Vision for 2010

by Rick

Vision for the New Year

(Prov 29:18 NIV)  Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I pray you enjoyed your celebration experience as you crossed over from 2009 into 2010.  I will take a break from our current series, for a few days, to share messages about preparing for the New Year.  In January of every year my family spends time with God, seeking His vision and purpose for the year.  We then lay out (on paper) what we believe we have received and we allow that vision to be the ruler by which we judge our decisions during the year.  This is how I believe I will get incrementally closer, every year, to God’s expected end for my life (i.e., my purpose and destiny).  Dr. Myles Munroe says this about vision/purpose: “If you pursue the wrong assignment, you’re going to need things you can’t get, because the provision isn’t there unless the vision is yours.  It’s someone else’s assignment, and he has his own warehouse.  Sometimes, people make demands on God that He can’t supply because He can’t give us what doesn’t belong to us.  Again, knowing God’s will for your life is the key to your prosperity.” Receiving tailor-made vision is absolutely critical and with that in mind, we will investigate a few scriptures relating to vision and purpose this week.

What is Vision? Most people simply connect vision to sight and even then, many do not understand sight.  We don’t see with our eyes, we see through them.  We actually process what our eyes see in our mind.  Our mind sees.  That is why when someone takes the time to relay a difficult concept to you and you finally understand it, you say, “I see.”  What do you mean?  You mean you see it, but not with your eyes, you see it with your mind.  Your mind has grasped the concept, idea, thought, etc.  But then again, vision is more than mere sight or even comprehension.  VISION is seeing beyond where you eyes or your mind can look. Sight is common, vision is rare! Vision shapes purpose.  Purpose gives birth to plans.  Plans help us layout goals.  Goals become incremental steps that take us towards an expected end.  And all of this starts with vision.  Are you ready to be a Visionary for God?

Let me tell you a short story about Mr. Walt Disney that deals with vision.  Mr. Disney sat in an open field many years ago, just shortly after opening Disney World.  At the time, the park only had a few rides.  He sat and looked out into an open field for a long time and he seemed very preoccupied.  A worker, who was cleaning nearby, came and asked Mr. Disney what he was doing.  Disney said, “I am looking at my mountain.”  This seemed very strange to the worker and he simply walked away.  Many years later, at the opening of Space Mountain, a young man introduced Mrs. Disney to the platform.  He said that it was great to have her there, but it was a sad that Mr. Disney died without ever seeing his mountain.  Mrs. Disney took the microphone and corrected the young man.  She told the crowd that they were just seeing the mountain, but her husband had seen it many years before.  Walt Disney saw it well before it ever came to pass and that is how the Father desires for us to live.  He wants to reveal His plans and purposes for our lives to us, so that we could operate with vision, well before the manifestation of His promises.  Like Mr. Disney, vision can help us develop a plan that can quite possibly outlive and outlast us.  Why?  Because God is too big a God and our lifespan is too short of a time for God to JUST be concerned with us.  When God looks at you He sees your legacy, but He needs you to see it as well, so that you will cooperate with Him as He seeks to bring to pass His best for your life!  We will discuss our focus text more tomorrow.

So what does this mean to you today? It simply means that you have a great deal to do with what happens in your life in 2010.  Don’t think that things will “just happen.”  Prepare to spend time with the Father to receive and respond to His vision for your life for this year!

Confession for Today: Father, I receive Your Vision for my life in general.  I also receive Your vision for me and my family for this year.  I know that I have a part and You have a part.  I declare, by faith, that I will do my part in 2010.  I lead my family as You lead me.  I am Your sheep and I hear Your voice.  I receive Your Vision by revelation.  I have the discipline to develop measurable goals that support the accomplishment of your plan.  I complete those goals.  The completion of every goal takes me incrementally closer to Your overall vision for my life and lives of my family members.  Thank you for helping me to receive it, believe it, document it, and follow it – in 2010 and beyond!  I speak this by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

A Tailor-Made Assignment

(Prov 29:18 NIV)  Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.

This morning we continue to discuss vision/purpose for 2010.  I told you yesterday that we were going to take a closer look at our focus text (Prov 29:18) today, so let’s do just that.  The word translated as revelation can also be translated as vision.  The word translated as perish means: to loosely stumble.  The word translated as keeps means: to guard, protect, and take heed to.  The word translated as law means: instruction, direction, and teaching of God.  The word translated as blessed means: empowered to prosper.  When I put this all together I get: “Those who do not hear from God and receive His revelation loosely stumble through life, but those who take heed to and protect His instruction, direction and teaching are be blessed and empowered to prosper.” (Piña Version).  Yes, there are definitely many ways to live your life.  Many have chosen to live without God, becoming the god of their own lives.  But then again, even amongst those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and who have entered into a relationship with Jehovah, many find themselves loosely stumbling through life without any true sense of purpose, vision, destiny, or focus.

Jehovah told Jeremiah, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as My prophet to the nations” (Jer 1:5).  Did you get that?  Jeremiah had a specific assignment BEFORE he was ever born.  Furthermore, it would be unrighteous of a Father to expect a son to do something that he could not do.  So, if Jehovah expected Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations, then that means that He equipped Jeremiah with the ability and grace to complete the assignment.  Whatever God equips you to do, He expects you to do; and whatever He expects you to do, He equips you to do.  The key is finding out what that is.  If Jeremiah had spent his life attempting to be a carpenter, baker, lawyer, etc., he would have been a man most miserable.  There is a certain level of ease and peace that you receive when you know you are walking in your purpose.

Later in Jeremiah Jehovah said, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11).  This doesn’t just apply to Jeremiah.  The Father has plans and thoughts for us; and not just any plans.  These are good plans, plans to give us a future and a hope.  Our job, then, is to find out what those plans are and to align our lives – in thought and in deed – with them.

So what does this mean to you today? The message this morning is that God’s instruction is always equal to His Injection.  I know that many people are wary of seeking God’s purpose for their lives, because they feel that they will not be up to the task.  But remember, God will never instruct you to do something that He has not ALREADY injected you with.  Paul said, “By the Grace of God, I am what I am…” (1 Cor 15:10).  God’s grace (empowerment and favor) is injected into you according to God’s instructions for your life.  Jehovah has impregnated you with everything you will need to succeed in your assignment.  Frustration sets in when you try to do something that He never intended for you to do.  Paul did not have Jeremiah’s assignment.  Jeremiah had to deal with the Kings, Paul had to deal with governors.  Neither one of them had Nehemiah’s assignment.  Nehemiah had to rebuild the wall.  Neither Paul nor Jeremiah had to know anything about wall building to make their lives a success.  But that’s the beauty of it.  We all have a tailor-made assignment and part of my prayer for you this month is that you align yourself with yours!

Confession for Today: Father, I thank You for thinking enough about me to make a tailor-made assignment for my life.  Before I was born You designed a plan for my life and You prepared everything I will ever need to bring it to pass.  I declare, by faith, that I align myself with Your assignment and I seek to live it out with complete confidence.  I know that I can do it, because You will never expect me to do something that You have not equipped me to do!   I enter this day, this month, and this year with great expectations.  Speak Lord, Your servant heareth!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

What’s Your Story?

(Jer 29:11 NLT) For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

This morning we continue to discuss vision/purpose for 2010.  For the last couple of days we have been dealing with this and I believe it is a critical topic, at a critical time (the beginning of the year), which can help us shape the outcome for this year.  Oftentimes the best thing we can do to prepare for what’s ahead of us is to study what’s already behind us.  Our life is not a series of random events, but rather our life’s story.  In “To Be Told” Dan Allender asks the question, “What’s your story?” and he says the following about it:

“Everyone has a story.  Put another way, everyone’s life is a story.  But most people don’t know how to read their life in a way that is a story.  They miss the deeper meaning in their life and they have little sense of how God has written their story to reveal Himself and His own story… If you don’t think such things are important, consider a conversation I had recently with a friend who was weighing a career move.  He showed me a list of prose and cons.  There were an equal number of problems and benefits no matter what he decided—whether he changed jobs or stayed where he was.  “If the list is weighted according to my values and dreams,” he observed, “it’s a dead heat.  I might as well flip a coin.”  But my friend was overlooking his own story, the one thing that would give him direction in making this decision.  He had not considered God’s authorship of his life.  “Which choice will allow you to live most consistently with how God has been writing your life’s story?” I asked… “Why would I study my life?” he asked… Most of us have spent more time studying a map to avoid getting lost on a trip than we have studying our life so that we would know how to proceed in the future… Why will we read various op-ed pieces to help clarify our views on a controversial topic, but ignore our own past, which helped form our most important views?  …seldom do we approach our own life with the mindset of a student, eager to learn, gain insight, and find direction for the future.”

Allender then says this about what our life reveals: “First, God is not merely the creator of your life.  He is the also the author of your life and He writes each person’s life to reveal His divine story… Second, neither your life nor mine is a series of random scenes that pile up like shoes in a closet.  We don’t have to clear out old stories to make room for new ones… With the third core issue, things start to get exiting.  When I study and understand my life story, I can then join God as a coauthor.  I don’t have to settle for merely being a reader of my life; God calls me to be a writer of my future… And fourth, there is a necessity and blessing in telling your story to others.  To the degree that we know God and join Him in writing our story, we are honored to join others in the calling of storytelling.”

As you prepare for this year, I am led of the Father to ask you to look back so that you will be better equipped to look forward.  You have a story, but you may not have taken the time lately to read it, or more importantly, to realize that you are also helping write it.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you owe it to yourself, your God, your family, and all those that you have the ability to influence, to read and to actively help write your story.

Confession for Today: Father, thank You for being the Author and Finisher of my life.  I also thank You for blessing me to be a co-author with You.  You have given me the right and ability to make decisions and since I want to arrive at Your ultimate destination for my life, I declare, by faith, that I will make decisions that are in alignment with Your plan for me.  But to make the right decisions I must study my story.  As I prepare for 2010, I will take the time to study my story, to comb over what You have been doing in my life, and to make informed decisions as You and I co-author this year to be the best year I have ever lived!  This chapter is going to be AWESOME!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Celebrating Your Uniqueness

(1st Cor 12:20-22 NLT) Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.  The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”  In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.

This morning we continue to discuss vision/purpose for 2010.  I have taught on this before and I hope that this week is merely a refresher/reminder for you of the importance of understanding and walking in your tailor-made assignment.  It is this understanding of purpose that gives birth to vision, vision gives clarity and Godly focus to life, and this Godly focus enables you to maximize your time and potential while you are in the earth.  We will focus more on that tomorrow, when we will discuss how purpose maximizes energy and gives time meaning.  Today I want to discuss a different benefit, and that is: when we understand our purpose it frees us to celebrate the diversities of callings/gifts without jealousy.

This point reminds me of a powerful lesson I learned early on in my walk with God.  It was 1995 and I had just been walking with God for a few months.  I was in my room in Kuwait watching a VHS tape of Bishop T. D. Jakes.  Bishop Jakes was still in West Virginia and the tape was from one of his “Back to the Bible” conferences.  Back then, in Kuwait, VHS tapes were the only way to watch preaching on television.  I was a new believer and I borrowed as many tapes from the other believers there that I could.  I was enamored by Bishop Jakes’ preaching style and his story telling ability.  I stood in front of the television, watching Jakes, and said to God, “God, I want to preach like T. D. Jakes.”  And almost immediately God responded (I don’t mean with an audible voice, but rather with an inner witness), “I did not give you what I have T. D. Jakes.”  I was crushed.  It was like my heavenly Father had busted my spiritual bubble of hope.  But a few moments later He continued and said, “But I did not give T. D. Jakes what I gave you!”  Wow, what a difference that statement made in my life.  I started to point at the television screen and say, “You don’t have what I have!  You don’t have what I have!”  Now, I will admit that that was not the most humble thing to do, but I did get the message and it was that I am uniquely gifted and there is no need for me to be jealous anyone.  Just like no one else has my fingerprint, voiceprint, or eye composition, no one else has my story or my assignment.  No one that has come before me has ever lived my life and no one that will come after me will either.  My life and my assignment are absolutely ‘one of a kind,’ and so is yours!

So what does this mean to you today? Several things:

1.  Understanding your uniqueness is a liberating experience.  It frees you to be YOU!

2.  No one can be a better YOU than YOU!

3.  You don’t have to ever be jealous of what others have, because their assignment is tailor-made for them, just like yours is for you.

4.  The Father needs us all to do our individual part so that the Body of Christ can function as it was designed.

5.  Instead of focusing on the fact that you are not called to do what someone else is celebrate the fact that God saw to it that someone in the Body of Christ was gifted to do it and that you are gifted to do what you are assigned to!  This will help you focus on your assignment, while supporting the assignments of others.

Confession for Today: Father, thank You once again for giving me a unique calling and gifting.  I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am unique throughout all of history and I am very thankful for who You have made me to be.  My understanding of my uniqueness and of the specificity of my assignment frees me to be ME!  I don’t have to be jealous of anyone else.  I understand that I need others and others need me.  I don’t have what they have and they don’t have what I have.  I declare, by faith, that in 2010 I will focus on being the best ME that I can be, so that I can fulfill my role in the Body of Christ.  I will also support others as they seek to fulfill theirs.  Together we can all make a difference.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Purpose-Driven and Vision-Focused

(1st Cor 6:12 MSG) Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.

This morning we will close out this mini-series on vision/purpose for 2010.  My goal this week was to give you a few things to think and pray about as you prepare for the New Year.  My prayer for you is that you are able to spend the time needed to receive direction (or vision) from God and to document it (on paper), so that you and your family can use it as a guide as you seek to maximize your efforts in 2010.  Purpose-driven and vision-focused people are individuals who know where they are going and who go to great lengths to get there.  In our focus text Paul tells us that just because we can do something, it does not mean that we should.  What is beneficial for one person can be detrimental to another.  That is why we must all understand our individual tailor-made assignments and why we should have a clear God-given vision.

What does a written Vision provide?

  • A ruler by which to judge decisions.
  • A guide for your family to follow.
  • A basis for prayer.
  • Focus to your prayer life and your study time.
  • Clarity and it helps bring unity of purpose to your family on what you should be (collectively) praying for.  Amazing things happen when your entire family operates in faith for God to open doors and to bring to pass what you are believing Him for!

Once you receive the vision, translate it into a plan.  Dr. I.V. Hilliard says that vision should give birth to a plan and your plan must have quantifying goals.   Goals are steps toward a desired end.  A goal is a measurable objective, not a wishful thought.  Also, as you seek God for vision for 2010 and He begins to speak to you, let me give you a word of warning.  Be careful not to avoid something that God shows you, just because you don’t know how He will bring it to pass!  Remember, if it’s His will, then it’s His bill!

Some keys to remember about vision:

  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. Never worry about how.  If God gives you the vision, He will release provision. If it’s a God-given dream, then He will intervene!
  4. Your job is to:
    1. Believe it – this opens the door to the possibility of it in your life.
    2. Receive it in your heart – this is where you settle the issue in internally and you close the door to worry.
    3. Declare it with your mouth – this will help you release your faith; speak faith-filled words and NEVER speak against the vision!
    4. Step out in faith for it with your actions – faith without works is dead!

I will close with the words of Dr. Myles Munroe: “The primary value of purpose is the translation of vision derived from purpose into a plan of action.  Purpose maximizes energy and gives time meaning.  Purpose protects you from being busy, but not effective… Purpose that is translated into a vision causes things to happen and people to act.  This is true because purpose creates vision, vision produces goals, goals permit the development of a plan and a plan allows for an orderly journey.”

Confession for Today: Father, I thank you for an orderly, but exciting, journey in 2010.  As I prepare for this year I declare, by faith, that I will receive clear vision from You and that the vision will guide me and my family as we seek to maximize all that You would have us to do this year.  As you give me vision I will believe it, receive it in my heart, declare it with my mouth, and step out in faith towards it!  This year shall be the BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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