Power of Personal Vision

by Rick
Power of Personal Vision


  • Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision
  • The Restraining Power of Vision
  • Our God that Makes Known the End from the Beginning
  • Born with an Assignment
  • Reassurance for the Assignment
  • Clearly Articulated Vision
  • God has a Plan for You!
  • Vision Liberates You to be You!
  • Running Your Race within Your Boundaries
  • God’s Will, God’s Bill!
  • The Power of what A Word From God can Do!
  • God’s Vision and God’s Visionaries

Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision

First of all I want to thank God for a New Year and I pray God’s blessings upon you and yours for 2007.  It has been prophesied – and I embrace – that 2007 will be the Year of the Open Door.  I will talk more about that as we journey through the messages of this year.  For this morning I am glad to be back in front of my computer after a much needed and much enjoyed vacation.

I thank God for giving me release to stop the series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God,” at least for now.  There are many great things to look forward to and in the beginning of a new year I always seek God for the “vision” for that year for me and my family.  I call this our “personal vision.”  I feel led to share a series of messages concerning developing and unlocking the power of personal vision and I pray this series will be a blessing to you.

Most people think you see with your eyes, but in actuality you don’t; you see through them.  You see with you mind.  It’s like when I take the time to relay a concept to a person and when they finally get it they say, “I see.”  Well, what do they mean?  They mean they see it, but not with their eyes; they see it in their mind.  But even this is still merely “sight.”  Sight is not necessarily vision.  We will see in this series that vision is seeing beyond where you eyes can look.  Vision is seeing from the inside.  Vision is more insight than sight.  Sight is common, vision is rare.  Let me give you an example.  I met a man in 1996 that had vision.  His vision was birthed from God.  He said that he Lord had called him to start a ministry.  His conviction of his assignment and his ability to articulate it led me to connect with him and support his vision.  He walked me around a plot of land in 1996 and told me (and a group of others) that this was where the Lord would allow them to build a church sanctuary.  It was nothing but an open field of trees, weeds, and bushes, to the natural eye, but he began to explain what God had already empowered him to see.  He went into detail about how the sanctuary was going to look; he talked about doors, colors, chairs, and etc.  We saw a field, he saw a church.  By the summer of 1997, at the time where I was scheduled to leave Augusta, GA; the building that he saw was erected for the rest of us to see.  He painted the picture of the vision God had given him and that vision gave us the motivation we needed to support the move of God in his life.

I came back to Augusta in November of 2003 for a short visit.  By this point the church had purchased more land and several buildings were on the church campus.  That same man walked me through a newly erected Family Life Center and talked to me about the purpose of the new building.  He then pointed to an area full of trees on the land where the Lord had shown him that the final sanctuary, the Faith Dome, will be built.  He went into great detail about the dome and he lit up when he talked about the impact all of this was making and would make in the body of Christ.  Making a mark in the lives of people that is inerasable.  His vision caused me to ask the Army to send me back to Augusta, GA.  I moved my family back here in 2004 because I came to support a vision.  It is now 2007.  The trees he pointed out are gone.  An architect drawing has been rendered.  The full plans are on order and the ball is rolling for the Faith Dome.  More importantly, however, souls are being saved, burdens are being removed, yokes are being destroyed, and lives are being changed through the power of God.  Why?  Because there was a man that was willing to receive, accept, and walk out a vision from God.  That man’s name is Richard Peoples.  He is my Pastor and Spiritual Father.

So what does this mean to you today? It simply means that a God-given vision for you and your family can have the same results that it can for a Pastor and a church.  You can either loosely stumble through life or you can be a person of vision.  Are you ready to be a visionary?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am ready to be a visionary.  I am ready to do my part in receiving Your Vision for my life.  I also thank You for giving me a clear vision for 2007.  An annual vision that will take me incrementally closer to Your expected end for my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Restraining Power of Vision (top of page)

(Prov 29:18 AMP)  Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man] – blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.

This morning we continue our new series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision.”  Vision statements from visionaries are common in churches and organizations, but many fail to realize that the clarity and focus provided by a clearly articulated vision can be applied to your personal life and family.

So as we continue our new journey towards understanding and unlocking vision we do so with a very common verse (Proverbs 29:18).  I used the Amplified Bible this morning as our base translation.  I also want you to see it from the NIV.  The NIV translates this verse: “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.”  And finally, I will break down the verse even further.  The word translated vision literally means revelation.  The word translated perish means to loosely stumble or to cast off restraint.  The word translated keepeth means to guard, protect, and take heed to.  The word translated law means the instruction, direction, and teachings of God.  The word translated happy literally means blessed or empowered to prosper.  Read in this light, our texts tells us that, “Those who do not hear from God, nor receive His revelation, loosely stumble through life and cast off restraint, but those who take heed to and protect His instructions, direction and teachings are be blessed and empowered to prosper.”

The bottom line is that those who do not receive revelation or insight from God do not have a guiding force, a rule by which to judge any decisions, a measuring stick for their lives.  The result is that they loosely stumble through life, attempting this and that, going here and there.  The Bible says that they “cast off restraint;” meaning that they have nothing to focus them or to keep them confined to a determined path.  Can you be effective this way?  I guess so, but it would be a lot harder than the person who knows where they are going.  Yoggi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, then you might wind up somewhere else.”

The person who receives revelation and insight from God knows where they should end up and it helps them in the process of developing a plan of action, setting goals, and taking calculated steps to arrive at God’s “expected end” (Jer 29:11) for their lives.  These people live what I call “restrained lives.”  They are not out to try everything, but rather only those things that will take them towards their purpose; those things that line up with the vision they have received from God.

It is my prayer that as we go through this series, those of you that do not understand your purpose and those that do not have a vision for what you will do in 2007 will take the time to seek God in both areas.  Your life purpose is one thing, but you will not accomplish your entire life purpose in 2007.  Ask God to direct you in what you should do in 2007, write it down, share it with your family, and allow it to become the ruler by which you judge every decision this year.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you have a choice to make.  You can either loosely stumble through life or you can choose to take the time to receive revelation and insight from God; allowing God’s vision to become your compass.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am ready to be a visionary.  You have thoughts and plans for my life.  You have an expected end and a final outcome already planned for me.  My prayer is that You begin to reveal it to me.  Pull back the veil on my purpose and the vision You would have me to live by in 2007.  I allow that vision to restrain me from loosely stumbling and I become a focused and diligent believer in the Body of Christ.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Our God that Makes Known the End from the Beginning (top of page)

(Is 46:10 NIV)  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

This morning we continue our new series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision.”  Faith comes by hearing (or receiving) the Word of God.  Oftentimes believers don’t know how to pray or what to pray when they are asking God to reveal their purpose/vision to them.  Like with anything else, we must seek God in accordance with His Word.  As we go through this series I will show you scripture after scripture that supports the fact that God has a plan for Your life and that He is willing and able to reveal it to you.  This morning let’s take the time to look at a few scriptures that teach us how God operates.

In Isaiah 41 God addresses worshippers of idols.  He says, “Present your case, set forth your arguments, bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen.  Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome.  Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods…” (Is 41:21-23 NIV).  The point here is that God basically makes a challenge to false gods.  He asks the worshippers of idols to see if their idols can tell them what the future holds.  The obvious answer is that they cannot, but the point is that God can.  In the 46th chapter God has a similar conversation.  He says, “To whom will you compare me or count me equal?  To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?  Some pour out gold from their bags… hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it.  They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands.  From that spot it cannot move.  Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles… I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come…” (46:5-10 NIV).  Read the last portion again.  God says that He makes known the end from the beginning.  God does not have to wait until Tuesday to find out what is going to happen on Tuesday.  Furthermore, He is willing and able to make known to us what our end will be.

Now, some believers don’t understand the Old Testament and they attempt to shy away from it.  Although these passages in Isaiah are very much applicable to our lives, I will also share what Jesus said in the New Testament.  He was preparing His disciples for what was going to happen and He said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:12,13 KJV).  Jesus promised/explained that part of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to show us things to come.  If we are Born-Again, then we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us.  And if Jesus said this, and He did, then part of the benefits of our citizenship in the Kingdom of God is to receive insight, revelation, and vision from the Holy Spirit concerning things to come.

So what does this mean to you today? It means God proved Himself in the Old Testament by revealing to His followers what was going to happen; and guess what?  He still does the same today.  He wants to reveal Himself to you in greater ways.  Take the time this month to pray and ask Him to.  Consecrate yourself before God and receive His vision for your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I stand on Bible ground when I believe and stand in faith for You to reveal Your purpose for my life and Your vision for this year for me and my family.  You proved Yourself against false gods by making known the end from the beginning, by revealing what was going to happen, before it happened.  I now declare, by faith, that You will do the same for me.  Holy Spirit, speak to me and show me the things to come.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Born with an Assignment (top of page)

(Jer 1:5 AMP)  Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

This morning we continue our new series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision” by taking a look at Jeremiah.  Jeremiah and he was born at a time where nations where in continuous war with each other.  His assignment was to prophecy – to be the mouthpiece of God – to the tiny nation of Judah.  Although God would use him to say many things, he did not start out this way.  Jeremiah did not fulfill his purpose until he understood what it was.

Jeremiah opens this book by identifying himself, his family, and then he gets right into a conversation (prayer) he had with God that directed his life.  He explains what the Lord said to him in the 5th verse.  I have used the Amplified Bible for our base text.  Let me also allow you to read it from the Message Bible, “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you.  Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations – that’s what I had in mind for you.”  So what do you think Jeremiah did with this information?  Well, he struggled with it, just like many of us do.  He tired to argue his way out of it.  He said, “Ah, Lord God!  Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” (v.6).  But the Lord gave him assurance by saying, “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (v.7).  Then the Lord released provision for His vision by putting forth His Holy hand and touching Jeremiah’s mouth.  He then said to Jeremiah, “Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth” (v.9).

So what does this mean to you today? I won’t be able to deal with it all today, but let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets from this passage:

1.  There is intelligent design to life and we are birthed from an intelligent designer.  God knew Jeremiah before he was even formed in his mother’s belly and He knows us the same way.  This means there are no mistakes in pregnancy.  God can and will work through any person, no matter how they were conceived.

2.  God makes assignments before birth.  I know this is hard for many to understand or believe, but it is biblical.  There are many scriptures that point out the fact that foreknew what would happen when and prepared things for us before the foundations of the world.  Jeremiah was born to be a prophet to the nation of Judah.  This means he had to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right skills.  And guess what?  So were you!

3.  Purpose and Vision can be revealed.  How did Jeremiah find out his purpose?  Just like we all do, by spending time with God in prayer.  God revealed Jeremiah’s purpose to Jeremiah and He will do the same for us.  He is not unrighteous to hold back information we need, but oftentimes we are too lazy to seek Him for it.  He will not force Himself upon us.  It will require effort on our part.

4.  His instruction is equal to His injection.  What I mean by this is that God only instructed Jeremiah to do what He had already injected him with.  Meaning, God will only expect you to do what He has equipped you to do; but whatever He equips you to do, He expects you to do.  God instructed Jeremiah to prophecy, because He had prepared him for his assignment.  If Jeremiah would have spent all his life trying to be a musician, he would have been frustrated, because he would need things that were not for him to have.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know I was born with a purpose and I know You can release vision and direction for me this year that will take me incrementally closer to it.  I declare, by faith, that I was born for a specific assignment and that You will reveal it to me.  I have been injected, already, with everything the enablers to fulfill what You instruct me to do.  Therefore I face this day, this month, and this year with a holy boldness and confidence that cannot be stopped!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reassurance for the Assignment (top of page)

(Jer 1:5 AMP)  Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

This morning we continue our new series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision” by picking up where we left off with Jeremiah.  We discussed how God predestined Jeremiah to be a prophet.  He was born for a specific purpose.  Once that assignment was made known to Jeremiah we see that he, like many of us, exhibited initial apprehension.

Jeremiah said, “Lord, I do not know how to speak; I am only a child”.  The Lord immediately told him not to say that.  He said, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’”  Why was it important for God to correct Jeremiah immediately?  Because God understands the power of your words.  He told us in Proverbs that the power of death and life are in the tongue (18:21).  By speaking against God’s purpose/vision for his life, Jeremiah was literally putting a “NO,” where God had already put a “YES!”  Many of us do the same thing without even realizing it.  Once we find our purpose, we must line up our words to advance it and not to annul it.

God goes on to provide several things for Jeremiah.  God provided:

Reassurance of purpose:  God said, “You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.”  God was letting him know that his purpose would entail going and saying.  As a prophet he would have to go and say whatever the Lord told him to, but God was also reassuring Jeremiah that He did not have to come up with where to go or what to say.  God would provide both.

Reassurance of provision:  God showed Jeremiah a vision of His hand literally touching Jeremiah’s mouth.  After the vision the Lord said, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.”  This would erase all doubt for Jeremiah.  God had established the vision and He was obligated to release the provision.  The words would come from the heavenly realm and literally be put in Jeremiah’s mouth to be released in the earth realm.

Reassurance of protection:  God goes on to say, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.”  Being a prophet in Jeremiah’s time was risky business.  If they prophesied something that did not happen, they would be stoned to death.  Furthermore, Jeremiah knew that he would probably have to say things he did not want to say to people with the power to kill him.  But God reassured him that protection was part of the benefit package.  In the 12thverse God gave Jeremiah clear assurance that He would make sure His Word would come to pass.  In today’s vernacular, God was saying, “Jeremiah, as long as you do what I tell you to do, I have your back.”  If you God has you back, there is nothing to fear!

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  God’s vision will always extend you beyond your ability and your comfort zone.

2.  God’s vision will always require His provision.

3.  If the vision is not big enough to require God, then it probably did not come from God.

4.  Never worry about how you will do it.  If God gives you the vision, He will release provision.

5.  God will provide you reassurance to feed your faith and to starve your doubts.

6.  You job is to believe it, receive it, declare it, and to step out in faith for it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for revealing to me Your Purpose for my life and Your vision for me and my family for 2007.  I know Your vision will include purpose, provision, and protection.  I am not afraid.  I believe You can fulfill your vision in my life for this year, no matter how big it may seem.  The bigger the assignment, the more I rely on You to bring it to pass.  I do my part: I believe it, I receive it in my heart, I line up my words with it, and I step out in faith for it.  You do your part and it will come to pass in 2007!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Clearly Articulated Vision (top of page)

(Heb 2:2 CEV)   Then the LORD told me: “I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance.

This morning we continue our new series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision” by looking at a passage in the book of Habakkuk; a small book with only three chapters.  In most of the first two chapters the prophet complains to God about the terrible situation the small nation of Judah finds themselves in.  They were experiencing the wrath of the Babylonians.  These people were “faster than leopards” and “more ferocious than wolves” (1:8).  God responds to some of Habakkuk’s complaints in chapter two by saying, “I will give you my message in the form of a vision.  Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance.  At the time I have decided, my words will come true.  You can trust what I say about the future.  It may take a long time, but keep on waiting – it will happen!  I, the LORD, refuse to accept anyone who is proud. Only those who live by faith are acceptable to me” (2:2-4 CEV).

Without getting into all the particulars about this story, I will attempt to glean some golden nuggets from this passage about vision:

1.  God can speak in the form of a Vision.  Once we have biblical evidence that God has done something in the past, it gives us a point-of-reference for our lives.  We then know that He can do the same for us today.  Why?  Because God does not play favorites (Acts 10:34).

2.  The Vision is for an appointed time.  God said, “At the time I have decided, my words will come true.”  It is one thing to know what God will do in your life, but it is another thing to know when.  God’s timing does not always line up with our timing.

3.  The Vision will surely come to pass, no matter how long it takes.  God told Habakkuk, “It may take a long time, but keep on waiting – it will happen!”  God gave Joseph a dream when he was 17 yrs. old.  Joseph did not know it, but the completion of the dream did not come until he was 30 yrs. old.  Joseph had to remain faithful to the process and so do we.

4.  The Vision must be clearly articulated if it requires the involvement of others.  This is a key point.  In the case of Habakkuk, and in most cases for that matter, the vision involves others.  Oftentimes the person that receives vision and clarity from God is excited and motivated to bring it to pass, but without the ability to articulate the vision to the others that are required and that will mutually benefit from it, the vision will be stifled.  If you have received vision from God for 2007 for you and your family, then you must be able to clearly articulate the vision (written and verbally) to your family so that they can agree with you, in faith, for the completion of the vision and for them to do their part.  Clearly expressing the vision promotes “buy-in” and support.

5.  The Vision must be received by faith.  God said to Habakkuk, “Only those who live by faith are acceptable to me.”  The writer of Hebrews said, “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith” (Heb 11:6 MSG).  Faith is an inward conviction of the reality of something that cannot be verified with your senses.  Vision from God must be received without any sense-realm evidence.  In spite of the lack of sense-realm evidence, faith receives it to be true and acts like it is already done.  A person of faith acts like they have January what might not show up until December.  They walk with confidence, because they know it is just a matter of time.  What they have received in their heart will soon show up in their hands.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that to the level that you are able to ask and receive vision/insight from God, will be the level that you will be able to successfully lead your family or any other organization you may be responsible for leading.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for giving me vision for my family and also vision for every organization I am responsible for leading.  The vision will come pass at your appointed time, but I will act like I already have it.  I will walk by faith in expectation that it will come to pass and I will do my part by planning, setting goals, and clearly articulating the vision to all those required to bring it to pass.  I am excited about 2007!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God has a Plan for You! (top of page)

(Jer 29:11 AMP)  For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

This morning we continue our new series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision” by looking at a passage in Jeremiah chapter 29.  The chapter opens up by giving us a clear indication of the setting.  Jeremiah said, “This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.  (This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem)” (verses 1 and 2).  We can see that there were many scattered in exile from Jerusalem and the Lord used Jeremiah to send them a letter so that they could know what He had planned for them.  Like most in exile, they were longing to get home and they were longing to find peace.  Being scattered wanderers in foreign lands can be debilitating and frustrating.  They wanted rest, they wanted peace, and most of all they wanted to know that God was still concerned about them.

In the letter the Lord says through Jeremiah (in our text, v.11) that He has thoughts and plans for them; thoughts of welfare and peace; plans to give them hope in their final outcome.  The King James Version calls the final outcome God’s “expected end.”

What’s the point?  The point is that the same way that God had a plan for the exiled Jews, He has a plan for us.  God has a plan to bless us and prosper us; to give us an expected end.  That is truly awesome when we think about it, because many would think that God has other things to do.  But the God that created the universe; the God that spoke to nothing and created everything; the God that spoke to darkness and created light; the God that spoke to chaos and created order; the God that hung the sun, moon, and the stars in place; that same God spends time thinking about you.  David thought about this in the 8th Psalm and he wrote, “I often think of the heavens your hands have made, and of the moon and stars you put in place.  Then I ask, “Why do you care about us humans? Why are you concerned for us weaklings?” (verses 3 and 4).  The reality is that God does care about us.  He does spend time thinking about us.  God has you on His mind and He has taken the time out to plan your life.  He has plans for you, but you have to take the time to spend time with Him to find out what those plans are.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that once you settle in your heart that God thinks about you and that He has a plan for you life, it then becomes your mission to spend time with Him to find out what the plan is.  Once you find out what it is, your next task is to follow it all the days of your life.  It does no good to find the plan if you are not willing to follow it.  Once you find it and follow it, one day you will be able to finish it.

In Paul’s last letter he wrote, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2nd Tim 4:7).  How could Paul have said that he finished “his” course if he did not know what it was?  He obviously knew and so should we.  Spend time with God this month.  Prepare for this New Year and prepare for the rest of your life.  God has a plan for you.  Your job is to FIND IT, FOLLOW IT, and FINISH IT!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know You have thoughts and plans for my life.  I declare, by faith, that I will take the time and make the effort to find out what the plan is.  Once I do, I declare that I will have the discipline to follow it; the ability to make the proper decisions that will take me towards Your expected end for my life.  Once I find it and follow it, one day I, like Paul, will be able to say with confidence that I have finished it.  It all starts NOW!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Vision Liberates You to be You! (top of page)

This morning we continue our new series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision” highlighting the fact that once you understand your purpose/vision, it liberates you to be you.  It enables you to celebrate the diversities of the body of Christ without jealousy.  As an example, let’s look at the differences in the writers and the writings of the four gospels.

Matthew was a Jew and he was writing to Jews.  His emphasis was to show Jesus as the Messiah – the messenger from God the Jews had been waiting for.  He went to great detail in listing the genealogy of Jesus; something a Jew would want to know.  Jews were waiting for a Messiah from the line of David.  Matthew opens the gospel by connecting the dots from Jesus back to David.  He also knew that Jews were very connected with the Old Testament; the only Bible there was at the time.  Matthew, more than any other gospel writer, showed how Jesus quoted from the Old Testament regularly.  Matthew also documented a great deal of Jesus’ teaching; something the Jews would be interested in.  Mark’s gospel was more pastoral in nature.  He was writing to the New Christians in Rome.  For those that had accepted Jesus as Savior already, the need to express his lineage was unnecessary.  Also, it is widely accepted that Mark was an associate of the Apostle Peter.  This makes sense, because the gospel of Mark is action-packed and movement-filled.  This gospel shows new believers was Jesus did and therefore what He can do for them.  Peter was a man of action and this gospel is a gospel of action.  This book shows Jesus as the Son of God that could deal with any situation we face.

Luke was a physician and a historian of sorts.  He wrote to the Gentiles.  He portrayed Jesus as the Son of Man; as a Savior that was rejected by Israel and made available to all men.  Being a physician Luke was keen on miracles.  He documents more miracles than all the others gospel writers.  Luke is also the only gospel writer to write a second part to his gospel (the book of Acts).  Luke highlighted sinners, the outcast, the poor, and etc.  He painted a picture of a Christ that was available to everybody.  We then get to John.  John was known as the “beloved disciple.”  The purpose of His gospel was stated in 20:31, “But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God.  If you have faith in him, you will have true life.”  John wastes no time getting to this point.  He opens his book with the portrait of Jesus being the Word.  He goes on to state that the Word created everything.  This Word was the creator and then became flesh so that He could be our Savior.  John focuses all his efforts on getting us to believe on Jesus.  He documents the “I Am’s” that Jesus claimed to be; a clear connected to Jesus’ deity.

So what’s the point? The point is that Matthew was free to be Matthew.  He did not have to attempt to have the details of the miracles that Luke did, because Luke was the doctor, not him.  Likewise Luke, probably a Gentile himself, did not attempt to focus his efforts to the Jews.  Mark did not highlight a great deal of teaching, but he did get into the miracles, because action was his background.  John, being the beloved disciple of Jesus, wrote from his heart.  He wanted the world to see Jesus as he did and he wanted all of us to benefit from faith in Him.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that vision provides focus and it frees you from having to be everything to everybody.  If Matthew would have tried to be like Luke it would have caused frustration, because he would be asking God to give him something that was not destined for him to have.  So find out what God wants you to do in 2007 and focus your efforts therein.  You don’t have to be everybody, but God has blessed you to be YOU!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for revealing Your purpose and vision to me.  Once I know who I am and who You have made me to be, then I am free to be me and free to celebrate the diversities in the body of Christ without jealousy.  You did not give me what you gave my brothers and sisters, but praise God that You did not give them what You gave me.  I am unique and I will celebrate my uniqueness in 2007 and beyond.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Running Your Race within Your Boundaries (top of page)

(1st Cor 6:12 NIV)  “Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.

This morning we continue our series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision.”  I get approached by people all the time who are looking for some help to find out what the Bible says about this or that.  One question that repeatedly comes up is, “As a Christian, can I do… ?” or “Does the Bible permit me to do… ?”  You fill in the blank.  It can be lots of things.  But the underlying issue with most of these types of questions is that they are attempting to do something that is “questionable” in their own spirit and they are looking to find out if there is a scripture that clearly says, “DO NOT DO” whatever it might be.  The reality is that there is not a Bible verse that clearly spells out everything someone wants to do or not do.  This is where our relationship with God comes in.  Our relationship with God must be fostered and developed.  As we develop our relationship we receive insight and revelation from Him, for our lives, and this provides us vision.

The writer of Hebrews, after writing what is considered the Christian’s Hall of Faith (chapter 11), said, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Heb 12:1 NLT).  The writer points several things: we have a race that God has set before us; it is our responsibility to run it with endurance; there are clear sins that will take us off of our path; and there are also weights (things that are not necessarily sin) that will slow us down.  In our main text for today (1st Cor 6:12), Paul teaches us that just because we can do something it does not mean that we should.  Just because something is legally (or biblically) permissible, it does not mean that it is beneficial.  It could be a weight that keeps us from running our race.

Let’s look at a practical example.  Let’s say a woman wanted to lose 20 lbs. this year.  How does she establish her base for motivation?  She gets a picture (a vision) of herself 20 lbs. lighter.  She then keeps that vision before her whenever she is eating.  Remember, I define discipline as the ability to make the proper decisions that will take you towards a desired end.  So, while she is eating, if she keeps the vision before her and she allows the vision to become the ruler by which she judges her decisions, then she will be disciplined and eventually arrive at her expected end.  Now, if she went into Golden Corral and paid $7.95, she would then have legal right to ALL the items on the buffet.  But just because she CAN eat all the items on the buffet, it does not mean that she should.  If she keeps her vision before her and she operates in discipline, she will avoid the wrong foods, eat the right foods, and still remain on course to arrive at her expected end.  If does not, then we know what will happen.  In this case, where there is no vision, the FOOD will perish! (little joke).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that a vision from God provides you a ruler by which to judge decisions.  Most people don’t have a problem identifying sin, but a vision also helps keep you from the weights that will slow you down as you attempt to run your race.  A vision helps you establish parameters/boundaries so that you can operate in discipline and experience God’s best for you and your family.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for establishing a race for me.  As I foster my relationship with You I am able to receive your vision and insight for my life.  I then know what my race is and I declare that I will run it with endurance.  I lay aside the sin and the weights that will take me off course and slow me down.  Just because I can legally do something, it does not mean that I will.  What is a blessing for someone else could be a burden for me.  I operate within the parameters of Your vision for my life and I experience Your best in 2007!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Will, God’s Bill! (top of page)

(Judges 6:16 CEV)  “Gideon,” the LORD answered, “you can rescue Israel because I am going to help you! Defeating the Midianites will be as easy as beating up one man.”

This morning we continue our series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision.”  One question I oftentimes get from people when I teach or discuss this subject is, “How do I know that I am hearing from God?” or “How do I know that the vision I am hearing is coming from God and not me?”  There is no easy answer for this, other than the fact that every one of us is required to cultivate and nurture our personal relationship with God.  Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27) and we have to put faith pressure on God to make His Word true in our lives.  Hearing from God is a topic in and of itself and might require me to teach a series on it some day, but with the emphasis on vision, I feel led to focus this morning on the fact that God’s vision will always require God’s help.  If what you think you heard from God is relatively small, if you can do it easily, if it will not require any dependence on God, then it probably did not come from Him.  God is not a small God.  We are oftentimes the ones who think small.  God will always extend us beyond us.

Let’s use Gideon as an example.  Judges 6 opens with the Israelites disobeying the Lord.  Their disobedience caused the Lord to remove His protection from them; resulting in the nation of Israel falling under the control of the nation of Midian for a period of seven years.  This was a terrible time for Israel.  The Midianites were so cruel that many Israelites ran to the mountains and hid in caves.  Every time the Israelites would plant crops, the Midianites swarmed in, set up tents, and allowed their livestock eat the crops to the ground.  The Midianites also stole food, sheep, cattle, and donkeys.  There were so many Midianites that the Bible likens them to a “swarm of locusts.”  After the Midianites took almost everything that belonged to the Israelites, the Israelites finally repented and asked the Lord for help.  This is when the Lord sent His angel to Gideon.  The angel appeared and said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!”  The problem was that God was speaking to Gideon’s “To-Be” stage and Gideon was looking at his “Right-Now” stage.  Gideon was thinking too small.  He could not receive what God was saying.  He did not see himself as a mighty warrior.  Then the Lord Himself said, “Gideon, you will be strong, because I am giving you the power to rescue Israel from the Midianites.”  This is very clear vision, but once again, Gideon was thinking too small.  Gideon replied, “But how can I rescue Israel?  My clan is the weakest one in Manasseh, and everyone else in my family is more important than I am.”  In other words, Gideon was saying, “Lord, you have the wrong guy.  I am the weakest man in the weakest clan.”  But the Lord replied, “Gideon, you can rescue Israel because I am going to help you!  Defeating the Midianites will be as easy as beating up one man.”  What was the point?  The point was that Gideon did not have to do it on his own.  It was God’s will, so the victory was God’s Bill!

So what does this mean to you today? It means you must be careful not to avoid something you believe God told you, just because you don’t know how you are going to get it done.  You don’t have to know all the details.  That’s why we walk by faith!  If it is God’s will, then it is also God’s Bill and He has to fill in the gap between your ability and whatever is needed to complete the vision.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am Your sheep and I declare, in accordance with Your Word, that I hear Your voice.  The voice of a stranger, I will not follow.  I submit myself to strive after everything You give me to do, even though I may not always understand how it will get done.  I know You can do more with me, once I get started.  So I declare that I will get started in 2007.  I stop complaining and I stop making excuses.  I step out in faith.  I believe it is Your will, so I trust it to be Your Bill!  I put it before You.  I do what I can and I trust that You will do what I can’t!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Power of what A Word From God can Do! (top of page)

(Judges 7:15 CEV)  … Then he went back to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Let’s go! The Lord is going to let us defeat the Midianite army.”

This morning we continue our series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision” by picking up where we left off yesterday with the story of Gideon.  After the nation of Israel repented before the Lord, He wanted to lead them out from under the captivity of the Midianites.  As is normally the case when God wants to operate in the earth, He looks to do so through a man (male or female); a human being.  So God saw something in a man named Gideon that he did not necessarily see in himself.  God saw him as a might warrior he saw himself as a scared farmer.  He was the self-professed weakest man from the weakest clan in Israel.  So how could God get him to change his opinion of himself? It is simple, by revealing His purpose and His vision for his life.  It was one thing for Gideon to understand what God wanted him to do, but it was another thing altogether for him to actually believe it, receive it, and act like it.  However, once Gideon overcame all the doubts he became the fearless warrior and military commander God knew he could be.

In Judges chapter six Gideon was a scared farmer.  By the next chapter he was a fearless commander.  Gideon stood before 300 men, knowing that they were exponentially outnumbered, and he fearlessly said, “Let’s go!  The Lord is going to let us defeat the Midianite army.” Notice that his confidence was not in his ability, nor theirs, but rather in the Lord’s.  His confidence was in the fact that he had received a vision from the Lord and he knew in his heart that the Lord would bring it to pass.  One Word from God can turn any hopeless situation around.

So what does this mean to you today? It means this same transforming power is available to you.  What do you think would happen if you tapped into this sort of power for your family this year?  How would you be able to lead your family if you knew that you were doing what God had revealed to you?  What kind of confidence would that enable you to operate in?  What kind of impact would that make in the lives of your children for years to come?  What kind of example would you leave with them that would some day affect their own families?  So where do you get started?  You spend time with God in prayer and mediation.  Once you believe you have heard from the Lord for His vision for your life for 2007, your part is to:

1.  Believe it:  You will never be able to get any further in God than your capacity to believe.  Jesus said, “All things are possible to him that believes” (Mark 9:23).  But if you are not able to believe it, whatever the “it” may be, then it becomes impossible for you.

2.  Receive it in your heart:  This is where the transformation takes place.  Gideon became a mighty warrior internally before he ever led anyone externally.  Once you truly receive a Word from the Lord and you receive it in your heart, then no devil, demon, nor demonic force can take it from you.  God works from the inside out!

3.  Declare it with your mouth:  My next series will be a series that will deal with the power of your words.  The power of death and life are in your tongue (Prov 18:21).  Openly confess what you believe God has said to you and align your words with His vision.

4.  Step out in faith for it with your actions:  You can analyze, hypothesize, theorize, and strategize all you want, but at some point you have to DO something.  Faith requires action.  Faith requires you to act like you already have it, well before you see it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I tap into the transforming power of Your Word and Your vision for my life and my family for 2007.  Like Gideon, I am transformed from the inside out.  I internally become what You desire for me to be and once I believe it, receive it in my heart, and confess it with my mouth, it is just a matter of time before my outside matches my inside.  I step out in faith.  I cross the faith line and I don’t look back.  One Word from You can turn any hopeless situation around and Your Word is my guide for 2007 and beyond.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Vision and God’s Visionaries (top of page)

(Joshua 1:18 NIV)  “Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

This morning we continue our series on “Unlocking the Power of Personal Vision.”  If there was anyone that understood vision it was Joshua.  Joshua submitted to and honored the vision the Lord had given to Moses.  Joshua took the vision and ran with it.  When Moses sent 12 spies in to Canaan on a reconnaissance mission prior to taking the land he believed the Lord had given them, Joshua and Caleb were the only two leaders of the 12 that went, that supported the vision.  10 out of the 12 doubted the vision, thereby doubting God, and it cost the nation of Israel 40 years in the wilderness and millions of lives.

Fast forward 40 years from Joshua’s initial trip into Canaan and he is now the leader of Israel.  Moses is dead and he is now the God-ordained visionary for the nation.  The time is right to finally enter into Canaan and to complete what he started some 40 years prior.  This is what Joshua said to the people, “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready.  Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.’ ”  Then to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: ‘The Lord your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.’  Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers.  You are to help your brothers until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them.  After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”  This sounds clear enough, but would they obey?  Would they do to him what the previous leaders had done to Moses?  Or would they accept God’s vision through God’s visionary and step out in faith?

The good news is that they accepted it because they did not see Joshua as a man only, but rather as a man of God. They did not accept the vision as coming simply from him, but from God.  Look at how they answered Joshua, they said, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.  Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you.  Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses.  Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death.  Only be strong and courageous!” (see Joshua 1:11-18).  Can you see it?  They were so convinced that God was leading them through Joshua that they were willing to put to death anyone who rebelled against what he said.  They were not playing around!  They were submitted to God’s vision given to them through God’s visionary and they profited because of it.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that this same power is available to families.  God can speak through a husband/wife to provide leadership and vision for a family.  The benefits to this are plenteous.  The vision can serve as a unifying force to help forge the family into a cohesive unit that strives towards a purpose together.  It also helps train the children to be disciplined followers who will eventually become God-ordained leaders and visionaries themselves.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You are no respecter or persons.  What you did for Moses and Joshua, You can do for me.  I ask You now, by faith, to release Your vision, direction, and insight for me and my family this year.  I become the visionary for my family.  I supply vision and direction and I make it plain for my children.  They believe it, receive it, align their words with it, and support it by faith.  The vision brings us together; it enables us to achieve what You desire for us to achieve in 2007; and it has long-lasting benefits in the lives of my children.  It teaches them how to operate in Your order, structure, and will!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!