with his wife and God opened Sarah’s womb to carry Isaac.  Romans chapter four reminds us of Abraham’s faith:  “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.  And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.” (Verses 20-22, NLT)

Like Abraham, we too, are called to be the active ingredients to our miracle.  When God shows us the dream, when He lights the steps we are to walk to make that dream a reality, we must get going and walk the walk.  Waiting is not about sitting around expecting fairies to plop our miracle right in our lap.  Waiting means walking in faith, trusting God’s process and in His perfect timing.  It also means being the active (not passive) ingredient to our miracle.  We are the yeast to our miracle-like the Kingdom of Heaven reference in Matthew 13, we are only a small portion of our miracle but because the miracle involves our life and His purpose for it, our obedience permeates every aspect of the miracle.

So when God gives you a dream-activate your faith, trust His process and ask Him to show you how to be the active ingredient in the miracle He wants to give you.  Why?  Because God didn’t just promise greatness to Abraham and the other guys in the Bible-His promises apply to everyone who has gone before us, everyone who will come after us, and everyone in present day, including you and me.  Don’t believe me?  Believe Romans 4:23-24 then, “And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.” (NLT)

Just make sure you’re activating correctly-activate too much and you’re manufacturing your own miracle.  Activate in your own strength and you’ll end up like bread with no yeast-going nowhere.