We all have dreams. God gives us spiritual dreams about his purpose and destiny for our lives.
There are times when I see God’s dream clearly. That’s when I’m inspired, determined, energized, and focused. My heart is moved to love people.
Other times, God’s dream feels like a distant thought. That’s when I’m grinding, overwhelmed, task-oriented, and dutiful. My heart is disinterested and disconnected in relationships.
We have to take responsibility for each other’s faith: to build it up and help each other remember the power of God. That’s when the dream comes back into focus. Ask yourself:
- Are you in tune with God’s dreams or is your heart dull?
- What is the condition of your faith right now?
Jesus came to turn peoples’ hearts and faith back to God.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
Luke 4: 14-15 (NIV)
When Jesus began to preach, people started to find hope again. Before Jesus, most people had lost faith in the power of God and had settled for a religion based on what you did and who you were.
The message in the time of Jesus and the good news that we need to remember is that God still cares. He cares about what goes on in our day to day life. He is interested in the details of our emotions. He hurts over the damage that sin does to our conscience, our relationships, and our future. God wants us set free so we can dream again.
The Crisis of Faith
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Sometimes it can be hard to have faith. Our hopes may be deferred and our hearts can grow sick. Personal crisis and challenges can hit us and our hearts can feel empty. We can grow older and find that it’s hard to face physical or emotional health issues that surface in our lives.
It feels easier to take matters into our own hands than to have faith. We stop praying when we no longer have faith in the power of God. That’s when humanism takes over. You may still be physically reading the Bible, but your humanism produces distance, unbelief, and doubt anyways.
If that’s you, take hope. Jesus was preaching good news to the poor, the prisoners, the blind, and the oppressed. He wants to set us free.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
Mark 5: 24-26 (NIV)
Have you ever poured your resources into something, but instead of getting better things got worse? That’s how this woman felt. She spent all she had on doctors, but never got better. And she didn’t just exhaust all her money. She exhausted all her faith.
- Do you ever feel exhausted?
- What have you been putting your faith in?
- How often do you talk about what you are really feeling?
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
Mark 5: 27-29 (NIV)
She had a crazy idea… “I know I’ve spent years suffering, but maybe if I just touch Jesus’ clothes, things will change.” That was the beginning of her developing great faith in God and rekindling the dream.
Simple Act of Faith
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
Mark 5: 30-32 (NIV)
Power went out from Jesus. Wow. Do ever wonder how he could tell? He had a whole crowd around him, but he could sense the one person who reached out with faith and ended up finding power. What do we learn? Healing starts with a personal act of faith, not just standing in a crowd at church.
What simple act of faith is God putting on your heart?
- Conversation you need to have?
- Decision to make?
- Risk to take?
- Relationship to reconcile?
- Sin to face?
A simple act of faith caught Jesus’ attention. He had the power to set her free and gave her the ability to dream again.
Free to Dream
Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Mark 5: 33-34 (NIV)
The woman could have left after getting what she wanted, but instead she chose to have a relationship with Jesus. She fell at his feet, told him the whole truth, and her faith healed her. Too often we look to God to get our needs met, but don’t look for a relationship that will change who we are.
Becoming free to dream is finding freedom with a purpose. This woman’s struggle became a story that gives us faith today. This is what you and I ought to become—people that have a story that gives others faith in the power of God.
- What is affecting your faith? (the whole truth)
- What simple act of faith will you take? (conversation, decision, or step forward)