“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you. . . That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.”
Isaiah 43:1b -4 (MSG)
A Tough Day
Yesterday was a rather difficult day for me. Do you ever have those days where you wake up long before your alarm clock sounds and then things just don’t stop until long past your usual bedtime? Non-stop, fast and furious – yesterday was that day for me, an attack on simple sanity.
In the wee hours of the morning, realizing the evasion of sleep, I decided to go ahead and get up. After all, I decided if I couldn’t sleep, at least I could be productive! I spent most of my day at the computer, breaking for lunch around 2:00. The evening wasn’t much slower, however. Finally, I sat down to pan-fried chicken over a lovely salad at about 8:00. Then, I put that on hold to handle some new things that popped up. When everything was accomplished, I melted into the sofa cushions and turned on the television.
The first bite of that salad was perfection. I was tired and I was hungry. Then, reaching over to grab my glass of fruit punch, I felt something odd on my left hand. My wedding rings had turned around on my finger due to the cold, and I’d felt a rather sharp edge.
I placed my glass back down and took a closer look. Something looked amiss. Quickly, turning my phone’s light onto my ring finger, I looked again. Sure enough, one of the prongs on my wrap felt a little sharp because it was out of place. Alas, a hole replaced the diamond that I expected to see.
I just stared at the ring for a while. Surely the empty gray space where the stone belonged was a figment of my imagination. I must be seeing things! There was no way I could be missing a diamond!
But, sadly, I was. I put my unfinished dinner to the side. I looked all around where I was sitting and didn’t see the missing stone anywhere. I looked around my desk, under folders, and around my books. I got the broom and carefully started sweeping. I lifted every dust bunny in the dustpan checking underneath for the diamond. Carefully raking around particles of dirt and glitter with my fingernail, I checked every section of the yellow pan. I repeated this process painstakingly around my living room, kitchen, and bedroom.
My youngest son noticed my distress and lifted the sofa so that I could carefully sweep there. He kept confessing, “Mom, you’re gonna find it! You’re gonna have a dream and the Holy Spirit is going to show you where it is!” I encouraged his confessions, but my heart just felt so heavy. I prayed for the Lord to show me the location of the missing stone. I searched every nook and cranny I could imagine it being.
It was quite late when Keith called to me from the bedroom. Knowing I’d already had a longer-than-usual day, he told me to go on to bed. I complied, but just felt defeated and deflated at not having found the diamond in all my searching.
Sadly, I laid in the bed. Needing comfort that can only come from One, I began to search the Word. I ran across a parable found in Luke chapter 15. It was the parable of the lost sheep.
In the story, Jesus describes a shepherd who watches over 100 sheep in a pasture. I can imagine, if you will, the sheep calmly grazing in the lush green meadow, with the shepherd laying against a black mulberry tree playing a small wooden harp. Such a picturesque scene.
In the story, Jesus describes the persistent search of one missing sheep, which probably meandered inattentively searching for greener pastures. The story further details a shepherd leaving 99 sheep in the open field without his protection. The purpose of which, to find that one lost, wayward sheep. When the shepherd finds the lost sheep, however, he joyfully carries him back to the fold and calls the neighbors to rejoice with him.
This passage of Scripture is a parable. That means it has a
specific message that is the purpose behind telling the story. In this
instance, Jesus is referring to the rejoicing that occurs in Heaven when one
lost person repents and gives their heart to Him.
The Value of a Diamond
I then began to search the Word for any mention of the word diamond. Do you know, I didn’t find very much! Ezekiel lists diamonds as one of the precious stones covering the angel Lucifer. In Jeremiah, a diamond point is mentioned as part of an iron engraving tool – an analogy noting its hardness being such that would make a difference on a hard heart entrenched in sin.
I thought it strange that as valuable as we consider diamonds to be, God surely doesn’t mention them very much in His Word! Moreover, the most valuable thing mentioned in Scripture is US! WE are so important to God that He gave His Son so that we would not have to live life here or eternity in separation from Him. We are more valuable than diamonds. You see, diamonds are hardly even worth mentioning.
This morning, I placed my ring in the jewelry box to await repair, and I’m meditating on the value God places on me. I searched high and low and in every single place I could think that diamond could have rolled or bounced. Joyfully, I accepted the help of my child, who was concerned on my behalf. But, even to the extent I looked for that small stone, that is NOTHING in comparison to how God desires us to be found in Him. How great is His love for us!
Know Your Real Worth
Today, as you go from task to task, in meetings, on the phone, on the computer, cooking, cleaning, taking care of your family, studying, wielding a hammer or a pencil – whatever it is that you do – remember your worth. First, you are more precious than diamonds. Second, He created you uniquely and as one-of-a-kind. Lastly, you are rarer than the rarest of diamonds. If we are to be lost, let’s be lost in our awareness of who He sees us to be. Further, let’s be found realizing His love for us and worshiping the One who knows our true value.
What is your real worth? In short, you are priceless.
Never forget your real worth. You are priceless! Let's get lost in our awareness of who God sees us to be!
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
There’s rarely a time when I can’t appreciate a bit of encouragement. Scripture tells us many times not to be discouraged, and I imagine the reason the Lord spoke it so many times was because it is a trap into which the enemy often plots for us to fall. Years ago, I heard a story told by Bishop Carlton Pearson about a woman who attended his church when he was a little boy. Her name was Mother Sherman. She would ask him, “You yet holdin’ on?” He would affirm that he was holding on in the faith, to which she would respond, “Well, keep on keeping on then, baby” (Pearson, 1997).
100 Day Promise
No matter how old we are, we all need encouragement to keep holding on to our faith. This past week I was scrolling through Facebook. I saw that a friend had posted a photo of her child celebrating his 100th day of school. I immediately thought of my last 100th day of school when I taught first grade, and I scrolled through my gazillion photos to that day so that I could share my photo on her page. The date was January 23, 2013.
In the photo, I was standing in my kitchen in front of my pantry. My intent was to take a photo of my hair and makeup, and the outfit that I’d put together for that day. I’d used baby powder in my hair to give it that gray look and a black eye liner to draw lines where wrinkles might show up from 100 years of laughing at or scolding little children. I had on pearls, a turtle neck, jogging pants, bedroom slippers, and a bathrobe. I knew my first graders would get a kick out of my get-up for the day.
As I looked back on that photo taken so many years ago, something caught my eye. It was part of a 4×6 index card that was poster-puttied to the pantry door where I could see it every day. On it was Scripture. 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (NKJV). That photo on the 100th day of school was taken when I was still holding on to a promise in the Word.
Holding On to the Promises
Holding on to the promises in the Word truly became a lifestyle as we used it to war for the health of our son. The battle wasn’t easy and we at times became weary. But holding on was the only viable option! Have you ever been there? Maybe you are even there right now – holding on and waiting for God’s Word to come to pass in your life.
Waiting is rarely fun. However, the way we wait may impact the outcome. At the very least, it determines our mental health in the waiting. A few years ago, Chris Tomlin wrote a song titled Whom Shall I Fear. The lyrics reference the Scripture found in Isaiah 54:17. Tomlin wrote, “nothing formed against me shall stand. . . . I’m holding on to Your promises. You are faithful” (2012). Truly, God is certainly faithful to perform His Word. In fact, Jeremiah 1:12 (ESV), reads, “Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over My Word to perform it.'”
The Hard, Long, Unfair Place
The promise written on that card and hung on my kitchen pantry door has been fulfilled in the life of my son. In the waiting, it was hard. It felt long. Things felt unfair. But we kept the Word of God in front of our faces every single day, in various locations all around the house. The wait was hard, but God was our Comforter. It was long, but we were never alone. It felt unfair, but God brought new mercies every day to help us endure the difficulty.
If you are in a place that seems hard, long, and unfair, keep holding on to the Word. Keep on keeping on, God will never fail you. He will never leave you. His Word will never disappoint. Do not be discouraged, keep holding on.
Remember, there will come a day when you will be able to tell how He helped you overcome today’s adversity and step into tomorrow’s miracle. Keep believing for a miracle. Charles Tinley (1905) wrote, “we’ll tell the story, how we’ve overcome.” When that occurs, your miraculous testimony becomes the key to someone else’s breakthrough. You see, the Word tells us in Revelation 12:11a, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”
Keep believing! Keep holding on to your promise, your miracle is on the way. Indeed, it is on the way! Keep holding on!
Today's adversity is tomorrow's miracle. Keep holding on!
What’s in your hand? Right now, my computer keys, but often you will find a pencil in my hand. I love to write. Sometimes, when I talk, I can’t think of exactly the right thing to say right in the moment. Witty remarks, humorous responses, wise connections – sometimes the perfect response eludes me until after the moment has passed. At that time, I usually think, “Ugh! Why didn’t I say THAT?”
Writing is different. When I write, if I type out something and then think of a more ingenious way to put it, a simple hold of the backspace key allows me to completely re-work the words until they flow off the tongue exactly as I want. Oh, to be able to always speak with such grace and flow! Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to reverse what we’ve said and say it correctly all the time with no one wise to our error?
God Doesn’t Miss a Thing
I have been staying quite busy lately. You, too, huh? Every moment seems to be filled with work, school, church, side projects, laundry, cooking, yard work, and other chores to take care of my family. I was just telling someone yesterday that it didn’t seem that I’d had time to write just for myself in quite a while (note the last blog date – shocking!).
Well, I suppose God must have heard my complaint, because this morning’s post came from a heavenly wake-up call at 3:44 this morning. I heard song lyrics in my waking moment. “I am the wind in your sails, I am the wind in your sails, I am the wind in your sails” (Cook, Gretzinger, Hesler, & Hesler, 2015).
As I stirred with that song in my heart, I felt the Lord speaking to me that many times we falter back and forth trying to decide on a direction to turn in life. But our error, sometimes, is just our lack of decision making. He will bless whichever way we go – we just must decide to do it so that He can bless it.
Just Get Moving
I thought that was a pretty wild thought, especially for so early in the morning, but then I contemplated the lives of my natural sons. If they are doing something that isn’t essentially wrong, against our beliefs or morals, or different from the way they have been reared – I don’t care what they are doing if it is honoring of the Lord and of our family name.
Want to go to school? Great! Do it and do it well, just decide already and get moving! Want to work full time? Fine! Get a job that will meet your needs in the long-haul and go after it! Want to play in a band? I think that’s a great idea – let’s just make sure that it is in an environment that will make you flourish as a person and grow in your walk with God. Your dad and I will cheer you on, just get moving!
And this is what I felt the Lord speaking to me before it was even “bright and early” this morning! Still pitch black outside my window pane without a breeze in the sky moving the trees outside my window, I heard “I am the wind in your sails.” It was like the Lord was asking me, “What is it that is in your heart to do, My child? Whatever it is, do it. I will bless it; I will blow My breath of approval upon it as you step to send you sailing on your way. It doesn’t have to be complicated, you can use what’s in your hand.”
The Blessing of Our Father
You see, just like I want the best for my children, God wants the best for us. I want my children to use their natural gifts and abilities to help them decide what they want to do in life. I’d also love it if whatever they chose to do was something they really were going to enjoy – for it to be something that they were passionate about. While not everything we have to do in life moves our hearts or stirs our passions, (some things are just needed to get us from where we are to where we want to be) we do have the choice on what we are going to do.
As a child, I remember learning Scripture that became an early foundation in my life. One was Proverbs 3:5-6, which reads, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all they ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (KJV). The Message translation reads, “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:6). The version listed at the top of this writing is, “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success” (Proverbs 3:6, TLB). So what’s in your hand?
In each of those versions, I get the concept that if my heart is focused on the Lord, trusting in Him, He will direct me. You only need directions if you are moving or planning to move. In the book of Isaiah, there is a passage that reads, “Therefore the Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you” (Isaiah 30:18, AMP). He’s waiting – what do you think the Lord is waiting on? Perhaps He’s waiting on US! Yes, He could just be waiting for us to do something so that He can bless it! What’s in your hand?
God is waiting for us to do something so that He can bless it!
Isaiah 30:21 speaks to that concept as well, “Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left” (AMP). If you are turning, you are making movements. He is saying that He will confirm the direction AS YOU ARE MOVING. And as you are making steps, you are doing so by faith, with the goal to please Him with every decision. That is a lifestyle choice that any natural parent would want to bless, so what makes us think that our Father would do any less? So what’s in your hand? Hebrews 11:6 reads, “But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him” (AMP).
Lisa Bevere posted a video sharing some insights from her book, Without Rival. In the video, she shares that God is the one who plants dreams and desires within our hearts. What’s in your hand? She says that it isn’t an ambitions or competitive nature in us that drives us to pursue these ideas and desires, but that we actually fulfill Proverbs 3:6 that says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him” when we acknowledge that the ideas come from Him! (Bevere, 2017) Continuing, she says that we can pray to God concerning our desires, “God, it seems too big for me, it seems too grand, but You are the one that seeded this in me for Your glory. I’m going to acknowledge You and I’m going to walk in Your way” (Bevere, 2017).
What encouraging words on which to focus! Those God-dreams, desires, and abilities are given to us for a purpose, and we need to do something with them. We can couple Proverbs 3:5-6 with the passage in Isaiah 30:21, as Lisa Bevere suggests, knowing that as we go about doing what we feel led to do, while recognizing and acknowledging that the desire is from the Lord, we can expect further directions on the steps we need to take next and for the Lord to bless what we are doing. What awesome promises are in the Word! They surely will give us a great foundation from which to make sound decisions.
So, this morning, I feel the Lord stirring my heart. There are things that I’d like to do but starting them is up to me! There’s a song written by Helena Barrington titled “That’s When” that has been recorded by multiple artists. The version that I had on repeat in my car back in the 1990s was by the group TRUTH. Some of the lyrics are “What’s that you have in your hand? I can use it” (Barrington, 1994).
Perhaps the Lord is saying to you today what He was saying to me, “I am the One who gave you that gift – use what your Daddy gave you!” What’s in your hand? This passion to write – I can choose to make the time for it, or I can roll back over into the sheets and wait for the day to break. But if I choose the latter, will I have the time to make it happen? My pastor has quoted Leonard Ravenhill many times, saying, “The opportunity of a lifetime needs to be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity” (1986). Another similar expression that I have often heard is to strike while the iron is hot! We need to get busy doing what we feel called to do and now seems like a pretty good time to start!
Don’t Roll Over
This morning, I had an idea for writing. I chose to get up and write. What’s in your hand? What ideas has the Lord been stirring in you? What are you doing about it? Or are you just rolling back over into a comfortable position?
Use what you have in your hand. Do what moves you! Perhaps you are waiting to find out if it is His will for your life. Let me help you with that! Is it in line with the Word? Will it minister to others, bless your family, or move you along? Does it have potential? Perhaps His will is for you to step, and He’s just waiting to bless that step! He won’t force you – He’s already given you an invitation to move. What are you waiting on? Step out into your dreams. Start! There’s no time like the present, so don’t roll back over and get comfortable in complacency.
I encourage you to listen to the song “The Voyage” by Amanda Cook. This is what the Lord was ministering to me this morning. Amanda sings, “He’ll send the rain wherever we end up” (Cook, 2015). You see, He’s ready to place His stamp of approval on your path. He’s your Father and He loves you! He wants to bless your steps – you just must take the first one. He’ll be there to cheer you on. You can do it! He wants you to be successful!
Get your copy of the author’s book Believing for a Miracle available on Amazon.
Listen to the soothing sounds of Keith Murray’s song Peace in the Stormhere for free featuring Caleb Murray on bass, or purchase a copy of the entire album Peace in the Storm from the artist’s website.
I recently went to Walt Disney World with some of my closest friends for a “girls’ weekend.” It had been close to thirty years since I had been to Disney, and I had never stayed past dark. This weekend was to be the exception. I was eager with anticipation and expecting to have a great time!
Prepared with matching Believing for a Miracle shirts, we approached our day. I am not even certain whose idea it was to wear the shirts, but it was a great one! The shirts served a dual purpose. First, it made it easier for Disney’s Cast Members to recognize us as a group when seating us on rides. Second, wearing the shirts gave us the opportunity to start a conversation with those who saw us and were curious about the words displayed. (I had the opportunity to share how God healed my oldest son from cancer and am currently praying for a young lady named Adolyn as a result of my friend talking about the shirt with me.)
The weather was a perfect temperature. Wearing short-sleeved shirts and long pants kept us comfortable all day and ready for anything! While it had been chilly at home the week before, in sunny Florida it was a beautiful 80 degrees. It was warm enough to enjoy an icy orange sherbet and ice cream treat, but cool enough that we weren’t sweating as we walked around on the black asphalt. We even rode a water-ride since one of our friends had the foresight to come prepared with a poncho for each of us. It was a grand adventure. And we loved experiencing each detail of every ride together. Even the time spent in the queue lines made way for peals of laughter over things as simple as how to properly hold a water-bottle. (Yes, there can be joy even in seasons of waiting!)
Everything in the park was so beautiful in the daylight. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like at nighttime. Throughout the day, my friends and I “oohed and ahhhed” over one display or another, and each of us took a plethora of photographs. The flowers, greenery, and intricately-woven ribbons in stunning displays were breath-taking.
As the sun started to set, my friends and I began to make our way toward Cinderella’s castle. The park had not been overly crowded all day, at least not as much as I knew was possible. There was so much to see and do at the park, but the rides and activities were so spread out that even with the vast number of people within the gates, my friends and I had room to walk two-by-two most of the day.
The closer we got to the castle, however, the more crowded it became. It seemed that everyone was looking forward to seeing the lighting of the castle. We had arrived 15 minutes prior to the scheduled lighting. Even with that early arrival time, hundreds of people seated themselves en-masse before the castle. There were just as many standing along the fences. People were laughing and talking with loved-ones, taking photographs, and pointing at one interesting item or another. There was a definite, tangible excitement!
I took several pictures of the castle and some of my friends, but then I began to look around at the people. I like to watch people anyway, and I found it particularly interesting watching the crowd that evening. There was such a diversity of people – different ages and ethnicities, various backgrounds. There was such a colorful array of people, and I found the details of all that I was seeing absolutely fascinating. But as I studied the crowd, one dominant emotion surfaced in the eyes of each person – expectation.
Expecting, according to Merriam-Webster (n.d.), is defined – to wait, stay: to look forward: to be pregnant; to anticipate or look forward to the coming or occurrence of. I literally had no idea what I was expecting, exactly. I had never seen Disney at dark. But I knew that whatever it was – it was going to be worth the wait.
What if we, as believers, were all in a state of expectation, all the time? What would that look like? Would people notice and inquire what was so different about our gazes? How piqued would their interest be? Would our demeanor or expressions raise their own personal awareness enough to ask?
Looking among a crowd of gatherers with their eyes peeled to a darkened castle, the light in their eyes was one of expectation. We were none of us disappointed. Over 200,000 lights dripped down the turrets and walls of Cinderella’s castle after the lighting explosion was complete.
The castle, in its enlightened splendor, was breathtaking, and tears pricked my eyes. What I saw was even better than what I had expected, and Holy Spirit nudged my heart. Was I expecting in my real life with even a fragment of the eagerness of the lighting of the castle? Did my eyes hold a light of holy expectation? Did that level of hope make me look different from those around me?
The truth is that God has limitless love for us and boundless resources. While those who work at Disney are big dreamers and have much in the way of finances and connections as resources, they can’t even compare to the dreams and supply that God has for us. My favorite Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, and reads “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (NIV).
Don't limit God's ability because of a human's limited imagination. Take the limits off! Expect the miraculous!
To whom is that verse a promise? The prophet Jeremiah originally wrote the verse to the elders, priests, prophets, and other people whom had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon (see Jeremiah 29:1). But this verse is also a promise for us – that we can expect the miraculous – not because the idea is a mere fancy, but because it’s an expectation of our faith.
I may not have a clue HOW things will work for my good when I’m facing a difficult situation in the natural, but I can expect and believe that He will work all things for my good. His Word declares that truth in Romans 8:28. It is our faith that pleases and moves God. Hebrews 11, dedicated to defining faith, gives a multitude of examples of people who lived by faith. But if we are not expecting God to move on our behalf or expecting to see the miraculous, we might miss out! Don’t settle! Be expecting to see God do what His Word says He will do.
Are the things you are expecting going to be worth the wait? If not, maybe you are thinking on too small a scale! Get your expectation high! Believe unwaveringly for the miraculous! And be looking for God’s directions so that you don’t miss any opportunity that He has for you.
His love for you is greater than you could possibly dream, and He only wants the very best for you. Believe it, trust Him, and expect the miraculous.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it on Twitter or Facebook! To read about some of the purposes of God-given dreams, read the author’s post Stepping out into your Dreams.
“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, AMP)
“The Lord answered me: ‘Write down what I show you. Write it clearly on stone tablets so whoever reads it can run to tell others. It is not yet time for the message to come true. But that time is coming soon. The message will come true. It may seem like a long time before it happens. But be patient and wait for it. These things will happen. They will not be delayed.’” (Habakkuk 2:2-3, ICB)
I have some friends in my life who have costumes for seemingly every occasion. These people are so much fun to know! But today, I feel like I need to raid their closets to see if they have any pom-poms. I bet they do! If I could do that, I would be waving them in the air squealing excitedly. I would tell you to keep pressing in. Keep pushing forward and focus on your dreams! Keep dreaming! You’re not too old and you’re not too young! You can do it – don’t give up! I believe in you!!!”
To begin, I think everyone at some point in their lifetime needs their own personal cheerleader. We all have had hopes and dreams. We’ve had ideas of things we would like to accomplish. But often, we let the demands of life and fear of our personal inadequacies come between the dream and the reality of seeing it accomplished. Sometimes we need someone who will encourage us to keep going toward those ideals for which we are hoping.
Chasing Your Dreams
This week, my husband was sharing about this very topic at church. He was telling about a God-given dream he had mentioned from the platform several months earlier. He told about how our pastors had encouraged him to pursue his dream. The first words he used to describe what they did was “pushed him” and then he corrected it to “provoked.” They had “provoked” him to pursue his dream.
Provoke One Another
The word provoked often has negative connotations associated with it. According to dictionary.com, it can mean, “to anger, enrage, exasperate, or vex” (Provoke, n.d.). I have two children, I was a teacher, and I have 3 brothers of my own. As a result, I completely understand this definition, and it is the first one that comes to mind when I think of the word provoke. But the next three definitions of provoke are my favorites. And these are the ones to which my husband was referring. Provoke (n.d) means “to stir up, arouse, or call forth (feelings, desires, or activity). To incite or stimulate (a person, animal, etc.) to action. To give rise to, induce, or bring about.”
For certain, our pastors had used their words and behaviors to stir him up to keep pursuing his dream until the dream came about. They didn’t just leave it to him to do on his own. They kept asking him about it. Our pastors told him that they were excited about it, and that they knew it would be amazing. They believed that he could do it. They believed in him and his dream.
My husband then shared a story about the prophet Elijah. This story is found in the Bible, in the book of 1 Kings. There was a drought in the land, and the Lord told Elijah to go to a specific brook near the Jordan River. God told him to drink from the brook, and that He had commanded the ravens to bring food for Elijah to eat. Elijah obeyed the voice of God. He drank from the brook. The ravens also brought him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening.
The brook eventually dried up, however, because there had been no rain in the land. The Lord then told Elijah to go to the village of Zarephath, where he would be fed by a widow. Elijah went to the town, saw a widow gathering sticks, and asked her for a cup of water and a bite of bread. The widow told Elijah that she didn’t have any bread. She only had a handful of flour and a little oil. She was getting ready to fix that last bit for herself and her son. After that they would die, since there was nothing else for them to eat.
Do Not Be Afraid
Elijah instructed her not to be afraid. He told her to make a little bread for him first, then to prepare a meal for herself and her son. Elijah stated that God had said there would always be flour and oil in her containers until it began to rain again and the crops grew. The widow followed Elijah’s instructions. 1 Kings 17:16 reads, “There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah” (NLT).
This part of Elijah’s story is spectacular. But Keith pointed out Sunday that if the brook hadn’t dried up, the widow woman and her son wouldn’t have had enough to eat. They would likely have starved to death during the drought. Elijah’s obedience to God’s command brought provision and life to someone else.
Your Dreams Impact Others
This struck me hard Sunday! I don’t know that I had ever thought of it quite that way before, and I made it personal. My obedience to God’s direction could lead to someone else’s breakthrough! God gives us dreams for a reason. They can be a blessing for us, but they can also bring blessing to others.
After church Sunday, there was a precious lady who approached my husband. She wanted to speak with both of us, and I joined their conversation as quickly as I could. The woman told us that she’d had dreams and abilities that had gone dormant in her life. She reported that as my husband had been talking from the platform about not giving up on your dreams, her own personal cheerleader kept elbowing her. She felt that the Lord was resurrecting those dreams within her. We had the opportunity to encourage her and pray with her before she left and I am now looking forward to hearing reports from her about the progress she is making toward her goals.
Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams
A couple of days later, I saw a post on Facebook from another person telling about how he’d had a dream. He wrote that he’d been told by a family member that he had believed in his dream all his life, but that maybe he’d missed it. After all this time, it was just time to move on. I found this announcement of defeat heartbreaking. I don’t know what all happened in his life to distract him from pursing his dream. Legitimately good, noble, or even responsible activities may have caused the delay, but to have your dreams squelched by someone else is regrettable.
Proverbs 13:12 reads, “unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around” (MSG). Sometimes having a cheerleader in your corner provoking you to keep going after hearing what you know God has told you to do is just the break needed to awaken dormant dreams. Once you’ve got that jump start, write that dream down somewhere so that you will see it often and the dream stays alive.
Stand on the Word
You can also find Scripture that you can stand on as a source of encouragement. I saw a video of a friend’s daughter quoting Philippians 4:13. She is two years old, and her mom said that when her children tell her they can’t do something, she has them say their verse. What a terrific thing to train oneself to do! Anytime something negative comes into your mind telling you that you can’t do what God says you can do, quote Philippians 4:13, just as that sweet little girl is learning to do. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV).
There is a multitude of other great Scripture to encourage yourself in the pursuit of your dreams. One is found in 2 Chronicles 15:7. It reads, “But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward” (HCSB). Another favorite is found in the book of Psalms. “May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. Might we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers” (Psalm 20:4-5, NLT).
Get a Cheerleader
Tell your dreams to someone you trust – someone who will encourage you and hold you accountable toward the pursuit of those dreams. Remember what the Lord has laid on your heart to do, and go after it! God gives us gifts and talents for a purpose, and Proverbs 18:16 tells us that those gifts open doors for us.
Finally, keep in mind that as long as you are living on earth, God has a plan for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 is my most favorite verse, and reads, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (NLT). Your dreams can make a tremendous impact on your own life. Likewise, they can be the key to opening doors of breakthrough for someone else. God gives us dreams for a reason, and He wants only what is good for us. Keep pursuing your dreams. You can do it – don’t give up! I’m cheering for you!
For more encouraging words on expecting miraculous things, read the author’s article, Expectation.