Saturday, April 30, 2016

Do you have a vision for your life?

Do you have a vision for your life? What are you aiming for in your ministry? What are you aiming for in your relationships? What do you want to accomplish in life? Where do you want to be in five years?

If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. In other words, if you aim at nothing in life, you will hit nothing. If you take all the tools, talents, and abilities that God has given you and aim them at nothing you will become one great big nothing. You must have a target (a vision).

Imagine an archer who is shooting his bow. He aims right at the center of his target and he can judge his success or failure depending on how close he gets to the middle of the target. Now imagine that he shoots an arrow without aiming at anything in particular. The arrow may hit a tree, or a house, or a passerby. Some people go to where the arrow lands and draw a circle around it and call it a success. But, true success is when you pick a point to aim at and then you hit it.

“Without a vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 NKJV).

Vision is God's plan for your life. God gave you vision so you wouldn't have to live by only what you see. Faith is the substance of things you hope to accomplish, the evidence of things you can see, even when others can't.
Vision is not the same as sight. Sight is a function of the eyes and vision is a function of the heart. Helen Keller was deaf and blind but she learned to communicate through tactile sign language. She was once asked, “Can you imagine something worse then being born blind?” She replied, “The only thing worse then being blind is to be able to see, and to have no vision.”

Vision is seeing the future before it comes into being. Vision is a mental picture of your destiny. Vision is the key to your future.

Vision keeps you looking past your present and past, past your problems and issues. Vision says “I can make it past this, I will survive this, because God’s promise is bigger than what I am going through.”  

Vision is unique to our species. Only humans can enter the world of the imagination and create the future. This is the reason why humans have advanced over the centuries while animals live the same lives year after year. Animals only know what they can sense. We can dream beyond reality. We can work toward an invisible goal. We can harness the power of creative vision.

Vision motivates us to work.
Vision is the only motivation to work. Every great country was formed by a vision, every corporation and every ministry on this earth was built by workers motivated by a vision. If you lack motivation it is likely that you lack vision.

People will work for vision. Those who do not work for their own vision will work for the creative vision for someone else. If you are working for seven dollars an hour it is likely that you are giving your life to fulfill someone else’s dream. Is the dream you are working for worthy of your energy?

Two Types of Vision
There are two types of vision, the positive vision and the negative vision. Your motivation for working is either grounded in faith or fear. Faith builds, but fear prepares for destruction.

Faith is believing that something good is going to happen to us if we do what is right. This is a positive vision of the future. It is very healthy to be motivated by our faith.

Fear is the belief that something bad will happen to us if we do not do what is right. Fear is binding. It causes us to work out of obligation.

Vision is the Secret Tool of Advertisers
The average American sees two thousand different advertisements every day. Everything from TV, to sports logos, to radio, to soft drink advertisements clamor for your attention. A good advertising campaign is designed to change the way you see yourself. By portraying the users of a product as being young, successful, happy, or sexy; the advertisers try to convince you that if you use their product, you will become young, successful, happy, or sexy. The advertiser wants you to see yourself using their product or service. 

Most of the two thousand advertisements I see every day have nothing to do with what I want to become. They are not part of my vision for my life. Therefore they are distractions. They are trying to change my vision. They are an enemy of my vision.

I have to somehow ignore two thousand ads everyday. All it takes is one of those two thousand ads to change the way I see myself, and I will become a different person with a different focus. The ads will change my vision and my motivation. They have the potential to change what I will be twenty years from now.

Most Americans today are not the product of a God given vision. They are the product of an advertising society. A society that will gladly give you a picture to work toward. Twenty years from now will I be what God wants me to be, or will I be what advertising agencies want me to be? 

The Law of Dominate Focus
Imagine taking a picture of a dog with an old fashioned camera. When you take the roll of film to be developed, the picture will have a dog in it. It will not be a picture of a cat or a fish. If the camera focused on a dog, a dog is what will be developed in the picture. What you focus on in life will develop.

Jessie Duplantis says, “If you can’t see your future, you don’t have a future.”

Vision has the power to change who you are and the power to change where you are going. Every great achievement began with a vision.

What is your vision for your life?
What do you want to be when you die? What type of legacy you want to leave behind? What do you want people to say at your funeral? On judgment day, do you want God to say to you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant?”

Start from the end of your life and work back to today. What do you want to accomplish? Write down as much of your vision as possible. Spend time in prayer. Figure out what you want to be. Now calculate backwards. What are the logical steps that will take you from where you are right now, to where you want to be. Write them down. Set goals. Figure out a time line that you can realistically measure your goals against. You now have a vision, something to aim your life towards.

Remind yourself of the vision often. Remember that vision is what will motivate you to work. If you are feeling low remind yourself of the vision. It will drive you to excel. I personally need a daily dose of vision to keep me rolling. Every morning I remind myself why I am alive.

God did not put a limit on your potential in life. He will give you more than you can even imagine. The true limit to your life is the vision you have of yourself. What are you aiming for?

How far into your future can you see? Can you see a year? Can you see five years? Can you see twenty? The greater the vision, the farther it sees into the future. The greatest visions are the ones that see beyond death into eternity.

I know where I want to go in life. I know what I want to be twenty years from now. This is my vision. Remember vision is the power to create a future in the imagination. Vision will motivate me to work at building my dreams. I will be what I want to be twenty years from now if I can stay focused, and if I can avoid distractions. If I can hold on to the same picture I will become it. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

What Are You Worried About?

What are you worried about? Do you worry about money? Do you worry about the safety of your children? Do you worry about the economy?

Worry is putting your faith in the wrong thing. - Joel Osteen

Worry is a manifestation of pride...because what you are saying is If I think about this long enough, I can solve this problem.”  - Joyce Meyer

WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's TROUBLES; it takes away today's PEACE.
Cast all your cares upon the Lord.

- Worry is a conscious decision not to trust God.
- Worry is the opposite of faith.
- Worry is prayer in reverse. 

Jesus said, “Don’t worry about anything.” Jesus said to look at the birds of the air and the flowers in the field. If God cares for the birds and the flowers, how much more will he care for you?

Don’t look at what you have lost, begin to anticipate what you are going to gain.

The thing about pity parties is that no one else wants to come.

If you are going through hell, don’t stop.

Stop looking in the rear view mirror. Don’t look back. Keep your eyes forward.

Work, don’t worry, since worry don’t work.

Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.

When the tide comes against you,
and overturns your boat.
Don’t let it worry you,

Just lay on your back and float.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Are your ready for a Transformation?

The word, “transformation” means “a sudden and complete change.”

Let me give you some examples of transformation:
            1. When a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
            2. When winter becomes spring.  
            3. When night becomes day.

I have experienced transformation in my life.
            1. When I left my family to go to college.
                        - Laundry, food, waking up in the morning,
            2. When I got married.
            3. When our first child was born.

What happens when a family is transformed?
            1. A man stops drinking and starts providing for his family.
            2. A wife stops complaining and starts to show love to her family.
            3. A child stops rebelling and starts obeying.
When the family unravels, the whole nation can unravel.

What happens when a nation is transformed?     Righteousness exalts the nation.
            1. Poverty decreases and prosperity increases.
            2. Violence decreases and peace increases.
            3. Hopelessness decreases and opportunity increases.
            4. Corruption decreases and servanthood increases. 
            5. People stop taking and start giving.

My father experienced transformation in his life. His life changed when he met Jesus.

Zacchaeus’ Life was Transformed in One Day - Luke 19:1-10
1. Short
2. Chief Tax Collector
            3. Rich
            4. Sinner who cheated people.

Jesus knows your name
Jesus wants to eat with you.

How was his life transformed?
1. He calls Jesus “Lord.”
2. He pledges to give away his wealth

In response to this amazing act of repentance and generosity, Jesus says “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham…”

Where does transformation begin?
            - Transformation begins in your heart.
- If you change, your family can be changed.
- If you change, your nation can be transformed. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Are there snakes in your house?

           "Snake!" I yelled Stephen, get in here quick.
My brother ran in, Whats the matter?
I was laying on the floor, drifting off to sleep, when I felt something crawl along my arm. I opened my eyes and I was staring into the face of a snake. I jumped up and the snake rapidly slithered under the couch. I explained. Since we lived in the desert of the Southwest, this was not a surprising problem.
Together, we started hunting for the snake. First, we closed all the doors so he could not escape into another part of the house. Then, we began moving furniture. There was nothing under the couch. We moved the speakers to the entertainment system. No snake there. I looked under the desk but did not see anything.
After several minutes, we still had not found the snake. My brother started to doubt I had really seen it. Perhaps it was just a dream, he said. No, I am sure I saw a snake. I persistently told him.
Finally, behind a cabinet, we spotted the snake. Using long sticks, we managed to scare the snake outdoors. Because he was poisonous, we used a shovel to chop off his head.
Afterwards, we tried to figure out how the snake had gotten inside. I realized that just before I had laid down for my nap, I had opened the front door to let a breeze into the house. The snake saw the open door and decided to curl up with me.
The Bible compares Satan to a serpent. As Gods enemy, he crawls around looking for an open door of opportunity. These doors can be bad movies, words of doubt, dishonest friends, a lust for money, little lies, or a multitude of other small compromises. Have you opened a door to the devil in your life?
Once Satan finds an open door, he starts looking for a sleeping Christian to curl up with. Eventually, if the believer stays asleep long enough, the snake bites and injects poisonous venom. We need to stay spiritually alert to make sure there are no demons lurking around. Are there any snakes in your house?
Once I saw the snake, my brother and I hunted diligently until we managed to get rid of him. If we had become complacent and waited for him to come out into the open, the snake could have caused serious harm to a member of the family. If you have discovered a demonic influence, are you working hard to break its power over your family?
After we discovered the snake, we broke its back and cut off its head with a shovel. Afterwards, the head kept biting and the body kept moving for several minutes. Even after the devil is defeated, he is still dangerous. Are you keeping your distance from evil?
What is the best way to keep the devil away? First, close all the doors that might let Satan into your life. Second, make sure there are no snakes (past temptations or bad influences) lingering around your life. Third, go out of your way to hunt the devil down (confess scripture, claim Gods promises for your life, sing songs of praise, etc.). Fourth, break the devils back (anytime he reminds you of your past, just remind him of his future). Finally, keep your distance from the devil by submitting to Gods will for your life. God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7 - KJV).