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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

From A Dream to Deliverance

In review of Ephesians 3:20b it says, “God … is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”

Bottom Line:
With God working in us, he can do more than we ever dreamed would be possible.

What this means to me:
Through God’s mighty power working in me, I can do more than I ever thought was possible, in fact it is infinitely beyond my highest desires, thoughts, hopes or prayers.

In order for my faith to grow to a point where I can claim the promise in Mark 9:23, “Everything is possible for the person who has faith” (GNT) I need to understand that God will take me through six phases of faith. Rick Warren explains these six phases in his “Daily Hope Devotional” from April 25th, 2015. I have adopted them to my own life and setting.

Phase 1: Dream
In this phase, I consider what is the dream God has given me? If I don’t have a dream I’m working toward, I’m only just existing. In this case I need to start praying, “God, give me your dream.” Ultimately I’m here on Earth for a purpose. When I discover that purpose, I’ll discover the dream God wants me to go after. “God … is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20b TLB).

Phase 2: Decision
Maybe I have a dream from God, but I have not yet made a decision to go after it. God’s word for me in phase 2 is, “Go for it!” I may need to make the decision to give more of my life to Christ or  to join a church or get involved in ministry. James 1:7-8 warns, “If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord” (GNT).

Phase 3: Delay
When things don’t happen on my timetable, I tend to run ahead of God and create detours to make it happen. When I run into this, it is key to not detour! I may end up making the wrong decision. I’m in God’s waiting room. I need to wait for God to work his hand. God says in Habakkuk 2:3, “But these things I plan won’t happen right away.  Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled” (TLB).

Phase 4: Difficulty
There may be difficulties I face as I wait for my dream to be fulfilled? I’ll go through many tests in life, but it's comforting to understand that God knows what I’m going through. He’s watching, and he hasn’t forgotten me. “Even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident — it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold” (1 Peter 1:6-7 Phillips).

Phase 5: Dead Ends
There will be times when I’m at a dead end, and I’ll feel as if I’m ready to give up. But I’ll actually be right where God wants me! He is preparing me for deliverance. God’s word for me here is, “Hang on! Don’t give up!” “At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we now believe that we had this experience of coming to the end of our tether that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

Phase 6: Deliverance
Will I expect and trust God to deliver me? The answer is He will. But it won't happen overnight. I”ll need to go through all six stages before God brings me into deliverance. “I know that I will live to see the LORD’s goodness in this present life” (Psalm 27:13 GNT).

A key thing to consider in the dream phase is determining whether the dream is from God or just from myself. What I’ve learned is that when God provides me with a dream, it will be consistent with what he has said in his word and is of benefit and service to others. If the dream is just from myself it will be selfish or more about meeting my own needs.

Also in consideration of the difficulty phase, I think God brings these difficulties about to teach me to rely upon him. If everything went smoothly and on my own strength and doing, I would tend to just trust myself and not look to him for his help.

As I think about the delay phase and my own personal experiences in the past, they have been times when God has said the timing just isn’t right. Either I need to learn something else, just practice faith or just time for him to work out the circumstances. In this, I have found that when God does move it is always the right time. He has everything planned out and uses mine and others choices to work out his plan.

Ultimately it is God working in and through me to display his mighty works. I’m reminded this morning of 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, “8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (NLT). God will bring from the dream he has implanted into my heart to full deliverance if I’m just patient and remember that he will use these six phases as he builds my faith.