Day 19: Living Proof

                It seems like everyone is making bread these days as the flour section is very limited if they have any. Over the last few days we have talked about this amazing but tiny organism called yeast, which is the main feature in bread making. Today I want to focus on the process known as proofing or proving. I borrowed this description of proofing yeast. “Proofing, or what used to be referred to as “proving” yeast, is a process by which you can determine if your yeast is still in a good place to be doing its job—namely gobbling up all those sugars in your recipe and spitting out carbon dioxide that you need to leaven your bread. If your yeast is “dead” or “inactive” then you will need to get new yeast—there is no way to revive it or liven it up again once it goes bad. Dry yeast can last up to 12 months, but there is no guarantee. We recommend storing it in the refrigerator, especially after it is opened. The only true test to see if the yeast is still alive, however, is to proof it, no matter how long it has been in the pantry or fridge. It only takes a few minutes and is way easier than making your entire dough and finding out the yeast is dead the hard way. We call it the hard way because that is what your bread will be without live yeast—hard and flat. If you see the bubbles, then it is safe to assume that your yeast is still alive and kicking—go ahead and make your bread dough. On the other hand, if no bubbles form, then you may have dead yeast, and you should definitely get a new stash before baking for the best results.” So far we have seen lots of bubbles and foam and the bread usually rises perfectly or I should say we are getter better at it. Last nights pits almost perfect!
                Today I want to talk about the living proof we have in Jesus. Jesus is the bread of life. John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:33 “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Yes I know the Passover description is unleavened but the Pentecost description is leavened so we will use that description for today. Leviticus 23:5 “The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast.” 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord.”
                After Jesus rose from the dead, He gave proof of His resurrection. Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:3 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” John 21:14 “This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.” Mark 16:9 “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.” 1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.” There were also others who gave proof of the resurrection. Matthew 27:51 “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
                Jesus gave us living proof that he was alive. But it wasn’t supposed to stop there, as the proof of His resurrection needs to continue forward. Acts 4:33 “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.” We still need proof of the power that took place during the resurrection of Jesus other wise we are no different than any one else. This proof will show us the presence of God dwelling in us. Luke 24:9 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” When I say proof, it means we will continue to do as Jesus did with power and authority. Being clothed with power will be proof that the church is where it should be. Paul said in Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
                If we believe that Jesus rose and then promised us the Holy Spirit, then we must also believe we will do greater things just as Jesus said we would. Look at what God has offered us if we adhere to His words. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 16:23 “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 21:21 “Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” 1 John 3:21 “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.”
                I think you get the picture but is that the picture we see in the church? Obviously it is not because the church has turned from the truth of the gospel and has gone their own way. It is also very obvious just by looking at the churches around you. Mostly what you will see in the church are the results of what hands have made but not clothed with power. Deuteronomy 31:29 “For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.” Isaiah 2:8 “Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.” Jeremiah 25:6 “Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.” Jeremiah 25:7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” The church has gone their own way, built what their own hands can make yet expect God to listen to us. Habakkuk shows what happened when Israel disobeyed. Habakkuk 1:1 “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” 5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous  people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own.” Habakkuk 3:2 “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. 16 I heard and my heart pounded (not because of the Babylonians but the power of God), my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Paul prayed that our eyes would be opened but for most they remain closed and cannot see the amazing power God has in store for His church. Most do not believe it is even possible to have power because they have taken their eyes off scripture and focused only on what they see before them. They have formulated their opinions based on the desolation they see thinking this is the church but they do not focus on the power of God displayed in God’s word. What they see is Isaiah 1:15 “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.” The desolation the church is in has become the norm so instead of repenting and turning from our wicked ways, we just keep charging forward.
                Because we disobeyed, the church lost the power and authority available to them by believing. Once we turned away from God’s commands, God turned from us but His word still gives us hope. First of all we have the promise to David so there will always be a remnant because of night and day. Then we have Hezekiah’s prayer that states, 2 Chronicles 30:9 “If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” So as we turn back and wait for God to pour out His spirit, we have hope that the church will once again do as Jesus did.
                This is where the proofing comes in. The word of God tells us exactly what to do and what is available to us. Jesus showed us the way and we were supposed to follow. If we have based our lives on the word of God then our lives should like the word of God. The church should be the church Jesus started and we should be doing as Jesus did. When you proof the yeast you find out if it is good or bad. The same goes for the church except there is nothing wrong with God nor is His word false but there should be living proof of the Holy Spirit’s power but there isn’t. The problem of this lack of power lies solely with the church who has turned away and no longer does what we are supposed to do. The church turned away from the one who gives us life to create their own life. John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Now the church hungers and thirsts but not after righteousness but after their own ways. Jeremiah 8:4 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return? 5 Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. 6 I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle. 7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord.”
                So as we have seen, the yeast is bad and will not rise as it is supposed to do. The church is also not doing as it is supposed to do. We have had a few duds in the bottom of the bread-maker where it was just a clump of dough that did not rise. When it works well in the bread-maker the lid sometimes pushes up. When you make it by hand it is a beautiful thing to see the dough double in size. God has told us to listen and if we do as He tells us to, He will open the floodgates of heaven. Psalm 81:8 “Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me, Israel! 9 You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. 10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. 11 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. 13 “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, 14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! 15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever. 16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
                The church looks exactly like Israel and Judah when they disobeyed and because they disobeyed they no longer had the power to defeat their enemies. But because Jesus is alive and sent His Holy Spirit, the church should be proof of God’s power to the world. David said to Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:46 “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.” Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” The gospel was supposed to go into the world in power. It started to but turned away to go after other gods. If there is no proof of this gospel, Paul tells us we have worshipped in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”