growing or dying (1)
faith - inspiration - wisdom

What Is Growing In Your Life?

So, one of my sisters brought me some of her sourdough starter. I had taken a literal “break” dealing with a broken foot and could not keep up the pace required to feed the starter and cook the bread. But when I started back making bread, there was something wrong. I knew my sister’s starter was good, but it was dying more and more every day. The bread wouldn’t rise. I actually threw away three or four batches of dough. I was so frustrated and feeling like it was my fault.

Then, I talked about this to my son, John, and he asked…

Mom, are you using tap water? They put things in the city tap water, right?

Oh my, he was right. I used to use tap water. However, I’m pretty sure some things may have changed, and as I thought about it, my starter was giving me trouble when I had my broken foot, which is one reason I stopped even trying and threw out the starter.

So, I started using filtered water and heating it in the microwave to use it in the starter and the dough. (The water has to be pretty close to hot, not lukewarm, but that is a story for another day!)

And something incredible started happening when I used filtered water.

The starter started thriving. It started growing and doing well. I had enough left, so in the right conditions, it could grow, and now my bread and cinnamon rolls are great. But wow, it was bumpy for a while, that is for sure.

A sourdough starter is a form of yeast. With the tap water from the city, chlorine, fluoride, or something in that water was killing the yeast. It wasn’t thriving.

So, here are some things we can notice…

1. Parables can teach us great truths.

As we look at the parables in Matthew 13, we read Jesus quoting Psalm 78:2,

"I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world."

๐Ÿ‘‰ So, we learn that great meaning is to be had from learning what the parables tell us.

Apply This. When you read parables, beside each one write the truth you can be take away. Make sure you look to see other gospels and if Jesus interprets his own parable. For example, start with Matthew 13:24-30 and think on the meaning but don’t write down your answer until you look at Matthew 13:37-43. You can also look at Revelation 14 starting in verse 14 because that is what this is directly referring to. This is a great example of the meanings of parables and just how powerful they are. Pay great attention to what Jesus is teaching in parables.

2. Just a little bit of sin can ruin a whole church, a family, a person

So, let’s look at one of the parables. In, Matthew 13:33 it says,

"Jesus also used this illustration: '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 flower, it permeated every part of the dough.'"

Now, as much as I want a great interpretation that paints yeast positively, let’s go with how the reference to yeast is used most often in the Bible. In Matthew 16:16 (NLV),

"'Watch out!,' Jesus warned them. 'Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Saducees.'"

๐Ÿ‘‰In Jewish teaching, yeast was often used as a metaphor for evil. That is because a tiny little bit of yeast can impact a huge amount of bread.

For example, I use a cup of starter for 6 cups of flour, making either four loaves of bread or four pans of cinnamon rolls. The dough doubles in size TWICE before I cook it, and then when I cook it, it grows some more!

A tiny bit of yeast makes a huge difference in the whole dough! It changes everything. So can a “tiny” sin!!! (If there is such a thing.)

Paul says,

"Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch - as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

So, we’re supposed to act with sincerity and truth, not malice and wickedness.

Our children are watching to see if our faith is real. This is why our choice of church is so important. Don’t take your kids to a church that fights all the time! (Colossians 3:8, Ephesians 4:30-31, 1 Peter 2:1-3, James 4:1, Galatians 5:19-25, 2 Timothy 2:23-24, Proverbs 29:22, 20:3. 15:18 and more!) “They will know we are Christians by our love.” John 13:35

We should be full of love for each other in our churches. We should always be united and seek to be more like Christ.

๐Ÿ‘‰We should seek to act with sincerity and truth about sin.

Apply This. How do you pray for your church? Do you ask God to help it look and behave differently than how people typically act? Do you pray for unity? Do you pray for people to love one another? Do you show love to others in your church even those you may disagree with or who look differently than you? Even if we think that our church is doing well, we all should be praying for sincerity and truth as it relates to sin!

3. Our hearts must continually be turning towards the Lord

You can’t just step on a little bit of manure. If it is on you, it has to be washed off. If you don’t deal with the tiny piece of poop ๐Ÿ’ฉ, you will stink when you walk into the room. And people don’t say — “oh, his foot smells,” they say — “he smells!”

๐Ÿ‘‰If a tiny bit of manure ๐Ÿ’ฉ can ruin the smell of the whole person, a tiny bit of sin can mess up our lives.

  • If I get bitter in my heart towards someone, eventually, it will poison my whole life, and Hebrews says it will “trouble you” and can “corrupt many.” (Hebrews 12:15)
  • If I start worrying, eventually, it will poison my faith. (I love what Billy Graham said about worry.)
  • If I start being jealous of others, it will eventually make me unappreciative of all my blessings (and Proverbs 14:30 says it will “rot your bones.)
  • If I listen to gossip, eventually, I will find myself gossiping and talking badly about others. (Plus, without gossip, a quarrel can die down, and a conflict can cease! Proverbs 20:20)

๐Ÿ‘‰Small things become big things when we don’t deal with them quickly in our hearts.

In Psalm 78, we see that God had done so much for Israel. Yet Israel kept forgetting! They were faking it even when they remembered and seemed to return to Him. In verses 36-37,

"But they deceived him with their mouths, they lied to him with their tongues, their hearts were insincere toward him and they were unfaithful to his covenant."

They had a heart problem. So much about walking with Christ is about our heart’s condition. David said in Psalm 17:3a

"You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night."

๐Ÿ‘‰God sees our hearts. He knows our hearts.

๐Ÿ‘‰Remember that it is not our circumstances that present us with peace, but it is the One to whom we present our circumstances who gives us the peace we need.

When we take these things to Jesus, He is so faithful to help us repent and turn from our sins. He is faithful to help us deal with bitterness, worrying, jealousy, and any sin that messes us up and grows until it will ruin us.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:9-10

But we don’t need to stress out about this. When we know Christ, we have the Holy Spirit who is in us to help us know where God is working. I always rely on John 15:5 and seek to abide in Him and Him in me so I will bear much fruit. And our God is so faithful!

"Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord! You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound." Psalm 4:66-67

๐Ÿ‘‰When we take our hearts to God, he can clean us up. 

So does the Truth of the Gospel make a huge difference when it germinates in our life and starts growing. It only takes a little tiny seed like the mustard seed referred to in Matthew 13:31-32,
"It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree and birds come and make nests in its branches." 

In this case, a tiny seed took root and grew to be huge, impacting the garden in a powerfully good way because birds are the sign of a healthy garden. So it is when we take God’s Word and let it take hold in our hearts, we can impact His Kingdom for great good.

Jesus says in John 6,

"I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (verse 35)

๐Ÿ‘‰As God deals with sins in our lives, our growth comes from Jesus in our lives because He is our bread. He is our nourishment. He is our salvation. He meets our every need. He helps us. He guides us. He helps us in our struggles. We all have a heart problem, and our Lord can help us.

Apply This. As you read God’s Word today, ask God to reveal to you the heart problems. Use your concordance to look up verses about it to see what God says. Seek God’s Word and learn what He has to say about that particular sin. Move forward in faith and be sincere in your heart as you seek God.

In Conclusion

As I think about that sourdough starter, I am reminded that what I let dwell in my heart makes a difference. It grows.

๐Ÿ‘‰My thought life and my heart’s attitude become my actions and words.

I will also say that our pastor at Sherwood has worked so hard with us on living in freedom as we learn about walking in freedom Galatians, and it has made a difference. I won’t walk around feeling guilty. As I take my sins to the Lord, He is so faithful. He has forgiven all of my sins, past, present, and future. But I will not sin by pretending or faking it. God sees my heart, knows what kind of yeast is growing there, and helps me grow to be more like Jesus daily.

And that, my friend, is sweeter than my Mama’s cinnamon roll recipe. How sweet it is to be loved by the Savior of the universe. Oh, how I wish everyone knew this Savior who found me! He is here for anyone who calls upon Him!

What is growing in your heart?

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