|Keys to Fulfilling Your Vision
by Lawrence Powell
Sight is a function of the eyes; vision is a function of the heart. Some people have eyes to see, but they have no vision. Faith is the ability to see farther than your natural eyes can look. Vision makes the unseen visible and the unknown possible. It is the bridge between the present and the future; without it, we perish or go unrestrained. The vision includes perimeters. When you understand your calling, you will know that every good idea is not a God idea. There are some things and some people that you will need to avoid when you are clear on vision. If you want to be wise, you’ve got to walk with the wise. And you have to walk with the visionaries if you want to have a clear vision.
Vision is seeing the ultimate purpose of God for your life. Often were so determined to do our own thing we head down the wrong path; that will always bring us to a Damascus Road experience. Remember Paul, a man who thought he was doing the work of God, but in reality was opposing Gods work? What got him on track? His encounter with God on the Damascus Road.
God has a vision for each of us. He that hath begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future. Vision gives us a clear sense of purpose and direction. What is it that you want to do with your life? As believers in Christ, we should have a vision beyond where we are right now. It doesn’t matter how old you are: you should have a vision for tomorrow.
Vision helps us to set meaningful goals and keep things in perspective. It helps us to avoid being defined by circumstances and people’s opinions. People will try to define and limit you. Don’t allow it. Stop believing the negative things people say. See yourself as God sees you as a citizen of the Kingdom, seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Stop seeing yourself as broken, busted and disgusted! If that’s all you can see in your future, then that’s all you will ever have.
There is much that we can learn from the prophet Habakkuk. He was discouraged with the nation of Israel. The people were double-minded, walking with God one day and turning their backs on Him the next. Habakkuk went to God about it, and the Lord gave him a vision. He needed that vision to bring him hope and purpose. Sometimes we need the same!
Let’s look at the principles involved in visions, as we consider Habakkuk’s experience in Habakkuk 2:1-4:
1) Pray: If you don’t know what your vision is, get in touch with God. Talk to your Creator. Proverbs 20:5 says, The purposes of a person heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. Proverbs 19:20-21, says, Many is the plans and purposes of a person’s heart, but its the Lords purpose that prevails. You might think you’re headed in one direction, but God says, I’ve got a different plan for you. So get quiet before the Lord. God doesn’t want you to live aimlessly. He will teach you and show you the way to go if you let Him (Psalm 32:8).
2) Identify your passion: Habakkuk 2:1 says, I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart and watch and see what He will say to me. Vision is often birthed out of a burden God places on our hearts or from a personal experience or particular problem. Some people see a problem and discover they have a passion to resolve that problem. What are you passionate about? Godly passion is the key to discovering your vision. Standing watch has to do with being intensely attentive; it also involves separation from crowds, people, and distractions. Why is this necessary? Because your vision is uncommon. You are uncommon!
3) Write the vision: If it was important to God that Habakkuk write out the vision and make it plain (v.2), then you should do it as well. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. And if it’s out of mind, you’re not doing anything about it. At first, your vision might not make a lot of sense to you, but write down what you see and hear. A vision that is not written will be a vision that is soon forgotten. A written vision gives you something that you can look at, pray over and declare. Writing your vision is an expression of your faith.
4) Run with the vision: Habakkuk was told to run with the vision, not run from it (v.2). Some people get a vision, then get scared and back off. But if God has given you a vision, He wants you to run with it. Your vision must be your constant focus. You must wake up in the morning with it and dream about it at night. Your activities must be in line with the vision to which God has called you. But be aware: If God has called you in one direction and you’re moving in another, then you need to get on track with the vision. Live for it every day. Vision + Action = Realization.
5) Rest in Gods timing: This is the most difficult, yet most important thing to do! Though it tarries, wait for it, because it will surely come… (v.3). God’s timing and ways are rarely the same as ours. Waiting on God can be quite challenging because we’re impatient. We want things now; however, our lives must line up with Gods desires in His timing. We must be careful not to allow impatience to lead us astray like it did with Abraham and Sarah. Isaac was in the mind of God. But Abraham and Sarah, given the impatience that is often born out of delay, said, Maybe God wants us to help Him out. So they schemed and planned, and as a result, they produced Ishmael. Whenever we allow impatience to take the lead, it will produce Ishmaels in our lives, too.
6) Don’t give up: Wait for your vision to unfold. It will manifest. Wait without murmuring or complaining. While you wait, serve faithfully in the Kingdom. Often your vision will unfold in stages. Everything doesn’t happen overnight. One door leads to other open doors. Be sensitive, and you’ll be in the right place at the right time. Don’t hang out with people who aren’t going anywhere. If you do, you’ll end up in the same place nowhere! Instead, get with people who can speak into your life, encourage you, help you set the stage, and figure out some strategy they will help you to get where you need to go!
7) Live by faith: …but the just shall live by faith (v.4). We must live our faith and live by faith. That’s the Christian edict. We find in Scripture that we live, walk and stand by faith. When God gives you a vision, it will be God-sized! If it requires finances that you don’t have, God will supply them; wherever God guides you, He will provide for you. Faith without works is dead. Remember, the blessing is in the doing, according to James 1:25. Keep this in mind, my friend, as you go ahead in life to fulfill your vision.
|Five Things You Should Know on Your Way Up
by Lawrence Powell
I want to talk to you about 5 Things You Should Know On Your Way Up. Each one of us is on a journey up FROM somewhere GOING somewhere. I’m going to share some helpful insights regarding things to consider while you’re on your trip. These things will–if you’ll pardon the pun–keep you from tripping, so that you may finish your journey victoriously. The five truths are found in Luke 19:28-40, which details Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Number 1: The way up is costly. Jesus was heading to Jerusalem, fully aware that this trip would end in his death at Calvary. You and I aren’t headed toward that kind of cross, but we each have our own cross to bear. And our experience on this journey called Life will have its own sacrifices as well. Jesus got on the cross willingly, and it cost Him everything He had. If you are to walk this road and fulfill your purpose and destiny, it’s going to be costly. It’s going to cost you some so-called friends. You’ll be lied to. And if you’re doing something worthwhile on your way up, people are going to talk about you. Some people will stab you in the back. Betrayal is on this road, my Friend! People will smile in your face and then, when your back is turned, they will criticize you or hate on you. I’m just being real here; cost comes with territory. If Jesus went through it, then you’re going to go through it. Keep your eyes on Jesus and be willing to have your own Garden of Gethsemane proclamation, Nevertheless not my will, but Your will be done. The rewards far outweigh the price of sacrifice many times over. In the Kingdom, understand that the way UP is DOWN. If you want to go up in Life, then you’re going to have to come down. He who exalts himself will be abased, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. That’s the Word of the Lord.
Number 2: God loves to use ordinary things and ordinary people. This second truth is found in the selection of the donkey. Jesus requested a donkey– a symbol of humility and servanthood–to ride during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. So, what’s the point? Friend, if He could find a donkey and use that lowly animal, surely He can find you and me…and use us! You may think you’re too ordinary, that you have nothing to offerCongratulations – You’re just the one He’s been looking for! God wants somebody who’s not stuck on himself. He’s looking for somebody who’ll say, Lord, here I am: use me! Let Him use you, then give Him the glory for the job done.
Number 3: On your way up, expect revelations of Jesus Christ. You are journeying in the School of the Holy Spirit. God will take you to certain places and through certain classes. You’ve got to attend those classes, my Friend. You can’t tell God, No, thanks, I’m opting out! There are no electives! God will usher you into environments and circumstances to teach you what you need to knowabout Himself…and about yourself. If you hunger and thirst for the Lord (and I hope you do!) eventually you’re going to see something of Him that you’ve never seen before. He’s going to reveal things to youabout life, about people, about yourself. You’ll learn you’re not flawless; you’ve got imperfections. I’ve had to learn that about myself. Honestly, I’ve got a lot of flaws. Now that doesn’t mean I’m out there practicing sin. I’m just saying that if you catch me on the wrong day, tired and hungry, I may not be as pleasant as I am right now. God will allow certain experiences in your life to show you that if you’re not mindful to keep your flesh down, you can say some things that you might regret later. Or do some things that will be shameful–and you don’t want to go there! Whatever God allows in your life is not meant to bring you down, but to show you that you still have room to grow. And, along the way, Jesus will reveal Himself to you as your: Comforter, Counselor, Deliverer, Healerand so much more!
Number 4: Everybody shouting your praises is not your friend. People started spreading their cloaks on the road as Jesus drew near, and the multitudes began shouting and rejoicing, praising God. People took palm branches, threw them in the streets and waved them. But some of the people shouting Jesus’ praises that day were later that week shouting, Crucify him! So, when people are talking about you and saying how wonderful you are, don’t take it seriously! Because people can celebrate you one day and hate you the next. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t be fooled by the praise of men.
Number 5: If you’re going to make this journey and come out victoriously, then you’ve got to do so with praise. The Pharisees disapproved of the praises to Jesus. They said, You need to rebuke those people! They’re calling you ‘Messiah!’ Tell them to shut up! Jesus replied, If these were to be silent, the very rocks would cry out! Your journey must be one of praise. Along the way, you’re going to meet some people who won’t like your praising self. Keep on praising! I’m grateful I had the privilege of being taught about praising and magnifying God. There have been times in the supermarket when I’ve been so overwhelmed by the presence of God that I found myself leaning over the shopping cart; and people thought I was just trying to decide what can of Pork ‘n Beans to buy that day. But I was really just thinking about the goodness of Jesus and all that He’s done for me. And something just starts welling up on the inside of me that says, You’ve got to praise Him! Maybe for you it’s optional, but for me it’s mandatory! I’ve got to praise Him! It was praising God that got me this far. It was praising God in the good times and in the bad times. It was praising Him when I felt like it and when I didn’t. I don’t want the rocks to cry out for me! I’m going to give Him the praise! We were created to make His praise glorious. Something happens when you and I praise the Lord: When the praises go up, the glory blessings come down! And for this we should praise our God for now and forevermore!
Keep It Real
by Lawrence Powell
There is a spirit of skepticism in the world. People are not sure we are who we say we are as Christians. And may I say, that’s not all the world’s fault. Sometimes we’ve presented an off-brand Christianity that is so contradictory to what God has established that they can’t be blamed for their skepticism! Men and women today go so far with certain elements of the Gospel and completely ignore other themes. For instance, surely we’re called to prosper, but Jesus did not hang on Calvary to get you a Maserati!
The world is hungry to see what authentic Christianity looks like. People are watching us. They may not say a word, but they’re observing how we conduct our lives. They’re watching to see if we say one thing and do another. They know there is power in God, but their minds are not often convinced of it when they look at His children. In a sense, you could say they are hoping to see authenticity in us!
The late Ray Steadman wrote a book I think every believer should read: Authentic Christianity. In it, he discussed five marks of the authentic Christian. I’d like to share them with you, along with my thoughts, today.
Satan looks for those who are up to something good. He knows if he leaves you alone, you’ll mess up his plans big time. This is why he sends distractions and hindrances against you. But you need to keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep focused! He wouldn’t be fighting you this hard if you didn’t have something great to offer. Wherever you are – in the world of education, the world of medicine, or the world of business – make a difference!
|God Always Has A Strategy
by Lawrence Powell
The word is out concerning you, my friend. You are anointed! Your anointing is powerful, conspicuous, attractive. It’s not mystical, but the manifest presence and power of God that is particularly evident in and upon your life as a believer.
As far as the anointing is concerned, you either have it or you don’t. Until David was anointed king over Israel, he had no Philistine enemies. Once he was anointed, they began to plan attacks against him (2 Samuel 5:17-25). David discovered not only his calling, but also his enemies.
The Philistines spread themselves across the Valley of Rephaim, which means, “the valley of giants.” We all will face giants at some point. Giants are anything that distract our focus from God, deter us from our service to God, and drain us of our driving passion for God. There are many giants. You may have met the giants of fear, anxiety, worry, loneliness, guilt, shame, pride, jealousy, selfishness, lust, and greed already on your journey. Giants can be intimidating, but there’s no need for you to be afraid or to bow to them. If God allows a giant in your life, He allows it with purpose. That may be to test your faith so you can experience victory. No trials, no triumphs. You can’t have a testimony, without a test!
O. S. Hawkins said, “A problem is the platform upon which God desires to show how wonderful He can provide.” Our God has never performed a miracle that did not begin at the platform of a problem. If you have a problem, you’re in the right place for God to show up and show out on your behalf!
David, upon hearing that his enemies had come out in full force against him, inquired of the Lord. Please note that. In critical times, be sure to get a word from the Lord! Don’t ever become presumptuous in your anointed self. David didn’t assume to act; he prayed about it. Prayer requires humility.
God gave David a strategy that day that delivered the Philistines into his hands. He named the spot of their defeat Baal Perazim, or “Lord of the Breakthrough.” My friend, your breakthrough is in the strategy. And God always has a strategy.
Isn’t it amazing that as you’re celebrating victory over one thing, along comes something else to test your faith? While David was still rejoicing over his victory in the valley, the Bible says the Philistines came out in full force once more against David. Don’t think you’re just going to have one attack in your anointed life. The attacks will be relentless. The good news is that your victory is also relentless!
Bishop T.D. Jakes said, “For every struggle in your life, there is a strategy.” God has a strategy for your family, your habit, your money, your attitude – for everything! Sometimes, however, those strategies sound ridiculous. Consider Moses in front of the Red Sea, and God said, “Stretch out your hand.” Or Joshua outside the fortified walls of Jericho, who was told to march around the wall for six days, and on the seventh day of marching, the wall would fall down. How about Samson, who was inspired to use the jawbone of a dead donkey to defend himself? Then there was Jesus, Who told the disciples to feed over 5,000 people with five small fish and two loaves of bread. There is always a strategy from God, but it often will sound crazy. However, if you submit to it, it will work!
Here, the Philistines had spread themselves once again across the Valley of Giants, and David inquired of the Lord a second time (verse 23). This was true humility, because David could have simply gone off the word given to him by God previously. He could have assumed he knew how to handle his own affairs. Instead, he inquired of the Lord a second time! Please do not assume that God will always duplicate deliverance methods. God is not that predictable! Don’t limit His methods. And don’t get cocky. You’re sure to fail if you think you’ve got this on your own.
God desires cooperation! He already knows everything about your enemy, the giant, the problem. Trust Him enough to submit to His purpose and plan. Don’t allow your relationship with Him to grow stale. Keep it fresh every morning. I’ve discovered that whenever we truly minister to the Lord, as described in Acts 13, the Holy Spirit will speak. The problem we often have is that we give God no time, so we cannot hear Him speaking. We insist on doing things our own way, and we come up empty-handed every time. When will you pause for a moment, shut it down, and spend time with God until you hear from Him?
If God’s ever done it before, He can do it again. He can bring you victory over your enemies. You just have to trust Him. Acknowledge Him with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. This time, it’s going to be big, just like it was last time, and God’s name will be glorified through your trust in Him!
The anointing removes burdens and destroys yokes (Isaiah 10:27). Anything that’s broken may likely be repaired, but when it’s destroyed, that’s it! It cannot be repaired. It cannot hold you captive or hold you back any more! That’s the anointing of the power of the living Christ at work within us!
When purpose and destiny converge, things can get a little turbulent. Your anointing will be celebrated by some, but it will be intimidating to others. It will cause some people to treat you like you are far more important than you could ever be. It will attract every kind of hater – even ones who don’t know you! Keep this in mind: the anointing of God is not about you; it’s all about Jesus!
The touch of God will make a difference. The enemy knows the touch of God on you is dangerous, and that’s why he wants to shut down what you’re doing. He knows if he leaves you alone, anointed people will do what anointed people do: remove burdens, set captives free, and frustrate his plans!
Like David, you have been anointed, graced of the Lord, fully resourced, called and selected. Yes, there are attacks and, yes, there are giants you must face. I pray you take seriously this word I’ve shared with you today and implement it immediately. I want you to see victory in every area of your life! My hope is that you will have such a hunger and thirst for God that you do not just inquire of Him often, but always! Never allow presumption to take the place of genuine faith in God. Doing so is foolishness. Doing so is dangerous! Do not be just a hearer of the Word, but a doer also. Only in Christ will you see giants die and find lasting victory today and in the days to come!
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