Building Faith in Your Dreams

Many of us have faced times when we didn’t think we had what it takes to make our lives work. I’m not talking about minor insecurities that every person feels from time to time. I’m referring to those occasions when you sink in your heart. The disappointment and sadness can take you so low you feel as though you’ll never reach the bottom. It’s a feeling like no other, because you can’t imagine anyone understanding the depth of what you’re experiencing. These are the moments where the risk of giving up on the dream that is in our hearts is greatest. Most of us know that anything worth having is worth working very hard to achieve, and that results are not gleaned unless we put in the time. But when our dreams are attacked at our most vulnerable places, our faith in God is sometimes diminished. This is too costly to the core of our beings, and we’ve got to strengthen our defenses.

In Ephesians 4:23, God tells us to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. To renew is to make something new continually. It’s not a one-time deal. Renewing is a habit pattern that must be practiced consistently. Some people think that you can memorize a few scriptures and you’re good to go, but this isn’t so. God has given us each the gift of free-will, and it is a gift that He will never violate. He will never do a take-back or overstep this gift in any way. History proves this. Humanity has done some remarkably horrible things against the Will of God. He commanded us to love our neighbors and to treat them the way we want to be treated, but most of us don’t do this. When we accept God’s Holy Spirit through the Lord Jesus Christ, God doesn’t come inside our body-temples and start throwing all the bad stuff out and putting in all good stuff. No. He made this our responsibility. He commands us in Ephesians 4:23 to feast on the positives of His Word and let it saturate our minds so that we begin to think like Christ.

A parable is a simple story used to pack a punch when it comes to spiritual lessons. It helps us comprehend the lesson in a way that lays a foundation for further wisdom, and it connects with our hearts. It makes the wisdom of the lesson so palatable that we make it a part of us. In Matthew 13, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, used a parable to illustrate the laws of God’s Kingdom and the method by which the gospel is planted. The central character is a farmer. The essential dramatic action is that of sowing, and I would argue that the hero is ‘good ground!’

I call ‘good ground’ the hero because in our Lord’s parable and in life itself, good ground is necessary to produce a good life. Jesus tells us that the farmer scattered some seeds; some fell on a foot path, some fell on shallow ground, some fell among weeds, and others fell on good ground. He later explained that the ground represents the condition of the minds of those that hear the good news of the Gospel. In Matthew 13:22, he said the seeds that fell among the weeds represent those who hear God’s Word, but the messages get crowded out by anxiety and worry about problems, and by being too overly concerned with wealth. Those minds, he said, don’t produce any fruit. That’s not the person you and I want to be.

In Matthew 13:23, Jesus said the seeds that fell on good soil represent those who truly soak in the Word of God and understand it. They connect to it in a way that transforms them. They change their thoughts and begin to produce a harvest that is multiplied many times over. Our minds are the soil, and the soil incubates the dream. That’s why you and I must tune out the chatter of negativity and nurture our dreams with faith in the richness of God’s Word.

God has placed the dream in our hearts, and He wants to protect it. Heavenly Father speaks to us and encourages us through His Word. To build up strength in our inner spirits, we must put on the positives of God’s Word daily. He tells us to renew our minds to it so that while our dreams are incubating, they are nurtured like seeds that fall on good ground. Life is not perfect, and the attacks may still sting, but they will not steal our dreams if we continue to build our faith and keep our defenses strong through God’s Word.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Building Faith in Your Dreamswritten by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

“If You Feeling Froggy, Jump!”

“If you feeling froggy, jump!” Back in the day, you wouldn’t say those words to someone unless you were confident in your ability to back them up. It was a dare—a challenge—an invitation to sho’nuff throw-down in the playground. And after you duked it out (if it came to that), you would have solidified your reputation. If you were a smaller kid with glasses, like my cousin, Steve, and you were looking to make your mark, a lot of mileage could be gleaned from making a dare like this. The thing is, it only worked if you were serious. The other kids could smell your bluff if you weren’t prepared to bring it.

Faith works a little bit like this. Lots of folks will tell you they’re believing God to receive one thing or another. Maybe it’s a single sister or brother praying to cross paths with the quality person they will ultimately call hubby or wifey. Many of us are praying about our finances. We’re on the grind every day, but the 9 to 5 just ain’t cuttin’ it; and some of us are facing circumstances that are much more serious. We need the intervention of God’s miraculous power in a major way. Whatever the need, whether it’s finances, good relationships, better health, or an improved well-being in every area of our existence; faith is required. We need it to move from point A to point B, and we need it to go higher and progress further.

James 2:24 says that just as the body without the spirit is dead, faith without works is dead as well. This tells us something extremely important about faith, it doesn’t respond to our whims. Faith responds to authority. Hebrews 11:1(NKJV) gives us the definition of faith. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is a substance. We can’t see it, but it’s a heavyweight. God has given it to us to get some things done in the earth. Faith is evidence that we have what we’ve prayed for even before we receive it. In other words, you’ve got to be something fierce when it comes to believing and trusting God. You’ve got to believe in His love so much that doubt doesn’t exist in your mind and heart.

If you felt froggy enough to jump, it meant that not only were you willing to go toe to toe, but you most likely would dive in first. If you got caught brawling it out, you’d take the blame in the principal’s office for instigating things. My cousin, Steve, was never in trouble and was the last person you’d expect to see in front of the principal, but he was tired of this one kid who’d snatch his glasses, and then hide them. He got to a point where he was no longer going to be afraid to fight. He was ready to put it all on the line.

For those seeking to stand with the spiritual armor that God has provided through Christ, we put it all on the line every day, but we brawl with faith! Challenges are unavoidable in life, and we can’t bluff our way to victory; we have to get froggy with them. James 1:2-4 The Message (MSG) tells us exactly how to do it, “2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

Trying to get out of something prematurely is the same as trying to meet a challenge with undeveloped confidence. It’s shaky ground, where a person doesn’t really believe that God will back their steps. It’s when your mouth is trying to write a check that your heart isn’t prepared to cash. Deep down, this person isn’t in the faith for the long haul, and the devil can smell it. Best not to play that game. Instead, get cemented in the real deal—the all-in commitment to God. That’s when you get froggy with any challenge the enemy throws your way. You’ll fight the good fight of faith, and Jesus will make sure you always win. ■

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

 “If You Feeling Froggy, Jump!” written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!