POSSIBILITY OR PROCRASTINATION?


Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”  NASB

As the song of years gone by, ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die,’ we often live our lives with a sense of permanence that is deceptive.  Most people I have dealt with or worked with in my years of ministry seem to believe that they will have ‘more than enough tomorrows’ to do the things they either did not do or did not want to do today.  Too often people neglect the vital, focus on the important or trivial, and demonstrate little concern because they believe that they will have time to do it later. We call that Procrastination!

Any student of the Bible knows that there are a number of promises from God in His word that are seldom claimed, appropriated, and stood on in individual lives.  It has been my observation that too many live ‘beneath their privilege’ in God.  I’ve had people tell me that I focus too much on God’s Promises but I fully believe that God gave them because He wanted us to enjoy, appropriate them, stand on them, and live them in this present world.  I believe that each step closer to becoming ‘like Jesus’ we find more Spiritual Power in our lives, touch more Souls of men, and experience more Victory in our daily lives!

This Psalm is attributed to Moses.  He is interceding for God to remove the curse that every Israelite over the age of twenty would die before the nation could enter the Land of Canaan.  He even identifies that most are dying at seventy though some are reaching eighty years of age.  If verse 10 could somehow be attributed to us as a gauge of longevity it would produce an interesting possibility.  [80 years or 16 – 5 year segments].  I wonder how we would live if we evaluated our lives in 5 year increments?  How many have you lived?  How many do you have left?  (Please understand I do not believe that this means we only can live 70-80 years but I use it as an illustration).

Time is either the greatest asset or enemy that we have.  Paul urged his listeners to redeem the time.  Time is one thing we must learn to use effectively if we are to become the most effective in our lifespan.  We are notorious time wasters, at least most of us are.  In order to tap the resources available to us and utilize the ability and power God has given us there are three things that must take place.

  1. PERCEPTION – – – We must Perceive.

We must perceive ‘who we are.’  Initially we were sinners in need of God.  We are created in the image of God and as John 1:12 tells us we are sons/daughters of God.  Romans 8:17 identifies that we are ‘heirs of God’ and Galatians 3:29 that we are ‘heirs according to the Promise.’  We read of the Promises of God in Deuteronomy 28 and find in Hebrews 8:6 that we have a ‘better covenant established on better promises.’

We must perceive where we are.  Or the condition or level of maturity we find ourselves.  Some of us are like the little boy that fell out of the bed and when asked why he replied, ‘Because I stayed to close to the edge.’  Some of us have stayed to close to the condition we were in when we first came to Christ.

We must perceive where we are going.  That applies both spiritually and in this natural life.

  • PREPARATION – – We must Prepared to get where we are going.

It is vital that we Know the promises of the Book (Bible).  It is imperative that we understand that the Bible is a tool, a weapon, a light, and a resource.

It is vital that we Know our inheritance as children of the Most High God.  We must prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually.

  • PROCEED – – We must Proceed on the Planned and Purposed way.

It is important that we see our potential in God, understand and believe the possibilities, and trust God!  If God says we are to be a Moses, Elijah, Paul, John, Peter, or Daniel why can’t we?  The thing that made them unique was that they were fully surrendered and teachable.

It is important that we believe we can be overcomers because God says we already are in Jesus.  It is important that we believe that God can work miracles through us.  Remember who God says you are – – ‘A Child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.’  Remember that His charted destiny for you is to ‘do His will in this generation.’  Therefore, it is important that we allow God to guide and guard our hearts, thoughts, and lives.  Remember, ‘except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.’

So as you go through the rest of your life will you go as a Possibility or a Procrastinator? The choice is yours.  

May God be with you as you go through your day!

ONE MORE LOOK AT VISION AND ITS IMPORTANCE…


Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” NASB

All of us have the capacity for vision!  All of us have a vision!  God made each of us to be ‘vision containers’ or ‘vision holders.’  His Vision! He created us to be men and women of purpose – His Purpose! God wants us to love Him enough to trust His leadership and to be willing to give ourselves totally to Him, His Vision, and His Purpose.

Being Visionless a problem spiritually.  In Matthew 11:29 we read – “Take My yoke upon you….”  That signifies a commonality of vision and purpose where two or more are pulling in tandem toward the same objective!  Vision is like a yoke!  Without that yoke, there is no restraint in the individual life or the local fellowship.  It becomes more of a stampede than a concerted orchestrated effort that is effective and productive. It becomes confusion and chaos rather than order and productivity.

Vision from God is priceless!  Vision from God keeps us on the God-ordained course and builds a fire in our hearts spiritually.  The degree to which we acknowledge and align ourselves with the Vision of God determines what we will be and do for the Kingdom of God.  If the local fellowship is going to accomplish the purposes of God for its community and generation it must rise above the level of personal and survival visions and ascribe to the ‘Vision of God’.

When a church or individual has a God-given vision they do not get shook up by the shaking!  WHY?  Because they know what God has said and are yoked in tandem together and with the Holy Spirit pulling toward the God-ordained and God-inspired goal and objective.  Obstacles are only temporary problems and opportunities for God to demonstrate His might.

A God-given vision will cause an individual and a local fellowship to examine and reexamine what their purpose is and why they hold it.  It will cause us to examine and reexamine what we believe and why we believe it.  It will cause us to look at God’s government and its role, function, and authority in our lives.  It will cause us to become Kingdom conscious.

A God-given vision will cause an individual and a local fellowship to desire the will of God more than life and create a willingness in the heart to do whatever is required to fulfill the purposes of God in this generation.

My prayer and desire are that God will give us vision and ground us with purpose!  May God be with you as you go through your day!

ANOTHER LOOK AT VISION…


Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” NASB

We are not talking about natural sight but insight or the vision of the heart . This is the objective and purpose of God for our lives and the Church that we have Spiritual Vision.  Problems arise in the Body of Christ and ministries when there is either No Vision. That causes people to cast off restraint.

Problems arise when there are Too Many Individual Visions or unconnected visions. That results in people to running wild in all directions without direction or purpose.  Both are destructive and detrimental to the cause of the Kingdom of God.  Without vision, none of us can stay on course.  Without vision, we will not be set on fire by the Spirit of God and develop a willingness to be harnessed together and pull in tandem toward a common goal.

Every person has a vision even if they cannot or have not articulated it or fully understood it.  If that vision is not a vision, given by God for the whole church in which we can see our special place in the Vision of the Whole that vision will be or become ‘self-centered’ or develop a ‘survival vision.’  This is the kind of vision in which a person says or thinks, “I will do only what is necessary for me to get along in this world.  I will do what I think will bring me happiness and satisfaction.  I will do so long as it does not interfere with my desires, goals, dreams, ambitions, and vision.”

The truth is that all of us have a ‘survival vision’.  It stems from our ‘self-centered’ nature, and whenever we are not truly yoked to a higher God-given vision, the ‘survival vision’ will assert itself and take a supreme position in our lives.  This is the condition in the church when the congregants declare, “I have a right to….  I demand…. You must give me….” 

Survival visions stem from a ‘self-centered’ point of view.  They cause people to look at the minister and the church and say, “What do you have to offer me?  How can I benefit from you?”  When they should be asking, “What can I add?  What can I provide?  What can I do for the cause of the Kingdom?”  The person operating in a ‘survival vision’ is not only ‘self-centered’ but they operate out of a ‘need orientation’ rather than a God-centered view of life and ministry.

The tragedy is that No Pastor, No Apostle, No Prophet, No Teacher; No Person can ever meet the needs of a church filled with ‘survival visions.’  Why?  “The eye is never filled with seeing; the ear is never filled with hearing.”  All the needs a ‘self-centered’ person has Cannot be Satisfied! It doesn’t matter how good the music, worship, programs, ministries, preaching, leadership the needs of a ‘self-centered’ individual or church Will Never Be Met!

It is incumbent upon each of us to see something greater than ourselves.  We must allow the Holy Spirit to instill in our hearts a God-centered vision.  The truth is a God-centered Vision and a Survival Vision cannot cohabit the same heart!  When a ‘survival vision’ is in operation No One will rise above the level of their individual vision.  If a person reasons:  “When all my needs are met, then I will go on to a higher vision.”  He or she Will Never progress, for the needs of the human heart are inexhaustible.

Therefore I ask that you ask the Holy Spirit to help you move from a ‘survival vision’ to a ‘God-centered vision’ and plug into the Vision God has given the local fellowship and allow your individual vision to be incorporated into it making both visions stronger and more complete.

God bless you as you go through your day!

VISION AND PURPOSE…


Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” NASB

For a number of years, I have been keenly aware of the pressure associated with public ministry.  There is incredible pressure in public ministry that many do not realize.  The pressure is applied from ‘expectations’.  The expectations of others, of self, of our perception of what others expect, and of our perception of what God expects.  The pressure felt by preachers is also felt by many in the congregation and has resulted in far too many become casualties in the cause and moving into secular employment rather than continuing in the labor of the Kingdom. 

Too many have become broken-hearted, distressed, and discouraged to the point of total exhaustion and have been robbed of the fruit of their labors that God so desired for them.  It is not a new occurrence but one that, I believe is growing even more pronounced today.

There are many reasons for this but the one that stands out to me, especially with regard as to how to avoid discouragement and defeat is Vision!  However, I must add to that list Purpose. If you include those two factors you will discover a wonderful antidote for discouragement and defeat in spiritual things and in life.  Vision & Purpose play incredible roles in the life and health of the individual and the local body as well as the Body of Christ.  Yet, I am convinced that little is truly understood about this vital element whose absence is a major contributor to Discouragement, Disillusionment, and Defeat!

Look at the passage above:

            NASB “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…”

            NKJV   “…cast off restraint…”

            KJV     “the people perish…”

            NLT     “the people run wild…”

         Another  “… the people become demoralized…”

Every Christian minister with any degree of experience knows that all of those are true.  For a Church or ministry to go forward, the Body must become ‘yoked’ or ‘harnessed’ together by a singular vision.

Vision is like a ‘yoke’, it links two or more together so that they are able to pull in tandem.  I heard an illustration years ago that resonated with me powerfully. It reported that through research it was discovered that if one horse could pull 9,000 pounds, two horses did not pull 18,000 but pulled 27,000 pounds are the equivalent of a third horse. 

Without the yoke of vision, there is no restraint, either in our personal lives or in the church.  We tend to pull in all directions at the same time and often are working against each other in so doing.  It is like a stampede of horses or cattle running in all directions.  It produces discouragement in the leadership and ultimately in the flock. 

When everyone has a different vision about what to do when to do, and how to do it failure is guaranteed.  Too often, it has been my observation, that there are either Too Many Visions or No Vision. When there is No Vision the people are left to formulate and attempt to initiate their own visions. God’s design and desire is that we plug our individual visions into the corporate vision making it stronger, more complete, and more viable. The result is that people continue unrestrained and pull in differing directions which creates chaos and lack of continuity.  Success is impossible in that condition and situation.

Without Vision or Vision from God, none of us can stay on course.  We will become too easily distracted or sidetracked.  But if we have a Vision from God and develop a determined Purpose to fulfill that Vision we can stay on course and accomplish the purposes of God in our situation and according to His timing and plan.

I encourage everyone to seek to know what the Vision of your fellowship. Once you understand it I encourage you to evaluate your personal or individual vision to determine if it is consistent with the Vision of the Body.  If it is not talk to the leadership about your vision, and if you can find a way to incorporate it into the overall vision that will prove to be powerful. However, if they cannot and you are totally convinced that this is a Vision from God for you then it may be that you are in the wrong fellowship.  I am not trying to get anyone to leave any church but I believe that most pastors would agree that ‘two cannot walk together unless they be agreed.’

God bless you as you discover God’s Vision for you and God’s Vision for the Local Body!

SECRETS IN PREPARING FOR WAR…


2 Timothy 2:1-3 – “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  NASB

We have considered the ‘deposit’ you are making or should be making in others.  Paul was giving Timothy, his son in the faith some counsel regarding his ministry and purpose in preparing others to join in the spiritual warfare that is going on and will until Jesus come again.  One of the things we learned is that it is important to “Pick the Right Friends.”  We observed that one of the most devastating things for the church or the individual in this walk and warfare is ‘misplaced friendships’ or ‘relationships.’  As the writer of Proverbs tells us in 25:19 – “Confidence in an unfaithful man in the time of trouble is like a broken tooth or a foot out of joint.”  Painful would be an understatement and adds no benefit.

Today, I want us to consider another secret – “Pick Faithful People.”  That is an absolute necessity for ‘fellowship’.  I have learned through observation and experience that ‘faithful people’ make the best fighters in spiritual warfare or any warfare!  Tragically the Church has given positions of responsibility and authority to people simply to get them involved or keep them coming to the local sheep shed.  That is disastrous and completely contrary to what biblical guidelines. It is equally dangerous when we, as individuals, reach out in search for relationships out of desperation, due to rejection and a desire to be ‘approved’, ‘liked,’ and ‘loved’.  Big Mistake!

Who was Timothy to choose?  Those who stayed when the others left!  Bear in mind, they probably were not the most influential, charismatic, and may not have been the most gifted.  They were likely just ‘regular people.’  However, they stayed true!  They were Faithful!  I am so thankful to God for the friends who have stayed true through the years and the tears!

Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

I have learned, the hard way, that a real friend will not sugar-coat everything and tell me only what I want to hear.  They are honest to a fault with me and as a result they ‘sharpen me’ and sometimes the ‘wound’ of their words and truth hurts but that hurt leads to healing and betterment in my life.  I thank God for a friend who will be honest in love!  

If you attempt to pour your life into an unfaithful person it is like pouring water on the ground.  The Bible teaches that we are to love all people, reach out to all people, and we are to avoid being suspicious, and judgmental.  We are to judge righteous judgment not judgment of the flesh.  So, beware you cannot pour your life out to or into everyone. Those you are going to War with must be Faithful people!  That is a heart quality not a religious performance thing.

If you comprehend what Paul says to Timothy you will find valuable information for your relationships and labors:  “Timothy, you take what you have learned from me and commit that to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”   Do you see the process?

  • We Receive and then We Give Out.
  • It is a Progression through Multiplication.
  • The Disciple is to become the Disciple Maker and produce Disciples who will in turn Disciple others.   It is Reproduction!

This is evangelism, discipleship, and fathering but to be a father you must have spiritual sons and daughters!  You reach out to everyone.  You evangelize whenever and wherever you can or there is opportunity.  But, you cannot pour your life, to the point of reproduction in everyone!  The whole of Christianity is Relationships!  It is not positions, structures, functions, gifts, roles, rules – It is Relationships! It is Life Links!

Paul’s emphasis and that of the Bible is Faithfulness rather than Ability. He did not say look for ‘qualified men’.  There are scores of them, they are abundant.  He said, look for Faithful Men!

1 Timothy 5:22 – “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partakers of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.”

The ‘laying on of hands’ here is releasing them or appointing them to position or ministry.  You must know those you are going to war with.  You do not appoint them out of need, based on previous success, influence, or charisma. You do so after you have tested them and know they are Faithful!

1 Thessalonians 5:12 – “Know those who labor among you.”

If you are in a position to disciple another carefully choose who you pour out your life to or into.  Be sure they are faithful people who will then teach others that which you are teaching them.

God bless you as you go through your day!

THE KEY TO SERVICE IS THE HEART…


2 Timothy 2:1-2 – “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” NASB

It has been my observation that one of the best ways to test someone’s character and determine if they are truly a servant having Jesus’ Heart is to let them know you ‘recognize’ the call of God on their lives. Then give them a task such as:  Janitor, Chair set-up detail, Greeter, Usher, or something of the like.  Let him who would be the greatest among you be servant of all.  Then watch them and listen to them.

THE KEY IS THE HEART:

Qualification is not enough!  Faithfulness is the critical element!  This message and ministry is to be committed to ‘faithful men’ who shall be able….  The word Able – [he-ka-nos] speaks of sufficiency.  ‘Who is sufficient…’  Simply, those faithful people who may not be qualified right now but because of their heart will become Sufficient. Whatever God has called you to do He will make you sufficient if you are faithful!

God does not come looking at our Qualifications, after all they come from Him anyway!  He comes looking at our Hearts!  Ministry (real ministry) does not being in the pulpit or on the platform – – it begins in Service!  Faithful Service!

In truth, none of us are really qualified.  God does not call us because of our natural talents.  He calls us because of our Hearts!  If a person’s heart is right and willing to be taught, this ‘faithful’ person can become More Than He Now Is!

All of us have been burned or hurt in life.  All of us have a call on our lives. All of us need a close covenant of committed friends. All of us need to be a part of a covenant community.  All of Us!  For you and me to stand in our commitment to Christ We Need to establish a Covenant Relationship with God.  For our families to stand and not become fragmented and destroyed we need to develop a Covenant Relationship in that family order.  For the Fellowship or local Church to stand and possess the land there must be committed covenant relationships established within that body. 

We are engaged in a Spiritual War and to be prepared we much be Committed and Faithful! We have God’s Promises.  Now as we more fully understand His purposes and receive His power we must be united in a Covenant Family and always stand Faithful!

God bless you as you go through your day!

THERE MUST BE FAITHFULNESS FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE…


2 Timothy – 2:1-2 – “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  NASB

In studying the directives of Paul to Timothy, his son in the faith we come to some powerful revelations and directives. Paul’s charge to Timothy was to find, teach, train, and impart that which was in his heart, received from the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul.  This was critical to the founding and grounding of the New Testament Church. 

There are Three Critical Areas in which Faithfulness is Key:

  1. Faithfulness to God is Absolutely Essential.
  2. Faithfulness in Relationships is Vital.
  3. Faithfulness in Service is Indispensable.

FAITHFULNESS TO GOD.

This needs little explanation or discussion as most would readily acknowledge the need and the essential aspect of this.  However, if we are genuinely faithful to God it will be manifest in the other areas or dimensions as well.

FAITHFULNESS IN RELATIONSHIPS.

This is an area that many Christians do not work on and but need to give attention to!  Remember Timothy’s mistake or potential mistake – ‘Choosing people who were possibly qualified and influential but UNFAITHFUL.’

FAITHFULNESS IN SERVICE.

This is absolutely indispensable!  We must learn to be Servants. We must learn and become willing to do what is asked when it is asked and how it is asked even when the flesh rises up and resists or the ego says that is beneath me.  Even when your ego raises its ugly head and declares that is not using my gifts or abilities to the fullest.  Even when you feel that you are not appreciated and recognized as you should be.

God’s way is to first ‘make the man’ then He ‘releases the ministry’.  Tragically, the Church has gotten the cart before the horse too often.  We recognize ‘gifts’, ‘charisma’, ‘talent’, and ‘ability’ and immediately send forth into ministry! 

PERSONAL TESTIMONY.

I was released wrongly but God taught me the necessity of Serving. I was almost immediately sent out because people could see the hand of God on me and God gifted me with passion and ability to convey the message.  So my response was Go Out!  I should have been sitting and experiencing nurturing, but within weeks after my conversion, I was sent out.  I saw in Bible College and have observed it in my 40 years of ministry the dangers of that approach.

When a person is called or God uses them in some degree or measure of success and instills a vision in their hearts along with His promise people take note.  Too often those individuals mistakenly develop the idea that they should be immediately released to pursue that vision but they are not ready.

  • They are overcome with the Vision.
  • They expect to be Recognized.
  • They become more Spiritual than anyone (in their own minds).
  • They make sure everyone knows they are Anointed, Appointed, Called, and Commissioned.
  • They demonstrate an inability or unwillingness to listen to others without a Critical Attitude believing in their hearts they could do a better job or they just know better.

They have not learned one of the key traits for Leadership is being a Servant and Serving Others as well as the Lord! If we do not learn how to Serve we are not qualified to Lead.

God bless you as you go through your day!