Move forward…stopping is moving backwards 

Normally I write a longer post, but this theme has been on my mind for quite some time. I’ve dealt with numerous people that embrace an ideology of stationary: never moving forward and never improving. They never step out and dare to take risks in order to improve themselves or their immediate sphere of influence.

Instead, they chose to stop and settle in their rut.

Embarking on a journey means leaving where you are right now. Sail your ship and leave the seemingly safe harbor of Comfort Zone Cove. We were not designed to stay in a state of average…because no matter what you may believe, life is not static.

If you decide to stay in a state of average, time will still move forward and progress…that is the nature of the world we live in.

By default, those who decide to never move forward and improve will automatically begin to decay and decline: simply by choosing to stop moving. This includes the world they live in and the ideals and philosophies they hold to…everything around them will gradually become a wasteland.

If you don’t leave the wasteland, you’ll become part of the landscape.

The irony is that choosing to stop will actually begin the process of regression.

The regression happens because everything else in the world around us moves forward through a cycle of propagation and renewal.

Those who chose to stay still will actually end up being left behind.

Vision Series: Part 2

Lesson: Guard Your Vision (Vision Series – Part 2)

Guard your vision

A life vision is a fragile and delicate thing; it is your soul dream that has been given to you by God.

Your vision is what fulfills the destiny He has designed you for.

It is a seed of faith that God has placed on your heart to accomplish something for His glory and to a blessing to you and others.

Just like the seed of the Gospel that is also planted on the heart, a seed of a vision can be choked out by the negative impacts of life; people and circumstances going on around us

Matthew 13:7 New Living Translation (NLT)
“Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.”

There will be doubters and negative people along the way that will try to choke the life out of your vision if you let them.

Guard your heart and mouth; don’t go running around looking for confirmation from a bunch of different people.

You don’t need to get a hundred different people to give you the Lord’s “Yes” & “Amen”.

Have a couple of trusted counselors who can speak truth into your vision. These are people who are older and more mature in their walk with the Lord. They must be people who are steady in prayer and in reading God’s Word. They must also be practicing what they believe.

Deuteronomy 19:15b English Standard Version (ESV)

 “Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be    established”

Psalm 141:3 English Standard Version (ESV)

   “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”

Now like I said before, often times the visionary will seek out the stamp of approval for the vision from a bunch of different folks. This is mainly for two reasons:

  • The visionary is so excited about the vision that God has given them, that they have to share it out of pure joy and can’t contain the excitement.
  • They are looking for buy in and affirmation from as many people as possible.

If you’re doing that, I encourage you to stop broadcasting your vision all over the place to people who are:

  • inherently negative
  • too immature to appreciate what God is doing in your life
  • people who are dead in their thinking and refuse to have a vision

Don’t throw you valuable and priceless gem into the street where it’s going to be run over. The vision for your life and what you’ve been created to do is from God is a sacred pearl to be treasured and protected.

Jesus said:

Matthew 7:6 (New Living Translation) “Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” 

Stay away from the vision killers.

Numbers 13:30-33 The Message Translation (MSG)

30 Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land—now. We can do it.”

31-33 But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

Be careful of the dream and vision killers. Do not listen to a bad report.

When the 12 scouts were sent to survey and reconnaissance the territory that God promised Israel, only Joshua and Caleb came back with a faith and life filled vision. The other 10 spies had nothing but negative things to say. Those 10 spies spoke words that were filled with doubt and failure.

The words of these 10 spies had power. Although they were speaking words of death and hopelessness, these words had power to impact the vision of an entire nation. In fact, because of the negative report from the 10 scouts, the Israelite community believed the majority’s conclusions. All of the spies, except Joshua and Caleb, were struck down with a plague and died

The fulfillment of the vision of Israel gaining the promised territory was delayed – Do not allow the fulfillment of your destiny to be delayed.

There are people who think they know you better than anyone else; often time they are those we grew up with. Family members and old class mates. Maybe it’s a friend from your youth or an acquaintance from college or an old job. Perhaps a neighbor or colleague.

These are the folks that think they know you better than how God knows you. They are always trying to keep you constrained to the limited thinking and view that they have not of just you but of their own lives. These people tend to find fault with everything. They never take risks to achieve better; instead they always settle for status quo. Mediocre is how they exist and they want you to exist the same way.

Oh they may say they’re happy for you, especially if they see that your personal growth and vision is producing financial or material gain. But don’t be deceived…this is only superficial and so they can benefit from your success. Don’t let these negative un-believing people hitch their wagon to you.

If someone is trying to tear down your vision, then you should stop sharing the vision with them immediately. Do not allow verbal junk to be pumped into your ears, which are they audio gates to your soul…your ears are not trash cans.

What are you listening to?

Remember, that faith comes by hearing; specificly hearing the Word of God.

Romans 10:17 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The Word of God is life, love, joy, success, happiness, promise and peace.

God’s Word is NOT death, hate, failure, pessimism, lies or strife.

Hebrews 10:25 New Living Translation (NLT)

25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Surround yourself with healthy believers and fellow visionaries. It is important to be in fellowship with others who can encourage you and speak life into you. There will be times when you need encouragement and prayer; a Brother or Sister in Jesus who can help you.

The value of being in consistent and regular fellowship with faithful is immeasurable.

We are not meant to do life alone. There is a constant battle for the mind and soul being waged; it is vital to be linked together with fellow Warriors who can step in the gap and bear you up in a time of need.

Vision Series: Part 1

Lesson: Do you have a vision? (Vision Series – Part 1)

Habakkuk 2:2-3 The Message Bible Version (MSG)
2-3 And then God answered: “Write this.
    Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
    so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

Before a house is actually built, it starts as a vision. First the vision is conceptualized, then it is written down on blue prints. When the architect initially sets to drawing the plans, he is not thinking so much about what color the curtains are going to be or what kind furniture is going to fill the house. These are details that are addressed later on in the final days before the owner is ready to move in.

Instead, the architect draws up plans based on creative inspiration and the inputs of those who will be occupying the building or home. Every wall, window and door is drawn on plans based on what has been visualized and seen only in the mind of the planners.

Many hours are spent carefully planning and visualizing what the actual final structure will look like.

Throughout the entire building process there are some key elements that are at play which ensure success:

  • The vision is put on paper. It is intentional and alive in the minds of all those who are part of the building process.
  • The vision is actively talked about. Plans are routinely reviewed for any minor adjustments that may need to happen along the way.
  • A successful vision is never engaged accidentally; it is always methodical and deliberate.

Every action that the builder does is for the purpose of fulfilling the vision of the blue prints.

There is constant measurement and re-measurement being done along the way to ensure that there is no deviation from the intended plans of the architect; everything is intentional and by design.

Remember that everyone involved in the building process; plumber, electrician, framer and mason, must be actively communicating with one another. This is to ensure that the vision stays clear and that nothing is getting out of its measured and ordained place.

It is to guarantee fulfillment of the vision, which was set in mind of the architect and written on the blue prints from the beginning.

Having a life vision is similar to the building process. It successful only when you have clear blue prints for what you want to build in life. There has to be order and intention in every step. It is more than just setting a few short-term goals. It’s even more than a few lofty New Year’s resolutions.

So What is a life vision?

Although goals are good and resolutions can be very beneficial, they differ from a vision:

  • A life vision is one that is honoring to God and utilizes the talents He has entrusted to you.
  • A life vision is a dream within your soul; it permeates your very consciousness and drives you toward your destiny.
  • A life vision does not need to have all the details of the journey spelled out. It’s not meant to be an itemized itinerary or ‘to do’ list.
  • A life vision, when actively pursued and fulfilled, will often be an inspiration and motivation to others…visions are contagious.
  • A life vision will many times cause our character to stretch and cause us to lean on faith in order to succeed.

Activate the vision

Vision equals movement; movement equals destiny.

Once you have your vision, it is vital to start taking active steps in support of it. A life vision must be nurtured and cared for in order for it to stay alive.

If you’re living life accidentally, hoping that the pieces will fall into place, then you do not have a vision. A person with a vision has focus and drive.

They may not be able to spell out every detail of how they are going to get to their final product, but they can certainly tell you what the end goal is.

God never intended for us to just sit around and not take action; everything about His character is the complete opposite.

In fact, in Genesis when we read The Story of Creation, we see God not only taking action by speaking and creating; we see Him giving vision and direction to man:

Genesis 1:26-28 King James Version (KJV)
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

We see clearly how God did this:

  • His vision explained: Verse 26 “And God said…”
  • His vision executed: Verse 27 “So God created…”
  • His vision entrusted: Verse 28 “And God blessed…”

God explained His vision, executed His vision, and then entrusted His vision to the human race. We see a pattern for vision and action demonstrated by God.

The hard truth is that if you’re not actively moving toward your vision you will never accomplish what you were put on this earth for. There has to be execution and movement; and it has to be decisive.

Not sure if you have a vision? That’s ok, many folks would be surprised to know that they actually have a vision for their life, but they’ve never taken the time to be serious about it.

Life happens and sometimes we get off track; that’s ok. Hopefully by the time you’re done reading this, your vision will become clear again and you will have renewed energy to start the initial steps on your journey.

Most importantly, ask the Lord to show you what the vision is.

Ask Him to reveal what He wants you to accomplish and to make sure that what you’re desiring is lining up with His will.

God says that He does not mind if we ask for wisdom, in fact according to His Word He said:

James 1:5 New International Version (NIV)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”